Phano's Training Journal #4

Yesterday was my birthday. So, I did NOTHING all day and I'm not feeling guilty about it one bit. I didn't even stick to my diet. Yesterday was the first day in an entire week that I actually cheated on my diet.

3/11/2002, Monday: Hamstrings

Yesterday was my birthday. So I did NOTHING all day and I'm not feeling guilty about it one bit. I didn't even stick to my diet. Yesterday was the first day in an entire week that I actually cheated on my diet. But as of this morning, I was back on the program. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day along with today's hamstring workout. I arrived at the gym a little early to deal with some test stress. Dave arrived a little bit after I did and we changed and started our workout. We began with our usual 5 minutes on the bike. We talked some mess and then headed to the mat for some stretching. Now it was time for war. I knew I was going to have an awesome workout today because I was well fed, well rested, and highly motivated.

We began with lying leg curls with feet positioned together on the padding. Starting at 60 lbs for 15 reps, then 100 lbs for 15 reps, followed by 140 lbs for 12 reps and then 160 lbs for 8 reps. I could feel a bit of tiredness in my hamstrings from our last quad workout but I was stoked, nonetheless. We then headed to the Strength and Conditioning Room 2 to perform unilateral leg curls. I love this exercise! I believe this exercise should be used if you want outstanding hamstring development. Then again, what do I know? We began with 70 lbs for 15 reps per leg. I always make sure to train my weaker hamstring first. In my case, it is the left one. I guess that's what I get for all of those days of unilateral hamstring neglect. Damnit! Next it was 140 lbs for 10 reps per side. Then it was 160 lbs for 8 reps per side. I knew I didn't have much left and that I was much weaker than last week. But you know what? I don't care because I was having an awesome workout so far. For my final set, I dropped back to 140 lbs because I wanted to get in at least 8 good reps, which I did. Dave and I then made our way back to the main gym to perform the ever so brutal Romanian deadlifts. Fortunately for us, some guy already had 135 on there so all we had to do was start our warm up sets. I stepped on the platform and banged out 12 easy reps. Then it was 225 for 8 more easy reps. Then it was 315 for 6 easy reps.

Now it was time to work and boy did we work! I slapped on 365, the most I have ever used for this exercise. All I could do was just stare at the weight and think about how much it was going to hurt. Then I decided to just do it! As I picked the weight up, I could feel all of my muscles tightening just to control the weight. Then it was time to perform my set. I squeeze out 4 perfect reps but I felt that if I attempted even one more rep, the entire barbell could have crashed along with my body. Better safe than sorry, ya know. I was barely able to rack the weight and when I did, I just fell to the floor trying to catch my breath. Next came lying leg curls with our feet positioned part on the padding. Only two sets here. Why? Because I have nothing left. With 120 lbs, I managed 12 reps. I remember hitting the wall after 9 reps here. I just kept pulling with my hamstrings but I felt as if I was doing nothing. On my final set, I squeezed out 10 more reps. Once again, I hit the wall after 6 reps but Dave wouldn't let me quit. Most importantly, I wouldn't let myself quit!

3/13/2002, Wednesday: Chest

I didn't get much sleep the night before so I didn't feel as refreshed as I normally do. I think I got about 5 hours compared to the 8-10 I usually get. Ugh! Nothing a couple of Xenadrine tabs couldn't take care of though. I felt extremely confident about today's workout. My anxiety levels were low and I was well fed. I also felt "springy" in my pecs today. I felt as if I could get a pump from just posing. This meant one thing: my muscles were full of glycogen.

We started today's workout with the usual 5 minutes on the bike. This time went by fast today because we were talking to one of our female friends. Then it was time to stretch the sore hamstrings. This was nice to say the least. Now it was time to do our work on the incline bench press. We started off with 135 for sets of 15 and 10 stretching and using isometric tension in between sets to get that pump. After 2 sets, my chest was already filling with blood. Then it was 185 for a set of 6 and then another set of 4. These sets were all extremely easy for me today. Next came 225 for a set of 7. I'm so happy with my progress this training term. Dave and I are improving in ALL of our lifts each session. With constant improvement, it makes you want to look forward to each successive training session. Next came 235 for two sets of 5. I'll be damned. That's heavy as piss for me. I don't know if it was my mind but the 2nd set seemed lighter than the first despite getting 5 reps on both sets. I just felt in a better "groove" on the 2nd set. Next came incline dumbbell flyes using 70s on my first set. I managed 8 reps.

