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    TonyM78's GST Journal

    Day 1 of Microcycle #1: Press

    Don't know how often I'll update this but I started my GST program today, February 23rd on my Press day. Calculating my 1RM was a little discouraging, and I feel I've lost strength after cutting for a few weeks and coming out of a week and a half layoff. My calculated 1RM on Flat Bench Press was 158. I've moved well over 180 in the past so I'm looking forward to getting back to that and then exceeding my past PR.

    Overall the workout felt good. I did 3 sets of everything and could tell I was running out of steam by the second or third set on most exercises, so I think the diet has taken a toll. I've lost about 12 pounds in just over three weeks which is much faster than I was going for, so I'm adjusting my calories upwards about 500 moving forward.

    Current stats:

    183 at approximately 23-24 BF%, with a calculated LBM of 139.

    It appears I've lost about 3-5 lbs. of muscles in this 3-4 weeks, so I'll be working hard to replace that hehe. This is all going by visual as far as bodyfat percentage as that's the only reference I have available, but I can see a marked difference in my definition from 3 weeks ago.

    My ultimate goal is to get to about 190 at 12 percent bodyfat, which was my calculated maximum muscular potential. That would put me at about 167 LBM, so I've definitely got a long road ahead but I think it's going to be a lot of fun.
    Last edited by TonyM78; 02-25-2022 at 04:25 PM.
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    Day 2 of Microcycle #1: Squat

    Unfortunately I wasn't even able to do Squats today lol. The gym I normally go to was under construction and there was a thick dust and smell in the air of the free weight room. It was completely empty and the air quality wasn't suitable to be working out in, so I went to a different gym. Some guy was hogging the one squat rack they had, doing a set and then going and grabbing dumbells and doing a set of whatever else, leaving his stuff at the squat rack so he could come back and do another set. I waited for at least 20 minutes and finally decided that if I was going to get anything done I would just have to move on to the next exercise.

    So I hit all the supplement exercises on my list, I think about 6 total, for 3 sets of 15-20. After my first set of abs at the end, however, my abs started acting like they were going to cramp up, which is an issue I've been dealing with frequently within the last month or so. I made sure I'd gone into it properly hydrated, ate something before bed as I work out as soon as I wake up after my Mudwtr & raw honey. I still haven't figured out what's causing the cramping.

    I've also increased my calories by 500 per day since I was losing too fast on my cut. I'm trying to get back to maintenance for awhile now and just work on a recomp while focusing on bring up all my numbers. I'm going to give my pull day a try at the other gym tomorrow if I have time and hope that goes better.
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    Days 3 and 4 of Micro #1: Pull and Lift

    1RM for Lat Pulldowns ended up at 195, so I was fairly happy with that. For OHP, my weak point additional core lift, not so great. Calculated at 115, which is less than the 120 I was pushing for reps a couple months ago before I started having this issue going on with the weakness on pressing exercises. No real pain so I'm not sure what the deal is but I'm hoping it will work itself out.

    For Lift day I have Rack Pulls as my core. I was considering trying the Deadlift again but I figure at this point I'm already dealing with enough setbacks in other avenues so I wanted to play it safe and avoid another back injury. Later on I'll probably switch it out for Deadlifts but I want to see how I can progress on this for awhile. I was pretty happy to see my 1RM at 320. I did 275 for a set of 5, which is the most I've done. This is the first time I've seen any of my numbers break 300 so it feels good and I think it really affects your mindset in a positive way. I tried the lifting straps on the last couple sets but I just can't get those things to work so I'm going to get some different ones. I'd like to do without them as much as possible but of course I don't want my grip strength interfering with my core lift.

    All in all a good day. Oh yeah and I did Dead Hangs for the first time. Got about 40 seconds on 3 sets. Also I started feeling the warning twinge of ab cramping during my second set of decline situps so I decided not to chance doing a 3rd set.
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    Day 1 of Micro #2: Press

    So, what the hell?!

