Iron, Round Two: CRUSHED! GRADUATION POST
Final workout done and dusted! Honestly, I’ve been so sore from this past week I didn’t know how I’d do. (Especially after, ahem, squeezing in those last 2 workouts so close together). But after a decent night’s sleep, and an early afternoon nap, I was ready. And it felt AMAZING! Form on the bench press was the best it’s been, and despite having the elbow at only 80%, I managed to get back up to 185lbs for 2 of the 3 sets of deadlifts. Just 20lbs shy of my prior PR. (But not nearly close enough to my goal of 300; I’ll be back…)
First, a huge thanks to everybody on the team for keeping me motivated! Especially to fellow travelers Silvia, Scott, Kenneth, and Patsy. Nikita’s comeback from injury to finish his race and smash the 'Complete' button on Day 90 was another big boost for me. The transformations in EVERYBODY'S photos is nothing short of inspiring! (I'm not challenging Sam to an ab-off any time soon.) Attempting a program while packing an entire apartment and moving cross-country and across several gyms was a huge test. And when things got super hectic at work at the end, it was knowing I wasn't the only one trying to push myself across the line that actually got me there. A big shout out to the Nutrition Team for keeping the building blocks and fuel coming, in the right amounts, at the right times. And to Patrick and Chen for having created another fantastic program.
A theme I've been reflecting on recently: with anonymity, there's no accountability. If you don't put yourself out there, make connections, open up to really know others and be known by them, then it's all too easy to let things slide, to shirk on commitments, and to be less than you could be otherwise. It's no accident Kenzai has a thriving home base here in Portland. There's real community here; so far, I've found it to be a place where people look out for each other, and make sure nobody falls behind. (Because, seriously, if you do, you'll probably freeze to death).
In that spirit, Burnsie: thanks for being our 'rock' and guiding 'star' during this round of Iron. You’ve got a clear passion for this program that shines through in every interaction. May you continue to inspire more people, inside and outside of Kenzai, to reach for the barbell and test their mettle.
Speaking of metal, Burnsie, I managed to once again find that special celebratory beverage. Bought two because, well, 2nd Iron completed. Also, I burned that Justin Bieber T-shirt, and got this new one instead. Fits much better. 😉
Until the next round!
Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years
Face up, make your stand
And realize you're living in the golden years"
-Adrian Smith, Iron Maiden
Monday (aka Cyber Monday!) I barely squeezed in the leg workout before the gym closed. Later that night, my first official Maine-level blizzard rolled in, shutting down area schools...
...including the UNE and, therefore, its gym. Weak sauce, UNE. Weak. Sauce. (See photo of me below, at the locked gym door, yelling obscenities into my face mask).
I'm determined not to do any Kenzai Rubber this week, so I'm pushing back my end date by a day (well, now two, after a still-sore elbow and long workday delayed another workout).
At least the diet is solid, I'm working hard to get down as much protein as I can.
Back workout was brutal, I left it all on the gym floor. Same with the chest workout, I had trouble putting on my jackets for the walk home. And I finally figured out a graceful-ish way to get a loaded barbell into position for weighted hip thrusts (larger plates; sit in front of the bar with elbows on the bench; roll the bar up above the hips... voila!) It was awesome.
Tomorrow, it's all about the arms: bring it!
I'll be checking everybody's blogs & dropping by with congrats tomorrow; almost there, gang! One (or three) more to go!
Almost time for that celebratory beverage. Burnsie, you know the one I'm talking about...
...'Maiden drops a hint, and some hard-core fist pumping rock to drive this last workout: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4bgXH3sJ2Q
Spent Thanksgiving with the Kenzai family, got to finally meet local rockstars Wendy & Liz in person, as well as some of Trainer Thomas's extended family. Truly grateful to work with and for such fantastic human beings! And yes, there was indulging (I had saved up that last indulgence for the occasion). Under control for the most part, I limited myself to a single, small(ish) plate of dessert, and kept dinner to a single plate with reasonable gravy levels.
Post Thanksgiving meals: diet: B-, had to grab some food out as my prepped stock ran low. Groceries delivered, will be prepping back up for the final push!
And not a moment too soon, looks like I'm in for my first official Maine-level snowstorm! (A 'snor'Easter, as Ward called it earlier this week).
Boots and shovel at the ready, as are the muscles, thanks to all the prep work these past several months! Workout-wise, got some elbow tendonitis flaring up, so am skipping the triceps day in favor of shoulders today, combo-ing it up with some cardio later this afternoon. May need to dial back a bit further today, we'll see; don't want to risk anything cropping up here in this final week!
Pictured: Turkey-Day workout at the gym with Thomas and Ward; last nights walk back my own local gym.
The name's Iron, and you got to know it! Austin fav Ian Moore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KKBuEJVbEU
Shout out to Silvia for the motivation—there’s no “I” in “Team,” but there are two ‘s’s in A$$, which is where I needed a swift kick! Also to Burnsie, for the velvet-lined version.
