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Everything posted by kwesadilo

  1. Recently, I've been trying to build habits of things I want to do, and I've gotten pretty good at getting to bed at time, programming multiple times a week, and doing yoga multiple times a week. I've been getting to the gym when I mean to lately, but I've been kind of stagnating. I still feel stiff sometimes, but I don't seem to be getting much better at the yoga positions I've been trying. Getting to bed on time and working on programming multiple times a week seem to be good ideas, and I'd like to keep doing those, but I think my lifting and mobility programs could use some work. Goals Lifting: I have stopped making regular progress in all of my lifts at this point. I still make progress intermittently, but it doesn't feel like programming, in that my progress is basically independent of my plans. If I'm being honest, I have not made much progress overall since I finished my linear progression, like 2 years ago, at which point I started a heavy-light-medium split. During that time, none of my lifts have increased more than 55 lbs., and I know I should be able to grow faster than that at this point. I don't think heavy-light-medium is working well for me, and I want to figure out what will work better. My goal for this challenge is to select/design a new program and start trying it. That seems kind of underwhelming, but I don't think that 4 weeks are a long enough time to evaluate whether a program is working well. That's probably what has dissuaded me from experimenting up until now. I'm good at following routines, but committing to a programming change for months when I don't know what the results will be feels very risky. Flexibility: I've been doing the Nerd Fitness Yoga videos for awhile, and for most of that time, I've been able to do the hard ones. I also stretch briefly after lifting on Mondays. Admittedly, I don't always do either of those things exactly the way I intend, but it's been awhile since my flexibility seemed to improve. I still can't sit comfortably on the ground for extended periods of time, and I occasionally feel too tight to get into position properly for squats and deadlifts. My goal for this challenge is to figure out whether I need to change up my flexibility routine. I will still keep doing the routines twice a week, but I want to do some research and figure out whether I could be making more efficient use of my time. A significant part of the routines is warmup or strength work, which I arguably don't need. If I could just stretch quickly after lifting and get the same benefits, that would be preferable to me. Sleep: Same goal as before. Get in bed by 11:30 pm on five nights each week. SICP: Work on SICP for at least 30 minutes at a time, at least twice a week. Not having specific days seemed to work as well as having specific days, so I'll give myself the flexibility to use different days.
  2. Week 4 update Squats: Today 4/8 of my work reps were over my mid-foot or the middle of my laces. On Wednesday, 6/15 of my front squat reps were over my feet, even though I reduced the weight to 105. The guy next to me asked for tips on front squatting, because he had never done it before. I told him where his hands were supposed to go, and his first set had better bar path than I've ever had. I'm at about the same place I was when I started this challenge. I've learned some more stuff, but I don't think my performance has improved significantly. Yoga: Did full-length sessions on Friday and Saturday. 7/8 isn't terrible, although some of the sessions were pretty brief. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. That's 18/20. Some of the nights that I missed my bedtime, I missed it by a lot and didn't make up that sleep later. This is one of the more insidious costs of wasting a whole day on the weekends. SICP: Worked for an hour on Saturday but not at all on any other days. 5/8 isn't very good. Another casualty of vegging out on the weekends, although I could also have made more time during the week on a few occasions. I had a very productive day on Saturday, and then on Sunday, I got up on time and then picked up my phone before starting yoga, and I spent like 4 hours just looking at dumb stuff on the Internet. I managed to get to I store I wanted to get to before it closed, but after I got back, I just vegged out until it was time to go to bed, and then I stayed up late doing my cooking for the week. I didn't work on SICP or read on Sunday, which I had intended to do. It seems like, if I can avoid using my phone until after I do yoga, take a shower, and get dressed, I'll usually have a productive day; but if I look at my phone before finishing that stuff, I'm doomed to waste my entire morning on mindless browsing. I need a better system for that.
  3. Week 3 update Squats: Today, I had 3/10 work reps over my mid-foot or the middle of my shoelaces. On Wednesday, I had 12/15 work reps over my feet with 1 over my mid-foot. I again didn't lift on Friday. I was going to Saturday, but then I didn't, along with a lot of other things. Yoga: Only did one session on Sunday. A friend wanted to meet me fairly early in the day on Saturday, and that disturbed my schedule enough that I became lazy and didn't do anything else that I had intended, including yoga. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. SICP: Did about 45 minutes of work on Sunday but none on any other days.
