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turboseize

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Everything posted by turboseize

  1. That is something only you can decide. Kettlebells at home surely works for me. When I get home tired after duty, I tended to become way to lazy to pack my gym bag and drive to the gym. Just sit down and relax... And then, that was it. Since I had the Kettlebells, after 30 minutes or 1 hour, I would think "ok, I'm too lazy to get to the gym, but I can play with the kettlebells. Just for a few minutes...." That is no substitute for a gym, but a little exercise is way better than none. If you use the kettlebell as an excus eto skip gym workouts, obviously it will have a detrimental effect. But if you see the kettlebell as an emergency back-up, for those evenings when you would have skipped gym anyways, then it might be a worth it. But if you know you would probably not use the KB, but you would indeed drive to the gym on sundays, then the money might be better spent on the gym. On the other hand, a kettlebell is a single purchase and will last you a long time, whereas the gym car would reoccuring expenses... Tough decisions, I know. Should you buy a kettlebell, please stay away from the plastic crap. You NEED a cast iron one. (A vinyl coating of the round thing to protect the floor from scratching is tolerable, but the handle needs to be free.) The plastic things have grates in the handle that will tear your skin of if you use them like a kettlebell. Also, avoid the "adjustabele kettlebells" (basically a handle to accept weight plates) at all cost. When you try to cean those, you will hurt your forearms. Just a simple cast iron kettlebell... I would not sacrifice sleep. Lack of sleep wrecks havoc with your hormones and could sabotage any exercise efforts.
  2. Kettlebells are amazing.Not only because of their versatility and the unique way traditional kettlebell exercises work the core and all stabilizer stuff, but because you can put a kettlebell next to your sofa. It is nearly impossible not to work out, when you have a kettlebell at home, staring at you... "Hmmm, I'm not feeling like going to the gym today. Too tired. And... oh, hm, I have akettlebell. Perhaps I just do two sets of snatches, I'll survive a few minutes..." And this you get a workout done (albeit a small one) that you would otherwise have skipped.
  3. That was in 2006. Should also qualify as "some time ago"... The reason for our different experiences might have been you. Or me. I might have exaggerated a bit. Of course, nobody will strip down in public. In informal, recreational settings, things will be much more relaxed. Like, as in my anecdote, a former industrial compound, divided into several lots and rented out to a few communities of car enthisasts, with basically everyone inside this compound knowing each other or (in my case) being invited in by some insiders... so NO strangers around. Even Angela Merkel's clothing style changes drastically in her private life. (Click on your own risk!) I've never been to the states, but from what one can read or watch online, I would also have the impression of americans being rather prudish. Americans I've met in Europe typically fell into one of two factions: either a bit prudish and shy, or going completely crazy (as if they had to compensate for something). Regarding clothing, it all depends on the situation. It would never come to my mind to walk a dog shirtless around where I live, in (formerly) mundane Charlottenburg. But walking your dog or mowing your lawn or doing some repairs to the house shirtless is appropriate in rural settings. You would not see someone mowing their front lawn shirtless in the rather affluent suburbs of Zehlendorf or Grunewald*, but what happens in the garden behind the house, not visible from the street, is a completely different matter. As is sunbathing in public parks. Or swimming at a nearby lake/river... A certain percentage of people are assholes. Then there is a (far greater) percentage of people acting like assholes, when they feel circumstances force them to do so. All these tend to be evenly distributed across populations. Most people will be nice, most of the time. Should really not come as a surprise. Just do it. http://www.germany.travel/en/index.html (And in case you want to extend your stay... there are quite a few american schools in Germany, for example http://jfks.de/jobs/ ) +1 * Admittedly, all these are west Berlin burroughs, so technically western Germany, but you get the point.
