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Old 04-14-2016, 11:27 AM   #1
Renton555
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Renton's Rise from Weakness

Part I, The History


Previous logs:

1. https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/85...ss-log-512924/

June 2009. Stuck with it for an entire 7 weeks. A total dumpster fire. Wasn't committed, didn't want it enough.


2. https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/85...l#post34015299

March 2012. A much more concerted effort. This time I made pretty good progress over six months of steady lifting and diet. I'm not entirely sure why I fell off the wagon. It was probably a confluence of factors, including some minor shoulder and glute injuries, making unnecessary changes to my program and diet, and depression probably played a major role as well. Also, I think I was being torn between wanting to lose fat and look better and wanting to be stronger. I actually dieted down from 163# to 141# while making gains on all my lifts. But then I changed my diet too aggressively and was disappointed when my lifts began to stall in spite of me increasing calories. I think the lesson learned was that I should never make aggressive changes to the program all at once.


Part II, The Present



Started back lifting again on March 5, 2016. I'll elaborate a bit later on my diet, but I averaged 1600 calories/day for the first 5 weeks and lost about 3kg (started out at a weight of 165#/75kg). My scale weight has been constant for the last two weeks so I suspect that this number is not that far from maintenance. If I had to guess I would say I'm eating at a 200-300 cal deficit. My scale is a crappy analog one so only accurate to +/- 1kg.

Age - 31
Height - 5'5" / 165cm
Weight - 159# / 72kg

Bodyfat % - no idea, pretty high, here's some nudes:

Spoiler:


Former 2012 PRs:
Low-bar Squat -------- 192# x 5
Bench Press ---------- 97# x 5
Overhead Press ------- 79# x 5
Deadlift ------------- 195# x 9

Current lifts (spoilers to form check vids):

Low-bar Squat -------- 110# x 8
Spoiler:

Bench Press ---------- 80# x 9
Spoiler:

Dumbbell OHP ------- 20# x 11 (each db)
Romanian DL ---------- 94# x 8
Spoiler:

Supine-grip Pulldowns --- 100# x 9
Barbell Row ---------- 66# x 8
Spoiler:


Part III, The Program

Tuesday:

RDL 2x8 @ 80% workset*
Low-bar Squat 3x8
Bench Press 2x8, 1xAMRAP
----- Backoff 1xAMRAP @ 90% workset
Supine-grip Pulldowns 2x10 1xAMRAP

Thursday:

RDL 3x8 (heavy)**
Low-bar Squat 2x8 @ 80% workset weight***
Dumbbell OHP 2x10, 1xAMRAP****
----- Backoff 1xAMRAP @ 90% workset
Bent-over BB Rows 3x8

Saturday:

RDL 2x8 @ 80% workset
Low-bar Squat 3x8
Bench Press 2x8, 1xAMRAP
----- Backoff 1xAMRAP @ 90% workset
Supine-grip Pulldowns 2x10 1xAMRAP*****

* RDLs are done every day as dynamic warmup for the squat. I find they help me increase my proprioception of my lower back extension and posterior chain involvement in the squat.

** I currently lack the mobility to deadlift with correct form. My intent is to stick with RDLs until I am mobile enough to pull 132# off the floor with great form. I'll periodically check this, because I'd really like to be doing real deadlifts ASAP.

*** Form is and has been a major problem for me with the squat so I include the light day in the middle of the week as an imperative to perform as close to perfect form as I possibly can. It's technique day, essentially, and it's also form diagnostic day. I really don't have an issue with squatting heavy 3 days a week, I just would rather make form a priority for now.

**** Alternates with bench press. I previously had shoulder issues with the barbell ohp so I'm taking a different approach this time. Due to the inability to microload dumbbells, I'll be working within the 8-12 rep range for these and try to make week-to-week rep progress since increasing the size of the dumbbells every day is obviously unrealistic.

*****
Alternates with rows. These will eventually be chinups once I can do them.

Other work:


I live in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and I get around mainly by bicycle. My gym is actually quite far away from home (4.5km) so biking there is actually a decent warmup for the training session and I accumulate around 35km a week on my bicycle.

I've considered adding GTG stuff, pushups and chinups, but for now I'm gonna keep it simple. Over-programming probably played a major role in my falling off the wagon previously. Also I think it's probable that my shoulder problems were made worse with pushups.