  4. Thanks! Alas, it was not to be followed up this week.
  5. Week 2 update Squats: Last Wednesday, 9/13 of my front squat work reps were over my feet, but none were over my mid-foot. I started at 145 and then backed down to 135 after the bar started to slip out of my hands. I think I need to get my torso more vertical before I can increase the weight. I went out of town on Friday and didn't lift. Today, I used a rack that I can't easily film from the side. I took video from behind, and I was able to see that my heels were coming up a little at the bottom. Focusing on keeping my knees out helped it get a little better. Yoga: I did short sessions on Thursday and Sunday. Sleep: I know I got to bed on time Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, and I'm pretty sure I got Friday. SICP: Did 30 minutes on Wednesday and 30 minutes on Sunday. I also deadlifted 355x5 for the first time today, so there's that.
  6. Week 1 update Squats: My front squat works reps last Wednesday were 14/15 over my feet with 2 over my mid-foot or the middle of my shoelaces. I'm up to 145 now, and I can feel that I am leaning forward at the bottom, which is putting a lot of pressure on my wrists. I will probably stay at this weight until I get a little more stable. On Friday, 5/15 of my work reps for back squat were over my mid-foot, and the other 10 were over the middle of my shoe laces. That was at 305. Today, I squatted 345x5 for the first time but failed on rep 5 of set 2. However, that failed rep was over my mid-foot, making 4/10 of my work reps over my mid-foot and another 5/10 over the middle of my laces. My back-off sets were consistently over my mid-foot or the middle of my laces, too. This is starting to come together. Yoga: Did a full-length session on Saturday and a perfunctory session on Sunday. Sleep: Got Monday through Thursday and Saturday, which is 5. On Sunday, I was lazy all day and then stayed up super late, because I hadn't gotten done the things I needed to do for Monday. Not a good look. SICP: Did about 45 minutes on Tuesday but didn't do any work on other days.
  7. My last challenge worked out well, and my goals seem like useful ones, so I'm basically just doing the same thing again. Goals Squat form: My goal is again to get to the point where I can do a heavy squat set and be confident that the bar will stay over my mid-foot. Last challenge, I got the point where it's possible, but it still doesn't happen every time. Yoga: I still want to do 2 yoga sessions every week. I'm playing with the idea of changing up my stretching routine so that all of my regular stretching takes places at the end of my workouts, after I'm already warmed up. That seems like it would save time, but I don't know how long I actually have to spend stretching to observe an increase in flexibility. Sleep: I want to get to bed by 11:30 pm at least 5 days every week. No rolling over to next week. SICP: I want to spend at least 30 minutes working through Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs on two different days each week. No rolling over. Last challenge, I had separate, 30-minute goals for Tuesday or Thursday and Saturday or Sunday. I'm not sure whether that helped me stay on track or just got in my way. I can anticipate one weekend during this challenge during which it is very unlikely that I will have any time to program, so I will remove that restriction this time, and we'll see what happens.
  8. Week 4 update Squats: Today, 5/25 of my work reps were over my mid-foot, and another 10/25 were over the middle of my shoelaces. My last work set was entirely over my mid-foot and mid-laces. Alas, I reflexively deleted the video. It was also a 5RM, and a 5x5 PR (340), so it was pretty glorious. On Wednesday, 28/41 of my front squat reps were over my feet, and a couple of them were even over my mid-foot. My front-squat work sets seem to be more over my feet than my warm-ups. I'm not sure if that's just because I'm warmed up, or because the heavier weight forces me to have better form to avoid dropping it. My goal was to get the point where I could be confident that a heavy set of 5 would be over my mid-foot. I'm not there yet, but I've gotten to the point where that is a possibility. I'll call this 50% done. Yoga: Did it on Saturday and Sunday, although the Sunday session was somewhat abbreviated. This is 100% complete, although I would have liked a couple of my sessions to be longer. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Amazingly, this was 100% complete. I thought I had missed at least a day. SICP: Worked on this for more than 30 minutes on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. 100% complete. This also worked out better than I thought it would. Maybe I will keep the split between Tuesday/Thursday and Saturday/Sunday.
  9. Week 3 update Squats: Today, 2/25 of my work reps were over my mid-foot, and another 11/25 were over the middle of my shoelaces, which is dramatically better than last week. Coincidentally, I also did 335x5x5 for the first time. The most I had previously squatted was 335x5x3, and the most I had squatted recently was 330. On Wednesday, 24/41 of my front squat reps were over my feet, which is about the same as last week. My elbows are still a little sore, but I don't think it's quite as bad as last week. Yoga: Did it on Saturday and Sunday. Sleep: Got to bed on time Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. SICP: Did half an hour on Thursday and half an hour tonight. This is a little shady, but I'll count tonight's work for Sunday, since it's a long weekend.
