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Thread: Mailman Muscle: Story of The Bodybuilding Powerlifter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default Mailman Muscle: Story of The Bodybuilding Powerlifter

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    Peace everyone! Long time, no see. I miss keeping an online training log and engaging with others about their training and mine. It seems like these spaces have all but disappeared. I am glad this one is still going strong.



    Iím 47 years old. I have been training for just about 20 years. Lifting started as a dare from my wife (married 22 years, 3 children). We were watching an LL Cool J video, and I said that if I got to 200 pounds at 10% bodyfat, then I could look like him. She said I couldnít do it, but she would love to see it. Challenge accepted! The fact that I was a slim 157 pounds at a height of 5í8Ē (more like 5í7.somethingĒ) was a minor obstacle, or so I thought. From the beginning, my training was comprised almost entirely of compound barbell and dumbbell lifts.

    Two years or so after I started lifting, I began the mailman chapter of my life. Thatís the root of this logís name, plus my username on YouTube and elsewhere. By that time, I had gotten myself up to 190 pretty lean pounds. By then, I had learned just how lean 10% really is - I was NOT that lean, but was in good shape. I got on the streets for my daily regiment of what I call ďurban hikingĒ right around Memorial Day of 2006. By Labor Day, I was down to 165 lbs before I figured out how to stop wasting away. ​😳 It was like I had to start over, plus I had the new variable of hiking several miles per day to pay the bills. It took me another year and a half to get back to the size I was when I started, which was roughly 10 pounds away from my initial goal of 200 pounds. I realized that I would need something else to train for.

    Enter Powerlifting

    I competed in my first meet in August 2008, and did so regularly every year through fall 2021. My first two competitions were in single ply equipment, as I thought it was required (there was no ďrawĒ category yet). Since then, every competition Iíve been in except for one has been raw (belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps). All of my competitions have been in USAPL, except for the last one to date which was in USPA (drug tested division). I have weighed anywhere between 189 pounds and 223 pounds on meet days over the course of those 13 years.

    Best Competition Stats (raw)
    Squat: 240 kg (529 lbs)
    Bench: 147.5 kg (325 lbs)
    Deadlift: 262.5 kg (579 lbs)
    Total: 645 kg (1,422 lbs)

    I intended to compete in a USAPL or Powerlifting America meet at the end of this month, or the beginning of next month. Unfortunately, I sprained my left MCL in September, and that derailed my timetable for getting back on the powerlifting platform. As I rehabbed, both orthopedic surgeons that I had seen recommended that I stop powerlifting, and lift lighter. One also said that with the arthritis that I have, my knees would probably benefit if I walk around at a lower bodyweight (I was 209 lbs when I hurt my knee). Those recommendations made me decide to stop procrastinating and finally pull the trigger on a bucket list item: compete in a bodybuilding show.

    Bodybuilding and Beyond

    At the time of this post, Iím 16 1/2 weeks out from the show. I didnít start ďcontest dietingĒ for real until 3 1/2 weeks ago. But I already lost 9-10 lbs in the 4-6 weeks before that, just from cleaning up and sorting out my diet. By cleaning up, I mean taking out as many processed and carry out foods as possible. By sorting out, I mean identifying foods that I can eat without getting tired of for another 4 months, while also having room to modify them in order to reduce their caloric density. Iíll probably get into more detail about the diet plan in a future post. The short version is that right now Iím about 195 lbs, and I estimate that Iíll need to lose another 15-20 lbs of fat in order to be on stage without embarrassing myself. If I have to lose more than 25, then Iím probably not going to be happy about it. But I need to see this through. If I donít, then Iíll go to my grave wondering if I could have gotten into contest shape at least once.

    I still consider myself a powerlifter, and I do want to return to the platform. Iíve had a long standing goal that if Iím blessed to reach age 50 with all my parts working, then I still want to be able to squat 500 lbs. Even though Iím a huge bodybuilding fan (my wife and I have been to the Arnold about a dozen times), I have no idea if Iím going to enjoy participating in bodybuilding as a sport. So far, this contest prep has been fun, but weíll see how I feel about that in 4 months. Beyond the show, the only goal I have set is to regain weight, but to be leaner at 200 lbs than I was when I started this process.