I really would like to educate myself more about static stretching because I know I have some flexibility problems. Currently the extent of my mobility work is 10 minutes or so of MM exercises prior to training, and YTWL shoulder stuff with very light dumbbells prior to pressing. Suggestions are welcome on this front.


Part IV, The Diet


The diet is simple. Eat basically what I want to eat, but in moderation, with the following key exceptions:

1. No alcohol or sugared beverages
2. No sweets or desserts of any kind
3. No pizza or pasta.

Carbs are permitted, but limited. I ban pizza and pasta because it's impossible to eat those foods in limited quantity. I still eat some rice (got to in southeast asia), potatoes, bread, and cereal.

The most important thing is that I log all the food I eat. I want to know how many calories I'm taking in because I want to keep a close observation on what my probable maintenance level is and what my intake needs to be for strength gains to continue.


Part V, The Goals


This time I'm really not concerned about my appearance. I'd obviously rather be carrying less fat, but my top priority is gaining functional strength. That said, I would rather not get any fatter than I am currently. My plan is to eat the minimum amount of food that is required to make linear progress, and to tweak that upward whenever gains slow. I suspect that I am fat enough / novice enough to make significant strength gains without weight gain for quite a while.

Finally, I want to make clear that the most important goal with this program and this log is to stay the course. I don't want to pick every nit about the insignificant details of my program. By all means give me criticism, but save your most scathing criticism for when it looks like I'm falling off the wagon again. Reading the last few weeks of my last log, the signs that something was amiss were obvious. I'd rather do an imperfect program forever than get stressed out over making it better so much that I lose interest altogether. It's pretty disheartening to imagine what I'd look like now if I had done some bro-split with no leg day for the last 3 years since the last log.

Thanks in advance for any replies, and thanks way in advance for your support.

Last edited by Renton555; 04-14-2016 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:06 PM   #2
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Training:

RDL 77# (8, 8)

Squat 110# (8, 8, 8)

Depth seems to be improving, still have some chest cave on some reps. The cue today was knees out, which helped me get the depth. Next time I'll try to more actively focus on trunk tightness.

DB OHP 20# (9, 9, 11), 15# (10)

I normally rest for 3 minutes before second set, 4 minutes before third, and 2 minutes before the backoff set. I had a minor pain in my left triceps during the 9th rep of the second set. No pain during the last two. Plan is to increase weight next time. I use 1kg wrist weights to somewhat micro-load this movement so i'll try to get 22# for sets of 8 next time.

Rows 66# (8, 8, 8)

Hard to know if I'm doing these right. My back is flat and they seem pretty easy.

Diet:

(food, calories, carbs, fat, protein)

1.5 cups cereal 240 50 3 4
200 ml milk 140 10 8.2 6.6
<training session>
Grilled Chicken with Mashed Potatoes 562.5 33 24 51
Duck Leg Confit with Steamed Vegetables 642 13 38 37

Total 1584.5 106 73.2 98.6


Khmer new year holiday so gym is closed from 14th to 16th.
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Old 04-14-2016, 01:06 PM   #3
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Diet:

(food, calories, carbs, fat, protein)

1.5 cups cereal 240 50 3 4
200 ml milk 140 10 8.2 6.6
1/2 scoop protein 60 0.5 1.5 12
ckn salad 1/4 batch 455 12 18 56
banana 105 27 0 1
2 tbsp peanut butter 180 6 16 8
ckn salad 1/4 batch 455 12 18 56

Total: 1634 117 64 143
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:05 PM   #4
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Friday, April 15, 2016

Diet:

(food, calories, carbs, fat, protein)
1.5 cups cereal 240 50 3 4
200 ml milk 140 10 8.2 6.6
3/4 scoop protein 90 0.75 2.25 18
ckn salad 1/4 batch 454 12 18 56
Happy pizza, 3 small slice 450 40 22 13
40g peanuts 226.8 6.4 19.6 10.4
bit of garlic bread 100 13 5 2.5
2 kronenbourg 1664 beers 236 59


Total: 1937 190 78 110


An off-diet day, went out for cannabis pizza and beers with friends. I showed remarkable restraint drinking only two and eating only three slices. 1900 calories is pretty miraculous.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:59 PM   #5
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

GL bro. lol happy pizza.
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:45 PM   #6
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Diet:

