You’re Either In or Out

zombie coffee
Photo credit:

This chronic lack of sleep is getting old, especially at the gym. It’s really starting to affect the beginning of my workout, though by the end, I’m pretty wide awake.

I must have gotten some sleep last night because I remember waking up from a dream at about 3:30 a.m. but I don’t remember what it was about. That’s close enough to four to make it worth my while to get out of bed.

I’m still hovering right at about 190 pounds (86.22kg or 13.57 stone — and remember I’m just a hair under 6’3″) but it’s taken me a few days to work down my weekend indulgences.

Right now if you can picture a zombie with a really big cup of coffee, that would be me.

Just like on Monday, because of the fewer reps I’m doing per set, I didn’t seem to need as much rest today…anywhere from 60 to 120 seconds between sets depending on the exercise.

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack 4×5

5x 145lbs/65.77kg
5x 165lbs/74.84kg
5x 185lbs/83.91kg
5x 185lbs/83.91kg

Barbell Close Grip Bench Press 4×5

5x 100lbs/45.35kg
5x 105lbs/47.62kg
5x 120lbs/54.43kg
5x 120lbs/54.43kg

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift 4×5

5x 165lbs/74.84kg
5x 175lbs/79.37kg
5x 205lbs/92.98kg
5x 205lbs/92.98kg

Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack 4×5

5x 50lbs/22.67kg
5x 55lbs/24.94kg
5x 65lbs/29.48kg
5x 65lbs/29.48kg

straight bar curl
Zack Ryder preforms the perfect workout. Photo credit:

Barbell Standing Curls 4×5 plus 2 bonus sets

5x 60lbs/27.21kg
5x 65lbs/29.48kg
5x 75lbs/34.01kg
5x 75lbs/34.01kg
6x 75lbs/34.01kg (bonus)
6x 75lbs/34.01kg (bonus)

Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack (bonus sets for practicing form)

6x 135lbs/61.23kg (parallel)
6x 135lbs/61.23kg (parallel)
6x 135lbs/61.23kg (parallel or below parallel)

Overhand Grip Body Hang w/Shoulders Engaged (bodyweight)

x30 seconds

Dead Hang (bodyweight)

x15 seconds

Even after a glass of water, cup of coffee, and a few carbs and some protein pre-workout, I was still kind of out-of-it when I walked into the weight room. I didn’t think so, but that first set of squats was murder. It was only when I ducked under the barbell to get ready for the second set, did I realize that for the first set, I hadn’t gone as far forward as I should have.

As a result, the bar was resting on my lower neck instead of my upper traps. No wonder I didn’t feel very effective.

Actually, for all 4 sets of squats, I didn’t quite make it to where my thighs were parallel to the floor. I instituted a “fix” for this by the end of my workout. You’ll see.

120 pounds for my two working sets of close grip presses really gave my triceps a good workout, but it wasn’t as tough as my two working sets of deadlifts at 205 pounds. It was getting the barbell off the floor that was the hardest part. The deadlifts themselves I was able to power through. Makes me worry about the next two weeks when the weight will continue to increase.

overhead press
Photo credit:

Overhead presses were challenging and did push me but they were definitely “doable”. I didn’t have any worry that I wouldn’t be able to finish the full 5 reps for each working set.

As far as curls go, I may have set the weight a little light, because I got two bonus sets in after the regular sets at 6 reps per bonus set. My biceps better appreciate this by getting stronger.

I wanted to make sure my legs got a good workout but I didn’t feel like doing hack squats, so I went back to the squat rack, put a modest 135 pounds on the bar, and practiced good form including getting my thighs at parallel to the floor for each rep. During the third set, I even made a few reps down past parallel and yeah, it was hard. I grunted some embarrassing noises on the way back up.

Only 135 pounds for three bonus sets at 6 reps per set, but I really felt it in all the right places.

I was just about out of time and I was tempted to skip my body hang exercises, but I went for it anyway. I think my lats, traps, and delts are getting stronger because I was able to pull myself up and hold myself in position a little higher than in the past.

I’d really like to believe I’m getting measurably stronger rather than just backing off of my “personal best” weights for various exercises and then approaching them again.

The next two weeks will tell the tale as I attempt weights I’ve never lifted before, especially on back squats and deadlifts.

At the halfway mark in my first five-week round, I don’t think anything incredibly dramatic has happened in terms of fat loss, size or strength increase. Of course, I’ve been chronically tired this week so it’s tough to tell.

Woman doing squats
Photo credit:

I can see that between the beginning of this morning’s exercise and its end, my energy level shot up quite a bit. Of course, it sunk back down after I was seated for a bit.

As I was walking out of the gym, I spoke with Everett, one of the older guys who’s a morning regular. We exchanged the same “old guy” pleasantries about the importance of keeping active so we can keep up with our grandkids, but it was a conversation younger men and women wouldn’t have understood.

Older folks have traditionally been taught that it’s all downhill after age 60 or 65. And yet, a bunch of people in their 60s and a few in their 70s show up 5 mornings a week between 5 and 6 a.m. to push around weights and get in some cardio.

It would have been easy for me to wake up exhausted and tell myself that I needed more sleep, but I didn’t. Well, I guess it wouldn’t have been easy. I’ve gotten pretty used to the gym. The guilt of not going would have pushed me out of bed, even if I let myself be tempted to stay under the covers.

I need to keep pushing. I need to keep testing my limits. I need to find out how strong I can get. I’ve got a future. We all have. It’s just a matter of grabbing it by the throat and making it take us ahead year by year, decade by decade.

As long as you’re not dead, you can achieve.

Arnold and Lou
Arnold and Lou working out together

Speaking of achieve, I just saw a brief video of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno working out together. It’s been almost 40 years since they both appeared in the film Pumping Iron (1977).

I wish I could post the video, but the code I have only seems to work with YouTube vids, not those directly posted into Facebook. To see it for yourself, you’ll just have to look on Arnold’s Facebook page. It was posted yesterday (Tuesday, July 28th) at 10:41 a.m. Enjoy.

There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in-between.

Pat Riley


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