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Phayze

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  1. Weekly Report Card # 4: The “I can’t believe the six weeks are almost over†Edition Lift 4x/week: A Eat 3000 Calories: A(!) - average calories this week came in at 3045 Sleep 7+ Hours: B - averaged 6.5 Extra Credit: 1 bonus bodyweight workout on a rest day , 4 days of regular stretch breaks at work Wow . . . It really is hard to believe that the challenge is almost over, but I already feel like I’ve reached an important goal - the last few weeks have really done a lot to help me build some positive habits and, even though I have a long way to go toward my ultimate fitness goals, I already feel stronger and better for getting into this. Looking forward, I think I’m going to lower my calorie goal to 2750 per day when the challenge is over - getting the 3000 is kind of hard on my food budget, and I often feel too full when I’ve managed to hit it. Also, I have a tendency toward the dreaded skinny-fat, and I don’t want to put on more mass in my belly than my chest/shoulders (which is where I need it the most). Still, I’m sticking with the 3000 until the end, if for no other reason than because I committed to it, but it’s probably also beneficial for my body to have the extra material on hand while it relearns how to recover from tough workouts. Sunday means a new week, and that means fun! 5x Bench Press @ 20 (replaced chest flies) 5x Bent-over Row @ 35 (up from 30) 5x DB Snatch @ 30 Completed 5 rounds Had to experiment a little with the bench press because I don’t have a bench. I wound up using an Ikea footstool to support my back while I rested my head on the seat of the matching poang chair, that way my elbows could move freely in the gap between them. Doing these one hand at a time put some serious tension on my core, even with the low weight - it’s like getting a free ab workout! Next time, I’m going to try 25 to see how it feels.
  2. Another C for sleep last night, and I was really feeling it when I woke up and looked balefully at the weights. I was half-dozing when I set my plates, and only just barely realized that I’d loaded 10 pounds too many before I started. I’m only taking half of the blame for my sleepiness, because for reasons as unknowable as why I was so alert yesterday morning, I had a hard time settling at bedtime. I guess my system is getting jacked up on whatever chemistry the lifting the generating, so I’m not going to complain too much, but I was really tired last night and would have appreciated getting more value out of the half hour that I spent rolling around in bed trying to get comfortable. Anyway, lifts: 5x Chest Flies @ 15 5x Bent-over Row @ 30 5x DB Snatch @ 30 Completed 4 and 2/3 rounds Just didn’t have time for that last round of snatches, but that’s okay with me because on the last snatch that I did complete, my hips kicked a little harder than my shoulder was ready for and I felt a little twinge in my right delt. It feels okay now (two hours later), so I don’t think it was anything serious, but right when it happened I thought it might be a bad idea to push my luck and do more.
  3. I keep writing and writing, but never get around to posting... too many distractions! So, the following was written yesterday: So, that brings me to today. Inexplicably, I woke up this morning almost an hour before my alarm went off feeling quite refreshed. I stayed in bed and dozed/daydreamed until my usual wake-up time anyway and, thankfully, didn’t get that awful post-napping drag that I sometimes get, so I had plenty of energy for this: 5x Step-back Lunge @ 35 3x Chinups (with assist) 5x Chest Flies @ 15 Completed 5 round with a little time to spare I’m trying to use the chair less and less each time I do chinups, so with any luck I’ll be able to drop it altogether before too long. 15 on the flies is still a challenge for my left arm, but my right was feeling a little bored with them today. I’m going to wait to bump them up until my left side is a little stronger, though I might replace the move with bench press if I can find something in my living room to stand in for a bench. I’m also thinking about shuffling the moves a little between my two routines. It seems like this one takes way less time than the other, so I’m hoping that a little juggling will even things out. Anyway, so far so good this week: 2 A’s and a B for eating, 2 A’s and a C for sleeping, and I’ve got 3/4 of my lifting done with a bonus bodyweight workout on top. Woo! I don’t know what I was complaining about when I wrote that stuff yesterday...
