Last month’s post.


I’ve completed a cycle of my new program, which I detailed out last month. I ended up making a few modifications, notably around strict pressing work. My right shoulder is just having too much issue with that right now. So my focus is on push pressing and bench related pressing to take some of the most direct stress off of it.

The program is kind of dead simple. It incorporates a nice bit of volume by simply adding an extra rep onto each set in a 5x5 (so, a 5x6) plus an opening set that lets me feel some heavier weight in the 3+ rep range between 80-85% 1RM. Assuming I’m completing the work and pushing over 3 reps, I increase the starting load for the next cycle. I did end up taking a week off for a deload entirely, which has been nice for the joints and everything quite frankly. So, we’ll see how this cycle pans out and if this program keeps holding up.

A barbell on a deadlift jack. It is loaded with 5 plates on each side. The weight is about 285lbs or 130kg.

Overall most things have been feeling good. The deadlifts have never felt so good before, which is really nice. The bench pressing has been feeling good, and I’ve clearly underestimated my ability there. On some of my plus sets, I’ve been slapping on 3-5 extra reps in some cases. So that’s been good. My overhead pressing has been suffering because of the shoulder issue a bit. For this next cycle I’ve dropped the weight a notch from 75% 1RM to 71% 1RM to make the sessions more achievable, which so far is looking better.

A flat weightlifting bench with a t-shirt on it. It is stored within a squat rack, resting of a set of plates. The goal is to try and emulate an inclined bench.

Only real thing I’m still feeling like I’m lacking is a bit of a more dedicated cardio time. I do plenty of walking with my kid and the dog, but it would be nice to have a more intense focused session. Ideally it’d be a few times a week, but even once a week would be good. Just need an extra hour in the week and the energy to get to it!


Not a whole lot to report here. I’ve made some progress on weight loss. My last weigh-in I was down about 9lbs from a starting weight of 265lbs, so 256lbs or 116kg. I’m happy with that progress since I’ve been hoping for only 1lbs per week. I certainly had a set back with a few weekends of vacation-like conditions and not being on top of the food situation carefully enough, but I’m not terribly worried about it. I just won’t weigh myself this week, lol.

My end goal weight wise I’m thinking is about 235lbs, give or take a few pounds. That feels like a level I can be pretty comfortable with personally, fits into my weight lifting goals just fine, and should be a generally good improvement health wise. I’ll have to make it there and retest the numbers to be sure, but for now that’s my target!

And on we go!


The prior month or more was totally out-of-whack scheduling wise. Between lots of traveling, various obligations, and two different colds, basically that entire timeframe was missed aside from random visits. So that’s frustrating! The silver lining is that this is extremely abnormal for me. Long ago it used to a struggle to get to the gym or work out, but no more! I’m long past that point, and for a while now I feel really frustrated when I don’t get exercise.

Anyway, I decided to make sure I made a really easy program (3 days/week, a fairly easy 5x5 variation with some extras) and made sure to make it a priority that I hit those three days a week. I did that, and ended up taking a deload week after that. The deload has really paid off, as I’ve been feeling great for the start of the new cycle

The program I’m trying out now is this. It’s a combo of trying some heavier sets at the front of the primary workout, followed by a 5x6 arrangement. It’s a modest jump in volume, but it does help out. In a few cycles I might push to 5x8 again, we’ll see!

Day 1:

Deadlift: 1x3+ @ 80/82/85% 1RM, 5x6 @ 75% 1RM

Close Grip Bench: 3x8, 1x8+ @ 70% 1RM

Curls/Skullcrushers: supersets, 3x15/17/20 @ 35lbs

Day 2:

Push Press: 1x3+ @ 80/82/85% 1RM, 5x6 @ 75% 1RM

Inclined Bench Press: 3x8, 1x8+ @ 70% 1RM. EDIT: was originally Overhead Press.

Box Jumps/Dumbbell Push Press: supersets, 4x6/7/8, 4x3 @ 55lbs. EDIT: was originally dumbbell presses @ 35lbs in each hand.