  10. Week 2 update Squats: Today, 3/25 of my work reps were over the middle of my shoelaces, which is a little better than last week. On Wednesday, 22/36 of my front squat reps were over my feet. I have started to notice that my elbows are sore after I squat heavy. I think that I am used to gripping the bar at an angle that keeps my hands above it when I am leaned forward, but now that I am leaning back a little more, my hands slide below the bar. I can avoid doing it if I concentrate, but it's hard to do that when I'm concentrating on not being crushed by 330 lbs. Yoga: Did it on Saturday and Sunday, although the Sunday session was pretty perfunctory. Sleep: Got to bed on time Monday through Friday. I started to get to bed on time Sunday, but I decided to forego the extra sleep in service of my programming goal. SICP: Did about an hour on Thursday and again on Sunday. I think I might have also programmed some on Friday.
  11. This has been one of the harder things for me to keep doing over a long period of time, but it makes a lot of other stuff go noticeably better. Hopefully, I can stick with it.
  12. Week 1 update Squats: Today, 0 of my work reps were over my mid-foot, but none of them were in front of my feet, so that's something. On Wednesday, 20/35 of my front squat sets were over my feet. I've started putting weight on the bar for front squats, since I seemed to have gotten all I was going to get out of trying to do it better with just the bar. 12/15 of my work reps were over my feet. Yoga: Did it on Saturday and Sunday. Sleep: Got to bed on time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. SICP: Worked for 30 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I should probably have made this goal to work for 30 minutes on any 2 of the 4 days that I listed, but it seems to be working so far, anyway.
  13. I haven't posted a squat video in awhile. I may get around to it this challenge.
  14. I'm doing pretty much what I was doing last time, except hopefully better. Fix my squat form. This has improved in the past 5 weeks or so, but I still want to get to the point where I can do a heavy set of 5 and be confident that they will be over my mid-foot. Do yoga twice a week. Get in bed by 11:30 pm 5 nights each week. Work on SICP for at least 30 minutes on Tuesday or Thursday night and at least 30 minutes on Saturday or Sunday. Tuesday and Thursday worked pretty well last time, so I want to expand this. None of my weekly goals are allowed to borrow from future weeks. I've found that doesn't encourage responsible behavior.
  15. Week 4 update Lifting: Last Wednesday, 21/45 front squat reps were over my feet, which is just a little bit better than last week. I didn't lift on Friday. Today, 14/20 of my warmup reps were over my mid-foot or the middle of my shoelaces. I had a set of 195x5 that was entirely over my mid-foot. 3/25 of my work-set reps were over the middle of my laces, and 23/25 were over my feet. I am not sure what accounts for this dramatic improvement over a couple weeks ago. It is especially surprising, considering that my front squats last week were nothing special, and this is only my second heavy squat workout at my customary volume since mid-June. Although I made significant progress, I didn't come very close to accomplishing this goal. Yoga: I was out of town this weekend, and I did not do any yoga sessions. I did 5/8 sessions overall. I didn't assign any points for this challenge, so I'll just give this a 5/8. Sleep: I got to bed on time on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday. Saturday was close, and my bedtime procedures were somewhat different than usual, but I'll not count it to keep myself honest. That's 4/5 days for the week. Overall, that's 17/20. I'll call this goal mostly accomplished. SICP: I did 30 minutes on Thursday. After I knew I was going to miss my bedtime, I figured I might as well go for it. That's 3 (or 3.5) out of 4 total intended sessions. This wasn't my worst challenge ever, but it wasn't spectacular either. I will probably continue to work on these same things next time. I think getting to bed on time has made me more productive in general, and my new approach to SICP lends itself to consistency, if not speed. For those wondering what happened with my phone that was out of storage space, I rebooted it and got back about 4 GB out of nowhere.
  16. Week 3 update Lifting: Last Wednesday, 17/40 front squat reps were over my feet, which is about what it was before. On Friday, I was forced to take videos from much closer to myself than usual, resulting in videos in which it is difficult to determine where the bar actually is. It kind of looked like a lot of reps were over my mid foot, which would have been surprising. Today, my phone ran out of space and couldn't take any videos after my first few warmup sets. It's been running on fumes for awhile. I really need to get a new one. Yoga: Did full-length sessions on Saturday and Sunday, along with foam rolling on Saturday. Sleep: Got to bed on time Monday through Friday. I didn't get to bed on time on Sunday, which was dumb. I started watching animal GIFs at like 10:30 and kept going until after midnight. SICP: I did problems for like 50 minutes on Thursday and then again for maybe an hour on either Saturday or Sunday. Lately, I seem to be able to stay mostly on task for one of the weekend days, which is an improvement over a few months ago. I'm not sure what I need to do to maintain the momentum.
