View Full Version : No More Lies. Only Truth.

Don Birnam
06-07-2004, 02:35 PM
This is my journal. As I start this, I feel the need to put my lifting career into perspective. I started lifting seriously (or so I thought) last April at about 188-190 lbs., probably my lowest weight since I was 17. Things went well... I was up to 209 by last August. I assumed without question I'd be at least 225 by today. Well things didn't quite turn out that way. Long story short, I started experimenting with different things, and I lost my focus. I was also dabbling in a sport where high body weight is a detriment. To cap it all, I spent the spring doing a 3-month investment banking internship where I worked 90+ hours per week, slept 5-6 hours per night and drank/partied in my free time like nothing else. Diet went out the door... I rarely ate breakfast and usually ate 2 meals a day. I tried to lift at the corporate gym when I could but it was difficult, and really a waste of time because of the rest of my lifestyle.

Well the past is past, and now I'm going in a new direction. I'm giving up on having a low body-fat percentage (which saddens me tremendously ;)) and I'm going on a legitimate bulk until at least the new year and I might possibly stick with it straight until next spring. I hope this journal will keep me honest and committed, because if I have a crappy workout or I start messing up I can't just pretend it didn't happen... it'll be right here for all the world to see.

I'm using a routine that's a combination of Doggcrapp's and Stuart McRobert's principles... Low volume, try to hit each bodypart approx. 3 times per 2 weeks. Big compound exercises, little overlap. Something along these lines:

Five Day Split:

Day 1: -chest press (i.e. DB incline press OR flat bench OR...)- 3 sets
-Military Press- 2 sets
-Narrow-Grip Bench Press OR Dips (tricep-focus)- 2 sets
-Shrugs OR behind-back Shrugs- 2 sets

Day 2: OFF

Day 3: -Pullups- 2 sets
-Barbell Rows- 2 sets
-Bicep Curls (standing hammer OR drag OR...)- 2 sets
-Weighted Abs

Day 4: OFF

Day 5: -Deadlifts- 2 sets OR Squats- 2 sets (alternate so each is done once per 10 days)

Day 5 is hardly a workout at all... reason is, I hate squats, they hurt like hell and so I like giving them their own day because it's the *only* thing of significance I'm doing in the gym that day so I better do it well because there's nothing else... I can't say "well I missed on squats but at least I hit my whatever well..." Nope; I literally have to squat or go home. I'm basically devoting an entire workout to acing the huge exercises of deadlifts and squats.

I gotta stress warm-ups... There's not much room for error here because of the tiny number of work sets so I gotta go balls to the wall on the few sets I have.

Speaking of which... does anyone believe this is TOO abbreviated? I've dropped a ton of work... obviously I'll see how it goes but is it possible to do *too little* work??

Anyways, what else...

How about some measurements with my crummy tape measure-

Bicep- 14.5 in
Forearm- 12.0 in
Chest- 40.0 in
Shoulders- 49.0 in
Waist- 35.2 in
Thigh- 23.6 in
Calf- 16.2 in

I'm 203 lbs. today.

And what the hey, let's throw in some goals-

-Weigh 210 lbs. by July 15; 215 lbs. by August 31; 220 lbs. by October 31; 225 lbs. by December 31.
-Flat Bench DB Press 70s this Thursday for 3+ reps; 75s by July 15; 80s by August 31.
-Deadlift 275 for 10 controlled reps by July 15.

...I'll add and adjust goals as time goes by of course.

These goals don't seem ridiculous when broken down like this... actually they seem quite reasonable. But if all goes well and I hit each goal I'll be a pretty big dude by the end of the year.

I'm going to be working in investment banking again for the next 3 months, beginning in 2 weeks. It's gonna be a branch office but nonetheless I expect more of the same brutal hours. But this time is gonna be different... I'm going to stick to my plan through hell or high water. I'm going to insist on eating and sleeping enough during the week. One good thing about the job is they're very easy-going about what you do during the day so if I'm chugging back a tub of yogurt and protein powder or what-have-you no one really cares.

Phew! That was long. Well I'm in now... I promised a lot in this post, now it's up to me to deliver the goods. :cool:

06-07-2004, 02:38 PM

Hey, a journal I can relate to. LOL.

Whilst I don't put in nearly the type of hours you'll be suffering through, there are times when my job feels like I'm working for an investment banking firm. heh.

Good luck with this.


Saint Patrick
06-07-2004, 02:44 PM
Good Luck w/ teh goals

beastin v6
06-07-2004, 03:21 PM
Good luck bud. btw, you are freakin tall.

06-07-2004, 04:08 PM
I am on vacation but forgot to pack pants.

06-08-2004, 03:00 AM
Damn, 2 people taller than me now!! :mad:

Good luck with your goals man!

06-08-2004, 07:04 PM
From one tall dude to another...

...you can do this.

Freakin go for it. eat hard, lift hard, and work hard. Write in this journal, and we will be watching.

Sleep enough. Sleep is the major determiner for whether I'm going to have a good day the next day.

