Desk Jobs Are Rough; Six-Week Fitness Assessment

I keep hitting a wall with my training. Don’t you hate when that happens? At a certain level of reps (4+ for multiple sets with 85-90% of my max) and length of time (more than 30 minutes) I don’t want to train. I was also feeling beat up and old and losing my drive to train.kettlebell-broken

Riding a desk instead of slinging rubber at work is even more painful than I imagined. So I began experimenting with programs based on the fundamental human movements so I can move better again. The first program was two ladders of 1-2-3 reps with half-get ups, clean and presses, bent over rows, and goblet squats. I rolled a pair of dice, multiplied by 10 to get my reps for swings, and a lap just carrying a kettlebell in different positions.

Five days a week, two weeks in, and I wasn’t looking forward to it anymore. Keeping the movements, I took a page from traditional bodybuilding with a twist and Dan John’s One Exercise a Day template. Instead of having a “leg day” I have a squat pattern day. My days are as follows:

  • Monday: Get-Ups (groundwork)
  • Tuesday: Swings (hinge pattern)
  • Wednesday: Clean & Press (push pattern)
  • Thursday: Goblet and Front Squats (squat pattern)
  • Friday: Overhead/Rack/Farmer’s Carry (loaded carry)

Throughout the week I do pull-ups off of a door at work for my pulling movement pattern. This has kept my training short, and I can hit it harder now since I have a lot of recovery programmed in before I hit that pattern hard again.

Diet wise there has been some changes. The intermittent fasting is done for now. I did a 24 hour religious fast, and didn’t reintroduce solids until 38 hours later. I hurt for weeks, developing or triggering heartburn. My appetite hasn’t quite returned yet so I have been eating smaller meals and more fiber.

Let’s see what that’s done for body composition.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.12                14.12                 0

Shoulders                      43.50                  43.50              0

Chest                              37.75                 38              +0.25

Waist                             33.5               33.5                    0

Biceps                           12.5              12.62               +0.12

Forearms                      11                 10.92               -0.08

Thighs                         21.25                 21.5            +0.25

Calves                          13.68                13.5             -0.18

Weight                  157.4lbs          154.4        -3.0lbs

Body Fat %                17.8%                17.8%         0%

Lean Body Mass    129.3lbs            126.9        -2.4lbs

Not much as far as changes go. This next 6 weeks I’ll be chasing higher reps with lighter weights. Two warm up sets, the third set will be AMRAP minus one, the fourth and fifth sets will be with lighter kettlebells but higher reps. The plan is to increase strength and stimulate hypertrophy. We’ll see.

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