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Timothy's Journal of Primal Peregrination

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  • Timothy's Journal of Primal Peregrination

    Hello MDA brothers and sisters,

    I've been away from these forums for a while, but the arrival of the 2011 Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge encouraged me to jump back in.

    I clearly remember the day in January 2010 that I stumbled across this web site. Mark's logic totally convinced me, and the success stories, with their jaw-dropping pictures, inspired me to get to work right away. I had a lot of learning to do, and these forums were a crucial part of my education and motivation during that period of transition.

    Within a couple of months, I went from near obese to super skinny. Then I began the long project to build strength. You can see the progression in pictures here:

    Before and After

    My current goals:

    1) Help others discover the Primal Blueprint and improve their own compliance. Becoming healthy for the first time inspired me to spread the wealth. I strive to set the best possible example and share my knowledge with others only when they are ready to hear it.

    2) Maximize weightlifting strength. My competitive nature and love of quantified results led me to barbell training, and tomorrow begins the 16th week of my improvised powerlifting program. My initial target is to exceed Richard Nikoley's published numbers from November 10, 2010. As we're both ex-fatties of similar build, the proprietor of Free The Animal seemed like a sensible target for comparison.

    3) Develop and publish my intermediate sledgehammer course. The beginner one was great fun and pretty much wrote itself, but taking it to the next level is a challenge. I'm hoping that the process of keeping this journal, plus any feedback I might receive, will catalyze the next series of articles.

    4) Develop a well-defined six-pack. I consider this the ultimate corporeal vindication of the Primal Blueprint, as it requires great strength, profound leanness, minimal inflammation and robust hormonal health over a long period of time. Logic and reason are useful tools for changing minds and winning converts, but a striated rectus abdominis speaks loudest of all and brooks no refutation.

    5) Vindicate my ancestors. I've thought a lot about them since embracing the Primal Blueprint. I am keenly aware that, to paraphrase J. Stanton, we are each dancing on the pinnacle of an immense pyramid of corpses -- all those who lived before us and somehow survived to usher in a new generation. Did those countless millions hunt, gather, and love, only to have their lineage end with an overweight slob having a heart attack face-first in a bag of Chick-Fil-A? No! I am determined to seize the legacy of my ancestors -- our ancestors -- and forge it into something that can survive our bizarre modern times and carry on for countless generations to come. Because that is Why We're Here.

    So this is my modest journal of meals, exercise, and random thoughts. Your comments and suggestions are very much appreciated.

  • #2
    WOD: Monday is my day of rest. I honored it by spending my lunch break sunbathing in the park.

    B: Fast
    L: Fast
    D: Beef in tomato sauce with mushrooms and green beans; avocado, tomato, cucumber, mixed greens
    Last edited by Timothy; 09-13-2011, 02:31 PM.


    • #3

      Morning sledgehammer for 15 minutes.

      Today's main event was my weekly pulling workout. I was still DOMSy from Saturday when I reached a new squat record and hoped that wouldn't hold me back too much on the deadlifts. On the other hand, I just got back from a week of vacation, which was sure to help my performance a bit.

      Pre-workout bodyweight: 174.3
      Deadlift: 130x12, 155x10, 180x8, 275x5 (F6), 245x6
      Chinups: 0x11, 25x2 (F3), 20x2 (F3), 10x3 (F4)
      Bench rows: 50x12, 50x10

      I intended 265 as my top set on deadlift, but accidentally stacked an extra 10 pound plate on the right hand side. That's the second time I've made a loading error and inadvertently set a new personal record. I guess I didn't notice because my right side is stronger than my left. I should have realized that the bar felt too evenly balanced! I am happy at the achievement, but concerned at my inability to do math and deadlift at the same time.

      11 bodyweight chinups was a new record! Yet my weighted chinups were worse than usual. I chalk it up to the fact that I was pretty thrashed at this point, and that weighted chinups tend to pull me into a dead hang between reps, whereas bodyweight chinups have a slightly reduced ROM, preserving some momentum.

      50-pound bench rows was also a new record for me. Barely managed 12 on the first left-hand set so I had to drop to 10 reps for the second. When I can do two sets of twelve on both hands, I'll progress, though I'm not sure how because the dumbbells in my gym only go up to 50...

