Assessment of last cycle: Consistency continued to improve but still isn't what it should be. I found some success in breaking things up into three separate, 20-to-30-minute sessions per day (instead of one 60-minute session per day), each session based on one of the three metabolic energy systems: Phosphagen, Glycolytic, and Aerobic/Oxidative (https://www.ideafit.com/personal-training/the-three-metabolic-energy-systems/). This translates into Strength Training, Conditioning, and Endurance, respectively. I mostly did the Conditioning first thing in the morning, on my Rowing and Airdyne machines, then Lifting late afternoon before dinner, and then Endurance sometime after dinner, walking the dog for a mile or two (although this hardly feels like an 'endurance' activity). I also found success with the Push-Pull split for the Lifting, and simplified my sets/reps even further to an ultra basic, pure strength program of 3 x 3 @ 90% of 1RM for all lifts. I also veered from my Iron Ratio a bit so that by the end of August of 2021, if all goes well, the loads will mostly be based on just 45- and 25-pound plate combinations. Goals for this cycle: The long term Lifting goal is to get to: 3 x 3 @ 315 for the Deadlift; 3 x 3 @ 275 for the Squat; 3 x 3 @ 225 for the Bench Press; 3 x 3 @ 225 for the Pulldown; 3 x 3 @ 205 for the Pendlay Row; and 3 x 3 @ 135 for the Overhead Press by the end of August of 2021. I'll do this by adding one pound per week to the Squat 3RM (or eight pounds per cycle), and then derive the other lifts' 3RM loads using these ratios: Deadlift = 1.147 x Squat Squat = 1 x Squat Bench Press = 0.82 x Squat Pulldown = 0.82 x Squat Pendlay Row = 0.91 x Bench Press (or 74.5% of Squat) Overhead Press = 0.49 x Squat The old Iron Ratio was a simpler: Deadlift = 1.2 x Squat Squat = 1 x Squat Bench Press = 0.75 x Squat Pulldown = 0.75 x Squat Overhead Press = 0.5 x Squat (I forget what the Row was) In effect, three of the upper body lifts are now heavier compared to the Squat. My shoulders seemed to tolerate this OK in Cycle VII of 2020, when I changed the ratios at the beginning of December. The brief time I tried 1.2 for the Deadlift at the beginning of Cycle VII, it felt a little heavy once I got close to 300 pounds, so besides my fetishic plate goals for August, it makes sense to keep the DL a bit lighter in relation to the Squat to avoid Injury. If and when I meet these plate goals, I will probably do one of the following: 1. set new plate goals, if possible, like a 3RM Squat of 315 (six 45-lb plates), and a 3RM Deadlift of 365 (six 45-lb plates & two 25-lb plates), and maybe 275 for the BP and 185 for the OP, although that would put the Iron ratio even more out-of-whack, and probably isn't physically possible for me; or 2. Hold steady until the aging process forces me to reduce; or 3. Hold steady but add in more variety/assistance lifts; or 4. Add reps. Finally, as my Pulldown loads increase and, hopefully, my body weight decreases, I will switch to Chinups at some point, and then just add reps, as I don't think loaded Chinups will work for me, although I have never tried them. The long term Conditioning and Endurance goal is to get off my blood pressure pills and lose some weight. Maybe set the goal of 5-10 pounds' reduction per Cycle? My ideal routine for achieving these goals is what might be called 'Metabolic Triad Training,' in which I target one energy system per session, three sessions per day, six days per week: Morning: Glycolytic System = Conditioning or Interval Training: "Intermittence" Machines: 4-6 x [4 mins Rowing--Low Intensity (L-Int), 1 min Airdyne--Medium Intensity (M-Int) to High Intensity (H-Int)] I will hopefully also get in some mobility work/stretching in the morning. Noon or Late Afternoon: Phosphagen System = Lifting