(food, calories, carbs, fat, protein)
1.25 cups cereal 200 43 2.5 3.5
200 ml milk 140 10 8.2 6.6
1/2 scoop protein 60 0.5 1.5 12
ckn salad 1/8 batch 250 7 11 31
200g minced beef 430 0 24 52
small slice cheese 80 0 7 6
small bun 120 23 1.5 4
2tsp mayo 60 0 6 0
30g potato wedges 40 8 0.5 0.5
uncountable egg chorizo thing 250 22 11 9
banana 105 27 0 1

Total: 1735 140.5 73 126

Went to a spanish restaurant today. Sometimes it's harder to estimate calories, so I generally overshoot. Khmer new year is over so it's back to normalcy tomorrow.
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Old 04-17-2016, 05:59 AM   #7
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Training:

RDL 77# (8, 8)

Squat 116# (8, 8, 8) <video triple feature!>

Over the holiday, the gym decided it was a great idea to move the power rack to a smaller area that is beset by mirrors on all sides. This really threw off my sight cues and made me feel boxed in. All sets were hard as hell, the first set wasn't deep enough, and the second set was too forward. The third set something happened with my bar position and I had to re-rack in the middle. Comments on form are greatly welcome. I plan to work hard on form on light day next time, and continue with 121# thereafter.

Bench Press 83# (8, 8, 8), 72# (8)

These were fine. Eighth rep of the third set was a bit of a grind, so with no spotter I decided to call it a set. 86# next.

Supine-grip Pulldowns 100# (10, 10, 8)

Felt like I gained a ton of performance on these, but ran out of gas unexpectedly in the third set, despite resting for 4 minutes. Still gonna go for 115# for sets of 8 next, and I'm probably getting to the point where I might benefit more from doing sets of chin-up negatives.

Diet:


I've decided not to gratuitously bump my log every day with the uninteresting details of my diet. It would be one thing if I were on an aggressive cut or something. From here on out I will merely post my total calories, macros, and body weight for the week each Sunday, the first of which will be posted later tonight. If anyone is interested in what I specifically eat, I'll be happy to elaborate.
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Old 04-17-2016, 06:21 AM   #8
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Good luck dude! Eating well in Asia has been pretty tough for me so far, hopefully you do better with it.
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:41 AM   #9
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoken View Post
Good luck dude! Eating well in Asia has been pretty tough for me so far, hopefully you do better with it.
Thanks. Yeah it would be extremely difficult to do a keto diet here. My dietary restrictions are very loose right now, so the only obstacle for me is accuracy in counting calories.
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Old 04-17-2016, 02:26 PM   #10
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Week 1 Diet:



Carbs are pretty out of control. I'd like them to be around 100 on lifting days and less than 60 on off days. This was an uncharacteristically bad week though with the holiday. In the future im also gonna try to do around 1800 calories on lifting days and 1400 on off days.

My weight has been stable for about three weeks now, with the scale saying either 72 or 73 throughout that time.
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Old 04-17-2016, 02:36 PM   #11
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

You have some kyphosis in your posture. You absolutely need to be doing rows and face pulls on the regular.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:01 PM   #12
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuclear500 View Post
You have some kyphosis in your posture. You absolutely need to be doing rows and face pulls on the regular.
Thanks for that. I know my posture is pretty bad, but I really don't know how to fix it. I'll try the face pulls.
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:54 PM   #13
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

face pulls, chins, seated-cable rows, etc.

I would prioritize fat-loss over strength gains. Just my opinion.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:07 AM   #14
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidcolin View Post
I would prioritize fat-loss over strength gains. Just my opinion.
If you remember my former log, you'll know that a big part of me agrees with you. I started out on that log with a slightly lower weight than I am now and was constantly in conflict over whether to cut or not.

Right now I'm not the side of prioritizing strength for a few reasons:

1) The focus is on consistently hitting the gym long term, whereas fat loss is a more short term gratification thing. I don't want to introduce those kind of upheavals into this yet.

2) My appearance isn't particularly important to me right now. I'm in a long term relationship with someone who is fine with how I look. I don't think I'm fat enough that it's a health concern that I lose fat (I hope), so it's just not as urgent of a matter as it is for me to be benching more than 80 pounds ASAP.

