BS2018 – RD23 The Return to the Gym

I can touch the floor. Now when I drop something I am able for the most part to pick it  up… Slowly and carefully but all the same I can do it…

Yesterday I did the 5th of my 5 day gym rotation finally sealing my first set of workouts since the surgery. It took more than 5 days and there was some mixing of body parts but I think I did OK. I have been testing my leg strength every day and before I went into surgery I had 10% of my leg strength, that is to say I could do 120lbs on the leg extension with my left leg and only 10 with my right. Also, I was only able to do about 3 reps and that was all. I am happy to say that the strength is coming back slowly even if the stamina is still extremely poor. I was able to get up to 25lbs for at least 3 reps the day I was supposed to do legs, and then spent the rest of the time trying to crank out as many 10lb reps as I could but my max was about 3 or 4 in a row until I couldn’t straighten my leg any more. I tested again yesterday and although I didn’t do much I was able to get above 30lbs for a couple of attempts. The rest of my workouts are basically just trying to reactivate the muscle and get my active tissue back so I can burn more calories. The long term plan is to try to reduce my weight to around 220lbs from my current 235 where I have been for the last 10 years. I think if I can get down to 220 for a year or two then I can try to push lower as time passes. You don’t see many 275lb 70 year olds around but you do see some that are pushing 230 so I feel like I am not on the endangered species list any more.

As for details I was able to bench 185 without any pressure on my back but I had to do all my back workouts standing using cables rather than on the lat machine sitting down. Shoulders were done not sitting but standing and laying on an incline and traps also done with cables standing. These are not ideal but are getting me back to where I need to be which is active in every area of my body. I think I am going to have to add a day of yoga into my schedule also this year. I recall doing the Tony Horton Fountain of Youth yoga was something that I really enjoyed and had significant benefits for me. I wasn’t enamored with it at first but once I had it as part of my schedule and got 10 sessions or so under my belt I really started to enjoy it. Of course Tony describing the benefits and advantages to you while you work also seeps into your brain after a while and that’s not a bad thing. So I think with my leg workouts sadly lacking that maybe leg day will turn into leg and yoga days for the time being. Of course there is extreme stretching for the lower back involved with which I will have to be microscopically attentive.

I am at the gym and I don’t know what to do…

I get this type of question a lot. Usually from kids who have come from gymnastics with mostly bodyweight training who are transitioning to the gym and need some guidance. I have a couple of links to lots of information on the sidebar THIS IS GOOD and for diet SO IS THIS. Well, it’s pretty easy as a process so let’s have a look.

Set a goal. What is it you want to do? I will assume that you know endless cardio is damaging to your system and so please spend no more than 20 minutes at a time on the cardio machines otherwise you will flood your system with stress hormones and kill your hard work. That said, a 10 minute warmup is ideal before weights then a 20 minutes higher intensity stairmaster or stepmill session is best.

Split your workout into 3 or 4 days so you can start to become regular with your work. I recommend at least 4 days a week in the gym so you don’t spend all your time sore from resting too much. Every split should have one day as leg day and then usually a push day for chest and triceps a pull day for back and biceps and an extra day for shoulders and core. You don’t have to know how to do a thousand exercises to make this work, start basic and then transition as you go.

No matter if you are a 15 year old girl or a 25 year old guy there are certain exercises that you should do no matter what. Among these are squat, bench, overhead press, curls, dips and deadlift. Don’t get freaked out by the deadlift, it is just picking stuff up and putting it down.

So lets take a quick look at the work to be done as a beginner just starting out. This will last you about a month until you start wanting to do more varied exercises by which time you will have picked up some tips from watching others and will be able to add things to your routines.

Every set will be done to 12 reps with the last 2 reps being difficult to finish. Once they aren’t difficult, increase the weight. Don’t worry about getting bulky, that takes a major commitment on the eating side of things to happen and if it really was that easy, everyone would be a bodybuilder.