    Did sets of 8 with 60% of my 1RM, a whopping 95 lbs. lol. First two sets were easy AF. Last set I thought I was doing awesome when I knocked out 18 or 19 reps. I thought for sure this was going to make my 1RM go up (though as per the instructions I wasn't going to change it yet, only check it). It actually went down! From 158 lbs. to 155 lbs.! I also weighed myself and realized I lost another 3 lbs. in just over a week, after adding 500 to my daily calories.

    Other things I noticed were of course the weakness in my right arm during pressing movements. Annoying and I still have this tingling in my right index finger and thumb. If it doesn't go away within a couple months I may see a doctor, depending on how my lifts are progressing.

    I've now added 500 calories to my daily intake, for a .5 lb. per week gain back up to 190. I'm hoping this will at least stabilize things. I think mostly I just underestimated my activity level. So we'll see how it goes from here on out.

    I'm going to take tomorrow off since I'm going to see the wife and kids (long story but slowly getting better). I'll plan on lifting again on Friday and Saturday. I think what I'll do then is go M-T-F-Sa on one week and M-W-F on the next week, that way I'm still getting the recommended amount of rest and can make it work with my schedule. Then I'll do things like cardio a couple times a week. My new go-to is now Beat Saber. Also I might get a foam roller.
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    Day 2 of Micro #2

    Squat day!

    The video of the woman in Mexico City kept running through my mind as I was setting everything up

    Anyway...

    I ended up going with a working weight of 155 and hit 8 reps, which gave me a calculated 1RM of 195. Not the best, but considering I haven't put a great deal of time into squats in the past, it's not horrible, and it will get better quickly I think.

    I took 3 minute rest periods between sets for my core exercise. Normally I'll do 3 for core and sometimes other heavier lifts, 2 for the majority of the supplements and 1 minute for some of the smaller muscles or in between super sets. I just have a hard time taking more time than that for rest as I've always conditioned myself to try to save time in the gym as much as possible. Before GST I was doing 1 minute rest on everything. So hopefully this aversion to long rest periods won't be my downfall.

    After finishing my sets of Squats I was gassed! I could barely even get through the lunges after that. I was breathing hard and sweating and it was only my second exercise, which isn't normal for me. I'm hoping it's just because I worked so hard on squats.

    After my second set of Leg Raises, my last exercise, I started feeling the twinge in my abs again so once again I called it good. This is getting old. I'm probably going to see a doctor about the thing with my arm so I might bring up the cramping, as well. Hopefully it isn't all related and a sign of a more serious underlying problem.

    I decided to take the weekend off and will be doing a straight M-W-F schedule from here one out at least until these two issues work themselves out. This way I know I've eliminated every variable as far as diet, rest, hydration and volume. I'm trying to remain optimistic that things will work themselves out.

    Monday will be Pull day #2. I'm looking forward to it.
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    Day 3 of Micro #2 - Pull

    Core = Lat Pulldowns. Hit 115 lbs. for 8, 8 and... 23 lol. Checking my 1RM, I would now be at about 205, 10 lbs. higher than last week!

    Weak point Core = OHP. Hit 70 for 8, 8 and 21. This would have brought my 1RM up by 5 lbs. to about 120.

    This is encouraging as I feel I can begin gaining some of my lost strength back in my pressing movements. I was also almost 2 lbs. heavier since last week, so I think I'm slowly gaining back some of my lost muscle. Tiiiiiiiiiime is on my siiiiide... yes it is! lol

    So this was yesterday and I'm really looking forward to lift day tomorrow.
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    Day 4 of Micro #2 - Lift

    Did this one on Wednesday. My new schedule will be M-W-F and I'll be doing some light to intense cardio on most of my off days.

    This was a good workout and my calculated 1RM would now be 335 on Rack Pulls since I hit 23 or 24 reps at 190, don't remember which one. I was feeling weak and like **** when doing my Squat workout but I think it's just because of the load as these last two workouts went great and were very productive. I had a lot more energy, though this one was definitely more tiring than the Press and Pull workouts.

