04/11/14 @PPTC
-Light Log Press Warm Up 90x8, 110x8, 140x5x5
-Military Press 115x10, 135x8x8x8x8
-Bench Press 185x5, 225x5, 185x10x11
-Arnold Presses 50'sx10, 40'sx10x10

04/13/14 @PPTC
-Pull Ups 10, 10
-Weighted Pull Ups +25x5, +45x5x5
-Behind the Head Pulldowns 130x10x10x10x10
-Dumbbell Rows 100x10x10x10
-Standing Pull Downs 100x12, 120x12x12

Beach season will soon be upon us. Are you ready?
This Blackstone Cherry song is the kick off to my summer 2014 soundtrack.  I know they've done some god awful stuff (i.e. "Blame It on the Boom Boom"), but every now and then they just nail it with an awesome tune.  Riding into work today with the windows down and this blasting, everything was good in the world.
-Tarzan out.
04/08/14 @ Fordham
-Pull Ups 10, 10, 10, 10
-Pulldowns 150x10x10x10x10
-Chest Supported Rows 130x10, 170x10, 190x10, 210x10
-Dumbbell Rows 100x10x10x10
-Farmers Walk 100's x Full Length of Gym for 4 sets
-Curls for the Girls 10 sets of 12-16 reps
-Wrist Curls 20, 20, 20
-Leg Raises 15, 15, 15, 15
04/10/14 @ PPTC
-Calf Raises  So. Many...
-Weighted Lunges 70x20x20x20x20x20
-Kettlebell Sumo Deads 150x10x10, 200x10x10
-Leg Press 3 sets of 15 reps, Burnout set on the last one for 25 reps
-Leg Extensions 150x15x15x15
-Leg Curls 90x15x15x15

In other news, as much as I'd like to believe that a fantastic body will get me places in life, I enjoy the pursuit of knowledge just as much.  If you're at all interested in life, the universe and everything, (and you have access to Netflix) check out "The Inexplicable Universe" as explained by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  It's a wild and wacky ride as he navigates the history of incredible humans solving some of the universe's biggest mysteries. 
-Tarzan out.
I'm writing to you live from the Fordham University cafeteria, where thanks to my beautiful (and resourceful) girlfriend I have scored access to hours of free food and internet.  Shhh don't tell anyone, but I am NOT a student here.  It's 11:50am and we've been here since 8:30.  As a poor man who frequently visits NYC, this is an opportunity that I, and my wallet, are incredibly thankful for.  I thought the grocery stores in Connecticut had absurd prices compared to my Midwestern homeland, but NYC....wowza!

After this morning of feasting, I'm off to the gym to train back and bi's. 

In other news, one of my all time favorite bands, Cloud Cult, is playing a two-set show in Brooklyn next week.  I am beyond stoked to see them again.  The band is from Minnesota and most of the members live in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  It will be like a lifeline back home :)

Here's last night's training:
-Bench 185x6, 225x6x6x6
-DB Incline Bench 70'sx12, 75'sx10x8, 70'sx10
-Chest Press Machine 4 sets of 10 reps
-Standing OHP 95x8, 115x6x6, 135x5x3
-Arnold Presses 45'sx10x10x10
-Weighted Dips
-Leg Raises 15, 15, 15

-Tarzan out
04/01/14 @Fordham University Bronx, NY
-Bench 135x10, 185x10, 205x10, 225x6, 195x10
-DB Incline Bench 60'sx10, 75'sx8x8
-Smith Machine Military Press 95x10, 145x10, 175x8x8
-Dips 20
-Shoulder Press Machine 4 sets of 8-12 reps
-DB Lateral Raises 20'sx20x20x20
-Single Arm Tri Ext 40x12x13x14
-Chest Press Machine 3 sets of 15 reps

Notes: All of my assumptions about Smith Machines being a joke were confirmed.  I am nowhere near a 175x8 presser (more like 155x4) and 175x8 was EASY.  Stay away from that piece of garbage unless you're over 70 years old.

