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Thread: Journal of an American Dragon page

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89

    Journal of an American Dragon

    Primal Fuel
    I was born in the Year of the Dragon and I'm a 14+ year martial artist. Hence the thread title.

    Fitness Goals

    Gain 10 lbs. of muscle
    Build maximal strength and strength endurance
    Improve my conditioning


    Exercise Preference
    Bodyweight

    Current Physical Stats
    24 year old male,178 lbs., 6í0Ē



    Current Training

    Iíve been using Overcoming Gravityís template for about 7 months. Essentially,two supersets of bodyweight exercises: vertical push/vertical pull/leg and horizontal push/horizontal pull/leg. These are my numbers from the last cycle I finished:



    Ring dips: 3x6, pullups 2x7,1x6, pistol to bench 3x4/leg, ring wide pushups 3x7, ring wide rows 3x6, and box step-up 3x4/leg


    Planned Training

    Iím about to start using Alistair Ramsayís Gymless protocol. It fluctuates volume weekly: 1 week low rep/low volume (3 sets/exercise),1 week low rep/high volume (5 sets/exercise),1 week high rep/low volume (2 sets/exercise,to failure),and 1 week high rep/high volume (4 sets/exercise, to failure). Use exercises I can do <10 reps of for the low rep weeks and >10 reps for the high rep weeks. Iím making the switch so I can work on max strength and strength endurance without completely ignoring either. Iím more interested in being all-around fit than just strong. And I need strength endurance to pass the military PFT when I get in.


    I toyed with the idea of using Ross Enamit's protocol from Never Gymless, where I train ABA, BAB style every two weeks. I decided to use Ramsay's template because it makes it easier for me to know when to adjust exercises (every four weeks, change exercises). I am using the progressions from Overcoming Gravity when I need to progress exercises.

    Schedule: 3/week resistance, 1/week sprint (I really need to start doing these), 1/week muay thai class, and daily joint mobility/slow movement (I plan to buy Supple Leopard when I return to Chicago).

    As I get stronger, I will start working isometric gymnastic holds and explosive plyometrics into the programming. Maybe I'll start supersetting isometrics+dynamic or explosive movements. But that's for the future.


    Current Diet

    Paleo with occasional dairy. 2000 cal/day non-workout,3000 cal/day workout (2500 cal/day average)



    Macros: 60 % fat/28% protein (175 g/day)/12% carb (100 g/day from vegetables)

    Future Diet
    I want to gain 10 lbs. of muscle mass using bodyweight training while keeping my carbohydrate consumption about the same (basically all from vegetables, because I like them). Using the IF calculator at IF Calculator, I find I need to eat 2564 cal/non-workout day and 3419 cal/workout day (set to ďLean Massing (-10%/+20%)Ē). I will eat about 190 g protein/day (eating for the weight I want). The calculator tells me this will take about a year to hit my mass gain goal. I'm okay with that.

    I bought lots of cheese today to increase my intake to 2500/3500. I'm willing to let my calories drop a little on non-workout days (2000-2500), but I'll keep protein the same. After I eat through the cheese, I am going to drop dairy. I want to try stricter Paleo: meat, fish, vegetables, fats, occasional fruit and nuts. I'll even cut butter and cook using animal fats and coconut oil. That's an experiment to see if I can handle pure Paleo.


    Current Resources/Limitations
    I have gym access for another month as part of my internship, then Iím back to school. I have no gym access there because I cannot afford it, particularly with the increased food budget I anticipate. I have a pullup bar, gymnastics rings, and a weight vest that goes to 100 lbs. in my apartment. Time is not an issue; I prioritize my workouts.



    I will try to keep this thread limited to my food and fitness stuff, and maybe the occasional adventure-post. No talking about law school or career plans or any of that. This will be a purely non-law escape for me. Please talk back! I've tried doing the challenges at Nerd Fitness and inevitably it just becomes me posting my reps for the day and no responses ever. I'd like this to be an ongoing conversation with like-minded people. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    Copying some of the advice I got in the other thread, the one that inspired this journal:

    jakejoh10:
    I would suggest slowly increasing calories to the point where you're gaining weight steadily. If you're not gaining weight or even losing weight, it's a sign that you need to up the calories. If you gain weight with 2,500 calories, stick to it. Making drastic jumps in calories is a great way to gain the wrong kind of weight.

    Don't eat until it hurts, don't do GOMAD, just steadily increase calories until you're gaining weight steadily. No reason to take extreme measures.
    Paraphrasing jakejoh10: eat more and progressively overload to build muscle

    Gorbag:
    You can sure build muscle on a high rep bodyweight program, but it is important to go close to real failure on a few sets, concentric & eccentric, and make progress on what you are doing! Pyramiding up to an ALL OUT set on an exercise with negatives after concentric failure is a method that works for muscle building. You must also be in a calorie surplus with enough protein, carbs and fatÖ

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    Before pictures (taken 08 Jul 13, immediately after waking up)
    The bathroom mirror was the best I could do.

