I am now back to a point where my training is boring and that may not sound good but it is -- for me.

I find absolutely nothing terribly exciting about off season training. It isn't that I don't like it, but I just don't find it as thrilling as a prep phase or a cut phase. With the exception of fullness, nothing much changes from week to week in the mirror. When I am cutting, visual changes are seen weekly. This is where I have to trust the process that I have in place and know that what I'm doing is working and will continue work over the following weeks and months.

Strength gains are at least a micro-gauge to help prove that things are going the way they are supposed to being going. However, at this stage of my training, even if I am progressing, I am still hitting numbers that I've hit at some point in the last 36 years. So, it isn't like I get to celebrate hitting a weight that is a PR that I have never once hit before. My body is simply not able to do that at this stage of the game. Let me take that back and rephrase: if I were to push for top numbers that I have never hit before, I would be racking up injuries left and right.

At this point in the game (for me), I have learned to balance the weight/strength with the risk of injury. I rely more on intensity than just trying to put up the biggest numbers I can put up. Some will say this is training soft, but that's laughable. It is much harder training to failure (or beyond) at 12-15 reps than it is training to failure at 6-8 reps. Even then, you can injure yourself just as easily with a weight that is too heavy in the 12-15 rep range as you can in lower rep ranges. These days, the best way to explain what I do with my sets is that I am USING the weight vs. simply LIFTING the weight.  And make no mistake, I am still training as heavy as I can but without increasing the vulnerability to my joints and tendons.

You may say that I can't grow that way but you would be wrong. I am still progressing and I have grown quite well in the last 2 to 3 years. This hasn't been the best growth I have had in all of my 36 years of training, but to still grow and progress at this stage is not common. An example would be hack squats. I did hacks the other day 8 plates for 15 reps and this was about as close to failure as possible. I barely was able to get the 15th rep. At the same time, I have done 10 plates but felt it more in my knees and not as much in my quads, so this situation illustrates a great example of how I feel that -- at least right now -- 8 plates was a far more productive set than 10 plates, and with less vulnerability, at the same time.

One thing I am battling with (and will continue to battle with) is that I struggle with low volume work. I am one of those people that, when it doubt, do another set to bury that muscle even more. However, I have seen how this becomes counterproductive very quickly for me. It is so the point now that the lower my volume goes, the better I grow and the stronger I am for the next session.

I am right now at that "5 weeks in" mark. Everyone is different but for me, at 5 weeks of being back on the gas and training balls out, is when I really start to see changes in my fullness, roundness, condition, etc.  I am roughly 224-225 right now and though my weight has gone up a few pounds in the last couple of weeks (and I have increased my fat intake), my weight belt has gone down 3 holes (they are staggered holes so this is the equivalent of going down 1.5 notches on a regular belt).  What is happening now, is what happened during my off season in 2018 and 2019; as my calories increase slowly over time, my waist size actually goes down while my weight goes up. Now, this won't happen indefinitely but it typically happens until I start to get over 230 (at least in the past -- I have no idea what will happen for this off season).  As I get over 230 then I start to get distended from all of the food and the waist size increases.

Keep in mind that I have only been back to 100% all-out leg training for 5 weeks. I am allowing my strength to climb but I am still paying extra attention to how my hips and glutes feel due to the injury. I have had no indication of any lingering issues; I feel great. Still, the injury is so fresh in my mind that I would hate to irritate it or have something happen. I am building strength but at the same time, building confidence and hope to be to the point very soon that I don't even have to give my hip/glute any thought, at all. Something important to note, too, is that as of about 2 weeks ago, I now have complete ROM on the left side (hip) that I do on my right. For the last handful of weeks, I would get to that point from stretching prior to training legs, but now I have that equal ROM even before I start my stretches. Of course, this is very important not just for vulnerability of the hip, but also for my confidence in trusting that the hip is fully recovered with no imbalance.

I prefer my training to be "boring" or uneventful. If I have excellent and productive workouts, that's great and that is what is happening now. I just don't have much to discuss when everything is going well and that is where I am right now. And I hope to stay there for quite a while.

I also hope that if you celebrate Christmas that you and your family have a great Christmas!


Check out the new arrivals at EliteFTS.com by clicking on the banner below:

Screen Shot 2020-12-25 at 5.36.17 AM