  4. Weekly Report Card: Vacation Edition Lift Weights 2x - Pass! Sleep 7+ Hours - Pass! Eat 3000 calories - Fail! (I didn’t even try to track them, which is enough to tell me that I fell short) So, I’m officially back into the grind now, and starting the new week off well, but looking backwards things don’t look too bad. Cutting the lifts in half for the week was a good move - we had a really tiring weekend getaway, and lots of chores and odd-jobs around the house for the rest of the so-called “vacationâ€, but I squeezed in my planned workouts and I feel good about that. Here’s the breakdown for Saturday’s lifts: 5x Overhead Press @ 22.5# (2 Round)/25# (3 rounds) 5x Bent-over rows @ 30# 5x Deadlift @ 40# 5 rounds within the time limit, but I cheated a little and lifted through my designated cooldown period because I was annoyed at losing so much time swapping plates. Usually I do both sides simultaneously to save time, but that’s actually slowing me down now because I have to keep screwing with my dumbbells between each exercise, so after round 1 of this circuit I switched to unilateral lifts for the OHPress and bent-overs, that way I could keep one DB set for each move and only had to change the plates before/after the deadlifts. It was a lot more efficient this way, plus I felt like I could do more weight by focusing on just one hand, and there was a nice side benefit of having to clench my core muscle tighter to keep myself upright. Win-win! I’m going to go a little higher for each lift next time I do this circuit. I’m also going to go back to the DB snatch instead of the deadlifts - it’s more fun, and will require less plate switching. Started the new week with: 5x Step-back lunge @ 50/45/35 3x Chinups (chair assist) 5x Chest flies @ 15 5 rounds again, but I also cheated again and lifted through my cooldown/stretch time. I should have taken some time to find a good weight for the lunges before I started, but I paid the price for that mistake by almost falling down with 100# worth of iron in my hands. Next time I’ll start low, then work up rather than grossly overestimate myself. ; 3x for chinups was, as I expected, much more appropriate. I feel like I got some good work in with them, even with the chair assist and didn’t so completely blow my grip that I couldn’t hold a pencil when I was done. Also, I can’t figure out why those chest flies aren’t feeling any easier with the 15s. I’d like to raise that number, but by the time I hit round 4 I can barely get the damned things off the floor...
  5. I've missed chin ups.... My Wednesday workout went something like this: 5x squat @ 50#/45# 5x chin ups (assisted with a chair) 5x chest flies @ 15# 4 rounds complete before time ran out. 5x on chin ups was a mistake - by the time I got through round 2 my grip strength was completely wasted and I wound up relying too much on the chair. Next time I'm going for 3x, then I'll build up from there. Started with 50s for squats, but I down-loaded after round 2 because I felt uncertain about my form, which was probably only made worse by the aforementioned grip exhaustion. Whatever else I may be slacking on this week, im murdering my sleep goals! I've been hitting 8+ without even trying. I'd sleep longer if I could, but The Boy doesn't allow it. -_^ On a side note, I'm totally bummed that my vacation is almost over. I like my job pretty well, but I've liked playing legos with my son everyday even more.
  6. Mid-vacation check-in, here. Haven't gotten any lifting in yet, but the weekend trip was lots of fun for all, even though our camp-out turned into a rain-out... Finally got my pull up bar set up and did a quick rep-test, which ended better than I expected: 3 full ROM chin ups from a dead hang! That was my previous personal best, so knowing that I haven't lost what little skill I had with the move is pretty encouraging. Also, unrelated to my fitness goals, but I'm mentally preparing to interview for a promotion at work on Monday. That's usually a lifting day, and I can't decide if in should just go all out like any other day and rely on the endorphins to keep me pumped through the interview, or if I should dial back the enthusiasm so I'm not worn out for it. Either way, wish me luck! Taking another level in Public Servant wasn't on my character development plan yet, but who am I to turn down roleplaying xp?
  7. My plan is to do weekly report cards on Sunday morning because that's when I go back to work for the new week, but there's a temporary wrinkle in that plan - vacation! ^__^ So, I'm grading this week early, because I'll be camping and hiking with the Fam and trying to forget that such a thing as an "internet" exists for most of the weekend. After that, I'm planning to spend my off-time playing hard with The Boy and doing some work on my house. I don't want to skip my training completely, even though I generally agree with the Shovelglove mentality that non-working days count as S-Days ("s" for special), so I'm aiming for two lifting sessions next week, graded on a pass/fail. I'm also taking a vacation from calorie counting, because I really, really hate doing it even though its the only way that I seem to even come close to eating as much as a should. Today's workout: 5x Squats @ 40# 5x Back Flies @ 15# 5x Chest Flies @ 15# 5 rounds in 15ish minutes. I was really feeling the chest flies in my biceps, I guess from the stabilization, but the back flies aren't thrilling me as much as I remember them doing. One of my projects for my vacation is to get that damned pullup bar in place, so when I come back, I'll be replacing back flies with chinups. The Squats were good, but I'm still trying to find the best weight - I'll go up another 5/hand for next time, but I might have to replace them with lunges if the weight outstrips my grip. Also, I only have enough plates for 52.5/hand, so that'll be a factor, too. I forgot to mention yesterday that I'm using dumbells, so I'll be tracking weight on a per-hand basis Anyway, this week in review: 4 Lifting Sessions - A(!) Average Calories consumed: 2689 - C Average nightly sleep: 6.6 hrs - B Extra Credit: Every day at work this week, I took 3 or more 2 minutes breaks to stretch. I need this more than ever after these lifting sessions! I feel good about this week, even though I really blew on the sleeping last night (only 6 hours!), and I'm still not eating enough. I was hoping to avoid protein powders because I have a philosophical problem with overly processed, factory-built food, but I'm wondering if it would be worth compromising my lofty ideals for this one. Gonna ponder that one and try to come up with a rational response when I come back to work.
