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About HedgeMage

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  • Birthday 11/16/1982

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    Bloomington, IN
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  1. Nifty. I always mix up the new rebel and warrior icons since they changed them. SAR is just a sideline...in my day job, I'm a hacker. It's an interesting combo because both involve incident response. They all think I'm Ms. Cool Cucumber at work, though, because it's hard to get a rise out of me when no one's intestines are on the floor.
  2. Didn't get an outside walk yesterday, but I did run errands without the cane. 2,217 total steps.
  3. Well, you didn't expect to conquer everything in just one year, did you? Great job on your successes so far, and here's to adding on a few more!
  4. Hey there, from your friendly volunteer search-and-rescue medic! I'm currently sidelined with a knee injury, but slowly working my way back. If you need a virtual accountability buddy, let me know. I'm taking it slow right now so I don't aggravate the aforementioned injury, but that's probably good as my usual pace is a bit madcap for beginners. I see that you're a Warrior, but you might consider hanging out with us Rangers a bit, too...our tendency to somewhat compulsively try to do ALL THE THINGS leads us to spend a lot of time refining and sharing strategies for fitting more into our lives, keeping up with many priorities, and staying sane through it all. Best of luck, HedgeMage
  5. So, reading your other thread, and realizing you've been through multiple respawns despite not being very out of shape or having a history of injury, it sounds like your main issue is lack of focus. You're looking to your workout to give you that cycle of pushing yourself followed by accomplishment, but you're approaching it in the kind of general mixing-in of random stuff one does when one is just trying to get moving. You're not someone who's 80kg overweight and will be thrilled to go down a pants size. You mentioned being a gamer, so I'll put this in gamer terms: it's nonsense to ask for a build when we don't know what you are minmaxing for. Just like you don't spend points the same building a mage vs. a rogue vs. a tank, you don't design a workout until you know what results you want. Do you want to compete in bodybuilding? Do you want to do Olympic lifting as a sport? Do you want to get strong or fast or agile, or all of the above, in order to become better at another sport or activity you love? Spend some time thinking about it, and then when you have a goal in sight that really matters to you, you will have a much easier time making a plan and following it.
  6. So, for those who don't know, I ended last July by finding out I'd been walking around (and lifting, and climbing mountains) with a knee injury I'd failed to notice, and in doing so had worsened it incredibly, basically shredding the cartilage behind both kneecaps over the course of we think months. Because I'm pain resistant, I didn't know I had a problem until I started falling down without warning as my knees finally gave out. Since then, it's been five months of careful rehab and sitting on my butt trying to let my knees heal. I've lost a ton of muscle and gained quite a bit of fat. I'm grumpy and my PCOS is out of control, so I'm back to having problems like waking every morning with a dangerously low core temp, which makes it hard to get up and get moving. I can't do upper-body lifts right now, because picking up weights from the rack, walking them to the bench or seat, then putting them back is beyond what my knees can do right now, but I did get a tower for my office that is set up for dips, pull-ups, and leg lifts. I'm struggling with that a bit due to it being tall (I need a more stable platform underneath to reach everything because climbing on a chair or small stool is hard on the knees) and my recent body comp changes, but it's doing something at least. Yesterday, I took my first unaided (meaning that I didn't use a cane or other support, I still had a babysitter in case of falls) off-pavement, unlevel, outdoor walk since the injury. It was an anticlimactic 0.55 miles wandering around our back yard. So, I'm starting a new battle log, but it won't be the usual lifting, volcano-exploring, mountain-climbing, training stuff for me. I'm back to very minimal stuff, like counting steps and getting on unlevel ground in small spurts. I'll likely not walk when it's particularly icy, because turning a knee in the wrong direction can take me off my feet for a couple of weeks at this point, and it's just not worth the risk. I slipped like that once already this winter, and the damage was pretty bad. So, yesterday's outside walk: 0.55 miles Yesterday's steps: 3,187
