For the last week or two I’ve had a sinus-heavy cold.

I’ve been deliberately overeating to get over this cold, and during this time I decided I would start a lifting program instead of vaguely attack the important lifts just to say I’m still lifting.

Weights are in pounds. The number after the @ indicates reps in reserve, if there is a + there that means it was a warm-up set. Bolded sets are my top sets. ★ highlights a PR that met my volume goal for the session, whereas ☆ signifies a PR in estimated one rep max only.



  • 45×4@+
  • 65×4@+
  • 95×4@+
  • 135×4@4
  • 185×4@3
  • ★ 205×4@2

Bench Press

  • 45×10@+
  • 65×10@4
  • 85×10@2


  • 135×8@4
  • 185×8@2

2 hours total, 10:54/set – this workout should not have taken this long, but the gym was particularly busy and I elected to wait to be able to do my workout in this order rather than jump around. Patience was trained this day.

Session Difficulty: 7/10 – It’s unusual for me to do sets of the same reps straight across like this, but because I’m trying to establish a baseline according to my physical reality instead of projections, it needed to be done.

Other Notes: I made two friends on the deadlift platform, a couple. The fellow (Alex) was using the platform directly for 3pl8 pulls while his girlfriend, Jessie, did lighter deadlifts behind the platform. I was too tired to look away and it seemed to encourage Jessie to talk to me and ask me for my e-mail. I have not heard from her since.


Overhead Press

  • 45×4@+
  • 55×4@+
  • 65×4@+
  • 75×4@4
  • 85×4@4
  • 95×4@3
  • 105×1@2


  • 105×7@4
  • 135×7@3
  • 165×7@2

Seated Row

  • 85×10@+
  • 100×10@4
  • ★ 120×10@2

52 min total – 04:00/set – this felt about right in terms of workout duration. I try to stay under an hour in general.

The Row PR was a complete surprise. I should have taken a smaller jump so I could have gotten the 110×10 volume in, but it’s not a big deal. 100 felt easy enough and I was anxious to get out.

I feel like I could have gotten 3 reps at 105 under better circumstances. I was distracted by another trainee when starting my second rep and I decided to rack it instead of grind the reps out.

Squats felt Just Right.



  • 135×4@+
  • 185×4@4
  • 225×4@3
  • ☆ 275×3@1

Bench Press

  • 45×8@+
  • 65×8@+
  • 85×8@4
  • 95×8@2


  • 45×10@3
  • 65×10@2

52 min total – 05:12/set

I really didn’t want to lift on this day. I leaned heavily on caffeine and being fed up with life in general to grind through this workout. The Deadlift PR was a nice surprise, but I really shouldn’t have gone for the third rep. I should have stuck to my 2RIR prescription, but I felt “fuck it, I have two days off” and I went for the rep. The last rep would have been a grinder if I’d gone for it, so I left it in the tank. Unloading the bar was an ordeal.

Benching was fine. I was happy to lie down after the Deadlift, and the lower intensity for reps was also a welcome break.

Squatting felt impossible but I gave it a shot anyway. My “legs” were in it but my back was unhappy. I elected to do these Squats beltless because I was too tired to put the belt back on, and I thought it’d be a fine way to limit myself so I’m not entirely wrecked for my weekend shifts.

As I’m writing this at work presently, it was a good decision. From the perspective of wanting to just skip squatting entirely on Friday, I think the paltry volume I ended up with is just fine. I’ll just look at it like a sort of nutrient-partitioning-encouraging session so that I’m stronger for Monday’s squats.

Next Week’s Top Sets

I’m going to increase volume along two tracks: increasing the intensity (weight on the bar) as well as an additional work set for almost everything. x2 will be beside everything I’m adding a work set to.


  1. Squat: 210x4x2
  2. Bench: 88x10x2
  3. Deadlift: 191x8x1


  1. Press: 100x4x2
  2. Squat: 170x4x2
  3. Row: 120-122*x10x2

*I’m not sure if my microplates will work on the weight selector for my rowing machine. If they do not, I’ll repeat the weight and be satisfied that my volume has still increased through the number of sets.


  1. Deadlift: 265x4x2*
  2. Bench: 100x8x2
  3. Squat: 68x10x2**

*My goal reps for Deadlift was not achieved this week, and if I’m going to increase total working reps to 8 from 3, I think regressing the weight will be necessary to achieve the volume I’m looking for.

**Adding 3lbs. to Squat seems absurd, similarly to the Rows earlier I’ll consider simply staying at 65lbs. I’ll be anticipating some unwillingness to squat at all after the Deadlifts anyway.

Conditioning Work

I did no form of cardio this week. I prefer to not do cardio when I have a fever or difficulty breathing. I had both issues to contend with. One of my preferred forms of cardio is a simple outdoor walk, which is very uncomfortable to do whilst sick in the winter.

Going into week 2, if I am still unwell on Monday but recover better throughout the week, I will try to include an ERG rowing session of about 30 minutes. I think from week to week I would like to increase my total rowing duration, just sort of “sneak in” better cardiovascular performance. It is no-impact and has minimal eccentric loading, and anecdotally seems to have the best carryover to other aerobic endeavors.

I think improving my leg strength through my lifting and cardio through rowing should result in a capable hiker, able to keep up with his younger and more eager nature enthusiast over the hills and through the woods.