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I’m resuming this log again after a long lay-off.  I’ve been lifting, but not recording my training, and want to start keeping good records so that I can better track and evaluate progress.

I’m coming off a heavy teaching semester where I was only getting to the gym 1-2 times per week.  I more or less maintained strength, but feel fairly out of condition, and am carrying a bit more bodyfat than I’d like (though it’s not too bad).  As such, I’ll be spending the next 6 weeks or so doing a conditioning-focused block.  I’ll keep the lifting pretty minimal and supplement it with conditioning circuits and sprints to try to get into better shape and strip off a bit of bodyfat.  After this cycle, I plan to focus on strength with the shorter-term goal of hitting 405-265-435 in squat/bench/deadlift.

For lifting, I’ll follow a modified 5/3/1 type scheme, which is really 8/5/3.  In each case, I will work up to 80%, 85%, or 90% in fives sets, going for AMRAP on the last set.  I will also cycle through the rep ranges in a staggered way, so that I’ll use different rep ranges for different lifts in a given day.  Since I’m not doing assistance work unless it’s worked into the conditioning circuits, I will sometimes substitute lift variations, especially on 8- or 5-rep days (e.g. front squats for back squats, incline or CGBP for bench, SLDL or SGDL for deadlifts, Klokov press or push presses for overhead press).  I’ll do squat and bench on Mondays and Thursdays, Deadlift and overhead pressing on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Thursday’s training

  • Squat: Bar x10, 135×6, 185×6, 225×6, 275×6, 315×6
  • Front squat: 300x3x5
  • Bench: Bar x10, 95×6, 115×6, 135×6, 160×6, 185×6, 205×6, 225×2
  • CGBP: 155x6x5
  • Pendlay rows: 185x5x5 (supersetted with CGBP)
  • Hill sprints x10

Friday’s training:

  • Deadlift: 165×5, 205×5, 250×5, 295×5, 335×7 (straps and belt on last set).  Est. 1RM = 412
  • Klokov press: Bar x10, 65×3, 85×3, 100×3, 115×6. Est 1RM = 138 (=> 172 on press)
  • Clean & push press/Pullups: 135x3x6/BWx3x6
  • Farmer’s walk: 1 lap w/70s, 1 lap w/80s, 1 lap w/90’s (had to pause twice with the 90s)

Hey guys here is a beautiful first try of a ciabatta bread recipe by the legendary baker, Peter Reinhart.  The bread took me 4 days to make but let me tell you it was well worth it after i tasted it.  Very good bread:) Thanks to Elise for the new baking stone and Mom and Dad for the Super peel, they worked well to create this beautiful and delicious bread.

This is something that Casey really likes to make and it is so good and so easy!


  • 3 (or as many more or less you want) bell peppers sliced (any color)
  • 1/2 large onion sliced or 1 small onion
  • 2 packages of McCormick Fajita seasoning
  • I would say about 1 steak per person sliced
  • Tortillas
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Spanish or Mexican Rice (optional)


We like to use our dutch ovens to do this dish but it is just as yummy over the stove.  Put the sliced peppers and slice onion together in one pan (or dutch oven) and saute them together.  Cook the meat in another pan (or dutch oven).  Add fajita seasoning to meat.  Combine peppers, onion, and meat together and serve on tortillas.  Sometimes Casey likes to make up some Spanish or Mexican rice and put it in the fajita too.  He likes to put salsa and sour cream in it.  I like to dip it.  They’re so good though!  I hope you guys like them too!


I recently finished reading In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan.  I found his previous book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, even more interesting, but this book is a relatively brief, eye-opening volume that focuses on the modern “Western Diet”, it’s deleterious effects on our health, and some suggestions for how to “escape” from the Western diet and its ill effects to regain a more enjoyable and healthful relationship with food and eating.  I found it very interesting and valuable, and wanted to summarize the book and recommend that you check it out. Read the rest of this entry »

(photos coming soon)

I made these cakes for the girls’ birthdays.  They were very good and very rich–after having some in the afternoon, Amie and I hardly felt hungry for lunch.  It’s a very nice, elegant dessert for special occassions.  You can get creative with the filling as I did, or keep it simple and just use the ganache frosting in between the layers.  By the way, the ganache is really good–you’ll never want to go back to a can of store-bought frosting again.

On that note, I’ll get on my soap-box for a moment and put in a plug for making stuff from scratch.  Things like cake or pancakes or cornbread that we usually make from a store-bought mix, are really easy to just make from scratch, using stuff that you already have on hand.  It takes maybe 2 extra minutes to measure out the dry ingredients individually instead of dumping them out of a mix, but it costs significantly less, it tastes significantly better, and you avoid all the mysterious, unpronounceable additives and preservatives that you would never choose to put into your food.  Of course this chocolate cake isn’t exactly healthy, but I feel a lot better about the ingredients that went into these cakes than whatever junk goes into a store-bought cake mix (or container of frosting).  End of rant.

The recipe for the cake and the ganache frosting can be found here.  This recipe uses butter in the ganache, making it more like a typical frosting, as opposed to a more standard ganache which is just chocolate and cream.  I used two 4 oz Ghirardelli’s baking bars (60% cacao), plus the last ounce an 85% chocolate bar that Amie had given me for Valentine’s Day, and some semi-sweet chocolate chips to add up to the 10 oz of chocolate the recipe calls for.  You want to use decent chocolate, and I would use something a bit darker than what you might like to eat plain, since the cream and butter make it seem less intense.  Overall, though, the cake and frosting have a pretty deep, intense chocolate flavor.

For the cream cheese filling, I took 4 oz of cream cheese (softened), and beat in 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth and fluffy.  I then beat 1/2 cup of cream in a separate bowl until it formed stiff peaks, and gently folded the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until combined.  What you end up with is something like the bottom layer of Striped Delight, but made with real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip.  As a matter of fact, it got me thinking about a from-scratch version of Striped Delight, with this on bottom, a homemade chocolate pudding, and if I really wanted to go all out, a crust made from homemade graham crackers.  Hmmmm….

This makes enough for two normal cake rounds.  I instead baked these in a taller, 6-inch diameter pan, then sliced the cakes into to make the layers.  This way I had two mini-cakes, one for each of the girls.  To assemble the cakes, I spread a thin layer of ganache on the first cake layer, followed by a layer of sliced strawberries, which had macerated for about 30 min, then a healthy layer of the cream cheese filling.  Then I topped it with the other cake and spread the ganache frosting generously over the top and sides.  Mmmm-mmm…

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