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About Me
Hey yo! For those of you who don't know my name is Phoebus Apollo. I am a Pittsburgh, PA based blogger, web administrator, computer tech, fitness nerd, dad of 3 and once-passed bill writer. I believe in challenging the myths of modern America with nuanced thinking and open minded discourse.

I spent 3 years working in the Portland, OR area for Circuit City and 4 years before that working at Regal Cinemas in downtown Portland, many of you may know me from those places. After moving to Pittsburgh I worked at Sears and Office Depot/OfficeMax. Some of you may have met me via activities in the Pittsburgh area that I host or attend on meetup.com which is awesome. Others may know me from my work with Perverted Justice and their websites @ pjfi.org. A few may even remember that time I founded the alliance Of Sound Mind in Eve Online. My hometown is Greenville, MI where most of my family is located. Currently I enjoy a career with a great local IT company.

This is a home for my personal ideas, projects, fitness logs and other nonsense. Follow me on Facebook for pointless asides and hashtag parades!

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PA’s Tableside Chats Ep. 5 “End of Phase 1”… Exercise Log 5.2.14 (Back Day, No Cardio)

One of the things I promised myself was I’d plan my break from the gym around the vacation time I requested off for after the half marathon. So today was my last workout day and since I’m starting a new plan to replace the one I’ve been doing for the last year, I decided to go out with a bang and go for a new max deadlift. Why type about it though when I can tell about it?

Not the best form, but definitely a milestone lift to remember.

Hitting this new max made me feel absolutely fantastic and I really just am enthusiastic about how great this was. Quick log for the record books about the workout…

Deadlifts: Set 1) 8 reps @ 155lbs. Set 2) 5 reps @ 175lbs. Set 3) 3 reps @ 205lbs. Set 4) 1 rep @ 245lbs. Set 5) 1 rep @ 275lbs. Set 6) 1 rep @ 305lbs (new max!). Set 7) 1 rep @ 315lbs (the sleeper has awakened!). Set 8) 5 reps @ 225lbs (did a set to film for the form video).

T-Bar Rows: Sets 1 & 2) 8 reps @ 70lbs. Sets 3 & 4) 6 reps @ 90lbs.

Seated Rows: Did these to focus on the mid-back area where I had some troubles in the deadlift pattern. Lowered weight, but focused on good contractions, felt real good after these. 5 sets of 12 reps @ 120lbs.

Pendlay Rows: 5 sets of 5 reps @ 135lbs.

Barbell Trap Shrugs: 4 sets of 10 reps @ 135lbs.

Body Rows: 3 sets of 8 reps.

Standing Reverse Deltoid Flys: 4 sets of 6 reps @ 35lbs.

That was it! Done with phase 1, now I get to appreciate some time off, focus on the half in a couple days and prepare for phase 2!

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Exercise Log 4.27.14 (Half Training Run #4)

Today is leg day, which as part of my temporary program change is now half marathon training day. So today I wanted to do a run on pavement, as much of my half training was on trails (to get elevation change challenges). I need to preface this with the fact that basically everything went wrong, which is good because I’d rather learn some of the lessons needed now before race day!

First big problem was last night, due to being out and socializing, I had dinner at like 6pm with no substantial meals before bed. Then when I woke up this morning, had a lazy morning and didn’t get a proper breakfast around (maybe 600 calories of my very macro balanced oatmeal raisin cookies… not a ton of sugars though to boost my glucose levels). So I started today’s run on an empty tank. I realized quickly while running that this was going to be a problem, and that running the distance I had intended (originally 14-16 miles) was not practical or even effective. Second problem, my heart rate monitor which I use to give myself benchmarks on exertion was acting all out of wack, believe it’s battery was running low (replaced the battery and all seems fine). Final problem was attire, I was wearing some cargo shorts I had intended to wear on race day and they were too bulky, felt uncomfortable after a while… plus the layers I wore also felt uncomfortable. I would rather start the race a little chilly I think and warm up as the race progresses than get smothered near the end of the race.

So all in all said, ran an uncomfortable 10.3 miles. However I did learn a couple things as I ran aside from the above which I will have fixed by race day. First is that my race goal of 2 hours 30 minutes or better is possibly feasible if I can exert my energy levels a little higher on race day. Second is that running on pavement definitely does require a little mental adjustment, going to have to be strict to form, short fast striding and landing on the right part of my foot.

Will see if this combined with all the other long runs I did this month result in a race day I’m happy with or not. In the end, I’m happy to have gotten this far!

A bit tired, just hoping the effort put in was worth it.

Well this is the last big run… next week is the half!

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Exercise Log 4.21.14 (Half Training Run #3)

Another lost log, but this training run (which is shorter than intended due to the intensity of the 10K from two days before) was an elevation challenge – the half only has one elevation change but it’s a couple hundred feet, so to be sure that wouldn’t take me for surprise I ran up and down the east slope of Highland Park 5 times for a total of 7.8 miles. The pace was abysmal, but it did the trick and was an effective workout.

