Mother Nature Providing Sick Gain Conditions

Over the past few weeks Canada has been getting hit with some cold weather, and with that came the snow.  This miserable weather provided us with some heavy disgusting snow, and for many Canadians, it ruined parts of their day.  They had to spend minutes of their day cleaning snow off their cars and wait for them to warm up.  They had to dust off the snow blowers from last year to clear snow off the driveway.  They even had to use their phones to call in to their places of employment and ask to work from home because the commute was so treacherous.  For those of you thinking of us in your prayers, thank-you, we do appreciate it.

But while my countrymen were complaining about these conditions, as a gym bro, I was seeing nothing but potential for some sick gains.  You see, I don’t just go to a gym.  The world is my gym.  You put me anywhere on the planet and I guarantee you I’ll find a way to get a pump.  Some call me crazy for this, but they called Steve Jobs crazy too.

When mother nature gave us this thic white power my heart started racing (snow not cocaine).  Being the visionary I am, I saw potential for several juicy pumps to be had, let me explain them to you.

Triceps Pump: This snow was wet.  It wasn’t that winter wonderland lets have fun with the whole family kinda snow.  It was the gross, I’m all wet, let’s slip on the neighbour’s sidewalk and sue them for all they have kinda snow.  But the wetter the better when it comes to the triceps pump.  Pushing the snow with your shovel activates the triceps.  The action of pushing then lifting the snow works the various branches of the triceps.  Only problem is I’m not coordinated enough to push with my left hand, only the right.  So, my right arm got the pump and my left didn’t.  But it doesn’t bother me being a little lopsided.  I mean I rather be lopsided than small.

Ab Pump:  I don’t even know if this is a thing because I can’t see my abs.  So, I guess you could call it core activation instead.  Pushing the snow, lifting it up on the shovel, and dropping in on the neighbour’s driveway requires tons of core activation.  It was an entire core workout.  Rotating with the snow on my shovel works the oblique and lower and upper abdominals.  Talk about some sick gains.

Bicep Pump: Load the shovel with snow and get to curling.  Curling a shovel with snow on it is like curling in the squat rack.  It’s unnecessary, but I do it anyway.  I’ve often thought the best workouts are the ones you use your whole body for.  And by whole body I mean arms.  Get the bicep pump, then stand back and admire your veins.

Cardio Pump?:  I think it would just be cardio since I guess your blood is always pumping.  Burn some calories and get a sweat going then sleep like a baby knowing you’ve done your one cardio workout for the month.

Good Deed pump: Be a good citizen and shovel your neighbour’s driveway.  You get the gains for yourself, and even if they didn’t ask you to do it, they will owe you one for it.  You can call this chip in whenever you need.  Oh, the boys are “being too loud” and it’s a “Wednesday” night.  Remember that time I shoveled your driveway?  Yah boys the party is still going.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 27: Push Day

We’re back at it for push day.  Gotta admit I was sore af when I woke up, and this continued all day.  My back was aching in a good way and I felt like an 80-year-old man at times.  This is a sign of that good work.  Being sore is nothing to be bummed out about.  It’s all about perspective and how you look at it.  You can look at it from the negative, in that you’re slower, in pain, and miserable but this outlook doesn’t advance you in any way.  I prefer to look at it from the positive, in that I am in a better position today than I was yesterday.  My body aching is just growth masked by discomfort.  Nobody has gotten to where they want to be without a little discomfort.

When I walk into the gym sore, this is where warmup and stretching become important in my humble opinion.  Getting your blood flowing and stretching those tight muscles will loosen you up.  There have been days when I walk into the gym stiff as a board, but I’ll dedicate 20 minutes to warmup and stretching.  The result is that I am still a little sore, but I’ve pushed my body on the right path with recovery, and my workout will be much better.

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 5
  • Stretch of shoulder using bands
  • Band and static stretches for back

Workout:

  • Bench-press: 95 for 12, 135 for 10 for 2 sets, 155 for 5 for 2 sets, 165 for 3, 135 for 10
  • Incline Press: 60 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Incline Fly’s: 25 for 10 for 3 sets (focus on stretch and contraction)
  • Chest Press (Individual arm): 40 for 10 for 4 sets
  • Chest Press (Both arms): 100 for 10, 115 for 6, 100 for 10
  • Triceps extension superset with triceps kickback: 25 for 15 then superset to 12.5 for 10. 3 Sets
  • Overhead Triceps Cable Extensions: 25 for 12 for 4 sets
  • Rope Triceps Extensions: 30 for 10, 40 for 8, 40 for 5, 30 for 7, 30 for 6
  • Narrow Benchpress: 70 for 8 for 3 sets