    I suppose thatís enough to start. Iíll post workout info in the next entry to keep this from getting too long. If you have made it this far, then I hope I havenít bored you, and I thank you for reading.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2019



    It's great to see you back. I've popped in to watch a video or two of yours during your absence, but I keep forgetting to do that, even after I wonder how you're getting on.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you meet and exceed your goal for when you turn 50.

    Keep at it!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Anders View Post

    It's great to see you back. I've popped in to watch a video or two of yours during your absence, but I keep forgetting to do that, even after I wonder how you're getting on.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you meet and exceed your goal for when you turn 50.

    Keep at it!
    Bill! Glad to see youíre still here old friend. I canít believe Iím talking about being 50. Where has the time gone?

    Iíll get this going with a brief (I hope) overview of my training, along with my most recent workout.

    The Where

    I train in either of two very different environments: Goldís Gym and Planet Fitness. Yes, you read that second one correctly. Before you click away and block me, please hear me out. Almost all of my training life up to summer 2019 was at the YMCA, which I still love to this day. But my work hours had gotten to the point where I couldnít get there on a regular basis. I was lucky to find an affordable, 24/7 community gym that was 6 minutes from home, and made the switch. Unfortunately, that gym became a permanent business casualty of the pandemic after closing with the rest of the world in March 2020. When gyms were allowed to reopen, and my gym kept delaying their reopening, I realized that I needed to get somewhere soon. After much research, I realized that the only gym that matched the affordability and accessibility of my community gym was the hated Planet Fitness. Out of desperation, I took a flyer on them in summer 2020, figuring that I wouldnít be competing in powerlifting any time soon.

    After training there for a month or two without being kicked out, I had a thought: even though they donít have barbells, is it possible to train for powerlifting here? I searched Google, YouTube and Reddit, I and couldnít find any evidence that someone had done it. Challenge accepted! I decided to run what may be the first documented experiment to see if someone could train for powerlifting competition at the softest, most notoriously anti-powerlifting gym in America.

    Fortunately, in the final weekend before pandemic closures, I had tested my 1RM in the squat, bench, deadlift and overhead press to have a point of reference for whenever gyms reopened. I set a goal of matching those numbers from March at a meet in November 2020, and I was blessed to do it! Once gyms closed in March, the only time I touched an actual barbell was on 4 occasions between August and November at the home of my brother who had purchased gym equipment so he could keep training. All the other training I did was on the Smith machines and other equipment at PF. Sometime in 2021, I decided to run it back and see if I could beat those numbers. Almost a year to the day later, I beat my 2020 numbers on all 3 lifts at a meet in November 2021. The only difference was that I touched a real barbell 6 times between those meets, and those touches were at Goldís Gym (which I now live closer to, allowing more frequent visits). If any of you are interested in seeing more on this experiment, Iíll link you to the videos documenting it.

    The When

    I would love to train every other day, but family commitments/activities donít really allow it at the moment. Speaking of family commitments, my wife and I are currently training partners. She has a fascinating story of her own, but Iíll save that for another time. To make it all work, we train 3 days per week, usually Mon/Wed/Sat. In addition, I work 5 days per week (off Sun/Mon, and will occasionally work OT on that Monday). On work days I typically accumulate 10K-15K steps. I have a long held position that I donít do any cardio off the clock. I hope that Iím able to maintain that position through this show.

    The How

    I basically train with an upper/lower split, alternating on each training day. So one week is U/L/U, the next it L/U/L, the next is U/L/U, and so on. Abs are done on lower days. Iím not an HIT zealot, but due to time and other constraints, I tend to drive progress through intensity and load much more than volume. On reps, the eccentric is somewhere between controlled and slow, and the concentric is somewhere between controlled and explosive.

