Writing is frequently the first casualty

It’s been more than six months since I last posted to the blog. In this piece, I account for my recent absence and talk through some of the reasons that writing is frequently the first casualty in the battle of my mind.

Over many years, I’ve bounced between writing as frequently as daily, sometimes fleshing out multiple blog posts in a marathon session, to dry spells lasting as long as six months.

And yet, I love writing. I really do.

There’s something incredibly rewarding in being able to capture your thoughts and feelings on paper in such a way that someone might even enjoy reading it.

More than just the words themselves, I enjoy the art of typography, finessing the style, layout and appearance of the printed word. Sure, the digital world has long removed the physical constraints of the printed page. And worse still, social media and email have sullied the written exchange, expecting the reader to look past the terrible grammar, poor spelling and erratic prose.

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So much going on right now

I’m sure it’s likely the same for everyone, but I really have a lot going on right now.

In addition to working full time, punctuated with international travel to see my kids and family, I have a whole host of projects in the melting pot, all vying for my attention.

Of those, the one project that’s been getting most of my attention right now is a collaboration I am working on with Scott Tousignant and Bryan Krahn.

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Final body composition test of the year

I had my final hydrostatic test of the year yesterday at the FitnessWave mobile testing unit that visits my office. It was my tenth test in almost exactly two years, and it’s been a fun and informative process.

The numbers from this final test are not all that impressive when considered in isolation, but when I add a little narrative and consider the longer journey, they stack-up pretty well.

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Journal: Day 2 of my full body split

Today’s post is short and sweet, following on from my last post covering day one of my new, low volume, high frequency split.

I’ll cover the programming for the workout as a whole in a final post at the weekend. For now, I’ll just detail the workout I followed last night.

Overall, it was a pretty solid session, especially for a first run through. Balance seemed about right, although I found the single leg box steps left me feeling like more was needed for the legs, but I was also nowhere near my capacity there, so I’ll reserve judgment on that one until we’re working harder.

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Journal: First of three: Day 1 of my full-body split

Coming off the back of a torn hamstring (long story), a recent hernia repair and yet another bout of travel, I’m finally heading back to the gym!

For the last year, I’ve been hammering myself pretty hard following a variety of high volume programming. And truth be told, while it has worked, by some definition of “worked”, it’s also left me feeling pretty beat-up and generally decrepit.

To be fair, some of that is not about the programming, some of that’s squarely on me either pushing too hard, training through [the wrong kinds of] pain or including exercises because I think I should have them in my program.

So over the coming months, we’re again changing things up.

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What I learned in the last three months

It’s been 75 days since the last time I posted, and frankly, a lots happened.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that what I put up here is somewhat of a mixed bag; part journal, part training log and probably two-parts waffle … and no, not the good kind. Still, I’m not making you read, that’s on you.

So, given I could cover a lot here, we’ll keep it focused on training, diet and what I’ve learned in the last three months. And for those of you that want to bail early, here’s the summary:

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Exactly one month into the cut

IMG_20150607_085456It’s been almost a month to the day since the end of my last bulking phase. If you recall, I ended the bulk at 187.75lbs, a couple of pounds shy of my 190lb target. Truth be told, I have far from mastered the art of the bulk, and I was grateful to see it end. Still, we’ll do better next time.

As bodybuilders, we say a lot of things that need added context to make complete sense, especially to the novice trainee. For example, consider some of the things I say regularly:

  • “I’m not even dieting yet”
  • “I don’t do any cardio at all”
  • “I don’t track my macros”
  • “I pretty much eat what I want”

All of these things are both completely true, and yet, very misleading without context and some added narrative.

Hence, the goal with this update is to be very specific about what I’ve done during the last month, and evaluate where we are as we head into the second half of this cutting phase.

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Progress update: Week two of the mini cut

Today marks the end of the second week for my cutting phase, and I was both pleased and unnerved at the result. I weighed in at 184.5lb on the morning scale, that’s about 3.5lb down from the start of the cut.

Pleased?

Well, this is a cutting phase after all, so seeing the scale move is both desirable and appropriate. I was also largely happy with the number. While 1.75lb per week is a little on the high side, I’d expect to see that rate of loss drop-off in later weeks… at least not without another significant change.

But why unnerved?

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Last of the cutting workouts tested

IMG_20150122_172105Ran through the last of the new cutting routines last night, a row oriented back, traps and biceps session.

I didn’t have time for a full run-through, partly due to a time crunch, and partly because my gym partner wants to move the chest session to Monday.

My solution was to run through the back routine last night and test the programming, with the view to repeating it again on Wednesday for real.

The routine as written breaks-down like this:

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Lord of the flys

IMG_20150530_082241Now that the bulk is complete, I’ve switched over to a three-day split routine run six on, one off. The splits are back, traps and biceps, legs, and chest, shoulders and triceps.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning was the final chest workout of the new cutting program, a chest, shoulder and triceps routine oriented around flys and cable work to counter the heavier pressing work of the previous session.

Overall, the workout went well, although the volume does eventually get to my left shoulder. I’m on the fence with this one, so I’ll be playing with it a little more.

Here’s the breakdown:

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