dan {at} dan-medeiros {dot} com

My Squat Every Day experience: Rarely asked questions

Posted on July 31, 2015


Hi. Been a while.

The occasion being the finale of the Squat Every Day program that I followed for about two months. It was fun, thought I’d share.

The curious flat-assed & pencil-legged among you may find the details of the Squat Every Day program by clicking this, but the essential idea is what it says on the box: you squat every day.


Squat Every Day is sort of halfway between a training plan and a challenge. The program lasts for 30 days, though some people continue on with it (I did for a bit). I imagine it’s difficult for a regular person with a moderate to high level of responsibilities to sustain long-term, but remember difficult & impossible are 2 different things & there are amazing people who have done so for a year or more. For 30 days it’s an interesting experiment. What the fuck. At least you get to work on your form. Often. Every day.

Anyway. Here are some rarely asked questions about my experience. About 4 people asked me about it.

Q. Why did you start?

A. Sometime in January I got bored. I had been doing months & months of cycles of the 5/3/1 training program which, though easy to follow & effective at molding puny weaklings into powerful brutes, can get kind of dull, particularly if (like me) you’re basically doing this for health, fun, & self-interest — not for some more noble reason like you’re competing at a meet for the chance to win the coveted title of World’s Strongest Person In My Weight Class In The Room Right Now & perhaps a T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of some kind of muscle enhancement powder.

To break up the boredom I tried a Smolov Jr. cycle. This is not advised for people like me. Smolov Jr. is a 4-week cycle of gruesome high-volume squatting and benching 4 days a week, & only that — nothing else. Squat, bench, eat, sleep. It’s not nearly as tough as the full 13-week Smolov cycle (it’s been known to turn people’s leg-hair stark white with fear), but nasty enough to the point that dilettantes like me shouldn’t do it.

I did it anyway.

At the end of the 4 weeks I tested my squat and hit 340#. That was a 40-pound PR. Rather pleased w/ myself about it, thanks for asking.

After a little deloading & some missed workouts due to Life Stuff I went back to 5/3/1 with a shiny new squat max & found all my #gainz had fucked off someplace. I tried to squat 260# for 5+ reps & struggled with more than two.

This would not do.

Thinking about it, it makes sense that the gains evaporated. Smolov and Smolov Jr. are not long-term training programs — Smolov is a peaking cycle that athletes can run just before competitions. They’re meant to get you moving big-boy weights on Meet Day. The gains are often unsustainable.

During the spring I tried working through it, but I suck.

After some more faffing around I noticed there were people out there squatting every day & having fun & getting strong. I googled “squat every day.” The program is the first thing that came up. Boom. I figured it might help me recover some of the gains I lost. That’s why I did it.

Q. But don’t you hate daily challenges?

A. Yes I do.

Q. So…

A. OK, there are a few aspects of daily-exercise streaking I dislike:

I don’t like challenges that escalate to the point they become insane (i.e., 100-day burpee challenge).

I don’t like challenges that are easy enough to be boring (i.e., plank every day).

I don’t like when people who exercise very little or not at all decide to exercise 7 days a week, because that’s not physically or mentally healthy.

I don’t like challenges where you end up notching some bare-minimum amount of work to sorta-qualify for streakhood when it’s not quite worth it or you’d be better off just resting.

I don’t like locking myself into a thing that I’m forced to do or else risk failure, because (a) failing is not fun, & (b) it requires my life to conform to the demands of my hobby, rather than the other way around.

I’ve done all those things. They weren’t helpful for long-term health, & the results weren’t good.

I made sure to avoid these things this time.

Q. What’s the Squat Every Day program like?

A. Almost every day you max out some kind of squat: front, back, pause, belted, unbelted, with knee wraps, without. Plus some kind of thing where you front squat then do a back squat right afterward. I don’t like those.

Besides the squats, there are other exercises 5 days a week: one day is a pull, another is a press, back stuff, chest stuff, & arm stuff. Plus a lot of lunges. Miles and miles of lunges. And bodybuilding type stuff, like 3 different kinds of bicep curls in the same day. No.

Every 7th day is a deload where you lift light to recover.

Q. Did you really squat every single day?

A. No, that’s silly. I postponed a couple of days due to migraines. Call me a pantywaist if you want: I’m not going to sit under a 300-pound bar if I feel like vomiting. A couple of days, my kid was up in the middle of the night & needed someone to watch Dora the Explorer with. A few nights, I pulled overtime shifts at the office & couldn’t hit the garage. A couple of days, one of my dogs was dying.