04/02/14 @Fordham University
-Pull Ups 10, 10, 8
-Pulldowns 4 sets of 12 reps
-Chest Supported Rows 5 sets of 12-15 reps
DB Rows 75x12, 85x10, 100x12x10
-Upright Rows 60x10, 50x12x12
-Farmers Walk 100 each hand x the full length of the gym (4 sets)
-Curls for the Girls (Preacher, Single Arm)

-Sprint/Pull Up workout @ Bristol Eastern High School

04/05/14 @PPTC
-Calf Raises  x a Billion
Weighted Lunges 35x20, 63x20, 100x10x10x10, 63x16
-Single Leg Leg Presses 80x15x15x15
-Leg Ext 3 sets of 15 reps
-Leg Curls
3 sets 20, 16, 13 reps

And today I'm back down in NYC so I'll be training Chest/Shoulders tonight at the Fordham University gym.

-Tarzan out.

I'm entering a pivotal time in my life.  I'm 26 years old.  So at this point I've had a few pivotal points and I can start to see them coming in advance now.  I'm heading for a big one.  There's a serious change in plans on the horizon and as it stands, the possibilities are endless.  Ahh the joys of not having kidlets. 
As I've said many times before, music is probably the most important weapon in my arsenal for processing life.  So expect to hear a lot of it as you read through this.

One year and 7 months ago I made the biggest move of my adult life, from the quiet, idyllic North Shore of Minnesota to the noisy chaos in the meat of the sandwich between New York and Boston.  The profound effect this move has had on all aspects of my life is too much to even try to spell out here, but to keep a long story short, everything about me has been affected in one way or another.  Realizing this, that wherever I go next is going to change my life, places a much heavier weight on the seemingly simple question; where to next?
I also recognize the unbelievable power of the unknown and what could lie ahead.  There's not a bone in my body that believes I will fail in this life.  It's not an option.  That attitude has taken me to places and introduced me to people and experiences that childhood me  growing up in rural Wisconsin could never have imagined.  I've already seen and done more in 26 years than many people do in 50 years.  If you ask my mom I'm sure she'll tell you I was always exploring, always trying to learn; and that has never left me.  I have to thank my parents for continuously encouraging that behavior; for the epic roadtrips we took every summer.  They have never stifled my personal growth and I'm immensely lucky to have parents like that.
Those are all just from the last few years and it's just a slice.  I am beyond excited to see what the next few years have in store.  I've learned a lot through these travels, but I think some of the most important things are to really live with a sense of wonder, to appreciate anyone who takes the time to be your friend, to stay consistent in the pursuit of your goals regardless of the ups and downs, and to not be afraid of things you can't control. 
Look for the beauty in negative spaces.

-Tarzan out
I've undergone a major shift in my training philosophy because of this back injury I sustained a few months ago.  I started getting kind of scared when routine training was crippling me for the next 8 hours.  Of course all the doom and gloom scenarios ran through my mind. "Will I have to stop training my legs?  Will I be in pain for the rest of my days?  I refuse to be a chicken-legged man.  I'm 26.  I take my fish oil, eat right, and use strict form. I'm invincible.  This shouldn't be happening to me.  Etc, etc, etc."

Luckily I experimented for weeks figuring out different ways to train that don't aggravate the injury.  The bad news is a disc injury can take a long time to heal, if it heals at all.  The good news is I have been training pain-free for weeks and I'm having as much fun with it as I did training for that Strongman contest last May.  Back Squats and Deadlifts are out.  That's just the way it is for the time being.  I'm not going to lie, I cried a little.  BUT I've discovered the horrifically wonderful torture that is Weighted Lunges, high-rep Leg Press sets, and good ol' Farmers Walks.  So, while the gods may have changed my plans pretty dramatically (sorry I've been watching a lot of 'Vikings' lately), the training intensity hasn't gone down at all.  I look forward to seeing what the next few months bring. 

Part of progress is keeping a positive attitude about whatever life throws your way.  One of the ways I am able to do that is through the cathartic power of music.  Here's a playlist of some of the songs that I've been lifting to lately:
I am
I will
So no longer
Will I
Lay down
Play dead
Play your doe
in the headlights locked down
and terrified
Your deer in the headlights
shot down and horrified when
Push comes to pull comes to shove
Comes to step around this
Self-destructing dance that never
would've ended till I
I roared aloud here
I will
I am.
My tastes are pretty eclectic and the way a song makes me feel is the most important thing when I'm adding it to a playlist.  I hope you enjoy some of these as well.