Day 1: Chest and triceps

Flat Bench 3×12
Incline Bench 3×12
Tricep cable push downs 3×12 (replace this with dips once you get strong enough)
Dips (if possible, this should be your goal)
If you can get to a point where you can do 10 dips in a row then that is enough for triceps (3×10)

Day 2: Back and biceps

Lat machine pulldowns 3×12 (replace these with inward facing grip chinups when you can)
Seated rows 3×12
Deadlifts 3×12 (you can use dumbbells or a preweighted barbell, no need to use a free barbell if you don’t want to)
Barbell curls 3×12

Day 3: Shoulders and Core

Overhead press 3×12 (Barbell or dumbbells)
Side raises 3×12
Barbell upright rows (also called high pulls, bar to chin)  3×12
Hanging leg raises 3×12
Incline situps 3×12
Vsnaps 3×12

Day 4: Legs

Barbell squats 3×12 (get in the squat rack for these)
Dumbell lunge walk 3×12 steps
Seated leg extension 3×12
Seated hamstring curl 3×12
Standing calf raises 3×12 (start without weight on a step, increase by holding a weight in the same hand as the leg being worked)

This should be enough to get you started and comfortable in the gym. Remember that your gym time is an investment in your health not in your relationships so focus on your work and save the chatter and socializing for afterwards.

This post is dedicated to Nikol 🙂


Owning The Future

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here, and for good reason. The last couple of months have been extremely busy with us completing the purchase of the gymnastics club where I worked. The process has been slow and difficult but we are almost across the line. Since this blog was never really about my personal life but more about my fitness journey I did’t think it was particularly interesting to talk about the gym. However, now I am happy to say I have a massive facility that I can work out in any time I need to I can finally tie in the whole event. In fact, as I am getting older it may be time to transition from my lifetime addiction to weights and being as big as possible to a system that will take me past 50 and beyond. I know I talk about this all the time but never manage to follow through and over the last few months I have been taking a more volume approach to my training with less focus on weight and more on movements. I can’t say it’s as fulfilling as throwing massive weights around but I am still under 240 and around 18.5% fat so my body seems reasonably happy.

The other big story about my health is my heart. I started having palpitations and while they seem to have subsided for now I did go through a lot of testing and they found that I do have some damage to my heart. They don’t know what it is or when it is from but it seems like something happened. I still have to go for an ultrasound but the stress test was clean and so far I have been given a clean bill of health. I should probably figure out a way to get more cardio in to my life but I really really, reallllly hate cardio.

I am going to try to post more, to try to get back into the habit and stay up to date with anything I am doing at gymnastics and at LA Fitness. I am still doing keto, have been since the start of the summer, I didn’t opt to go for the targeted keto this time around and the net effect has been the same as when I did. Seems that carbs at the right time are OK for me but I just don’t like the fact that when I take that approach that I do still suffer from cravings.

For now my diet is extremely simple. 4 egg cheese omelette for breakfast around 10, 350g of chicken and cheese for dinner and snacks of various things like nuts and pork rinds with Costco dip. Lots of heavy cream in there too but I am trying to reduce the amount of coffee I am drinking so not as much as before.

The Most Savage Workouts – How To Stay In Shape After Gymnastics

It’s that time of year again and my heart is heavy as I say goodbye to some of my wonderful kids. They are moving on, away from a sport that has given them the kind of strength and coordination that nothing else can and for that reason they need something to keep them going. Hitting the gym 16 hours a week is always going to be hard to replace but there is hope with a little dedication, hard work, and the wealth of workouts that are buried right here in this site.

Where to start?

For a start, the tag cloud halfway down the right side of the page is a great place to find posts that are tagged with bootcamp, cardio etc. Once in a while I will post something like my Frosh Week series or something specific that someone has asked for. But digging through the site is hard to find what you are looking for so I am on a quest to find a better way of organizing things. Until then, I will link a few posts or tags here to get you started.

Basics on how to stay in shape after gymnastics – Some rules to follow, and choices to make

Christmas Countdown. 3 workouts to get you in the festive spirit – Christmas Countdown

Frosh Week workouts – Guaranteed to fix that hangover – FROSH WEEK

Bootcamp 3 tag – Some of the best bootcamp workouts were later in the series – Bootcamp3

If you are familiar with Crossfit here are some WODs I had completed – WODs I HAVE DONE

Here are 20 more basic Crossfit workouts for home that will cause you great suffering – 20 WODs for home


Some additional interesting educational and motivational pieces:

Health and Fitness 101

A special nod to Aly – Stop listening to yourself

Motivation. If this doesn’t get you off your ass nothing will… MOTIVATION

After this you are on your own. I am always available to help with planning and motivation as long as you are willing to listen and work hard. Here is the basic knowledge you need to schedule your own workouts:

