Quick Update… lessening of the weights (sort of)

A lot happens in 8 weeks and I’ve been trying to figure out what to write the past week, as I really, really want to start writing more. I know what you’re thinking. “What about your mega-diet-workout plan?” Well, I’ve decided to lower priority on working out hardcore. While the results have been slow, they seem to be less than “typical” results.  Maybe my expectations were too high? Maybe I asked too much of my body?

However, my technique for lifting has consistently improved and I think in the long run, that’s really what I’m the most proud of given that around 3 years ago, I wasn’t able to do a squat properly, let alone 5 reps for 165. I’m also meeting with a dietician ever so often and keeping on a lower carb diet (I’d say keto, but again, I’m limiting the hardcore talk and saving it for my voice acting.). But I need to get back into other sports.  It’s just not fun anymore and darn it, it’s hurting to try hard.  Ha ha.

In looking back in the kid days when I would gobble down hordes of Chicken Nuggets, Fries and other junk, I’ve come a long way and I’m not even an athlete. So I’m proud of myself in finally getting rid of the fat boy look from the past and I’m about satisfied with how I look given my genetics.

It isn’t a ripped, hard look, but I can see my abs if I flex the middle. I may not be strong by some standards, but I’m lighter on my feet.

So I think now it’s time to focus and consolidate things. The inner kid needs some loving along with others… like the world or perhaps the universe even.

After Week 8 of Starting Strength

May 18th/20th (After 4 weeks)
80×5 Press
105×5 Bench
165×5 Squat
215×5 Deadlift

149.8 lbs (May 20th) ~ 17% bf.

June 22nd/24th (After 8 Weeks)
Squat 165×5*
Bench 125×3
Press 80×5
Deadlift 225×5
Power Clean 45×5

153.6 lbs (June 24th + 3.8 lbs. Total, +9.2 lbs) ~18%bf

I found out shortly after Week 4 that I was doing hi-bar squats which was the type of squat I wasn’t supposed to do. You know, having the bar on top of your traps. The heavy weight was hurting my shoulders. Also, the hi-bar is quad dominant whereas the low-bar allows you to get your glutes and hamstrings involved a lot more (huge time-saver). So I ended up having to completely reset my weights back down to around roughly 115 lbs before building back up to 165 with the low bar as my rear shoulders didn’t have the flexibility nor strength to hold the heavier weights.

The immediate benefit of the low bar is that the combo of the back of the shoulders and the arms stabilizing the bar made it almost pain free after my muscles got used to it. So I no longer need a towel to shoulder the pain. HAH! But the real difficulty is unracking and making sure everything was in a good spot. My work sets are heavy and in some cases, I’m taking 5 seconds to get my breath in a good spot. Cardio work, another time-saver.

Not really happy with the plateauing of the deadlift and press. Looks like I’ll have to eat more. For convenience sake, most of my protein sources have been whey isolate shakes for 3 of my meals while at lunch is where I get my meat. So now that I’ve had a good look at this over 4 weeks, it’s not working. So, based on chatting with a personal trainer I knew that I sometimes meet on the commuter rail, it looks like I’ll have to start eating a ton of chicken breasts. Yikes.

So right now, I’m trying to settle on an indoor grill solution of some kind without spending a fortune. Though, like my new desktop computer which I originally budgeted for around $600, which ended up being close to $1000, I tend to think the same will happen.

Resting didn’t go to well this month either as I’ve been busy with work and personal things happening. So I think that was also a huge factor So I’m going to try to train on a 1 day on, 2 day off schedule on a permanent basis and focus on freeing up time and resting. There’s stuff to be said about myself not having the time to experience what a 20 year old experienced, (I’m 31 now) but more on that later.

I don’t think I’ve gained too much fat, or at least I hope I didn’t. The jeans definitely filled out but I can still fit in a regular men’s 32 for now. I’ll have to make sure carbs remain down as I tend to put on fat fairly easily.

But all in all, getting the squat back up to snuff with the low bar version and the bench going up (with some spotting) has helped but no doubt I’m in a plateau situation. Which is why, this week, week 9, I’m taking the week off to heal, not think too much about the diet and just relax.

During the past 2-3 weeks I’ve also learning the power clean. Very strange experience doing it. I think I may have to find someone to teach me through it.

 

Physique vs. Female Bodybuilding

A couple weeks ago, I attended the Toronto Pro Supershow event promoted by the IFBB and the Ontario Physique Association. It was a bit nostalgic as for 3 seasons I’ve produced bodybuilding and fitness coverage for a couple websites I used to own and operate. For fleeting moments, it was good to be around people again.

One of the biggest conundrums that have always been around the sport in the IFBB sphere is the presentation of the muscular female body. Pop culture in the mainstream has always presented the more slender, curvaceous girl as ideal. Thank god that the Ms. America look is not really promoted too much in Canada and is only as good as those presented in fashion modeling but the issues with that look has already been explored time and time again.

The IFBB, being the highest profile physique promotion in the world right now continuously faces challenges in promoting the female body in a way that relates to other athletic women. Before, there was just Female Bodybuilding, where you have a female version of women who build a well-defined, muscular body that aesthetically pleasing and still looks female. Like most athletic driven events, there is always the motivation to keep pushing the envelope harder, and the women grew bigger and bigger and bigger. To the untrained eye, as in most people in society, female bodybuilders look far less female and even treated less as female. In some cases, some women are being called “sir.”

Don’t get me wrong. A Tina Lockwood to me is just as much female or more so than a Christina Hendricks. But to most, one has more desirable body attributes for a female than the other.

Fast-forward to today where the IFBB now has way more divisions in their sport than the guys do. Let me list them in order from bodies that are more like mainstream women to more like strongwomen.

  • Bikini
  • Figure
  • Fitness
  • Physique
  • Bodybuilding

Physique was the latest addition to the lineup to address women who competed in figure but had an affinity to build a hard, ripped, but not big body.  This division I think was made for the lightweight, smaller female bodybuilders who can’t ever hope to compete against the likes of a 140+ pound heavyweight. Neither figure competitors who consistently find themselves too thick to be desirable nor not as flexible to perform splits and flips like fitness competitors.

In my mind, I think this division should have been invented first well before the others.  But, as the business model dictates the change, so too does the criteria of the “best” female body.

I managed to nab some video footage of some judging during the final rounds in each division. Compare for yourself and comment here about what you think.

Female Physique

Female Bodybuilding

For more from this show, check out the playlist on my channel - http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6752D9758359856E