A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

The lifting of the heavy things

Back to the usual grind today; there’s still a ton of snow on the ground, so I won’t be doing any exercising outside, but I’m back in the office today so I can go for a stationary bike ride in the office gym. This is probably a good opportunity to test my heart rate on the stationary bike again, since it’s oddly very different than it is on my road bike.

Yesterday was a pretty decent day; I lost track of calories again, but stayed away from truly horrible foods, and since it was a weight training day I don’t feel too bad about getting some extra carbs in. We had a large pile of basil laying around (long story), so Monday night we had made a big pile of pesto with it, and yesterday I seasoned some pork chops, slathered the pesto on, and broiled them to medium. Delicious; doubly so with some extra pesto on top of roasted spaghetti squash. Other than that, I ate leftover baked chicken for lunch, a banana, probably a few too many pieces of bread and chips dipped into the pesto, and a bowl of cereal not long before bed. All in all a pretty low-fat, high protein, high carb day, which is perfect for after lifting weights. (I’ll explain why at some later date, I’m sure.)

The weight training program I’m following now is a low-volume version of the one I’ve been doing for the last few months (and having great success with): the GZCL method, invented by an amateur but very competitive powerlifter. It’s a good bit more volume than I had been doing in the past, but I think I’ve reached a point where in order for my old-ass muscles to actually grow, I have to hit them super-hard and eat a lot, which is what I did for about the last 3 months. Hopefully I added a bit of muscle along with the fat, and hopefully I can keep the muscle while I lose the fat.

Essentially the GZCL method has you program exercises in a variety of rep and weight ranges, taking advantage of the different responses your body has to different stimuli. For decades, a traditional “bodybuilding” split has involved high reps (8-12 reps in 2 or 3 sets) and medium weights, and a “strength” split has involved low reps (1-5 reps in 5+ sets) of high weights. I believe that a good routine will involve both: you increase your strength with high weight stuff, and then you exhaust the muscle with lower weights to stimulate hypertrophy. That’s what GZCL does: you do 10-15 total reps (broken up into small sets, obviously) at greater than 85% of your max (Tier 1), and then you do 20-30 reps at 65-85% of your max (Tier 2), and then you do 30+ total reps at below 65% of max (Tier 3). Tier 1 is one of the big compound movements (Bench press, squat, overhead press, deadlift); Tier 2 is one or two exercises that support the movement from Tier 1; Tier 3 is 2 or more exercises, also to support the Tier 1 movement. As originally programmed, you do one movements and the accessory tiers per day, training 4 days a week.

Something that I like to do is switch around accessory work from one area to another, as long as lower body stays with lower body and upper stays with upper. So on bench press day, I might do 5 sets of 3 reps at 85% of my max (that’s Tier 1), but then I might do overhead press, 4×8 at 65%, supersetted with chin-ups (the OHP Tier 2; I’ll do the bench Tier 2 on “OHP day”). Then I’ll do incline bench and rows, 4×12 or 3×15, using a weight that allows me to complete each set with 1 or 2 reps left in the tank.

The problem that I had is that, right now, I can only find time to lift twice a week. Luckily, I’m also a big fan of full-body training over any kind of split, so I would double things up: bench press, then deadlift, then OHP accessory, then some squatting, then some Tier 3 upper body stuff, and then a bunch of core work (usually leg raises and romanian deadlifts). The problems with this are 1) it’s super exhausting, and 2) it takes forever. My workouts were routinely over 90 minutes, sometimes even pushing two hours, and I had a lot of issues with nagging injuries because my form on some exercises got bad because I was so tired.

Since I’m cutting fat and not trying to add muscle for the next 5 months, it doesn’t make much sense for me to have all that extra volume. So what I’m doing for the foreseeable future is to keep doing 2 full-body workouts a week, but giving myself a hard time cutoff of one hour. If all I get into that hour is Tier 1 stuff, so be it. If I get through the Tier 1 stuff in 35 minutes and have some time, I’ll move on to Tier 2. I don’t see ever really getting to Tier 3, but I’ll also be doing bodyweight stuff every day of the week so I’m not crazy concerned. I’ll have done the bulk of the necessary stimulus to maintain muscle (as long as I get a ton of protein), and I won’t be overworking and risking injury. Yesterday was Bench and Deadlift, and I did only Tier 1. This didn’t bother me too much because I knew I’d also be getting in my 30 chins and pushups, plus some plank work, but my workout was barely over 50 minutes, including a 5 minute warmup. I’m sore today, but that’s mostly because I’d taken 2 weeks off from lifting because of illness.

Yesterday’s workout: Bench (5×3 @ 210lbs), Deadlift (5×3 @ 340lbs), 30 chins, 30 pushups, 60s plank
Today’s weight: 233 (+2 pounds, probably because I weighed myself in jeans, and yesterday was a carby workout day, which always leads to water retention)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>