3) Probably bro-science: isn't it easier to build muscle when you have a high BF%? I.E. if you took a guy with 15% bf and a guy with 25% bf and had them both train as hard and eat the same amount of surplus, wouldn't the 25% guy gain more strength/lbm?
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:32 AM   #15
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renton555 View Post
If you remember my former log, you'll know that a big part of me agrees with you. I started out on that log with a slightly lower weight than I am now and was constantly in conflict over whether to cut or not.

Right now I'm not the side of prioritizing strength for a few reasons:

1) The focus is on consistently hitting the gym long term, whereas fat loss is a more short term gratification thing. I don't want to introduce those kind of upheavals into this yet.

2) My appearance isn't particularly important to me right now. I'm in a long term relationship with someone who is fine with how I look. I don't think I'm fat enough that it's a health concern that I lose fat (I hope), so it's just not as urgent of a matter as it is for me to be benching more than 80 pounds ASAP.

3) Probably bro-science: isn't it easier to build muscle when you have a high BF%? I.E. if you took a guy with 15% bf and a guy with 25% bf and had them both train as hard and eat the same amount of surplus, wouldn't the 25% guy gain more strength/lbm?
I don't know why 3 would be true is a way that's useful to you. If both are the same weight, then the 25% guy has lower muscle mass and since it's easier to progress from a lower starting point, the 25% guy will appear to be progressing faster.

On the other hand if you assumed that both started with the same lbm, then it means the 25% guy is just fatter and heavier. The effects of this are negligible at best.

If you follow the loco school of thought, the fat will just help you lift more because it improves leverages or something (there are various versions of this argument). I also suppose it's possible when you're squatting, for example, in addition to the bar, you are actually also squatting slightly more body weight so the 25% guy is actually stressing his muscles more when lifting the same weight. Maybe that leads to slightly more gainz.

On the other hand, the 25% guy likely has a lower work capcacity for whatever that's worth.

However, at the end of the day, I think all these effects are negligible, so holding on to BF because you think it will lead to more gainz is silly imo.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:39 AM   #16
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

No I meant 15% and 25% guys with identical lbm weights. And I'm referring more to the difference between their endocrine responses to the same surplus of calories.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:43 AM   #17
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renton555 View Post
No I meant 15% and 25% guys with identical lbm weights. And I'm referring more to the difference between their endocrine responses to the same surplus of calories.
Ok, so that means the 25% guy is heavier. I don't think that there is evidence that the heavier guy would have a better endocrine response to the same surplus of calories. Have you seen any? If not, I think your initial assessment of bro-science is correct.
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:55 AM   #18
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkerson View Post
Ok, so that means the 25% guy is heavier. I don't think that there is evidence that the heavier guy would have a better endocrine response to the same surplus of calories. Have you seen any? If not, I think your initial assessment of bro-science is correct.
I think it's possibly bro science when comparing two relatively high levels of BF, such as 20% and 30%. But isn't it pretty well established that a 7% guy's body is going to prioritize storing fat more than a 30% guy?

Also, looking at this in reverse, a 30% guy training on a cut will lose a much larger percentage of his weight loss as fat than a 7% guy will. So why wouldn't it be the same with mass gains?
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:27 AM   #19
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renton555 View Post
I think it's possibly bro science when comparing two relatively high levels of BF, such as 20% and 30%. But isn't it pretty well established that a 7% guy's body is going to prioritize storing fat more than a 30% guy?
If they have the same amount of lbm and lifting the same weights? I don't think it's well-established. But I guess I don't know for sure. What evidence have you seen.

Also, when you're getting to edge cases like 7%, then there may be some differences. But I think that if there is an endocrine difference between 15% and 25%, I doubt it is significant.\

Quote:
Also, looking at this in reverse, a 30% guy training on a cut will lose a much larger percentage of his weight loss as fat than a 7% guy will. So why wouldn't it be the same with mass gains?
Part of the reason is that when you get down to 7% you're getting down to stores (e.g. in the brain) that are essentially un-loseable. I don't think this is a problem at ~15%, but I could be wrong.
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Old 04-18-2016, 09:38 AM   #20
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

#3 is going to be very dependent upon how your body is partitioning nutrients.

In other words, how long has the (fat) weight been high or low. If you are on either side of the scale in terms of length of time the more your body will want to remain in that state.
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Old 04-19-2016, 04:17 AM   #21
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Training:

Heavy RDL 99# (8, 8, 8)

These were fairly easy so I'm thinking 5# jumps are too small considering it's once per week. I'll load 110# next time and see how it goes. Sadly, these are pretty challenging to my grip by the third set so I anticipate needing to strap these in a few months.

