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Diary of a meathead traveller Part VII: last weeks down under.

Completing the first block of WS4SB had left me four weeks and just one block away from completing short-term goal No 3.  Along with that upshot there was now an opportunity to shake up the program a little bit. Structurally it remained the same, however, substitutions and alterations to the order of some assistance work were made.  The most significant change enforced was the selection of new strength exercises.  I wrestled with the idea of turning to deadlifts, although eventually settling on box squats, reasoning that they would help combat my sticking point in the middle of my movement pattern. 

Personally, being militant with a program for four weeks makes the training a joy following those alterations.  I find the change in stimulus recharges my enthusiasm levels and makes for a new feel in both during and after a work out.  Dan John said it plainly when he remarked: “everything works, but only for about six weeks”. Incidentally, if you haven’t read his book ‘Never let go’ do so immediately. When used correctly, change is a powerful mechanism, helping to put off training plateaus that have adverse effects on both physical progress and general enthusiasm. 

Really, Dan John is talking about whole programs, trying to wake up all of those who have been doing the same five-day split for years and have made little or no progress.  He wants people to swap splits for complexes, long distance for sprints and volume for strength, in anticipation of plateaus and eventual bad Qi and unbalanced chakras.  I heeded the big man’s words and changed up exercises two weeks before the six- week marker, only because I’m keen and because coach Joe said I could.


BOR-bent over row
RDL-romanian deadlift
ROM-range of movement
DOMS-delayed onset muscle stiffness
SDPC-seated dumbbells powercleans


MEUB- Byron Bay
Dynamic warm up + mobility
Amped warm up + mobility 10mins

Close grip Bench 100kg 4rep max
D/B bench 22.5kg 2sets max reps
D/B rows 35kg s/s Seated D/B powercleans  6kg 4×12 90s rest
B/B shrugs 80kg  4×15 90s rest
Hammer Curls 15kg/10kg 4×12 90s rest

Finisher: 5 circuits of 10 x lateral jump burpees + 10 x med ball slams 7kg

Comments: need to set scapula better during close grip bench. Single arm row surprisingly hard. Hammer curls are nice change to regular

DELB Brisbane First Class Fitness
Amped warm up + mobility 10mins
Broad jumps 8×3 1min rest B/B reverse lunge w/ knee lift, front leg raised 30kg 3x 10 90s rest
RDL 100kg 3×12 90s rest
Swissball crunches 4×15 90s rest

Finisher: 5 circuits of 15 battle ropes + 3 Turkish get ups each side. w/ 30s rest

Comments: great to change up the exercises. Swiss ball crunches hurt a lot. Got a nice cut from RDLs on my shin so must be doing them right. I’d go as far to say that 30s rest on the finisher was far too much. I must be getting fitter.

Rest day: Brisbane art museum

UBR Brisbane Fitness First
Amped warm up + mobility 10mins
Barbell bench 60% 60kg 3xmax reps 2min rest (22/15/12)
Wide chins s/s D/B reverse fly 4x 8-12 90s rest
D/B military press 22.5/17.5kg 4×12 90s rest
D/B shrugs 40kg s/s rope triceps extensions 3×10 60s rest

Finisher: 10 x 20s Sprint 20s rest on the spin bike.

Comments: 1st day not taking the kindle I forget to do the grip. Idiot. Bench feels great. Shoulders a little disappointing that I can’t complete three sets with the same weight. Finisher was mentally hard again. Anaerobic work is not pleasant.

LBME Brisbane Fitness First
Amped warm up + mobility 10mins
Box Squats 18″ 5rep max 70-80-90-100-105-110-115kg>3mins rest Aquarium/B Walking lunges 3×12 25kg
Glute ham raises 2×10 + 1×10 cable pull-throughs
Abs circuit: sprinter sit ups, ab roll outs, cable twists 10reps no rest

Finisher:  burpee pyramid 10-1 with 40yard run in between each set.time 4mins

Comments: box squats feel completely different. 18″ is probably too small an ROM. Lunges getting easier, time to increase weight. Glute ham raises near impossible. Nice to be able to change the abs up.

Rest day:  Fraser island swimming in lakes

Rest day: Fraser island stroking dingoes

Measurements After Week 5Neck 16
Chest 43 1/2 
Left bicep 15 1/2 
Right bicep 15  
Left forearm 13 1/4 
Right forearm 13 
Waist 34 1/2 
Hips (including ass) 43 1/2 
Right quad upper 25 1/2 
Left quad upper 25 
Right calf 16 
Left calf 15 1/2


There are only two ways to travel the east coast of Australia, either south to north, or north to south. If you haven’t worked it out by now we were chasing the sun and the warmth north, hence the Gold Coast being our next destination. Melbourne was my favourite city down under but Brizzy would place second on that crucial of all lists.  Aesthetically, it isn’t particularly pleasing, although the new development across the river has a new feel; it rather has a Cardiffian familiarity that I enjoyed. 