or Strength Training: "Resistance" Lifting: Push (Squat, Bench Press, Overhead Press); or Pull (Deadlift, Pendlay Row, Pulldown/Chinup). Evening: Oxidative System = Endurance or Aerobic Training: "Persistence" Walking, 1-2 miles. If I give a temperature in the winter, that means I did it barefoot. Otherwise, the default is some kind of footwear in the winter and barefoot spring, summer, and fall. I'll try to do this six days a week, and then on Sundays maybe go for a bike ride or do sled work. The nice thing about breaking things up into three different sessions is that I can almost always get in at least one or two, so that, on average, I'm working each energy system at least four times a week. In other words, I think I've finally found a routine that's flexible enough to make greater consistency attainable. Reducing the rate of load increase for the lifts has also helped improved consistency. Now if I miss a workout or two, I don't fall behind or get discouraged. (If Abide rejoins these threads, we can either keep the new title, or go back to "Concurrent Strength & Endurance Training." I just like the idea of including a Conditioning component, since I can't run anymore, and doing other kinds of Endurance activities besides walking doesn't really work for me, so I really need to do some interval training or sled work in addition to walking for general Cardio-vascular health.) Here's a link to different rep schemes: https://www.t-nation.com/training/22-proven-rep-schemes. My "Hard Triples" is #6. It's interesting that he recommends doubles over triples for more advanced lifters. Perhaps as I approach my plate goals, doubles will make more sense. ---------------Week 1: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.01.03 -Morning- Intermittence 20 minutes: 4 x [4 mins Rowing, L-Int / 1 min Airdyne, M-Int] -Afternoon- Resistance: Pull PD: 3 x 3 @ 135/155/175/185/195/195 SLDL: 3 @ 135 RW: 3 @ 135 Last workout, really, of Cycle VII 2020. On Monday I'll start with this cycle's initial loads. Persistence 1.5 mi walk with son and dog to field to fly drone a bit and let dog run free. Monday, 21.01.04 -Morning- Persistence 25 minutes: Rowing, L-Int -Afternoon- Resistance: Push OP: 3 @ 110/110/118/118 Got some bad news on the family health front. Wasn't really into working out, but it was a reminder to get serious about health. I kept the rowing easy, and considered deloading two cycles for the lifting, but then did the proper loads for the Overhead Press for this cycle on the last two sets. Will hopefully feel more enthused for tomorrow's Pull split. -Evening- Persistence 1.8 mi walk with dog after dropping son off at hockey practice. Tuesday, 21.01.05 -Morning- Intermittence 10 minutes: 2 x [4 mins Rowing, L-Int / 1 min Airdyne, M-Int] -Afternoon- Resistance: Pull DL: 3 x 3 @ 245 RW: 2 x 2 @ 185 PD: 2 x 3 @ 155 Was a little rushed for time, had to talk myself into this workout. After a week or two off, due to a little glitch in my mid-back, Deadlift felt fine. I'll probably try one more increment--265--before a full load at the end of the week. I was too lazy to use small plates on the Row, but jumping up to 185 was doable for two reps, maybe three. Took it easy on the Pulldown just to finish up quickly. -Evening- Persistence 1.6 mi walk with dog. Wednesday, 21.01.06 -Morning- Intermittence 10 minutes: 2 x [4 mins Rowing, L-Int / 1 min Airdyne, MH-Int] 10 minutes: Rowing, L-Int Spent the afternoon provisioning, then the evening watching the insurrection news. Thursday, 21.01.07 -Afternoon- Resistance: Push SQ: 3 @ 135 OP: 3 @ 95 Spent the afternoon driving a family member to a medical appointment, but still had time to lift. On the third Squat warmup set, however, I felt a little twinge in my left knee, like a ligament tying into a quad muscle or