Tag Archives: Smarter

Squat Every Day: Week 6


Hello everyone, and welcome to Squat Every Day: Week 6 – The Finale.

As you might have guessed this is the last week of Squat Every Day for me for a while. There are a few reasons why I am taking a break from this program:

1. It was a good week to end on. I didn’t set any new PR’s but I did do exactly what I wanted to do. I hit around 95-97% of all my PR’s on every day. They all felt hard but good and I am confident that I could hit those numbers on any given day now.

2. In my last post I had said I was going to go for another week, but I forgot that I have a CrossFit competition this weekend. So I am going back into doing our regular classes at the gym. Hopefully I will get into a few classes so I don’t have to do them all on my own and can feel some competition heading into the weekend.

3. As someone who does CrossFit I feel this is a good plan for building strength but it is more tailored to the offseason type of training or if you are into Powerlifting. For me this is the middle of my “competition” season so I need to be doing CrossFit, not Powerlifting. I think this would be a better program for me to do in the offseason which would be somewhere from October to February. So there may be more Squat Every Day coming later this year.

4. I achieved one goal and almost got another. I wanted to get my overhead squat to 225lbs and I got that. I wanted to get my back squat to 350lbs and I got it to 345lbs. With a little rest and recovery I think I can hit 350lbs in the next 2-3 weeks. This program has a ton of volume to it. Every squat works up in the rep scheme of 10-10-5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1 which equals out to 42 total reps per day and over 5,000lbs per day. Then you add in lunges and deadlift days and you have yourself a lot of work! Doing that for 40 days with virtually no rest is going to eventually wear a guy out. So I think if I rest and lower the volume I could increase the end load…Hopefully.

5. Mentally I checked out at least a week ago. It stopped being fun and just became work. I can only do that for so long then I need to change things up and get to the next project. I think if I knew what to expect that might have helped me stick with it a bit longer mentally, but having never done a true strict strength type program (very technical name for the program) before I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

6. Members in the gym are starting to ask when I am coming back to classes to workout. I miss working out with people in a class setting and having that friendly competition. So I am excited to get back into that this week!

I am sure there are a few other reasons why I felt this is a good time to stop and change gears but those are the main ones. This 40 days of squats has also taught me a few things.

1. I like squatting ALOT. I knew I liked squatting before but now after seeing how I feel after all these squats and how I felt during the squats, I like them even more. There were many days where I felt like crap coming into the gym, but I did my squats anyway, and could feel my body getting tired, obviously, but also felt better as the session progressed. I really think there is something magical about squatting. Lets just say that in the future if I am having a bad day I am going to come in and play around with some squats.

2. My body reacts fairly well to high volume, for a certain amount of time. The first 3 weeks of this program were great! My numbers increased every day and I felt great. Then in week 4 somewhere I started to run into the wall. At this point I think I was correct in pushing through for that week, but the next week I should have decreased the volume of the training. Instead of doing sets of 10-10-5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1 I should have bumped it down to something like 10-5-3-3-1-1. Or I could have inserted a full day of rest earlier than I did so I could maintain that intensity and volume longer. Which brings me to my next point.

3. I need more rest days. I need to pick a day every week or so to take the whole day and do nothing. Spend the day doing stuff I enjoy and not worrying about the time it took, or how much I lifted. Just sit back relax and read a book or go for a walk or something like that. Having said that, I need to keep it interesting because….

4. I get bored easily. If I have too many days where I am not doing anything it will actually make me stress more. I enjoy life more when I have things to do, places to be, and people to see. I enjoy having a “ToDo List” and scratching those items off. One. At. A. Time. There is no feeling like scratching something off your “ToDo List”. Sometimes when I do something and I feel like it was a good use of my time, I will add it to my “ToDo List” just so I can scratch it out.

5. I enjoy doing lots of different stuff as opposed to the same thing every day. I have always been a busy person. From the day I was born my parents said I never sat still. Then once I could play sports, well, I played them all of course. I have played, baseball, football, hockey, volleyball, basketball, badminton, track and field, ultimate frizbee, and inline hockey. Some times I would be playing a few sports at the same time like hockey and football. Then have a few weeks off before I would start into track and field. Then a few weeks off and back to football and eventually hockey as well. These days I play in a couple different hockey leagues while playing ultimate frizbee as well in the winter. Then over the summer things slow down a bit but still playing slow pitch and then doing a CrossFit competition every month or so. Then its back to hockey and frizbee. I like doing stuff.

So there you have it folks. That is a wrap on the first attempt through Squat Every Day.

