The summer has always been the time where my best training takes place. It’s been the only time of the year where I have some down time and can really get after it. I’ve been able to make some good progress the past few summers.
Last year I was up against it, but still managed to lose 20 pounds in a little more than a month. I was happy with the progress, but left the summer with the same questions and thoughts that come into my mind at the end of every summer.
“Imagine if I had another month.”
“What progress could I have made if I came into the summer in better shape?”
“I’d love to see how things would play out if I had a long term plan to go along with this intensity.”
Training wise, the summer is a grind – in a good way. The frequency and intensity are through the roof. The only problem is the summer makes up two months of the year. That’s not enough to sustain any progress. So, what winds up happening is I go through this endless cycle of going from Point A to Point B. I say that I’ll try to maintain and keep things going, but life got in the way.
The past several years were tough. After summer, I was working two jobs, going to grad school at night and writing papers. That didn’t leave much time for training. After I graduated in May 2019, I had to try and secure a full-time teaching position. I worked each year, but with the pandemic, I found myself wondering where I’d be working in September the past three years. Because of all this, my own training got put to the side. I worked out, but the consistency wasn’t there and the intensity was certainly lacking.
The good news is I finally secured a full-time teaching position last September. This gave me stability and one less thing to worry about. After spending a couple of months getting acclimated, I started thinking about my own training. I thought about the conversation I always have with myself at the end of the summer and decided it’s time to take action.
Personally, I need a plan and goals to get into a training program. I can’t just wing it like other people. Of course, I make changes on the fly, but, for the most part, I need most of it mapped out.
That brings me to this post. There’s six months until the end of August and I want to go over what my plans are training wise.
This program is about body composition and increasing strength. I know they say you can’t get stronger while losing weight, but I’ve found that to be not true. There’s very few things I say with authority, but I’ve gone through this process to know that it isn’t true.
For me, my issue has always been losing weight. I’m one of those people who gain weight just by looking at a cookie and cakes. When I weighed myself this morning, I was 207 pounds with a body-fat percentage of 22% . I was out with friends and ate, so I’m going to fast today and that will bring me down to what my real starting weight is.
The weight I’d actually like to be at depends. It really depends on how I look. Personally, I’d like to be at 180-182 pound range by the end of school (June 28) and 175 pounds by the end of August. I feel pretty good and limber when I’m in the low to mid 180’s. I’m using the hand-held body-fat measurement device so I don’t know how accurate it is, but I’d like to be under 15% by June 28 and under 12% by the end of August. Even when I get pretty lean, I still have that little pouch at the bottom of my stomach and just want to get rid of that. So, whatever weight and percentage gets rid of that, I’m good.
Strength wise, my goals have changed. Once I hit a 500-pound deadlift in August of 2017, I haven’t been so concerned about my one-rep max. I’ve switched over to the Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar 2.0 and love it. I’ve been going for more higher-rep goals because I don’t like doing them, but feel good after doing them. My best from last year was 420×10 and I’d like to top that. I’ve never run a 40-yard dash in under five seconds and want to crack that barrier. For my upper body, I’d like to be able to get to 15 pull-ups and beat my previous bench press one-rep max of 275 pounds. I hit 275 in 2019 and haven’t attempted it since.
The program I’ll be running is the HSS-100 by Christian Thibaudeau. I love reading Christian’s work and found out about this program after talking to Justin Kavanaugh. I looked into it and started running it in 2020 and the splits work out perfectly for me during the school year. I’ll be lifting four days per week and modify it as I go along. There’s four phases and I add in his Chest Specialization phase in the second month. This gives me five phases of training, each one being four weeks long. I know this doesn’t add up to six months, but considerations need to be taken for seminar trips, possibly getting sick and weeks where work picks up.
Usually, when I’m trying to lose weight quickly I’ll go with a low-carb approach. However, since I’m starting this while the school year is still going on, I’ll need carbs. I’m going to try and slow cook things a bit by using carb cycling and giving myself one 24-hour fast per week.
This is my first time going through a five-six month plan and am looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.