    I have 2 different upper workouts, and 2 different lower workouts. All of them have 6 exercises, with audibles called as needed. In terms of what exercises, they break down like this:

    Upper #1 has 2 shoulder, 2 chest, & 2 back exercises.
    Upper #2 has 1 chest, 1 triceps, & 1 biceps exercise, then 3 more that are split between back/shoulder/traps.
    Lower #1 has 2 quadriceps exercises, 1 hamstring, 1 calves and 1 abs exercise, plus 1 wild card.
    Lower #2 has 2 hamstring exercises, 1 quadriceps, 1 calves, and 1 abs exercise, plus 1 wild card.

    I have a version of each workout for each gym I train at since the equipment is different at each. So thereís a Goldís Upper 1 and a PF Upper 1, and so on. Iím not going to detail the differences here since theyíll come out as the log progresses.

    Last July, I moved to a route that has a Planet Fitness on it (how convenient!). So if Iím pressed for time or energy on a night workout, then abs/calves/arms/traps could be shelved to the next day since I have to go to PF anyway, and I donít need to change clothes to do those.

    Now, after laying out all of that, I should start logging my training in my training log. Hereís my most recent training sessionÖ

    Mon. 1/15/24 - Lower #1, Goldís

    Reverse Hack Squat (I guess thatís what itís called)
    empty sled/8 reps
    90+ lbs/11
    This was my first time using this. My wife had already grown to love it, and now I see why. Iíd describe it as combining the best part of the pendulum squat with the best part of the hack squat. Glutes are on the ankles at the bottom of this movement.

    Vertical Leg Press
    empty sled/10 reps
    90+ lbs/10
    This old school machine is awesome! I think Iíve seen a vintage photo of Tom Platz on one. You canít load it as much as a 45 degree leg press, but you donít need to.

    Leg Curl (prone)
    50 lbs/10 reps
    My left knee - the one with the sprained MCL - was feeling a little iffy going into leg curls. I decided to scale back by cutting out a planned exercise, and also reducing my planned load for this one. The top set was lighter than my normal top set on this machine, but I was able to crank out more reps.

    Standing Calf Raise
    100 lbs/20 reps x 3 sets

    ďSuper AbsĒ Machine
    145 lbs/15 reps x 3 sets (1 left, 1 right, 1 middle)
    I donít know what this apparatus is called, so thatís what I call it. You sit in the seat, put your ankles under pads and reach above your head for handles. You can crunch down while drawing your knees up, and you can rotate the lower pads to angle towards either oblique side or stay in the middle. I hate training abs in general, but I like this machine.

    That was it. Knee feels better today, but has been up and down for a week or so. Keeping an eye on it. We were supposed to train tonight, but different things with two of our children required us to delay it until tomorrow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2019


    It's great to see how you've adapted your cycles and locations through all of this. It's too complicated for my taste, but you know what works better than I do.

    Don't worry about that 50 number. You're going over that self-created hump in much better shape than 99.9% of the population, those who view that number instead as a wall. I was just a bit younger than you when I started this weightlifting journey, having been an endurance/cardio junkie all my life. The only thing that I've really noticed over these 8 years is the truth that volume will start to beat you down much harder than it has in the past. I don't know how that will play into your bodybuilding experience, but it will be fun to watch.

    Keep at it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default Thu. 1/18/24

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Anders View Post
    It's great to see how you've adapted your cycles and locations through all of this. It's too complicated for my taste, but you know what works better than I do.

    Don't worry about that 50 number. You're going over that self-created hump in much better shape than 99.9% of the population, those who view that number instead as a wall. I was just a bit younger than you when I started this weightlifting journey, having been an endurance/cardio junkie all my life. The only thing that I've really noticed over these 8 years is the truth that volume will start to beat you down much harder than it has in the past. I don't know how that will play into your bodybuilding experience, but it will be fun to watch.

    Keep at it!
    Itís more complicated than I want it to be too. 😂

    As for volume, over the past few years, I have found that Iím much better off driving progress through load and intensity rather than through volume. Iím with you 100% on that.