Links to the other weeks of Squat Every Day:

Squat Every Day: Week 1

Squat Every Day: Week 2

Squat Every Day: Week 3

Squat Every Day: Week 4

Squat Every Day: Week 5

Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 2

dreams

All done week 2 of Squat Every Day. This week beat me down and built me back up again all at the same time. It also caused me to create Squat Every Day version…..4.0 I think, I have honestly lost track of what version I am on. The big hitters this week were 10 second pause back squats on Tuesday and then on Thursday doing front-back squats (all the same rep scheme as any other squat day but you do front squat for a number of reps and then straight to the same reps of back squat then up the weight and repeat for the next set). With those two days so close together I was really dragging my butt by the end of Thursday. Friday rolled around and I ended up having a pretty decent day still so that was good to see I could recover after some pretty tough workouts. I’m pretty sure my CNS took a big hit on those two days, especially having them so close together. Looking back on it 10 seconds is a LOOOOOONNNNGGGG time to sit in the active bottom of a squat, everything was shaking by the time I went to stand up. Then on Thursday with the front-back squat I accumulated over 11,000lbs of squatting. I think I’m allowed to be tired after that, I’d actually be concerned if I wasn’t. So that is why in Squat Every Day 4.0 the 10 second pause squats are one week and the front-back squats are the next. I have also added in one more lunge session per week, two bench days per week and 2 gymnastic sessions per week.

I have a feeling that by the time I get through these next two weeks I will probably be on Squat Every Day 6.0 or 4.2 or something, I’m not really sure what warrants a change in the first number versus a change in the decimal. Along with being on a whole new version, each training session is getting longer and longer as I find things I want/need to add into my workouts. Right now each session ranges from 30-90 minutes, not including a cool down. At this point if I start adding much more I’m going to have to start breaking them up into two-a-days.

On the note of two-a-days, I did one this Saturday again and it actually wasn’t too bad. After doing squats, deadlifts, and lunges in the morning it ended up that the workout later that day had more deadlifts (much lighter) and squats (back, front, and overhead all with light weight but 20-40 reps). Needless to say I was pretty bagged by the end, and had zero issue falling asleep that night.

As far as numbers go I am still increasing all my lifts. My 3 rep max for deadlift managed to increase by about 10lbs, my back squat went up 5lbs, and my front squat went up 20lbs. My body has been holding together pretty well thus far as well. I think I need to take a few more minutes to stretch, roll, and mobilize at the end of each session just to keep up with the high demand of maxing out pretty much every day. Exercises like pigeon, glute smash (with lacrosse ball), hamstring smash, and cooling if down on the air bike are the main things I find that help me stay loose and healthy.

Here is the link to Squat Every Day: Week 1 if you want to check out how things went then.

Stay Positive, Be Better, and Go Get It!

Squat Every Day: Week 1

therapy

Last Monday I started on a mission to be better which relied heavily on increasing my leg strength. I have known this to be an issue for a long time but just recently some testing that I did really showed me how much I needed to improve my leg strength. Here are the numbers that got me really thinking:

#1 – Front Squat 1RM 270lbs in relation to Close Grip Flat Bench 1RM 270lbs

#2 – Clean 1RM 235lbs in relation to Push Press 1RM 225lbs

When people hear those numbers they usually say something like “How can you bench that?” or “How is your bench as much as your front squat?”. Sure maybe my upper body press is good but my answer to those questions: My legs are weak. There is no way that my arms should be able to push as much weight as my legs. There is more muscle and much bigger muscles in your legs than your arms so your legs should be able to push more weight. When doing a clean and jerk the hard part should be the clean. Well for me it’s different. I know that if I can get it to my shoulders…. I can get it over head. I knew that was kind of backwards but it wasn’t until I saw the actual numbers that I realized just how backwards it was.

So how did this happen you ask? To be honest, I don’t really know but I do have a theory. My theory has a lot to do with the fact that over the last several months I have been playing hockey once a week, ultimate frizbee twice a week, and flag football once a week, all while working out at the gym six days per week. That is a lot of running (and skating which is basically one in the same as running in my theory) which is a lot of volume and cardio type work for my legs. Cardio and strength are not always friends and usually do not play nice with one another. So my theory is that my legs were doing a lot of cardio which stunted the strength side of things (there were still some strength gains). Where as with my upper body I had just been doing strength work basically (1-15 reps rather than hundreds like there would be for my legs when running) so there was big gains in the strength department for my upper body because cardio didn’t get in the way.

Now I have no hard core proof that that is what happened but in my head it makes sense, as well as in the heads of a few other people I have ran the theory by. In seeing the numbers and thinking my theory has some truth to it I started looking for a way to improve my leg strength. I looked into 5/3/1 method a bit. I thought about not playing sports for 2 months and seeing what would happen (going insane would probably be what would happen, so that was crossed off the idea list pretty fast). I thought about doing CrossFit Football again (only this time there wouldn’t be as many sports so hopefully the strength gains would be better for my legs). And then I heard about this “squat every day” thing. I was immediately hooked, just the name flicked on the ‘leg strength” light in my head. I did some research, watched/listened to a few podcasts, read a few articles online, and applied some of my own creativity. The main influence behind squatting every day is Corey Gregory. I went through his program and figured out patterns for when he did deadlifts, lunges, and pause squats and then added in my own little twists here and there.

So one week in I have increased my front squat to 275lbs and my back squat to 320lbs (from 310). I have done front squats twice and backs squats five times. I did deadlifts on two days and lunges on three days. Every day was to a one rep max for the squats except for Sunday which was a 70% day and a day I looked forward to from about Thursday on.