The simple rules for any workout program
You were a gymnast, half body workouts are fine
Use your basic skills from conditioning and gym
Legs: Squats, lunges, jumps, 1 leg squat
Arms: Dips, reverse grip chinups
Shoulders: Handstands, HS Pushup, burners
Back: Chinups, high pulls, rows
Chest: All pushups, plank walk
Core: Crunch, situp, vsnap, leg lift, rockers
Cardio: Sprints, burpees, jumps, plank runs
Monday: Arms Shoulders Core
Tuesday: Legs Cardio
Wednesday: Chest Back Core
Thursday: Cardio and flexibility
Friday: Legs Core
Saturday: Arms Shoulders Back Chest Light day
Sunday: Off




I Feel Kettlebells Returning

I have recently been bothered by my apparent lack of mobility and with the advent of really shitty weather I feel like it may be time to get back into the basement for some kettlebell work. Fact is that I bought some doc boots that require the ability to reach my feet for an extended period and it has exposed a deficiency in my abilities. Also, I am going to try to return to Tony Horton’s Fountain of Youth 1 hour yoga workout too since I can’t stomach the 90 minute nonsense from the P90X series. So what to do? I have in the past done KB work exclusively for a period and didn’t miss the gym or the machines at all. However that was way back when my workouts were haphazard and I was trying to get used to my new body. Being under 240 after being over 300 for years is an eye opener let me tell you.

So what to do now? Now I have a standard routine and no time spare to bring in the KB work? Add to that the fact that I cannot work out 3 days a week because I coach right from work and I have a real time issue to deal with. Of course, the answer would be to do a 15 minute KB workout during the 30 minutes of mostly unsupervised conditioning that the kids do those 3 days. That may be the solution that I don’t want to accept but in light of my workouts being shorter now (40 minutes) and skipping days (MWF) I may be facing an uncomfortable reality. The fact is that the workouts I am doing are not making be more capable. They may be making me stronger in certain areas and better looking but if I don’t actually feel better then it’s really not the result I am looking for. The last time I really felt like I had become “more durable in the real world” was after my KB intro back in 2011. Back then I had kind of a hybrid workout with RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) and regular gym movements together. Once I was finished with that program I was a convert. I remember being amazed at my core strength and cardio by the time I was done and this on the back of what I thought were very short workouts. Truth is that most KB work is whole body especially when you end up doing lots of swings and can develop amazing back and core strength. Add some turkish get ups and you have a wonderful system.

So I think I will do a hybrid of the hybrid…

This was the workout that was:

Day 1 – RKC Minimum Swings (The RKC Minimum is 4 weeks, then transition into Rite Of Passage)
Day 2 – RKC TGU and WOD
Day 3 – Bench and dips (Chest, shoulder, tri)
Day 4 – Cardio or stretch or Yoga

Day 5 – RKC Minimum Swings
Day 6 – RKC TGU and WOD
Day 7 – Deadlifts and Squat (Legs and Back)
Day 8 – Cardio or stretch or Yoga



Summer Wind Down (my rest month)

restIts the time of year where I take a bit of time to heal, to let my heavy lifting of the summer get behind me and take some time to do some ancillary work and cardio. I tend to lift pretty heavily during the summer, and almost exclusively certain exercises that eventually leads me to lacking in other areas. I don’t really do it on purpose but I can’t remember the last time I did my calves or forearms… or for that matter did any time on my abs or the StairMaster.

So for the next month or so I am going to be taking 15 minutes out of my 45 min workout to do cardio and I am going to build in some ancillary work. Specifically I need to do some lower back work on the GHD and some hamstring work. I tend to do less hamstrings when I squat and leg press and I feel like that’s a problem. The last time I was at the doctor he commented on my marginally elevated blood pressure so I am hoping that some cardio (and some kettlebell HIIT) will help to bring that BP down. Speaking of KB work I think I am going to get back into doing some of that. I think that since I coach on 3 weekdays and have no time for workouts on those days that a light KB workout when I get home or even in the morning before we go to work would do wonders. I only need about 15 minutes to get some swings in and get my heart going so it’s not a big ask really. It will also help with my abs which have had ZERO work all summer with the exception of the twisting rows that I do for my back. I have been particularly tired the last week or so and I think my body is crying out for a break. It may also be time to think about moving towards mobility and gymnastics skills for the winter rather than heavy lifts. A couple of years ago I pushed really hard towards Christmas to get some of my heaviest lifts in years, but I think I would be just as proud of a 10 second handstand as I was of my 415lb bench.