Well you feel tired, or feel like crap late at night. Don't think about the next day. If you do, you will start to think of all the work you have to do. Your mind will assume that your body will feel the same as it does now.

Do not watch TV or party to help tomorrow never come.

Visualize going to bed, and memorize the fresh feeling you have waking up.
Memorize the good feelings you have when reaching a goal.
Write them down, internalize them, and reproduce these feelings later, when you are tired and feel like throwing in the towel.

This is all mind games. Let's do this.

*note* Don't mean to sound like i'm preaching. I'm tellin this to myself more than anybody.


Don Birnam
06-09-2004, 11:01 AM
Thanks for the replies. Micky- yep we can do this... it's like no sweat. And, a friendly competition always keeps me motivated ;)

So here's the details of yesterday's workout...

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Assisted Pullups: 2x5 w/ 20 lbs. assistance

Negative Pullups: 10

Barbell Rows w/ Overhand Grip: 10 @ 115 lbs. (too easy); 10 @ 120 lbs.

Hammer Curls: 40s in each hand/dropset to 35s- 6/4; 2/2
-this was an improvement from last time

Weighted Decline Abs: @b.w. + 25 lbs.- 10; 5

Cable T-Bar, pulled to bottom rib: 13 @ 120.

I weighed in at 205 pounds.

I have a funny nagging injury in my right forearm, that makes it hurt like hell when any force is applied to it in a supinated position. Hence, I can't do chinups, underhand barbell rows, underhand barbell curls etc. So I make do with variations that are easier on the arm.

I really tried to go balls to the wall on every set, and the fact that there are few sets makes it a lot easier to do that. My back and lats feel torched today, like they haven't in a while.

Which is actually interesting... I've been sleeping a lot more this last week or so, and eating like a horse- yet my muscles are really tender for quite a while after one of these low-volume workouts. I take this as a good sign, that I dialed up the intensity on these sets, and I hope to see good growth as a result.

I was gonna go to the gym tomorrow for chest/tri/shoulder day but I might push that back to Friday if these bodyparts don't feel 100% recovered. We'll see how that goes...

06-09-2004, 11:33 AM
So your schedule is like this..?


Are you going to do shrugs or grip?

Are you doing all your legs on one day?

If you're sore, that souds good. For me, I can't do so many parts in one day, but have to do a 4-day split...might have to do 5 day.

Lift routine is a 4-day split, each body part is only 1x/week.
I'll post it tonight, after I help a girl with her resume.

Looking good!

Don Birnam
06-09-2004, 11:44 AM
Micky- My workout program is very personalized, and flexible. I really think it's quite nice actually. I have shrugs on my chest/tri/shoulder day, but if my traps are a little tender I won't do them. Traps get hit on a lot of other exercises so I'm not worried about it. I am on a 5-day split, but on the 5th day I'm alternating deadlifts and squats. So it's really more of a 10-day split... Whereby I do deadlifts once per 10 days, squats once per 10 days, and all the rest twice per 10 days. But this is flexible of course... if I don't feel fully recovered going into a workout I just take an extra day of rest until that part of my body feels up to it.

I could probably benefit from better grip strength. I notice it definitely tanks on deadlifts, shrugs, even on cable rows yesterday... Any insights into taking care of that?

06-09-2004, 12:06 PM
Work hard and the payoffs will come along. Keeping up with the journal is a great motivator in itself. Anytime you feel like giving up, take a look back at the hard work you put into the journal and it will motivate you.

Good luck, I will continue to visit to see the results.

06-09-2004, 12:27 PM
Do your grip on a day that it isn't already being worked, such as your leg day.

Do them at the end of the workout, so your weak grips won't make other exercises fail.

Grip Lift
The most common grip lift is the farmer walk, where you grab the heaviest dumbbell's you can handle (maybe start at 60 lb and work up), and walk around the gym until you can't hold them any more.

Here's a link for grips:

Don Birnam
06-09-2004, 11:14 PM
GrumpyTX- Thanks for the kind words. I was looking through some old (very rough) notes I took sporadically from last spring and summer, and seeing how rapidly I was gaining in strength and size then has already been a huge motivator to getting back on track here.

Micky- Thanks for the tip... Alright, I'm gonna add grip work to my routine. I'm thinking once per 10 days, at the end of my back workout two days before my squats workout... That way my grip will have the maximum amount of time to 'recuperate' before I need it again.

06-10-2004, 03:56 AM
Nice session Don. Have you had the injury checked out?

06-10-2004, 09:51 AM
Yeah dude, you'll be surprised on how quickly you can get stronger. I don't have any science behind this, but I think that taller guys can get stronger quicker.

...but we pay for this by having to gain more wieght to look just as buff as a guy 12 " shorter. It's cool though; we are all in this for the same thing.


Don Birnam
06-11-2004, 08:35 PM
Friday, June 11, 2004

BOOMING workout today... I had been down the last few days because of the roll of fat developing around my midsection, but today's workout definitely lifted my spirits.

