Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday April 28 - Back and Triceps, Happy Friday!

After taking the day off yesterday from working out, I was excited to get back to the gym today for another workout. Once again I decided to go with triple drop sets to mix it up a bit and it turned out to be a really good workout.

Here's today's workout:
Bent Row, Machine - Triple Drop Set - 3 sets of 75/50/25lbs x 6 reps each.
Lat Pull Downs - Triple Drop Set - 2 sets of 120/100/80lbs x 6 reps each.
Dumbbell Shrugs - 3 sets of 50lbs (each dumbbell) x 8 reps each, squeeze and hold at top.
Cable Push Downs - Triple Drop Set - 2 sets of 120/100/80lbs x 6 reps each, squeeze at bottom.
Overhead Cable Extensions - Triple Drop Set - 100/80/60lbs x 6 reps; 90/70/50lbs x 6 reps.
Bench Dips - 3 sets of 8 reps each.

Weighed in at 197.8lbs after workout.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wednesday April 26 - Legs and Abs

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't seem to focus and end up staring into deep space for 5 minutes at a time for no apparent reason? That's how my morning started out today at the gym. When I got there, I noticed that the Smith Machine I was planning on using for my squats was in use, so my brain just shut off. It took a lot of effort to not lie down and fall asleep right there on the floor! So, after a few minutes of that, I finally got going and still had a decent workout. Honestly, probably a 5 or 6 out of 10. I tried something different today, front squats. I must have been doing them wrong, because they really didn't feel right when I was doing them. So I'll have to study up on those before trying them again.

Here's the workout that I followed today:
Bent Leg Deadlift - Triple Drop - 2 sets, Barbell with 60/40/20lbs x 6 reps each.
Front Squats, Smith Machine - 50lbs x 8 reps, 50lbs x 6 reps.
Seated Leg Curl - Triple Drop - 2 sets of 160/140/120lbs x 6 reps each.
Seated Calf Raise - Triple Drop - 2 sets of 100/75/50lbs x 8 reps each.

AbBench Crunches - 3 sets of 10 reps each.
AbBench Side Crunches - 3 sets of 10 reps each.

I'm going to start listing here some more of my weight stats as well as my workouts. I've been tracking them on a spreadsheet, but I'm going to start posting them here as well. So to catch up, here are the stats from the previous 3 1/2 weeks or so:

(*Based on most recent measurements)
Date Day Weight Lean* Fat* BF%*
4/4/06 Tues. 197.0 165.5 31.5 16.0%
4/6/06 Thurs. 197.0 165.5 31.5 16.0%
4/7/06 Fri. 196.6 165.1 31.5 16.0%
4/8/06 Sat. 197.8 166.2 31.6 16.0%
Average for Week 197.0 165.4 31.5 16.0%
4/10/06 Mon. 197.2 166.8 30.4 15.4%
4/11/06 Tues. 195.2 165.1 30.1 15.4%
4/12/06 Wed. 195.8 165.6 30.2 15.4%
4/13/06 Thurs. 193.6 163.8 29.8 15.4%
4/14/06 Fri. 193.2 163.4 29.9 15.4%
4/15/06 Sat. 194.0 164.1 29.9 15.4%
Average for Week 194.3 164.4 29.9 15.4%
4/17/06 Mon. 197.2 166.8 30.4 15.4%
4/18/06 Wed. 195.2 165.1 30.1 15.4%
4/19/06 Thurs. 195.0 165.0 30.0 15.4%
4/20/06 Fri. 198.0 167.5 30.5 15.4%
Average for Week 196.4 166.1 30.2 15.4%
4/24/06 Mon. 197.8 167.3 30.5 15.4%
4/25/06 Tues. 195.8 165.6 30.2 15.4%
4/26/06 Wed. 195.6 165.5 30.1 15.4%