Back at it for realz tonight, all Iron, and only bands that were on the approved menu.
Diet OK, it’s been a lot of post workout diligence getting adequate protein. Speaking of which, need to get back home for the rebuilding phase!
Denim crew, there are 11 days left, each one counts! Who do you want to appear in your Day 90 photo?
These guys need no intro, you know the tune, you know what to do: https://youtu.be/-tJYN-eG1zk
Long time, been sah-LAMBED at work, lots going on at Kenzai HQ. (Spoiler alert: all very cool stuff for 2020!) I'm currently training a couple groups on the Nutrition program, and really liking being back in the trenches, guiding people toward a healthier lifestyle. This is something I've been passionate about, well, since my Peace Corps days, and more passionate about since waaay back when I did PCP.
But that's all kept me super busy, hence the silence. So, gang, I will do my best to stay connected here as we head toward the finish line.
On that note, the diet is good: Solid A-, a couple meals out, but overall have been sticking with what I've prepped. (Which is a LOT; see recent pics of breakfast, lunch & dinner).
Workout-wise: C+. Missed 2 workouts this week (cardio & triceps). 2 Kenzai Rubber sessions (back & shoulders). I feel like I never get the same pump with the bands as I do with the gym, but shoulders is a bit different; they seem to respond well to both bands and 'bells. Sleep continues to be a challenge, and I'm still brainstorming ways to wrangle an earlier bedtime. Cutting back coffee consumption to under 3 ups would probably also help...
On last week's extended hike, I found a public area with some very cool obstacles. Too cold for now, but on the list as a spring/summer playground.
That's the news, gang - hope everybody is grinding well! It's getting intense, but it's all good, 'cause WE'RE INTENSE.
Pearl Jam. Classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM0zINtulhM
Hey gang! Sorry for the radio silence. It's been pretty non-stop on the work front, leaving time for the just necessities. (Chewing food. Crushing Iron. Sleep... well, sort of. Blasting 80s metal classics into my ears).
But I'm still alive!
Missed one workout last week, decided to double up on Sunday, shoulders & cardio.
And again this week! May be doubling up twice, perhaps cutting down a couple sets to fit everything in. (Disclaimer for any new-ish Trainees reading this: DON'T DO THIS! It is always best to just miss a workout and get back on track from the current day, maybe shifting to any larger muscle groups you missed. I accept full responsibility for the ridiculous DOMSing I'm in for some time early next week. It's just that I'm stubborn.)
(Also: shhh! Don't tell Burnsie).
Diet a bit wobbly again (breakfast: awesome! Lunches: meh... Dinner: OK-ish) But I've got another round of fresh produce, freshly delivered. And ready for a massive weekend prep session!
That's it for now, gotta go hit the spreadsheets. Keep yourself alive, gang!
P.S. - It is officially WINTER here in Portland, I've busted out the Big Boy coat. Let the frigid fun begin!
P.P.S. - Half-devoured bag of M&Ms on the floor of the gym. Who DF%*&! eats this crap AT the gym?
Queen nails it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JofwEB9g1zg
Going full throttle at work pushed the workouts to the home front on two occasions. And for the first time I missed a session! Not happy. But got back on track and will be doubling down tomorrow with a full cardio session and shoulders. Diet this week has been mixed, good on breakfast and dinner, more wobbly during lunch.
For the first time ever, I made the wise choice do to a home grocery delivery, it was a huge time-saver. Setting aside tomorrow for food prepping for the week! Pyrex containers shall overfloweth with delicious, minimally-processed goodness.
In addition to food prep, I'm taking part of the weekend off for 'Maine prep': boots and gloves!
Keep at it gang, remember: we're making deposits in the Bank of Gainz!
Quick post before crashing, did an hour-ish bike ride around the cove, then back home for some more tasty, tasty salmon.
Felt like I really burned up the lower kinetic chain today. Going to really be feeling it by Wednesday!
Stay strong gang, this is gonna be a tough cycle!
Almost Election Day here in the US, gotta rock some Living Color to keep it real: https://youtu.be/7xxgRUyzgs0
November is living up to its promise: COLD.*
Today was probably the best diet day of the week, TONS of veggies, I'm at AMAYW at this point. #ectomorphlife
I dialed in the dinner protein with a taste test: the frozen salmon I bought in a pinch a couple weeks ago vs. the LOCALLY WILD CAUGHT MAINE SALMON. No contest, not even close! (And will NOT be making the mistake of buying the frozen stuff again.) Damn, that fish just melted in my mouth.
Happy so far with the progress, despite the wobbly diet during the wedding and having to fall back to band-work for many of the recent workouts. The shoulders were looking ripped during those biceps curls! While it's definitely a grind here at mid-program, it's a BIG motivator seeing those fibers pop. As someone who's always struggled to gain significant muscle mass, that just makes me want to keep going all that more.
