Upon returning from "vacation," I ended up having to take off a few days to get caught up on sleep.  To say the trip was exhausting would be a gross understatement.  I will not get into what happened here because I just wrote an article about it but suffice to say that I was mentally exhausted and needed to not only get my head straight but also physically catch up on sleep.

I am not one of those people that pushes through in less than ideal situations and gets my workout in, no matter what.  I have been training too long and I know very well that if I am not going to have a productive session, I am not training.  I would much prefer to take an extra day or two and make sure that the session I am going into the gym for, is productive.  Otherwise, it ends up being a situation that really only allows for me to risk being injured.

The added rest days ended up working to my advantage because when I did get in the gym, I was well-rested and ready to destroy the weights. Strength was up and if the soreness is any indication, the workouts were extremely effective.  In fact, it is times like these that make me sit back and wonder if maybe I should just train every other week so that I have workouts like this all of the time.  Obviously, I would never do this but the thought has certainly crossed my mind.  It's crazy how good my joints feel after having extra days off, as well. 

One of the reasons I waited for a couple of days to train when I got home was because I didn't eat very much the last few days before arriving at home.  The drive took an extra day and I didn't have meal with me and ate only once each day.  I don't like to drink a lot and eat a lot while driving because I don't like to have to pull over every hour to pee or use the bathroom.  No, this isn't terribly conducive to "gainz" but a couple of days doing this, followed by a couple of days back on my diet and sleeping well, I knew I would be ready to roll and kick out some great workouts.  Plus, I rarely travel by car over this many miles so it isn't something that happens very often.

The cool thing is that my weight is now up higher than it was prior to leaving and I have complained about not being able to push my weight up past the 227 mark in a while.  This is a huge bonus for me and yet my condition is just as good as it was before I left.  I am just considerably fuller so I hope to hold this higher weight.

One change I am going to implement (that I mulled over on the long drive) is I am going to start loading not just on Saturdays and Sundays but also on my mid-week rest day on Wednesdays, as well.  My loading has been much cleaner the last few months and the Wednesday load will be the same.  I need the added calories and this should help to fuel the last 2 workouts of the week better than before.  I did not start doing this, this week but will next week.  I felt that with the added rest days I didn't need to load mid-week this week.

I also am going back to training on a 4-day split.  I just can't do justice to training triceps after chest and delts and biceps after back and rear delts.

I am roughly 6 weeks into my new blast so strength is starting to take off and poundages are climbing.  I anticipate that this will continue even more with the increase in calories mid-week.  I hope to put up even better poundages by the end of this 24-week blast than I ever have before.

The plan is to set myself up to move into a cutting phase after the first of the year to see just how productive this last 15-month off season has been.  That should start the beginning of February after exhausting all gains that I can acquire for this blast phase.

I have been asked several times whether I am getting ready for a show or if I plan to compete in the future and my answer is simple:
I am not getting ready for a show right now, I am growing and in the middle of an off season.  If I ever decide to compete again I will not be public about it because I have found that this makes me put undue pressure on myself and this causes me to second guess my decisions and I end up driving myself into the ground.  This not only is counterproductive for my progress but I also feel it endangers my health because I end up pushing and pushing to the point of causing problems for myself.  If I ever compete again, I would lay out what I did AFTER my shows, not before.