  7. Hey there. PCOS patient here... I had the opposite problem (high estrogen, progesterone in the basement) among other imbalances that come with that, but I've had to learn a bit about the endocrine system because of it. Here are some thoughts to get you started: There's enough variation in how our bodies respond to HRT and other forms of hormone manipulation that you should not freak out if it takes a few months to get everything calibrated such that your body is doing what it should be. Some people get it in one shot, but most don't. It took me about three months, which I think is on the low side of average, to get on the right track. Don't just go low carb, go high protein! The more stable your blood sugar is, the easier it is to dial in other hormones. Having too much insulin hanging around unused, or becoming insulin resistant, or any number of other things that can go awry with blood sugar, can screw a bunch of other hormone levels at which point you and your doctor are chasing a moving target. Additionally, having a lot of protein in your diet will help you build muscle. Talk to your endocrinologist about your diet. I make it a point to avoid certain foods, such as soy, that can screw up my hormones. However the list may be different for you: I avoid soy (and other legumes) specifically because the phytoestrogens therein exacerbate my already too-high estrogen levels, while there are chemicals in legumes that can mess with receptors that I don't really understand the impact of on estrogen/progesterone uptake. What about meats and dairy treated with hormones? I avoid those, too, because they have a bit of a destabilizing effect for me if consumed in too great of quantity (small amounts don't bother me), but I don't know if these things will effect you or not. Consider wearing a sleep monitor (most smartwatches and some fitbits have this function built in) and monitoring your body temp first thing in the morning and around midday for a while, as that can give you a cheap but rough idea of what your metabolism is doing on a given day. It's very rough, but I found it useful for dialing in my meds and diet. Congrats on the new strength training regimen. Lifting is awesome!
  8. Disclaimer: I'm not familiar with the Aussie military, so I am making some assumptions based on a quick skim of the web site's "about" pages. Another disclaimer: I've never served in a selected unit, or as a member of any military. I was trained for search-and-rescue by a guy who trained selected units here in the US, though, and I've worked with selected units from time to time as a civilian. I'm sharing what I think I know, and I think it's pretty accurate...but it's still an outsider's view, and a view of another country's military at that, so take it with a grain of salt. First, grab both of the Tactical Barbell books by K. Black from http://www.tacticalbarbell.com/. These are my favorite training manuals, because they were written for field operators, and that appealed to me as a SAR geek. One has to keep a high level of fitness and one can't hyperfocus on one area the way an athlete can. One has to have strength *and* endurance *and* agility, while thinking on one's feet, often in a nasty environment. The first TB book is a strength manual, the second a conditioning manual. Get both, and read them both. You do have time to get up to the level needed if you are disciplined about it. Consider emailing the author...he often answers reader questions on his blog. The books assume you already have a fairly high minimum level of physical activity in your day, which you may not at this point. I certainly don't; I'm a desk jockey for 90% of my day job. I found that I had to make up for that by adding shorter bursts of not-quite-workout-level activity throughout my days very consciously to get the optimal return on my effort. Also consider getting some sessions with a personal trainer. You're trying to make a fairly big change in a fairly short span of time, so having a trainer to occasionally correct your form and help you through plateaus will help you progress a lot more efficiently and with less injury. You don't need to have him or her babysit you through every workout, but do get someone competent to correct your lifts semi-regularly and help review your workout plans. Here are some meta-things to think about as you train, that seem likely to serve you well in selection (assuming any Aussie/US cultural similarity): Keep a determined attitude, and maintain your ability to be good to others even when you are worn down and burnt out. Learn the difference between working around an injury and damaging yourself more. Keep working as much as possible, but know when not to damage yourself further. Every once in a while (maybe set a goal for once a month?) try something that's outside your comfort zone: something you've never tried, something you know will embarrass you, something you are afraid of, or something you know you are bad at. Push yourself, get used to being bad at things and getting on with them anyway. Learn to get satisfaction from jumping in over your head. Every once in a while, stop training and go do something useful for somebody else. I can't tie this in a concrete way to selection, other than to say that all the selected unit folks I actually respect are real sheepdogs at heart: protector personalities, who compulsively make things *better* when they see them, and who question everything. Probably more advice than you wanted, but I hope something in there is helpful.