(warmup sets in italics)

Flat Bench DB Press- 5x20s, 5x40s, 6x70s, 3x70s

30 deg. Incline DB Press- 4x65s

Overhead Shoulder DB Press- 5x25s, 6x45s, 4x45s-dropset to 3x35s

Narrow-Grip Bench Press- 5x65, 7x120 (+1 assisted by spotter), 4x120

Shrugs- 12x205, 16x185

I weighed in at 204.

Each of these lifts was improved from last time I did them.

I smoked my goal of putting up 70s for 3 reps on flat DB press... I haven't done flat DB press in a long time, and this was my first time trying 70s. I was also happy with shoulder press- I put the seat at 90 degrees (I had previously been doing them the notch before that, I guess that's 75 degrees) and focused on pushing the weights straight up to stress the side delts. My NGBP form is really awesome now as I have been doing it for quite a while, and I feel my numbers on NGBP were good considering it came after the other presses which worked my tris considerably.

Justin- Dunno why, it never occurred to me to get it checked out... I always thought it would go away, now I've had it so long I guess I just started to assume I'll always have it. I'll try to get it looked at.

Micky- Well I've always known it takes tall people a lot longer to look "thicker" relative to smaller people... But when we DO get thick, we look awesome. :hump:

Don Birnam
06-11-2004, 11:15 PM
Since flat DB bench went well today I'm gonna switch up the goals a little... I'm gonna say 3x80s by July 31.

06-14-2004, 02:43 PM
Good luck. Lifts look good.

06-14-2004, 03:01 PM
Looks like you are moving along nicely with the training - good luck with it all!

Don Birnam
06-14-2004, 03:05 PM
GrumpyTX and CoCoa- Thanks a lot! I appreciate it.

Don Birnam
06-14-2004, 05:06 PM
Monday, June 14, 2004

Well I hit up back and bis today...

(warmup sets in italics)

Pullups- 4, 3, 2, 4 w/ 10 pounds assist

Negative Pullups- 10 slow negatives

Deadlifts- 5x135, 5x185, 4x235, 6x265, 3x245 --> ah this should be more... I think I have developed form issues that I'll have to correct

Barbell Rows- 9x125, 6x125

T-Bar Cable Rows- 9 full to bellyx130 (+2 almost to belly)

Hammer Curls- crap...

I weighed in at 203.

A decent workout. I got 7 half-assed hours of sleep last night after a late night of gambling so that might've deteriorated things a bit. Everything seemed good until I got to Hammer Curls where I couldn't lift dickall... but I'm gonna chalk that up to having weakened my bis and forearms on pullups, deads and rows. I couldn't even lift 40s with my right arm (I'm a lefty) so I did like 5 reps of 35s and then I was like, "This is a waste of my time" and I left. After all if I already wasted my bis then there's not much point in working them even more.

In general my strength is improving and I'm gonna strive to add a little bit every workout now, i.e. next time do 5 pullups, 130 on barbell rows, 140 on cable rows, 275 for 2 sets on deadlifts. My one rep max on deads is 335 (January I believe) so... I should be pulling a little more.

I start my job next Monday which will actually benefit me physique-wise believe it or not... sure I'll be working a lot of hours but it's more of a routine... at the office by 9:30 every morning type-of thing. The next step for me is to come up with a daily diet, a list of meals I can eat every day, day in and day out. I'm getting stronger but... I'm also getting a fair bit fatter... so... I figure my best hope is to work out my diet and see what effect that's having.

06-14-2004, 09:09 PM
Great workout man!

You must know your stuff if you're doing deadlifts. so many people have taboo'ed those because of back strain.

Your workout looks pretty clean. i'll give it a try this Saturday.

06-15-2004, 09:05 AM
The truth will help you lift!

Good luck!

Don Birnam
06-17-2004, 01:24 PM
Micky- Thanks man. Yah one really has to be careful with deadlifts. I really stress keeping my back straight, i.e. I look up while I'm doing them and I push my hips forward to keep my lower back straight. If anything it's arched back a little bit. Better safe than sorry is the correct policy for this kind of stuff. I love deads, they really tank my lower back muscles... but I think I have to tinker with my form a bit to bring the hamstrings into it more.

PizDoff- Haha of course... that is the whole idea. The full truth is I want to get thicker and stronger and I'm gonna be nothing but brutally honest with myself in terms of how I look and how my progress is going.

Don Birnam
06-19-2004, 01:40 AM
Friday, June 18, 2004

Today was chest/shoulders/tris/traps.

Flat DB Press- 5x25s, 5x40s, 2x50s, 2x60s, 4x75s

30-degree Incline DB Press- 3x70s, 4x65s

Military Press- 5x45, 4x65, 4x95, 3x95

Narrow-Grip Bench Press- 5x65, 2x95, 5x135, 4x135

Shrugs- 5x135, 5,185, 4x225, 9x245, 7x245

I weighed in at 202 lbs.