I did all 30 workouts my first go-around, but postponed a couple as needed. The idea of “squat every day” is nice, but I live in Objective Reality & this thing has to fit into it. If my dog is spending her last night on the planet lying in my yard dying of intestinal cancer, I’m not going to miss it because I’m in the garage like an asshole.

I wasn’t too concerned about missing a day here or there because taking rest days is preferable to working out hard every day anyway. Which is contrary to the whole theme of “squat every day,” but it’s true.

I did 12 days consecutively to start. Another stretch was 11 days. Generally I’d go about 5 to 6 days in a row before I needed to take a night off for one of the aforestated reasons.

Some people really do squat every single day. That’s great for them if they can do that.

Q. Jesus fishermen’s friend Christ, every day looks like there’s a ton of stuff to do. Ten sets of squats, 10 sets of deadlifts, 3 supersets of three things, lunges lunges lunges — how long is this bloody workout anyway?

A. Very long. The program says you should take no rest between sets — load plates & get after it. Fine, but sometimes a person should have a goddam breather between sets, & if you’re doing 10 or 20 sets, it adds up. Also, loading plates seems to take forever. Deadlift day, the conditioning work is lugging the son-of-a-bitching plates on & off the bar.

I’d often spend an hour working out & only get half the shit done. One time I tried to do it all as prescribed, it took 2 hours. Not everyone is like me though. Some people are efficient.

I step foot in the garage around 9:30 or 10 pm. I work out at nights, because mornings I play with my daughter & afternoons I work. I tried to finish by 11 pm so I could eat something & go to sleep by midnight.

Which is why very quickly I stopped doing the program as prescribed & cut what I considered to be the extraneous shit. Some stuff I couldn’t do anyway — e.g., I have no lat pulldown machine or a GHD.  So I scaled it to adapt to my equipment. Also, doing multiple kinds of the same thing in the the same workout seems pointless, when I can do one thing with better quality. Like, if I’m bench pressing, I don’t really see the point of then doing dumbbell bench presses, & then push-ups. I mean, I know it’s not exactly the same, but let’s face it it’s the same general idea. Also didn’t see the need to do barbell curls, then preacher curls, then reverse curls. Not that I have a preacher curl machine anyway. Regardless, I ended up not doing curls at all after about a month when I noticed they were making my right elbow feel terrible.

All the lunging seemed excessive. Almost every workout, fucking bodyweight lunges for hundreds of feet. Listen. Lunges are lovely. They are highly effective at making you into a strong person. But I didn’t want to induce debilitating soreness that might affect my ability to squat well the next day. So I did just some of it. Not all of it.

After some trimming, I generally worked out for about 75 minutes.

Q. So basically you’re saying you didn’t do the Squat Every Day program.

A. No no, I did.

Q. You didn’t squat every day, & you scaled or didn’t do all the work he programmed. You just straight-up didn’t really do the program, jackass!

A. Well. I prefer to think of it as “adapting it to my abilities or circumstances.”

I know there’s a major school of thought that says you do the program with no variations or else fuck off. That’s fine if you’re a pro being coached. I’m just some fellow.

I got a lot out of the program. You’d probably get even more out of it if you took the time to do all the lunges. Knock yourself out.

Q. With all that squatting, I can only assume you took time every day to warm up properly & make mobility a priority, right?

A. Hahahahahahahaha–

Q. Were you sore?

A. Not really.

Q. Tell the truth.

A. At most twice. You do stuff often enough, you adapt. Mostly minor soreness that went away with some stretching. Nothing crippling like all that stupid “omg I can’t walk it’s the day after leg day” crap you see online.

Q. What did you like best about the program?

A. All the squatting. Most programs I’ve done, you get 1 squat day a week. When I was doing CrossFit, some weeks I didn’t even get squats in because I missed that day on the schedule. This is better.

Squats work everything. Muscles you wouldn’t even think apply. One of the few times I was noticeably sore, it wasn’t my legs — it was my lats. I had tightened my trunk harder than I’d ever clenched any muscle before, even harder than that time I had food poisoning & was a half-hour subway ride from home.

It fixed my front squat form because I had to do it so often.