Keeping this short but will syndicate to the front page so the updates are all consistent. Combined with the 10K distance from two days before that puts my mileage this week into the half zone so I feel like I’m closer to being ready for the real deal.

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Holi Festival of Colors!

Just thought I’d post something fun besides fitness, went to the Festival of Colors today and had a great time. Have a little photo gallery here. My thoughts are: it’s surprisingly fun to just pamper people with color packets and have that be a “cool” thing. Plus I could use more hugs from strangers. On the negative side, the activity is a little droll. The music is nice beat-wise, but repetitive and a bit annoying. I suppose the beat is all that matters, and the periodic color throws. Great fun, but a negative again was that nobody really met me. Ran into a couple meetup people and that was it. Would’ve been a great time otherwise.

If you ever get one of these coming through your area, consider going and taking the kids if you want, it is a family friendly event (no drinking, smoking or drugs on site). Just people being friendly, which honestly you need to expose yourself to sometimes whether you like it or not. Also was a gorgeous day for the fun!

Click through for the Flickr gallery

Not really into the spiritual or silly aspects of it, but good fun is good fun whatever the form. Appreciate life more and live it, that’s my two cents at least!

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Exercise Log 4.19.14 (Boyce Park Wild Trail Run 10K)

Today I had my Wild Trail Run 10K at Boyce Park. I don’t have official times, but I ran the race in about 1 hour 1 minute, which is good considering the route had 297ft of vertical gain up and down the hills in the park. These were backwood trails, which created an interesting challenge just in passing people as we all had to essentially run single file. I kept up a brutal pace as far as heart rate went, 179 average with peak at 190bpm. So I worked for it. Was thankful for my lifting when I needed to use my calves and legs to push up the inclines on the trails.

This was a brutal but incredibly intense race. Felt bad because all my running friends went to the Pirates stadium run (later friends I didn’t even know were runners I found out went to that run) which I didn’t know about until I signed up for this one, but this run was absolutely the best training run I could do to prep for the upcoming half so feeling pretty good.

A bit tired, but made it to the finish without slowing down in the least. Knees were properly muddy from taking a clean fall, but I just kicked back up on my feet and kept running without missing a beat.

My next running training day will be out and doing loops through one big incline, which I’m expecting near the end of the half, to make sure on the half I don’t lose any steam near the final leg of the trip. We’ll see how it goes!

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Bodybuilding diet: Oatmeal Raisin Protein Cookies!

Okay so I decided to take a rest day today and catch up on some stuff I’ve been neglecting, and one of those things is a new healthy cooking project I have for some real proper protein-heavy Oatmeal Raisin cookies. They are admittedly my first baking project and not all that tasty, but I was real happy and felt successful with this project.

So quick snapshot of the recipe and prep…

2 cup rolled oats
4 scoops protein powder (vanilla)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup egg whites (egg white beater, same quantity as two eggs of whites)
1 tbsp packet of splenda
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of raisins
Hearty sprinkling of cinnamon (to preference)
1/3 cup milled flax seed
1 tsp baking soda (substituted 2 tsp baking powder as baking soda was not available)
1 tsp canola oil

I do not like walnuts (most really nice oatmeal raisin cookies I see sold have walnuts, so I’ve been fiending for one of these heartier cookies but always stymied by the presence of unwanted walnuts) but if you do like them you could slap some of those in as a great source of added protein and fiber.

Okay, so preparation is simple just combined all the ingredients (first protein powder, apple sauce, egg whites, cinnamon, flax seed… after mixing added vanilla extract, baking soda/powder, canola oil & splenda and gave a mix wanted these potentent ingredients mixed in thoroughly… finally did oats and raisins last and one last mix). Preheated oven to 350, made a mistake here in preparation to not have parchment paper which I feel is very necessary instead I sprayed a baking pan down with canola oil spray which still left me in a bit of a sticky situation after things were done. Cooked for approximately 12-13 minutes.

Okay, so this when formed into 8 cookies gives you snacks with the following nutritional values…

Calories: 265
Fat: 7g (mostly poly/mono fats)
Carbs: 37g (7g fiber/13g sugar)
Protein: 18g
Cost: Around $1 per cookie

Now I admit, they weren’t as tasty as other better baked cookies but they had the spot on nutritional facts I wanted and I honestly am hesitant to tweak the recipe much until I research it’s impact on the nutritional facts. I was really happy though with the results, check the photo below! These are very filling which I was very surprised by, I never met a cookie I truly felt “full” eating but these definitely were that.

They definitely looked pretty proper too!

All in all, not bad for a beginner I say. Great way to use a rest day.

