1a Pullup, 3 x 5-7, 1 x 8-12, 90 sec. rest
1b Parallel-grip dumbbell overhead press, 2 x 6-8, 1 x 9-12, 90 sec. rest
2a Suspended face pull (using the TRX), 2 x 10-12, 60 sec. rest
2b Body-weight triceps extension, 2 x 10-12, 60 sec. rest
3 Close-grip pushup, 1 x as many as possible (superset with last set of tri extensions)
4 Barbell curl, 2 x 8-10 (slight cheat), 90 sec. rest, 3 x 8-10 (strict), 45 sec. rest
Sprint or bike intervals
Jump rope intervals, 15-20 min.
P.M. brisk walk or exercise bike
P.M. walk again or exercise bike
1 Bench press, 1RM, then one set at 90%
2a Seated cable row, 1 x 8-10, 1 x 6-8, 1 x 10-12, 90 sec. rest
2b Incline dumbbell press, 1 x 8-10, 1 x 6-8, 90 sec. rest
3a Standing dumbbell curl, 3 x 8-12, 60 sec. rest
3b Overhead cable triceps extension, 3 x 10-12, 60 sec. rest
P.M. stair stepper
1 Squat, 1RM
2 Rack deadlift, 1 x 8-10, 1 x 4-6, 180 sec. rest
3a Hanging leg raise, 4 x 8-10, 60 sec. rest
3b Glute-ham raise, 3 x 8-12, 60 sec. rest
4 Low/high Prowler push, 10 x 1, 20 sec. rest
P.M. stair stepper
The first eight weeks of this whole process were pretty easy. The work was hard, of course, but I was expecting that, so I was content to put my time in. These last four weeks have been torture. I'm not really craving bad food, just more food in general. I cut my calories down to 2,500 and my carbs on non-lifting days are very low. I could almost kill for just one more apple, banana, or a plate of lentils from the Middle Eastern restaurant near the office. Not a lot to ask, right?
I'm burning out, but I haven't long to go (one more week now!), and I'm bolstered by what I've accomplished. Namely, 35 pounds lost so far. Let me write that again: 35 POUNDS! I can't really believe it. That's almost twice what I thought I'd be able to lose. Granted, the speed at which it came off means it couldn't be pure body fat, but if I lost any muscle, I don't see it. I squatted 405 (four plates, people... ALL the way down) for the first time... ever. I also put 10 pounds on my max bench press. This past Monday, I did seven pullups easily and know I had 10 in me. These aren't fantastic numbers and I'm not bragging, but all things considered--the amount of weight I've lost and the relatively short time I've been doing this--I'd say these are solid victories to be proud of.
The wildest thing of all is that I can see my abs again. Now, I never really gave much of a damn about abs. Seriously. I was always part of the meathead set--get big and strong. That's why I trained. I'd rather picture myself with a big gut and squatting 500 than shredded and struggling to bench 135. That just always seemed more impressive to me. More useful. But that said, I'm really digging the fact that I can see abs! I feel like I'm in high school again, only I'm not a 150-pound candy ass who's failing algebra. I look lean, feel spry, and most importantly of all, I feel healthy. I think I went about this the best way possible.
And, as you can see from the above, I didn't need any crunches to help me get here. The body-weight triceps extensions were much more brutal. Set up a barbell in a Smith machine or squat rack, grab it, and begin lowering your body underneath it by bending your elbows. It turns your whole body into a triceps extension, and makes your abs clench to keep you from collapsing. Two sets of those, the last one followed immediately by a set of close-grip pushups, and my triceps were swollen. You better believe no one cut me off on the way to the water fountain after that workout...
Prowler pushing got taken up a notch this month. I ran the length of Ferruggia's gym with my hands on the low handle of the Prowler--it kind of felt like pushing a safe up a flight of stairs. Then I ran back with my hands on the higher handles, no rest in between. What a great piece of equipment. So damn simple but so perfect. The concept? Push something heavy across the floor. It works the whole body and tires you out quick. I've never felt better conditioned.
I have to talk about my last squat workout. I was training at Renegade along with Jason and another top trainer, Jon Hinds, of the Monkey Bar Gym. Hinds was in town on a media tour to promote the Pullup Revolution, a great piece of pullup-assistance equipment invented by his dad (Bobby Hinds, the man behind every great jump rope produced in the last 50 years). Hinds is one of the most unique individuals you'll ever meet, and I mean that in the best possible way. He's currently following something called the 80/10/10 diet, which ultimately means that he's eating fruit all day. When Jason picked us up (along with an MF camera man and editorial assistant Dean Stattman) at the train station to head out to the gym, I asked Jon how many bananas he'd had so far that morning.
"Eleven," he said. Everyone promptly erupted in laughter, but Jon wasn't kidding. It goes to show that there are many, MANY ways to get good nutrition, and Jon's six-pack abs and enormous strength indicate that his diet is working just fine.
We got to the gym and I was greeted by some of New Jersey's nastiest, toughest, lifters. Who also happen to be some of the nicest guys you'll ever find. A typical Renegade workout followed, including my big squat. Now all the walking I'd done (see above) had my feet pretty ripped up. They were callused and blistered just from the repetition. I was tired that morning and hurting pretty bad, but I knew Jason, Jon, Dean, and the rest of the gang wouldn't let me fail. I put the pain out of my mind and faced down the squat rack.
Working up to my max, I passed 315, 365, and even 385 with ease. Under normal circumstances, in any other gym, I might not have been able to go much higher. But amazingly, I was getting STRONGER as I went on. I watched as Jason pulled 545 pounds on the rack deadlift. Hinds got 405 for an easy 12 reps. Henry Rollins was playing in the background. "On my way to the cage, I'm getting taught a lesson..."
Then the MF camera man, who I had brought to document the workout for our website (look for it soon) turned the camera on me.
"This is the moment of truth," I said to Jason, as I loaded the fourth plate on each side. I had this weird feeling of both fear and calm, thinking that it was probably going to be a tough lift (it had to be, right?) but somehow also knowing that I owned it.
I get under the bar. Grip it close, thumbs on the same side as the fingers. Squeeze the shoulder blades together. Deep breath. I unrack the bar. Shit, that feels pretty heavy. Then I hear, "Come on, Sean!" The music is louder now. Someone changed the song and it's something even more vile and angry.
I step back with the weight on my shoulders. One, two, and I'm set.
The next thing I knew it was over. Like a shot from your doctor, but without the pin prick. The anticipation of the prick was so much worse I didn't even feel the needle itself. I re-racked the bar and exploded.
The crowd goes wild.