June 2016 Training Update

Last day of June seems like a good time to do anoth­er train­ing update.

Body 30 May 30 June Diff
Weight 220.0 211.0 -9.0 (-4.1%)
Body­fat 31.1% 29.1% -2.0% (-6.4%)
Waist 44 58 43 12 -1 18 (-2.5%)
BMI 35.5 34.1 -1.4 (-3.9%)

This month was OK for me. For­ward progress, but I could have been better.

My goal for June was to not eat out any week­night. I did not always stick to it, but I did sig­nif­i­cant­ly curb it. This is due to actu­al­ly doing week­ly meal prep with the Tup­per­ware I had bought but just let sit around before. Now that I can just pull some­thing out of the fridge and give it a quick nuke before eat­ing, I am much less like­ly to be lazy about cook­ing and clean­ing than I was before.

My goal for July — not eat­ing any snacks from the office kitchen.

And as for the expen­di­ture side of things, here are my lift­ing numbers.

Lift May 1RM June 1RM Diff
Bench Press 219 158 -61 (-27.9%)
Dead­lift 284 301 +17 (6.0%)
Over­head Press 148 148 = (0%)
Back Squat 191 209 +18 (9.4%)
Wilks 484.27 479.32 -4.95 (-1.0%)

Still on Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 pro­gram, and I worked in the extra “Big But Bor­ing” acces­so­ry lifts this month. It seems to mar­gin­al­ly help my endurance; I have a lit­tle bit extra left in the tank for the fol­low­ing cycle.

I reset my bench press num­bers because I failed on a top set with the safeties set just a touch too low. (Or maybe my weight gain made my chest thick­er than before). The bar­bell pinned me against the bench and I did not even have the ener­gy for a roll of shame. Scared of dying alone like this, I ordered some dumb­bells that I can safe­ly drop to the sides. I am now dou­bling the dumb­bell num­ber to get a rough equiv­a­lent bar­bell num­ber for the pur­pose of these write-ups. Doing the dumb­bell ver­sion is decid­ed­ly tougher and I start­ed low to make sure I am using prop­er form.

I also failed on my top set of over­head press. Maybe just too much of a jump from last month, or maybe I am just too close to my body’s phys­i­cal lim­its, but this lift has always had the slow­est progress for me any­way. It might be time for me to break out the frac­tion­al plates instead of round­ing to the near­est 5 pound mark for these.

Incre­men­tal gains on dead­lift and back squat. Hope­ful­ly those keep mov­ing up slow­ly but steadily.

211 puts me into the 30+ BMI “Class I Obese” range. Glad I was able to move out of Class II and hope to con­tin­ue drop­ping down. Next stop is 185, my Overweight/Obese barrier!

May 2016 Training Update

As May 2016 comes to an end, time for a quick update on my train­ing progress. I antic­i­pate that most of my train­ing posts will be one-offs or a short series as I devel­op new skills, but body train­ing (i.e., diet and exer­cise) will be indef­i­nite­ly ongo­ing with rough­ly month­ly updates.

Body 2 May 30 May Diff
Weight 210.8 220.0 +9.2 (4.4%)
Body­fat 29.3% 31.1% +1.8% (6.1%)
Waist 43 18 44 58 +1 12 (3.5%)
BMI 34.0 35.5 +1.5 (4.4%)

As you can see, this month was not good for me. Part­ly due to a stretch of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism I did for reli­gious rea­sons which led to eat­ing more carbs. Part­ly because of more trav­el back up to Nor­Cal and also Nor­Cal folks com­ing down to vis­it me and the “vaca­tion” eat­ing that spurred.

But real­ly, it was on me for fail­ing on more of a dai­ly lev­el. Being lazy and eat­ing out instead of cook­ing healthy for myself and not track­ing my intake in my calo­rie counter app.

My goal for June is to not eat out any weeknight.

And as for the expen­di­ture side of things, here are my lift­ing numbers.