I feel good about how today went. I waited one full week from the last C/S/T/T workout to let my chest recover fully. I was feeling a little tired but my lifts went off quite well nonetheless. I start my new job at the new office next Monday so I've been hitting it hard this week with my friends, playing a lot of poker and generally burning the candle at both ends this week. Because of this my diet has been a joke and sleep has been less than optimal. This should improve (at least the diet) when I got on my working-man routine.

Well I decided to hit up the 75s on DB flat bench (I had done 6x70s last week) and I put em up 4 times, so that was pleasing. Military press went well as far as I can tell... the numbers on that should be going up during the summer. I was really quite happy with NGBP, which felt quite easy, even after my tris had been used so much on the previous lifts. My forearms also got quite a workout with the shrugs, almost giving out... and to wipe them out I tried a "farmer's hold" kinda thing just for kicks at the end whereby I held 100 lb. DBs in each hand and just held them while standing straight- I dropped them after a mere 25 seconds. Doh!

Just an interesting side note... when I was doing NGBP these two guys came in, probably about my age. They were like 5'9" each and looked kinda skinny, not bony but just not too thick. Well they got into some DB flat bench and they started grabbing some decently-heavy weights. I thought I had maybe underestimated them when I saw the one kid pull off the 85 lb. DBs... well he got into position on the bench, and the other kid IMMEDIATELY grabbed his elbows and helped him push it up! Like, from the first rep! Then he went through his reps with this guy pushing on his elbows the whole way. It was priceless :p I mean what is someone like that trying to accomplish? Just because the weights say "85" on the side doesn't change the fact you're pushing with "55" effort... your body don't know the difference!

06-19-2004, 10:53 AM
Great job on your lifts. you're getting stronger. once you get the diet and sleep in control, you'll be unstoppable!

Yeah, I think we've all been those kids at one point. The weightroom is NO PLACE FOR PRIDE!!!!

Don Birnam
06-21-2004, 08:25 PM
Micky- Thanks man. I'm tightening up my lifestyle, and things are gonna get better I'm sure. Hope you're doing well with your program too buddy, stick with it.

Don Birnam
06-21-2004, 08:36 PM
Sunday, June 20, 2004

I rushed to the gym yesterday and ripped out a back and bi workout in 30 minutes before it closed.

Pullups- 6; 4; 2.

Barbell Rows- 5x65, 7x135, 4x135

T-Bar Cable Rows- 8x140, 5x140

Hammer Curls- 8x35s, 6x35s

Not much to say here... numbers going up, and that's the goal. I was very happy with pullups especially. I was working on 4 hours of sleep after staying up until 9 am the night before gambling.

Just started my job today... now's my chance to get my routine of diet and sleep in perfect order.

Don Birnam
07-01-2004, 08:46 PM
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Today I did back and bis. I actually did a CSTT workout last Friday but it went strangely... so I wasn't eager to post it. I'm just gonna write it off as an aberration and hope I get back on track.

Pullups- 6, 4, 3

Barbell Rows- 2x45, 5x65, 6x95, 10x125, 7x125

Deadlifts- 3x135, 1x225, 1x275, 1x275, 1x275

Then I threw up 4 more pullups...

Then I grabbed 2 35-lb. DBs and did 3 hammer curls, and stopped. I'm really starting to see the validity of the argument that direct bicep work might be overrated. Big compound exercises are what I'm counting on to make me big, so I might reconsider the isolation/"vanity" bicep curls.

Well I haven't written in a while. For the past two weeks I've been working at my new investment banking job... It's been a relative disaster for my goals. Diet: out the window. I'm eating pure food court 3 meals a day. Sleep: Crappy. I've been at my parents' house (1.5 hours commute per day) so that is only exacerbating the long hours. Workouts: Sporadic. Stress: Through the roof. You get the point.

Good news is, I moved in to my new apartment downtown today, where I'll be living until the end of the internship. That's gonna save me a ton of time and hassle, plus I'm getting my routine in order. I'm gonna start eating breakfast at home, and bringing (good, healthy) food to work. I'm gonna post a complete diet with projected workout routine in the next couple of days, I guess here and on the Diet/Bodybuilding forums.

07-01-2004, 10:20 PM
Way to go Don. Bringing the meals to work really helps the progress.

What foods are you going to bring to work? Tunafish sandwhiches and oatmeal shakes? After a while, the healthy food gives you a little "high" because it's so good for you that you know that you're going to get a boost of energy in an hour, instead of the drag that pizza or cheeseburgers provide!

Don Birnam
07-03-2004, 02:01 PM
You're pretty close with your guess Micky. I'm thinking oats, tuna, natural PB, and protein powder. Maybe natural yogurt too. Should be good...

Don Birnam
07-03-2004, 02:09 PM
Saturday, July 3, 2004

Well here I am sitting here AT WORK on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Hmm, this seems familiar... oh yeah- I was here until 1 in the MORNING last night. On a FRIDAY night. Brutal. Well it's the career I chose so not much I can do now...

Anyways I went to the gym earlier for some CSTT action. I've definitely been feeling weaker in recent weeks, and I pray that when I get my diet in order (starting next Monday I swear) my strength gains will come back.