      That's three new personal records in one day, rawr! I matched Nikoley on the weighted chinups long ago, but still have a very difficult 30 pounds to progress before matching his deadlift. Then again, he drops the bar at the end of each rep, while I lower it to the ground, so the comparison is perhaps not exact.

      Now comes the long recovery. I must optimize my sleep and nutrition because I have big plans for this week, particularly Thursday's pushing workout.

      B: Fast
      L: Beef, broccoli, mixed greens, sweet potatoes with cinnamon and honey (my favorite post-workout meal)
      D: Beef bacon burgers, mushrooms, mixed greens, whey, almond milk, mixed berries
      Last edited by Timothy; 09-14-2011, 09:57 AM.


      • #4
        Timothy, welcome back. I guess it was a little over a year and half ago that i came here, and you were one of the first people i saw make the change I wanted to make. Hell, after reading your stuff i was inspired to go out and get a sledgehammer. Glad to see your back.
        My blog: My Primal Adventure

        "I've come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubble gum."


        • #5
          Aww, thanks a ton, Skink! I am deeply honored if I was any inspiration to you at all. I intend to stick around for a long time yet. I am really thrilled at how popular this forum has become. Our tribe is growing by leaps and bounds!

          Hope you are still enjoying your sledgehammer. It is a perfect primal companion. These days, I find mine especially useful as a traction/recovery exercise.


          • #6
            Hey man, welcome back! I noticed your absence a long time ago and thought maybe you hit yourself in the head with a sledgehammer or something. Glad to see you around again.


            • #7
              Haha, thanks Bane! Incredibly, I still have not injured myself, or my cat, or my car with my sledgehammer. But who knows what the future holds. Sledgehammering is all the more fun for being a little bit dangerous.


              • #8
                Today, I am covered in mild DOMS from neck to knees: that delightful feeling of microtrauma being repaired. I will take it relatively easy today.

                WOD: Morning sledgehammer for 10 minutes, sunbathing at lunch
                Pre-sunbathing bodyweight: 174.0

                B: Fast
                L: Fast
                D: Pork belly, pork sausage, eggs, broccoli, kefir, one tomato slice
                Last edited by Timothy; 09-15-2011, 09:53 AM.


                • #9
                  Hey - welcome back, and dang - nice progress! No point in asking how you have been: You have been well it looks like! Hehe
                  Sometimes you need to be told the truth in order to be able to see it.

                  My journal

                  I see grain people...

                  Exist in shadow, drifting away.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the support on my journal. Looks like you have made some great progress. I noticed you do a lot of fasting. Does this effect you at all on workout days?


                    • #11
                      Sungrazer -- so great to hear from you! Thank you very much for the kind compliments. I have some catching up to do reading your journal, but from what I've seen so far you have been doing great, and bringing great honor to the tribe. Your progress pictures are amazing! You have enviable viking shoulders!

                      As for me, I'm doing well and making progress, but still have a long road to my goals. Most of the weightlifters on this forum are vastly more advanced than me, and that includes the women. But this is where I like to be... standing on the threshhold of a world full of possibilities.

                      LVFitMama -- You're very welcome! I'm inspired by your progress so far. You have already scored some big victories. Making treats and serving them to others, while refraining from indulging yourself, is a great willpower exercise. I'll never forget the time my wife sent me for burgers during my first fast. Standing in that burger joint next to the grill, watching everybody chow down, taking that greasy bag home and smelling it in the car, and then going to bed on an empty stomach... when morning came, it felt like I had defeated the devil himself.

                      Fasting does affect my workout days -- it makes me much stronger! In fact, I would even say I can't exercise properly unless I've been fasting for at least six hours, preferably twelve or more. When my digestive tract is empty, it seems to activate my predatory instincts to hunt down a ruminant. As there is regrettably no wild game near my home, I focus my wrath on barbells, and then eat a pound of rare beef. My philosophy on exercise is well summed up by J. Stanton:

                      Imagine this: every time you get hungry, you and your six closest friends have to chase down an antelope or spear a mammoth—and if you can’t, none of you get to eat. That is the required intensity.
                      Still, it took me a while before I could fast regularly like this. I had to break my carb addiction (which was severe) and learn to burn fat efficiently for the first time. It took about a month of not cheating. Now fasting doesn't feel difficult at all; in fact I rather enjoy it.


                      • #12
                        WOD: No morning sledgehammer today due to childcare exigency.

                        Today was my weekly pushing workout.