Today, the gym is quite packed. The reason is because spring break is next week for UGA and all of these students want to look good at the beach. Let me ask you something? What the hell is the logic behind doing all of this work only to blow it all in a few days? And for what? Will someone please explain it to me because I just don't get it. I am willing to bet that after the break, the gym will be just as quiet as it once was. Only then will Dave and I be able to train without being bombarded with a plethora of questions. Now back to blasting the pecs. On the second set of dumbbell flyes, I struggled with 75s for 7 reps. We lowered the incline to a "2" as opposed to a "3" or "4" and it felt hella good to change it up a bit. I was sweating profusely and we had only done a total of 9 sets, including our warm up. Now that's intense! Next came flat dumbbell presses for two sets. I used 85s for both sets and managed 7 and then 6 reps. Yeah, my pecs were pumped like hell but I knew it wasn't over yet. Next came one set of flat dumbbell flyes using 75s for only 5 reps. This was hard! Sometimes I feel a pulling sensation in my right pec which feels like a tear but I know it's just me straining.

Next came machine bench press for two sets. I like this because it's all pushing and no ancillary muscles to worry about. I started at 150 for 10 reps and then finished with 170 for 7 reps. For some reason today, the more I did, the more blood I pumped into my chest. One more exercise and we would be done. The finishing movement today would be the usual high cable crossovers. Using 70 lbs per side on the first set, I managed a grueling 10 reps. On the second and final set, I used 80 lbs per side and squeezed out what seemed like an impossible 9 reps. I just couldn't feel my pecs anymore after about 4-5 reps. But with Dave calling me a pussy and goading me on, I'm not going to quit. There is no quit in my heart or in my mind. The only quit which lies in me is in my muscles. They just stop and I cannot do anything about it. What a work out! I actually feel the soreness already and it's only been about 9 hours since the training session. I'm really looking forward to our next chest training session.

3/14/2002, Thursday: Back

For the second day in a row, I didn't get as much sleep as I normally do. I woke up tired and groggy and I didn't even take any Xenadrine NRG. I figured I would just rough it and wait to use the 20 mg of ephedra I a lot myself daily as a preworkout booster. I squeezed in the usual two breakfast meals before my workout and even got in a small nap. Now it was time to train. I took a tab of Dymetadrine Xtreme by AST Sports Science, 4 g of glutamine, and 500 mg of Vitamin C about 30 minutes before training. When it was time to train, I still couldn't feel the ephedra. Hmm....receptor attenuation perhaps?

It was really nice in the gym today because it was nearly empty. I guess everyone has decided that they've done all they could have done for their spring break ventures. Whatever! I decided to veer from our usual pull-ups by doing barbell rows first using a pronated grip (overhand). We slapped on 135 and starting the punishment. For my first set, I got an easy 15 reps. I then used 135 once again for another easy 10 reps. I was amazed at the pump that I had already attained. Then we put on 185 and performed two more warm up sets. I managed a controlled 10 reps followed by another 6 reps. Now it was time to work. We slapped on 225 and for my first work set, I got 10 reps. This was still kind of easy so I decided to put on 245 for my last set. I managed a strict 8 reps. Yeah, these hurt but they hurt so damn good!

Next came seated cable rows using a pyramiding system once again. On the first set, I used 120 for an easy and controlled 10 reps. I can't recall the last time I've bombed my back by performing two rowing movements in a row. I normally alternate a rowing motion with a pulldown motion but today, I decided to give our backs a shock from hell. For the second set, I used 140 for another 10 reps and for the final set, I used 160 for 9 reps. My mid-back was feeling it today! Next came front pull-ups using a grip a few inches wider than shoulder width for only two sets. This was so much harder than normal. I managed 8 and then 6 reps respectively. Next came 1 arm dumbbell rows. I don't like this exercise because I haven't learn how to feel the movement properly but today was a different story. We set the bench at a slight incline and pulled the dumbbell more to our chest and concentrated on starting the movement with our scapula and then pull with our elbows. What a difference this makes. Using a 100 lb dumbbell, I squeezed out two sets of 12 reps per side.