    Iím going to tweak how I record things here. For example, in the following entry, the sets written in bold are the ones I consider work sets. The sets before that are warmups. Also, since I often use set extenders - particularly rest-pause and drop sets - youíll see those noted. Otherwise, itís a normal set. The notation I use in my log books and in here is ďWeight/RepsĒ

    I think Iíll start including my mailman step stats with log entries. Granted, this is what my phone tracks all day, not just while Iím at work. But youíll notice the difference between days that I work, and days that I donít.

    THURSDAY, 1/18/24: 12,498 steps, 5.5 miles, 7 flights climbed

    Upper #1, Planet Fitness - I did this same workout 9 days ago.

    Arnold Presses - the seated dumbbell version made famous by The Governator
    5 lbs/15 reps
    rest-pause: 50/12 + 5 + 3

    Using dumbbells, so the weights listed are per hand. This is a new exercise for me, in that I havenít done it in several years. When I did it last week, I topped out with 55ís for 10.

    Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises
    10 lbs/12 reps
    drop set: 20/8 + 15/8 + 10/8 + 5/9
    On every round except the first, the last rep or two was more of a partial. Last time, I did a drop starting with 15 lbs.

    Cable Pulldowns - wide overhand grip
    60 lbs/10 reps
    rest-pause: 165/11 + 6 + 5

    I was surprised by this. That top set is 2 reps better than last time with the same weight. The r-p set had 2 more total reps than last time (22 vs 20), and in 3 rounds instead of 4.

    Seated Cable Row - wide neutral grip
    140 lbs/8-10 reps (I lost count)

    This is sort of a wash. Last time, we used the narrow neutral grip (that V-looking handle). I did 200/8 with that, but honestly I think those 8 reps were done better than the 9 here. Also instead of a r-p, I slowed the negative on the last few reps of the backoff.

    Seated Chest Press
    100 lbs/10 reps
    drop set: 145/8 + 115/5
    Up from 145/6 on the top end last time, same on the drop. These are done with the machine arms back as far as possible for a deep stretch in the bottom. I put the seat so the angle is somewhere between a flat/decline bench.

    Pec Deck
    70 lbs/10 reps
    100/18 and 4 partials
    Thatís 3 more reps than last time with 100, with the partials done on purpose once I knew full ROM reps were out of the question.

    That was that. Itís supposed to snow in the morning, and for the second time this week. Every jurisdiction within 40-50 miles has already closed schools tomorrow. If the roads and streets are a mess, then Iím not saying I wonít go to workÖ but Iím not promising that I will either.

    Iím glad I was able to go to the chiropractor today too. Everything feels okay to pretty good, and nothing feels bad. Iíll take it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default 1/19/24 - Weight and Diet Update

    FRIDAY, 1/19/24: 965 steps, 0.39 miles, 4 flights climbed

    If those numbers donít give it away, then Iíll confess - I played hooky from mailman duties on this snowy day. Itís going to be brutally cold tomorrow, with a high around 23F, and wind chill in the single digits. But Iíll grind it out for my last day of the week. My work weeks go Tue-Sat, off Sun/Mon. Plus, my beloved Baltimore Ravens take the field in that same weather tomorrow to start their playoff run. Iíll survive, then hit the gym after work.

    Iím 16 weeks out from the show. This morning, I weighed 193.2 lbs, and my waist was down to 33 1/4Ē. I estimate that I need to be 170 lbs or so in order to avoid embarrassing myself onstage. I have been using two online calculators - both on - to determine my body composition. The one I think is more accurate has me at 15% body fat, down from 16.6% a few weeks ago. The one I think is less accurate has me at 11.2% body fat, down from 12.3% a few weeks ago. I donít know what the margin of error is for either. I think itís more important to have a consistent method for tracking. Besides, all that matters for this is how I look. Itís something I still have trouble wrapping my mind around - numbers donít matter. In lifting competitions, the numbers are all that matter. And for this, Iím still knee deep in numbers, even though this competition isnít won or lost by them.

