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Mark D

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About Mark D

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  • Birthday 06/15/1963

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    New Jersey
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  1. I've been away from the gym since August. A cramp caused a pulled muscle, which led to numbness in my foot. Doctor says it's from inflammation from the muscle pull. It's time to overcome the inertia and get back to weight training. Its been a while since my last challenge but I thought it might help inspire me to get back to it. i don't know how badly I've detrained, but it's time to get back. I've been doing a linear progression, so I'll go back to that. main goal: get stronger. Details: Gym three times a week. Barbell lifts, squats, presses, bench press, deadlifts and lat pull downs. Eat clean, supplemented with protein shakes as appropriate.
  2. Allow me to introduce my wife. She's new to the forums and not as nerdly as her husband. Lymmmm Sweetie.
  3. Wildross: Best of everything my friend. You were a great help to me when I started here. Best of everything to you.
  4. I'm in a similar situation, my gym opens at 5:00 am, and I have to be in my car, showered and dressed, by about 5:50 in order to get to work on time (I commute by public transportation, so my commute is measured in hours). On gym days I get up at 4:30 am (yuck, but it's only about 45 minutes earlier than usual). I just drink water before a workout, never tried the BCAAs. After the workout I have a shake made of a scoop of chocolate whey powder (I like Optimum Nutrition 100% Natural, it has a little sugar but I HATE the taste of artificial sweeteners, gives me an aftertaste like the entire Chinese army walked thru my mouth barefoot), 8 oz of unsweetened chocolate almond milk, a half a frozen banana, and a tablespoon or so of peanut butter all blended in a blender. I find if I don't have the shake I'm STARVING by the time I get to work and have my breakfast (generally two hard boiled eggs, sometimes with some oatmeal too). Make sure you get your gym stuff together the night before, have it all next to the bed so you don't have to go looking for stuff. I started with Stronglifts, I found it a little more than I could recover from (I'm 53 years old, so I need a couple days between workouts), so I go twice a week and I do Greyskull. As the weights get heavier and I need more recovery between sets, I may switch to a four-day-a-week with only one major lift per session instead of two, so I can keep my time constraints. My wife is talking about us building a barbell gym in the garage, which would help a lot, no driving to the gym. It's only about a 15 minute drive, but that's still a half hour out of my morning, plus time spent finding the stuff I need at the gym (2.5 lb plates are in such short supply, and so often scattered around, that I bought my own).
  5. My wife and I pulled the trigger last night and we both joined the NF Academy, and signed up for our respective FB groups. We've both slacked off lately in our fitness goals, partly holidays, partly winter/weather/blah, and in my case a bad cold that's hung on for WEEKS. We're looking forward to getting back on track, getting the eating under control, and continuing to improve. Wife has also been talking about going to Camp Nerd Fitness this year, so maybe we'll see you folks there!
  6. Indeed, I stay FAR away from people mid-set. I won't even change my weight plates if the person in the rack next to me is doing their set, because the racks are pretty close together and it's too easy to interfere with the moving barbell when you're between them, or even just to distract them because they know how close you must be to the end of the bar. I also had someone (who actually WORKS at the gym) bump my barbell with a stability ball as she walked past carrying it, while I was bench pressing. I nearly went off on her, the VAST majority of serious injuries in the gym happen on bench press, where the weighted bar is, you know, OVER YOUR CHEST AND THROAT. She didn't hit it HARD, but enough that I knew she'd done it. I was NOT happy that morning.
  7. A couple weeks ago I was in the gym, doing my squats in the squat rack (because someone was using the one and only power-rack). During my warm-ups the guy in the rack asked me if I needed a spot, I told him I didn't because I was on a deload, so I knew I could handle the weight. Besides, squat rack. He replied that he NEVER deloads. I asked him how old he is, he replied "24". I said to talk to me in 30 years (I'm 53), he'll be deloading. Then during my work set he comes over and says to me "Dude, you got this, crush that weight, make it your BITCH". I asked him not to talk to me during a set, it distracts me and I prefer to stay focused. The three most annoying people in the gym, the bro who curls in the power rack, the naked old man in the locker room who stands next to you and talks to you while you're sitting (putting his business in your face), and the guy who insists upon talking to you during a set.
  8. I go to the gym in the morning and shower, then head to work, so I'm in the same boat (although I have short hair). My gym supplies towels which really aren't much use, they stop absorbing water and I'm still wet, so I bring my own. I use the gym towel to stand on, had athlete's foot before, don't want it again. As others said, flip-flops (I have a cheap plastic pair), towel, shampoo/soap (I prefer liquid soap because bar soap gets yucky if it's put away wet), deodorant and clothes. I have enough time, and am close enough, that I can stop at home to drop off my towel most times, but if I don't have time it's not too bad to leave it in the car. If it gets funky I just drop it in the hamper and take a new one, we have plenty of mis-matched towels. As for getting over the nudity thing, I'm personally at the awkward age, too young to just walk around the locker room naked, but too old to worry about trying to get my underwear on with the towel still around my waist. I don't go waving my junk around, but if someone sees something we'll both survive the experience.
  9. I belted early because I've had back problems in the past and don't want them again, and the belt allows me to brace my abs harder thereby moving more weight, working more muscles and getting stronger. As others said though, a belt won't fix your form. Also, the belt shouldn't be THAT uncomfortable once it's broken in. Yeah, I wouldn't want to wear it if I don't need to, but it's not like "I can't wait to get this thing off!" either, and I only use it for the last warm-up and the work set. Is it wide enough that it's digging into your ribs? If so maybe a narrower belt? I deadlift without the belt because mine is too wide, it interferes with my thighs or digs into my ribs, so I only use it for squats.