    2013-07-08_06-08-14_406.jpg2013-07-08_06-08-36_289.jpg2013-07-08_06-08-49_585.jpg2013-07-08_06-09-37_664.jpg

    The workout
    I'm trisetting the first three exercises, with about 1:30 rest between each exercise. I leave one rep in the tank every set, and I'm going to aim to beat my totals with each workout. And there's a warm-up and cool-down every time.

    Pistol to bench: 4/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg = 12/leg
    Ring dips: 6, 5, 4 = 15
    Pullups: 6, 5, 4 + 1 three-stop negative = 15 + 1 three-stop negative

    Tuck L-sit: 2 x 10 seconds (on bench)
    2/1 plank: 5/leg, 4/leg

    Finisher: max sprinters in 2:00 = 47/leg

    It felt really good. I like that I'm focusing on three primary exercises now instead of six. It lets me be more mindful when performing them. I decided that I'm going to throw in isometric negatives on the pullups because I really want a strong back.

    The food
    A can of coconut milk blended with cocoa powder and left in the fridge (coconut chocolate mousse) for breakfast, just because I made it late last week. That was before I had committed to this "build moar muscle" plan and was going to do my usual high-fat PWO meal.

    Short rib chili for lunch. A pound of steak, cooked in butter, with a sauteed onion (cooked in the drippings), and 8 oz of raw blue cheese for dinner. It managed to hit protein and calories pretty much spot on (190/3400). I had a small epiphany though. I really like vegetables. If I am going to be eating lots and lots, I'm going to focus on hitting my protein and calorie requirements. Aside from that, vegetables should make up a much larger part of my diet than they do presently. I can't keep slamming high-fat stuff and be happy. Sauteed and roasted vegetables are damn tasty, and they'll bring some attendant fat along with them. So I'm not going to try to restrict myself to 100 g of carbs every day. I'll just eat veggies, fill in the blanks with fat, and if I go over 100, so be it. It'll be vegetables. Who can go wrong with eating their fill of vegetables? I'll still be hitting my protein and calories, so th' heck with it. That'll take one variable off my mind.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    Kickboxing yesterday was un-fun (or as not fun as kickboxing can be; it's a great time, really). We did a bunch of isometric kicking drills that were brutal on my hip. Clearly I've lost some flexibility. And then we did a drill where one person had his back to the wall while the other punched at him for two minutes. You were allowed to parry and/or slip. I just wanted to follow the first punch back and start hitting or grappling! My evasion abilities are terrible, and I just had this panic surging up when punch after punch kept coming at me. It was all good though. Steve (the other student) and I had a good time with it.

    Workout
    The kickboxing workout left me too drained today for a finisher. I think, as long as I'm kickboxing, I'm going to do a finisher every other workout instead of every workout. But everything else went great.

    Pistol to bench: 5/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg = 13/leg total
    Ring dips: 6, 5, 5 = 16 total
    Pullups: 6, 5, 5 = 16 total (no negative because I improved my total)

    Tuck L-sit (bench): 2 x 15 seconds
    2/1 plank: 5/leg, 4/leg

    And I've got a pound of ground beef simmering in a can of tomatoes and italian seasoning for my PWO meal, with some Comte cheese. Buying the cheese was unwise; now I have to eat it all! And the fat is displacing vegetables. Eck. I'll deal, I've only got 2 blocks of cheddar and one of gouda left.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    Workout
    Pistol to bench: 5/leg, 5/leg, 4/leg = 14/leg total
    Ring dips: 6, 6, 5 = 17 total
    Pullups: 6, 5, 5 + 1 three-stop negative = 16 + 1 three-stop negative

    Tuck L-sit (bench): 20 sec, 15 sec
    2/1 plank: 2 x 5/leg

    Finisher: crab walk across the gym and back. It took me one minute. My wrists were pretty sore (it's a concrete floor and I don't know how great my form was), so I called it instead of going the full two minutes. I think I might start taking my gloves in and doing a few hard rounds on the heavy bag as a finisher. Or alternating between that and a burpee progression every other workout.

    Next week I start my low rep/high volume work. Same exercises, just five sets instead of three. Once I get back to Chicago, I might go to consistent volume across weeks by doing four sets every workout. My tentative plan is to switch to ABA format: A = maximal strength and B = strength endurance. And I would have a sprint day in there, probably on Saturday, with joint mobility on every other day. I need to start shoring up my weaknesses, which are conditioning and strength endurance. Following the PBF guidelines, I'll stick to one sprint/week for now. Jason Ferruggia also recommends four days of hard training with joint mobility on off days, which ties in perfectly. I'm toying with the idea of adding a vertical push (handstand pushup progression) and a horizontal pull (inverted rowing progression), but I'm not sure if that's too much volume or not. If I went to that, I'd do three supersets (four sets/exercise). When I stop kickboxing and get more recovery on my non-lifting days, I might be able to handle that kind of volume.