    Also I've realized this would technically only be the end of Micro #1 since the first time I did each one I was just finding my working weights on the core exercises. At the end of Macro #1 I may just do an extra week and then reset the rep ranges for my supplement lifts since they got moved due to the cycles getting confused lol. But the Macro #2 will start off with everything where it should be, and I should have some new 1RM's to work with, as well
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    Day 1 Micro #2 (for real this time) - Press

    This would technically be the start of Micro #2 rather than #3 as I was previously calling it since the first week was just figuring out my 1RM's.

    I was very pleasantly surprised by this workout. I don't have my sheets but I think I hit something like 13 reps for 110 on Flat Bench, which would have brought my calculated 1RM up to 183 from 158! I can't even say how thrilled I am about this. It means I'm gaining my strength back in my right arm. It still feels a little weaker than my left, but not anywhere near as bad. Overall this workout went pretty great. 9/10 would recommend lol
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    Day 2 Micro #2 - Squat

    Since that guy was hogging the only power cage when I went in to do these before, I didn't get my 1RM until last time, so the core exercise on this workout is 1 week behind. At the start of macro #2 I'm just going to reset the progression on it so it's lined up with everything else.

    Overall not a bad workout. This workout is definitely the most taxing of the four for me. I hit 20 reps on my third set of 8, 8, AMRAP, which would bring my calculated 1RM up to 199, however I know not to change it until the end of each macro.

    Normally I'll do 3 minute rests between sets on the core exercises, 2 minutes on the others and 1 minute between supersets or accessory exercises, but I did a lot more rest time on this one. Lunges, my 2nd exercise, were already exhausting me so I ended up taking 3-4 minute rests between sets of these. Crazy. I did this workout yesterday and I'm totally beat today.

    I'm also experiencing more lower back pain like I used to get every time I did Squats or DL's for awhile. I was crossing my fingers that it wouldn't happen this time. I've worked on strengthening my lower back. So I did a lot of stretching yesterday and some foam rolling in the morning when I got off work and this afternoon when I got up. Not sure what the hell I need to do to prevent this but it's very frustrating not being able to follow a program as designed without issues. Next time I'm going to make sure I'm being extra extra careful with form (I'm not sure if it was Squats or RDL's that did it) and then try to foam roll as soon as I get back from the gym, see if that helps at all.

    Oh well, tomorrow is pull day so I'm looking forward to some new PR's.
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    Day 3 Micro #2 - Pull

    Started off w/ Lat Pulldowns and hit 135 for 6, 6 and 16. I may have been able to do more but I'm starting to get this thing in my neck/head toward the end of my core exercises where it feels like my head is about to explode. Not sure what that's about. Anyway this would put my 1RM at closer to 210.

    Secondary core for weak point was OHP. I did 80 for 6, 6 and 17, which would put my 1RM at 125, up 10 since my initial workout.

    Overall great workout, made some progress in all my sets it seemed. My back is still hurting from Squat day and I've been doing a lot of stretching and foam rolling. Hope it's good for Friday as that's Lift day.
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    Day 4 Micro #2 - Lift

    This day went okay. I pushed through despite the lower back pain, which may not have been the best idea but I'm just fed up with it. So now instead of my lower back hurting after the workout, the middle of my back hurt. Yay! Lol. I've been foam rolling once or twice about every day. Just got a new foam roller. It seems to make a difference. I'm going to get into the habit of doing that after my workouts and try to do it before bed, as well, as it seems to help me relax and get comfortable. When Squat day comes up again, I may forego the Squat, my core exercise, if I'm still experiencing pain, and replace it with a lower back isolation exercise. I also got a belt so hopefully that will help.