Also I liked that it challenged me to max out unbelted — sometimes I rely on the belt like a security blanket.

And some of the accessory work was good. Deadlifts 2x a week is fine by me.

It’s also a great mental test, lifting as heavy as you can that often. People who don’t lift may not understand how much of it is about your mind, not your muscles.

Q. What did you dislike most about the program?

A. Every day’s too fucking long. This won’t be an issue if you have the ability to live inside a gym. I don’t. Some of the accessory work seems redundant, like I said. Also, while it’s an interesting mental challenge to get under a heavy-ass bar every single day for a month, it’s not ideal. Sometimes it would’ve been nice to have time to both squat & spend an hour sitting in the yard with the dogs looking at the stars.

Q. Did you make #gainzzzzz?

A. Oh yes. I put an easy 25# on my front squat after being stalled for about 2 years. On Day 30 I front-squatted more unbelted than my old belted PR.

Post-Smolov, my back squat dropped from 340# to a shaky 295#. Now it’s recovered to a solid 325#. I could probably do more if I really tried.

Starting to get more teardrop-shape in my quads. They’d stand out more if I could trim some of the fat off my legs too. Getting a more solid upper-self from the arm/back/shoulder accessory work.

Did a 150# push press after being stuck at 135# forever.

So yeah, it works. I’m curious to see if these gains stick around.

Q. What about recovery? Don’t you need it?

A. With no or very few rest days, yeah, recovery seems like a potentially terrible problem, so I assume you’d want to sleep a lot, eat a lot, de-stress as much as you can, stretch often, do mobility all the time. Get those muscles repairing themselves in the hours between workouts. I don’t do any of that very well. I sleep like shit, I don’t warm up & mobilize enough, & I don’t always refuel optimally, & I have a chronic anxiety problem. It’s an area I have to work on.

A. I do take fish oil on the reg though. Maybe that does something, he wondered hopefully.

Q. Should I do Squat Every Day?

A. Hell, I don’t know if I should’ve done Squat Every Day.

I think it isn’t for beginners who squat like shit. Because if you squat like shit every day you’re just going to train yourself into a chronically shitty motor pattern. Which does nobody any good.

You also need to be self-directed. Squat Every Day does not include specific percentages you should lift. It’s all about how you feel that day. So you gauge yourself while still pushing yourself to find a daily max. You need to be on top of shit, making sure you’re logging everything, looking at your log, bumping up the weights a little every week so you’re increasing the stimulus. It’s up to you to turn this into a progressive-overload program, so you’re not just getting really good at lifting mediocre weight.

Likewise, you have to make sure you’re not going too heavy too soon. It’s a delicate balance of increasing stimulus & not dying.

Oh yeah, & plus you have to be thinking a few days ahead all the time, so you’re maxing out but not grinding your legs into strawberry jello. Otherwise tomorrow’s squats will suck.  Which will make squatting the day after that also suck. And so on.

Q. Are you still squatting every day?

A. No. After a full cycle and then 3 weeks of a second, I stopped. My squat improved but my deadlift became worse. You squat first, then you do your accessory lifting. So on deadlift day, I’d start out trapping myself underneath 200 to 300 pounds of weight for 10 sets over about 30 minutes, then try to deadlift. Exhausted by then.

This week I switched back to doing 5/3/1 cycles, with added squatting as accessory work after the main work. Trying to blend the good parts of both programs — 5/3/1 is balanced, but could use more volume. Squat Every Day has loads of volume but it’s (obviously) squat-centric. This way I give all the big lifts equal time but add more squat volume.

Also, you can do your 5/3/1 lifting plus conditioning plus mobility in about an hour, easy.

Q. Why is this important anyway?

A. Shit, I don’t fucking know. Why is it so important to me that I be able to sit down with 325 pounds and stand up with it again? I don’t know. I don’t ever want to compete in this as a sport, & I’m not ever going to get good enough to do that & not embarrass myself anyway. It’s for health, but then again you can be healthy without ever squatting 325 pounds. So why do I spend any amount of time concerned about how much I can squat or deadlift when I have an office job & there are other very important matters to attend to & I probably should? This is a question that plagues me every day & has literally driven me out of the garage back into the house where I just stand there in a state of paralytic concern, unsure what the point of anything is supposed to be. Why does anyone do anything?  WHEN IS THIS EVER GOING TO COME UP IN REAL LIFE? I don’t know. We talk about functional fitness, but there comes a point where it outgrows any reasonable function one might be expected to encounter. If for some reason I ever get trapped under 325 pounds while I happen to be wearing my weightlifting shoes, I’ll be prepared, but call the Fire Department just in case please. Apart from that, this is just for fun.