                        Keeping this journal is already giving me an indescribable motivation that I remember from when I first went primal. In my daily life, I have no primal friends or fellow travelers besides my wife and baby son. There are no role models to inspire me; no teachers to learn from; no students to instruct. I have been utterly unsuccessful at converting anybody I know (was it something I said?). Nobody wears Vibrams but me; nobody runs barefoot but me. I have only my exercise log and my faithful sledgehammer.

                        However, being part of this forum gives me a sense of community that is incredibly uplifting. Even though you all are not here with me, I feel your spirits as if we all just left the village this morning. I know you're all out there, doing your own things in your own ways, trying to find a primal path in your own lives... and that puts a big wind in my sails, for which I am most grateful. So thank you, fellow forum members, for your unwitting inspiration.

                        Pre-workout bodyweight: 174.3
                        Bench press: 85x12, 100x10, 120x8, 165x5 (F6), 150x8, 150x8
                        Weighted dip: 0x16, 70x3, 70x3, 45x6
                        Overhead press: 85x6 (F7), 85x5 (F6)

                        I have been marooned at 165 on the bench press for 10 weeks. I won't increase the weight until I can manage six reps. I thought I had it this week, but failure came on the last rep very suddenly, as it often does on the bench press, and I was left swearing with the bar pinned to my chest. I rolled it down my body in the usual fashion -- gone are the days when I took it on the neck, thank goodness. I did manage a new record for reps on the subsequent work sets, so maybe the 11th week will finally set me free from 165.

                        The dip is another story entirely -- today I officially hit EMI Level 2 on this lift (1.4 x bodyweight)! This is a long-sought victory for me and I could almost feel fireworks in my brain as I hit the third rep on the top set. Or maybe it was just exploding blood vessels. In either case, I'm not sure why I am so much more advanced on this lift than the others, but I suspect it has something to do with frequent greasing-of-the-groove via chair traction exercises.

                        The overhead press is something I just introduced in my last pushing workout and I am still trying to perfect the form. I won't add weight here until I can do two sets of 12 reps, which is my policy for all tertiary lifts.

                        After all that, I was pumped up like a balloon animal, and my hands were trembling, even though I barely broke a sweat -- all signs of a good weight session, in my experience. I celebrated with the usual post-workout meal.

                        B: Fast
                        L: Beef, broccoli, mixed greens, sweet potatoes with cinnamon and honey
                        D: Korean BBQ. Positive: raw meat over a charcoal grill. Negative: Marinade included sugar, soy and quite possibly MSG. Mitigating circumstances: group dinner where I was so engrossed in conversation that I missed most of the meat, but got plenty of veggies and kimchi.
                        Last edited by Timothy; 09-16-2011, 01:10 PM.


                        • #13
                          WOD: 20 minute morning walk.

                          Normally I would skip lunch on this day, but due to inadequate protein intake last night, DOMS covering my upper torso like spaulders, and the anticipation of a vigorous workout this evening, I decided a moderate-size low-carb lunch was warranted for proper recovery.

                          I intended to one hour of martial arts practice before dinner, but by the end of the day I had all the energy of a crushed aluminum can. I couldn't even bother to prepare a proper dinner before collapsing in bed.

                          B: Fast
                          L: Beef, chicken, bacon, sausage, broccoli, lettuce, lemon
                          D: Macadamia nuts a l'outrance, whey, cinnamon, coconut milk, strawberries, kefir
                          Last edited by Timothy; 09-19-2011, 09:44 AM.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Timothy View Post
                            Sungrazer -- so great to hear from you! Thank you very much for the kind compliments. I have some catching up to do reading your journal, but from what I've seen so far you have been doing great, and bringing great honor to the tribe. Your progress pictures are amazing! You have enviable viking shoulders!
                            Dude, you're not lacking in that department either. You shredded the puppy fat to reveal a frame lacking muscles, and then progressed to replace the flab with pounds of muscles. I am impressed and not very little jealous of the progress you have had. Outstanding!

                            You just gave me the kick in the hind side to keep on keeping on.
                            Sometimes you need to be told the truth in order to be able to see it.

                            My journal

                            I see grain people...

                            Exist in shadow, drifting away.


                            • #15
                              Sungrazer, thanks so much! You brightened my day. It seems I can't look at myself objectively after a lifetime of being out of shape; I keep thinking I'm going to wake up in the morning and be obese again. The reality check is much appreciated.