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday April 25 - Cardio

Cardio Day! So to mix it up today for my cardio workout, I decided to go with a long duration, lower intensity workout. Other times I'll do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), or just do medium duration / high intensity. But for some reason today I felt like going for a long run, even if it was on the elliptical machine. Total time was 40 minutes, keeping my heart rate above 130 (probably had about a 136 or so average heart rate). Normally I'll do cardio for 20-30 minutes, but I just felt like going longer today. Cardio is a strange thing. Half way through the workout I was getting really hungry, and even considered cutting it short. But then I remembered that when I've done longer duration cardio in the past, eventually that feeling goes away and I feel great afterwards. Honestly, I'm surprised that my brain even came up with that thought at 6 am, but I'm glad it did because I really did feel great afterwards. Its now about 2 hours later and I still feel great! Tomorrow we're back to the weights...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday April 24 - Chest and Biceps

Great workout this morning! Today I felt an awesome pump after doing the chest portion of my workout, and then again when I was done with the bicep portion. Too bad the chest pump was almost gone by the time I was done with my biceps or it would have been an incredibly good pump, but I still give today's workout a 9 out of 10. As I mentioned before, I like to mix things up in my workouts every now and then, so today I decided to do some triple drop sets as an alternative to just the standard 3 sets of whatever reps that I normally do. Also for another change-up, I used all machines for my chest workout instead of free weights like I normally do.

As another alternate I also did Trisets for my bicep workout. Most people are familiar with supersets, where you combine two exercises with no rest, but I haven't seen too many people use Trisets. I actually got the technique from an article by Tom Venuto called 5 Star Arm Workouts (you can read it here). He has a few other great arm workouts, but the Trisets is one that I have used most often. Basically you do three different bicep exercises in a row without resting, and you also try to vary the part of the bicep that you hit with the exercise to make it a more complete workout. Trust me, you'll feel great (or weak!) after you do a tough set of these. I have still been keeping my weight lifted down since I'm still focusing on my form and technique, but I still had a great workout despite the lower weights. Every day I feel I'm proving what Tom Venuto said before about making the weight seem heavy, even when it really isn't.

Here's today's workout:
Hammer Strength Bench - Triple Drop Set - 55/45/35lbs x 8 reps, 55/45/35lbs x 8 reps, 45/35/25lbs x 8 reps (weight is per side on machine)
Incline Press Machine w/ Plates - 3 sets of 50lbs x 8 reps each, slow tempo, squeeze at top.
PecDeck - Triple Drop Set - 60/40/30lbs x 8 reps, 70/50/30lbs x 8 reps, 70/50/30lbs x 8 reps.

Bicep Trisets
Dumbbell Standing Curls - 3 sets of 25lbs x 8 reps each
Dumbbell Hammer Curls - 3 sets of 25lbs x 8 reps each
Reverse Barbell Curls - 55lbs x 8 reps, 2 sets of 45lbs x 8 reps each.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday April 21 - Back and Triceps

After reading that article that I referred to yesterday about the difference between just weightlifing and bodybuilding I applied one technique in particular that I learned from that article - palm grip. Essentially, it just means not wrapping your thumb around the bar when you don't have to in order to keep your forearms from helping out too much. I used that grip on my lat pulldowns and cable rows today and really noticed a difference. I also made sure to once again focus on contracting the muscle when its at the flex point, and wow did it feel good today!

I don't have any new articles to reference today, so here's the workout plan that I followed this morning:
Lat Pull Downs - 3 sets of 120lbs x 8 reps each.
Seated Cable Rows - 3 sets of 100lbs x 8 reps each.
Reverse Cable Flyes - 40lbs x 8 reps, 30lbs x 8 reps, 30lbs x 8 reps. (really squeeze the flex point, never felt it better on this exercise!)
Lateral Dumbbell Raises - 2 sets of 12lbs x 10 reps each (really slow, pause at top)
Tricep Cable Pushdowns w/ Rope - 120lbs x 8 reps, 100lbs x 8 reps, 100lbs x 8 reps.
Overhead Dumbbell Extensions - 3 sets of 45lbs x 8 reps each.
Dumbbell Kickbacks - 2 sets of 15lbs x 8 reps.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday April 20 - Cardio

Another cardio day! I originally planned on doing a solid 30-45 minutes today, but after about 20 minutes my body didn't agree with me, or maybe it was just last night's dinner. Either way, I'm the type of person that believes in listening to my body when its trying to tell me something, and this was one of those occasions. But I was still able to get in a really good 20 minutes, and I look forward to a longer session on Saturday.