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Exercise Log 4.17.14 (Back Day, No Cardio)

Today was back day, and I decided to try something new. My workout plan was revised recently to focus less on constant new one rep max work (which was getting me gains consistently, but perhaps not the best ones and also necessitating injuries). So now I’m focused more on working harder for it and not worrying about max lifts as much. However I have been eager to revisit my deadlift max, and see if I could do better.

So I saw this video from Omar Isuf that highlights a good “working up to a max” plan for a workout. It’s not a good workout, but it’s a good way to really try for a new max. I did not succeed to reach my new max, so I won’t try this again anytime soon, but I felt it was cool to see the progression and it was a fun learning experience. Might try to establish new one rep maxes after my May vacation from working out.

Warming up to a new one rep max attempt is definitely something that requires some thought and preparation, and you should design the day’s workout around it.

So that said, I am considering after my May vacation to revisit my plan to make it more regimented as far as the major lifts are concerned… make a 6-8 week “mesocycle” of progression that leads to a week of new maxes and a deload week, planning less over-exertion on the lifts than what I’ve been used to, hopefully to find a better balance of gaining.

Anyways, rant aside, time for the log…

Warmup: Did a nice couple sets of 16 reps light bent over rows, 12 reps light Romanian deadlifts with 20 reps of jumping jacks to wake my body up. This was a nice way to warm my body up.

Deadlifts (max attempt & failure): After a standard warmup set… 1. 8 reps @ 155lbs. 2. 5 reps @ 175lbs. 3. 3 reps @ 205lbs. 4. 1 rep @ 245lbs. 5. 1 rep @ 275lbs. Here I failed to rep 305lbs about 4 times. I killed probably 10-15 minutes in the failed attempts, so I did a penalty round of 3 reps @ 275lbs to finish the workout and move on. This was a very poor workout really, but I felt very good about the pacing to attempt the max… I just wasn’t ready for it today. I will try to keep in mind that a max rep attempt kind of screws up a workout a bit and only try it when I feel I’m ready.

Pendlay Row: 4 sets of 6 reps @ 135lbs.

T-Bar Rows: Sets 1-3) 10 reps @ 70lbs. Sets 4-5) 10 reps @ 90lbs.

Pull-ups: 3 sets of 8 reps with a couple forced reps on the last few reps. My lats are still a lagging developing body part.

Lateral Pulldowns: 4 sets of 8 reps @ 130lbs.

Upright Dumbbell Rows: To hit traps and reverse delts I did this exercise. 4 sets of 10 reps @ 35lbs.

That’s it! Okay workout not the best from a gaining perspective but I learned a lot, had fun… that’s what matters to me most.

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Exercise Log 4.15.14 (Arm Day, No Cardio)

Today was arm day, had to cut it short so I could get on the way to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Which was a pretty awesome movie. So today was primarily bicep day, and it was one of the hardest bicep days I’ve done. I followed a workout from Mike Chang that I’ll link here that was absolutely killer.

A real brutal bicep workout

Alright here is the log…

Light Full Form Curls / Heavy Forced Form Curls: 5 sets of 12 reps light / 8 reps heavy @ 40lbs light / 70lbs heavy.

Light Full Form Dumbbell Curls / Heavy Forced Form Dumbbell Curls (Seated): 5 sets of 10 reps light / 8 reps heavy @ 20lbs light / 30lbs heavy.

Chin-ups: 3 sets of 8

Definitely will emulate this workout again in the future, was a relief after the previous arm day which was not that great for bicep engagement.

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Exercise Log 4.14.14 (Half Training Run #2)

Half marathon program change has me doing training runs instead of leg day, and doing squats on dev day to keep my squat development continuing (just at a slower pace). So today I did a nice long run, 3 hours and 15 minutes to trek 14 miles in the hilly Frick Park (again). Not much new to report this run was harder than the previous as I didn’t especially carb up prior to the run, will keep in mind how important that is.

Was intending to push another lap (1.75 miles a lap) this time but I was completely drained by the last lap. It didn’t do me any favors that the final 2 miles were in the rain. I kept bothering a poor snake that just wanted to chill in a muddy path on my way up the hill, made me feel like an asshole a bit but he was in my way. I was also particularly annoyed to run about 6 miles of the trek with a stone in my shoe. I suppose if I whined any more about these minor issues I’d be called pinot grigio, had a fantastic time!

I didn’t look any worse for the wear after this run, bask in my post-run glow!

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Exercise Log 4.7.14 (Half Training Run #1)

Today I am doing a programming change and turning leg day into long run days. Dev day will take over my squat work, to keep my squat progression on track. This program change is only until May when I go to run the half marathon I’ve been training for.

For this half training run I did a hard loop up and down a nearby hilly park for 14 miles. Had an awful pace (took about 3 hours), but really helped I think pushed my endurance development. I feel this will help me be sure I can maintain a consistent pace in the actual race.

Hardface engaged!

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