  17. Week 2 update Lifting: My back squat sets today were about the same as last Monday in that about half of my warmup reps were over my mid-foot or the middle of my shoelaces, and the rest were forward of that. Then 2/5 of my work reps were over my feet and the rest were in front of them. Believe it or not, that's a significant improvement over 2 weeks ago. Last Wednesday, less than half of my front squat reps had the bar in front of my toes, but more than the previous Wednesday. I do think I'm getting better at sitting back at the bottom of either squat, but I still sometimes lose my balance at the bottom. Yoga: Did full-length sessions on Saturday and Sunday plus foam rolling on Sunday. I feel considerably less stiff than I did 2 weeks ago. Sleep: I got to bed on time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. I can't remember what I was doing to miss it on Monday. On Thursday, I got distracted by the Internet for awhile before dinner, then ended up getting to bed around 11:45. On Sunday, I got distracted for awhile in the afternoon and stayed up too late cooking dinner. SICP: I was busy on Tuesday night and did not make an attempt. On Thursday, I was vegetating and didn't start until too late. I only got 15 minutes in, and I still ended up getting to bed late. Double bummer. I did get like 45 minutes on Saturday, but that doesn't count towards my goal this time.
  18. Week 1 update Lifting: I did a bunch of sets of front squats with the bar on Wednesday. They were a little unstable, but they did force me to keep my back tighter than I typically would. On Friday, more of my warm-up squat reps were as far back as the middle of my shoelaces than I think has been the case recently. Yoga: I only did it once on Sunday. I meant to do it Saturday night, but I didn't get around to it. Sleep: I got to bed on time on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday(!), and Sunday. I didn't make it on Saturday, and obviously I am not going to make it today. I did notice today that I was considerably more focused at work than I was last week, and I feel less tired generally. SICP: I did 30 minutes on Thursday, although it almost made me miss my bedtime.
  19. This challenge will mostly be about getting back into my regular routine after it was disrupted by, among other things, preparing for 2 different competitions and going on vacation. Goals Fix my squat form. I want to get where I can do a set of 5 and be confident that all of my reps will keep the bar within an inch or so of my mid-foot. Do yoga twice a week. I've had this goal for a few challenges now, but I haven't quite made it an ingrained habit yet. Get in bed by 11:30 pm at least 5 days each week. I'm tempted to say every work night, but sleep is actually something you can catch up on from day to day. That being said, this resets every Monday at midnight. Borrowing missed milestones from future weeks has not worked out well for me in previous challenges. Work on SICP for at least 30 minutes on at least 1 of Tuesday or Thursday each week. No borrowing from week to week. Hopefully, this considerably reduced goal will help me get into a routine with this.
  20. Week 4 update and wrap-up Lifting: The competition was this week. I squatted 365, benched 235, and deadlifted 365. I doubt I could have benched 240, but my other lifts felt like they had some room left. In particular, my deadlifts were surprisingly easy. I even did my opener without a belt without noticing. When I don't make my reps on deadlift, I usually lose the ability to reset my back properly during the set. I think, because it was only one rep, I didn't have that problem. I competed. +3 STR Running: I did my last aerobic threshold run on Tuesday. I ran around the same track that I used 8 weeks ago, but I ran about 2 miles this time. The first was at a 16:15 pace, and the second was at a 15:50 pace. I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to beat my original pace of 15:11. However, it was 17 degrees hotter outside than the first time, so this probably still represents progress. Ran every week. +3 STA Yoga: I did yoga on Saturday and Sunday and foam rolled. It was pretty intense foam rolling session after the long layoff. I got 7 out of 8 sessions. I'll consider that acceptable. +2 DEX SICP: I only did about 1.5 hours on Sunday. I did occupy myself usefully for most of the weekend, but it wasn't doing this. I only did half of the hours that I had as my goal, and I did not make much progress at all in the book. This is pretty tragic. I think I need to change my approach to this. I should probably allocate specific times during the week that I need to work on it. +0 WIS
  21. Week 3 update Lifting: I did a not-too-heavy normal workout last Monday. I was still pretty tired from Friday. On Wednesday, I worked up to my openers, which are 320 for squat, 205 for bench, and 320 for deadlift. On Friday, I did a light recovery workout. Running: Last Tuesday, it was raining pretty hard, so I ran inside on the treadmill. I was pleased to find that my heart rate monitor connected to the treadmill without me having to do anything. I was somewhat surprised that the treadmill did not always display the same heart rate as my watch. I ran a mile at a 16:15 average pace. Last week was pretty hot, and there wasn't any wind, because I wasn't moving, but I still wish this had been faster. Yoga: I did one full-length session on Thursday and another yesterday. That's technically not during week 3, but I'll allow it. I haven't foam rolled in about 3 weeks now, and I'm starting to feel stiffer as I move around. SICP: I didn't do anything this week, so now I am 4.5 hours behind. I went to a family reunion from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon. I still had time to do SICP and yoga after I got home, but I vegged out for most of the evening anyway and ended up getting to bed late.