I read another good article today about the difference between bodybuilding and just lifting weights. I do have to stress here, I'm not looking to become a strict and scary looking bodybuilder by any means, but I try to get information from people that would be considered bodybuilders because they actually work on their physique and not just how much they can lift. Anyway, you can see the article I'm referring to here. There's supposed to be a part two that will follow, but for now this is part one. Another thing I found really interesting in this article is he talks about doing only palm grips for most exercises to try and keep the forearms from helping out on exercises like the bench press and curls. I never thought about this before, but I'll have to try it!

In other good news, this morning I weighed in at 195, so I'm at least getting back on track. I really need to overcome my big weakness - sugar. As an example of the type of metabolism I had as a teenager, I used to eat about a 1lb bag of Skittles a week, and still never weighed more than 165lbs at a height of about 6'2". So as you can imagine, I had a serious sweet tooth! That was my downfall this last weekend with Easter. So now I'll have to set some type of goal to really watch my sugar intake if I'm going to get my bodyfat down to where I want it to be.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wednesday April 19 - Legs and Abs

I was still really groggy when I got to the gym this morning so I rode the recumbent bike for 5 minutes to get my legs warmed, and it turned out to be a really good idea. After just 5 minutes my mind was a lot more alert and I had a lot more energy during my workout.

Here's the leg day workout:
Smith Machine Squats - 3 sets of 90lbs x 8 reps each.
Leg Extentions - 3 sets of 150lbs x 8 reps each.
Leg Press Machine - 3 sets of 350lbs x 8 reps each.
Seated Calf Raises - 3 sets of 115lbs x 10 reps each.
AbBench Crunches - 3 sets of 12 reps.

Kept the workout a little short today, but it still turned out good. I really accentuated the negative on the leg extentions, and that really made them a whole lot harder. By the 7th and 8th rep my legs were really burning! For the squats and leg presses, just tried to keep it slow with little or no pause between the positive and negative motions. For the calf raises and crunches, focused on squeezing the muscle when contracted. Overall a great workout, we'll see how sore I am tomorrow.

Monday April 17 - Chest & Biceps

Good workout this morning. I arrived a little bit later than I usually like to so I had to cut a few planned things out, but I was awake enough to remember to concentrate on contracting the muscles so it probably all worked out for the best! The sad thing was that when I weighed in after my workout I was at 197.2lbs! So basically, I put on a little over 3lbs in one weekend. I guess that's what I get for eating too much chocolate, jelly beans, and prime rib over the Easter holiday...

Here's the workout I did:
Hammer Strength Bench Press - 90lbs x 8 reps, 100lbs x 8 reps, 110lbs x 8 reps.
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 50lbs x 8 reps each.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press - 2 sets of 45lbs x 8 reps each.
Barbell Preacher Curl - 2 sets of 65lbs x 8 reps each.
Incline Dumbbell Curl - 2 sets of 25lbs x 8 reps each.
Concentration Curl - 2 sets of 25lbs x 8 reps each.
Forearms Supersets (extentions and curls) - 2 sets of 60lbs x 10 reps each.

Really tried to keep the negative slow and really squeeze the muscles. Worked great!

Saturday April 15

Cardio Day! Stuck with a 30 minute high intensity cardio session, keeping my heart rate above 150 as much as possible. Good sweat!

This was the first week in a long time that I actually made it to the gym 6 days in a row! That alone makes for a good week. Also, after weighing myself today I came in at 194 total weight, and I'm somewhere around 15.4% bodyfat. Not too shabby, considering I started the year out close to 20%!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday April 14 - Back, Shoulders, and Triceps

You know its been a good week when you make it to the gym everyday, even if you're tired! It took a little extra pushing on some days, but I feel great that I made it every day this week. At first this morning I was almost forgetting to focus on a slower speed and contracting the muscle, but I remembered and that made all the difference in the workout.