Testing week lows & highs & lows

Posted on January 13, 2015


This past week was supposed to see me testing 8 lifts to get a sense of where I’m at & where I want to go. Had it all plotted out in my notebook. Neatly.

I tested 4ish. Then it turned into a deload week.

What happened is no reason that’s important to you, I guess. Life things. This is why I almost always regret making fancy plans & writing in my notebook in ink — I’m capable & willing to handle the plans, but some outside influence always rolls through to derail things. And then my nice notebook has a bunch of irrelevant shit scribbled in it. In ink. 

Fuck it, I only do this for exercise & fun. I’m not an athlete. On to the PRs. I’ll leave the only good one to last. Stick with me, it’s worth it.



Let’s get this out of the way: I press like your elderly gingersnap-baking nana with the pins in her hip. I know that. Working on it. I’m asking Santa for bigger & stronger shoulders next Christmas.

That said, I pressed 117#, a +5# PR from a few months ago. Got 120# halfway up but hit a sticking point. Someday I’d like to press the big-boy plates. Someday [he said wistfully, gazing out the window at the cold, unforgiving winter sky].


Front squat

I wasn’t going to test this in my original plan, because I don’t front squat that often.  In 2014 I probably front squatted maybe 2, 3 times. The original plan was clean & jerks. But the day I went to test, we were hit with a cold snap & it was 5°F in the garage. Just holding an iron bar without gloves hurts at that temperature. And I can’t clean with gloves on — I can barely clean without gloves. So I switched to front squats because why not.

You don’t practice, you don’t make progress. Front squatted 225#, only matching my old PR.  Dumped 235# onto the floor unceremoniously.  Just by virtue of having stronger legs, I should’ve beaten this. But I have little practice holding that much weight in the front rack position, so down it went. Fuck.



After the frustrating front squat crapfest, I threw some random weight on the bar & practiced some jerks. I kept the gloves on, which isn’t great, but it was too fucking cold to lift without them. Plus I was wearing a short-sleeve T, a long-sleeve T over that, & a thick hoodie over that, restricting my mobility a little. I figured I’d work up to a max if I felt OK.

Disappointed again. I split jerked 155#, only +5# from last test, & it was ugly as your elderly gingersnap-baking nana. Yeah, I said it. She’s not a looker.



This is the good one. I had an estimated 376# max, so wanted to pull something around that. Had some nice heavy warmup sets up to about 325 x 2, then started pulling singles. I matched my 355# PR, then got impatient & decided to make a big jump to 375#.

I couldn’t break it off the ground. I rested a few minutes, tried again. Couldn’t budge it. Rested & tried again. Couldn’t lift it.

I tried again like 2 or 3 more times. Nothing.

Finally I dropped the weight back to 365# & that was very tough, but it came right up so I felt I had a few more pounds in me. I rested a couple of minutes, put on 370#, & tried to lift it. Nope — wouldn’t break off the floor.

I tried again a few more times, but no. Wouldn’t come even a fraction of an inch off the mats.

This, I should point out, is far beyond the point where a smart person would’ve said Obviously I’ve hit my max, so I should go back inside. Really, after like 3 tries, you should be done. Every failed attempt is wasting ever more energy, so you just become increasingly tired & worn out. You have to call it a day & try another time, because it’s just not going to happen after a while.

Instead I took a minute, psyched myself up by reminding myself of some cues: don’t lift with your back or arms –push the earth away with your legs. I tried it again. Nope.

I tried again once more after a brief rest & it wouldn’t come up.

By this time I’d been out there in a cold garage trying to deadlift a too-heavy bar for an hour or more. I pulled my belt off & threw it in the corner, & started to put my things away in my backpack to go back inside.  At some point while I was doing this, I realized I had become incapable of leaving the garage until I lifted 370#.

So I put the belt back on, stood in front of the bar, & tried to lift it. It still would not move.

Without taking my hands off the bar, I adjusted my fingers, growled & said FUCK, then tried again. I could feel for moment the plates struggling against the pull of gravity, & then it was up. Once it was past my ankles, the rest was easy. I locked out that son of a bitch & set it back down. I’m just 30# away from 400. Hoping to hit that sometime early this year.

