Day 5 – Exposure 2
Tayler and I are walking across campus to be guest lecturers for an undergraduate class. We are both nervous for 2 very different reasons. “I am freaking out because I have to talk in front of all these people and you can’t stop thinking about the lift.” He said while shuffling through his speaking notes. It was true. Public speaking is something I did a lot in undergrad and at this stage in the game it is not something I get nervous about. My mind is much more worried about getting Ragnarocked.
Against my better judgment, I put on DMX. I had a heart rate strap on for this lift, and sure enough, my heart rate went through the roof. After the first set of squats I felt all the accumulated soreness at once. Even my hair hurt. Is that even possible? “C’mon Danimal!” I said to myself. “FOCUS!”
After I corrected my train of thought, I took a left turn out of negative town and gave maximum effort. I focused on breathing and reciting my squat poem for motivation. Yeah, you read that right. I’m sophisticated. I write poetry. I write poetry like a boss.
(Check out the squat poem here)
After the third set of squats I was rocking a solid heart rate of 190 beats per minute. When I saw that, it made total sense why 212 was obtainable on exposure 1. Tayler threatened to take my phone away if I kept checking my heart rate. Probably for the best. Need to focus.
The rest of the lift was rough. The entire time I felt like a shaken up can of soda that was about to explode. But, I finished. It felt so good to hit every rep of every set. Upon completion of the work out I wanted to climb to the top of the weight and scream “FINNALY! The Danimal HAS COME BACK!” I wanted it to reverberate off of the walls just like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Nerd O’clock pm
I was excited to see what my data looked like from this exposure. Below is the reading I got from Polar and a tonnage chart comparing weight moved from exposure 1 to exposure 2.
I spent my entire lift in the red zone. INCREDIBLE! Calorically speaking, in less than 40 minutes I burnt approximately 1,000 calories. Additionally, I almost doubled my tonnage.
All in all, I did way more work, expended a ton of calories, and most importantly, I get to go up in weight on each exercise for exposure 3. To quote Mr. Cube “today was good day.”
Thought of the Day:
Ask someone out today to save 75% on all anniversary gifts.
Day 4 – Lift 3
Eat. Sleep. Repeat
Those have become the only hands I see on the clock. I am so hungry all the time. I was once told that the key to adding muscle is train till you’re hungry, eat till you’re sleepy, and sleep till you’re hungry. I am now the embodiment of that quote.
Today, after mass, Tayler and I had a light power day. Some hang cleans, some arm farm, and a couple correctives.
Time to eat.
Thought of the Day:
Is it called sand because it is in between Sea and Land?
Day 3 – Off Day
What time is it? My bones feel like lead and my muscles are stiffer than concrete. I had fallen asleep sitting upright. I lurked to my right and I clawed for my phone.
Yup… I do not think I am going to make it to the New Found Glory concert. I was so tired I fell asleep in the very spot I ate dinner. Unbelievable. Migrating to my actual bed.
I awoke from a Stephen King directed dream. Was this workout messing with my REM too? I had slept 10 hours total. That is double my standard night’s rest. Being the science minded person I am, I need to figure out what is all happening to my body.
I began this process with the usual planning I lay down before every training cycle. I identify my training split, body composition, and general meal plan. This cycle was different. What made my heart rate spike so high? Why did I sleep so much? More must be measured.
In addition to the things I mentioned previously, which I have tracked since high school, I will look at hear rate intra-workout, hear rate variability (measured each morning upon wakening), total water intake, daily bodyweight fluctuations, and mood. Definitely need to track mood. I am normally just enthusiastic about everything. Yesterday painted a much moodier and darker picture.
Morning regen session: 15 minutes of cardio in zone 3 and PRI.
I needed to move around a bit to get some semblance of my life together. I wore a heart rate monitor to make sure I did what I said what I was going to do.
As you can see I tried to keep the beginning of my workout in the green. The inflection that came after the 139 beats per minute is when an awesome song came on. I didn’t change speed or incline on the treadmill, I just got jacked. Perhaps I need to listen to calmer music when I lift. Sorry DMX, it is time for Orinoco Flow.
After cardio, I did some PRI correctives. As you can see at about minute 25 I was in the blue zone. Those sharp spikes afterwards are when I was focusing on breathing and contracting my muscles during the correctives - pretty cool huh?
(If you have no clue what PRI is, check this out.)
Here are some pictures of the correctives I did.
Done. What a great day! Tayler and I have started yelling “You rag-na-ROCK!” Followed by the other person yelling “I KNOW I DO!” Seems like a fitting way to end the lift.
Now it is time to BroBrunch. Because it is totally cool for 2 bros to go get brunch.
Thought of the Day:
Cells multiply by division.
Day 2 – Exposure 1
For those that know me, I often omit sleep. It is a real problem. That problem is compounded when you stack the first Ragnarok workout with zero sleep. Today was bad… I mean real bad.
My skin crawls. I am itchy. I can’t focus. All that is on my mind is my impending doom. I am stomping around my apartment listening to metal music and wondering how am I going to make it through this. I look at some pre-workout. Would that help? I immediately recall all the research about caffeine making you push yourself harder. Then I remember that I am an extremely excitable person that is already amped out of his mind. Physiologically speaking, caffeine is to Danimal as Mentos is to Coca-Cola.