  9. If you get your protein intake too low, all you will do is give yourself a choice between constant hunger and too many calories while messing up your blood sugar management (because you have to replace it with higher-glycemic-index stuff like carbs and fat), so I absolutely don't recommend restricting protein intake as a method to try to avoid bulking. As others have said, stick to powerlifting or the kinds of strength routines that martial artists and field operators (military, SWAT, search-and-rescue, etc.) favor, as those don't push for exaggerated bulking the way bodybuilders do. Once your hormone treatments begin, fat will start to redistribute itself, and you'll have the same non-bulking tendency as cisfemales. If your main concern is getting a feminine physique while remaining healthy, consider the following: Work your core like mad. Having a very strong set of abs and middle back is like wearing a waist cinch all the time, but without the discomfort. Squats. And more squats. Because ass and thighs, yay! Do some upper body, but choose it carefully. There are some isolation exercises that will make your shoulders look boxy. Overhead press, pull-ups, bench, and rows are fine in moderation. Side note: I'm a fairly boxy-looking female, and when about a year ago I had a guy 10 years my junior come up to me out of the blue at a con and exclaim (paraphrasing), "Oh my...your shoulders look AMAZING...Do you lift? Can we cuddle?" that was one hell of an ego boost. My chest and shoulders are the first place I'm getting visible definition, and I love it. Strong is sexy, and that's not a particularly gendered thing outside the sort of conservative circles you probably don't want to hang in anyway. So don't fret over it too much. Do not underestimate the value of mobility work. If you are concerned with walking "like a lady", especially if you prefer the catlike variant of that image to the stiffer buttoned-up variant, mobility is your friend. The more flexible you are, the easier it is, even though you won't use your full range of motion walking around the room, or picking stuff up off the floor. As far as getting leaner, the more muscle you develop, the more you'll burn energy even when you are at rest (every-minute maintenance on muscle tissue is a bit expensive as far as bodily functions go). Adding some cardio isn't a bad idea, but being a cardio bunny (girl who spends hours doing low-difficulty cardio and never lifts) is not an efficient way to change your body composition. It is possible to gain muscle while cutting fat, but the cutting fat will go more slowly than if you were *only* cutting. That said, my advice is to go for both because strength is awesome and it makes everything better. Disclaimer: All the trans-specific suggestions above are secondhand anecdotal things. I run a chat room on a related topic and we've been over this about 30 million times there, so I'm mostly just repeating what the brighter transwomen have told me. I haven't tested it or seen a study or anything.
  10. More scheduling insanity (because when isn't there?)... I got a couple more days of lifting in since my last update before work travel again interceded. This trip was not too bad in terms of staying on track; the hotel weight room was about as useless as expected, but I got a little upper body and core work done, then did a lot of walking with a friend (and some cardio machine stuff, yucky but won't hurt I guess), and three days of swimming for a solid hour or more. I was staying conversational rather than pushing hard, but given how seldom I swim any more, I still felt those long sessions. The food intake bump has been helping, but all this travel has me eating way too many carbs. Then I'm afraid to ratchet it down when I get back because the trips are so frequent and I can't afford to crash each time. I have one more trip that's in an area where staying high-protein is especially hard, but come the second week in May I'm going to try to dial back a bit, even if I can't get back to my normal for a few more weeks. Lifted this morning with @QuietRiotGrrrl, which is always awesome. Once travel calms down, I don't expect to have trouble getting back into my lifting routine again, but I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to work adequate conditioning in. I hate running and biking almost as much as I hate cardio machines, and thanks to road construction, swimming regularly is impractical. Grr.
  11. It's quite common in a variety of martial arts, and some teachers insist that it's the only way to get full power/focus when not under combat conditions. I wouldn't go so far as that, but I'll say that the making noise bit seems to help a number of students focus and/or manage their core muscles in training. It's never been my thing, but anybody who's studied for long is used to the noise and won't be bothered by it.