That’s also +15# more than the last time I tested in September.  I was all proud of myself for a while, walking around nodding to myself, like Yeah, you’re a badass motherfucker — then I saw a video of a 125-pound woman squatting that like it was nothing. It was a fun few minutes, anyway.


The rest of the lifts & what comes next

After that, the week became busy & I wasn’t able to exercise at all — & it was so cold that I couldn’t even ride my bike to work a measly 2 miles both ways.  I did nothing. Not even push-ups. I couldn’t test my squat, bench, clean, push press, & power snatch. I have ideas as to where they are, but I don’t know for sure. I guess that doesn’t matter. I don’t compete. This is all for shits & giggles anyway.

Moderately disappointed as I am, it’s still progress so I’m weak but happy. I was looking at my old numbers — my first maxes from when I started lifting in 2012. I don’t have all of them, but here are some relevant maxes from the first year. I’ll include bench even though I didn’t get to test it yet, because it’s seeing some improvement — plus it’s one of the few numbers I have from 2012:1

  • Press: 85# (I do that for easy reps over many sets now)
  • Bench: 125# (not a problem doing that for 10 over multiple sets now)
  • Front squat: 165# (very easy now)
  • Deadlift: 220# (sometimes I warm up with that now)

So as long as the numbers keep going up, I can’t really complain.

Now that testing week is over, it’s time for my another adventure. I’m doing a Smolov Jr. squat & bench cycle. Smolov Jr. is pretty intense (but not nearly as intense as the full Smolov program, which is advanced & for competitive squatters only, with weak dilettantes like me sometimes trying it once in a lifetime & never making that mistake again). It’s four days a week of squatting and benching, nothing else. No conditioning, no accessory lifts, no deadlifting, no WODs. Bench, squat, & eat. A cycle lasts 4 weeks. Not sure if I’ll do one or two cycles in a row. Depends on how it makes me feel. After that, I have planned a few cycles of a more complicated  variation on 5/3/1 with squatting 3x a week, cleans 2x, pressing 3x, & even some curls for arm size #gainz. GASP: Curls aren’t functional. But they make bigness. That might be nice.


  1. I have a squat number, but my squat was so pathetic then that I don’t really count it — my squatting wasn’t valid until a year or so in, after I finally figured out how to do them somewhat properly.

Sometimes people ask me how to get in shape, & this is what I tell them

Posted on December 31, 2014


This is New Year’s resolution time. You may know how I feel about waiting for the new year. But a lot of people use this time to reassess their habits & fix themselves, so good for them.

I only know what works (so far) with me. But in the last couple of years, more than a handful of friends have asked me what I did to get into (mediocre) shape & what they should do to get in shape. I tell them some general rules that tend to work for most people, then suggest they find a good gym & learn from someone who knows, because I’m not qualified to be specific & I’m not really all that fit, so who am I to be anybody’s coach? I think they ask me, instead of someone who is experienced & properly authorized to dispense medical advice, because I’m a friend — that’s a plus — & also since I’m still not a raging man-beast despite my best efforts, I maybe might not come off as intimidating the way actual proper in-really-good-shape people can. If you’re an out-of-shape person, getting to my level won’t take long.1 But I try hard & I’m enthusiastic & I’ve been making steady progress for a few years now — so maybe that’s helpful?

Also I try not to steer people toward bullshit.

I’ve told people pretty much the same things over & over:

  1. Slow & steady works long term: Fast fads do not.
  2. Accumulate small, workable, positive changes that you can fit into your life: Trying to change all your bad habits at once will never work. Set yourself up for success — don’t challenge yourself to fail.
  3. Eat the right amount of good, real food: Proteins, vegetables, & fruit, all the time, every day. Consume as little garbage as possible. You don’t need to do anything weirder than that.
  4. Exercise intensely & rest well: You can’t just faff around & expect stuff to happen. You also don’t need to beat the shit out of yourself to get fit.
  5. Be consistent with good habits: Setbacks are inevitable, so don’t let them derail your progress. Once you’re in the habit of eating & exercising well, stick to it like it’s your fucking job. If you mess up, learn from it & try again.
  6. Throw yourself on the mercy of people who are successful: They know more than you do. Find strong, fast, fit teachers, let them tell you what to do & listen. When they say jump, say “how high” & “how many times” & “then what.”
  7. Lift weights: Even if you don’t want to be a weightlifter. Especially if you don’t. Whatever else you want to do with yourself, lifting at least some of the time will help. It helps everything. It will make you a stronger, more useful human being well into your old age. It helps with fat loss, & it builds muscle mass, bone density, tendon strength, flexibility, speed, & power. The greatest thing it builds is self-confidence.