Light Squat 88# (8, 8) SS with Face Pulls 20# (15), 25# (15, 15)

Form was pretty good on these, but they seem harder than they should be. I guess the muscles that technically fail during worksets and ruin my form are quite challenged at a lighter weight.

Per nuclear500's suggestion I decided to superset facepulls with my light sets.

DB OHP 22# (8, 9, 10), 17# (8)

These were great. I know it's still sissy weights but getting dramatically better at these every time is very encouraging.

Rows 72# (8, 8, 8)

Fine.
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:19 PM   #22
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Really rooting for you here man. Hope you can keep up the grind and get the results you want!

Hope you don't mind a small bit of advice. You mentioned your primary goal being to stay the course. I haven't read through your other logs, but noticed a few of your posts on this forum mention something along these lines:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renton555 View Post

I know it's still sissy weights ...
The mental part of going through this grind can't be understated. It's huge. You've got to be your own biggest cheerleader and motivate yourself to keep this up every day (or however often you lift). You need to celebrate every win. Don't qualify your wins by saying they were "sissy" weights. You gotta shut that voice up inside when it starts saying, "yeah, you lifted, but a twelve year old can do what you just did."

If you start comparing your progress to other people and start worrying about why you aren't seeing huge gains, you're just going to get discouraged and quit. Don't make light of your progress and the fact that you are out there working hard, trying to make this change.

You're clearly smart enough to understand all that you need to do regarding nutrition and exercise. Don't let negative thoughts and low self-esteem be the thing that holds you back.

Apologies if this sounds out of line. Just see a lot of myself in those statements and want to help. Work on your mental game along with your lifts. You got this!
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Old 04-20-2016, 12:26 PM   #23
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Slow progress on the presses was probably a contributing factor to me falling off the wagon last time, so I take your advice very seriously. I am genuinely pleased at being able to make day-to-day progress on the OHP even if the weights are relatively low. That said, the self-deprecation was probably an expression of what I anticipate/dread will be slow progress soon enough. Thanks for calling me out on it.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:05 AM   #24
Renton555
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Training:


Squat 121# (8, 8, 8) <video triple feature!>

Got three different angles on this. I warmed up extensively for these and they were hard, but I think they may be my best workset-weight form so far. Depth could be better, but I'm def using the stretch-reflex so this depth seems like my current bottom. I'm cross-posting these in the form check thread for more input.

Bench Press 86# (8, 8, 8) 74# (8)

Progress, can't complain. I didn't feel like I had a ninth left on the last set.

Supine-grip Pulldowns 115# (7.5, 6.5, 7.5)

It's not that surprising that I couldn't get 3x8 considering 115 is a lot more than 100 and i just got (10, 10, 8) on 100 last time. I plan to stick with 115 for 3-4 more workouts.

I was so focused on squatting today that I completely forgot to do my light RDLs. Oh well.

Last edited by Renton555; 04-21-2016 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:04 AM   #25
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Re: Renton's Rise from Weakness

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pre-Training: 200mg caffeine. I finally found some caffeine pills in this third world country. The effects were more subtle than I expected, but def a signficant boost to my energy level during training.

Training:


Heavy RDL 110# (8, 8)

Deadlift 132# (2, 3)

Tried deadlifts for the first time in over three years. I did 2 reps using rippetoe-style setup (grip the bar with hips up, squeeze the chest, and pull), and 3 reps with an RDL-style setup (RDL down to the bar, grasp and pull). I'm not sure which method I like more and I'm even less sure how my form looks on these.

Light Squat 94# (8, 8) SS with Face Pulls 25# (15, 15, 15)

These were interesting. My depth is better than my heavy sets, and there's a tiny bit of butt-wink. In the first set I didn't actively shove the knees out and my knees did this funny little correction at the bottom. In the second set I made a point to shove them out and they looked a bit better.

DB OHP 22# (10, 9.5, 9.5) 17# (10)

Significant rep-improvement from last time. Gonna do 22 for one more session and move up to the 25s.

BB Rows 77# (8, 8, 10)

Still not sure about these. I intended to watch this video at the gym and follow it's instructions, but the wifi was terrible. I'm definitely not sitting back like he does.

Last edited by Renton555; 04-23-2016 at 07:31 AM.
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