  8. Room for improvement means more chances to win, right? It's been almost 3 years since our last move, and I still feel like we're only about 85% unpacked. For most of the first year or more, we used one of our bedrooms as a storage dump and just threw everything we owned into a pile in there... it was horrifying. It reminded me of that junk-creature thing in Labyrinth. Two empty boxes today means two fewer boxes to unpack tomorrow. Nice work!
  9. Call the Futon Knights, we've got Bed Demons over here! I think you've got some great goals, and they're a perfect place to start. It's easy to get carried away and set extremely lofty plans for taking over the world, but I think we all know how well that worked out for Pinky and the Brain. Start small, start simple and win. Level 1 isn't about saving the universe, it's about building up some HP so you don't get one-shotted by Bed Demons anymore. -_^ I understand this feeling completely! My catch phrase is "There's no such thing 'later'", and learning that lesson was a long, hard road for me. Good luck, and keep us posted!
  10. Yesterday’s rest day turned into just that. I thought about going through some light-duty stuff, but decided to make up for my poor sleep habits and get some extra rest instead. I know from experience that my Superman Complex will drive me to work hard and sleep little until I disintegrate into a useless pile of pinkish goo, and part of my mission with this challenge to avoid that. Instead, I opted for some completely optional, but still really quite useful manual labor jobs at work, and I even had some time/energy to help out Lady Phayze by getting some dishes washed and to take The Boy to the library for some brainy-guy stuff. Superman Complex, indeed! Today was a test of willpower, though. The alarm dragged me out of a pretty intense dream, so I woke up groggy and ragged. There was a little voice in the back of my mind trying to say something stupid about more rest, but I pretended that I didn’t speak English (surprisingly easy at 5:20am with the coffee still brewing) and ignored it. Today’s workout: 5x Standing Overhead Press @ 20lbs 5x Bent-Over Row @ 30lbs 5x Dumbell Snatch @ 30lbs (one hand at a time) I did 5 circuits in 15-ish minutes (I use a music playlist as my timer, so I’m never exact about it) and then, because moving just seemed like more effort than it was worth, spent the next five minutes lying on the floor focusing on the feeling of the sweat drops sliding along my scalp. Have you ever felt that? I mean really felt it, like with your whole attention. It’s a pretty strange sensation. It kind of tickles and itches at the same time... Anyway, next time I do OH presses, I’m upping the weight. 20 felt pretty good, but I can push more.
  11. Nice motivation! I might actually get into running if I had zombies chasing me... High intensity intervals are awesome! Short and brutal = a good workout, I think. Good luck sticking with it - staying in the game can be hard at first, but after a while you'll probably make a habit of it and feel like a slacker if you don't keep us up to date on your progress. -_^
  12. Starting out strong on my first full week. Two lifting routines down, and I feel like I’m hitting the right targets for weights/reps. I’m a little stiff, but that’s just helping to remind me that I need to leave my desk and stretch more often. I had a bought of restless energy yesterday morning, but after lunch I just wanted to curl up and take a nap. For some reason I can’t seem to find the time to get my pullup bar in place, but I’m hoping to have it up for Wednesday’s workout. Tomorrow is my mid-week rest day, so I’ll decided when I get up if I’m going to opt for extra sleep, or some light-duty shovelgloving - that’ll probably weigh very heavily on how well I do with my sleep goals tonight.... Last week was orientation, so I went pass/fail for the grading, but I took some time yesterday to make a more comprehensive rubric for going forward: Lift weights 4x per week 4x = A 3x = B 2x = C 1x = D 0 = F Eat 3000 Calories per day 3000+ = A 2750+ = B 2500+ = C 2250+ = D Any less = F Sleep 7+ hours per night 7+ = A 6.5 = B 6 = C 5.5 = D Any less = F I got a D+ for eating yesterday, and a B- for sleep. :/ I’ve still got one out of three branches of government quest objectives working for me, and that ain’t bad!
  13. Great intro! Stories are way more fun than the usual "this is me" I've never heard of a mud run, but even as a non-runner, I think that sounds fun! We'll all be cheering for you.
