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  1. #1
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    ElrondHubbard Clawing My Way Back

    I've finally decided to start a journal here, mostly because I think now I have a journey worth tracking, and maybe a program that can get me at least most of the way there. And, because the rest of you guys inspire me.

    My last logged workout was November 19 of last year, a week after my diagnosis with throat cancer. I spent the next two months following my doctors advice -- "Just EAT", he said. I ate everything I could get my hands on and gained 7 pounds in those two months. Then the radiation treatment kicked in, I lost the ability to swallow, my caloric intake plummeted, and I spent the rest of the treatment until the end of May dealing with infections, tube feeding issues, and generally not feeling well, my weight dropped from 176 to 149.

    The cancer now seems to be in remission, I've got most of my old energy back, and I've manged to build my weight back up to abut 155 pounds. I still can't eat or drink, so I'm getting my nutrition and hydration through a stomach tube, but even with that, I'm averaging about 2800 calories and 3.5 liters of water a day -- a little more than when I was working out before. I don't know how long it will be until my ability to swallow returns, but for the purpose here it doesn't matter. I'm not waiting. Friday I had a tube removed from my arm where I'd been getting antibiotic IV's every night. With that obstacle gone, I'm ready to start lifting again.

    Tonight was mostly an evaluation to see where I need to start from. My program is heavily based on Madcow, a three day full body program that increases weights every week. The first step is to establish baseline strength by finding my 5-rep maxims on the lifts. I did 4 lifts tonight, Bench, Barbell Row, Squat, and Overhead Press. I can't say I was surprised by how much my strength has deteriorated, but I have a LOOOONG way to go.

    5-rep maximums:
    November 20016:
    Bench -- 205
    Squat --255
    Row -- 235
    OHP --120


    July 9, 2017:
    Bench -- 105
    Squat -- 95
    Row -- 105
    OHP -- 60

    Obviously the treatment took a lot out of me. But I'll be getting it back. Tuesday I'll get a baseline on Incline press and Deadlift, and Friday I'll begin my first full workout week. I'll keep the results posted up here, and I hope you folks will keep me honest.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  2. #2
    Registered User mirroroferised's Avatar
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    Great to hear you're able to start lifting again. You've been through a lot in the last year. I'll be following along in here for sure.
    365 255 480 in April! ...2019
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  3. #3
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    My second evaluation workout was last night. DOMS was everything I expected from Sunday -- intense. I did some light squats, but I could not get to parallel -- my quads were so sore and my knees so stiff that I couldn't bend them full range even without the weights. I did the best I could, though, and today the DOMS is starting to fade. My midweek session replaces the bench with the incline, and the row with the deadlift, so I worked on establishing my 5-rep max with those. The results were consistent with my other exercises: I've lost well over half my strength since the break. I got 74 pounds on the incline vs 175 back in November, and my deadlift is down to 155 from 360 earlier.

    I'm not discouraged, though, now that I've got numbers to work with the actual program can begin. I'll start my normal workout on Friday and follow up on Sunday and Tuesday.

    My program will be as follows:
    Code:
    Friday:
    Each set adds between 10 and 15% to the weight on the bar for all exercises.
    Bench, 5x5
    Squat, 5x5
    Row,   5x5
    OHP,   5x5       
    
    Sunday:
    Incline Bench, 4x5,  Each set adds between 10 and 15% to the weight on the bar.
    Squat,         4x5,  First 3 sets are the same weights as Friday's progression, 4th set is the same as the 3rd.
    OHP,           5x5,  First 4 sets are the same weights as Friday's progression, 4th set is the same as the 4th.
    Deadlift,      4x5,  Each set adds between 10 and 15% to the weight on the bar.
    
    Tuesday
    All exercises are  4x5 + 1x3 + 1x8:  The 5th set uses the weight calculated for Friday's 5-rep maximum, the 6th set uses the same weight as the 3rd, but adds reps. 
    This is the heavy day, leaving me with two days of recovery before the cycle starts again on Friday with about 2.5% added to all the weights.
    Bench, 4x5 + 1x3 + 1x8
    Squat, 4x5 + 1x3 + 1x8
    Row,   4x5 + 1x3 + 1x8
    OHP,   4x5 + 1x3 + 1x8
    Bottom line is I should add 2.5% per week to my load. It will be 4 weeks before I hit the maximums I measured on Sunday and Tuesday, by then I should have acclimated enough so that they will no longer feel like maximums.
    I'll keep this progression going until I stall, after which I reset back 4 weeks and try to work my way up again. This is the essence of Madcow, and it worked very well for me before my hiatus. I'll tack on accessories such as pushups and calf raises, and once I've gotten strong enough, I'll add pullups.