Day 3:

Squats: 1x3+ @ 80/82/85% 1RM, 5x6 @ 75% 1RM

Rack Pulls: 3x8, 1x8+ @ 70% 1RM

Barbell Rows: 3x11/12/13 @ 50% 1RM

I’ve also been squeezing in a brisk walk usually once a week on top of standard dog/child walks. Not enough cardio, but better than none!


A while back I got diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It’s asymptomatic in my case, and generally isn’t anything too urgent, but not something worth ignoring due to what it could lead to. Resolving it basically comes down to losing some body fat, in the range of 5-10% of your body weight is suggested as a starting point.

So far I’ve been plugging away at that. It’s a balancing act as I don’t want to really drop a ton of weight for lifting purposes. So I’m taking it fairly slow, maybe 1 lbs/week on average, with a higher protein count than I normally do.

Macro breakdown is this right now:

  • Calories: 2454
  • Protein: 190g
  • Carbs: 267g
  • Fats: 71g

It is interesting to think about the feelings and experiences I have around weight in general when approaching this too, but I don’t really feel up to digging into that right now. But overall, so far so good. More to come!

Over the past month or so, I’ve migrated my self hosted setup from having DNS entries point directly to my IP address to using a VPS front followed by a WireGuard connection into the network. It’s very similar to what something like a CloudFlare Tunnel does, but just hacked together myself. Here’s roughly what the diagram looks like:

A network diagram showing a connection from the internet to an internal network. It uses a VPS host and WireGuard to achieve this.

There are a variety of reasons to use a setup like this:

Getting a static IP address.

It may be possible to ask your ISP for a static IP address, but I’m not sure how quite honestly. Using an existing VPS to get one is really simple and works fantastic. This let me shut down my hacked-together script to dynamically update DNS when my IP address changed. This alone makes it worth the while.

It makes my home IP address not as easily known.

The method I’m using now isn’t a perfect privacy magic trick. It does make it slightly harder to know what it is though, instead of it being literally a DNS/ping check away. So that’s kinda nice, though not a big deal to me.

An additional shut-off valve earlier in the pipe.

This is a bit more important to me than #2. If it turns out I need to shut down my series due to some kind of random bot attack or something like that, I have an easy way to do that. So worst case my services go offline, but at least my home connection should stay in-tact.

Can be used as a jump box.

I’m not really using it this way (although I did the other day!) but this method can be used as a jump box from outside your home network into it. That can be handy in some situations.

Can terminate HTTPS here.

Since it uses Wireguard to get into the network itself, we don’t strictly need HTTPS at each hop beyond the VPS. It’s nice and easy to terminate HTTPS in a single spot, though it may be worthwhile to use self-signed certs in other spots.

Eventually I plan on setting it up as a caching endpoint as well, though I haven’t worked through that yet.

There’s a lot more details to share, but I primarily modeled my setup from this blog: Check it out!

I'm attempting to write this entry in Chrome on mobile. I have a fairly stock version of Android and generally use Firefox. I found the editor didn't work super well there. So I'm trying out Chrome.

I've written about this before, but some features I really want from Writefreely are:

  1. A reasonably good mobile experience. I'm not always at a desktop or laptop, but have more than 500-ish characters worth of junk to write. Reasonably good means handling typical Markdown formatting well, inserting images not too complex in terms of placement, and no major glitches. Should work on the major browsers.

  2. A way to upload images. Just a local file upload. Nothing special! I can let nginx handle caching, rate limiting, and all of that. The UI has to make this visible and easy though.

  3. Interop with Markdown. Ideally in MD directly, though import/export to Markdown sounds reasonable as well. Mostly don't want to get stuck with a single format where I can't move it to later on.

So far Chrome seems to be working well! Wish it had worked this well in Firefox. Maybe there's a way to improve it.

Image uploading is missing though. A real bummer! Yet another thing to look into taking up.

Various gym related updates in a single post.