Here's today's workout:
One Arm Dumbbell Rows - 3 sets of 40lbs x 6 reps each.
Lat Cable Pull Downs - 3 sets of 110lbs x 6 reps each.
Dumbbell Shrugs - 3 sets of 2-45lbs x 6 reps each.
Lateral Raise, Cable Cross - 2 sets of 20lbs x 6 reps each (I really didn't like the way these felt, it was very awkward, so I don't think I'll be adding them to my schedule again...)

BB Skullcrushers - 3 sets of 55lbs x 6 reps each.
Close Grip Bench Press - 3 sets of 55lbs x 6 reps each.

Overhead Tricep Cable Extentions - 70lbs x 6 reps, 90lbs x 6 reps, 90lbs x 6 reps.

I really need to find myself some motivating pictures to look at on a consistent basis. This morning I caught myself having the "is this ever going to happen" thoughts. Its amazing to me sometimes how I slip into the quick fix mentality, even know I know that important things take work, and sometimes a lot of it. Honestly, I know that my nutrition habits lately could use some work. And I suppose that deep down I know that and so I have to tell that inner negative voice to be quiet. Not always the easiest thing to do, but I'm going to push through the next 12 weeks and have a victory!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday April 13 - Cardio

The only goal of this morning's cardio session was this - SWEAT! I hit the elliptical machine for 30 minutes and kept my heart rate above 145 pretty much most of the time. Normally I would do some sort of variation of HIIT training or medium intensity/longer duration, but this time I decided just to hit it hard for 30 minutes. Its really a very invigorating thing to do from time to time! Great way to start out the day!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Before Photos taken April 4, 2006

Well, here they are. My before pictures that were taken on April 4th. As I mentioned before, I have been a rather skinny person my whole life but since I got married I have put on some weight and even gained love handles! So there they are, my out of shape pictures up on the net for everyone to see. Things are going to change!

Wednesday April 12 - Legs and Abs

So yesterday I decided that if I was going to be going to the gym in the morning that I'd have to get up earlier than I was so I wouldn't feel so rushed getting ready for work and helping my wife with the baby before I left. So instead of getting up between 5:30 - 5:45 like I normally do I'm now shooting to get up between 5:00-5:15. Wow did I feel the difference! It was really hard to concentrate during the workout this morning, I kept forgetting to focus on contracting the muscles on each rep and things like that. So I'm thinking that if I'm going to be going that early in the morning I'll have to be sure to eat something before I go so I have energy (like I mentioned in a previous post), and to do about 5 minutes of cardio just to get the blood pumping and the brain working before I hit the weights. But, this morning wasn't a total loss, I still had a decent workout. Just not as good as it could have been.

Oh, I just remembered another interview/video that I saw a few months ago that also talked about really contracting the muscles when you're lifting weights like the Tom Venuto article did. Its a video by The Fit Show on from Milos Sarcev. You can view it here. He is specifically talking about chest training, but it should apply to all exercises.

Here's today's workout:
Bent Leg Deadlifts - 3 sets of 50lbs (+barbell) x 6 reps each.
Leg Extensions - 3 sets of 150lbs x 6 reps each (really slow negative).
Leg Press (machine) - 3 sets of 300lbs x 6 reps each.
Angled Calf Raise with Dumbbells - 3 sets of 2-45lbs x 6 reps each.
Weighted Crunch Machine - 3 sets of 100lbs x 10 reps each.
Floor Crunch and Lying Leg Raises - 2 sets of 10 reps each.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday April 11 - Cardio

Had a great cardio session this morning. I got to the gym a little bit later than I meant to, so I only had 20 minutes to work with. So, with that in mind I decided to do the good old-fashioned Body-for-LIFE style HIIT training. Today I used the elliptical machine for the session and got a really good run. Normally I like to try to go for 30 minute sessions, but time doesn't always allow it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday April 10 - Chest, Biceps, Forearms

Although it took me a while to completely wake up even after I was at the gym, I still had a good workout this morning. Most mornings when I'm going to be weight lifting I have a protein shake to give me some extra energy during the workout but for some reason this morning I decided not to. Big mistake! I definitely noticed a difference in my energy level half way through the workout. So note to self - always eat something before early morning lifting!