I’m not 100% sure about the science behind the lunges but I think they are what saves you in this program. Using lunges as a warmup every day my legs feel pumped up, turned on and ready to do work, which when you are maxing out on squats is fairly important. Adding them in three times per week as a “cardio” gives my legs lots of reps under low impact and keeps the ligaments, tendons, and muscles strong and engaged.

All in all, week one went well. I increased both squats and made my legs do a lot of work without being very stiff and/or sore at all. I’m excited for week two which is much of the same but I am going to add in some gymnastics work as well. On days that I just squat I will add in a gymnastics workout. On days I do squats with lunges, or squats with deadlift I am going to add in some skill and accessory gymnastics. On the day I do squats, deadliest, and lunges I’ll probably just leave it at that.

We will see what happens as this is kind of an ongoing experiment.

Stay Positive, Be Better and Go Get It!

Sometimes You Win and Sometimes You Learn, Because There is a Reason

learn

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

A bit of a twist on the saying “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose”. Every time you lose, or fail, or do something wrong, there is an opportunity to learn. You learn to not do that activity that way again. You learn that that plan was not the plan you want to use next time. I think there is something to be taken away from every situation. Losing, failing, falling, doing it wrong. All these things happen but they also teach you something every time. I’ll share an example with you.

When I was travelling in Australia I had a work/holiday visa. I had travelled for 6 months and just got some work lined up to go for the next 6 months. Things were looking good. I had achieved my dream of going to Australia and travelling around the east coast and now I was about to check off another item from the “To-Do List” and work in Australia for 6 months. Then I got an email. My personal training certificate needed to be renewed by the end of March and in order to do that I had to renew my CPR training. So I started to look into getting my CPR renewed before I started work in Australia. Eventually I figured out that a CPR training was only good in the country it was taken in. In other words I had to go back to Canada to renew my Canadian CPR so I could keep my Canadian personal training certificate. After talking with my parents and going over scenarios in my head it was decided that I would go back to Canada, renew my CPR, and find a job there. I was super bummed out about it all. I mean it was one of my dreams to travel AND work in Australia but I knew I would need my personal training certificate after my Australian visa expired, so I bit the bullet and came home early.

Now you are probably thinking that really sucks. And honestly as I write this I am thinking that really sucks, but then I remember some things that happened when I got home. The main thing was that about two weeks after I got home my grandpa passed away. Now had I still been in Australia working I might not have even found out about it till weeks after as the area I was going to be working in was in the outback and had minimal cell and wifi service. So I would not have been at my grandpa’s funeral, and I would not have got to read his eulogy. Getting to read my grandpa’s life story at his funeral was a great honour for me. Especially when people that knew my grandpa very well came up to me after the service and said things like, “You did an awesome job”, “Your grandpa would be proud”, and “Your grandpa would have really liked that”.

So yeah maybe I missed out on 6 months of achieving a dream because I didn’t think ahead, but had I renewed my CPR when I went home in December I would have missed my grandpas funeral. And now next time I travel I will be sure to check that I do not have to renew or update anything while I am gone.

Failure-is-simply-the

It happens all the time, to everyone. We lose, or things don’t go to plan. They come in all shapes, sizes, and have varying degrees of effect on our lives.

As I was writing this and rewriting it, and rewriting it again, and again, and 5 or 8 rewrites later I realized this wasn’t just about winning and learning, but also about coming to understand that things happen for a reason. Chances are they don’t make sense at first but in the end those wins, losses, hardships, and eventual successes, made you who you are today. Without every single one of those experiences you would not be the you you are today. Had my grandparents not passed away when they did, I would not have the same appreciation for life, and living it, that I do today. Had I taken a chance on a possible full-ride scholarship in the states I wouldn’t have got into the personal training field as soon as I did. There was a reason, or a lesson to learn from all of those experiences, from my grandparents passing away, and from me not going to university in the states.

I don’t know if there is one ultimate plan for each of us or how that all works but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Stuff doesn’t just happen so that it can happen. My grandparents didn’t die just because they did. I didn’t go to university in Canada just because that is how it happened. My trip to Australia didn’t get cut short just because I had bad luck. My brother didn’t get in his accident, and almost die, just because he had bad luck. My grandparents passed away and I learned that life is precious and I need to embrace it and live every day to it’s fullest. I went to university in Canada and ended up in an area of work that I find hard to call work because I enjoy it so much. My holiday in Australia got cut short so I could be at my grandpa’s funeral and so I could start my career as a personal trainer and learn from all my amazing co-workers and new friends at the gym. My brother was in a very horrific accident so that I could again learn to appreciate life even more, and so that I could see that determination pays off and gets you walking way before anyone thought you would.

Doesn’t the second version of those situations seem a bit more happy, and purposeful? Like I said earlier, things don’t always make sense at first but I have found that if I trust that eventually something good will happen or I will learn something from that experience it takes the sting out a bit. Sometimes it may take a few hours for it to sink in and for you to realize what the lesson was. Other times it may take months or years before you stop beating yourself up about not going to university in the states, and for you to finally realize that if you had gone you would not have this amazing job. Trust in the process, you will eventually pick up on the lesson or the reason. Sometimes you have to fall before you can achieve greatness.

Stay Positive and Go Get It!

Denis-Waitley