Nothing too controversial. Easy to explain, harder to do.

If anything’s going to get pushback, it’s maybe #7, because sometimes people who ask me for advice are scared of lifting weights, uninterested in it, or have negative stereotypes about lifting & lifters.  To sum up my responses:

  • No, you’re not going to “get bulky,” not unless you eat to bulk.
  • Yes, you should still learn to use an Olympic bar & plates even if you like bodyweight exercise, b/c among many other reasons a bar can be loaded with more resistance as you adapt & get stronger.
  • No, you won’t hurt yourself, just learn how to lift & be careful.
  • Yes, it really is more effective than workout DVDs in your living room.
  • No, your IQ is not going to shrivel up because you’re lifting, plus saying that is very mean.
  • Yes, learning to lift can be expensive. So is being chronically unhealthy.

I tend to steer people who are on the fence about lifting toward a CrossFit gym. Not because I think everyone needs to do CrossFit (I don’t think that) or that CrossFit is perfect (I don’t think anything is universally perfect), but because CrossFit coaches are generally VERY! FUCKING! ENTHUSIASTIC!!! about teaching new people how to use a bar & there’s an atmosphere of inclusion & positivity that’s addictive. Good coaches often have been lifting for a while & can give you the basics of what to do with a bar very quickly.  Also, it works fast & is fun. That said, of course people do become healthy, strong motherfuckers every day at other kinds of gyms & in garages all over the world doing many other strength-training methods, as long as they have good programming based around progressive overload of the basic compound lifts, are consistent, & are driven to succeed.  But I’m saying, people who are new to lifting or fitness in general, it seems to me easy & effective just to show up to a CrossFit box, keep your ears open, & do what the strong person at the front of the room tells you to do (see #6 above).


Willpower is a skill

There’s one other thing I sometimes tell people who ask me how to get fit, & it’s a thing I wish was impressed upon me much earlier in life, forcibly, like a foie gras duck but with knowledge. It’s particularly appropriate at the new year:

Willpower is a skill. It’s not some special talent that some people are born with & other people aren’t, like how some people can curl their tongues or are double-jointed. It’s a thing you practice. If you don’t use it a lot, you get rusty. If you practice often, you get better at it.

People often drag out the old “I have no willpower” thing. Particularly around this time of year — it’s a frequently stated reason why people can’t stick to resolutions.2 I have no willpower. Bullshit. Everyone has willpower. You. Me. Everybody. Some people are just better at it than others. They’ve practiced more, or they’re naturally a little more skilled. Whatever. Either way, to get better at it, you need practice.

I’m normally an inert, indecisive mush-person. I used to avoid exercise because I didn’t love what I was doing, & I didn’t see results I wanted. I have willpower enough to stand outside in a freezing garage & exercise regularly now because I found something I love & I get positive feedback in the form of muscles & PRs.3 I used to eat garbage. I have willpower enough to not eat loads of crap because I practice that skill every day. Right now as I write this, at work there is a snack table full of chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut brittle, boxed chocolates, & other assorted goodies. I sit less than 20 feet from this stuff — well within diving distance — but I don’t touch it. It won’t kill me, but since it’s not the optimal choice I bring my own snacks. At home I have a leftover 5-pound bag of Halloween candy, the good shit, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Nestle Crunch, Kit-Kats. Plus a bag of limited-edition gingerbread Twix that I only have because my daughter stuck them in the grocery basket one day & insisted we get them4. I like candy. Because candy tastes good. It makes your brain feel nice. Instead I leave them there. I’ve probably had less than 1 “fun-size” piece a week since before Halloween. What keeps me from cramming All The Reese’s into my craw when I bike home from an overtime shift at the office at 1:30 a.m., frustrated, tired, & weak, is that I’ve had a lot of practice not doing that. It’s taken many years but I’ve learned to become better at recognizing in that situation that I’m not actually hungry — I only want to be less frustrated, less tired, & less weak. Sleep is better for all that than candy. So I’ve learned to reject the candy & fix the real problems instead. I’m not fucking gifted. I just do it a lot lately.