    Iím sure that many of you are familiar with Renaissance Periodization. Iím using their RP Diet App to manage, plan and track my food/beverage intake, as well as weight loss progress. Itís pretty comprehensive, and takes a lot of factors into account, including daily schedule, to determine your daily macros. In my case, because my job involves so much activity, that means I have 4 types of days:
    1) work and training
    2) work and no training
    3) training and no work
    4) no work and no training

    The app also doesnít allow you to have indefinite goals. You have to choose a gain, maintain, or lose diet, with a start and end date that canít be longer than 12 or 16 weeks, depending on the goal. My current diet is set to get me to 185 lbs by March 10, which is 9 weeks away from the show. After that, Iíll set up a new diet in the app to get to the finish line.

    The app reviews your progress - or lack thereof - every week, and calculates a new plan for the following week with your input. It suggested that I keep the same nutrients next week, but I asked for a small decrease in macros (you can choose small, medium, or large changes). I ran the numbers, and the small decrease is about a 15% decrease in daily calories from the last 2 weeks, regardless of what kind of day Iím on. So for the sake of comparison, here are the ranges I was at for the last 2 weeks, and what Iím starting tomorrow.

    From: 2,445-2,735 kcal, 190g protein, 85-95g fat, 230-280g net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fiber)
    To: 2,035-2,325 kcal, 190g protein, 55-65g fat, 195-245g net carbs

    As you can see, the protein is the same every day, essentially 1 gramp per pound of bodyweight. The app manipulates carbs and fat to get you where you need to be. So far, it has been an excellent tool. As much as I would like to have a coach, the reality is that I canít afford one right now. I also donít want to keep delaying this goal, so Iím essentially making a composite coach from a variety of sources. So far, so good.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default 1/20/24 - RAVENS WIN! Plus Lower #2

    SATURDAY, 1/20/24: 16,213 steps, 7.4 miles, 15 flights climbed

    The Baltimore Ravens beat the Houston Texans today. The Ravens will host the AFC Championship, so people around here are ready to party like itís 1971. Thatís the last time that game was hosted here, when the home team was the Colts and they were on their way to winning Super Bow 5. The Ravens are trying to win Super Bowl 58. Not only did this eveningís game have me in a good mood, but it ensured that the gym would be dead. Parking and equipment was easily accessible.

    Lower #2, Goldís - this workout hasnít fallen on a Goldís day in a while, and has changed since last time it did (12/31)

    Reverse Hack Good Morning - I did squats on this machine on Monday. Turns out it has multiple uses.
    empty sled/8-10 reps
    90+ lbs/6-8 reps
    This was my first time using this machine for this exercise, so I was conservative with weight. But in hindsight, I would have rather gone heavier and landed around 9-10 reps. Also, I lost count of the reps on the first 2 sets. And FYI - I have no idea how much the sled weighs, so thatís why itís weight+.

    Reverse Hack Squat
    180+ lbs/8 reps
    360+/6 - added belt on this set
    When I did these on Monday, I topped out at 360+/8, and I was sitting on my ankles in the bottom of the movement. But my left knee was feeling bad later in that session, so I tried these with a shorter ROM. I still broke parallel on them, so they werenít half squats. Plus I never locked out at the top, so constant tension for these. My knee felt better for this whole session, even with 90 more pounds on the top set, so I think Iíll keep this ROM moving forward.

    135 lbs/6 reps
    365/2 - added Versa Gripps on this set
    415/5 - added belt on this set
    These are the heaviest deadlifts I have done inÖ. a while. Iíd have to flip through the log to find out. I did 365/5 last month. Along with the online bodyfat calculator, Iím using strength performance as a proxy for how much muscle Iím retaining during this prep. It may be on the broscience side of things, but to me it makes sense: if Iím getting weaker, then Iím losing muscle, and if Iím not getting weaker, then Iím maintaining muscle mass. Thatís something I can track on every exercise I do, but Iím not training deadlifts regularly right now, or with my normal goal of increasing 1RM. So if I can still deadlift a decent amount on the fly in the middle of a workout, then Iím assuming that muscle isnít wasting away yet.

