Rehab in no particular fucking order -programming?

I have a limited understanding of programming, and had only done SS and TM before my back injury returned.

Ignoring the whole L4/L5 and L5/S1 bulging disks, I’ve been doing rehab for 8 months that’s scaled up from 20 mins light stretching and an hour’s walk to the following 4/5 times weekly. This workout was taking close to 2 hours when I could get all of it in. Unfortunately, work and professional exams started to eat into gym time, so I cut sets and “accessory” work.

Stretching and foam rolling – concentrating on thoracic spine and lumbar spine, posterior chain and hip flexors.

  • External rotation 20@4kg by 3
  • Bridge – One foot on large exercise ball- 3×20
  • Stabilization plank with leg raise on ball 3×20
  • Front plank with alternating leg and arm lifts – 90 seconds
  • Side plank with leg lift – 120 seconds
  • Pistol squats 3×10
  • Lunges 10×10@10kg
  • High bar Barbell squats 10@60kg x 3
  • Superman holds 60 seconds x3
  • Neutral grip chins 3×10
  • Narrow dips 3×10

I generally alternated lunges and barbell squats, and chins/dips ABAB.  I foam rolled every day, and also did the planks and low back stretching every day.

The above list is where I should be, but the standing desk reduced my pain to the point where I ignored rehab for 3 weeks. So, now it hurts again, and I have to take this shit seriously. At the moment, I am not barbell squatting because of hip pain and fatigue while I adjusted to the standing desk. I seem to have healed up and am going to restart squatting from the bar.

Question for the ripped dudes that browse:

How should I programme the above to make the most of my limited time? Is there anything I should add in? Physio told me to stay away from 1-5RM and focus on 8-12 rep ranges. There is a lot of volume above, and I found recovering from it difficult with work My sleep is generally good, and my diet is clean. I’ve dropped from a chubby 86kg at 6’0/34″ waist to a 77kg and 32″ waist. I have visible abs, at least. Small victories and jellydick weights.




An Accrual world

An Accrual world

Accountants aren’t the best at communicating things. Most people prefer to hunch over their desk and communicate about work issues by our internal instant messaging function. One thing that was brought up in training, in the accelerated leadership programme I attended, and in industry reports was that accountants need to communicate better.

Someone who can make complex ideas easy to grasp for clients, who can explain difficult work for staff under them, who can synthesise technical knowledge with expert project management via the alchemy of gab for higher-ups: this is the individual who will go far and make money. But of course, these guys are not in audit.They are lawyers, salesmen  and managers working less hours and making more money.

I am not one of those people. I struggle with small talk. Girlfriend’s family say I’m like a passable imitation of a human being. At least money can compensate for my lack of social graces. But I’m slowly mobilising that, painful as it is. Getting  comfortable with an increased range of topics. Hanging out at the edge of my comfort zone with conversation about sports. Getting better every day. Loving life, loving myself.

17% percent of my accountacy apprenticeship intake have quit since we began 5 months ago. The latest drop out ground through horrendous job after job, coming in weekends, to do the work of someone three years her senior. She wasn’t being paid overtime, she wasn’t getting “great exposure” or “learning”, she was being fucked silly while she put on a cheery face and said those magic words: “I’m grand, it’s fine”. So no one will pry. The phrase “I’m grand” in Ireland covers a multitude: you could be on top of the world, or hanging on by your fingernails. Everything would be “grand”, regardless. It’s fine.

Then the partners called the first years for a meeting to find out why almost a quarter had dropped out and what was going wrong. No one had any complaints. They were doing fine. Everything was grand. All until the next person quits. But I am a miserable cunt, I said that first years has no control over their work and were used for firefighting the problems that sprang up because of management’s lack of project management skills. We had no control over our work. We were never told what was important for the audit, and as a result, critical audit tasks were given equal parity to formatting and busy work. I said we want to be more proactive and involved.

The bosses loved to hear me parrot what I had learned in the accelerated leadership programme. So they said it was a good idea, they want staff to have a life outside of work. I asked how could we make it actionable, and then gave suggestions. . I think things will change, but it will happen on a time scale of years, and not months. I am good at that kind of  big conversation. But I break out into a sweat when there is small talk involved.

It used to be that I would schedule conversations with people. I’d map the potential routes a conversation would take, and organise what I’m saying before I’d flip the mouth safety from silent, to monosyllabic, to full automatic autism. It’s like the 30 minutes I needed mobbing to hit normal positions. But I want to become a social supple leopard  – ready for a conversation about the weather any time. It’s not realistic to warm up for a conversation. You have to be ready to shoot the breeze at a moment’s notice, otherwise you’ll lose out.