    It will be interesting to see how this progresses.
    Last edited by ElrondHubbard; 07-12-2017 at 10:13 PM.
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  4. #4
    Recovering Weakling RT1957's Avatar
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    Wishing you all the best in your recovery!!
    "You got soul and everybody knows that its alright".....Curtis Mayfield........"Eat to be strong weights and reps"....Me....."leave the gun take the cannoli".....Fat Clemenza

    "Believin is alright just don't believe in the wrong thing"....Sonny Boy Williamson

    "You know you're over the hill when your mind makes a promise your body can't fill"......Paul Barrere Little Feat
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  5. #5
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    And here we go, last night was my first workout "in anger" for my long-term program. Last Sunday and Tuesday were mostly evaluations to determine where I need to start, last night was the actual start. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was entertaining a fantasy that somehow in the intervening days most of my old strength would miraculously return and the puny weights I have mapped out would seem way too easy, but then reality stepped in. It actually felt heavy. It's going to be a long trip back, but at least I've finally pulled back out of the pits.

    Squat:
    44x5
    55x5
    66x5
    77x5
    89x5

    Bench:
    49x5
    61x5
    72x5
    85x5
    97x5

    Barbell Row:
    49x5
    61x5
    72x5
    85x5
    97x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    44x5
    44x5
    50x5
    57x5

    One measly pullup
    15 calf raises each side
    10 pushups

    It should get better from here.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  6. #6
    Registered User mirroroferised's Avatar
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    Doing great man. Absolutely no rush
    365 255 480 in April! ...2019
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  7. #7
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you're back at it! You always gave solid advice, so [i]medicus cura te ipsum[/] (Google translate for "Doctor heal thyself ).

    Two stories about positive attitude: one is my mom's who had a mastectomy in 1986 and the other is a much younger friend (son of a co-worker) who was involved in a serious automobile injury. Both were told things by people who had no idea what their mental attitudes were. Fast forward 30+ years and my mom is still cancer free, and 5 years later my friend is not only walking again, but he was able to attain his life long desire of becoming a police officer after a year-long rehab and after passing the physical fitness test by the county.

    You can do this!!!
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  8. #8
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys. I know I shouldn't be in a hurry, but I'm impatient by nature. Accepting this is a real effort, but I does feel good to be at it again. And other than my lack of performance, I really do feel great right now.

    Bit of inconvenience due to the fact that I have a GI tube sticking out of my abdomen, the bench and the row tend to hit the clamp that seals off the tube, and a couple of times the clamp came open during a rep. So far no leakage, and no real problems for my abdominal muscles. It'll probably get easier when I can actually eat and drink again, right now the only way to moisten my mouth is to rinse and spit.

    It was nice to be able to do that single measly pullup, I've been trying to do one without success for a few weeks now. That's progress!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    It was nice to be able to do that single measly pullup, I've been trying to do one without success for a few weeks now. That's progress!
    Congratulations. You're now officially in better shape than everyone your age (100% serious!)
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  10. #10
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    Congratulations. You're now officially in better shape than everyone your age (100% serious!)
    In a way, that's the most depressing thought of all!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  11. #11
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    I've lurked in this section on occasion for a long time, without feeling like I had anything worth contributing, and in those lurks I've always enjoyed IronWill's photos of his post-workout meals. I can't eat anything so appetizing, in fact I can't eat at all, but I do have a way of getting the nutrients I need.

    Every day I ingest 6 cans of a prescription formula called "Jevity" which provides me with 2130 calories and 90.6 grams of protein. Obviously that's not enough, so I've taken to making myself a smoothie every day as a fourth meal. It's based on 2 cups of whole milk, which adds another 300 calories and 16 grams of protein. I then add in some leafy vegetables, and some fruit, mostly based on how full I can stuff the blender.

    So here's today's complete meals:


    Today's smoothie included spinach, red cabbage, baby carrots, a banana, a pear, strawberries, and blackberries, with a dose each of liquid CoQ10 and Omega-3 fish oil. After subtracting whatever sticks to the side of the blender and whatever my wife has a sip of, I'm left with about 800 total calories for a total for the day of 2930. The protein grams of 114 is a bit short of my goal of 120, but it's close. That's a bit of a surplus, but my weight gain is very slow if it's happening at all. I can't taste it, of course, but my stomach still sends my brain a message telling me it's good stuff.