    We'll see.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    First of all, kickboxing today was great. We did our usual 3 rounds of jump rope, pushups, and crunches, but then we did 3 rounds of shadowboxing, followed by 3 rounds of just beating the tar out of shields laid on the ground (from the mount). And then rounds of pad/bag work. Holy awesomeness. I love going nuts like that.

    I had a long talk with sahbumnim Jeremy after class. He wanted to know how I found his school, so I told him that story, and then we started talking about the business of running a school. He really encouraged me to open up shop somewhere if that is my dream. It's certainly something I've been thinking about. I think where I stand in relation to martial arts is this: I want to teach tang soo do as a part of the WTSDA. I would teach the curriculum I was taught to gup students, but I want to explore the old ways of the martial arts. Before they went mainstream, they were used in combat. They were used to kill or do great bodily harm. They had to get toned down for mass consumption. I want to learn and understand how the techniques were performed in the old days. I love the hyungs and the self-defense and the sparring, but I want to step deeper than the mass consumption curriculum. The hyungs can be the key to that deeper understanding. I think that is what Mastery means to me; not just teaching the Art to others, but connecting with the Art on its terms. And I want to train in judo to shore up the deficiencies of tang soo do.

    After a week of increased calorie eating, here's my breakdown: 3033 calories/day (average) and 188.9 g/day protein (average). That's pretty good, considering the amount of cheese I bought. I'm about 200 calories over TDEE and 500 calories over my pre-mass gain average daily consumption. That's a pretty good step up, I think. I'll see how it goes before I decide if I will tinker more. I think I am going to do the ABA format when I return to Chicago. I want to work handstand and L-sit progressions every workout, and I'll do a dip/row progression on A and a pushup/pullup progression on B. Unless I can get good surfaces to work hip extension progressions on, I'll stick with pistol progression on A and B days. The handstands are going to be my shoulder work until I can do freestanding handstands. Then I'll start working on dynamic handstand pushup progressions. I think dips are too valuable to switch out for pike pushups.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    This was my first low rep/high volume workout. It nearly smoked me. I felt weak going into round 3, but I persevered.

    Pistol to bench: 5/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg, 3/leg = 20/leg
    Ring dips: 6, 5, 5, 4, 3 = 23
    Pullups: 6, 5, 5, 4, 3, = 23
    Tuck L-sit (bench): 2 x 15 sec.
    2/1 plank: 2 x 5/leg

    I'm finishing my cheese today! No more cheese! I can stick with meat, which makes me oh-so-happy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    I took a much-needed rest last night. I felt really spacy all day yesterday and decided not to go to kickboxing. Good thing too. I slept from 2100-0610 without getting up once. It was wonderful.

    Pistol to bench: 5/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg = 21/leg
    Ring dips: 6, 6, 5, 4, 4 = 25
    Pullups: 6, 5, 5, 4, 4, = 24
    Tuck L-sit (bench): 20 sec., 15 sec.
    2/1 plank: 2 x 5/leg

    I also decided to do a high-carb PWO meal today. So I have two large acorn squashes baking right now (about 4 lbs.) and a flank steak coming to room temperature. Mmmm... steak and squash.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    I got home from kickboxing tonight and decided to have a Ritter Sport bar (71% dark chocolate). 100 grams of tasty, but I think the dark with whole hazelnuts is better. Anyway, that put me at lifting-day calories. And I gave in and got a Snickers at work today. Ugh.

    I'm clinging to the knowledge that, in the long run, my average intake isn't going to be affected. Heck, it might even be good for my bulking goals. I may make the high-carb/low-fat PWO meal a weekly staple. Once a week, knock out one of those. Although I keep hearing I need at least 250 grams minimum to see real muscle gain. And that's on the Nerd Fitness boards, which I have a lot of respect for. Too much conflicting information! And of course I'm afraid of gaining fat or damaging my long term health for more muscle.

    Sigh. Chin up and move along.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    89
    PrimalCon New York
    I took leave today, so I was able to get an early-morning workout.

    Pistol to bench: 5/leg, 5/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg, 4/leg = 22/leg
    Ring dips: 6, 6, 5, 4, 4 = 25
    Pullups: 6, 6, 5, 4, 4, = 25
    Tuck L-sit (bench): 10 sec., 15 sec.
    2/1 plank: 6/leg, 5/leg

    My dips did not advance, but I don't feel bad about it. They jumped by two last time. I decided to do the tuck L-sits on my knuckles. That made it easier for me to activate my upper back and shoot for a packed shoulder position. I didn't get it perfectly, but it felt a lot better. I'm going to need a pad or cushion when I get back to Chicago so I can keep doing it that way until I'm more comfortable with that shoulder position.

    And because I'm on leave, I'm going to Land's End today to see the Pacific Ocean again.

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