That’s why I try to talk to people I’m working with, walk over to their desk, be present. I don’t think it has the effect of making me seem friendly, but at least I’m trying. And effort counts, right?

Most men in the office are overweight and conservatively dressed. Maybe when they hit 30 they will get it together, and jump onto Starting Strength or Crossfit until they injure themselves. At least I have the excuse of managing chronic pain to be in shape. Recruiters and hiring partners will talk a lot about ‘fit’ with the firm. What’s important I’ve found is to be the same, regardless of your background. – everyone makes a big effort to suppress their individuality. That’s why I underdress and wear baggy cardigans that make me look 10lb overweight – to fit in. And everyone is miserable too. And I can hide how awful I feel by pretending I was out on the booze last night.

I guess to be in professional services in the big 4, international experience is a big plus, because you will be working with people from all over the world. They are in the same boat as you.

But back on topic: anyone can tick boxes and match portfolios to broker statements. That doesn’t take any skills except pain tolerance and a keyboardl. Soft skills, like being able to hold a conversation, or organise a night out for the business line will always trump that time you tied 2000 positions in an afternoon when promotions come up. If you don’t have the easy touch with people, you need to be organised and proactive in your dealings with your colleagues, superiors and HR. You have to concentrate on what you can do well to impress.

I think stupider people who are desperately insecure but nuture their talent will go further than someone who is brilliant but complacent. I know loads of smarter, more talented and better looking people than I am. They aren’t doing as well because they have so many ideas and plans, they never grind through the sticking point of failure. They just try the next thing. At the same time, concentrating on your strengths puts you up against people who are better than you at everything you are competing on. Then it’s luck of the draw.

There will be times when you are going up against people with worse grades and less talent, but they can hold a normal conversation and they will beat you. Or maybe, because they spent their teenage years happy and engaged in society, they have a connection with a network you don’t – a sports club at the heart of a community, an influential immigrant group, or a personal connection with someone in charge. So to have a chance, I had to grind social skills like a Korean free to play MMO.

You can do it too – there’s no reason a youtube history of weightlifting videos and gay porn remixed into anime theme tunes should hold you back. Do you have a career you can complain about? If not, mobilise and boost to the front lines of professional services!


When I left for China, I wanted to get big and strong.  I had been on the school athletics team and swam for years. I had even won a few medals at regional level.  I guess I was in reasonable shape, but I was crippled by chronic shoulder, elbow and wrist pain. Even back pain. Studying law was torture. I had to use voice to text software to write essays, get extensions on essays for disability, and use a scribe for my exams…and yet I never gave up. I kept popping ibuprofen, writing law and organising extracurriculars like a law society and newsletter for my CV. I even had time to run a pen and paper RPG. But it was killing me.

I ate a bowl of porridge in the morning, with an egg. For lunch I had a tin of fish, a slice of bread and some fruit. For dinner, I would have a small amount of rice and beef, and lots of vegetables. This was not enough for a man of my activity level, and I was wasting away. I had a BMI of 17. Naturally, low bodyfat and good facial aesthetics got me modelling work and promotions work. But it appals me how ill I was, and how no one ever told me to eat more.

My girlfriend and her folks were so worried, her fitness minded dad (180kg squat, 3plate bench) bought me mass gainer. Her uncle said I was eating about 1800 calories a day. When I finished that year of college, I had organised a scholarship to Shanghai University. That summer, I joined a local gym and fucked around on machines. The jocks laughed at me, until the owner told them to shut up. That was an auspicious start.  I put on about 5kg those 6 months since I started on the mass gainer, taking me from 68kg at 6’0 to 73. It helped with the chronic pain. But I wanted to be strong.

I was on the beach with my girlfriend, and I wanted to be able to lift her up in a princess carry. Given that she weighed about as much as I did, it was only possible in the water. When I came back from China, I said, I’d lift her up unassisted. I asked an image board: how can I do it? “not being so fucking weak they said” “ do the big 4” they said. “Read starting strength and watch these videos.”

So when I got to China, I went to the shitty college gym without air conditioning, and I squatted in the smith machine with a Philipino and a Bangladeshi guy, and a load of Chinese bodybuilders. I joined their Shanghai University fencing team to continue my college fencing . I signed up for a track meet in the 100m and long jump.  I didn’t really talk to many people, and concentrated on studying international business and Chinese.  I hit the clubs a few times, at least.