    Sometimes my greens choices will consist of kale, or collards, or chard, and I'll occasionally include beets, or peanut butter, or peaches, pomegranate, or raspberries. Ive also added baked squash. There are plenty of variations I still want to try.
    The bottom line is that even though I'm not eating, I'm still eating pretty good.
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  12. #12
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    My Sunday night workout was light on squats, but it adds the deadlift. I felt better, there's still a trace of soreness in my upper thighs, but I think I was able to get to full depth. I'm going to need to video myself to know for sure.

    Squat:
    44x5
    55x5
    66x5
    66x5

    Incline Bench:
    49x5
    59x5
    69x5
    79x5

    OHP
    44x5
    44x5
    44x5
    50x5
    50x5

    Deadlift:
    90x5
    110x5
    127x5
    145x5

    2 measly pullups in two sets (almost got a double on the first set)
    22 pushups in two sets, 12 + 10

    I do feel like progress is being made, and I'm anticipating getting a 2-pullup set on Tuesday. Never thought that would have been a major event, but now it is!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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  13. #13
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Finished cycle 1 Tuesday night. It felt good -- I thought my form was better, my movements were crisper. I felt just a little bit stronger. Progress may be beginning!

    Squat:
    44x5
    55x5
    66x5
    77x5
    90x4
    66x8

    Bench:
    49x5
    61x5
    72x5
    85x5
    100x4
    72x8

    Row:
    49x5
    61x5
    72x5
    85x5
    100x4
    72x8

    OHP:
    44x5
    44x5
    44x5
    50x5
    59x4
    44x8

    Also did a total of 3 measly pullups in two sets, which means I actually got two reps on the first set! I'm counting that as progress!
    Add to that 16 calf raises, 24 pushups in sets of 13 and 11, and the needle is slowly moving up.

    Cycle 2 starts Friday, with the weights just a smidge heavier.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  14. #14
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Started my second week last night. Been kept busy with doctor visits most of the day, so I got home later than I hoped, and I really didn't feel very energetic when I started, but I got everything done regardless. Weights still very light, and the increases will all be very gradual.

    Squat:
    45x5
    56x5
    67x5
    79x5
    90x5

    Bench:
    50x5
    621x5
    75x5
    87x5
    100x5

    Barbell Row:
    50x5
    62x5
    75x5
    87x5
    100x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    44x5
    44x5
    51x5
    59x5

    Three measly pullups in two sets. I came very close to getting a second pullup on the second set, but I'll try again Sunday.
    20 calf raises each side two sets each.
    Two sets of pushups, 15 + 14.

    Still not getting much, but just starting my second full week, and there's no rush. The soreness from the first week has pretty much disappeared, so things are feeling pretty good.

    Also, manged to actually drink some water and part of a soft drink yesterday, so my swallowing ability seems very close to returning. Things are looking up.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  15. #15
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    A lot of good journal entries on this section lately...

    Sunday night was the midpoint of training week 2. It felt good. I wasn't exactly a bundle of energy, but I hit all the assigned targets and improved on the pullups and pushups. It's starting to feel like a habit again, which is great!
    Week 2 Day 2.

    Squat:
    45x5
    56x5
    67x5
    67x5

    Incline Press:
    51x5
    61x5
    71x5
    81x5

    Deadlift:
    92x5
    112x5
    130x5
    147x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    44x5
    44x5
    51x5
    51x5

    Accessories: 3 sets of pullups, 3 reps, 2reps, 1 rep. Big improvement considering that 2 weeks ago I couldn't do any!
    2 sets of pushups, 17 and 16 reps. Slowly moving up.

    Tuesday I'll finish out week 2.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  16. #16
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    3 sets of pullups, 3 reps, 2reps, 1 rep. Big improvement considering that 2 weeks ago I couldn't do any!
    Awesome! Keep up the great work.
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  17. #17
    The Bringer of rain thebigzakbowski's Avatar
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    in for support. everyday getting stronger and stronger before too long be throwing massive weights and downing cheeseburgers like me Stay strong!
    https://youtu.be/RGHV67vZ0MM 435lb Bench SS 7/8/17
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    my log: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=174243471&p=1508621311#post1508621311
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  18. #18
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    You sir are a warrior! Good luck in your recovery!
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  19. #19
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Thanks, guys! I haven't really faced the question yet, but the idea has occurred to me if my strength improves quickly, do I accelerate the progression of the program, or do I stick to it as written? I don't want to sabotage my progress by biting off more than I can chew. But I don't want to hold myself back if I don't have to either.