  4. @Adrianne, what was your leg press when you started working out? And what is it now? 80kg to 120kg is a 40kg difference. Your legs have become 50% stronger! And you say you have not made progress? Sometimes progress just is not obvious to the eye. If you build a house, you have to excavate the soil for the cellar/basement. Perhaps you have to drill wells and reroute ground water away from the consruction site, so that your excaveted building site stays dry. You have to test the soil for stability, perhaps you need to compress and fortify it. Only then can you start laying the foundation. And then you will need some time for the concrete to harden, before you can even start to build the walls. A casual observer might walk by and not see any progress for months. Yet, these are the most crucial steps in building a house. edit: this was written before your last post appeared. Seems like with other people complimenting you, with 10kg lost, and with your first deep squat progress starts to become visible now. :-)
  5. Because.... errr... reasons. Nobody in the West really knows. All we know is that the Easterner will take any opportunity do undress. Perhaps that is a commie thing. Did they not have enough clothes for everybody? Jokes aside, for whatever reasons eastern Germans seem to be a bit more comfortable with nudity then westerners, and FKK was and still is much more popular in the east than the west. When I spent six months in Dresden during my stay at military academy, I used to hang out with a bunch of car guys (and girls). Guess what happened friday afternoon? Everybody met at the garage yard, the grill burned, and the clothes started to come off... Yes, the girls would run around in bikinis. Sometimes topless. While working on their cars. (But then, why not? The guys would also not wear shirts... and eastern german women are modern, emancipated and liberal, so why shouldn't they do the same?). While the guys in the video are a bit cheesy, the girl is more or less authentic. More or less... (Also, every female in eastern Germany colours her hair in strange colours, either whole or just streaks. And all females born in the GDR my mage or younger share three names: either Mandy, Sandy or Nancy. Yeah, cheap stereotypes... but when they just happen to be true? )
  6. Continuing our series of diet-related music videos, and to appeal to @Sloth the Enduring's inner German, and to resurrect both his and @The Most Loathed's commandment of the German language, lost since high school, here is a music video on how to have a proper barbecue the german way. While the butcher makes Bratwurst from fresh ground pork and secret spices, the grilling party is already heating the grill (gas and electric grills are forbidden, charcoal only!), you need shots of liquor to help with digestion and a black beer to flush it down. But most important, in Thuringia, you do not use pliers to turn the sausages, but your bare hands. Thuringia is a state in formerly communist eastern Germany, which is also why everbody is (half-)naked. Trivia: Rummelsnuff, the Shrek-like artist, is a trained orchestra musician (bassoon), bodybuilding coach and was for a long time bouncer of the legendary Berghain*. He now works as a bouncer in a gay sex club. *Berghain seems to have a knack for artistically gifted bouncers. Head bouncer is photographer Sven Marquardt.
  7. Good to see you are making progress. So no front squats for you, and all the more reason to work on a deep back squat.
  8. @mdwill That is a good video. I always forget that some people might just not have the strength for a bodyweight squat, and I always assume and issues people have with that are problems related to form.... Under that light, @Adrianne's combined approach does make a lot of sense. Use the leg press to work the muscles in the leg and to get the strength up to a point that she can squat her bodyweight. Use the (generally horrible, but here it might be useful) smith machine to introduce a load on the back. And try and try and try free bodyweight squats... to improve squats.
  9. Have you tried a wider stance and more angle of body lean? So, as in sitting back down into a squat instead of just squatting down? If you try to squat down with an upright upper body, your knees move way forward. This necessitates very good ankle mobility. if you'r ankles aren't very mobile, you'll end up balancing on your toes. Now, if you start with a wider stance, feet pointed ca 30° out, you create space for your belly and allow for much greater body lea. You start the squat out by sticking your butt out backwards, folding at the hip and as a consequence of that bending the knees. In a back squat (bar on your back, lots of body lean) you lead with the hip, while in a front squat (bar on your chest, upright upper body) you lead with the knees. Even without a bar, with reduced ankle mobility you can only do the back squat style. If you have problems getting "out of the hole" at the bottom of the squat, squat in front of a doorknob within arms reach, so that you can get some assistance. Or just have your friend assist you.
  10. I was an army officer. I am not very talented at neither physical labour nor intellectual work, but I DO have an outstanding ability for getting people to work and supervising them. If you are working out intensely, you might need more carbs in your diet. Cravings usually are a sign that your body is missing something. Personally, I have also experienced this. Once the weights got really heavy and I was still sticking to a thrice-a-week-workout schedule, I needed more carbs in my diet to be able to recover fully. However, white bread with it's high glycemic index is no real solution for this... Get rid of the bread and rather have a bit more rice or potatoes or buckwheat with your normal dishes. So that's leg presses? Hmm, strengthening the legs, but as you do not have to stabilise your body, you are missing out on the tremendous benefits of the true squat as a whole-body exercise. The picture shows a squat rack. That is good. I hope you are not talking about a smith machine (where the bar can only move on a fixed path)... That would be the worst you could do. So, if you are doing light squats in a squat rack to work on form, balance and monility, great. But you should definitely go PAST the 90° bend at the knees. Yes, people have been told not to go deeper during the 90s, but that was bullshit and very harmful advice. You need to squat parallel, i.e. the crease of the hip below the knee. That is much more healthy for your knees, as only this deep are the hamstrings fully activated, and shear forces of the knee balanced.