    ĒSuper AbsĒ machine
    145 lbs/20 reps, middle
    105/20 + 10, right
    105/20 + 10, left

    My wife and I alternated sets on these. I did my first set, then she did hers, then I did my second and realized that I hadnít switched the weight back to what I was using. So I did 10 more reps to make up for it. On the 3rd set, I did the same thing as set 2, but on purpose.

    Leg Extension
    140 lbs/22 reps

    Prone Leg Curl
    95 lbs/13 reps
    95/12 + 2 partials

    The leg extension and leg curl machines are right next to each other, so I hopped back on forth doing 2 sets on each.

    Standing Calf Raise
    100 lbs/20 reps

    Posing room after that. Went home to eat and listen to Ravensí postgame stuff. Iím actually going to work tomorrow too. Times are hard. Gotta get that overtime when I can get it. But Iíll be off Monday.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default Looking Ahead To Next Week

    SUNDAY, 1/21/24: 10,214 steps, 4.5 miles, 7 flights climbed

    It occurred to me a few minutes ago that by working today and getting all of those steps in, I wonít have another rest day - no work, no training - until next Sunday or Monday. Thatís a 9 or 10 day run. I havenít had one of those in while.

    This week, Iím going to try to train M/W/F and keep the weekend open. Next Saturday is the WWE Royal Rumble, which is my 2nd favorite event of the year. Next Sunday is the AFC Championship which I mentioned previously, and the Ravens are hosting it here. Iím not going to the stadium, but I want to be all in for whatever happens, win or lose. Super Bowl runs are fun, even when you donít make it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default 1/22/24 - Upper #2

    TUESDAY, 1/23/24: 11,934 steps, 5.5 miles, 10 flights climbed

    That was todayís urban hiking. I didnít get a chance to log yesterdayís activity, so here we goÖ

    MONDAY, 1/22/24: 3,731 steps, 1.5 miles, 9 flights climbed

    Upper #2, Goldís- The last time we did Upper #2 was 1/13, but we didnít do a single one of those exercises this time. Also, I didnít have my journal with me. I donít know how accurate the rep counts are on my warm up sets, but the work sets are correct because I got them on video and counted them later.

    Decline Bench Press
    bar/12 reps
    95 lbs/8 reps

    I havenít done declines in months, and my wife may not have ever done them. Quick story: at last yearís Arnold Classic, she spent a long time talking to Cydney Gillon, the 7x Figure Olympia champion. She is cooler than the proverbial other side of the pillow. They have stayed in touch on a near-daily basis ever since - usually just quick messages on IG. My wife asked her opinion on chest training. She said that she doesnít do much, so ďask AndreaĒ, as in Ms. Olympia Andrea Shaw (we met her too) who she happened to be hanging out with. So my wife asked, and among other things, Ms. Olympia told her to try decline bench press. Iím guessing theyíll stay in the rotation for a while.

    T-Bar Row - old school apparatus with a bar between two elevated steps; empty bar feels like 0, donít know what it weighs
    empty/15 reps
    45+ lbs/15 reps
    135+/14 - wide, overhand, started using Versa Gripps
    135+/12 - close, neutral

    The last time I did these was 12/29, and topped out with 135+ for 11 reps. On the warmups, I kept switching grips to see which one(s) I wanted on the work set(s). I didnít know Iíd be doing a second set until I finished the first one.

    Cable Pulldown - this was with the wide handle that looks like an anchor; best neutral grip device ever made
    120 lbs/10 lbs

    +70 lbs assistance/10 reps

    The pulldowns and dips were alternated as supersets.

    Seated Lateral Raise Machine
    30 lbs/10 reps
    drop set: 90/10 + 70/8 + 50/12

    Some of those reps at the end of the rounds with 70 lbs and 50 lbs were not full ROM. Delts still felt it.