Lift April 1RM May 1RM Diff
Bench Press 212 219 +7 (3.3%)
Dead­lift 273 284 +11 (4.0%)
Over­head Press 143 148 +5 (3.5%)
Back Squat 184 191 +7 (3.8%)
Wilks 477.21 484.27 +7.06 (1.5%)

As you can see from this table, I am still on Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 pro­gram. While I did have some gains, my “body” num­bers above sug­gest that I need to do more. Since mov­ing to LA, I have only been going the main lifts, but my goal for June is to rein­cor­po­rate the “Big But Bor­ing” acces­so­ry lifts and find a way to add car­dio back into my régime.

220 is the heav­i­est I have ever been since I start­ing track­ing my weight five years ago, and it offi­cial­ly puts me into the 35+ BMI “Class II Obese” range. Hope­ful­ly, the changes I plan for June help me get back down and I can say that I will nev­er again be this heavy.

CERT Training


After I read Neil Strauss’s Emer­gency, I signed up for NERT (Neigh­bor­hood Emer­gency Response Team) while liv­ing in San Fran­cis­co. As soon as I moved to Los Ange­les, I signed up for the LAFD’s CERT (Com­mu­ni­ty Emer­gency Response Team) pro­gram, which is what Neil actu­al­ly wrote about. CERT has much more his­to­ry to it, because it was the first pro­gram of its kind in the world. Oth­er pro­grams, such as NERT, are based on the LAFD’s CERT, and they con­tin­ue to pilot new aspects that get incor­po­rat­ed into FEMA’s frame­work for oth­er programs.

Every Wednes­day from 2 March to 13 April (so for sev­en weeks), I showed up at my local fire­house after work for a les­son. Obvi­ous­ly there was a good amount of over­lap in mate­r­i­al from the NERT lessons, so I breezed through the lessons. How­ev­er, there are some inter­est­ing differences.

First, on an over­all class­room aspect, I liked that NERT had two fire­fight­ers teach­ing every class. One would take the lead on the day’s les­son, but the oth­er would chime in with addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion or a slight­ly dif­fer­ent expla­na­tion, which I felt made it eas­i­er to absorb. Not to take away from the CERT instruc­tor, whom I liked a lot.

Also, I liked that NERT had more hands-on skills demon­stra­tions. When we learned about putting out fires, the fire­fight­ers took us out­side and lit a diesel fire in a met­al pan for us to prac­tice using an extin­guish­er on. (In CERT, it was an option­al after-class les­son with an elec­tron­ic extin­guish­er and a fire sen­sor.) For the les­son on search and res­cue, we went out­side and prac­ticed crib­bing with 2x4s. Our “final exam” involved doing an sim­u­lat­ed search and res­cue (com­plete with vol­un­teer vic­tims with vary­ing injuries) in a dark­ened the­ater. Both CERT and NERT did do hands-on prac­tice of first aid, though.

And final­ly, in terms of fol­low-up, I think CERT offers more. Besides the Lev­el 1 train­ing I received, there are Lev­el 2 and Lev­el 3 train­ings avail­able. They also have CERT assist the LAFD on a more reg­u­lar basis. I feel like NERT had reg­u­lar NERT drills (which do involve the SFFD to some extent), but not much in the way of live action. Both offer advanced options for HAM radio oper­a­tors in case

Either way, no mat­ter where you live, I high­ly rec­om­mend you sign up for CERT, NERT, or what­ev­er your local equiv­a­lent is. As impressed upon by both of the train­ings I have been to, you deter­mine your own lev­el of involve­ment. If you want to go above and beyond at the time when a dis­as­ter strikes and join up with oth­ers to go on city-wide search and res­cue, that is excel­lent! But even if you do not, this train­ing will give you the knowl­edge and tools you need to help your­self and your loved ones in the more-than-like­ly sce­nario that emer­gency ser­vices can­not reach you.