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July 20, 2008

About last week's blog...

A number of  people responded to me in email, Spark mail, and posts about last week's blog.  Readers wanted to know what exercises I've been doing for my deltoids.

At that risk of being wrong, let me show you how I've been training. 


First let's look at the method.

I work the anterior and medial deltoid using a pyramid.  I start by lifting a set of 12 reps, then as I move on, the number of reps gets smaller.  It looks like this.

  • Set of 12 reps
  • Set of 10 reps
  • Set of 8 reps
  • Set of 6 reps
  • Set of 3 reps

Each set is a bit heavier than the one before it.  So it looks like this...

  • 12 reps at 10 pounds
  • 10 reps at 12 pounds
  • 8 reps at 15 pounds
  • 6 reps at 20 pounds
  • 3 reps at 22.5 pounds

Then I add one more set that is the same weight as the set of 8 reps...but I increase it to 12 reps.  Like this...

  • 12 reps at 10 pounds
  • 10 reps at 12 pounds
  • 8 reps at 15 pounds
  • 6 reps at 20 pounds
  • 3 reps at 22.5 pounds
  • 12 reps at 15 pounds

Then I move to the exercise I use for the posterior deltoid and do the same thing.  The amount of weight is different (though it is shown the same here) because the exercise is different.

  • 12 reps at 10 pounds
  • 10 reps at 12 pounds
  • 8 reps at 15 pounds
  • 6 reps at 20 pounds
  • 3 reps at 22.5 pounds
  • 12 reps at 15 pounds

So let's look at what exercises I'm actually using.  For the anterior and medial deltoid, I do a standing lateral raise.  It actually focuses more on the medial, which is fine with me.  The following video shows a version of the same exercise but sitting on a Swiss ball.  What I do is the same, I'm just in a standing position.

You can of course do this with cables, bands, whatever.

For the posterior deltoid, I do a rear deltoid row.  The following video show it being done with a barbell.  I use dumbbells but it is the same principle.

NOTE:  I'm not wild about how this guy is doing it.  While the form is okay, he's going too fast to get as much out of it as he could.  That could be because he's just demonstrating but you should keep that in mind.

So let's put it all together...

Lateral Raise

  • 12 reps at 10 pounds
  • 10 reps at 12 pounds
  • 8 reps at 15 pounds
  • 6 reps at 20 pounds
  • 3 reps at 22.5 pounds
  • 12 reps at 15 pounds

Rear Deltoid Row

  • 12 reps at 10 pounds
  • 10 reps at 12 pounds
  • 8 reps at 15 pounds
  • 6 reps at 20 pounds
  • 3 reps at 22.5 pounds
  • 12 reps at 15 pounds

The last thing to note is that I take a 1-2 minute break between sets so as to get some recovery time.  Sometimes I pace but more often than not I use the time to straighten up the kitchen.  You can get a lot done but be sure to keep a timer on yourself.

As far as how much weight to use (the weights listed here are NOT what I actually use).  I base it on two things...

1. What I'm lifting at 3 reps should be just about all I can do while observing proper form

2. What I'm lifting at the final 12 reps should be just about all I can do while observing proper form.

So if I can actually finish 3 reps and it feels like I can do more.  I'll bump it up a bit next week.  Or I'll when I move to the final set of 12, I'll try to bump THAT up.  And if I can do it, then I'll increase the weights on all my sets for next week.

So for everyone that asked what I do for my shoulders....now you know.

Progress report

AHH!!!  I got a blister on the back of my heel.  So I'm having to take a few days off while that heals (no pun intended...oh who am I kidding?  I TOTALLY meant that pun).

One thing did happen that was pretty cool.  When I hit 199 pounds, my weight shot up about 8 pounds right after that.  I didn't post about it because I was pretty sure what happened.  Since I'm running more now, I've put on weight in my legs as my muscles have been getting bigger. 

And it has taken nearly a month for my fat loss to catch up with the addition of new muscle tissue.  So I'm back down to 199 now and hopefully my weight loss will continue. 

Token Fat Guy's 'Blast From the Past'

Last year at this time I posted information that I thought would be useful to my readers that were trying to quit smoking.  Since I have gained tons of new readers since then, I'm including a link to that long ago posting....

The Dangers of ManBearPig

So that's about it for now.  Remember people...no matter how big your muscles may get, you can't stop a bullet.  So if some one points a gun at you...just give them what they want.


Helpless Kitten says go get some exercise!

NOTE:  Friends visiting from Spark People be sure to check out the home page to get your humor fix.  And those of you that are hitting the site from elsewhere, check out my page on Spark People.

July 14, 2008


Shoulders....hate 'em.  Not all shoulders...just mine.  Even when I was a gymnast in high school, the one thing I really didn't like about myself was my shoulders.  They always seemed a bit droopy to me instead of being nice and square.  This of course got much worse as I gained weight as my arms were being pushed out from my body by fat.