Next came T-bar rows using a neutral grip. On the first set, I only used a 45 lb plate and managed 10 reps. Then on my second set, I upped the poundage to 90 and got 7 reps. By this point, I couldn't get anymore of a better pump by doing any rowing motions so I decided to perform one more pulldown movement. Next in line was v-bar pulldowns starting with 100 lbs for 10 reps. Then came the final set using 110 lbs for 7 reps. This back session was very similar in intensity as last week's and I'm feeling it already. I know I've train my back hard enough when only a few hours later, I feel a tightness in it. Now all I have to do is wait for the soreness to set it.

3/15/2002, Friday: Shoulders

The gym was actually quite busy today, believe it or not. Today was the last day of classes before spring break was officially in so I expected it to be empty but was I ever wrong. I guess these spring breakers are trying to get one last workout in before their venture to the beach or wherever they are headed. Today was shoulders and I was feeling good. My diet has been perfect, my head was on right and I got some good sleep the night before. Now I was ready to rock and roll! After the usual bike and stretching routine, we began with some abdominal work today. We performed three sets of decline crunches all for 20 reps each. With each set, we added progressive resistance making sure to concentrate on the contraction. The poundages went like this: bodyweight, 25 lbs, and 45 lbs.

Next came seated knee ups for 3 sets of 20 reps back to back. Now it was time to do some shoulders. First came a pre-exhaust movement: standing dumbbell side laterals for three sets. On the first set, I used 15 lbs for 15 reps, then 20 lbs for 10 reps and finally 25 lbs for 10 reps. All of these sets were done slowly just to get a pump in my shoulders before moving on to the bread and butter of shoulder training: seated dumbbell presses. I began with 60s for 10 reps, 75s for 8 reps, 85s for 6 reps and finally 95s for a grueling 5 reps. Now it was time to move back to standing dumbbell side laterals to add more punishment to the medial deltoids. I started with 30s for 15 reps and then 35s for 10 reps. Saying that my delts were just pumped would be an understatement.

Next came t-bar rear delt laterals. I really like this movement because it allows me to isolate my rear delts without any cheating. We used 35s for three back to back sets of 15 reps each. What a killer burn! I remember wanting to stop after 8 or 9 reps but if I quit, then I'd be a hypocrite. No room for the weak here. Next came dumbbell side laterals on an incline bench for a curve ball. We performed three sets of 10 reps using 25s to finish off the delts. Since I keep my calf training to a bare minimum, I told Dave that today he would have to train calves but I wouldn't train with him. However, I did what any good trainer should do, I directed his calf training. All in all, a good workout. My only fear is that the poundages on all of the lifts are getting to the point where attempting a lift actually scares me. Yikes!

3/17/2002, Sunday: Quads

I spent the weekend at my family's house in Atlanta so Dave and I had to coordinate a rendezvous so we could train quads together. We decided to meet halfway at a place called Fitness International. This gym is big but it's more family oriented. Definitely not a place for the likes of me or Dave. I knew today was going to be tough as hell because it wasn't a deadlift week. This meant that our quads were going to hand some heavy weight. It didn't help when the only meal I had in me was a protein shake. We started with 2 sets of leg extensions on 2 different machines. The first one didn't have a full range of motion. We did perform one set on this lackluster machine using 50 lbs for 15 reps. Then we opted to use the hammer strength leg extension machine for 15 reps with 70 lbs. Once again, a subpar machine. Damnit! I thought it was going to be one of those days. So I decided to just jump straight to squats.

We slapped on 135 and banged out a set of 15 and then a set of 10. We made sure to stretch in between each progressive set. Next it was 225 for another 10 reps followed by 225 once again for 6 reps. Now it was 275 for 6 reps and then some more stretching. I was breathing rather hard. I think this was because I was nervous and because I had taken a whack of ephedra about 45 minutes before. Whatever the case, my anxiety levels were rather high. Next it was 315 for a slow and controlled 10 reps. Next came 365 for 6 reps and finally 385 for 5 reps. All reps were performed textbook style with a controlled descent and a forceful concentric phase.