I felt a strange tightness in my pec yesterday and today... like I had worked it out really hard sort-of... how did I get that??? It almost certainly originated out of back and bi day two days ago. Hmm, well no matter. Here we go with the numbers...

Flat Bench DB- 5x35s, 5x50s, 6x70s, 4x70s

30 deg. Incline Bench DB- 2.5x65s

DB Shoulder Press- 5x25s, 4x50s, 4x45s

Narrow-Grip Bench- 3x95, 3x135, 3x135 *NO SPOTTER* which means I can't push my limits and risk the embarassment of my tris giving out and dumping the weights...

Shrugs- 8x135, 12x225, 8x225

Don Birnam
07-08-2004, 01:27 PM
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Pullups- 6, 3, 1.

Barbell Rows- 7x135, 5x135.

Cable Rows- 5x140, 6x130.

Bicep Curls- 2x35s, some x 30s (don't remember #).

New gym yesterday... bad numbers also. Not much that can be said. I've got my diet in order now, I'm 90% moved into my apartment, 2 new guys started at work this week, and my girlfriend is coming to stay with me for 8 weeks, arriving July 18th, and she will keep my apartment clean, shop for stuff while I'm at work, cook, the whole bit. What I'm trying to say is, my life should be a lot more "in control" from here on in.

So the plan for the rest of the summer is to put sleep as a top top priority (which is something I personally struggle with), stick to my diet, and keep working out diligently. Since my life is more streamlined now there is no excuse for me not to do accomplish these 3 things on a daily/weekly basis.

Don Birnam
07-08-2004, 01:28 PM
Here's my new diet.

approx. 7:45 am (before shower)- Protein Scoop (113 cals, 23g protein) w/ 1 cup of 1% milk
8:30 am (after shower)- 1/2 cup All-Bran; 3 rectangle biscuits of Shredded Wheat; 2 XL eggs

Total for Breakfast- 732 calories- 23% fat, 45% carb, 32% protein (57g of protein)

approx. 11:00 am- Teriyaki Chicken from Edo (Japanese food franchise); 1 tbsp natural peanut butter; 0.5 scoop of protein.

Total for Mid-Morning- 642 calories- 22% fat, 45% carb, 33% protein (50g of protein)

Early Afternoon
approx. 2:00 pm- 1 cup Quaker Oats; 1 can of tuna; 2 tbsp natural peanut butter.

Total for Early Afternoon- 649 calories- 29% fat, 40% carb, 30% protein (48g of protein)

Late Afternoon Snack
snack approx. 4:00-5:00- 1/3 cup raisins; 1/4 cup peanuts; 1 scoop protein.

Total for Late Afternoon Snack- 465 calories- 36% fat, 35% carb, 28% protein (34g of protein)

approx. 7:00 pm- 6 oz ribeye steak; 1.5 cup of cooked mixed vegetables; 1 medium banana.

Total for Dinner- 628 calories- 25% fat, 33% carb, 42% protein (62g of protein)

Nighttime Snack
approx. 10:00 pm- 1 cup plain yogurt; 1 protein scoop; 1 tbsp olive oil.

Total for Nighttime Snack- 358 calories- 38% fat, 23% carb, 39% protein (35g of protein)

Daily Total- 3530 calories. 27% fat, 38% carbs, 35% protein. 286g of protein.

On workout days I will add an additional post-workout shake consisting of 1/3 cup 1% milk, 1/2 cup ice cream, water and 3 scoops of protein powder. That's 403 calories, 22% fat, 27% carbs and 50% protein, with a total of 51g of protein.

Don Birnam
07-08-2004, 01:56 PM
Next back and bis day:

Pullups w/ 20 lb. weight;
T-Bar cable rows;
Bicep curls;
Ab work.

Don Birnam
07-10-2004, 03:52 PM
Two workouts to report on...

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Today I did deadlifts, legs and abs.

Deadlifts- 5x135, 2x225, 2x275, 2x275, 2x275

Smith Leg Press- 10x180, 10x180. -> this exercise is such that you are lying on your back and pushing the weight straight up with your feet.

Leg Raises- 12, 8 w/ 20 lb. dumbbell between my feet.

Don Birnam
07-10-2004, 04:01 PM
Saturday, July 10, 2004

Today I did Chest/Shoulders/Tris- no traps, not enough time.

Incline Bench DB- 6x30s, 5x50s, 3x70s

Flat Bench DB- 2x70s, 5x60s

DB Shoulder Press- 4x50s, 4x50s

Narrow-Grip Bench Press- 6x125, 3x125 ---> WHAT A PISSOFF... This is an exercise that I need a spotter for in case my tris give out and I can't push the weight up... well I ask this guy for a spot- at first he doesn't understand what I mean, then he seems to get it. I'm like, "I'll do at least six." At six he just grabs the bar and takes all the weight. I've got a bunch more reps in me, but he's not letting go. I try to do a seventh rep, and the entire way down he's holding the bar, taking its weight, and the way up there's almost no resistance on me. Same for the eighth rep. I racked it then and there... no point in carrying on that farce. For the second set I did it with no spot. AAA that was a mess... very frustrating indeed.