The high street is reminiscent of Queen Street, although inclined instead of flat, you have fashion disaster chavs (called bogans by the locals) and all the pubs and bars have that old brown decor that Weatherspoons love so much.  As luck would have it, there was a gym opposite the hostel and because it was privately owned I trained there simply to satisfy my nosey nature, forever on the look out for ideas to raid and plunder.  As you can see from the gym diary Fitness First were there and did get rumbled again but, the sales guy was such a push over that the encounter didn’t produce a worthy anecdote.  

Again their facility was immaculate, leaving me to wonder once again how the Cardiff branch has ended up the way it has.

Week 2
MEUB- Airlie Beach Extreme Fitness
Dynamic warm up + mobility
Amped warm up + mobility 10mins

Close grip Bench 100kg 5rep max
D/B bench 22.5kg 2sets max reps (forgot to do)
D/B rows 35kg s/s SDPC  6kg 4×12 90s rest
B/B power shrugs 100kg  4×15 90s rest
Hammer Curls 15kg/10kg 4×12 90s rest

Finisher: 5 burpees every 15s for 5 minutes.

Comments: Despite being knackered from am overnight bus ride I managed to improve the bench by 1 rep. Scapula stability was much better. Rows felt more comfortable and even the rev flyies increased in weight. Complete shock to have a great session, must be the Monster I had beforehand. Power shrugs incorporate ankle extension. Forgot to do my max sets so as punishment did the burpee finisher. Full chest to floor burpees, I thought it would hurt a lot. Turns out I’m fitter than a butcher’s dog so will amp it up next time.

DELB Airlie Beach Extreme Fitness
Dynamic warm up + mobility
Broad jumps 8×3 1min rest
B/B reverse lunge w/ knee lift, front leg raised 35kg 3x 10 90s rest RDL 100kg 3×12 90s rest
Swissball crunches 4×15 90s rest

Finisher: 5 circuits of 100m rows + 3 Turkish get ups each side 20 kg.

Comments: good stability on the reverse lunges, learning to brace abs for all reps. Disappointed with RDL as my grip failed miserably. Finisher was good.  Rest day: sailing and snorkelling in the Whitsundays.

UBR Airlie Beach Extreme Fitness Complex
warm up- power clean/military press/front squat 8/6/4 reps 30kg Barbell bench 60% 60kg 3xmax reps 2min rest (20/10/9)
Wide chins s/s SDPC 4x 8-12 90s rest
D/B military press 20/15kg 4×8-12 90s rest
D/B 40kg s/s D/B triceps cable extensions  3×10 60s rest
Finisher: 20kg kettlebell left arm swing/clean/clean+squat/clean+press, change hand, repeat for 5minutes

Comments: idiot forgot to do the grip again. Also got superset mixed up. Still enjoyed the session. Bench reps lower as I slowed the tempo of the downward phase of the lift. Same failure achieved, different route to get there. Enjoyed both the finisher and the warm up, thanks Dan John.

LBME Airlie Beach Extreme Fitness Smallwood complex
warm up 30kg Box Squats 19 5rep max 80-100-120-130-140kg>3mins rest Front squats 3×8 60kg
RDL 3×10 100kg
Abs circuit: sprinter sit ups, v sits, toe touches, reverse crunches 10reps each 1min rest repeat twice.

Finisher: no dice

Comments: did intend to do some wave training with the squats. 19″ box isn’t really a squat but I’ll continue with them as an experiment and test my full back squat then. Did front squats because Dan John said lunges are gay. Was short on time so no finisher today.

Rest: fly to LA

Rest: mentally prepare for muscle beach.

After Week 6
Neck 16
Chest 42
Left bicep 15 1/2 
Right bicep 15 1/2 
Left forearm 13 
Right forearm 13 
Waist 33 1/2 
Hips (including ass) 42 
Right quad upper/mid 25 
Left quad upper/mid 24 1/2 
Right calf 16 
Left calf 15 1/2.

It’s now time to stop beating around the arbusto as they say in Spain and talk about the elephant in the room.  You’ve all been thinking it, probably weak with laughter after every post.  For those too kind, innocent or indifferent to have noticed, here is the spoiler for you, I haven’t really changed that much physically since starting WS4SB. SHOCK!!!!!!!!!!  

Even the measurements I have meticulously taken cannot offer any refuge from the physical evidence. My weights have gone up and I unquestionably feel better than I did six weeks before however, where’s the six pack at? Where is the transformation? The good news is I have figured it out and I’ll let you read all about next time but, for now I’ll just say this: Muscle Beach I’m coming for you!

Thanks for reading,
–  Matt

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