Winter Gym Has Been Activated

I finally got winter gym going. For those unaware, I have a home gym. I haven’t gone to a commercial gym regularly for almost 3 years now. I started this gym about Jan 15th 2021.

Winter gym means a few things:

  1. I divide the space I’m in roughly by half using a thermal curtain through the middle. This helps keep the space somewhat enclosed at least.

  2. I turn on a small space heater. It doesn’t do much, but it’s better than nothing. Plus insulation is limited, so it would take a lot more to make a big difference.

  3. I make sure to keep a set of shoes at the gym. This helps keep the space dry from snow/water outside. I also use this extra set during the whole workout to keep my feet warmer.

Beyond that, winter gym involves some other considerations and setup outside the space itself:

  1. Warm ups are vital. I don’t mean in the vague mind/muscle connection increase sense. I mean literally I need to work extra hard to have my temperature be comfortable. So I emphasis them even more than usual.

  2. Layers are a big deal, especially as outside temps never get above freezing throughout the day. Tonight for example I did a t-shirt, long sleeve athletic shirt, and a hoodie, legs I had tights and long pants on. Even if I overdo it, it’s easy to drop a layer mid workout. The reverse is way worse!

  3. I will use gloves sparingly. Usually for some initial warm up sets. After that I find they interfere with grip and will drop them. If it’s bitter cold, say <= 10F/-12C outside, I may use them more.

  4. Mentally prepare for the fact that it will be so cold that I won’t feel warm after a complete workout. It will happen once a winter usually. It’s unpleasant.

Working on my own program

I’m buckling in to try and come up with my own program for 2023. I’ve never tried to write my own workout. I usually use existing ones, sometimes modify them, or just make something up now and then. So, this is my first attempt at thinking through what I’m doing on a program. It’s emphasizing pushing movements, specifically strict overhead press.

My strategy is looking at three major blocks. Roughly speaking, the trajectory will be high reps/lower weight at the beginning, going down to low reps/heavy weight at the end. Nothing too surprising there. Each block I’m thinking is 3 weeks + 1 week deload.

The blocks could look like this:

  1. Higher rep focus. Thinking of using pyramid style sets to get more volume in, mainly on pushing-related movement. Something like sets of 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12. Then a static set/rep scheme for the secondary movement, say 3x10 or so depending on the week. This will be hard but good to force lower weights to an extent.

  2. Balanced. Kind of a balance of the higher rep/higher weight stuff. Thinking of doing most work in the 5-10 rep range, probably progressing down reps while increasing weight each week.

  3. Higher weight focus. This will be work in the <= 5 rep range. Really focusing on feeling an intense weight again. Probably peak at about a 2 rep set here, maybe RPE 9 or so.

This is all pretty new for me. So we will see how it goes. Testing some of the pyramid stuff the past few days has felt good, and very taxing. So this change seems promising!

That’s it from the garage this week!

It’s been two years since my Dad passed away. It’s strange to write that and read it back, but, here we are. Here’s a photo from my wedding (he’s on the right):

A family photo during a wedding. Includes the bride, groom, parents, and sibling/partner. They are standing in front of a lake with woods behind it.

The first year was very painful. I would miss him all the time, and lose sleep over replaying many intense memories from the last few weeks of his life. It was brutal, and at times it was hard to remember that the pain was there because of all the good I had from him and shared with him. The feelings overtook those things. Over time, those feelings and recurring memories became less frequent though.

The second year has been less painful. There are still those intense moments that occur, but they’re not as frequent and not quite as hard to cope with.

Nowadays, I often feel sad from small moments. I will hear a new song and think “Hey, Dad might really like to listen to this this!” and realize I can’t share that with him anymore. Another example was simply catching football on TV during Thanksgiving. My actual first casual thought was “I wonder if Dad’s watching right now.” Then the obvious returned to me, and that’s always tough.

On the other hand, I can really enjoy reliving old memories. From big trips and huge experiences, to small little day-to-day things and simple life lessons. I find enjoyment in them again.