  22. Week 2 update Lifting: I tested my maxes on Friday. Squatted 355 (surprising), benched 230, and deadlifted 360 (surprising, but not in a good way). I think I have a problem bracing at the bottom of the deadlift, but I'm not going to fix it before the contest. I'll add it to the list. I was feeling pretty weak during today's workout and went a bit light across the board. My original plan was to work up to my openers on Friday, but I might want to give myself more time to recover from that before the meet. I could try to work up to them on Wednesday, but I don't know if I'll be sufficiently recovered from today. I guess I'll see how I'm feeling. And I don't know what my openers will be yet. Running: Ran on the same loop as last time, but this time I ran 5.55 miles at a 10:50 pace. I attribute this dramatic improvement to the cooler weather on Tuesday. Yoga: Only one full-length session on Sunday. I wasted a lot of time just sitting around on Saturday. SICP: Got 2 hours in on Sunday, so now I'm 1.5 hours behind.
  23. Week 1 update Lifting: Here is what I plan to do for a taper. Squat, bench, and deadlift are on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd, respectively. Those are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. This Friday (~1.5 weeks out), I will test my maxes in each lift. Next Friday (.5 weeks out), I will work up to singles at my opening weights (TBD). Next Monday, I may go lighter than usual. I'm not sure. On the week of the competition, I won't do any other lifting. Ideally, I would be giving myself a little more recovery time between heavy singles and the meet, but I don't feel like rearranging my week so that I lift on Tuesdays, and it's pretty much too late for that anyway. My squat will be the most disadvantaged, but it was going to be lame anyway. Running: Ran 3.41 miles in the park on Tuesday. I found a trail loop that is just a little bit hilly, and I was able to average a 16:15/mile pace and jog for extended periods of time. Yoga: 2 full-length sessions on Saturday and Sunday, plus foam rolling. SICP: Got 2.5 hours on Saturday and Sunday. I actually sat at the computer for quite a bit longer than that, but I kept getting distracted. It's not part of my challenge, but I benched 200x5x5 tonight, which is a first. I also deadlifted 350x1. A guy at the gym suggested that my deadlift may be suffering from coming last in a long, heavy workout. After the competition, I may try to switch heavy and medium days for deadlift.
  24. I'm a software engineer. I'm pleased that it's happening, but I wish more than a few people had signed up. It looks like it will only be 3 people that already lift regularly.
  25. I'm getting off to my usual late start. I went out of town for Memorial Day and have been playing catch-up since then. This is mostly a continuation of my previous challenge. Goals Lifting: During the last week of this challenge, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the gym at my work will be hosting a mock powerlifting meet. It is pretty non-standard, particularly in that it will take place with each lift on a separate day to avoid interfering unduly with work. Nevertheless, it will be the first time I have lifted in a competitive setting and the first time that I have tested my maxes since I started barbell training several years ago. My nominal goal is merely to compete, but I also plan to go on some kind of taper, which I've never done before. I'd also like to set PRs for bench and deadlift. Setting a squat PR is unlikely, as longtime readers will know, because I am currently squatting well below my PR in order to correct a nagging form issue. This is worth 3 STR. Running: Run once a week. Running as you taper for a powerlifting meet? Insanity! Actually, for the duration of this challenge, including the meet. I will continue to be "running" exclusively in the aerobic zone for about an hour a week. I've been doing this for 5 weeks now, and it doesn't seem to have interfered with my lifts. It's really very light. The question is whether it will help for the 5k I am running in on July 2nd. This is worth 3 STA. Yoga: Same deal as before. Two full-length sessions per week. 2 DEX SICP: Also the same as last challenge. 3 hours a week doing SICP exercises. 2 WIS
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