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Getting stapled sucks.

Well, things have been moving along as they always do, albeit with a few unexpected twists here and there.

As you may have noticed, writing/updating this blog hasn’t been very high, if even on, my list of priorities. It’s not that I don’t feel the need or desire to write–to be honest, there’s been a lot of things happening in my life that I would like to share and write about, but I’ve been hard pressed to find the time to adequately do so. And, in true form, I’d rather not do something than do it half-heartedly or half-assed. But, like I mentioned above, there’s been a lot of activity in my life since my last update, and I suppose it’s time to share it.

If you want to read it, fantastic. If not, fantastic.

For starters, my relationship, illicit and forbidden as it was, was discovered just a couple of weeks after I had returned to Springfield. The parameters thereof are not necessary to delve into, since the people most closely involved with it already know the story. But, fear not dear readers, your wayward scribe has moved forward as per the norm, and life has returned to a semblance of normalcy in that arena.

My internship is going well, and I am finally, I believe, starting to get a grasp on the ins-and-outs of strength training. It’s not rocket science, mind you, but can at times seem something akin thereto. There are a number of factors to consider, and despite how badly I want it, there seems to be no clear-cut answer or solution to the situation, meaning that while there may be some degree of¬†homogeneity across the board (from sport to sport, or athlete to athlete) there are simply things that one must learn by experience, which unfortunately comes, usually, in the form of mistakes. What I mean by all that is that there isn’t a cookie-cutter program out there that can be thrown to athletes, or non-athletes, and will guarantee success.

Part of my problem is that I make things overly complicated in my own head. Yes, there are a number of factors to consider when drafting a strength training program, but it doesn’t need to be necessarily difficult. One simply needs a plan or a concept dictating where the program should lead, and then decide how the achieve that goal or arrive at the desired destination. The “trouble” comes from deciding what is most applicable/most advantageous for the athlete, and one must ask a series of questions in order to arrive at the answer; What sport does the athlete play? What are the physical needs of the sport, and what are the physical needs of the specific athlete? Where is the athlete in terms of physical development (meaning not only musculature, but coordination and proprioception)? Are they ready for advanced movements, or do they need to go through a developmental program that will create the foundation for further training?

As of now, it’s difficult for me to ask and answer these questions, considering I’m not in control of anything concerning programming. I was given the task of writing a program for the swim team, which I completed, but the final decision concerning what to implement and how to do so ultimately rests in someone else’s hands. I plan to continue the internship for the remainder of this academic year, and then move on to something else from there. What that “something else” is, I don’t know, but if life has taught me anything thus far, it’s that things tend to just happen and work out (usually) for the best. I’ve always made things work, not always on my own, but there haven’t been many times that I’ve found myself truly floundering.

Moving on from coaching and the internship, I would like to talk a bit about my lifting, which has been just as mercurial as the rest of my life lately. I came back from camp about 20 pounds lighter and exponentially weaker than when I left Springfield in May, and it’s taken me a long time to get back into the swing of things. It was very much like the Fat Bastard “vicious cycle” speech from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me–“I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s someone I’d like to get in touch with and forgive… myself.” I was weak, and because of that, I was unable to move the same weight that I had been moving before camp, and I’ll admit, it hurt my ego. Before I left for camp, I was, for me at least, strong–stronger than I had ever been before, and to be unable to match that level of strength was frustrating. So, I quit. I allowed myself to give up and not rise to the challenge that was set before me. I hardly lifted, and if I did, it was intermittent and unfocused.

I had no goals or desires. I would suit and boot to lift, step on the platform or get under the bar, and basically just dick around. Move some weight here and there, do some random bullshit accessory stuff, and get out. I didn’t care.

It took Coach Frey making fun of me to get me going again. We have an intern this year who’s a skinny fella, and Coach Frey, however indirectly, compared me to him, and it pissed me off. That next day I got straight to pulling, and almost puked my guts out. I’ve never been in great shape (since graduating college), and my work capacity has always been pretty low, but this was an all-time bottom for me. I found myself sweating and dry heaving over the garbage can while Coach Frey and Coach Sauerbry laughed. But, it got me going.

I stuck with the 5/3/1 program for awhile longer, then decided that what I needed was a change of pace. I found a conjugate method template online, plugged in my percentages, and went to town. Now I’m on my fifth week of it, and am, for the most part, seeing some substantial gains and improvements.

For those of you who don’t know, the conjugate method centers around the idea of utilizing ME (max effort), DE (dynamic effort), and hypertrophy work at the same time, all the while cycling or waving exercises/movements in order to prevent stagnation and adaptation. You perform a certain movement for three or four weeks before switching it up and performing a different variety of the same movement, meaning that for weeks 1-4 you could perform a 2-board bench press, then weeks 5-8 you could floor press. As stated above, the conjugate method employs dynamic and maximal effort work simultaneously, meaning that two days are dedicated to dynamic (speed) work while two days are dedicated to max effort work, with higher volume accessory lifts thrown in in order to promote hypertrophy and maintain/build work capacity.

It’s been fun, mainly because I’m doing different movements other than simply bench, squat, and deadlift. The variety is nice, and the rotation of exercises helps keep things moving smoothly, for the most part.

Today was a ME squat/deadlift day, and I was scheduled to perform deficit pulls, meaning I would be standing on top of a 3″ platform while the bar was on the floor, resulting in me having to pull for longer and further than normal. I was supposed to work up to a 3RM that was greater than my 3RM from last week. Last week I pulled 455×3, so I figured this week I would go big and shoot for 495. I got set up, chalked up, jacked up, whatever, and went for it.

The bar didn’t budge.

I was pissed.

I dropped the weight down to 475.

The weight still didn’t budge.

I quit.

I used to be able to pull 495 for at least a triple without much trouble, and I couldn’t even get it for a damn single today. This really set things in perspective for me. I realized that I need to start hammering shit out harder, and stop avoiding doing my accessory work, even if I hate it.

This program runs for twelve weeks, and I plan to stick with it through the end before going back to the 5/3/1 program. I like the 5/3/1, and I know it works for me, so I’ll go back to that.

Life outside of the gym is going well. I’m working downtown as a bouncer, which is fun, and pays decently, and am in search of another part-time job for the coming semester. Working full-time in the weight room without getting paid is really starting to wear thin on my bank account, and I refuse to call home and ask for money. I’m 25–time to get my shit together.

Thanks for reading, sorry it’s taken so long. I promise to start being more regular with postings. If you have anything you want to know, or want me to write about, feel free to comment.

Stay yoked and loked.

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About Jim

Jim is a semi-competitive powerlifter, strength and conditioning coach, and all-around nice guy. He loves flannel and IPA's.

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