Don Birnam
07-10-2004, 04:05 PM
PS another beautiful Saturday afternoon at work...

07-12-2004, 09:46 AM
Great work, man. Hope your diet is going great.

Don Birnam
07-16-2004, 03:18 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2004

Flat Bench DB- 4x75s, 3x75s

Pullups- 6, 3, 3

Overhead DB Press- 6x50s, 4x50s :D

T-Bar Cable Rows- 7x120

Dips- 6 or 7 (can't remember)

Don Birnam
07-16-2004, 03:35 PM
Thursday, July 14, 2004

Deadlifts- 4x135, 3x225, 2x285, 2x285, 2x285

Smith Leg Press- 10x230, 12X230

Decline Situps + 25 lbs.- 10

Don Birnam
07-20-2004, 10:15 AM
Sunday, July 18, 2004

Flat Bench DB Press- (warmup), missx80s, 1x80s NEW PR :p

after this I did some more flat bench DB and some incline DBs but I can't recall the exact numbers.

Neutral Grip Pullups- 7, 5, 6 NEW PR

DB Shoulder Press- 2x55s, 7x50s NEW PR

Reverse Shrugs- 12x135, 14x155

Need more weight on this exercise next time.

Everything felt pretty good, even though I was on little sleep. The PRs are obviously pleasing.

Next time:

1 (or maybe 2 at most) work sets of incline DB press
1 work set of dips
2 work sets of DB shoulder press
1 set of weighted pullups
1 (or 2) sets barbell rows
2 sets Shrugs?

Don Birnam
07-22-2004, 01:26 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I did a very quick turnaround last night and worked out chest, tris and shoulders on 3 days rest.

Incline DB Press- 5x35s, 3x75s, 5x65s

Pullups- 7

DB Shoulder Press- 2x55s, 5x50s

Pullups- 4,4 - I was jumping from exercise to exercise last night

Barbell Rows- 5x135, 8x135

Flat DB Press- 4x65s

Don Birnam
07-26-2004, 05:45 PM
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Deadlifts- 4x135, 2x225, 3x285, 2x285

Vertical Leg Press- 5x90, 10x320, 6x320

Decline Situps plus 45 lbs.- 5, 4

Don Birnam
07-27-2004, 08:10 AM
Sunday, July 25, 2004

Flat Bench DB Press- 5x40s, 5x75s, 4x75s

Pullups (Holding 15 lb. DB between feet)- 4, 3

** The DB kept slipping! I'm gonna need a better way to weight myself down for this exercise.

**** When I'm in the gym I actually alternate exercises, switch them around... so for example I'll do one set DB Press, one set Pullups, one set DB Press... etc. etc. This allows me to rest a long time between sets on these "core" lifts.

OH Shoulder DB Press- 4x55s, 3x55s

Bent-Back Cable Row Machine- 9x120, 9x120

Shrugs- 12x245 (I think?? I have to double-check my notes)

07-29-2004, 03:14 PM
Nice vert leg press.


Don Birnam
07-29-2004, 06:24 PM
Micky- Haha, thanks man. My legs have always been bigger and stronger than my upper-body. My calves can push anything sweartagod... and yah it's funny you mention the shoulders, I've been feeling pretty good about that exercise/bodypart lately. It's the new benchpress!

Don Birnam
07-29-2004, 06:37 PM
Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Weighted Pullups + 20 lbs.- 5, 3+1, 4 (w. no weight)

Incline DB Bench- 7x70s, 4x70s, 2x70s

DB Shoulder Press- 3x55s, 2x55s

Barbell Rows- 7x135??, 5x135??- I think, can't remember exactly

Dips- 6+1, 4

DB Shoulder Press was down because I used a lot of shoulder in incline DB bench. in future Dips should be done earlier in the workout... but of course this will decrease my bench numbers. Ah such is life. Maybe I'll start with weighted dips (I loooove low reps) and weighted pullups at the beginning of the workout.

I've really gone to the full-blown Stuart McRobert style of two alternating workouts- legs, lower back and abs one workout and everything else the other workout. I'm tinkering with my diet and my workouts right now... seeing what works well and what doesn't... I'm putting on some good BF along the way but I'm hoping that's a worthwhile investment in the knowledge I'm in the process of gaining. What I'm settling on now is doing the upper-body workout (i.e. this one) every 3 days, and the lower-body/lower-back/abs workout every 6 days. I feel volume is low enough that I'm not overtraining this way.

I know a guy who is stupidly huge in his upper-body... In fact "Big" is part of his nickname. According to him he doesn't eat different, doesn't take supplements, doesn't even take protein. Just for the last 4 years he's done bench press every 2 days. That translates to 4 years of low volume, frequent workouts. That and a lot of other things are what has inspired me to my new routine.