  12. Hi, Shai. Army rations usually aren't great fare; they tend to be chosen for cheapness and ease of storage/transport more than anything else, even the stuff in the dining halls (at least this is the case in the US). On the up side, they never seem to be tasty enough to tempt one to over-eat. Were I in your shoes, I'd take the attitude of doing the best you can with limited Army meal selection, then stock protein bars or shake mix in your room (doesn't need anything more than a shaker cup to prepare) to supplement it and make sure you get enough protein for muscle development. Set aside a "fun" meal or snack when back home, and try to really be on track the rest of the time that you are home, as that is when you have the most control over your diet. Don't worry about the proscribed levels... I haven't done the Academy program (because it didn't seem to fit me), but my impression is that it's set up to help urban/suburban desk jockies with white collar jobs and plenty of resources. That just isn't everybody. @Steaky's advice re: chosing a good support role is sound. Another I'll add to the list as suitable for a pacifist, but well respected, is a field medic. I've known many good ones. As for workout plans/ideas: Two of my favorite fitness books are Tactical Barbell and Tactical Barbell II by K. Black. The former is a strength training manual, the latter is a conditioning manual. Both were written for field operators (active duty military, SWAT, search-and-rescue, etc.), so they address some of the "special" challenges you are facing right now, such as irregular schedule, the need to get steady progress without ever nuking yourself to the point that you can't spring to work if called, and so on. They do a good job of limiting themselves to the equipment and facilities usually available on US Army bases (including forward bases, which aren't as well stocked as home-turf garrisons) such as barbell+plates+rack, pull-up bar, something to do dips on, a hill (for hill sprints!), a running track, and so on. They do assume, though, that your day job has a certain minimum level of physicality to it. I like the books because they addressed my training priorities as a SAR medic well, but I've had to do a lot of extra work around work capacity and keeping my daily activity levels up because my day job is primarily at a desk. You also might want to grab a book on bodyweight strength training. I haven't found a particular book I'm in love with in this category, yet, but pick up what you can where you can and keep tips in mind for when you find yourself without equipment. I liked the simple progressions and focus on big, many-muscle movements in "Convict Conditioning", but the author plays the jailhouse theme up in a way only sheltered suburban 20something boys with too much testosterone and too little sense can really appreciate. He also assumes that you have as much free time as you can use, which has never been the case for me (perils of not serving time, I guess...). "You Are Your Own Gym" fails to do much in terms of putting a functional workout together (maybe the author does something else? a sport or bodybuilding?), but it's got a decent library of exercises to pick and choose from. There are some really neat Russian strength manuals out there with amazing bodyweight stuff in them, but the vast majority of it is way beyond my current fitness level. There's a reason most of the military guys I know get up before dawn. That's the time you are generally least likely to get summoned somewhere by a superior. Get used to getting up before they do and working out in the mornings. It makes you look dedicated (hmm...because you are), self-disciplined (again, because it's true), and on top of that you are more likely to keep something like a steady schedule. Try building your workout plan assuming that interruptions will happen. E.g. write yourself a 4-day/week lifting plan, then give yourself five days/week open to lift. Assume one lifting day will get eaten by the army, and if it doesn't you get a nice day off toward the end of the week. Structure your conditioning similarly...give yourself flex time. Understand that in a support role (unless you are a combat engineer or medic, where you can argue that strength, agility, and endurance save lives), it will be hard to get your leadership to respect your fitness priorities, because an uber-fit commo guy, supply guy, etc vs. a mediocre one is about a 10% efficiency difference. (There are other exceptions within the support roles, but they aren't usually widely recognized by anyone with combat experience.)
  13. When you can, get something that's mostly protein for those "OMG FOOD" moments. Eggs, protein bars, meat, whatever. That'll give your stomach something to work on, feed any muscle development your body has been motivated to do by exercise, and won't impact your blood sugar levels the way carbs will (or even as much as fat does, which is itself minimal compared to carbs). Tags are how we mark what topics a post is relevant to, so that others can easily find posts that touch on their areas of interest or expertise. If you start typing (slowly) they will autocomplete...just make up what seems logical. For example, I'd have tagged this post "beginner, diet, travel".
  14. Welcome! BTDT regarding the small town thing...in the end, there's not much to be done except grow up and move on. When I go back to mine, most folks still treat me like "the fat nerdy girl", nevermind that I grew up to be an accomplished martial artist and search-and-rescue worker who lifts heavy, climbs, and can out-work most of the men there (including those ten years younger than I). Luckily, it's a big world, and if you know what you want from life and are willing to work for it, you can find it.
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