something. I finished the set OK but then decided to wait a day before trying a heavier load. With the new, flexible schedule and slow rate of loading, it's pretty easy to be overly cautious and avoid injury at all costs. Did a set of the Overhead Press just to prime. Friday, 21.01.08 Afternoon- Resistance: Pull DL: 3 x 3 @ 245 RW: 2 x 2 @ 185 PD: 3 @ 167.5/177.5/187.5/197.5/197.5 Spent most of afternoon provisioning again, but managed to get in a quick workout. With limited time I decided to do the Pull split, as that always seems easier for me. Got up to the proper load in the Pulldown, went easy on the deadlift. Saturday, 21.01.09 ---------------Week 2: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.01.10 -Afternoon- Intermittence 30 minutes: Rowing, L-Int Well, things on the family health front have gone from bad to worse, but it's also a sign to stay serious about improving my own health. It might be a week or two before I can more fully implement my new plan, but I'll do my best. One thing I'm also considering is doing the Push-Pull split followed by a day of sled work, to give the shoulders a day of complete rest. Monday, 21.01.11 -Noon- Intermittence 20 minutes: [4 mins Rowing, L-Int / 1 min Airdyne, M-Int] [14 mins Rowing, L-Int / 1 min Airdyne, M-Int] -Evening- Persistence 1.5 mi walk with dog. Tuesday, 21.01.12 Wednesday, 21.01.13 -Afternoon- Resistance: Push BP: 3 x 3 @ 135 SQ: 3 X 3 @ 185 OP: 3 X 3 @ 65 Just primed after too much time off due to family health concerns. Will try to get back to full program by next week. Knee felt fine on Squat. -Evening- Persistence 1.5 mi walk with dog. Thursday, 21.01.14 -Afternoon- Persistence 1.5 mi walk with son and dog to sledding and back. Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 120/140/160/180 Started Pull split too late, then got caught up in taking son to hockey, dinner, helping someone stuck in the snow . . . Friday, 21.01.15 Saturday, 21.01.16 -Afternoon- Persistence 1 mi walk with dog on icy sidewalks. Family member still hospitalized, outlook not too good. I'll try to get back on my program Monday. ---------------Week 3: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.01.17 Monday, 21.01.18 -Morning- Intermittence 20 minutes: Rowing, L-Int Spent my workout hour tracking down a desk for my daughter. Tuesday, 21.01.19 -Noon- Intermittence 10 minutes: 2 x [4 mins Rowing, L-Int / 1 min Airdyne, M-Int] -Afternoon- Resistance: Push BP: 1 @ 185/200/200 SQ: 3 @ 225 OP: 3 @ 95 Finally got back to lifting. Felt good. Wednesday, 21.01.20 -Afternoon- Persistence .6 mi walk to skating rink and back. Resistance: Pull DL: 3 @ 225 Was up for a good workout, then stuff came up before I even got to my Deadlift worksets. Thursday, 21.01.21 Friday, 21.01.22 -Evening- Persistence 1.5 mi walk with dog. Saturday, 21.01.23 ---------------Week 4: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.01.24 -Afternoon- Intermittence 20 minutes: Rowing, L-Int Persistence -Evening- 1 mi walk with dog Monday, 21.01.25 -Afternoon- Persistence 1.5 mi walk with son and dog In the evening, my hospitalized family member came home after 17 days. Hopefully I can get my routine back on track. Might have to deload a cycle or two, just make things easy on myself and make sure I get some lifting in. Tuesday, 21.01.26 -Afternoon- Persistence 2 mi walk with son and dog. I tried my Hills walk, which is just snaking through the neighborhood hitting the three biggest hills and some smaller ones too. Just a block or two are level ground. My son took his electric moped and wiped out quite a bit on all the snow and ice. He got cold towards the end so we chopped off the last big hill of the walk. Wednesday, 21.01.27 -Noon- Persistence 2.2 mi walk with dog. Got in the last big hill, so now I've completed the Hills