They have been getting better as I lose weight.  However, I started working toward a better understanding of my shoulders and what I could do to train them to that more pleasing shape that I've always envied.

To do so, I had to learn more about the muscles involved in making the shoulder look like it does.  I've always known about the deltoid muscle but I didn't realize that it was actually three different muscles. 

  • Anterior Deltoid
  • Medial Deltoid
  • Posterior Deltoid


And there was part of my problem.  I went back and looked at all my exercise routines for the last year and all of the ones that focused on the deltoid were hitting the anterior deltoid (and sometimes the medial).  But I was completely neglecting my posterior deltoid. 

I guess since it is in the back and I don't normally see it, it is a 'out of sight - out of mind' type of thing.

So about 3 or 4 months ago I added in another group of exercises on the day I do my shoulders, focusing on the posterior deltoid.  I hate these exercises...there are just some I don't like doing.  But I do them anyway, because I want the results. 

The idea is to build the back of the deltoid so it pushes the muscle out from the body...squaring off the shoulder.

Another muscle that I started focusing more on was my Trapezius.  While I don't want to over develop them because it would actually tend to increase the droopy appearance...toning them up a bit has helped the overall look of the back of my shoulders. 

Why do I bring up the subject of shoulders now?  I was looking at myself in the mirror a few days ago and noticed the my shoulders were actually starting to develop that square look that I've always been so envious of.  Also, I've been talking so much about running lately that I wanted blog something about weightlifting for a change.

Again...a little research and a lot of patience pays off!


I'm STILL seeing benefits from the change to my pre workout meal.  EVERY resistance exercise that I'm doing has gone up. 

Also, now that I'm changing my work schedule, I'm having to move around all my workout days....and...I need to move my blog day.  Starting next week, I'll be blogging on Sunday rather than Friday. 

There...I said it.  Now I'm committed.  

Progress Report

Last week was my rest week for running.  Instead of running 4 days, I only ran 3.  And instead of doing my long run, I was supposed to do just 3 miles.  Notice...I said 'supposed to do'.

In reality I did a 4 mile race that day.  Only a mile longer...and a lot more fun.  Running in a race is fun because you get so much support from the other runners and the folks running.  Since this was my first time running a race in a residential area, I was surprised at how many people came out of their houses to cheer us on. 

I finished the race...and that's all I really wanted to do.  I wasn't trying to beat a time or anything.  This was supposed to be a rest for me...and I tried to stay true to that.

Oh...special shout out to my lovely wife Heather (Tzigaine on Spark People).  She's lost 10 pounds so far.  Good for her!  My readers from Spark People are welcome to visit her latest blog and give her some words of encouragement.

Tzigaine's Blog

I'm all healed up from my runner's nipple.  And I'm going to do five miles tonight.  So I'll see how good that 'Body Glide' stuff is.  It worked fine at the race but to be honest, I don't have the problem during shorter runs.

My step father and daughter have teamed up and started running.  He's a lapsed runner from way back and has been looking for an excuse to get started again now that he's retiring and she's a bundle of pure energy.  They should do well together.  Anyway, they want me to come do a marathon with them in 2009....or a 10k.  It isn't really clear.  Either way, I'd love to travel up to Michigan to run with them...or have them come down here for the same.  It would be a hoot.  


Speaking of being a hoot, Snow Owl says it is time for you to get off the web and go do your workouts!

NOTE:  Friends visiting from Spark People be sure to check out the home page to get your humor fix.  And those of you that are hitting the site from elsewhere, check out my page on Spark People. 

July 07, 2008


When I was heavy, my limitations were pretty clear.  No climbing stairs, have to use the 'handicap stall' in the bathroom, no sitting in booths at the restaurants, push the seat in the car all the way back, and so on.  But now, I don't know my limitations.  Now, I need to find out what I'm capable of.

With the help of one of my co-workers (Joseph), I have been trying to push how far I can go with my running.  It was just last month that I ran my first 5k.  Since then I've tried to go just a bit farther each week.  Now that you know the history, enjoy the story.

The Story

The alarm goes off...5:15am....oh crud, what was I thinking?  Just a few minutes more...I just need...5:25am...oh crud, what was I thinking?  Just a few more...no Robert...get up.

Its a Sunday...I should be asleep.  I should be enjoying my day off.  But this is more important.  Besides, I'll enjoy it when I get started...no...I don't believe that lie either.  This is probably going to hurt.

I should have set out my running gear last night.  But I fell asleep on the couch and forgot to do it before going to bed.  Now I'm scrambling to find everything...

  • Compression shorts
  • Outer shorts
  • Compression cuff
  • Socks
  • Running shows
  • HRM (heart rate monitor)
  • Shirt
  • Sun visor

Should I do a breakfast?  No...I'm pushing my long run today.  A full breakfast would probably have me barfing.  I slice of whole wheat bread is probably all I can hold down.