  14. Hey, 10 minutes is pretty good! I usually doze off before I make it that far. ; Good call on the scales - you can't trust the damned things anyway. ^_- I knew a Qi Gong instructor once who taught a visualization trick that he called "whole body breathing" - might help with your meditation goal. He said to imagine that you were like a sea sponge, drawing air in through your skin with your inhales, then pushing it out through the top of your head with the exhales. I think the visual helps to keep the mind focused and mindful of the act of breathing. Great work on the rest! Forget about the feast - one step back and two forward, right?
  15. Thanks! I'll check those out some time from home. Weekly Report Card #1: My work-week is Sunday-Thursday, so my concept of a weekend is a little different from almost everyone elses. I took Friday and Saturday as rest days, even though I didn’t officially start my workouts until Tuesday; the way I see it, this was my orientation week at the Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School. I took the time time to experiment with the loads to tune things in to where I wanted them, and I didn’t get my new adjustable dumbbells until Friday afternoon anyway, so I was pretty limited by my selection of weights. I feel good about where I’m going with the the lifting, especially after this morning’s session with the new adjustable weights, so I’m giving myself a pass on Goal #1. I haven’t been tracking sleep very well, but overall, I think I have been doing better at getting to bed earlier. I’m going to withhold judgement here until next week, while I make a more conscious effort to be mindful of my behaviors. Where I really bombed was Goal #2. My average calorie count for the week was roughly 2300. >_< I did okay on Tuesday, great on Wednesday, and pretty much checked out on tracking the rest of the week, but I know that I didn’t eat anymore than is usual for me (i.e. “not enough’) Notes going forward: Keep up the good work on the weights - don’t forget to push, but try to avoid getting too gung-ho and hurting yourself. Pay more attention to the clock at bedtime. EAT EAT EAT!!
  16. Welcome to the interwebs! It's a little weird at first, but you'll get used to it. Sitting quietly is probably going to be your biggest challenge. I have a similar, non-journaled, side-quest that I'm running, but I'm starting with 5 minutes of just breathing. My advice, based on a long time studying Buddhism, is to think more about "just breathing" and less about "doing nothing". It sounds stupid, because we don't usually think of breathing as an activity, but focusing your mind on the flow of air through your body is a lot easier to maintain than doing nothing at all. Counting the breaths helps a little, but I prefer to just try "watching" the air go, and saying "in . . . out".
  17. Right on, bro! I'm doing it for The Boy, too. My son turns 4 in January, and I want to spend as much of my life as possible one step ahead of him. Also: cute badass dog!
  18. Thanks! I'm all about intensity, because I don't feel like I have enough hours in my day to stroll through marathon weight sessions. Stronglifts looks great, but I don't have access to a barbell. I've read that it's not advisable with dumbbells, though I guess it would be possible. My plan is sort of experimental right now, but I've taken a lot of program advice from Ross Enimait's "Never Gymless" and sort of blended it with old habits from when I was a regular shovelglover. For now, I've got two different dumbbell circuits that I plan to alternate: 1: Overhead press, back flies, dumbbell snatch 2: Squats, chin-ups, chest flies 5x of each exercise for as many rounds as I can do in the time limit. I plan on dialing up the weight to keep it at or below 5 rounds. I'm not familiar with Dan John (tried to google him, but I'm at work right now and the Evil Systems Admin has his site blocked... >_<)
  19. Hi Cvette, I'm a newb here, too, and I'm in it for the same kind of reason - by son turns 4 in January and I want to be someone that he can look up to. The way I am now, I don't want him looking up to me! Good luck with your goals - getting away from the processed food is hard, because it's so prolific, but Its worth it. I hate to think about the kind of garbage that I used to eat when I was a kid...
  20. Hi, I'm new here. I've been reading NF for a long time now while I try to get myself in the right mental place to start working out again. Once, when I was young, I considered myself something of a renaissance man - I spent my early adulthood on martial arts, literature, philosophy, otaku culture, costuming, chain mail weaving, creative writing and anything else I was interested in at the time - but I've found that for the last 5 years or so, I've let the banality of being a grownup drag me down. Screw that. I have a 3-year old son, and I want to be someone worth looking up to. It's time for another class change. Level 2 Renaissance Man -> Level 3 Public Servant - > Level 1 Super Dad Main Quest: Gain 5+ pounds of lean muscle by 3/12/2014 (coincidentally, my 33rd birthday, which I think we all know is a particularly auspicious occasion for adventure) Mission 1: Weight Lifting 4x week, 20-30 minutes each (I prefer short, intense circuits because they are easier to work into my schedule) Mission 2: Eat 3000 calories per day (I currently do 2200-2400) Mission 3: Sleep 7+ hours per night (I currently feel lucky if I get more than 6) Side Quest: Improve my Japanese reading skills beyond preschool level, because it's seriously embarrassing that I struggle so much when I read Nontan to The Boy. Motivation: I will become the sort of man that I want my son to grow into.
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