After a few weeks, I could squat 100kg in the smith machine.  I stuffed my face at every cheap canteen meal – huge quantities of food. Usually alone. On top of that, I drank about 2l of milk or yogurt a day. The gym didn’t have a squat rack. Instead, the people deadlifted and used the smith machine. Eventually, we rigged up the dip bars as a squat rack, but it was an inch or two too high. Who cares about safety when you’re trying to get big?

After a month or two I was able to deadlift 100kg. I had a Chinese girlfriend on the side. I looked pretty normal. I wasn’t as horrendously skinny. If I had stopped stuffing myself, I would have been doing well. But I kept going, focused on the goal of lifting my girl when she came to China. I began to get bloated and fat. A medical in January for a visa renewal showed a fatty liver – the doctor said “eat healthy, take medicine.” But I kept eating and lifting. Particularly as I had broken up with the Chinese girl.  There were times I didn’t even leave my room for days, except to eat and lift.

When I was pushing 20bf% and 86kg, people were much less friendly. I’m used to coasting on good looks to make up for mediocre social skills. But without those, life was harder. I had become a Rip nut hugger of the highest kind. Fuck mobility, fuck athleticism, it was all about getting my highbar squatmourning and deadlift, and OHP up.

I could squatmorning 110kg for 3×5, deadlift 160kg for a single and OHP 55kg for a triple. I could bench 85kg for a single. These weren’t bad numbers for a rank novice with limited athletic ability.

While I was away in China, the woman had taken up comfort eating again. She put on 14kg, almost more than I had. She definitely wasn’t doing SS+GOMAD either. When it came down to it, and she came out in the July, neither of us were in great shape physically or emotionally. Towards the end of the holiday, when we had each walked off about 2kg, I lifted her up in an Confucian temple. I did it again, outside the Beijing stadium. My crowning achievement of the year was lifting up a fat woman.

When I wrapped up the year and headed home (very abruptly, as it turned out the company I was working for would not help me renew my visa once I finished working for them), my biggest emotions were shame and pride. I thought I looked good, when really I looked like a fatass. I thought I was a good athlete because I could squatmorning close to 130kg for a single. Coming home was never going to be easy, but I threw myself into college and a law journal. I applied for big law firm after big law firm. I thought international business experience, top marks in law and a willingness to learn would get me a job. But times were tough: jobs were only going to the children of clients, or prospective clients. The truly exceptional got offers, but these kinds of people had enough balls to reach higher: they went from our small no-name college to Ivy League Law in America.

I became more and more depressed: my self-worth was tied up in getting these big law jobs and squatmornings. The journal wasn’t going well, and like a huge fucking tryhard I got through on 4 hours sleep, editing law journal submissions then finishing business and law essays. But instead of pushing through, trying harder pushed me under: missing lifts, missing deadlines.

I felt guilty for sleeping around in China. I felt guilty about everything – letting down my parents, my colleagues. Living in a filthy apartment that I couldn’t keep clean with the resources I had. I felt I was running out of options. I threw myself into study as a way of numbing myself further. My perspective became warped. I thought I could get out of it by trying harder.

Suicide eventually seemed like a real option, and I kept everyone in the dark about it. It would be getting drunk, and lying down on a train track. There was a bend in the track nearby, overhung by a bridge, which would conceal me. I would get drunk and insensible to pain with codeine. I’d put my neck over the rail, and camouflage myself. I hope to spare the driver the trauma of killing someone.  It would be the first train of the morning.

When I look back it, the whole method of suicide seems comically final. Like I wanted to die so completely it would form a singularity of tryhardness. From beginning to end. At least I wasn’t the first of my friends to successfully kill themselves.

I couldn’t study for my Christmas exams, and with the help of a good friend, went to a doctor to get a referral to hospital for a psychiatric assessment. I waited alone in the hospital for 23 hours, and eventually got seen. I can’t really remember a whole lot about it, but I wanted out immediately. Nobody knew about until a week after. Not my girlfriend, not my parents.  I started on medication to give me more energy to get my life together, and moved in with some good friends.

That’s when I discovered that I could just quit. I didn’t have to grind through reps, meetings, essays, I could just walk away, delegate responsibilities, delay.  I could finally learn to care less and stop being such a massive fucking tryhard.