Progress Log: Week 17

Weekly Weigh-In

240.8 lbs.

This was a pretty drastic shift. I weighed myself several times to make sure I was getting a good measurement.

While I normally wouldn’t encourage dropping five pounds in a week, I’ll take this one.

This past week was unseasonably hot, it very well could have been excess water weight that dropped off.

We shall see.

Jonah progress photo week 17
Oy I need a haircut. Feeling good about my progress this week!



It’s a low reps/high weight week.


It was just a good gym day. I got in around 10 am, which seems to now be my sweet spot regarding energy and motivation.

The Smith machine is still inoperable at the new facility, but I did see a brand new adjustable incline/decline bench that accompanies it, so I’m happy about that.

Since the Smith was down, tho, I had to devise a plan.

I ended up creating a new “type” of heavy day, and I think I’ll be rotating it with my standard one because once I got it all worked out, I really enjoyed it a lot.

I went with all plate loaded leverage machines for my presses. At the new gym, these are Hammer’s ISO Lateral line. For my heavy day, however, I don’t do isolation work (however I might just create another, true ISO based workout for my light days to rotate in with the mix).

I struggled with the Preacher curl. What I do like about the bench is that it has a couple of different starting points, versus the one very low one at the old gym. This is great for shorter guys like me as it makes it possible to be in a seated position to start versus having to stand, bend over the bench, and struggle to get the bar up into a starting position.

Now, what I don’t like about this particular set up:

They don’t have an empty EZ bar. Instead you have to walk across the gym to a group of preloaded EZ bars, which have a limited 10 lb increment. You then have to walk the weight over to the bench, lift it, return it, etc. This is really annoying and inefficient. I’m not a fan of the 10 lb increment limitation (I like to, at least, be able to increment by 5 lbs, but prefer the flexibility of 2.5 lb additions the most).

The bars themselves feel like aluminum, have a bigger diameter than traditional EZ bars, and the curves and knurling are much more widely spread, which feels strange and unwieldy to me.

I wasn’t a fan and decided to head over to their Preacher curl machine, which I did like quite a bit.

All in all, tho, it was a really great workout. Twenty minutes on the bike topped it all off.


Leg day was awesome. So much variety. I’m still not the biggest fan of the leg press machine, but it’s not due to comfort or quality. It’s due to the fact that the sled is about 70 lbs lighter than the machine at the old gym and the entire machine, itself, is built to have a tiny footprint…which means there’s no place to hang weights on the actual machine and there are no weight trees nearby. Instead, I have to scavenge weights off of all of the other surrounding machines, which means I have to find a total of TWELVE 45 lb plates to get the heavy part of my progression.

This sucks in terms of efficiency and it’s also not a way to win gym friends who might also need to use some of those plates that I had to steal from their machines.

But the actual machine itself is pretty good, so there’s that.

I said it before, I’ll say it again, I love love love the leg extension machine. I also discovered that they have a dual action leg curl machine that does both prone curls and single leg standing curls. Count me in.

All this variety is so dang nice.

My shoulders felt great on the ISO lateral shoulder press. No pain. No clicking. Nice and smooth. I had to go back to free weight barbell shrugs since the Smith machine is still down and there is no leverage machine for shrugs. I have a real sticking point here. My grip strength is really compromised due to the arthritis. It doesn’t hurt so much. I just don’t have the grip strength to hold the weight that I can actually shrug (which is up around 300 lbs). In the past, I always used wrist straps to assist with this, but last year I ended up seriously messing up my left wrist as a result of using the straps on a 315 lb shrug set. So…I stopped using my straps.

I have to resign myself to the fact that, as I age, some of the heavy stuff will need to give way to lighter, unassisted weights and slightly higher reps.

Welcome to middle age.


A really nice Back & Triceps day rounded out my Big Three. I’m very slowly progressing on my pull ups. I use an assisted pull up machine. At the heaviest set, I use a 50 lb counter weight, which puts my weight lifted at about 190. I can get a single on this. Seriously, when I can do a single unassisted pull up I’ll probably go out and celebrate it.

This same machine has a dip station as well. I can do a couple of unassisted dips here (which would be about 240 lbs right now) but I get nervous about my left shoulder giving out. If I had more confidence, I think I could do more. But, that will come eventually.

I hit all the ISO lateral back machines and they felt great. Strong and smooth.

There’s also a really nice triceps press machine that I’m a fan of. It’s a million times better than the awkward Hoist triceps extension machine at the old gym.

Big Three down. The rest of the week is gravy.


Woo! Did I ever kick some butt on my Circuit Training day!

I bumped my exercise count up from 10 to 16, with four sets of each. This added about another half hour on to my session. The machines all felt great. No one really got in my way.

I truly, truly enjoyed this.


Today is a “choose your thing” day. It was a beautiful, sunny day so I popped my earbuds in and took an hour long walk over to and all around Englewood Park, which is a nice, woodsy little park with a comfortable mulch path and various trail exercise equipment like parallel bars and chin up bars (which I didn’t use this time around but might in the future).

It was a nice break.


Work took over today. I kind of saw this coming, so I was braced for it. I did get my five days of exercise in, however.

It was a lousy day at work, however Alicia and I made it out for a delicious lunch at Akai, a newer ramen shop in town that I’ve been eyeballing. It was delicious and filling and put me in enough of a good mood to return to work for four hours of overtime.

We then went on a double date with the kids to Wild Pear for a great, healthy dinner, dropped the kids off at home and proceeded to the Yard to enjoy my friend, Manny Martinez’s band, Birth of Happiness.

We topped it off with a slide of Barney’s Blackout cake from Konditorei.

It was a great evening that turned around my crappy day.


Today is all about the lawn work. I have a lawn to mow, some final edging that needs to be done on the front lawn, and then I finally get to go into the back and get that mess cleaned up.

The sun we’ve been having lately, while it’s going to be short-lived, is putting us all in the mood for some outdoor activities.


I did an excellent job with tracking the foods this week. I was in caloric deficit all week. I even had a day when I hit 150 grams of protein while still being in caloric deficit (this is harder to do than you would think).

I didn’t feel bad about the cheat day on Friday. Even my cheats were mostly pretty good – spicy miso ramen, a couple of gyoza, crab rangoon, and sesame balls. Then I had a delicious chicken breast pear salad with focaccia bread. I did, however top it off with Barney’s Blackout cake, which probably put me over my normal limit all by itself.

It was all well deserved, tho.

I also hit the mark on my hydration every day. My normal mark is 72 ounces of water. There were a couple of days where I actually hit 96 ounces.

All things considered, it was an excellent week. I’ll give it a 9/10.

Published by Jonah Sheridan Fenn

Nerd herder, word wrangler, working on the next chapter...

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