Happy training.

-Tarzan out.
Floki wishes you happy training as well.
It's almost been a month since I last posted about my back injury and what I was going to do moving forward.  I'm happy to report that I've started adding Leg Presses back into my lower body days with no pain.  Next week I'm going to start Deadlifting again.  I'm still holding off on Squats because they have caused me the most pain over the last month.  In the meantime I've been doing what I think every strength athlete should do when they are injured: bodybuilding!

The results have been pretty great.  My pressing and back days feel strong.  I've been enjoying hitting rep PRs and adding in old favorites like Arnold Presses and Lat Pulldowns.  I've seen the biggest change in my arms which is kind of funny because I still don't give them their own training day.  I just tack on an arm exercise or two at the end of Pressing and Pulling days. 
I'm coming for you Cory Lagasse and Brook "The Brick" Wilkerling haha.  But seriously, for a few weeks I was really feeling down in the dumps because I had one frustrating training session after another.  I'd go in feeling like Tarzan, hurt myself doing something that aggravated my back, and leave feeling like a 75 year old hobbler.  Since I talked with Derek about the injury and started training smarter, I've had little to no pain and have found ways to enjoy training while I can't Squat heavy. 

Eating has been going really well too.  I figure I'm on the right track when I continuously amaze my coworkers with the amount of food I eat during an 8 hour shift ;).

That's about all I have to report for today.  I feel some nice PRs coming in the Overhead Press in my future.  I'll keep you posted.....and leave you with this:
Injuries are humbling.  Overcoming them is inspiring.  Balance is lovely.

-Tarzan out
I can't even remember when now, but sometime around 6 weeks or so ago I strained the muscles of my lower back.  I assume everyone knows what it's like to have a sore lower back, but this was to the point where sitting was the most painful thing I did all day.  After a few days it felt fine, or so I thought.  I tried Deadlifting again.  Same result.  Ouch.  Okay, so I decide to take a hiatus from Deadlifts and just keep everything else the same.  Fast forward to last week.  After each Squat session my back feels incredibly tight and tender.  I ignore it because it's nothing like the pain I felt when I first hurt it.  I decide to "rehab" my lower back muscles by adding in Good Mornings and light Stiff Legged Deadlifts.  Big mistake.  On the 3rd set of Stiff Legged Deads with just 185lbs, my lower back spasms and pain shoots up and down the right side of the area.  At this point I was so angry that I just put my weights away and went home.  The next day my back felt pretty much fine, a little tender; just like it has for over a month now. 

There's nothing more frustrating to a lifter than being injured.  It knocks the wind out of your sails and really makes you question the whole "I am superhuman-nothing-can-destroy-my-awesomeness" thing that you usually have going on.  Basically I just feel really vulnerable when I'm injured.  So what now?

I know people who work through their injuries, much like I was trying to do.  They keep it light, but push as hard as their body will let them.  My body has let me know multiple times that it's just not having any of that until it heals up.  In the few training sessions since that Stiff Legged Deadlift debacle, I've come to a few conclusions.  Here's a note I wrote in my training log on February 1st:

"Until your lower back starts feeling better do GHR, Leg Curls, Leg Extensions, and possibly lunges for Leg Day.  Hit them hard, with a vengeance. 

Do Pull Ups, Pull Downs, and Face Pulls on Back Day.

Keep pressing hard!  Add more arm and shoulder work into your routine.

Do sprints to make up for lost training intensity for your legs.

Keep your spirits up and do what you can to progress in other ways while you heal!!!"

-Bench 95x5, 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 205x8x8x8x7x6
-DB Incline Bench 60'sx12, 65'sx10, 70'sx10
-DB Flat Bench 70'sx8, 65'sx15x15

-Back Ext 10, 12, 12, +10x12, +25x12
-Leg Ext. 90x15, 105x15, 120x15, 135x15, 150x15, 165x15, 180x15
-Leg Curl 80x15, 100x15x15, 110x15

-GHR 10, 12, 12
-Leg Press Calf Raises 450x10x15x15x15x15
-Fat Grip Curls for the Girls 30'sx20x20x20, 35'sx20x20

I was down in NYC at my girlfriend's apartment. While she ran 10 miles training for a half marathon she's doing at the end of the month, I obliterated my shoulders and arms at the gym of Fordham University in the Bronx.
  I have to admit, as a kid from Green Bay, it was pretty cool to workout in the Vince Lombardi Training Center. 