07-29-2004, 09:37 PM
[B]Dips- 6 or 7 (can't remember)

For your size that's awesome. :thumbup:

Don Birnam
08-01-2004, 10:16 AM
Spartan- Thanks man! I think dips really are a great exercise. For me, they blow away my shoulders and tris.

Don Birnam
08-01-2004, 10:21 AM
Friday, July 30, 2004

Deadlifts- 3x135, 2x225, 3x285, 2x285, 4x225

My grip fell apart on the 285 lb. reps! I could have done more were it not for mysterious grip failure.

Vertical Leg Press- 4x325, 2x325

Not sure why the reps dropped so ridiculously from last time...

Ab Crunches with High Cable- Just experimented with this exercise... You hold the cable over your shoulder and crunch. I think I will add it as a regular exercise.

Don Birnam
08-01-2004, 10:30 AM
Saturday, July 31, 2004

Weighted Pullups + 25 lbs.- 3, 2, 5 (w. no weight)

Flat DB Bench- 5x80s, 2.5x80s

DB Shoulder Press- 3x60s, 2x60s- New PR!

Cable Rows- 9x110, 9x100

Dips- 7, 2 w/ 30 sec. rest

I beat my goal of 3x80s by July 31st! :p

08-02-2004, 12:16 PM
Most your #s are steadily going up. Is your diet been doing okay?

Don Birnam
08-03-2004, 10:30 AM
Thanks Micky. Hmmm... my diet's OK... but far from great. On the weekends I routinely go looooong (8+ hour) stretches without eating. Yesterday for example I had a bowl of shredded wheat at 9 am (very few calories), 2 jr. bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy's at 3 pm, 2 more at 6:30 pm, fish and chips at 8:30 pm, and milk, protein and peanut butter at midnight. Same idea for Sunday. That's not the greatest diet now is it??? hahaha

But during the week my diet is decent. I eat enough calories and protein. And my workout diet is strong also. On workout days I eat plenty and I have a great workout shake. I'm focusing on eating enough calories and protein every day, and if I have to eat crappy fast foods or other suboptimal foods to do it, so be it. I'll cut in a couple months. So I'm a fat-ass for now... big deal! :help: :p

Edit: The reason I ate so piss-poorly yesterday is because it was a holiday up here in Canada and I spent the day playing poker... Had I had a normal workday I would've eaten better. Really, you can trust me! ;)

08-08-2004, 02:33 AM
Yeah, the diet is the hardest part about lifting.

But if you stick with it, eat right, time the meals, watch the calorie, protein, carb counts, it really helps with the motivation.
The best part is when you get to the gym, and you've been slaving away eating the right things or trying to eat the required calorie counts.

You sit down, stretch, and are READY to LIFT!

So keep up with the diet and lifting. You're on your way!

Don Birnam
08-08-2004, 08:48 AM
Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Dips- 10xbw - could've been more but I treated as a warmup

For future if I do dips, it's gonna be weighted and it's gonna be balls to the wall, everything I've got.

The rest of the numbers are approximations as I can't remember exactly what each was...

Incline DB Press- 5x75s

Pullups- 3xbw+25, 3xbw+25

I'm gonna have to start bringing a small backpack to the gym for these! I can only do 3 before the DB slips from between my feet or my abs start bursting with pain.

DB Shoulder Press- 3x55s, 2x55s

These are always a lot weaker after doing exercises which utilize the shoulders.

Don Birnam
08-08-2004, 08:53 AM
Thursday, August 5, 2004

Rack Pulls- 4x225, 1x315, 1x365, 1x365

Deadlifts- 5x225

Imitation-Squat Leg Press- 5x90, 20x270, 13x270

High Cable Ab Crunch- 5x40, 2x90 (too much), 12x75

Don Birnam
08-08-2004, 08:57 AM
Saturday, August 7, 2004

Flat Bench DB Press- missx85s, missx85s, 12x80s* (with overeager spotter helping me get a ton of forced reps)

DB Shoulder Press- 7x60s* (once again spotter force-repping me)

Pullups- Whatever, I'm not interested until I get a backpack to hold the weight so I can do this exercise properly

Cable Rows- 15x90 - Tried to do the high-rep thing, focus on the mind-body connection, yada yada yada.

08-09-2004, 07:07 AM
Good idea on the cable ab crunch.

Don Birnam
08-19-2004, 04:55 PM
Well I haven't posted in a while... I did my two workouts last week light and experimental, to give my body and mind a bit of a break from the grind. I guess I won't post them.

But now I'm back on the heavy stuff:

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

DB Flat Bench- 5x40s, 4x60s, 6x80s

Pullups- Just frigging around

DB Shoulder Press- 3x60s + 1x60s

Cable Rows- 9x110, 7x110

Hammer Curls- Something...

Thoughts: My upperbody push work is going very well I feel... I think my pull work is too but sometimes I'm not sure... I need more consistency with it. Also I need to approach the exercises with the same enthusiasm with which I approach chest and shoulders. I don't have a reliable way to weight myself for pullups, so that takes away the "point"- i.e. pulling more weight more times than before. Well I'll see what I can do. Otherwise a good workout, considering I was exhausted, sleep-deprived and had a ridiculous ridiculous headache...