No pre-workout... Off to the weight room.
Tayler looked stunned as I came flying into the weight room like The Ultimate Warrior.
“Dude I have never seen you like this before!” Grinning from ear to ear I replied with “that is because you have never seen me train with relentless enthusiasm.”
Warm up. CHECK! Crazy Rap playlist. CHECK! Okay, it’s go time.
Ragnarok begins with squats. My favorite exercise ruined by a rep count of more than 3. The element that makes Ragnarok so brutal is the poundage chart. Let me explain. Let’s say you complete all 10 reps at 100 pounds. Next set is 110. Successful again? Last set is 115. If you complete all sets and reps while maintaining that minuscule rest break, your auto-regulated 1 repetition maximum has increased. Therefore your next session your prescription is 105/110/120. Ain’t no rest for the wicked.
Back to training.
Squats went well, RDLs were fine, and step ups changed me. My back was so tight. My heat was pounding through my chest. What was going on? I didn’t remember it being this bad. I have no clue how my legs were moving. It literally felt like my erector spinae were creating hip extension. I think I broke anatomy. Thank god lat pulldowns where next. I could finally sit down.
I crushed lat pulldowns. The machine was shaking I was pulling so hard. Yes things were looking up. I knew I could make it. Bench press was next.
The Second set of bench press was like that scene from Kill Bill 2 when Uma Thurman’s Character gets buried alive and has to punch her way out.
I was pushing so hard, but all attempts were futile. I failed on my second set of bench. F-BOMB! I was so mad I couldn’t go up in weight. 3rd set was another failed attempt. My confidence is waning.
On to push press. After the second set I felt like I was turning green. However, not the Hulk green I desired. More like a sea sick greenhorn green. Upon realizing that my life was about to take a nasty turn, I proceeded to run the fastest 40 yard dash of my life. I made it to the restroom.
After my relentless enthusiasm finished coming out of my mouth, I cleaned up and looked into the mirror. It was like looking through a snow storm. I was so confused and fatigued. It was as though the world around me had been white washed. I grabbed my phone and checked my heart rate. 212. Whoa…
I stumble around the weight room and tried to finish my lift. I ended up doing barbell curls with different weights loaded on each side. I was in such a stupor that Tayler had to point to the plates I was supposed to load. Like I said previously, it got bad, real bad. I had zero motor control, forgot math, and forming simple sentences became a herculean task. I meant to tell Tayler that I was so tired I didn’t even want to drink my recovery shake. Here is what I actually said. “I don’t even want to drink post.” There you have it folks. Train crazy hard and you too can become Switowski from The Longest Yard.
The rest of my day can be described as having the lights on but nobody was home. It was rough. Tomorrow is a rest day. YAY!
Turn Green (I may want to reconsider this sign off),
Thought of the Day:
If you replace the W in When, What, and Where with the letter T, you answer all 3.
Day 1 – Lift 1
Today I begin the Husker. What is the Husker? Simply put, a nightmare of a workout.
The Husker is the brain child of Boyd Epley and Dr. William Kraemer. The workout's simple design has one prerogative – turn you into a fire hydrant of growth hormone. After years of playing Jekyll and Hyde with sets, reps, and percentages, the perfect elixir has been formulated. 1 minute and 20s to complete your set and rest, 3 sets of 10 reps of each exercise, 9 exercises, and 8 exposures over a 4 week period.
I have tackled this behemoth before. So why again? If it is that bad, why put myself through this agony? Am I a masochist? Ok maybe a little. I mean, what meatball isn’t?
The actual reason is my Graduate Assistant Tayler. Tayler wanted to add size. The Husker does that. Therefore Tayler must do the Husker. It is simple algebra. I watched him tackle the first exposure. Terrible flashbacks of my muscles filling with lactate and hydrogen anions chilled my spine. Empathy consumed me. No one should have to do this alone. No man should be left behind.
I can’t understate the importance of a great strength coach or a great training partner. We all have that voice that whispers “it is ok to go easy today.” As the weights get heavier, that voice gets louder. That’s where your partner in crime needs to kick that voice with his energy legs.
Lift 1 begins…
The first lift like a backhanded compliment. You are elated and then quickly demoralized. It’s explosive and fast. Then day 2 arrives and you crumble.
The hardest part of the lift is lunges. For some reason Tayler wanted to do walking lunges with a loaded barbell. I looked at him like that person that eats all the fortune cookies before you get a chance to open yours up and make it into some funny euphemism. What does that mean? It means I wanted to punch him in the head for not being considerate. I know what tomorrow will bring to my legs. Why would he want to do this? Oh well, his funeral.
The lift was great. Tayler and I are super pumped for the next exposure. In my mind I will become the Incredible Hulk. It feels only fitting that my closing statement from here on out should be turn green.
Side Note: From now on I will refer to this work out as Ragnarok. I am a Florida State Seminole. Calling my lift “The Husker” churns my stomach. I cannot do it. However, I feel it is important to pay respect to the brilliant strength coach’s before me. I am not messing with any elements of the workout. I am doing it precisely as it was originally designed.
Thought of the Day:
If we are not supposed to eat past 7, why is there a light in the fridge?