    I don't remember what I got for reps this time but I think my 1RM was pretty in line with what I got last time.
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    Day 1 Micro #3 - Press

    This was a great workout. Didn't want to get out of bed and actually considered just sleeping, but I made myself do it and of course I was glad I did. I hit 125 for 4, 4, and 16 on Flat Bench, bringing my calculated 1RM to 190, which is actually more than I've ever done. This is very encouraging. I'm ready to really kill it next time and shoot for 200! If not, I know I'll be there soon and then be pushing weights I never thought I would. I'd really like to hit 300+ eventually.

    I think I improved on every single one of my exercises, so I'm stoked lol. The plan still is to keep my calories up at their current level, which I calculate to be about my maintenance for 190 lbs. Last time I weighed myself it said 189, which was surprising since a week ago I was right about 182 and slowly going up. It seems like with these changes I'm making I either lose really fast or gain really fast, like in bursts. Not sure if that's good or bad. I know I lost some muscle last time I was cutting so I will try to stay on the higher side of calories.

    Tomorrow is Squat day and I'll be bringing my belt though I don't think I'll do any real working sets. Probably do some light sets with Squats and RDL's then add in a lower back isolation exercise.
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    Day 2 Micro #3 - Squat

    This one is of course a workout behind because of the guy hogging the only squat rack when I was forced out of my gym due to construction. So I did the sets of 6 today. AND I wasn't even sure if I would be doing this today because of my back. But I started out very slowly, made sure my form was as perfect as I could get it, and I was feeling okay about it. I also wore my belt for my 3 working sets. On the third set I figured I would just stop a few reps short of maxing out, but I was feeling good and it was going well, so I kept going and got up to 17 reps with 135, which put my calculated 1RM up to 210 from 195. Not too shabby considering this was a 'recovery' workout. Oh also I started getting a pain in my right leg just above my knee during my last set but I pushed through. Hope it's not anything to worry about. I'll keep an eye on it and maybe do a little foam rolling for my legs.

    RDL's didn't do so well though. I think partly I was distracted because there was a woman doing hip thrusts on the floor practically right where my eyes needed to be and I didn't want her to think I was looking at her so I kept going from looking straight ahead to looking straight down. I also seemed to get tired very easily, and I think this was partly because I was being super strict about form and doing them a little slower than normal. But that's okay, I'll take it. I tried the first set with my belt but it just seemed to make them harder so I took it off for the other two. Ended up getting 10,10,10 with the same weight I got 15,15,15 with last time. That's okay, all my other exercises were productive and it's still better than being injured. I'll take a slow recovery any day over not being able to work at all.

    Looking forward to Pull day this Friday! I'm gonna kill it as usual with my back that's too big for the rest of my body lol
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    Day 3 Micro #3 - Pull

    It was a great workout. I don't remember what my numbers were as it's been a couple days, but I think my calculated 1RM's for Lat Pulldown and OHP rose to around 210 and 130, respectively. So good good. No issues to speak of. Pretty much every exercise was productive and I was able to increase either weight or reps.

    Day 4 was supposed to be on Monday but I had a sore throat the last two days so I wanted to take it a little easy and get some extra rest. Still a little scratchy but I'm going to be ready to hit it hard tomorrow. Plus my back is slowly getting better. I'll be wearing my belt for Rack Pulls, of course.
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    Day 4 Micro #4 - Lift

    Oh my god lol. So I hit did 255 on Rack Pulls for 3, 3, and 15, which would put my calculated 1RM at 380! Now granted, I was using the belt and straps for the last set. But I think this would be prudent to do moving forward. I'm psyched about this. My next goal is to hit 415 which would bring me up to intermediate level on Rack Pulls. Loving this program!
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    Day 1 Micro #4 - Press

    Yes yes, we are nearing the end of the first micro cycle and doing great! Started off a little slow due to that right arm thing but it appears to have worked itself out.

    Today I hit 140 for 2, 2, and 14 on bench, bring my 1RM to 205! More than I've ever done! Again, I love this program! Honestly the first couple sets I could have easily done more as they felt too light. But now using 200 as my new 1RM (average between the last two) I think the difficulty should be more in line with what it's supposed to be.