Light stretching....grab my water and keys...let's get going.  Feel ridiculous wearing the sun visor.  There's no sun out yet.

Get to the track...my current favorite place to run.  A half mile dirt track.  Already a few diehard runners out here.  People trying to get in their run before going to church.

Do the rest of my warm ups and place my water bottle where I can grab it as I run by.  Now it is time to get this thing started.  I take the first step.

The first steps are always the hardest for me.  It is a mixture of doubt and being self conscience.  Plus, the first couple of steps sort of hurt.  Not badly...it is kind of a wake up call for my legs....no matter how much I warm up...the first few steps hurt just a touch. 

But that passes pretty quickly.  I'm glad I came out this early.  It isn't hot yet and the track isn't crowded.  I've got a nice stride going.  Check my HRM to make sure I'm still within my target zone....looking good. 

I'm doing walk/run, so every 6-7 minutes I slow down to a fast walk for a minute to get my heart slowed down a bit and recover.


That wasn't so bad.  Still breathing fine...still in my heart rate zone.  But I have to keep a close eye on it.  I'm all over the zone...can't seem to settle into a groove.


Grab the bottle.  I could go farther before using the water, but I don't want a repeat of last Sunday's dehydration debacle.  Taking sips as I run, I consume about a third of the bottle.

Feeling fine...starting to get into the groove of it.  My pace and heart rate are maintaining steady.

I put the bottle back on the next time around.


Everyone that was at the track when I arrived is gone and a few new people have joined.

This is a major point for me.  Just a month ago, it was all I could do to run three miles.  Now, I view three miles as my 'short run'. 

My pace has slowed...but just a bit (10 seconds).


Suddenly the sun pokes out from behind the trees.  I pull my visor down.  I'm glad I brought it.

Time for more water.  Check it out...4 miles and I'm totally in the groove.  Heart rate steady...legs starting to tighten up a bit...calves feeling a tiny burn.

Logically, I know what this means.  I know that my muscles are starting to produce lactic acid faster than my blood can remove it.  But I only have two miles left....I can tough it out.


I've never been this far before.  At first I think it is going to be cake.  But then it starts.  That tiny burn in my calves quickly becomes a roaring fire.

The first half of the mile its like I'm moving through water.  My heart rate monitor says I'm actually LOWER than my zone.  I could run faster...but my legs won't do it.  I CAN'T MAKE MY LEGS GO FASTER.

The second half of the mile, it feels like I'm half running...half limping.  I slow down for my last 'walk' and when it is time to start running again, I almost can't do it.  I let out a small scream and my legs grudgingly comply.

As I approach the end, I realize something that I never really thought about before....the root word for endurance is 'endure'...as in "I must endure this awful pain"...."To find out what I'm made of, I will endure until the finish"


Oh...crud...what have I done?  Walking now...grab the bottle...drink the last of my water.  All I want to do is go home.  Walk it off, Robert....walk it off....do your cool down or you will be REALLY sorry later. 

Ease myself into the car.  Grab my sports drink...I need this...water just isn't enough anymore.

How I got home and cleaned up is sort of a blur....no clear memory of it.  But I afterwards I passed out on the bed.

Yeah, it hurts today...but tomorrow I'll have the bragging rights of the time I ran six miles.  I beat it...owned it...

NOTE:  In gamer speak..."i pwned 6 m1lez"

Not bad for a Token Fat Guy. 


It is 24 hours later now.  I'm a bit stiff.  But that's fine, I'm not running again until tomorrow and that will just be a short run (3 miles).  In fact this week is my recovery week.  So I'll only be doing short runs.

It was a great experience, but I do have a word of advice for any men that are getting into endurance running.  Look into a condition called 'runners nipple' and take preventive measures before attempting anything in the neighborhood of 6 miles....owie...whimper...

Progress Report

After my six mile run, I finally gave in and bought some running shirts.  It is past time for me to give up on the old cotton T-shirts.  They rub too much and hold in sweat.  Plus, most of my old stuff is size XXL and apparently I'm a size LARGE now.

Last week I talked about changing my breakfast.  That's working out well.  Most of my weights have increased in the strength training I do. 

My own weight has not changed.  I'm still hovering at 199 pounds.  But I'm not worried too about that at the moment.  My body had changed quite a bit in the last couple months and it is only natural that my weight loss slow down while it gets used to everything.  If my weight loss doesn't pick up after a month, THEN I'll worry about it. 

TFG Past

Every now and then, I like to point out what was going on a year or two ago for TFG.  Today I looked back to my blog from the first week of July 2007.  It brought back some fond memories.  So I'm going to include a link to it.

Please enjoy what some people say is the funniest blog entry I've ever done....TFG's Second Law of Motion 


Now get off my website before I turn Murdercat on you!

NOTE:  Friends visiting from Spark People be sure to check out the home page to get your humor fix.  And those of you that are hitting the site from elsewhere, check out my page on Spark People.