Workout Journal: April Review

What an exciting month April was!

Before I get to the workout review, a few announcements:

"The One" Ring (See what I did there)



First, we’re engaged! After almost 4 solid years of fun, love and laughter, I asked my better half to be with me for the rest of time,  and she said yes! A special shout out to Green Lake Jewelry Works in Seattle who did an outstanding job on helping me design and create the engagement ring shown on the left.

I highly recommend them!

The engagement coincided with two other fun events, my 34th birthday and a 10-day visit from my fiancée’s sister and her two adorable nieces.  We had a blast hanging out with them and I got the best birthday present ever.

Between all of that, several other events, BBQs and birthday celebrations (I know people who have birthdays every day between 4/13 and 4/19), getting out to the gym was pretty difficult, so the calendar for this moth looks pretty sparse:

Workout Days for April 2011

The crossed out week was the week of my birthday (when her family was also here) so it was taken as a breather.  It was well timed, because I was about to enter week 5 of the Ultimate Arm program which is one of the more demanding sessions:

Weeks 5, 7 (Upper Body)

  • Dip (2 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Chin-up (2 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Cable Triceps Pushdown (2 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Dumbbell Biceps Curl (2 sets, 8-10 reps)
  • Barbell Bench Press (2 sets, 8-12 reps)
  • Lat Pull-down (2 sets, 8-12 reps)
  • Cable Seated Low Row (2 sets, 8-12 reps)

The 19th was the first day of the week 5 session, and it was pretty tough. I tried to do the Dips & Chin-Ups with as little offset assistance as possible, and where I’m happy with my initial results (considering the introduction of them as new exercises), the addition of them to all the other exercises was pretty brutal.  I was pretty sore the next couple days and decided not to try and push it, so between that and busy weekends, I ended up spreading the three Week 5 sessions over the 19th, the 26th, and then early this morning which won’ t show up until the May review.

What I have been able to do this month is curb the caloric intake and re-introduce the Atkins diet, as well as doing all of my cardio as interval training for longer periods of time on both the elliptical and treadmill. Last night was actually my first full ketosis workout, and I’m happy to report I didn’t feel any worse for wear on the “carb-energy” deficiency inherent to Atkins.  This is also in spite of doing my workout too at a completely different gym, as my friend let me go with him to try out the Gold’s equipment.

I have yet to take my measurements for the month, but I already know they are going to be an improvement. I can definately feel and see definition starting to take hold, even in my abs (which are still being pretty well hidden by fat).  My weight fluctuated slightly upwards at the top of the month to 260 (which is what prompted the interval training change coupled with Atkins) but as of last night I was finally breaking below the 255 mark.

Here’s the strength results:


ExerciseStart WeightEnd WeightTotal RepsTotal WeightRecord WeightRecord RepsRecord Date
Ab Crunch Machine110N/A00110103/20/2011
Assisted Dip17519546873021545/2/2011
Assisted Assisted Chinup13018044718021545/2/2011
Barbell Bench Press15018539631018564/26/2011
Barbell Military Press60N/A0060123/7/2011
Barbell Squat135175406200175104/7/2011
Barbell Standing Calf Raise60100403200100104/7/2011
Beginner Squat90N/A0090103/6/2011
Bulgarian Split Squat50N/A0050103/6/2011
Cable Seated Low Row140180589640180104/26/2011
Cable Triceps Pushdown506548277065104/19/2011
Dead Lift100120404800120104/4/2011
Decline Close-grip Bench60N/A0060123/7/2011
Dumbbell Biceps Curl25403211204084/26/2011
Dumbbell Calf Jump30N/A0030123/9/2011
Dumbbell Front Squat40N/A0040123/9/2011
Dumbbell Lunge90N/A00100123/9/2011
Dumbbell Pull-over40N/A0040123/7/2011
French Press708020150080104/1/2011
Hammer Curl35352070035104/1/2011
Lat Pull-down12014048600014084/19/2011
Machine Chest Press120N/A0012093/16/2011
Machine Leg Press90N/A0090123/9/2011
Machine Triceps Extension65N/A0065123/7/2011
Single-leg Standing Calf Raise0+255N/A000+255123/9/2011
Standing Concentration Curl25302060030104/1/2011
Swiss-ball Ab Crunch0+130N/A000+130123/6/2011
Swiss-ball Oblique Crunch0+13030+13040100030+130104/7/2011



For the second month in a row I’ve been able to increase weight in almost all areas, even in the smaller muscle groups I was previously upset with (biceps in particular). I did some asking around, which made me feel better, about my current progress and from what I understand, being able to curl 40s is plenty fine for where I’m at.

I’m particularly pleased with my bench, squat and row numbers which have gone up like 25% since last month.

Funny story: You might notice the 215 record anomaly on the Dip/Chinup.  At Gold’s, the plates are labeled with numbers from 1-15ish, and I assumed these to be 10lb increments. So, I dropped the pin down to what I wanted to offset based on that scale (8 -> 80lbs -> 255-80 = 175).  Right as I was pushing up from the first rep, I was like fuuuuu, have I really gotten weak since last week?  I tried to push through it, but no go. Halfway during my 5th rep my arms just refused to keep going and I was forced to stop short.

So there I was, huffing and puffing waiting to try again, when I took a closer look at the instruction label on the assist rack. That’s when I discovered that the numbers on the plates weren’t representations of weight, they were literally a numbering scale which then translates to an actual weight displacement.  Where I thought I was displacing 80lbs, it turns out I was only actually displacing 40, so I basically knocked out reps at 215lbs rather than 175.

I was happy to be able to enter it in, but my psyche was shot – I tried to do another set at 215 and could hardly do one, so I compromised down to 195 and was able to push through those.  I also tried doing 215 the other way (chinup) and had similar results… barely got to 4, then backed off to get better rep sets in.


I’m upset that I didn’t find more time, even with all the company and events going on. I don’t feel as bad being that the sessions took longer to recover from, but I really need to force the issue on the schedule so as to keep the habit going.

I forgot my gloves a few times and paid the price in my hands – rowing 180 with the dimpled metal triangle tore em up pretty good this week.

Lessons Learned

  1. Not all gym equipment was created equally. I definitely had a harder time doing some exercises at Golds vs. the machines I’m used to at Fitness 19.
  2. Thankfully, free weights are always predictable 🙂
  3. A good pair of gloves is a must after a certain point (one of those hindsight duh lessons)
  4. So far, Atkins hasn’t left me short changed for workout energy.
  5. Even if equipment looks obvious in functionality, RTFM anyways just in case.
  6. If a cardio machine doesn’t announce Interval as an obvious program, check for it as a sub-option under Hills.