ca. 1999-2000 – BFS
After my bodybuilding show I was partying a lot and not taking training as seriously. I also got quite weak as a result of not lifting heavy and not squatting/deadlifting.
Routine: Bigger-Faster-Stronger (I’ve already talked about this in a previous post)
Results: My strength came back. Though I’m not sure how much, or for how long I did the program. Ironic because BFS is focused on strict record keeping, which I adhered to. But now all the papers came out of the binder and are a jumbled mess.
ca 2000 – BB Sheiko (again)
Tried this program again. Made gains, though some was no doubt muscle memory.
2000-2001 – Westside – sort of
Went to a Westside seminar taught by Dave Tate. He is an awesome teacher and a patient, friendly guy.
Routine: This is somewhat puzzling. Despite having paid attention at the seminar and thoroughly reading the 200+ page manual that I received, I did not seem to follow Westside programming very strictly. I did do speed benches and box squats for a year or two, and some other Westsidish-things: Box Squats, Good Mornings, Board Presses, RLB, Glute/Ham.
Results: I got somewhat stronger. But it would be unfair to judge Westside based on my experience. Here’s what I think was going on: At the time I worked in 2 commercial fitness gyms. There was a super-equipped athletic training center in town also, but it was only available for semi-personal training @ $15 per session. However, the owner (the one who hosted the Westside seminar) had a powerlifting team. Practices were on Fridays and it was only $5 to train that night. So I think I feigned an interest in powerlifting, even doing meets and wearing gear, when I was mostly into “general strength” (and of course bench pressing). I trained on Friday nights there for 3 years, doing the majority of my heavy training there, but all my records from those days are still there in a folder, making analysis tricky.
2001-2002 – Dinosaur Training
Around this time I got this book and was also “inspired” by the sluggardly public who trudged in and out of the gyms I worked at.
Routine: Dinosaur. Warming up, then hitting a single on a major lift. Sometimes a double or triple. Then doing HIT/Viator/Leistner-style killer assistance. Followed by strongman/grip stuff. For example, after I would hit a max bench, I might do Incline DB x 12, Chinups with weight, Dips with weight, Deadlift x 20 with little rest between, followed by captain of crush grippers and sandbag carries.
Results: Got stronger and it was very enjoyable.
2002 – Fitness Contest
My boss at one of the gyms held a “decathalon” challenge for employees. Let me see how many of the events I can recall: Trap Bar Deadlift, Bench Press bw for reps, Push Press, One Mile Run, Chinups, Sit and Reach, some deal on the treadmill where you kept increasing the elevation at 3 mph and when your HR reached a certain level you were through. And a bodybuilding posedown. So… missing a few, but I’m not gonna look em up.
Routine: Complicated split where I was training every day for strength and endurance. Like running sprints 6x a week, deadlifting 3x a week, etc.
Results: I badly wanted to win this, even though i think the prize was $20 and/or the day off. I ran a 5:10 mile, did 18 chinups, and in an upset, lost the trap bar deadlift [EXCUSE: because that poser did not allow chalk in his gym]. But I won the overall thing.
2003 – Pre-Army Training
Late in 2003 I decided to join the Army and do special-ops G.I. Joe things.
Routine: I kept on powerlifting, but gradually got weaker at it as I ran all the time and did higher reps and lots of calisthenics.
Results: Except that 20 rep squats are not the kind of endurance I needed, I was in good shape. Basic was a joke for me (okay, for most people). One funny (though probably not surprising) thing was that no matter how many internet forums you read, once you go through a single hour of a military course, you will instantly have an 800x better knowledge of what you should have done to prepare for it. This is not the time to post what to do to successfully prepare for rigorous Army courses. I’ll give you this one hint, however: Buy a rucksack. Fill it with 45 lbs of crap. Walk/jog with it all the time.
2004 – Army Training
I think I got to a gym twice this year.
Routine: Rucking, pushups, situps, chinups, rope climbing, flutterkicks, running, pushup position for hours. Calisthenics on our own in the barracks, sometimes doing “bunk-ups” (horizontal pullups off the bar under the top bunk) which I highly recommend.
Results: Um, I could almost max the PT test: approx 70 pushups in 2 min, 80 situps in 2 min, and I could run 2 miles in 13 and change. 5 miles in under 40 min. All stuff which is valuable in combat, as I once was unarmed in Iraq in t-shirt and shorts doing calisthenics when insurgents chased me @ 7 min mile pace back to the base. Sarcasm.
2005-2008 – Army PT/HIT
Routine (in the US): So every morning we had to do something dumb like run 5 miles in the snow and then do a bunch of pushups. When I could get to the gym (about 2x a week), I usually was tired, so I would do a lot of “heavy” high-rep stuff. Like squats with 315 for reps or bench 250 for some reps, do some deadlifts with 300-400 lbs.
Routine (while deployed): When we were busy, nothing but working, walking, sitting in idling Humvees, and trying to stay alive. When I got a chance, on one deployment, we had some weights at our compound. And on the bigger FOBs, if you had down-time, they had good gyms with free bottled water.
Results: Maintenance at best. And the food is really good in the Iraq chow halls, so unless you were doing missions all the time you got fat. As a note, there are plenty of great military powerlifters/bodybuilders/athletes. However, none of these guys are infantrymen (besides maybe some captains who are distance runners) They all have jobs like typist or mechanic.
Crossfit is pretty good. There, shoot me, I said it. Here’s a tip: You don’t need a $1000 certification or $20 a day to train with a bunch of hipsters. Go to the website and do the WOD and shut your stupid mouth about it.
Routine: About 250 WODs completed. In the Army, while trying to do it in lieu of official PT as much as possible. And after I got out of the Army.
Results: I got fit, lost fat, and was not very good at Crossfit. It was pretty fun, though.
Coming soon: The Final Part. AKA what I did in the weight room for the last 3 1/2 years now that I don’t have any excuses not to lift heavy weights as often as I like.