Monday, April 20, 2015

Hitting goals and setting records

It's a great feeling when you achieve something you haven't done before. At the beginning of this year I was able to crank several sets of singles at 315 on the bench press. That was awesome! Being a few days from turning 48 made it even better.

The most I've ever benched was 325. That was 10 years ago. I've had a number of shoulder/rotator cuff issues since then. I'm happy to say my shoulders have been fairly healthy the last few years and I've been able to push some heavy weights again.

My training weights in the bench press were heavier this year than when I pushed up 325 ten years ago. I was very much looking forward to trying to see what I could do for a one-rep max this year. 340 was not out of the realm of possibilities. Maxing day came and I was sick. I had a head cold and felt awful. Either I could rest and try another day or go ahead and see what happened. 

I knew based on past experience I'm weaker after being sick and I didn't really want risk injury factor by putting off maxing for another weak. My training timing was good and my strength was up, but I had that feeling that it was time to back off the heavy weights for a couple months.

So I went ahead and tried pushing up heavy weight on the day I was sick. I did my normal warm-ups and acclimation sets. 315 still felt pretty good. I wanted to do at least 330 to break my personal best from 2005. The bar went down and it felt good. I got it past my normal stick point a few inches off the chest, but to my surprise I couldn't lock it out. Another attempt was out of the question. It wasn't going to happen that day.

But after "resting" a couple months with lighter weights, I am in the beginning weeks of another power cycle. In about 8 weeks I will be ready to see if 330-340 can be broken. 

Pretty sure I'm gonna do it this time!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fine Art and Physique Art

It's been more than a year since my last post. I haven't taken a break from training... just blogging! Let me tell you what has been taking up a good chunk of my time.

Near the end of 2013 I got involved in a project for my church that produced an illustrative painting each week for our series in the book of Genesis that started in January of 2014. I've named it "The Genesis Project."

There are 50 chapters in Genesis and since a few chapters allowed a painting to be reused a couple times and there are a couple genealogies in there I think we are on target to have 46-47 paintings. I have a team of 6-7 other artists who have helped out, but I have done the majority of them. I'd have to sit down and count, but I think I've done close to 30 paintings in the last year. Some are in acrylics. Some are in oils. The time for each one varies depending on the complexity and how much time I need to allow for drying time of each layer I put down on a painting. One painting might take 6-7 hours and another might be closer to 20. Most have been done in the period of one week. Two weeks if I'm really lucky.

Why do I bring this up on my blog that mostly has to do with bodybuilding? Because for as long as I can remember I have been an artist. My earliest memory is from when I was age 2. I was drawing a picture of Frankenstein on a small notebook on the coffee table in my house growing up.

10 years later at age 12 I decided I wanted to build my body as a sculpture -- a physique artist, if you will. Arnold's illustration in "Pumping Iron" about a bodybuilder treats his body like a sculptor treats clay. I totally got that way back then.

So here I am today. 48 years old and still a fine artist and still a physique artist.

After about a good solid year of "bulking" and lifting heavy, I'm ready for the refinement stage of sculpting my physique. When I started training, Arnold was my inspiration but I aspired to look like Frank Zane. My arms hit 19" pumped at the end of last year. Not bad since they were 9.5 inches when I started. Quick arithmetic brings you to the conclusion that I doubled my arm size. That was a life-long goal. Feels good to have finally achieved it.

Now it's on to the refinement time. With the added size I put on in the last year, I'm looking forwarded to melting the fat and see how close I do look to Frank Zane when he was near retirement age in his last couple of Olympias.

Only about 3 weeks into the ripping phase and I'm very excited to see what is unveiled this year under the layers of marbled fat. Time to get out the chisel and add the details.

36 years and this stuff never gets old!