  10. I guess that makes sense. I figured as long as I keep making progress the program is working for me. Last year I tried Stronglifts 5x5 three days a week and found it to be more than my then-52-year old body could recover from. I tried doing it just two days a week and doing accessory lifts the third day. Then took some time off for various reasons. Then I discovered Greyskull and started it last May and it seems to be a good fit for me. I'm still worn out the day I go but I seem to be back by the time I go again. I usually lift on Wednesday and Saturday. Oh, I forgot to mention above, deadlifts are only done one set AMRAP, not 5/5/AMRAP.
  11. Something I noticed about my program, and thought I'd share. I've been doing Greyskull. For those not familiar, in a nutshell it's 3x5 with a couple differences: 1) Based on squats, deadlifts, OHP and bench press. Only two "main" lifts per session instead of 3 2) Accessory lifts are optional (I haven't been doing them, largely for time constraints because I have to get to work) 3) Upper body first (the idea being that presses aren't likely to wear you out for squats/DL, but squats/DL sure can wear you out for presses). 4) After warm-ups, you do three sets, first two sets of 5 and the last As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP) 5) If the last set is between 5 and 10 reps, increase next time by standard amount (5 lbs for squats and DL, 2.5 lbs for OHP and BP) 6) If the last set is more than 10, increase by double the standard amount next time 7) If the last set is less than 5, next time decrease the weight on that lift by 10% (rounding down to multiple of standard amount). I lift twice a week (I found I couldn't recover adequately lifting 3x a week). I started in late May, and I've now had to deload all four lifts at least once. Here's what I noticed: the first session on a deload (when I'm doing a weight I did some time before), I usually just manage to get my five reps on the last set, I seldom manage to squeeze out a sixth. But on the NEXT session (where I'm still doing lighter than I failed on), I CRUSH it, usually getting 7 or 8 reps despite only getting five on the lighter weight last time. Then when I get back to the weight where I'd previously failed, I manage to blow past it and I'll fail again at some higher weight. Using this method I'd already set PRs on all four lifts, so I'd have to say the program is working for me. I find it odd that I can't seem to do more reps on a weight I'd previously done, but the next session when it gets heavier I get more reps. Maybe my body just needs the rest, and it comes back stronger afterward.
  12. For the foreseeable future I'll only be able to train one day a week instead of my usual twice a week. My morning commute takes me thru the Hoboken railroad terminal, which had a major accident last week (one person dead and 108 injured when a train didn't stop and crashed into the terminal, bringing down part of the roof). The terminal is closed until it can be repaired. Normally I've been doing a barbell program on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but because I now have to leave earlier I can't get to the gym on Wednesday (it opens at 5:00, and I need to be on the bus stop at 5:30). I COULD do a longer workout on Saturday if that seems a good idea. I'm fine with it being a case of just maintaining what I've done so far, I just don't want to go back to square-one. Once my commute is back to normal I can go back to my normal workout schedule. For those wondering why I only workout twice a week, at age 53 I found I need more than a day off between workouts to recover. I've been doing Greyskull, bench-press and deadlifts on Wednesday and OHP and squats on Saturday. If I'm only going on Saturdays I'd probably add rows or lat-pulldowns, and maybe do three sets of squats and one of deadlifts, possibly alternate BP and OHP for my upper body "push". Thoughts?
  13. So we're back to "toerags". Thanks for the education. I've no plans on ever competing myself, lifting for me is merely a means to an end (being strong and healthy). This has been a good learning experience for me though.
  14. Obviously you know more about it than I do. I'm just "thinking out loud", people (lifters OR spotters) getting hurt at a competition hurts the sport. Given what you've taught me here, it seems spotters are the way to go, but someone (the organizer, I presume) needs to make sure the spotters are properly trained and can handle the weight their spotting. Plus the lifters themselves need to not be "toerags" too, which would probably go a long way to getting people to volunteer to spot. Powerlifting seems to be an extremely safe sport for the most part, but when things go pear-shaped they do so in a hurry, and people CAN get hurt. I tend to be safety conscious (comes from a long time spent at various shooting sports), so I'm always looking to mitigate risk. Hmmm, the engineer in me is looking for a solution.... I'm assuming the problem of damaging the bar is because it's dropped onto something that has no "give" (the safeties on the rack) and because the distance it's dropped is variable. The problem with spotters is that they may not be strong enough to handle their end of the barbell, and there's only so many spotters you can GET on the end of a barbell so putting more people on it is problematic. (I'm ignoring the issue of poor spotter training, there's no engineering solution to that. I'm only addressing the issue of getting enough muscle under the end of the bar to make for a safe lift, without damaging the equipment.) OK, picture a power rack, but instead of the steel safeties you have a nylon strap (like a tow-strap for towing a car). One end is anchored up high, it's looped under the end of the bar, back up to the other end of the rack, and down to a human spotter thru a pulley who can raise and lower the loop as needed. If the bar is dumped the nylon strap (you could maybe even use climbing rope) and spotter provide some "give" to keep from damaging the bar, if the weight is heavy you can have multiple spotters on the strap, or a pulley system to amplify the spotters strength. I'll await my royalty check....
  15. I'm actually thinking power rack/safety in conjunction with spotters, so the rack only comes into play if the spotters lose the barbell and it prevents someone from getting hurt or killed. I'm thinking specifically about the guy in the video who got bend over backward and wound up on the floor, where the announcers even thought he'd been hurt. Better a bent bar than someone getting seriously hurt, no? I don't know if that makes sense. I was also under the impression that if the safeties on the rack are set properly (as-in, just below where the bar ends up at the bottom of the squat) the bar shouldn't be damaged if you have to dump it, but maybe that only applies for weights that mere mortals can lift?
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