Don Birnam
08-25-2004, 09:20 AM
Two workouts to post...

Don Birnam
08-25-2004, 09:24 AM
Friday, August 20, 2004

Flat Bench DB Press- 4x40s, 3x60s, 3x85s *PR* :thumbup:

DB Shoulder Press- 3 or 4x60s (can't remember which)

Pullups+20 lbs.- 3, 2 + 3 no weight

Incline DB Bench- 4x70s if I remember correctly?

Barbell Rows- 6x135

Don Birnam
08-25-2004, 11:24 AM
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Flat Bench DB Press- 5x45s, 4x60s, 4x85s

DB Shoulder Press- 5x60s

Pullups+20 lbs.- 3+1, 3, 2+3 no weight, 5 no weight

Incline DB Press- 2x75s+2x60s

Barbell Rows- 8x140, 6x140

Hammer Curls- 4x40s, 5x35s

Reverse Shrugs- 12x175

Don Birnam
08-25-2004, 11:24 AM
I will do squats and deadlifts tomorrow (Thursday)...

Don Birnam
08-26-2004, 03:53 PM
I didn't set any goals for 85s but I guess I already accomplished that. What I would like to do is go up by 5 lbs. every month on DB press. As in, 3x85s now, 3x90s in 1 month, 3x95s in 2 months, 3x100s in 3 months... I'm sure there is some great rationale as to why I'm smoking crack but for now, this is my goal...

Don Birnam
08-26-2004, 03:56 PM
So in that end, my new goal is 3x90s by September 20 (the last day I can work out before going back to school), and 3x95s by October 20. Damn that would be sweet...

In the meantime I'm going to alternate between flat bench DBs, incline DBs, and weighted dips to keep things fresh and interesting.

Don Birnam
09-27-2004, 11:55 PM
Well it's been a while. I had an awkward month for lifting but now that I'm settled back in at College for my Senior year I should hopefully be back in a solid rhythm. My plan going forward:

2 upperbody days per week, 1 lowerbody day per week.

Upperbody Day:
-Big Chest Exercise (Incline DB Press, Weighted Dips, etc.)
-DB Shoulder Press (sometimes before chest (like if I want to preexhaust my shoulders), sometimes after)
-Weighted Pullups
-Row (either Barbell or Cable)
-Shrugs (alternate Front or Reverse... maybe try DB Shrugs also)

Lowerbody Day:
-Leg Press
-Bicep Curls

-CALORIE-RICH foods like PB, Olive Oil, Burgers + other dining hall food. This is done so I can get a lot of calories quickly and easily. I don't really enjoy eating, and it's actually kind of a hassle. I can make and devour a box of Kraft dinner like nothing, and that's approx. 1100 calories!
-MILK. Same reason as above.
-Whey Protein Powder- in combo with the rest of my diet, ensures my protein consumption is high.
-Multivitamin- I'll buy one tomorrow.
-Target calories: 4000 per day. Targetting 4000 will hopefully mean I get at least 3500 per day.

I might have to make a trip to the grocery store to see if I can get some easy-to-prepare-and-eat, healthy food.

What else...

I will keep posting here ALL THE TIME. Every workout from here on I will do my best to get in my online journal.

I don't care if I get fat anymore. You can always trim fat later. I bought UD 2.0 for that reason. For now I'm just worrying about getting the muscle on.

I am aiming for TWO pounds of weight-gain per week. That is about 20 pounds by the time I leave college for December break (I assume over the break I won't be gaining much because of awkward access to workout facilities). Since I was 211 yesterday that would make me about 230 by the time I go home for Christmas.

I have to make sure that's mostly muscle right? Well in that end I'm gonna lift hard... Big weights, just enough volume that I'm getting good results, not too much, not too little. EVERY WEEK I'm going to focus on putting more reps up or more weight up, one or the other. A more-than-one-workout dip in strength will NOT be tolerated.

Most recent numbers that I can remember from my recent workouts at my school gym:

DB Shoulders: 5x60s
Incline DB Press: 4x75s
Pullups: 5xbw
Barbell Rows: 8x135
Squats: 4x185 ATF
Deadlifts: 6x225

OK that's it, I'm done.

Don Birnam
10-03-2004, 05:27 PM
Friday, October 3, 2004

Flat Bench DB Press- 5x50s, 5x80s, 3x80s

DB Shoulder Press- 4x60s, 4x50s (strict straight-up motion)

Pullups- 5, 3, 2

Incline DB Press- 14x55s

Cable Rows- 10x100, 8x100

Next time: back to 85s on flat bench DBs.

10-03-2004, 05:52 PM
Nice shoulder workout!

04-01-2005, 08:32 AM
Hey Don,
How's your lifting going? It's been a little while, but I'm still working on it. How about you?

10-26-2006, 06:41 PM
Where are you?!?