I thoroughly enjoyed this program and am happy with the results I achieved using it. Regardless, there were things, some direct and some indirect, resulting from this program that are negative.
• My diet went to hell in a hand basket.
• My DL did not go up.
• I started to go insane.
Diet: While it would be easy to blame my nutrition plan going down the tubes on this program, the simple fact is I am the sole reason it happened. I didn’t realize my metabolism was going to skyrocket like it did. I should have adjusted my meal planning and preparation accordingly. I was too lazy. It was easier to simply stuff the hole in my face with what ever I could grab. I knew I wasn’t putting on bad weight, so I chose to remain undisciplined. If I had been more methodical and thoughtful in my meal planning I believe my results would have been even more impressive.
Recommendation: Regardless of the nutrition plan you are using, plan on increasing your protein and fat consumption by about 20%. That means prep more food so you are not left scavenging. Scavenging always results in sucking down low quality food.
My DL did not go up: Not only did my DL not go up, it went down by 15#. This was nothing short of devastating for me. My wife says I, “was in a puddle”, over it. In retrospect it was foolish, really, to expect anything else to happen. Still, I went through the 5 stages of grief.
• Denial – I refused to believe that my DL went down. It didn’t matter that no matter how hard I pulled, tugged, jolted, heaved, and prayed my previous 1RM sat there on the floor as if someone, the night prior, had set the bar in construction adhesive. There must have been some kind of mistake. I had every excuse imaginable.
-I grabbed the heavy ten’s.
-The bar must have weighed more than 45#.
-The gravitational pull of the moon was less and therefore weights were feeling heavier.
• Anger – I began to rage. Over the next two days I must have attempted to establish a 1RM at least 147 times. I was fuming and there was no talking me off the ledge. One attempt after another, each more futile than the previous, I was going to keep pulling until…well I didn’t know.
• Bargaining – At this point I began a negotiation process with myself. I must have taken too small of an increase in my warm up sets – so I made big jumps on the next attempt. No, no, no. I must have taken too big of a jump between warm up sets – So I tried going up by only 5 pounds. Hmmmm, If I just activate my posterior chain more first – So I tried box jumps, I tried squats, I tried KB swings before attempts. Hell, I would have sacrificed a small cat if I had one on hand. My negotiations were all in vain.
• Depression – At this point a cloud of gloom hung over me like a swarm flies over a rotting corps. I thought about selling the gym, seriously considered burning it to the ground, and even debated the merits of Zumba. Jenny started to plan an intervention.
• Acceptance – I finally made peace with the loss of my DL but only because I knew that the ground-work I laid with this program was going to pay off down the road. I would just have to be patient.
In all seriousness I did not expect my DL to go up. I had been hoping that it was not going to go down. KB swings are an amazingly effective posterior chain exercise but there is no substitute for the dead lift – period. My DL always goes down if I don’t continually work on it and 10,000 KBS didn’t change that. Whether or not yours is going to go down as mine did I don’t know.
Recommendation: Accept the fact that this program is not a substitute for deadlifting. Rather, it is more of a preparatory program that will set you up for future gains. (More on this in Part III of the AAR.)
I started to go insane: This program is mentally tough. Not for the reason you may be inclined to think. As you already picked up on, each workout in this program was a tough mental fight. That’s a good thing. Who doesn’t want to be challenged, both physically and mentally when they are training? Hell, it’s the reason we endeavor to put ourselves through such hellish experiences. For me it wasn’t grinding through the workouts that became hard. It was the time between workouts that started to become unbearable.
Because of the way I set this program up – my ability to proceed being predicated on a tangible increase in performance – every increase in performance meant I was sentenced to work even harder the next time. Worse yet, failing to do better was, simply put, failure. I don’t do well with failure. It’s not typically an option that I select – ever. Regardless of how well the workout went I knew that I was somehow going to have to find a way to do better the next time. The damn clock was never going to lie or cut me a huss. I found myself thinking about the next workout non-stop. I was always plotting, planning, and strategizing how I was going to find the strength to shave a few more seconds off of my time. It became a bit consuming for me.
Recommendation: I would not do this program more than once per year from a merely mental stand point. While the program left me motivated to lift heavy weights and crush some old PR’s, it was emotionally grueling. For me, being on a clock like that for 30 days was a freaking pressure cooker, one that I need to wait a good long while before going into again.
Part III of the AAR will cover the way ahead, my next training plan, and the reasons behind it.