Here's Duran Duran with a couple live throwbacks to my Sony Walkman days; I've always thought their B-side stuff rocked just a bit harder than their top 40 hits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTGQ6hryKos
*For a recent Austin transplant. By my native Chicago standards, it's still technically T-Shirt weather.
Despite partaking in the annual tradition of mega-dosing the neighborhood kiddos with massive amounts of sugar, I didn't eat a single piece for myself. (mental note: next time hand out gum. Or dates; super sweet, but at least they're natural!)
Nor did I stash any for a post-program indulgence; gonna try to keep it classier on Day 90.
Workout done late again, but got some really good burn in on the squats. I had a massage earlier in the week, I think it really helped untangle some knots I'd had built up and gave me a better range of motion to attack this week's sets and reps.
Another crack at the landmine attachment. Love it! And for cardio: spooky brisk walk through the hood to admire the Halloween decor. Let's keep doing our best to avoid looking like these guys!
G&R fueled the back half of tonights efforts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbm6GXllBiw
Got in a combo Iron-Rubber session, with Iron on the front end and bands on the back, owing to a late start. Diet was... shaky. Back on track for dinner, protein prepped for a strong day tomorrow.
In a previous life, I lived and worked in Washington D.C. in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government. And there, I became a fan of the Washington Nationals baseball team.
Their season started with an abysmal 19-31 record. No team in history has recovered from a worse 50-game start. Despite facing elimination 5 times in the post-season, tonight the team came back to win their first World Series. The first for the franchise and the first for the city since 1924.
Never give up, people. NEVER.
Long time, Denim!
So: I survived the festivities in New Mexico.
Workout-wise, it was Kenzai Rubber all the way. We were situated in an Airbnb that was pretty remote from anything resembling a gym, and while the house was otherwise well-outfitted, it did NOT have anything for a resistance workout, not so much as a dumbbell, much less a barbell squat rack.
Diet-wise... let's just say I may a valiant effort, keeping it clean where I could. Breakfasts weren't too shabby, as we were able to hit a grocery and make use of the kitchen. Lunches and dinners, however, were much more challenging - I tried to keep the quality, if not the quantity, on-target. Aside from a few slips getting stuck out with less-than-Kompliant friends, it was OK. Probably a C+ overall.
Indulgence-wise, I pulled out all the stops for the wedding reception dinner, and gorged on SW red-chille beef, green-chile chicken, tamales, dessert... aaaand two hard ciders. Needles to say, it was an epic feast! Got some cardio in on the dance floor, and MORE cardio in when my friends and I took the tram up to Sandia Peak for a 4-ish mile hike along the ridge. Total elevation: 10,300 ft above sea level. Not something I would likely have tried had I not been doing a program. After nearly 50 days of pumping steel, and despite mediocre sleep, I had plenty of energy to spare.
Someone once said that 'adventure is distress, improperly recalled.' So we had a bit of an adventure when high winds forced operators to suspend tram rides back down the mountain for over four hours. And just when we thought we'd get a nice, safe ride down in a motor vehicle, they ushered us back into the gondola and away we went, tempting fate against still-gusty breezes that rocked the car a few times.
The silver lining: we did actually get to see the sun set over the mountains west of Albuquerque.
Last band workout this evening at home after a long day at work. Tomorrow, it's back to the gym!
Image courtesy of QuickMeme: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3pqgil
Deadlifts? Overhead Barbell Lunges? Are we certain Leg Month is actually over?
Kidding aside, knocked out the workout midday. Biceps afire!
Stayed up late with work, packing, apartment showings, and a weekly family video call.
Now on to New Mexico, where I’ll do my best to keep it together on the diet front..
That video shout from Patrick was well-timed. The grind goes on, stay strong, gang!
Squeezed in a workout (barely!) before a seminar yesterday evening, this new split routine definitely has me bopping around the gym to more stations.
Diet was OK, yesterday, was a little hurried and didn't get in the grammage I wanted to. Back on track today. Especially because...
It's indulgence time! And it couldn't come at a better time: my buddy's wedding.
This will be fun/interesting...
Day 44 workout fueled by the Crue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmXWkMlKFkI
Photo by Chris Hearn on Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/@chearn73
Yes! I finally got to use the Landmine Sleeve at the gym! So smooth, so heavy...
Cardio was a hike through the local cemetery and the trails in the woods beyond.
Diet is on point, and sleep isn't too bad, I'm managing just over 7 hours. But gotta bump that up to 8!
Still unpacking, and still in the hunt for a roommate. Along with work and an upcoming wedding this weekend in New Mexico, it's gonna be busy times. Not quite sure what gym accommodations I'll find at our Airbnb, but am bringing the bands along, as I anticipate having to do a few sessions of Kenzai Rubber.
Great to see everybody pushing forward!
As for music, to kick off the week: what do you get when combining Easter, Canada, hair metal and 80s pop? The Chocolate Bunnies from Hell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phPUglpsOj0&list=RDphPUglpsOj0&start_radio=1