Congrats to Mike Cook who beat me to the goal of 15 reps on the bench with 225lbs. He got to 17 reps in a short period of time. Amazing!

My original goal was 12 reps by the end of the summer, but I couldn’t resist the challenge.  I lost the bet, but that’s okay.
Bottom line:  I got to 9 reps in the last cycle, so I’m still happy with my progress, and I’m on track to getting at least 12 by the end of the summer.


Great job Mike!

Let’s do a chin-up challenge next.


I posted my goals for the next few months, just so they would be ‘out there’.   The self-imposed deadline is looming, but I’ve made some decent progress in the last 3 weeks:

  • Squatted 275 once, just to get the feel of the weight. Hello old friend!
  • Did 8 sets of cleans with varying weights. Press 135×10, then 155×5, and 3.
  • Concluded that triceps are my current weak-point, so tris are my targeted muscle group for at least a month – Triceps are the weak link for most lifters, but they also have huge potential for gains!

AND; I’ve already gained 5 pounds! Muscle gains like this are NOT normal; but since I’ve been there before, It will take less time for my body to get back to it.

I have to wear a monitor for 2 weeks, starting next week.  My doctor said I can’t sweat a great deal while the monitor is on, so I’m taking a 1 week off.  I’m not a big fan of taking breaks, but this one is unavoidable.  The monitor is a follow-up from heart surgery a couple months ago – I had an oblation.

Post your goals here, or somewhere, then hold yourself accountable to them.  Don’t be a slave to them, just be deliberate.  Most of all, have fun!

If you don’t set a goal, you won’t reach it!

I like setting short-term and long-term goals in the gym, and at work.  Set ’em, achieve ’em, and then set new ones!

Try this.  I think you’ll like it!  Set a long-term goal, perhaps for the end of the Summer; then set incremental, achievable goals that inch you toward the long-term goal.  If you approach your goals in this manner, you can achieve them!  There’s nothing more to it than that, really; but while we’re on the subject, here are a few thoughts:

  • Don’t be afraid to seek professional help from people who have ‘been there and done that!’  This can be from of a personal trainer, a certain series of articles that you should trust completely (aka, or seeking advice from a fellow gym rat.
  • Throw a party every time you achieve a short term goal!  Take time to have fun.  Reward yourself.
  • Make the goals objective.  ‘Looking pretty’ is subjective and elusive, so that’s not a good goal.  Set measurable goals, and don’t worry a single whit about your appearance.  My guess is, someone thinks your beautiful.  Ignore the voices that say otherwise!


In case you’re curious; here are my goals for the end of the Summer:

  1. Clean and press 225 lbs at least once.  I used to clean this, then press it 5 times but that was before I trained for a 1/2 marathon.
  2. Squat 315 lbs at least 10 times.  My Personal Record is 15.
  3. 12 wide-grip chins with 45 lbs strapped to my waist.  My PR is 9.
  4. Bench 225 at least 12 times.  My PR is 16.
  5. Do all this with no drugs and no hormone supplements.

One subjective goal, behind these objective long-term goals, is to gain 15 pounds of muscle by the end of August.  This would be an impossible goal under most circumstances, but I’m currently 50 pounds below my peak size (or should I say ‘favorite size’) of 6’4″ 275 pounds.
IE:  I’m relying on muscle memory to help get this 50-year-old body back to 240!
That’s the unedited truth about what I hope to achieve in the gym this summer!  I’ll keep track of my progress on Facebook, and I’ll share a few challenges that I haven’t mentioned here –  Challenges, not excuses.  These goals are as good as done!

How about you?  Please share your goals here and on Facebook.  If you write them down, you’ll have visible target to shoot for.  If you share your goals with the world, you’ll be more likely to make a serious attempt at achieving them.

I went on beta blockers for an electrical problem, and I found they had a negative impact on endurance, strength and recovery.  Has anyone else had this experience?  If so, how did you handle it?

More details:  I started taking medication for Atrial Fibrillation; I was released by the doctor to keep working out, and I did, but the results were disappointing:

  • An immediate loss of stamina.  I couldn’t jog as far or as fast.
  • lingering muscle soreness.  I wasn’t recovering between workouts anymore.
  • Muscle loss and strength loss.  The first two problems seemed to have a quick impact!

I plan to write an article on how I overcame these obstacles, because this seems like an important issue for those who are taking beta blockers.  I hope others find it helpful!

Theoretically; if one is taking medication that’s effecting muscle strength and stamina, others issues would inevitably become a problems as well.  After all, the heart is a muscle, right?


If you are on beta blockers, and saw your health begin to slide in the wrong direction, I hope you’ll post a message letting us know how you handled the situation.

2 miles in the snow is a little harder than 4 miles in good weather, and slightly easier than 3 miles on a beach.
One good thing was how peaceful and quiet it was in the early morning snowfall.  The snow muted everything except my labored breathing and gentle sobbing.

Enjoy the snow, but be careful.  You never know what’s under the surface, so it’s very easy to turn an ankle.

Let’s face it; most of us go to the gym to try and look pretty.  We’re really not motivated to train for a certain sport, nor do we have the time!  I definitely don’t make time to train adequately for any sport, but I still like to set sports-related goals for myself:  It keeps my focus off the subjective, superficial, and illusory goals on which I’d rather not dwell.   : )

There’s one thing every good athlete has in common: a strong core.  It’s also something everyone should strive for:

  • You can’t throw a ball without the ability to twist and stabilize your torso.
  • If have the leg-strength to squat 500 pounds, but your back and torso is only strong enough to support 350, how much weight do you think you’ll lift?
  • I learned a long time ago, you can’t predict how strong a power-lifter is by looking at his quads:  The back is the primary weak-point for most competitors, and most humans!  Quads are just for looks.   : )
  • Golfers don’t swing with their arms.  Most will tell you they swing with their hips.
  • You might concentrate on bench-press or leg extensions when you’re young, but every older gym rat knows the benefit of having a strong core, strictly as a pain-management tool.

We haven’t done an article on lower back workouts, because it’s not very popular,   but we’ll get to this subject soon enough.  In the mean time, google “west side barbell” and read what their athletes have to say about strengthening your back.

If you’re looking for a good article on abs, here’s a great one, though it’s focus is superficial in nature:

Let us know if you have any suggestions about creative ways to incorporate hip, back and ab exercises into your regular fitness routine.

Here’s to hoping all your fitness dreams come true –  the practical ones and the superficial ones!




I like to concentrate on a certain muscle-group every two or 3 months.  After prayer and thought, I decided to target a group that’s no fun, but VERY important:
Rotator cuff / rear Delts.
This seems to be a genetic weakness, which makes it doubly important.
I’m 50-yrs-old, which makes it (triply?  tripley?  How about even more) important.
: )

If you’ve never tried targeting a muscle-group, I’d highly recommend it.  Give it a try, then let us know how it went!  It’s a great way to take things to the next level; one of many, as outlined in this article:
If you have used this technique, let us know your story.  Maybe share a max effort test before and after targeting a certain muscle group.

Best of luck with all your goals, both inside and outside the gym!