The Time Change is Bad for Weightlifting

running lateI completely forgot about the time change Sunday morning. My wife and I had our two grandchildren overnight and all of my attention had been concentrated on taking care of a 7-year-old and a 9-month-old.

So I got up at what I believed was 6:30 in the morning thinking I had an hour and a half before the gym opened. Because we had the kids, my wife said I could go to the gym at 8 and she’d go when I got back.

But even though I hadn’t changed the time on the clock sitting on my nightstand, the system clock on my computer told me the truth. As I was slowly drinking my first cup of coffee for the day and reading the Sunday funnies, I discovered to my shock that it was 7:41 a.m.

I rushed to get my gym clothes on and do whatever it took to get me out the door in a hurry. I poured my coffee into a travel cup, wolfed down a banana, and drove like a bat out of Texas to get to the gym.

I was only 4 minutes late and there was hardly another soul in the gym, with only one regular in the weight room.

With so little wake up and prep time, being in the gym felt a little disorienting, but then again, the time change, regardless if it’s “spring forward” or “fall back,” always leaves me feeling jet lagged for about a week.

I guess that’s as good excuse as any to explain my continued lagging performance with both the bench press and deadlift.

Here’s what Sunday morning and the start of my exercise week looked like.


Main Lifts

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg
5x 110lbs/49.8952kg
8x 125lbs/56.699kg
3x 140lbs/63.5029kg (joker)
1x 150lbs/68.0389kg (joker)
1x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)

Photo credit:

Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
5x 165lbs/74.8427kg
5x 190lbs/86.1826kg
6x 215lbs/97.5224kg
5x 235lbs/106.594kg (joker)
3x 255lbs/115.666kg (joker)
0x 275lbs/124.738kg (joker) -failed rep-
1x 260lbs/117.934kg (joker)

Assistance Lift

#5 LifeFitness Chest Press Machine

5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg

Core Work

Leg Back Raises
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10

Leg Side Raises
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10
Lx10, Rx10

Alternating Arm/Leg Raises (Bird Dog)
10x each side
10x each side
10x each side

Balancing on one foot
30 seconds each side

As you can see, no new PRs to boast about, and in fact, it felt like I was going backward. I could barely do a single rep on my bench press at 150 and then 155 pounds. I figured I’d better give it up right there and move on to deadlifts.

machine bench press

Compared to 5/5/5+ week of the previous cycle, I’d recalculated my weights and adjusted the weight on my 5+ set down from 140 to 125 pounds. On the other hand, I did a full 8 reps on my 5+ set, so that’s a good thing, I guess. But last cycle, I did all 3 of my joker sets with a 150 pound barbell, doing 3 reps for each set, so my performance has degraded some., well on the Monday of 3 weeks ago. On Wednesday (I was lifting 4 times a week back then), for my first joker, I did 3 reps with 140 pounds and the second 2 jokers doing 1 rep at 150.

No better and no worse for yesterday.

As for deadlifts, I’m also having problems, but not in the same way. For the last cycle, the weight for my 5+ set was 195 pounds and yesterday’s 5+ set was with a 215 pound barbell, and I did 6 reps. However, my final joker and new PR 3 weeks ago was one rep at 270 pounds.

You may recall that last week I attempted a new PR at 280 pounds and went down in flames. Yesterday, I tried to match my previous PR with a 275 pound bar and could barely budge it. I didn’t want to end my jokers with a failed set, so I reduced the weight to 260 pounds and managed a single.

I didn’t finish with glory, but at least I finished.

Frustrated with my miserable bench press, I did something I swore I’d never do. I returned to using one of the LifeFitness machines. It says #5 in the list above just because that’s the sequence number the folks at the gym taped to the machine back in the day. I figured if I wasn’t afraid of getting stuck under the bar in the middle of a rep, I could lift heavier. What could be safer than machine chest presses?

I set the seat to its lowest position, set the handles as far back, that is, as close to my chest as they would go, which was slightly behind my pecs, set my starting weight at 115 pounds, I got to it.

Wow, 115 pounds is difficult when you’re starting the press practically at your arm pits, and I could only do 5 reps. I decided to keep the weight where it was and just do 5x5s. I was getting pretty worn out by that last set, and because my wife was at home watching the kids alone, I figured I’d better cut things short.

sleepy weightlifter
Photo credit:

I did my Kasey the Killer Chiropractor core work and blew out of there. Too bad, though. Because of the time change, the place was almost deserted. I could have had my choice of any piece of workout equipment. Maybe some other time.

It wasn’t any better today and in some ways, it was worse. It was like getting up at 3 a.m. to get to the gym by 4. I was really out of gas and settled for doing just 35 minutes of cardio and then heading home. At least I did that much.

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

Mark Twain


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