summer solstice 2012 four week wrap up

Four weeks ago I announced a new plan for training and body recomposition, which I initially viewed as a “challenge” cycle (see “new four week cycle: summer solstice 2012″ from May 27th). I had great ideas for dietary self discipline in there, including: daily IF, weekly 22 hour fast, whole-foods Michael Pollan style eating, low alcohol, and more sleep. But I failed to keep to all of those ideas. At least I didn’t gain a lot of weight. Diet wise, the cycle turned out to be more of a regular old “maintenance” period.

Shorter Training Cycles: Thumbs Up

On the bright side, I did complete almost all aspects of my training plan and I feel good about it.

Having just finished this four week cycle, I can report at least some positive results. First off, I should say that I love love love my new approach to programming! It feels much more respectful to my aging body and easily distracted mind. I am speaking, of course, of my latest idea to keep training cycles short, and to optionally take rest or play weeks between cycles (see “the idea of a shorter training cycle”, also from May 27th).

By the end of four weeks of 3x per week of strength, auxiliary work, and conditioning, i.e. about 12 workouts and probably 9 conditioning sessions, I was burned out. But it was so meaningful and helpful to know that I could take a week of playing around if I wanted to (and would do so), and then would also be changing up my training routine for the next cycle.

I can stay focused on training for four weeks. I can make measurable gains. Then rest and recover, if needed. And then move on to something new, without losing sight of my larger goals, and benefiting physically and mentally from changing up the routine.

Summer Solstice 2012: Notes On The Work

My Numbers from May 27th to June 23rd, 2012
Summer Solstice 2012, The Data

My work this month was pretty good. I started out with a plan to drop about 7 pounds of fat, to move my body from 202 lbs (on the first day) to 195 lbs (on the last), but THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN. Basically, I flubbed the “challenge” part of the plan. I cheated, broke IF windows, and didn’t eat the vegetable heavy diet that I originally thought was so important. I also drank way more often than planned (3-4 times per week instead of 1). So, the challenge aspect died. Instead, I found myself settling for a quick “weight-loss” of about 2.5 pounds, and thereafter, maintenance.

Here are the numbers, etc., from the notes file I was keeping during the program:

Week I totals:

Highest Squat 230 (Total vol/reps/average: 3340/21/159)
Highest Deadlift 315 (3030/14/216)
Highest Powerclean 72kg (158.73 lbs)
Burpee Volume Total: 105 reps
Chin-Up Volume Total: 24 reps
Dips Volume Total: 15 reps
Press Weight and Reps: 70 lbs (2 x 35 lbs KBs) x 54 reps = 3,780 lbs.
Start weight (Sun): 202
End weight (Sat): 199
Average weight: 199.57
Dietary notes: kept to plan for the most part. Drank only on Memorial day.

Week II totals:

Highest Squat 235 (Total volume/reps/average: 3530 lbs/19/185)
Highest Deadlift 325 (5170/24/215)
Highest Powerclean 73kg (160.93 lbs)
Burpee Volume Total 3 x 5 x 8 reps = 120 reps
Chin-Up Volume Total: 22 reps. (-2 vs. week 1)
Dips Volume Total: 23 reps. (+8 vs. week 1)
Press Weight and Reps: 70 lbs (2 x 35 lbs KBs) x 11 sets x 7 reps = 5,390 lbs
Start weight (Sun): 200
End weight (Sat): 198
Average weight: 199.71
Dietary notes: got off track with IF at various times. Ate late into evening on 3 nights. Had some bites of processed foods and a taco lunch (tortillas, chips, etc.). Had a tremendous cheat night on Thursday. Did drink alcohol Thursday (Beer and Wine), Friday (Beer) and Saturday too (Liquor).

Week III totals:

Highest Squat 240 (vol/reps/avg: 3025/16/189)
Highest Deadlift: 345 (3495/15/233)
Highest Powerclean: 76 kg (167.55, less than 2.5 lbs from PR)
Burpee Total Volume: 3 x 5 x 9 = 135 reps
Dips Volume: 8 + 10 + 9 = 27 reps (+4 vs. week 2, +12 vs. week 1)
Chins Volume: 8 + 8 + 9 = 25 reps (+3 vs. week 2, +1 vs. week 1)
Press Weight and Reps: 70 lbs (2 x 35 lbs KBs) x 9 sets x 8 reps = 5,040 lbs.
Start weight (Sun): 201.5 (+1.5 lbs from week 2, -0.5 lbs from week 1)
End weight (Sat): 200.0 (+2 lbs from week 2, +1 lbs from week 1)
Average weight: 199.64
Dietary notes: not too bad the first half of week. Fasted a long day from Sat to Sun. Kept regular IF schedule Mon and Tue. Mostly good quality, non processed foods, but had Pizza for dinner on Sunday. Had alcohol on Tuesday evening, and ice cream too; also Wednesday. Alcohol again on Saturday evening… a lot. And cheated with crappy foods Friday and Saturday nights. The numbers don’t lie. In spite of pulling my average daily weigh in down slightly this week, the numbers probably show I’ve gained about a pound over the past three weeks, or they show that I’ve been eating very close to isocalorically.

Week IV totals:

Highest Squat 245 (vol: 3,125; 16 reps; avg: 195)
Highest Deadlift 325 (failed on 355) (but much higher volume: 6100/24/254)
Highest Powerclean: 78kg (PR!)
Burpee Total Volume: 2 x 5 x 10 = 100 reps. Skipped third day.
Dips Volume: 12 + 9 = 21. Skipped third day.
Chins Volume: 10 + 8 = 18. Skipped third day.
Press Weight and Reps: 3 x 3 x 9 x 35 lbs KBs ( 70 lbs) = 5,670 lbs
Start weight (Sun): 201 (-0.5 lbs from week 3, -1 lbs from week 1)
End weight (Sat): 200 (0 lbs from week 3, +1 lbs from week 1
Average weight: 199.86
Dietary notes: started off on Sunday in a bad place, hung over and overstuffed from the previous day. Ate light all day. IF’d into Monday. Monday did huge breakfast, skipped lunch, good dinner, but cheat eating into the night. Tuesday did bulletproof coffee, skipped breakfast and lunch, good dinner, alcohol, IF’d into Wednesday. Wednesday bulletproof coffee… ate light on Thursday and kept IF; bulletproof fasted most of Friday too.

As you can see from this, I managed to keep my average weight below that of my weekend weight. Basically what happened was that I lost control of myself on Fridays and Saturdays and tended to undo the good work I had done during the week.

One of the numbers that I didn’t keep track of in these notes was skinfold measure. This actually improved slightly during the month (see table above). But I think my love handles must have been growing, because my waist did not improve.

If I had kept more carefully to my eating plan and had SLEPT MORE, I think I would have been able to document better progress in improving body composition. Instead, I maintained.

Lifting wise, I did not accomplish as much as I wanted to, but I felt like I pushed myself hard and helped to build a foundation for pushing into the next cycle. I did get one true PR, on the last day of the cycle, when I pulled a 78 kilo power clean.

I can do better, and will, during the next cycle.


Let me know what you think...