Translation: form was really good but it still hurt! Next came hack squats. Ugh! Will the pain never end?!? This machine was different than the one I'm used to at UGA but we still made good use of it. We slapped on 225 and I banged out 10 reps on the first set. Then it was two sets of 315 for 6 reps each. I could definitely tell that carbs were absent from my system in the midst of hack squats. But what could I do then? Just fight with what I had. Our final movement would be walking lunges for 2 sets of 40 alternating steps. This movement proved to be the killer because I was feeling intense pain my quads. Pain which I had not felt in awhile. After my last set, I just fell to the floor panting uncontrollably. That was the end of me for that day.

3/18/2002, Monday: Arms

I wasn't feeling exactly motivated today. I guess I thought that because it was spring break, I could use an actual break myself. My body was felt beaten, I was bad with my diet the past 2 days, I was missing my girlfriend and I temporarily lost sight of my goals. The UGA gym was the emptiest I've ever seen it. I think there were a total of 20 people in there. It was very nice to say the least. We began our workout with the usual bike and stretching routine.

Unfortunately, I was still feeling groggy and unmotivated. We began our workout with one arm preacher curls at a steep angle. Using 30s as a warm up weight, I banged out a set of 15 and then a set of 8 making sure to squeeze each rep hard. After just one set, I had already had a pump. I could tell this was going to be a good workout. Then it was 45s for a set of 9 reps per arm followed by 55s for a set of 6 reps per arm. All you can do is squeeze the hell out of your biceps and fight the negative as if your life depended on it. Damn, it hurts but I fight on!

Next came e-z preacher curls with an inside grip. We started off with 70 lbs for 10 reps and then it was 90 lbs for 7 reps. With each successive rep, my biceps become more and more pumped. Now it was time for my most hated biceps exercises: alternating incline dumbbell curls. I hate these so much! Why? Because they hurt me more than other biceps movements. Why do I do them? They work so damn well! Using 45s, I manage 2 sets of 10 alternating reps. Each set seemed to take forever but I made sure each rep counted. Next came a movement which we haven't done in awhile. Mainly because I don't like waiting for others to use the cable machines.

We did high cable double biceps curl. These are very similar to the double biceps pose you see in bodybuilding. Same principle with one exception, you have added resistance. Using 30 lbs, I bang out an easy 15 reps on the first set. On the second set, I increased the weight to 40 lbs and still managed a solid 10 reps. I did make sure to concentrate on the peak of the biceps at the top of the movement to make this exercise count.

Finally, it was time to do the dreaded dumbbell hammer curls. Using 45s, I squeeze out two sets of 16 alternating reps each. I did not force any reps here because my right elbow was starting to nag me. I guess it's time to up the dosage on glucosamine. That was it for biceps but the session wasn't over yet. We still had triceps to do. Bah! We started off with the usual two sets of dips for 15 reps per set. All this is used for is to get a pump and to stretch the triceps. Next came reverse e-z triceps extensions. I attribute much of my triceps growth to being able to perform this exercise with impeccable form while using heavy weights. Using 150, I bang out an easy 15 reps. Then it was 200 for 12 reps. I didn't perform any of my triceps exercises to failure because of that pain in my right elbow.

Next we did e-z triceps extensions just to hit the muscle group in a slightly different fashion. Using 150, I manage 12 reps followed by 170 for 10 reps. Once again, these sets were done to positive failure. Next came one arm dumbbell overhead extensions using a 30 lb dumbbell for 12 reps per arm and then a 35 lb dumbbell for 10 reps per arm.

The final exercise on today's agenda was lying triceps extension. The first set was merely a warm up to test my elbow. Using 70 lbs, I squeeze out an easy but slightly painful 12 reps. Then it was 120 for 6 reps. My arms were pumped beyond belief. More pumped than I thought they would have been seeing how I haven't eaten any solid foods all morning. I felt great after completing this arm workout because I knew I wasn't there mentally but I still made it through.