If you get nothing else from this post, watch the following video and get thorough enjoyment out of an overweight child getting bullied – who gives a fantastic rendition of Zangief’s bodyslam special move from Street Fighter IV. BEAST!

Monday’s session was pushed to Tuesday, and so this week we’re working Tue/Thur/Fri. I may be late by a day or so in updates, but they will come through. Very busy times ahead. It was an extremely poor day to be going to the gym. Too much coffee meant I was crashing, Ross likewise, we’d had poor sleep the night before and we had no food in the house…it was going to be a poor day for the numbers. However, we’re both exercise fanatics…plus, every time we’d gone to the gym feeling guttered in the past, we’d pulled off performances we didn’t expect. We both hoped the results would go according to that evidence.

So yesterday was the 5×5 – squats, bench and rows.

An important lesson we’ve had to learn in training at the ISE (a gym where being a dick is the main mode of action and squat racks are used for much bicep curling) is how to use limited resources to pull off a result.

In benching, my final 5 rep set was intended to be at 76kg. Unfortunately, the ISE only allows weights in a 2.5kg increment (0kg, 2.5kg, 5kg, 7.5kg and 10kg). This can be a common problem as most gym’s do not have microweights (<1.25kg), and so my 5 rep set would have to finish on either 75kg (selling myself short) or 77.5kg (risking failure). In this situation, you’ll make better gains going for the “failure” approach than you will selling yourself short.

In this session, I failed on the final rep of the last set (it was a half rep) and so did not complete the 5×5…had this been 76kg, I would not have had this problem. As such, I’m maintaining 77.5kg and will on Friday, where I’m meant to be lifting 78kg. It’s a practical solution and the best we can do in the current scenario. In an ideal world, I’d have pushed 76kg yesterday and would work a three rep set on Friday at 78kg, for a 78kg 5 rep set on the following Monday. We opted for 77.5kg as it was a challenge and allowed my muscles to appreciate a heavier weight, allowing for maximum motor unit recruitment. Despite the fact I fell a rep short, it is more beneficial to work to this level than to perform 5 much easier reps at 76kg, for the reasons above. I’ll have this week and next working at 77.5kg and will therefore be able to see, blatantly, if I’m making gains. Currently, 5 complete reps with a 77.5kg resistance is not possible. By Monday, I’ll have it. (I hope) (Also, I reckon I might’ve been able to push these numbers had I not been in such a sorry state, but alas, I digress)

Ross’ bench also went to plan with 5 complete reps at 80kg, where he’s meant to be. Ross was in a similar situation last week and has been working with 80kg over a longer period of time. However, this was because there was no way we could work at 79, and so he had to use 80.

The whole point of the last 3 paragraphs is basically to say that in a gym where you can’t perform the numbers you’re planning on, due to factors outside of athletic performance, you have to make do with what you’ve got. Key point – ensure your “compromise” is challenging enough to give you the gains you’re after. Or, do what we’re going to do, and buy microplates. You can also make your own using thing like chains.

Bent over rows were as they always are…solid technique, a relevant challenge and all numbers were performed as planned, for both of us. The fatigue and mental state didn’t bother us here – we just got on with it. They’re just as challenging as any other movement we perform, which is a good motivator when you’re standing under a bar/lying on a bench…you did just fine with rows, this is no different – use your logic and quit being a pussy.

Monday Squats – the man maker. We had both agreed that squats were to be our downfall – there’s barely a muscle in the body it doesn’t stress, it’s a heavy weight and the mental anguish can be taxing. Ross had an even bigger challenge ahead as he failed to succeed on his 3 rep attempt and was staring a 5 rep set in the face.

The sets, all 5 reps, were at 65kg, 87.5kg, 100kg, 115kg and a 130kg maximum.

The first 2 sets went as usual, they’re technical warm-ups – getting your body used to working at a range of motion. The third set felt as heavy as hell, which isn’t usually the case. 100kg on a bar, for ourselves, normally isn’t an issue. The 4th set was straightforward, but that’s probably down to the mental comparison as we knew what was coming ahead.

Leading up to the 130kg set, I was aware I’d been shutting it out. I’d accepted in my head that this, in the fatigued state we were in, was not going to be possible. I bargained in my head and thought that 2/3 reps would suffice and I’d just have to repeat the week…it was all just unfortunate timing…but what’s the point in that? If you accept something as impossible, it becomes impossible. There’s no point in creating barriers for yourself. In order to motivate myself, I reminded myself of the following:

– I came to the gym today to make gains, not excuses.
– Absolute 100% effort has been a characteristic of our training up until now and without it the project is invalid.
– A one week set-back is one week you’re never getting back.
– Mentally, I’ll always remember this failure to try.

I feel we wanted to make a statement. Sure, we’re fatigued, but we’re young and we can give 100% effort at any given time. The only thing stopping us from trying was mental ability. It wouldn’t matter if we failed in the attempt – if we never tried, we’d never know. Plus, I’d no other plans that night, if it finished me off I could sleep ’til the morning. Using our logic, there was no sensible reason as to why we shouldn’t get under the bar and give our absolute best…it would be pure laziness, utter cowardice and an insult to every rep we’d performed so far.

And so, the iPods went on, the determined gaze arrived and we performed 5, technically sound, error free repetitions.

The feeling was incredible.


Yesterday was a harsh day. The conditions were hard, the session was hard and we were harsh on ourselves…to make gains, when you’re having  a pussy day, this is absolutely neccessary. In short, being a coward in training will get you no where…even if you fail, you HAVE to try. Safety bars and spotters will prevent you from killing yourself.

Important points for you:

– Fear is the beginning of failure to progress.
– Fearless? Your progress can only be harpered by an inappropriate regime or a “plateau”, which we can help you with – just ask.
– When you’re feeling lazy, remind yourself that Sean Cassidy is judging you for not going to the gym.
– Music is powerful – use familiar, hard hitting music to give you that drive.
– Do NOT compromise technique to lift a weight – it is a fast-track to injury, a potentially lifelong “plateau”.
– Be practical – work with what you’ve got, give each repetition your attention and buy microweights! (if you need to)
– 100% effort, 100% of the time – that is how REAL gains are made.

  1. Stu says:

    Hey guys, good stuff on the things you have been achieving, I’m enjoying following your posts, so keep up the good work and keep us all informed :)… I’ve just changed my training times to early morning before work, sucked at first but loving it now, persistence is the key.

    Thanks again

    • Thanks for the feedback Stu! How’re you finding the morning training? I find that often people can pull off great results early morning as they’re still zoned out from sleeping…no distractions, they just get on with the activity!

      Keep it up,

  2. Stu says:

    Hey Sean, Morning training is turning out quite well actually, I find myself ready and raring to go a lot more than when i was going after work/uni, with the added benefit of little people in the gym, it makes for a good combination for efficiency 🙂 Hoping over the coming weeks/months it starts to pay off.


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