    Cable Pressdown - used V handle, back against pad
    50 lbs/10 reps
    drop set: 70/11 + 50/8

    We planned to do cable curls after these, but out of nowhere, different people occupied every other cable at this station. So we tried a nearby curl machine, and that sucked. Every dumbbell, barbell, and other useful machine for biceps was on the first floor, and we didnít feel like walking back down there since the locker rooms are on the 2nd floor. We decided to hit the posing room for 10 minutes and go home.

    This one felt weird. I felt like I had done some work, but wasnít sure Iíd done enough. I rarely go home from the gym feeling like a wreck, so I donít know what I was expecting. Maybe Iím getting anxious, and worrying that Iím not doing enough. Hopefully, we hit legs and abs at Planet Fitness tomorrow.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Baltimore, MD

    Default 1/24/24 - Lower #1

    starting strength coach development program
    This was an abbreviated version of this workout. I worked a 10 hour day (my route plus 1/3 of another route), got off at 7:30 pm, and didnít get started in the gym until 10:20 pm. Plus I started feeling very tired and hungry from about 4-5 pm. I saved the last bit of food I had until 6:30, and after my favorite preworkout supplement - coffee - I felt better. But I knew I had a short window before I crashed. Shout out to the PF Corporate team for making sure that the front desk has buckets full of miniature Tootsie Rolls at all times. I know this franchise gets clowned for this kind of thing, but it came in handy tonight. I smashed 6 of them (total about 20 grams) while I was in there - just enough to get me over the hump.

    WEDNESDAY 1/24/24: 17,031 steps, 7.8 miles, 5 flights climbed

    Lower #1, Planet Fitness - last time we did this at PF was 1/5

    Smith Machine Squat - vertical track for the machineís bar; label says it weighs 25 lbs, but I donít trust it & only count the plates
    Bar/10 reps - maybe more, figuring out where to set my feet
    100+ lbs/7 reps
    250+/3 - this could have turned into a work set with 2-3 more reps
    270+/7 - started wearing my belt here; My wife said she thought I had another rep in me. Looked at the video - she was right.

    I did that backoff set because I thought I cheated myself on the first set. There was no open bench nearby, so the backoff set ended with me holding the bar to lower myself to sit on the floor. Also, I mentioned the vertical track on the machine because ever since Iíve been going there, all of the smith machines have those slanted tracks. Some people have commented on my YouTube videos that their PFís have installed machines with the vertical tracks. Sure enough, one of the locations that we frequent has 2 of them, along with the original 4 slanted ones. I hope they keep all 6 (every PF I have ever been to has 4 smith machines). But it required a bit of a learning curve for me, because when doing smith machine squats for the past 3 years, the bar has been on a slanted track.

    Seated Leg Curl

    70 lbs/12 reps
    115/24 - really 23 1/2

    Calf Raise - did this on the seated leg press, the kind where you sit upright and your legs extend in front of you
    100 lbs/5-6 reps
    drop set: 160/19 + 115/13

    I had to abort the warm up set. My hamstrings were so pumped and near cramping, I had to take my knee sleeves off and get some blood moving. Iíd rather avoid that feeling again if at all possible.

    Ab Crunch Machine - sitting upright, feet on floor, hips/butt donít move, crunch downward against arm/elbow pads
    85 lbs/15 reps

    That was it. Hereís my theory on why I was unusually hungry (aside from ďduh, youíre dieting for a bodybuilding showĒ):

    The diet app Iím using prescribes daily macros based on your goal, whether or not youíre training that day, and your activity level for that day. By activity, they mean steps, and you select 1 of 4 ranges of daily steps. Not only was I on pace to surpass the top of the range Iíd entered for today, but my steps arenít simply walking. Iím lifting, moving and carrying bundles of mail and parcels of various sizes. Theyíre not usually heavy, but they have to be affecting my energy requirements and expenditure at least a little. You can edit the settings of you daily activity at any time during that day, so if you end up being more/less active than expected, your macros will still be on point. Iíll have to stay on top of that when I see I have a longer and/or heavier work day than usual.

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