Today's Workout:
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press - 3 sets of 45lbs x 6 reps each.
Incline Dumbbell Flyes - 3 sets of 30lbs x 6 reps each.

Hammer Strength Bench (Machine)- 70lbs x 6 reps, 80lbs x 6 reps, 80lbs x 6 reps

Dumbbell Preacher Curl - 3 sets of 25lbs x 6 reps each.
Dumbbell Preacher Hammer Curl - 3 sets of 25lbs x 6 reps each.

Barbell Curl - 3 sets of 65 lbs x 6 reps each.
Forearm Supersets (Extensions and Curls) - 3 sets of 50lbs x 15 reps.

Saturday April 8

So just for fun on Saturday I did several Century Sets (100 rep sets) in a circuit training type style along with my cardio. I've done this off and on before, and since I have more time to work out on Saturday mornings than I do other mornings, I figure why not?

So here's the workout:
Pec Deck - 50lbs x 100 reps (actually done as 5 sets of 20, but only resting 20-30 seconds in between).
Cable Pull Downs - 60lbs x 100 reps (done as 5 sets of 20)
Leg Press - 180lbs x 100 reps (done as 5 sets of 20)
Barbell Curls - 35lbs x 100 reps (done as 4 sets of 25)
Cable Push Downs - 50lbs x 100 reps (done as sets of 35, 25, 20, 20 respectively)
Ab Bench Crunches - 100 reps (done as 4 sets of 25)

After that I did 20 minutes on the Elliptical machine keeping my HR above 140.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday April 7 - Back, Shoulders, and Triceps

I had a great workout this morning, and really focused on using the principles I talked about from the Tom Venuto article. In that article he uses the example of really feeling the stretch on lat pulldowns, and man did I feel a stretch this morning doing the same thing! I had to adjust my weight around since I'm leaving my ego at the door, but also don't want to go too light, but it was a great workout. On the tricep exercises I really held the squeeze portion of the exercise, like the down part of tricep cable pushdowns, and got a really good pump from that. Like Venuto says in his article, focus on the muscle!

Here's what I did this morning:
Cable Lat Pulldowns - 120lbs x 6 reps, 100lbs x 6 reps, 110lbs x 6 reps.
Seated Cable Row - 70lbs x 6 reps, 80lbs x 6 reps, 90lbs x 6 reps.
Dumbbell Reverse Flyes - 20lbs x 6 reps, 20lbs x 6 reps, 20lbs x 6 reps.
Dumbbell Lateral Raises - 20lbs x 10 reps, 20lbs x 10 reps.
Cable Push downs - 120lbs x 6 reps, 120lbs x 6 reps, 120lbs x 6 reps.
Dumbbell Overhead Extension - 50lbs x 6 reps, 50lbs x 6 reps, 50lbs x 6 reps.
Dip Machine - 195 x 6 reps, 195 x 6 reps, 195 x 6 reps.

I took some 'before' pictures the other day and will be posting them soon. Even though I've been a rather skinny guy my whole life, its embarrassing to say that I have slight love handles!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Another Good Site...

Just doing some surfing, and found a site from Anthony Ellis that has some pretty good information on it for free. For those of you who don't know who Anthony Ellis is (and I might not be exactly correct on this), I'm pretty sure he was one of the very first Body-for-LIFE Champions. The difference for him is that he didn't need to lose weight, but instead needed to gain weight. Anyway, you can see the site I'm talking about at I'll also add it to my links since it looks like there is plenty of good info there. (I haven't read the whole thing yet, just skimmed it.)

Thursday April 6 - Legs & Abs

Despite being really tired again when I woke up this morning, I still made it to the gym and had a good workout. I found that it's a little bit harder to focus on the 'squeeze' when doing the compound leg exercises like the squat, but did my best. One thing I really focused on today was fighting the negative part of the exercise on my leg extensions and leg curls. Really felt a good burn/pump after doing that! Also slowed down a lot on squats and dead lifts. With the dead lifts for the last set I held it at the bottom position before coming back up and that seemed to really help as well.

