Snow Daze

snowIt has in fact been almost three weeks since I’ve been inside my gym and a full three weeks since I last lifted.

The weather in Southwestern Idaho has been abysmal. We’ve had the worst series of snow storms in over thirty years hit us. I can’t remember when the last time was I didn’t see snow on the ground.

Some days, the driving was so hazardous, I only took the car out if I absolutely had to, which usually was to and from work (although with my work laptop, there were a few days I worked from home).

The other thing that’s been getting me is how dark and cold it is when I wake up, even if it’s six or seven in the morning.

This morning, for instance. I actually was awake around six and 6:30, so I could have gotten up and made it to the gym by eight. But I was just so tired. I kept falling back asleep. When 8:30 rolled around, I decided to force myself out of bed, since I can’t remember the last time I slept in until nine.

I toyed with the idea of not hitting the gym, even though I have no responsibilities to stop me (last weekend, my wife was out of town, and I was the only one around to watch my grandkids).

I’d done housecleaning yesterday, so things were in pretty good shape, except for me, that is.

Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. The weather today is windy and rainy, but nothing that should keep me from working out. I put on my gym clothes, set up my workout log, and bid my wife a farewell.

I made it to the gym parking lot just before noon.

I had no idea what to expect, so I wrote both lift day workouts in my log, and a good thing, too. When I got into the weight room, someone was working pretty hard in the squat rack. I normally squat on Sundays.

I could tell he wasn’t getting out any time soon, so I switched to plan B: bench press and deadlifts.

Guess I’ll have to do squats and overhead presses on Thursday, and I hope I won’t be keeping anyone else from using the squat rack.

The irony is if I’d arrived thirty minutes later, the guy using the squat rack would have moved on, and no one used it again for another 45 minutes or so.

Anyway, I got my favorite bench press station set up and got to work. Here’s what happened on the start of the long road back to recover (again) what I’ve lost.

Main Lifts 5/5/5+

bench press
Photo credit:

Barbell Bench Press

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg (warm up)
10x 65lbs/29.4835kg (warm up)
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 120lbs/54.4311kg
6x 125lbs/56.699kg
3x 130lbs/58.967kg (joker)
3x 135lbs/61.235kg (joker)
2x 140lbs/63.5029kg (joker)

Barbell Bent Leg Deadlift

10x 135lbs/61.235kg (warm up)
10x 165lbs/74.8427kg (warm up)
5x 200lbs/90.7185kg
5x 230lbs/104.326kg
6x 245lbs/111.13kg
3x 260lbs/117.934kg (joker)
2x 285lbs/129.274kg (joker)

The guy in the squat rack was the only one else in the weight room with me when I started out, but eventually, the place sort of filled up.

I looked back in my log to mid-November of last year and decided to use those weights, reasoning, that I just couldn’t pick up where I left off (and as you may recall, I’ve been through this before).

I wasn’t searching for new PRs or trying to be impressive. I just wanted to assess where my body was and survive the experience.

I actually did pretty good on the working sets and even the jokers for my bench press. The weights were set just about right for where I am at the moment.

Deadlifts were another story.

Even the warm up sets put me out of breath, and during my working sets, I had to rest four or five minutes in-between because I was so whipped.

Photo credit:

That sixth rep in the 5+ set was murder.

I planned to do three jokers, 260, 275, and 285 pounds respectively.

Managed 260 for a triple, but it left me wiped out.

I set the barbell for what I thought was 275, and after five minutes, made my attempt. It felt really heavy and I just managed a double.

Then I discovered my mistake.

Two 45 pound plates on either side of the barbell brings the weight up to 225. Add a 25 pound plate to either side, and you get 275.

Being so tired, I didn’t notice that I put a 25 pound plate on one side and a 35 pound plate on the other. It was a miracle that the unbalanced bar didn’t throw me off, but even while lifting, I didn’t notice it.

I did notice that lifting 285 pounds for two reps totally took the wind out of me. That was it. I was done.

Gone were the illusions of doing assistance lifts or a short cardio session. I had enough energy left to do my regular mobility work and get out of the gym.

I did have one experience with some guy ripping off my two 35 pound plates while I was benching. Fortunately, I wasn’t planning on using them at that point, but you don’t just take weights from a working bench.

I felt the bench move behind me when he took the first one, and full on made eye contact when he took the second. I said to him, “You could at least ask.” He had ear buds in but could tell I was talking to him.

He ignored me, did his workout, and, to his credit, put the plates back where he found them when he was done.

If I needed to borrow someone’s equipment, I’d at least ask first. As much as I’m there to work on myself, it’s a shared space and the experience is a lot more pleasant if everyone cooperates.

I noticed I was low on gas when I left the gym (both me and my car), so I detoured to the local gas station.

I mentioned it’s windy and rainy here, right?

I’m standing outside pumping gas in my gym shorts and hoodie, and a big gust of wind comes along blowing cold rain onto me. One thing about lifting is that you get used to pain and discomfort, so I took my best manly stance and just endured it.

Snowing in Boise

Filled up my tank and got the heck out of there and back to the relative warmth of my car and then home.

I was trembling through about the last half of my workout, so my nervous system thinks I’m crazy. I’m feeling tired now, but that shower was oh so good.

Grandkids come over in a few hours which will be a joy.

Glad I got the workout in. The next challenge is getting to the gym during the week, especially at 5 a.m.

You always have a choice: be angry or laugh.

Lori Palatnik


One thought on “Snow Daze

  1. Hi. Bench Press is killer after some time off. If I miss a week due to illness or other things my bench suffers greatly. Best thing is to dial back and plough forward. I just took one week off because I was feeling sick. What triggered the break was only getting a single with 225 on deadlift (previous was 6 reps). The numbers will come back. Good luck!


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