    So far, not an issue. But a possible debate with myself down the road.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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  20. #20
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    the idea has occurred to me if my strength improves quickly, do I accelerate the progression of the program, or do I stick to it as written?
    Adding 2.5% per week will get you very strong very fast. I suspect that you'll still be lifting 10 years from now so whether you reach your potential in 10 months or 5 months isn't too significant, so "steady as she goes."
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  21. #21
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    Adding 2.5% per week will get you very strong very fast. I suspect that you'll still be lifting 10 years from now so whether you reach your potential in 10 months or 5 months isn't too significant, so "steady as she goes."
    I'm sure I'll stall before I get to that point! But you're right -- patience is the quality I need the most and have the least of.

    Last night I was definitely feeling an increase of strength in most areas. According to Madcow, on the last workout of the week (Which Tuesday was) instead of a 5-rep maximum I should use the weight from next Friday's maximum and do 3 reps, then for a sixth set drop down to my third set's weight and do 8 reps. So last night I cheated a little and did 4 reps and 9, respectively. I figure if they get too heavy for me I can decrease as needed. It felt good last night, though.

    Squat:
    45x5
    56x5
    67x5
    79x5
    94x4
    67x9

    Bench:
    50x5
    62x5
    75x5
    87x5
    102x4
    75x9

    BB Row:
    50x5
    62x5
    75x5
    87x5
    102x4
    75x9

    OHP:
    44x5
    44x5
    44x5
    51x5
    60x4
    44x9

    Accessories:
    Pullups:
    3
    2
    1

    Calf Raises:
    25
    22

    Pushups:
    20
    17
    12

    I didn't technically increase my pullups, nor did I expect to, but I came awfully close to getting a second rep on my third set. The pushups felt good, and I think those will increase fairly quickly. The calf raises are just bodyweight right now, one leg at a time, but sometime soon I'm going to start with some weight on them as I get stronger.

    The mental resistance to working out seems to have disappeared, and I look forward to getting started every workout night.

    Weight this morning was 160, up 11 pounds from two months ago when I was at my worst, and up 4 pounds from the time of starting the workouts again. I need to be careful not to gain too much too fast.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  22. #22
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Started week 3 Friday night. Once again, I was on the road all day and got home later than I planned, so it was a late workout. It was still good, though. I followed the program as scheduled on all lifts, and surprised myself with the increase in my pullups!

    Squat:
    46x5
    59x5
    69x5
    81x5
    92x5

    Bench Press:
    52x5
    65x5
    77x5
    90x5
    102x5

    Barbell Row:
    52x5
    65x5
    77x5
    90x5
    102x5

    OHP:
    44x5
    44x5
    45x5
    52x5
    60x5

    Accessories:

    Pullups:
    4
    3
    2

    Calf Raises:
    28
    25

    Pushups:
    22
    20
    15

    The fourth pullup rep was kind of marginal, but I did (barely) get my chin level with the bar. The second rep on the third set was really strong, unlike my attempt last Tuesday.

    I had my first outing in the desert today for the first time in over a year, exploring ancient petroglyph sites. Probably only a couple of miles total walking, but that was still enough to trigger muscles in my legs that haven't been used in a long time. My swallowing was also a little bit improved today, so I'm making progress on every front. I'm convinced that the lifting is accelerating my healing process.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  23. #23
    Hammy Hammy Hobbes thehobbes's Avatar
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    Subbed. Great progress going on in here, already getting back to busting out pull ups! I wish you the best with your recovery, keep kicking ass!
    Current PRs:
    Bench Press: 200x1
    Deads: 315x1
    Back Squats: 275x1

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  24. #24
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Midspoint of week three tonight, and officially a "light" workout. Seems like I've been on the go every day lately, and I'm a little worn out. I hope to do more relaxing in the upcoming week.

    Squat:
    46x5
    59x5
    69x5
    69x5

    Incline Bench:
    52x5
    62x5
    72x5
    84x5

    Deadlift:
    95x5
    112x5
    132x5
    152x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    44x5
    45x5
    52x5
    52x5

    Accessories

    Pullups:
    4
    3
    2

    Pushups:
    24
    20
    17

    The pullups felt harder tonight for some reason. I got the same numbers as last time, but it seemed to take more effort. I did improve my pushups, though.

