Every month I post a log of my training so I can be held accountable for my Body Composition, Training, Diet, and Sleep. Doing so also gives readers the opportunity to follow my progress from month to month. Logs are meant to be insightful and inspiring, rather than boastful or arrogant.
My training in September suffered a bit of a setback. A combination of injuries and extended work travel mean I had to take over two weeks off. This was a large shift from my typical routine and it took me a lot of time to adjust (both physically and mentally).
First, a rather large hand tear during a snatch session made it impossible to grip a kettlebell. Then, a rear windshield shattered directly into my wrist resulting in some massive swelling and ugly bruising. Finally, a week-long cross-country work trip eliminated my access (and desire) to train, despite being fully healed.
The break, however, made me realize just how much of an emotional attachment I had to my training. In the past, missed sessions tend to create bad moods and failed lifts caused extended frustration. In the long term, my time away from training may have been to my benefit as I was able to see that time away can have some benefits.
Just as my travels made it hard to adhere to a consistent training program, it was a challenge to eat well while on the road. Living from a hotel room for a week meant cooking was out of the question. As a result, I had to make due with restaurant fare along with food that was provided for me. Following a low-carbohydrate diet can be challenging when traveling. Despite this, I feel I made the best of the situation and was able to remain mostly on track.
The silver lining for the month of September was an improvement in my sleep. Although I was pretty discouraged from the injuries (and travel), I was able to get my sleep troubles sorted out. With the exception of a couple long days of travel, I felt much more well-rested this month than in the past.
Body Composition Averages
My goal for the month of September was to slow down my weight loss from August. In some ways, I was successful in this goal, however, I did unintentionally gain a little weight. This was likely due to a bit of overcompensation at the beginning of the month after realizing how much weight I had dropped in August.
All markers for body composition increased slightly, but I was unable to take measurements during my trip. As a result, the sample size is a little smaller than most months and I was trending downwards towards the back half of the month. I think, despite some of the setbacks in my training, had I been able to record metrics for the last week of the month, I’d have at least been very close to the goal I had set. Looking towards October, I think I’ll be in a good spot to continue making progress.
Weight: 208.97 lbs.
Weight Delta: +0.47 lbs.
Body Fat: 14.11%*
Body Fat Delta: +0.46%
Water Delta: +0.23%
Waist: 33.04 inches
Waist Delta: +0.04 inches
*Body Fat and Water percentages are measured with a Bioelectrical Impedance Scale which, while convenient, can be inaccurate. Numbers here are meant to provide estimates and should not be considered precise values.
New High Scores
Slow, incremental progress is critical for any successful training plan. Mine is no different, and every month I plan to improve upon three foundational components of fitness: Conditioning, Strength, and Recovery.
Injuries made it difficult to make much progress in my training. In fact, I was only able to get about a week’s worth of sessions in before having to step away from my training for a time.
I did, however, make the most of the training I was able to get in. I was able to set new high scores in all three main movements before carelessness led to an injury.
The Kettlebell Snatch is my main conditioning tool. During snatch sessions, I perform 5 repetitions every minute and rest for the remainder of the minute, At the start of each minute, the kettlebell switches hands. Progress is measured by the total amount of time/reps in a session, eventually increasing the kettlebell size after reaching 30 minutes/sets.
Kettlebell Turkish Getups, sometimes paired with a Bent Press and/or Windmill, are my main strength movement. Five sets are performed in each session, switching sides after each rep is completed. Progress is made by chaining additional movements together and increasing the weight of the kettlebell. Each strength session alternates between Heavy and Light to remain fresh and avoid over-training.
The Cook Drill is used as a recovery day following conditioning and strength sessions. A snatch-size kettlebell is used for half the duration of the most recent snatch session. At no time is the kettlebell dropped during the drill.
Snatch: 18 minutes (90 total reps) with a 32kg kettlebell.
Turkish Getup: 4 Turkish Getups (each arm) chained into a Bent Press with a 48kg kettlebell.
Cook Drill: 9 minutes with a 32kg kettlebell.
I don’t track calories, so there aren’t any hard numbers to report here. However, body composition improvements are the result of nutrition more than anything else. As such, progress in body composition can be used as a proxy for diet. In general, I eat nutrient dense foods leaning towards a lower carbohydrate intake while practicing Intermittent Fasting.
In September, my diet suffered a bit during the end caps of the month. At the beginning, I tended towards overeating in direct response to seeing dramatic changes in my body composition in August. The last week of September was spent away from home which removed much of my ability to control what I ate. As a result, I spent than typical periods fasting when food was unavailable. Doing so reacquainted me with hunger signals and should make it easy to get off to a good start in October.
Despite some of these negative factors, my diet remained mostly on track for the month.
If nothing else, sleep improved greatly in September. I realized that too regular alcohol consumption was disrupting my sleep. Eliminating whiskey for a few weeks immediately made for more restful nights of sleep. Moving forward, I’ll drink much more sporadically to avoid some of the negative impact on my sleep.
For much of the month, I continued using Sleep as Android to track sleep metrics. This app monitors sleep and generates reports on Duration, Deep Sleep Percentage, and a self-assessed Rating of sleep on a 1 to 5 scale. Satisfied with some of the lifestyle changes I made, I stopped recording sleep for much of the month but will pick it back up in October.
Duration and subjective Rating both increased from August, but Deep Sleep Percentage declined somewhat. In general, improvements in sleep had a positive effect on both my mood and productivity.
Deep Sleep: 49.20%
Full Training Log
In October, I’m looking to get back on track with my weight loss. I’d like to revisit the goal that I set in August to average a bodyweight of around 208 pounds for the month. Given where I ended up in September, this should be an obtainable mark for the upcoming month.
September was the first time I had extended gaps in my training for a long time. As a result, I’ll need to reset my training cycle to account for the time away.
Additionally, some restructuring of my training may be necessary. In recent months, I’ve attempted to test my conditioning beyond 15 seconds of effort. Each time, I’ve been disappointed with my performance. To rectify this, I’ll need to return to periods of work that extend beyond 5 reps for my ballistic kettlebell movements.
Along with different durations, I feel I could benefit from a wider variety of movements in my training program. Too often I get comfortable with repetition and some slight changes may be helpful in continuing to make progress.
More than anything, I need to be more careful to avoid some of the injuries that caused setbacks in September.
In October, my diet likely will need some adjusting to mirror changes in my training. Longer, more intense bouts of work may require semi-regular carb refeeds to make it through these sessions. I may need to step away from a strict low-carbohydrate diet and indulge in some starches from time to time.
Although my sleep improved in September, I lost the habit of setting up my sleep tracking before bed. In October, my sleep goals are more about tracking my sleep more consistently than hitting any specific numbers. Tracking these metrics hold me accountable for the goals that I set and makes it possible to ensure that I’m making progress.