walk. It actually feels like a workout. I'll have to see if my bike GPS still works, would be nice to know what the total climb is. I guess once this starts to feel easier, I could even try jogging up a little bit. Hopefully my knees will be fine with two miles daily. Thursday, 21.01.28 -Afternoon- Persistence 2.2 mi Hills walk with dog. Friday, 21.01.29 -Afternoon- Persistence 2.2 mi Hills walk with dog. Already starting to feel some adaptation--breathing a little less hard at the top of the hills. Saturday, 21.01.30 -Afternoon- Persistence 2.3 mi Hills walk with dog. Added an alley for an extra hill, but it was pretty icy. Then I realized I could tap into two more hills with sidewalks in the middle of my route. So next time I'll cut out the alley, and add the two other hills, which will bring my route up to a nice, neat 2.5 miles. My inner numerologist is pleased. ---------------Week 5: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.01.31 Family member readmitted to hospital . . . Monday, 21.02.01 -Afternoon- Resistance: Pull PD: 3 x 3 @ 160 DL: 3 x 3 @ 225 RW: 3 x 3 @ 135 Just primed. -Evening- Persistence 3 mi Flats & Hills walk with dog. I think I will try to make the walks 2.5 to 3 miles now. That seems to deliver full benefit, almost as much as a short run, as I walk quite briskly. I will also try to do them in the morning when possible, then maybe lifting and machines at the end of the afternoon. The only important thing is to hit all three energy systems once a day if possible, but four times a week for sure. Tuesday, 21.02.02 -Afternoon- Resistance: Push BP: 3 x 3 @ 135 SQ: 3 x 3 @ 185 OP: 3 x 3 @ 95 Primed the Pushes. Wednesday, 21.02.03 -Morning- Persistence 2.5 mi Hills walk with dog. Finally got in a walk first thing in the morning. Felt great! -Afternoon- Resistance: Pull DL: 3 x 3 @ 245 RW: 3 x 3 @ 155 PD: 3 x 3 @ 180 Building back up to where I should be. Thursday, 21.02.04 -Morning- Persistence 2.5 mi Hills walk with dog. Google Maps says it's a total 190 feet uphill and 190 downhill. I guess that's like going up 19 floors of stairs in a house. Not bad. Friday, 21.02.05 -Afternoon- Persistence 2.8 mi Hills walk with dog. Changed the route slightly to include a longer, gentler climb. It was cold enough to wear socks for the first time since last winter. Saturday, 21.02.06 ---------------Week 6: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.02.07 Monday, 21.02.08 -Evening- Persistence 1 mi Hills walk with son and dog. Family member is probably coming home again on Tuesday. I spend most of the day visiting the hospital and running errands. Tuesday, 21.02.09 -Morning- Persistence 3 mi Hills walk with dog. Wednesday, 21.02.10 -Evening- Resistance: Pull PD: 3 @ 120/140/160/180/180 More appointments and errands Thursday, 21.02.11 Probably last full day of appointments and errands before chemo starts next week. Friday, 21.02.12 -Afternoon- Persistence 3.3 mi Hills walk. -4F, -25F WC. Still OK with just tennis shoes and thin merino socks. Will be nice to get back to barefooting in a month or two. I tried out a route that includes dropping off my son at school beginning next week. It's close to the maximal hill-hitting route possible. And it's 3.3 miles, so it echoes my 3x3 hard triples for lifting, and my metabolic triad approach. Plus, strangely enough, it has a 233 feet total gain in elevation, according to Google Maps. I might call it my "Christ-Year Hills route," and it even alludes to the crucifixion on the hill, which further alludes to being out of breath at the top of the hill. Saturday, 21.02.13 -Afternoon- Persistence 2.5mi Hills walk. -3F, -11F WC. Much better without as much wind. I call this my "Bart Simpson kneeling on a sled" Hills walk, because that's what the outline looks like on Google Maps. ---------------Week 