Here's the workout I followed today:
Smith Machine Squats - 90lbs (plus weight of machine of course) x 6 reps, 90lbs x 6 reps, 90lbs x 6 reps.
Barbell Dead Lifts - 60lbs (+bar) x 6 reps, 60lbs x 6 reps, 60lbs x 6 reps.
Leg Extensions - 150lbs x 6 reps, 150lbs x 6 reps, 150lbs x 6 reps.
Lying Leg Curls - 150lbs x 6 reps, 150lbs x 6 reps, 150lbs x 6 reps.
Seated Calf Raise - 90lbs x 10 reps, 90lbs x 10 reps.
Leg Raises - 2 sets x 10 reps.
Ab Bench Crunches - 2 sets x 10 reps.

Tomorrow will be a back/tricep day and I'm excited to really emphasize the stretch and contractions!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wednesday April 5

Well I'm definitely off to a rocky start. Had another long night last night where I didn't get enough sleep, so I hate to say it but I didn't make it to the gym last night. Normally, my split will be Monday - Chest, Biceps, Forearms; Tuesday - Cardio; Wednesday - Legs and Abs; Thursday - Cardio; Friday - Back and Triceps; Saturday - Cardio; Sunday - Off. I'm already one day off this week, but I'll be getting back on track soon enough.

On a positive not, I have officially committed myself to the 2006 Body-for-LIFE Challenge! As I mentioned before, I'm not following the BFL workout, but I will be using the challenge as a motivator to really kick things into high gear for the next 12 weeks. The goal that I've set is to go from a current 16% body fat to 8%, and to go from my current 195lbs to 210lbs. I know this is a very lofty goal, but I'm shooting for the sky and hoping to at least land in the trees (if not on a mountain).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesday April 4 - Chest, Biceps, and Forearms

Well, I got started one day later than I intended to. For some reason I couldn't sleep Sunday night, so when Monday morning rolled around I had no energy to get out of bed. Its probably because I slept so much on Sunday to catch up from the Daylight Savings switch. Anyway, enough about that.

Today I had a great workout to start things off. I read an article yesterday that gave me a different perspective on how to do my reps and what the focus should be. It was an article by Tom Venuto titled "Form: The Difference Between Bodybuilding & Weight Lifting" (you can read the article if you go to and sign up for his updates - its in the articles section). This article talked about how if you're really looking to gain muscle size you have to train differently than someone who is just going for strength. A good example is the difference in training for a professional bodybuilder and a powerlifter. Instead of focusing on the actual weight you are lifting you should focus on the muscle that you are working by keeping your mind on the contraction, stretch, and overall tension of the muscle. So leave your ego at the door, drop the weight so you can focus on your form and speed instead of just trying to impress people with the weight you're lifting.

I applied some of his ideas to this workout and I have to admit, I felt a really good pump after my first 2 sets in the chest part of my workout! In the past I've gone through a whole workout and didn't really feel any pump at all (wasted my time basically), but this workout was different. (You can also find out more about Tom Venuto by going to his websites,,, and He writes articles for other websites from time to time also, but these are his main ones and he gives out tons of great information.)

Here's the workout that I followed today:
Hammer Strength Press Machine - 120lbs x 6 reps, 130lbs x 6 reps, 140lbs x 6 reps
Dumbbell Flyes (flat bench) - 30lbs x 12 reps, 30lbs x 12 reps
Incline Barbell Press - 105lbs x 6 reps, 105lbs x 6 reps, 105lbs x 6 reps
Preacher Dumbbell Curls (one arm at a time) - 25lbs x 6 reps, 25lbs x 6 reps, 30lbs x 6 reps
Standing Barbell (EZ Bar) Curls - 65lbs x 6 reps, 65lbs x 6 reps, 65lbs x 6 reps
Standing Forearm Barbell Curls Superset (front and back curls) - 50lbs x 15 reps, 50lbs x 15 reps.

Total workout took about 40 minutes. Felt great afterwards, like I really had a good workout instead of just went to the gym to throw some weights around. As I find other articles like this one that really impact how I train, I'll be sure to throw on the link or at least explain where to find it.