  11. PS: the more I think of it, foreign languages are like (physical) fitness. Use it or loose it. Getting started is the most important step. Doing something (that is getting a tiny bit of exposure through radio/TV/movies or just hanging out with native speakers) is infinitely better than doing nothing, as long as you are consistent. Aren't those the very same phrases we keep preaching to new rebel recruits?
  12. Not impressive at all, just was lucky enough to go to school in Europe. One foreign language is mandatory nearly everywhere on our side of the pond, and at least at those secondary schools in Germany preparing for university, two foreign languages are mandatory. I was especially lucky because the school I attended put great emphasis on foreign languages (though at the expense of STEM, which is haunting me now during my architectural studies...). I can, however, confirm that food, beer and beautiful girls are great starting points for improved language skills. I would never have learned my few polish and russian words without the hot eastern european girls girls at law school. And all that practice definitely helped when I met my (future) wife a few years later. Guess what, she's Russian. It's a pity though that I have never learned proper Russian despite us being together for over a decade now, but as her German at that time was extremely bad, we decided to speak German only, as improving her German was very necessary for her studies and later her work environment. Now, she's fluent, but we somehow we missed the point of switching to Russian... so my Russian was dwindling, as her German skills skyrocketed. Just go for it! If you can't find the time to actively learn a new language, you could just start by exposing yourself to the foreign language more. Listen to spanish radio stations, watch spanish films (first with english subtitles, then with spanish subtitles, and then without subtitles). That, by the way, is also how I learned swedish. I never took swedish classes until university (free credits without any effort!). I just listened to swedish radio online, and I got my mother's learning cassettes and played them on my daily drive from home to the garrision and back. At first, I understood nothing, and then, suddenly, after the brain had had enough time for some associative play, the "fog" cleared and I understood some words, which allowed to grasp the context of the dialogue, which in turn allowed to understand even more words... and somehow/somewhen you will get an intuitive feel for the grammar, too. I picked that up from a good friend of mine. He is in online commerce, selling car parts for Volvo and Saab, and some day he decided that being fluent in Swedish would surely help his business, but he had no time to spare to attend swedish classes. So he bought literally crates of DVDs with swedish crime television series and crime movies, and every evening, enjoying his Feierabendbier (remember: we're Germans), watched an episode, following the subtitle schedule outlined above. Half a year later he was fluent in Swedish... By the way, that is also what I do to prevent my French and (puny) Russian from deteriorating any further. We do have a French and a Russian radio station in Berlin (french state-run RFI and Berlin based privately operated Radio Russkij Berlin), so it is one of those that I am listening to while driving... are there a hispanic local radio stations where you live? (Immersing into a foreign language definitely works wonders. My brother wrote both his bachelor and master thesis on environmental research projects in Ecuador and later worked several years in Guatemala and Ecuador. When he flew to Ecuador for his first nine months there, he did not speak a single word of spanish. When he came back, he was fluent... Talents are spread very unevenly in our family. I got the artsy stuff from my mother, my brother inherited the natural scientist's brain of my father. He is NOT very talented regarding languages, so if he can pull this of, everybody can. Speaking of people without any talent for languages: even my father learned to speak and write decent swedish after living in Sweden for a few years...)