    Small steps!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  25. #25
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thehobbes View Post
    Subbed. Great progress going on in here, already getting back to busting out pull ups! I wish you the best with your recovery, keep kicking ass!
    It'll be nice having you here, thanks!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  26. #26
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Finished week 3 last night. So far, I suspect it's been mostly progress on my CNS response, from here on out I'm looking for actual muscle development.

    Squat:
    46x5
    59x5
    69x5
    81x5
    95x4
    69x9

    Bench:
    52x5
    65x5
    77x5
    90x5
    105x4
    77x9

    BB Row:
    52x5
    65x5
    77x5
    90x5
    105x4
    77x9

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    44x5
    45x5
    52x5
    61x4
    45x9

    Accessories:
    Pullups, 4+3+3 -- 10 total
    Calf Raises, 30+26 -- 56 total
    Pushups, 25+21+19 -- 65 total

    I struggled with the pullups, but I got that third rep in on the third set, which was my goal. It might be a while before I can do 5 on the first set, but I'm working at it. My totals are still less than what I could previously do in a single set, but I need to not get frustrated by facts like that. It is what it is, and I'll do what it takes, however long it takes.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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  27. #27
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Started Week 4 last night, slow progress continues. This is where my top 5 reps are equal to what my 5-rep maximums were when I tested my strength prior to starting. That was all I could handle at 5 reps, last night I did 5 at those weights and felt like I still had a few in me. So that's a little improvement... From here, it's onward and upward! I again struggled with the pullups -- I tried to get 5 reps on my first set, but couldn't quite make it. I did get 4 reps on the second set, which was an improvement by 1, but then collapsed on the third set and barely completed 2.

    Squats:
    47x5
    59x5
    71x5
    84x5
    95x5

    Bench Press:
    54x5
    66x5
    79x5
    92x5
    105x5

    Barbell Rows:
    55x5
    67x5
    80x5
    92x5
    105x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    44x5
    46x5
    54x5
    61x5

    Accessories:
    Pullups, 4+4+2 -- 10 total
    Calf Raises, holding 10-lb dumbell, 30+28 -- 58 total
    Pushups, 26+24+20, 70 total.

    Body weight is holding steady at 160, my body fat estimate is between 14 and 14.5% percent, both of which are acceptable numbers for my current circumstances. I hope for my weight to go up slowly as my strength increases. I'm currently on a calorie surplus, I'll have to be watching closely to make sure I don't gain weight too fast. I finished up my antibiotics yesterday morning, so for the first time in seven months I'm off all medications. I should start re-establishing my gut flora next week, with any luck that will aid the rest of my healing. We'll see.
    Last edited by ElrondHubbard; 08-05-2017 at 03:23 PM.
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  28. #28
    Hammy Hammy Hobbes thehobbes's Avatar
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    Putting in major work with all those compounds and the bw pull ups! Pull ups are just plain hard, for everyone. I generally see people at the gym doing a total of zero pull ups in their workout lol. Congrats on being done with all the meds.
    Current PRs:
    Bench Press: 200x1
    Deads: 315x1
    Back Squats: 275x1

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  29. #29
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thehobbes View Post
    Putting in major work with all those compounds and the bw pull ups! Pull ups are just plain hard, for everyone. I generally see people at the gym doing a total of zero pull ups in their workout lol. Congrats on being done with all the meds.
    Thanks, Hammy! I've been accused of being off my meds before, but this time it gets to be really true!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  30. #30
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Tonight was the midpoint of Week 4, and deadlift night. As before, I got all my original maximums, while still feeling I had two or three reps in reserve. It feels good to be back on track and working towards getting to where I was seven months ago, and hopefully beyond. It was a light session for squats and OHP, but I had the incline press and deadlift to challenge me.

    Squats:
    47x5
    60x5
    71x5
    71x5

    Incline Press:
    54x5
    64x5
    74x5
    85x5

    Deadlifts:
    97x5
    117x5
    137x5
    155x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    44x5
    46x5
    54x5
    54x5

    Accessories
    Pullups, 4+4+3, 11 total
    Pushups, 28+24+22, 74 total

    I was a little smarter with the pullups this evening, in that I didn't push it to failure on the first set. Could I have done a fifth rep? Maybe, I came pretty close Friday night. But the attempt cost me a rep later on. Tonight I managed to get a third rep on my third set, which upped my total reps by one. As thee weeks go on I'm sure I'll increase as I need to.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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