The pain still exists and it sucks, but the pain is there because of those positive memories. I don’t believe that good and bad have to be 50/50 in a ying-yang kind of balance always, but I do believe that even the best things in life have sharp edges, many of which will be hit. So I have some degree of acceptance of that.

I don’t have any particular wisdom, knowledge, or tricks to impart from all this though. There’s no magic to reducing or coping or growing from death. Just processing, time, and reflection. And, naturally, find time to do what you enjoy, and spend as much time with those that you love as you can. For me, those memories are what’s most important.

Feel free to read more about him here. Miss you, Dad.

In this series:

  • Block I
  • Block II (this post)
  • Block III (future post)

A while ago I bought the Barbell Medicine Strongman Template to look at and try and work through. The template seems great and well thought out! Some new variations on exercises should be useful too.

Similar to Block I, I took the Block II schedule and made a few modifications. I’m making these simply to accommodate my schedule and what equipment I have a bit better. Here’s a mostly complete list of the changes:

  1. Dropped the loading workouts from Day 5 because I don’t have a great loading setup for them yet.

  2. Rearranged the days recommended for each setup. This is mainly due to scheduling and how much time I can put into a session each day.

Exercise List:

Day 1

  • Push Press
  • Mid Shin Rack/Block Pull Pull
  • Close Grip Bench supersetted with Pendlay Rows
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Press

Day 2

  • Deadlift
  • 2-Count paused Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Overhead Press supersetted with Pendlay Rows. (This should be really a pull up variation, but I don’t have a great way to do them yet)
  • Bicep/Tricep accessory supersets

Day 3

  • Front Squat
  • Push Press
  • Romanian Deadlift

Day 4

  • Back Squat
  • Overhead Press (Strict)
  • Box Step Ups (~Knee Height)
  • Farmer’s Carry

Fairly similar to last time, with some variations in exercises and techniques on each one. This time appears to emphasis less conditioning and a bit more intensity. We shall see how it goes!

In this series:

  • Block I (this post)
  • Block II
  • Block III (future post)

I had a few moments to start thinking ahead to my next workout regiment. My hope is to try and work this plan for at least a cycle, maybe two, and revisit after that. I’ll start it in the beginning of October.


My wife and my life has changed quite a bit over the past two years:

  • We have a daughter now who has been everything to us.
  • We’ve both lost parents.
  • We all are currently going through a pandemic together.

It’s been a lot to say the least, of joyful and sorrowful moments.

At a more basic level too, it’s simply been a huge change in basic logistics as well as entertainment. It’s not possible to just make a choice on a whim anymore. Any trips require much more planning, coordination, and effort than we needed before (or, perhaps much more than I originally needed). Let’s not forget typical life stuff such as working and keeping the house sorta put together.

As a result, our free time has been cut down substantially. We find ways to buy each other time to do things though. I get to go work out, or my wife will work on craft projects or go shop. We’ve had help from others to make it work, which we’re eternally grateful for by the way. After a while you adjust, and it’s not so bad. You get used to it.

Interestingly, I’ve had some free time to myself the past week or so. I’ve had a whole weekend alone. I don’t have work this week. My wife and daughter are away on a trip. It’s been surprising to fully break, recharge, and actually have concentration and energy to do projects.

Deep cleaning, working on technical projects, watching series on a whim I think are interesting, finding little improvements to make in the house. I’ve done all of this, just in the past weekend or so.

This doesn’t make sense and isn’t supposed to be happening.

All I can tell you, fellow reader, is that it’s good. If you’re lucky enough to find the time to recharge in a serious and deep way, do it!

I'm a vegetarian now. I've been eating this way for maybe 4-6 months now (actually, 9 months for this specific piece!). So I'm fairly confident it has stuck. While it's kind of a strange transition, it's being going on so long that it also has been pretty gradual and uneventful largely.

I was going to write this as a single post originally, but I prefer shorter reads. So I’ll break this up into several parts:

  1. Motivation

  2. Getting There, Practically Speaking

  3. On Protein (this post)

  4. Challenges & Considerations