Deload and Reload

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You’d think taking a full week off from the gym would help me recover and have me coming back stronger than ever. Well, not so much.

Daylight savings time wipes me out no matter if it’s “falling back” or “springing forward”. Plus it’s still dark when I want to get up and prepare for the gym, so instead of taking a deload week at the gym, I took a no-load week. No lifting. No cardio. Nada.

It shows. My middle is getting thicker. Of course I haven’t been eating all that well lately. The missus took a two-and-a-half week long cooking and eating tour of Italy with her sister and several other women. She learned a lot about cooking and the Italian food industry, but her absence allowed me to eat whatever I wanted in any amount.

I made a big pot of chili, beef stroganoff, and a couple of Quiche dishes. The chili came out the best, but the Quiche dishes weren’t bad either. We just don’t talk about the stroganoff.

My long suffering wife returned yesterday and that means getting back to the regular routine which fortunately includes working out.

I was actually about a minute late getting to the gym and amazingly, Bryce beat me there.

Since people were walking into the place, I quickly went to the weight room and claimed the squat rack. It was actually in pretty good shape for once and I got to work almost immediately.

I noticed a new guy, dark hair and trimmed beard, maybe in his early 30s, big, buff guy.

While I was doing squats, he was in the hack squat machine, but he was facing the back, so it looked more like a modified front squat. I noticed he was squatting 322 pounds and I think he added more weight after that. He was grunting but he earned the right to do so with that kind of weight.

How did I do? Here we go.

5/5/5+ Main Lifts

Woman doing squats
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Barbell Back Squat in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 75lbs/ (warm up)
5x 125lbs/56.699kg
5x 145lbs/65.7709kg
6x 160lbs/72.5748kg
3x 180lbs/81.6466kg (joker)
2x 200lbs/90.7185kg (joker)
1x 215lbs/97.5224kg (joker)

Barbell Overhead Press in Squat Rack

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 55lbs/ (warm up)
5x 75lbs/34.0194kg
5x 80lbs/36.2874kg
6x 85lbs/38.5554kg
3x 90lbs/40.8233kg (joker)
2x 95lbs/43.0913kg (joker) -failed third rep-

I wasn’t feeling quite up to fighting weight this a.m, but I increased my working weights on the back squat by a modest five pounds anyway. Not sure why I felt low on juice. Could have been sleep or a dozen other things, but even walking into the gym, I didn’t have the confidence I usually have. A few days ago, I had this back spasm that was really annoying and hung on for a couple of days. That wasn’t bothering me, but a couple of toes on my right foot felt tender this morning. I don’t remember banging them into anything but something happened.

Actually, my squats didn’t seem a problem until I got past my working sets and into the jokers. I did have good form throughout, which was a good thing, but squatting even three reps at 180 pounds felt difficult. I kept increasing the weight but I was under no illusion that I’d be making any PRs today.

In fact, I stopped just five pounds short of my current PR, which isn’t a disaster but it isn’t great either.

overhead press
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I was pretty wiped out at this point but still facing overhead presses. My first set at 75 pounds felt difficult and I knew I was in trouble. I still made five reps at 80 and six at 85. These are the same working weights as 5/5/5+ week for the previous cycle. Something told me it wasn’t the day to increase the load for this exercise.

I was tempted not to do joker sets, but since I’d managed six reps in the 1+ set, I figured I had more in me.

I managed 3 reps at 90 but only 2 at 95. I attempted a third rep but failed it and in looking back in my log, I typically can do a triple at that weight.

Something about that failed rep told me I was done. I didn’t bother trying 100 pounds. I might have made a single, but something was off. My PR for this lift is 110 and today I maxed out at 95. I’ll lick my wounds and try again next week.

While I was doing overhead presses, the guy I mentioned earlier was doing squats in the Smith machine. I felt kind of bad since I had a feeling this fellow wanted the squat rack, but I’d gotten there first.

By the time I got out of the rack, he was doing some more leg work on machines in the main area of the gym.

I haven’t done core work in a while, so I got out a mat, laid down, and did some leg lifts. After that, I spent some time doing back extensions on the Roman chair, and rounded everything out with some stretching. By now, this guy was in the squat rack but he was doing rack pulls.

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When I got home, the missus had some yard work planned out for me, so post-all of that, I’m tired. Lower back is a little sore, not from the squats, but I could feel it when I did the last joker set of the overhead press. And no matter how strong I think my back is, bending over and doing yard work always kills me.

Hope I can get to bed early enough tonight. I’d really like to get back to doing cardio again.

We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

Carlos Castaneda


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