So for the time being it’s increase the cardio, reduce the weights and find some variety in my workouts to give myself a break.

I would say get more sleep too but I think we all know that’s not going to happen…

It’s Fall, time for a change.

coconut-superfruitI am very predictable in that every fall I need to change what I am doing. Maybe it’s because I have usually spent the summer grinding against my weight and going to the gym but whatever it is I am getting that same old feeling again.

Before I go on, I have attached an image relating to my favourite fat, coconut oil. I use coconut oil for many things, every day with my eggs is the most obvious but also healing my cracked hands and using it on my head after a shave are unexpected benefits. the infographic (who doesn’t love a good infographic?) is from so credit where credit is due.

So on to change. I am feeling like I will need to add some cardio and mobility back to my workouts, this summer has been all about gym lifting and very little in the way of compound movements or mobility / cardio. I am not sure if I really want to dive straight back into a WOD system I am thinking I can incorporate some of my compound lifts at the gym such as cleans or snatches. That said, I know I will have to be at the gym for cardio so I am thinking that moving my workouts back home isn’t the best way to go about this.

I am formulating a plan in my head for now, something to increase my cardio to about 3x a week and probably starting to work on my mobility during conditioning at gymnastics since I am there 4 days a week now.

My last post outlined my progress for the summer, I lost a bit of fat but I am still sitting around 230 and 19% which is a bit too high. I have managed to stay here for around 2 years now and I think it’s about time that I did a long term push to get to around 18%. I also want to note that the back strain that I had in the last post took around 6 weeks to clear which was not enjoyable, I think what I actually did was have a slight impingement in my back while at the same time straining one of the muscles with a slight pull. Whatever it was, it hurt like hell.

In other news the gymnastics club has had an influx of new kids, my group has expanded from 4 to 8 with some great high level athletes coming in. It’s been a challenge adapting to the new bodies and the dynamics since they all came from the same gym but all in all I think it’s been a good experience so far. It’s floor routine season and the new coach that came over with the kids is going to be doing the floor and beam routines this year, so this will be interesting.

I will update with my new program as soon as I am ready and for the time being here is the program I have been on for the summer:

  1. Chest – Bench, incline, laying pullovers, machine flys
  2. Back – Machine rows, pulldowns and assisted chinups, chinups, straight arm cable pulldowns
  3. Legs – Incline press, occasional squat (light), leg extension, hamstring curl, machine butt thing
  4. Shoulders and traps – OHP, front and side raise, machine raise, rear delt machine, shrug machine, occasional upright rows
  5. Arms – Dip machine, free dips, pushdowns or close grip bench, machine curls, DB curls, BB curls.


If You Want Change… Change.

It’s been a while since I have posted here, and probably a big reason why I feel like I have stalled in my progress. Not being accountable even to strangers on the internet is a liberating and damning situation. I have said before that going to the gym at LA Fitness is making me bored and predictable in my workouts and I really want to change that but I am so comfortable in that situation that it’s hard to try and implement change.

But now is the time. It’s the last day of coaching for the year, and next week we start on a new season, new kids and new responsibilities. Since there are major changes in the off, I figure I may as well just do everything at once and handle the changes together. The question is what? What am I lacking right now? I think the obvious answer is Olympic lifts and the WOD style workouts that I enjoyed at home the last 2 summers. Not only that but the lack of HIIT work has made me deficient in the cardio department and I need to fix that also.

After browsing through the last couple of summers on here I have come to the conclusion that only adding home work will be the solution. Not only because I will now be coaching MTWR during the summer leaving only FSY to do actual hour long gym workouts but also because the only way I can add WOD or HIIT to my schedule is to do it at home. Typically HIIT isn’t really something you want to do at a regular gym. I could of course go whole hog and try crossfit again since the crossfit Ark location has a summer special again this year but it’s still expensive especially when I have the equipment and the knowledge already.