  13. It has been more than a week since your last update. @Adrianne, report immediately!
  14. Being bi- or multilingual also seems to have considerable health benefits. Bilingual persons seem to suffer less (and later) of dementia and Alzheimer than monolingual persons. But for this to qualify, you need to use both languages regularly. Just having learned french at school and then forgotten everything is not enough... The nice thing about learning one language: it makes learning other languages easier. At least, languages of the same family. Speak German and English? Great, now you can understand Dutch (and some north German dialects unintelligible to southern Germans), and have a much easier time learning Nordic languages. (Definitely works for Swedish. Even before I started learning Swedish, I could read Swedish texts and understand about 50-70%, just by association to similar German and English words. Spoken Swedish is a completely different matter, as there are some weird sound shifts, though. And once I spoke German, English and Swedish, I had no problem understanding both written and spoken Norwegian, and reading Danish...). Learned Latin at school? Definitely helps with French. Learned Latin and speak French? Now Spanish becomes a breeze... I did not learn a single word of vocabulary for my Spanish class in school. Later, I found out - mostly by chance during travel, and by a Brazilian girlfriend - that I can even read Italian, Portugese and a bit of Romanian, although I have a hard time understanding spoken Italian and I am completely lost when someone speaks to me in one of the latter two languages. Being monolingual would scare the shit out of me. In 2007, on my second arctic circle road trip, we got stranded in a VERY small town in rural Finland. Our debit card would not work at the gas station... which we found out after filling up. (We had even asked the cashier before, but she was blonde. At least that was what the manager told us. "Why did you even ask her? She's blonde!"). So we had to find a cash machine, to somehow get cash to pay our tank of diesel. And while the staff at the gas station, like most younger people in Europe, spoke proper English, the town itself was deserted. No soul to be seen. And no English signs or signposts whatsoever. (This was a very remote place and not very touristy, which was why we were there in the first place. The second reason was because my grand-gradfather had been wounded on the road leading to this village, and If you are already nearby, why not figure out where exactly...). We finally found a bank and a cash machine. But the interface was Finnish with no possibility to switch to English... somehow it worked out in the end, but all this was very unpleasant. Speaking a few germanic and romanic languages and knowing a tiny bit of slavic* got me around Europe rather comfortably. Even if you can't speak the local language, at least you understand a bit of what is going on around you. Not having a single clue, like in rural Finland, was a very disturbing experience. One day, I will learn Finnish. Perhaps I won't find the time until retirement, but some day, I will. Just in case I might get stranded in rural arctic Finland again. Ok, back to your situation. If I were to start learning languages, I'd start with Latin. Because Latin has influenced, be it in grammar and vocabulary (romanic languages), or in vocabulary alone, every single European language. Even Russian has it's share of words with Latin origins! And, perhaps even more important, because Latin grammar is very complex, but mostly logical. Learning Latin means beginning to understand grammar. Not only Latin grammar, but grammar in general, how grammar structures and makes intelligible nearly any language. This is probably the biggest help in learning other languages. You would probably never find anybody whith whom to converse in Latin, but Latin is a great foundation for becoming multilingual. The languages an US citizen might be most interested in would probably be Spanish (Mexico, but also hispanic US population) and French (Quebec), which are both romanic languages, so transfer from Latin is not a big deal. *I speak just enough Russian and Polish to pay at a gas station and to order food and a beer at a restaurant, and to tell a girl that she looks great. So I really don't speak those languages at all, my vocabulary is extremely limited. I cannot lead a meaningful conversation, but at least I won't starve. Also, this seems to be enough to make sense of road signs in Eastern Europe and on the Balkans, with the exception of Greece and Albania.
  15. Poor dog. Staci, you are mean. Kind of.
  16. Then there are two different kinds of Olympic bars: male and female. Men's bars weigh 20kg, are 220cm long and have a diameter of 28mm. Women's bars weigh 15kg, are 201cm short and have a diameter of only 25mm.
  17. Falls es Dir Hoffnung macht: seit ich 18 war bin ich davon ausgegangen, daß meine Knie und Schultern irreparabel kaputt seien (der Preis des Leistungssports) - waren sie aber nicht. Bzw, falls sie es doch sind, so merke ich das jetzt wenigstens nicht mehr. Der Umschwung kam so vor grob 7 Jahren, seitdem geht es mit den Gelenken stetig aufwärts. Keine Wunderheilung, einfach nur Maschinen gemieden wie die Pest und Krafttraining nur noch mit freien Gewichten und dem Körpergewicht gemacht, und immer mit vollem Bewegungsumfang... Vielleicht besteht ja bei Dir auch Hoffnung.
  18. Deadlifts and me, that is a love-hate relationship. I dread them when I step to the loaded bar; but they give such a great feeling of accomplishment afterwards.
  19. Not at the moment. Perhaps I should, though, for I've experienced some motivational weaknesses lately (though not in the fields of sports).
  20. I'm down with a flu and spent the better half of yesterday in bed, sipping tea (when I drink tea instead of coffee, something is very wrong). So, what better could one do to distract from the misery than 1) researching vintage off-road trucks and 2) looking at scantily clad russian ladies? Men also have feelings, like ... errr... hunger. Which, ironically, is something most women have a hard time understanding.
  21. Walking would be ok. Take it easy, don't get heart rate too high, don't "walk" a marathon, don't do HIIT. If your body yearns for movement, let it move a bit. If it demands rest, let it rest. But don't move or work out, because you feel you "have too". The only thing you "have to" do when sick is getting well again.
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