    Bench Press!
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    I've taken a week off due to being sick. Pisses me off but whatever. Just seems like every time I get sick anymore it takes forever to get better. The plan is to get back to it on Monday, provided I keep doing better and don't get worse. I think if I can limit my drinking to 5 or 6 tomorrow I should be alright. Then Monday will be Squat day.
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    Day 2 Micro #4 - Squat

    Hit 3, 3, and 6 @ 155 on Squat. This would have brought my 1RM down to 185. Yeah, not too impressive. After a week off I was feeling weaker than expected. I had also adjusted my maintenance calories for a lower activity level, and according to the scale I lost 4 lbs.! Next time I'm sick I will not try to compensate for lower activity level and just stay at the same maintenance, which seems to be Very Active.

    Anyway yeah this workout, especially the first 3 exercises, took a lot out of me. I only did 2 sets on the 2-3 set exercises and didn't really make any progress on anything but Wrist Curls. I'm eating more now and gonna give myself a week on maintenance before I start my cut. Maybe even two, depending on how the next couple workouts go.

    I should also note that since I actually wasn't able to Squat the first time around due to time constraints, this would technically be Micro #3 for Squat. BUT once Micro #4 is completed with my other exercises, I will simply reset the Squat along with it and go back to the higher rep range rather than have it consistently lag behind.
    Last edited by TonyM78; 04-13-2022 at 04:54 PM.
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    Day 3 Micro #4 - Pull

    Did Lat Pulldowns with 155 for 1, 2, and 10, bringing my 1RM to 235 from 195! I'm very happy about this.

    OHP was also productive. I hit 105 for 1, 1, and 9, bringing my 1RM to 135 from 115. It appears the weakness is pretty much gone and I can hopefully continue progressing as normal. The other exercises in the workout were all productive, as well. I made progress on every one of them. I am feeling a little pain in my shoulders while doing Front Raises, so I'll keep an eye on that. I'm hoping since I'm only doing this one once every 8 days or so it will be okay and I'll have ample time to recover.

    Friday will be Lift day!
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    Day 4 Micro #4 - Lift

    Rack Pulls, baby!

    I hit 290 for 1, 1 and 12, bringing my calculated 1RM to 405. My last one was 380 so I'll go with 395 as my new 1RM for the purposes of calculating my working weights. This is kind of a big deal to me though because it's the first time I've hit 400 on any of my numbers.

    All my other exercises went well and were productive. I'm looking forward to killing it on Flat Bench Monday!
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    Day 1 Micro #1 of Macro #2!

    Press

    Excite to start my second macro cycle finally! So we got off to a slow start on Flat Bench. I hit 120 for 8, 8 and 17. This would put my 1RM at 190, down 10 from from the 200 I calculated based on the last two workouts. I'm wondering if I may have been able to squeeze out 1 or 2 more reps if I really pushed it. But oh well.

    All the other exercises were pretty productive, so I'm fairly happy with this workout.

    Once I start my new job next week I'll be sitting on my ass a lot more, so I may started working out on Saturdays, as well, so I can get in a whole Microcycle each week. We'll see how it goes.
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    Day 2 Micro #1 of Macro #2 (man, there's gotta be a better way of numbering these)

    Squat

    Since it's been a few days I don't really remember what I did lol. I know I hit 20 reps on my working weight, which I kept the same weight as before even though my 1RM went down since the beginning. Frustrating but whatever. Plus I had to really force the 20 reps, stopping for a few breaths in between the last few. Other exercises went pretty well and were productive, as usual, so that is encouraging. Oh yeah and I ****ING hate Lunges. By my first set I'm so out of breath I don't know if I'll finish them. So I've been taking longer rests (4 minutes) between sets of Squats and Lunges.
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    I'm just gonna do this to try to get caught up. So on Friday I did Day 2 Micro #2 Macro #2, Squats. I hit all my reps and did 18 on my lest set bringing my C1RM (calculated 1RM) to 215. Not bad for experiencing knee issues atm. Hope these will alleviate though I think I'm gonna have to do something about it eventually.