I would like to get some KB workouts back into my arsenal, something I can probably do at least once a week with the gym girls for their 30 minute conditioning. I would like to start doing full cleans again, something I haven’t done since I felt a twinge in my left side of my back (the opposite side from normal) and I would also even like to start doing some heavy bag work since I bought a bag last year and have hardly used it, I should actually hang it on the back deck and use it out there, it would be a great cardio workout I could actually do in the morning before work.

I am definitely going to do something at the gym once a week with the new kids, they have a great conditioning program but I think they need some of my work to really make them understand what I mean by hard work. So my schedule at a minimum would be Fri Sat Sun at the gym and one day cardio / bootcamp / KB at gymnastics. That’s still only 4 days a week which means I would have to add a cardio workout before gymnastics or if I can get a day during the week where I am off or able to get home early then squeeze a cardio workout in before coaching.

I can sacrifice my shoulders and arm days at the gym since I will be getting lots of shoulder work doing HIIT / WOD work. That leaves only chest, back and legs for LA Fitness. My schedule then would look something like this… However it is suspicious in the way that I don’t have a day dedicated with enough time to do HIIT I am actually just waiting for a day off or some spare time which isn’t ideal. Looks like I will have to rethink this.

Monday – OFF
Tuesday - Bootcamp at coaching
Wednesday – Morning HIIT or OFF
Thursday – Morning HIIT or OFF
Friday – Chest LAF
Saturday – Legs LAF
Sunday – Back LAF

The Problem Is Lack Of Focus

focusI am not sure why.. Probably because I am not on a schedule and have no specific goals in mind which is why my logging and writing has dried up. Maybe it’s time for something completely different, or maybe I need to develop (and actually stick to) some goals. If I look back to this time last year I was feeling the same thing as I am  now, restless and in need of a change given the imminent arrival of summer.

Here are a few things I have mentioned before but still not actually managed to work on…

Handstand hold
Front planche / lever
Back planche / lever
Handstand pushup
Splits front and middle (never done this)
Cartwheel (I can actually do this but it needs fixing)
Roundoff (same)
Muscle up on bars or rings (did this once)
Kip on low bar (this may be a step too far)

Having read back my experience with WOD30 I am now thinking that maybe that would be a good idea. I haven’t done anything like WOD work for quite some time and to be honest I am getting a bit bored with the gym. The thought of loading up the bar and doing cleans and pullups and wallballs makes me all tingly… I will think about this tonight and maybe see if I can break out my schedule from my first WOD 30 and see if it’s worth duplicating.

The bottom line is I need something to aim at, something to work towards, something I can document and see results. I’m probably benching and pressing the same weights every day at the gym, I am not interested in building massive numbers any more, just staying slightly higher than most of the other people there 🙂

Stay tuned. Something is going to happen.


Also I changed the name of the blog since it’s been a VERY long time since I did any P90X or Insanity…. Which I probably should do again now I have a better floor… Hmmmm

I Am Alive!!!

stomach fluSo this has been fun… 8 days of stomach flu feeling like a human sprinkler system and no workouts. I am not sure why the sickness felt like it needed 3 run throughs just to get the job done but whatever the reason I am back now. I had breakfast for the first time this morning since last Tuesday and thankfully didn’t feel like vomiting immediately. I have been able to eat an average of one meal a day, at one point I was down almost 9lbs, most of which is just my muscles releasing their glycogen stores but hopefully I will also have lost some body fat as compensation for feeling like a human sewer all week. The sickness spread through all of us too, but interestingly my wife and daughter were sick for about 24 hours each unlike me.
So what now? I have been off for a week, nothing hurts, my back feels better and I feel like I am ready to go. I will have to do a complete light cycle before gettgin back into the heavy stuff so I guess it will be a few more days until I can really hit the gas and get back into things. I have a competition this weekend too which will be interesting, the girls have had a month to work on their issues but my feeling is that their focus has been a bit off so we will see how the results are.

My schedule is mostly the same still:
Chest Day – bench and pullovers
Back Day – machines and pullups or deadlifts
Leg Day – machines extensions or squats
Shoulders – Oly lift day. Cleans, KB Snatch, OHP
Arms – machines and DB
Leg Cardio Day – Hills, sprints, HIIT machine work with gauntlet

I have added the cardio day because I don’t want to be cutting into the summer, I would like to try and hit 230lbs before June 1st. I am right around 238 now I think. With a cardio day and a bit of participation at gymnastics that shouldn’t be too hard.