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Day 24: Arms

When I work arms, the most important set for me is the last one.  This is when I pick a workout at I know will burn my arms and make them feel like they’re falling off.  I like doing a curl line as my finisher because it can be done with light weight and it’s about getting the reps in to complete the burn.  This type of finisher works your bicep and forearms to give you that last pump before you walk out of the gym.  If you’re doing this at the end of a workout, remember to try and stick with your form.  Swinging to get the weight up won’t get you the arms you want, so if need be, lower the weight or pause to make the reps solid.

Warmup:

  • 5 minutes on stair climber
  • Shoulder stretches

Workout:

  • Close grip chin-up and close grip dumbbell floor press superset: Chin ups till failure then superset with 40’s for 8 reps. 3 sets
  • EZ-Bar Curl and decline skull crusher superset: 60 easy curl bar for curl till failure then drop to 40 for skull crushers till failure. 3 sets
  • Rope Hammer Curl and Rope triceps pushdown superset: Dropset with weights on rope curls then superset with 40 for pushdown till failure. 3 sets
  • Inclined Curls: 22.5’s for 15, 25’s for 10, 30’s for 6, 35’s for 4
  • Hammer Curls: 25’s for 12, 30’s for 8, 35’s for 4
  • Concentration curls: 25’s till failure (slow and feel contraction)
  • Curl Machine: 85 for 5 then drop to 30 and hit each arm individually
  • Concentration Curl Machine: 40 for 8, slow and focus on stretch and contraction
  • Curl Line: 30’s regular curl for 8, 25’s hammer curls for 8, 20 half curl for 8, 15 reverse curls (forearm) for 8.  Repeat 3 times

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 21: Chest Day – Asking for Help

When I started this journey of wanting to bench 225, I knew it would be a challenge.  Mentally I am still in the zone and know I am headed in the right direction.  Physically I feel like time trying to make gains a little to quickly which is compromising my form.  One thing I have noticed is that when it comes to the bench-press, my form is sloppy when I am putting more and more weight on the bar.

I work out alone, and often don’t have a spotter or motivator with me.  This limits me when it comes to the bench press because I often stop a rep or two short of what I could do if I had a spotter.  The spotter is that mental and physical safety net.  It makes the pump so much better when you are able to go to failure on the bench and have the spotter help you get that last rep or two up even thou they claim “it was all you”.  If you are like me and workout alone, I cannot stress enough how important it is to not be afraid to ask for a spot from a random.  If your gym isn’t full of douches, chances are someone will be glad to help.

I work out at the same time most day, which means I see the regular gym crew there most nights.  It’s the same 10-30 familiar faces that I see on a day-to-day basis, which gives me some comfort when asking for a spot.  Most of these guys are stronger than me, but they see me there almost every night so they respect the grind.  When I ask for a spot, I also ask them to keep an eye on my form.  I don’t just want them to help me get the weight up, but to also let me know if my mechanics are off.

When I was benching in the previous week, I asked one of the regulars for help spotting one of my 155 benches.  I wanted some feedback on my form, and this dude being a bodybuilder, was well educated in lifting iron and more than capable to give some feedback.  He told me that I was flaring my elbows when I was coming up, and that was the only mechanical issue that he saw.  This is a common mistake in benching.  When you are bringing the bar down, you need to keep your elbows tucked in closer to your body to avoid injuring your shoulders.

So, on this chest day, I stuck with a weight that I knew I could easily handle (135), and spent a good half hour continuously doing sets with perfect form.  On each rep, I was carefully watching the mechanics of the lift, and ensuring that I didn’t flare my elbows.  Form is something that you can master at low weights, but you should make sure once you start progressing, that this form doesn’t deteriorate.

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 5 to get heart going
  • Shoulder stretch

Workout:

  • Bench-press: 95 for 12, 135 for 12 for 5 sets, 135 for 10, 135 for 9, 135 for 8, 135 for 7, 135 for 6
  • Incline Press: 50 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Chest press machine: 100 for 12, 115 for 6 for 3 sets (pause reps)
  • Inclined chest press machine (one arm): 40 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Cable flys (downward): 22.5 for 15 reps (hold and squeeze in middle)
  • Cable flys (upward): 15 for 12 reps (hold and squeeze in middle)
  • One arm triceps extensions superset with triceps kickbacks: 30 for 12 then superset with 12.5 for 10. 3 sets
  • Overhead triceps extensions: 17.5 for 12 for 4 sets
  • Skull crushers: 40 for 8 for 3 sets

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Day 12: Arms

Today was about those glamour muscles.  It might be late November but were prepping for beach season with this workout.  Working out arms is a fun time for this guy.  Once you get that bicep vein showing like mine has been lately it puts motivation in front of you in the form of a mirror.