    My bench felt pretty unimpressive on Wednesday but I think I'll do better next time. All my supplementary exercises have, for the most part, been increasing each time, so I consider these all to be successful, productive workouts.

    I'll try to get in the habit of recording numbers maybe during my 3-4 minutes rests when I do my heavy sets, that way I'm not struggling to remember and I can keep this going. Tomorrow is Pull day again and I'm looking to hit some big numbers with some heavier weight.
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    D2 Mi2 Ma2 - Pull
    Hit 165 on Lat Pull-down for 6, 6 and 16
    Hit 95 on OHP for 6, 6 and 16 as well. Brings C1RM to 250 on pull-down and 145 on OHP. And the connection sucked so I couldn't update in between sets like I wanted. Grrr
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    D3 MI2 MA2 - Lift
    Hit 275 for 6, 6 and 17 on Rack Pulls bringing C1RM to 430
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    D1 MI3 MI2 - Press

    Hit 160 on Flat Bench for 3, 3 and 11, bringing my C1RM up to 220. Killed it on my other exercises, as well.

    So I've been kind of disappointed because I've been lifting regularly for 8 months and getting stronger with almost every single workout, yet am not seeing much visual difference. Yet today I did seem to look bigger after my workout. It's one of those things that for a long time you don't seem to see much change but then one day you're like 'woah, I didn't k own I was that big lol'.. and maybe I'm just expecting too much. I may technically be a beginner but I've put on a lot of muscle over the 20 years that I've lifted sporadically. So the newbie gains are no doubt done and it'll probably come slower now. I expect I'll see the biggest change when either cutting or bulking. Doing Matador now and plan to until September or October, when I'll start my bulk.

    As far as the lifting aspect, I continue to surprise myself with the consistent strength gains. And still loving this program
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    Day 3 Micro 3 Macro 2
    Pull

    Hit 190 for 3, 3 and 11 bringing my C1RM to 260. Currently waiting for one guy to finish using the power rack for one arm presses with a Tbar so I can do my OHP 😐
    New 1RM's for me 5/6/22

    Flat Bench 220
    Squat 215 w/ belt
    Lat Pull-down 250
    OHP 145
    Rack Pull 430 w/ belt & straps
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    Day 3 Micro 3 Macro 2 cont.

    Hit 110 for 3, 3, and 9 on OHP. C1RM holds at 145. Leveled up on every other exercise. I can't believe the strength gains still continue like this after 8 months. ****ty thing is my elbow is starting to hurt a little again. If it's still hurting on Monday when I do Press I may do a brief deload.
    New 1RM's for me 5/6/22

    Flat Bench 220
    Squat 215 w/ belt
    Lat Pull-down 250
    OHP 145
    Rack Pull 430 w/ belt & straps
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    Day 4 Micro 3 Macro 2
    Lift

    Hit 315 for 3,3 and 12 on Rack Pulls. New C1RM = 440. Used straps and belt on last set. I may start using them on all my working sets, at least on the 3rd and 4th Micros. If I can hit 500 by the end of the 4th Macro cycle before I switch exercises I'll be ecstatic!
    Last edited by TonyM78; 05-14-2022 at 11:57 AM.
    New 1RM's for me 5/6/22

    Flat Bench 220
    Squat 215 w/ belt
    Lat Pull-down 250
    OHP 145
    Rack Pull 430 w/ belt & straps
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    For Day 1 Micro 4 Macro 2 I did 180 on Flat Bench for 1, 1 and I think like 5 or 6. My C1RM would have dropped from 220 to 205. I'm going to use 215 on the next Macro.

    Today I hit 175 on Squats for 1, 1 and 7, keeping my C1RM at 215 like last time, so that will be my new 1RM next macro.
    New 1RM's for me 5/6/22

    Flat Bench 220
    Squat 215 w/ belt
    Lat Pull-down 250
    OHP 145
    Rack Pull 430 w/ belt & straps
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