Pre-Marital Mashup

I'm not sure if you've heard, but next week is going to be kind of a big deal.

In only seven days, I'll be able to call Lindsay my wife, which is amazing and still pretty surreal.  We can't be happier about being able to share it with so many of our friends and family, and I figure there's a handful of things you can count on occurring:

-an incredible dance party, with at least a few country songs (but not THAT many)

-tears all around

I know, the resemblance is uncanny.

I know, the resemblance is uncanny.

-plenty of Midwestern charm

-me saying "I do"....unless I'm called again to be Tom Brady's naked body double in one of his new commercials.  

By the way, that's my second job.

Anyway, if you're curious about the wedding, we'll be using the hashtag #becomingtanskey, so you can either search social media or feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

Having said all of THAT, it's time to move on.  First, I wanted to share a great post that appeared on StrongFirst's blog last week:

"Dry, Fighting Weight"

As you know, I'm a big fan of making people stronger, because I firmly believe that strength rules all.  I say that because 1) I'd rather set my face on fire than run a half marathon, and 2) strength is what's going to help you move better and lose weight much more efficiently.  I don't want to ruin too much of the article but here are a few thoughts to keep in mind before you read it:

  1. The comparisons Pavel makes to the Soviet Olympic Weightlifting team are a bit overblown.  The men he speaks about were obviously genetically gifted to have low bodyfat, as well as being incredibly athletic and strong.
  2. Diet still does matter, even if it's somewhat belittled in this article.  I'd even go so far as to say that you can't expect any weight loss until you fix your diet.  Yes, regardless of exercise!
  3. As you can imagine, I did snicker when they mentioned "the dishonor of aerobics."  But, if you're someone that genuinely likes to run....then, by all means, run!

Anyway, give the article a read, because it illustrates something I discovered a while ago: when your emphasis is getting stronger and eating as great as you can, weight loss occurs simply as an afterthought.

If you're snacking on these frequently, then blood sugar is probably something you SHOULD worry about..

If you're snacking on these frequently, then blood sugar is probably something you SHOULD worry about..

The next article I'd like to share is though Precision Nutrition and it's on the topic of blood sugar.  I've always thought of blood sugar as being an intermediary, as it's really just an effect - it shows how well our body is adjusting to what we eat.  Much like cholesterol though, we don't really know the whole story when the test comes back as either "high" or "low."  The article below is a bit long, but I'll give you the quick summary - if you exercise and eat right (which probably means at minimum 6-8 fruits and vegetables each day, and staying away from fried foods), a high blood sugar reading may not be a cause for worry.

Blood Sugar Management: What Your Doctor Doesn't Know About Glucose Testing

As the last part of this blog post, I'd like to turn the focus to my personal 2014 goals.  Being that we're now safely through 3/4 of the year, I figured it was time for another update (read: accountability session for me).  I've mentioned before that we all need something to hold us accountable, and there's no better way than having to post it in the public sphere. :)

  • Goal #1: Deadlift 500 Pounds
    Progress: Not Completed

This goal is definitely a lofty one, as my max coming into the year was an ugly looking 415.  Putting 85 pounds on a deadlift is no easy task, and I'm pleased to say that pulling 500 has now entered the realm of possibility.  The past few months have been super productive, as I've really taken time to work on my set up, form, and overall mental attitude when lifting.  Mental attitude?  You bet.  Because, let's face it, when things get heavy, it's natural to start getting nervous.

However, I'm proud to say that two weekends ago I hit a new personal record of 460....which is notable for me, because weighing in at 187 pounds made it a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift (with the benefit of some generous rounding).  

If that weren't enough, I went back at it last weekend as one last big hurrah before the big day.  The result?  Well, here I am pulling 470....and getting a wee bit excited at the end:

In the battle of Lemon Juicer vs., Man won.

In the battle of Lemon Juicer vs., Man won.

Did I say a wee bit?  I meant the scientific term, "crap ton" of excitement.  Having failed at 470 two other times, it was pretty awesome to finally hit it.  If you notice, I did have some trouble with the grip on my right hand, and I'll be hammering home some grip strength work as a result.  In fact, just this morning I broke my second lemon juicer of the year, so here's hoping that's a good sign..

Sidenote: I'm hoping I can finally put to rest this whole "heavy weights makes you big theory," as I now weigh less than I did when I was in college, and I'm significantly stronger than I was when I was 22.  Furthermore, if anyone were to get big in their pursuit of picking up 500 pounds, it'd definitely be a 28 year old testosterone filled guy.

  • Goal #2: Overhead Press 200 Pounds
    Progress: Completed!

If there's one thing I've learned during overhead pressing (and there's a ton), it's that in order to press, you must press!  Last year, I was stuck at 185 for what seemed to have been the longest time, and it was only after I took the weight back down, and focused on little things that really pushed me over the hump.

To all the meatheads out there, no, it wasn't isolated tricep work, or any additional shoulder work.  Instead, it was learning what it means to really get tight - which, by the way, is the toughest skill to teach someone.

  • Goal #3: Front Squat 300 Pounds
    Progress: Not Completed

Oh, front squats....

If ever there was a love/hate relationship, it'd be my story with this exercise.  While my long legs and long arms are suiting me well for deadlifting, they're the exact opposite of what you'd want in a squat.  Suffice to say, that's my excuse for not having hit 300 as of yet.

My highest total for the year has been 285, and I've held off squatting heavy singles for some time to really work on heavy triples and doubles.  Here I am squatting 270 for 2, and while it's not pretty, they're definitely still improving.

While there's still some work to be done, I would like to share a lesson I've learned: high rep front squats will burn the fat off your soul.

  • Goal #4: Bench Press 300 Pounds
    Progress: Not Completed

Before this year, I never took the bench press that seriously.  Yes, it's always been an exercise I like....but with benching comes the need for a spotter.  While I could bench by myself, I've always thought about what could happen if I was benching heavy and didn't complete a rep.  Needless to say, I wouldn't be blogging anymore, and at my funeral they would say the following: "Here lies Alex....a guy so nice, he didn't want to disturb anyone by asking for a spot."

While I haven't posted video of it, my best bench this year has been 275.  Not great, but nothing to sneeze at either.  Of course, this probably falls way short of what other guys will tell you they benched in their prime ("Bro, I was a beast!!1!!11!"), and I'm OK with that.  Because if you think my manhood is hurt by someone benching more than me, I'll kindly refer you to the deadlift and overhead press videos above.

So yeah....that's where I am with my 2014 goals. Feel free to judge, or leave a comment. ;)

And with that, I'm off for the next few weeks to celebrate with my soon-to-be wife.  Regardless of whether I hit any PR's for the rest of the year, I'll still be performing my PR dance because I get to marry Lindsay.

....but 500 pounds IS just around the corner.