Part of why so many start working out and then trail off is because they don’t see results and get discouraged.  They can feel the results of a workout, the fatigue, the soreness, and the tightness, but they don’t see any results.  The reality is that it takes weeks if not months to start noticing visible differences with your body.  If your able to push through the first few weeks and then start noticing visible changes in your body, it changes the game up completely.

This ties into an earlier post and the importance of visualization.  When the results haven’t come yet, you need to rely on the vision that you have set for yourself.  This vision will dictate how long you’re in the gym, how hard you’re working, what you’re eating, even how you spend your time out of the gym.

Once you make your first set of gains and the mirror verifies this transformation, it motivates you.  In a way, it makes things easier, because you have proof that you’re closer to your goal.  Each rep and set you do now brings you closer to achieving your vision and you can see each workout bringing you closer to your goal.

Warmup:

  • 10 minutes of stair climber

Workout:

For this workout, I followed a men’s health routine I saw online which I don’t normally do but I do like changing up my workouts from time to time.  I must say this workout had my arms feeling pumped after the workout, but I thought it was a bit short.  A few more finishing exercises could have been thrown in there at the end, but that’s just one man’s opinion.  I did like how they included a video of every exercise so you know how to preform each movement.

  • Close grip chin-up and close grip dumbbell floor press superset: Chin ups till failure then superset with 40’s for 8 reps. 3 sets
  • Zottman curl and eccentric overhead triceps extension superset: 25’s for 8 then superset with 20’s for 12. 3 sets
  • EZ-Bar Curl and decline skull crusher superset: 60 easy curl bar for curl till failure then drop to 40 for skull crushers till failure. 3 sets
  • Rope Hammer Curl and Rope triceps pushdown superset: Dropset with weights on rope curls then superset with 40 for pushdown till failure. 3 sets
  • Flexed-Arm Carry complex and Plank Walkup Superset: 15’s for carry then superset to plank. 3 sets
  • Inclined Curls: 22.5’s for 15, 25’s for 10, 30’s for 6, 35’s for 4
  • Hammer Curls: 25’s for 12, 30’s for 8, 35’s for 4

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Day 9: Chest and Triceps

Time to get back at it and hit chest hard.  I had a great day training back yesterday, time to carry that positive energy into my next workout.  The length of my workouts are getting longer but my body is starting to feel stronger and I can handle the increased length of workout physically.  The main obstacle for me at the moment is mental focus.  After about an hour my mind starts to wander and I lose my focus on the lift.  Since Goodlife now has Wi-Fi (clutch!), I can throw on some motivational videos to get me back into the lift and push me through to the end.

Warmup:

  • 5 minutes on stair climber to get my blood flowing.
  • Upper body stretch.  Focus on shoulders to get them loose

Workout:

  • Bench-press (pyramid up and down): 95 for 12, 135 for 10 for 3 sets, 155 for 6, 155 for 4, 165 for 2, 135 for 8
  • Inclined Press (Drop set): 65’s for 6 then drop to 40’s for 10.  Three sets of this
  • Inclined Fly’s superset with dumbbell shrugs: 30’s for 8 reps then 70’s for 10
  • Fly Machine: 115 for 8 for 2 sets, 130 for 8 for 2 sets (focus on squeezing contraction)
  • Chest Press Machine: 50 for 8 reps for 3 sets. One arm at a time.  55 for 4 reps
  • Cable fly’s: 25 till failure (not counting reps) for 3 sets
  • Triceps Pushdown (straight bar): 50 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Triceps Pushdown (rope attachment) (drop set): 40 for 8 then drop to 20 till failure for 3 sets
  • One Arm Triceps Pushdown superset with triceps kickbacks: 30 for 8 then superset to 12.5’s for 10
  • Dips: 3 sets of 6

I walked out of the gym feeling tired.  It was a good lift which makes two in a row for me following my rest day.  Life’s about rhythms.  When your feeling it in the gym, keep at it and every time you walk into the gym, get to that place mentally where you feel locked in to put in that good work.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”