I didn't have my training notebook, or a plan.  The gym had all kinds of wacky machines that I hadn't used in years.  I started out doing a heavy overhead pressing workout, working up to doing a few heavy sets of 5 on the Seated Dumbbell Press.  After that I shifted to full-on bodybuilder mode and just did set after set after set of presses, raises, curls, and extensions.  My arms and shoulders are a blob of painful jelly today and it feels.....awesome!

So I've just had to shift my priorities and remember that an injury is just temporary.  Eventually it will heal and I'll be back squatting and deadlifting heavy in no time.  In the meantime, maybe I can add some thickness to this 192 pound frame ;)  Let the games begin!

-Tarzan out

I think it's important to have goals for how you envision yourself transforming on your lifting journey. Here's mine. What's yours??
My shift toward a more bodybuilder-style of training has been going very well.  Aside from some issues with my lower back being tight (my own fault for cutting out deadlifting for too long) I've been feeling strong and healthy.  I decided to train this way for awhile for a number of reasons.  A few months ago I was starting to feel pretty beat up and my strength was stalling out.  This gives my body a break from the heaviest lifting week in and week out which was wreaking havoc on my joints.  Another benefit is of course that wonderful side effect of reps known as hypertrophy ;).  No complaints there!

Around 2 months ago I switched from primarily ground beef, eggs and bacon to chicken, turkey, uncured turkey bacon, eggs, and fish for my protein needs.  I feel...."lighter" I guess is the best way to put it.  It feels good. I've been able to eat more because I can get higher quality versions of those for cheaper than decent ground beef.  I also just feel like I am able to eat more in a sitting than when I was downing beef everyday. 

Here's some recent training sessions:

-Military Press 95x5, 115x5, 135x5, 155x5, 145x5x5
-Arnold Presses 40'sx10x10x10
-DB Lateral Raises 20'sx12x12x12x12

-Power Clean 135x3, 185x1, 205x1, 225x1
-Barbell Rows 95x5, 135x5, 185x12x12x12x10x10
-Pull Ups/Pulldowns 14/150x10x10x10, 140x10x10

-Bench 135x8, 155x5, 185x5, 205x3, 225x3, 245x3
-Slingshot Bench 275x3x3x3
-Bench Bodyweight for Reps 190x12
-DB Incline Bench 60'sx11x15, 70'sx10
-DB Flat Bench 60'sx12x12, 50'sx17

-Squats 145x5, 195x5, 235x3, 285x3, 315x3x3x3
-Leg Press 260x15, 350x10x10x10
-Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 135x7x7x7x7
Notes: My lower back was killing me this day.

-Good Mornings 105x8x8x8
-Back Extensions 10,10,10
-Barbell Rows 115x6, 155x5, 195x8, 205x8x8x10
-Pull Ups/Pulldowns 20/160x10, 150x10x10x10
-Seated Rows 180x10x12x10
Notes: Lower back was still very tender, but otherwise I felt great.

-Military Press 95x5, 115x5, 125x10x9x9x8x8
-Arnold Presses 45'sx8x8x10
-Triceps Extensions 100x20, 110x20x16
-Lateral Raises 25'sx15x15x15
My heart goes out to Brandon Lilly as he recovers from the surgeries on his legs.  I'm sure he'll be back in the game before we know it!
I'll leave you with my prediction for Sunday's game ;)
For the past 2 or 3 weeks, about an hour before I head to the gym I eat this:

-2/3 cup of oats
-1 scoop of protein
-2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
-2 dollops Greek Yogurt
-A handful of sunflower seeds
-Sprinkle in cinnamon
-Add blueberry syrup to taste
Add hot water.  Mi it all up.  Enjoy!

The blueberry syrup has just been to change it up.  I usually use honey or pure maple syrup.  I don't go nuts with the sweetener, but since it's right before training I don't worry too much about it.  I wouldn't recommend eating this hearty meal any sooner than an hour before the gym because you'll need that time to digest.

It's delicious though and seems to power me through workouts.  And if you're poor like me, you'll appreciate how many quality calories you can pack in for so cheap.

-Tarzan out