I hate it when I hear people say “I have no willpower,” because I used to think that, & now I know it’s untrue. You do — you just need more practice to get better at it. It’s the same mistake people make in assuming that all other people are “genetically gifted” & you’re not, so that’s why they’re stronger, faster, fitter, healthier, thinner & you’ve just been dealt a pack of shitty genes. Wrong. It diminishes the work those fit people have done to get themselves to where they are, & diminishes yourself, & you don’t deserve that.

The point of all this blathering is, I tell people that if they work hard & stick with it, good things are possible. You got this.

Just listen to George McFly. He’s a nerd but he’s right.


The week or so’s log:

Tuesday 12/23

  • Deadlift: 5 x 155, 5 x 185, 5 x 205, 3 x 232, 3 x 265, 3+ x 300 (moderate 7), 10 x 232
  • Press: 10 x 45, 5 x 65, 3 x 75, 3 x 85, 3+ x 97 (moderate 6)
    Boring But Big, 5 x 3 @ 97

 Notes: The 3 week of 5/3/1 is my favorite. At weights closer to my max, the 5 week is a killer. The 1 week sometimes feels too easy. The 3 week is snuggled right in that goldilocks zone.

Sunday 12/28

  • Squat: 5 x 135, 5 x 155, 3 x 185, 3 x 200, 3 x 230, 3+ x 230 (hard 6)
  • Bench: 10 x 65, 5 x 85, 5 x 105, 3 x 120, 3 x 137, 3+ x 152 (moderate 8)
    Boring But Big, 5 x 3 @ 152

 Notes: Did OK for having 4 days off in a row, which I don’t like to do. Missed all my recent conditioning days due to the holidays. Parties, relatives visiting, playing Santa. I start to get very weird with 4 days off in a row, but it’s for a good cause.

 Tuesday 12/30 

  • Deadlift: 5 x 185, 5 x 205, 5 x 225, 5 x 250, 3 x 282, 1+ x 315 (hard 6)
  • Press: 10 x 45, 5 x 65, 3 x 75, 5 x 80, 3 x 92, 1+ x 102 (hard 4)
    Boring But Big, 5 x 3 @ 97

 Notes: This is my last deadlift/press session before I test my 1-rep maxes again. I have a whole testing week strategy planned out.

 Wednesday 12/31

  • Squat: 5 x 135, 5 x 165, 5 x 195, 5 x 215, 3 x 245, 1+ x 272 (tough 4), 6 x 215
  • Bench: 10 x 45, 5 x 85, 5 x 105, 5 x 127, 3 x 145, 1+ x 162 (tough 5)
    Boring But Big, 5 x 3 @ 152

 Notes: My bench has made great improvements these last few months after being stagnant for ages, probably because I’ve done some form tweaking & for a few months I was benching twice per week, including heavy hypertrophy sets.

I’ve run a calculator on my maxes, to have targets to aim for next week. The calculator tends to be pretty accurate. Based on these numbers, these are my estimated maxes, with how much of a gain it would be on my actual maxes, last tested in September:

  • Deadlift: 376# (+21#)
  • Press: 118# (+6#)
  • Squat: 312# (+12#)
  • Bench: 192# (+17#)

In the summer I’d hoped to pull 400# by the end of the year. Looks like it’s still a few months off. That’s fine. I only own 380# of plates anyway. Pleased with my progress so far these latest training cycles, even though I still press like a goddam senior citizen. Especially happy I’m nearing a 200# bench. I remember once when I almost had to be saved from getting stapled by a 2 x 120# bench press. Awww, so cute. Happy times.

  1. I’m not being hard on myself. The internet is awash with videos of people, not even pro athletes, snatching my deadlift.
  2. Often the wrong reason, the right one being that I notice most people try to change way too much too fast with some stupid gimmick. See #1 & 2 on the list again.
  3. It helps a great deal also that lifting heavy weights causes a wonderful thing to happen: your body sends coursing through your system all kinds of glorious chemicals like testosterone that make your brain feel FUCKING AWESOME. Which is why, again, I suggest it for everyone everyone everyone.
  4. Don’t waste your time, by the way. They taste a little strange.