7: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.02.14 Took my wife back to the ER at 1am, came home at 3am, went back late morning to visit. Looks like they'll keep her there until they start chemo. Monday, 21.02.15 -Evening- Persistence 2.8 mi Hills walk. -4F, -10F WC. Tuesday, 21.02.16 -Morning- Persistence 2.4 mi walk with dog, .4 with son. -13F, -19F WC. Dropped off son at school for his first day of in-person learning, then continued with my dog walk. This will be the new routine. I only did about half the hills, but it almost seems like going up and down hills is easier on the knees than more flatish walking. I always assumed that the descent was a bit harder, and the ascent a bit easier, on the knees, based on my experience hiking in mountains. But maybe not. Wednesday, 21.02.17 Thursday, 21.02.18 -Morning- Persistence 2.4 mi walk with dog. -Afternoon- Resistance SQ: 3 @ 135 OP: 3 @ 65 Well, my mother-in-law arrived from Africa to help out. Just primed a bit, will try more tomorrow. Friday, 21.02.19 -Morning- Persistence 2.5mi "Bart Simpson kneeling on a sled" Hills walk, 10F, 190ft total gain. -Afternoon- Resistance PD 3 x 3 @ 180 Starting to be able to re-integrate the lifting. Conditioning hopefully will follow sometime next week. I'm thinking of making the Bench Press, Pulldown, and Row all the same, at 75% of the Squat, which would make the first two a little easier, and allow me to focus a bit more on the Overhead Press during the Push days. With all the stuff going on right now, I'm also thinking of simplifying my system even more, and getting rid of micro loading, making all the increases go up in five-pound increments. That would mean I could return to the same load for 4-5 weeks or more on each lift. I think that would be better for me mentally, as I wouldn't feel like I'm falling behind if I have to take time off again. Not sure if this would work for the Overhead Press though. A five-pound jump might be too much. If so, a 2.5 pounds would probably work. Saturday, 21.02.20 -Afternoon- Resistance: Push SQ: 2 x 3 @ 185 OP: 2 x 3 @ 95 BP: 2 x 3 @ 135 More priming. ---------------Week 8: Cycle I--------------- Sunday, 21.02.21 -Afternoon- Persistence 2.5mi "Bart Simpson kneeling on a sled" Hills walk, close to 32F, yippee. Resistance PD 3 x 3 @ 185 Knees were a little sore so I skipped the Deadlifts and Rows. I guess it's been too much time off from squatting. Monday, 21.02.22 -Afternoon- Resistance: Push BP: 3 x 3 @ 155 SQ: 2 x 3 @ 205 OP: 2 x 3 @ 95 Tuesday, 21.02.23 -Morning- Persistence 2 mi Hills walk, 151ft total gain. This is the "Bart Simpson kneeling on a sled" Hills walk without the head. It's still about 35-40 minutes of walking, so probably adequate, especially if I can integrate the lifting and conditioning again. Definitely a great way to start the day. It got over freezing yesterday, so a lot of sidewalks were icy this morning. Family member came home late afternoon from hospital again. Wednesday, 21.02.24 -Morning- Persistence 2 mi Hills walk, 151ft total gain. Thursday, 21.02.25 -Morning- Persistence 2 mi "Five-Hills" walk, 151ft total gain. Our daughter had to go to school for on-site learning today. This two-mile walk fits perfectly in the time slot between dropping of our son at 7:15am and dropping off our daughter an hour later. It hits five hills, including the two steepest in the neighborhood, so this could become the standard walk. -Afternoon- Resistance PD: 3 x 3 @ 140 DL: 3 x 3 @ 225 Rw: 3 x 3 @ 135 Just primed. Friday, 21.02.26 -Afternoon- Resistance: Push BP: 2 x 3 @ 155 SQ: 2 x 3 @ 205 OP: 2 x 3 @ 95 Persistence 1 mi walk to store and back. Saturday, 21.02.27 -Afternoon- Persistence 2 mi "Five-Hills" walk, 151ft total gain. Resistance PD: 3 x 3 @ 160 DL: 3 x 3 @ 225 Rw: 3 x 3 @ 135 That's a wrap!