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  1. The time has come again Warriors, it's time to test our strength on the platform. All the workouts we put our bodies through, sometimes fun, sometimes painful, and sometimes monotonous, have all led up to this, showing what you've got and how you've progressed in those maximal displays of strength and power. Go dust off your armor, sharpen your blades, and prepare to grip it and rip it. Every 4 months, the Warriors come out to play and hold our virtual lifting competitions, which the whole forum is welcome to come participate in. When we start the actual Virtual Competition, a link will be posted here. This mini-challenge is about getting ready to lift those heaviest of heavy loads. Preparing your armor. Before you go into battle, you need to know what it is you're up against. What you'll need to defend against and what type of armor to wear. If you plan on competing in any federation sanctioned powerlifting competition, you'll need to be a bit stricter about what you wear. During the virtual competition, you will not be forced to wear a singlet but in real competitions, these are a requirement. Here is a list of the equipment that you can use in order to still be considered eligible for a "raw" lift. You also want to know exactly what it means to successfully complete one of your lifts. These also become a bit stricter than your usual day at the gym, and it's also one of the biggest reasons we harp on you hitting at least parallel in your squats. Each of the three big lifts are described here and success requirements for each lift are laid out on pages 9 & 10. Your Challenge: Familiarize yourself with the rules of powerlifting meets, especially when it comes to what ranges of motion you need to hit and where you need to pause in the lifts in order for them to count. +1 Wisdom for those who do. Preparing your weapons. Now that you know what you're up against, it's time we gave ourselves some weapons. The virtual lifting meet and sanctioned meets follow the same format: you get 3 attempts to lift as much as possible in Squat, then Bench, then Deadlift. 3 attempts, that's it. So, we need to know exactly what we want to try to hit on each of those attempts. The first step is knowing what your theoretical 1 Rep Max (1RM) is for each of the three lifts. The easiest way to do this is to find a rep max for a lighter weight (say for 4 reps, but no way you'd get 5), and use a calculator like one of these: EXRX.net or T Nation(slightly nsfw). You can now use this number to plan out your three attempts. First Lift / Your Opener: Let's get one thing straight, you're not going to put up great numbers if you don't hit your opener. This lift should be heavy enough to inspire confidence in you but light enough that you could roll out of bed with a hangover and hit it. What could you hit for a double or triple? Think somewhere around the 90-92% range. Second Lift: This is not where you go big. This is where you hit a lift that you are 100% convinced that you can make that will raise your total score. This should be a hard lift, but not so hard that you risk losing it. Think somewhere in the range of 94-98% of your 1RM. Third Lift: Here's where we go big. Time to try for a new personal best. How did the last lift feel? Good? Go for your 1RM + 5lbs. Great? Go for your 1RM + 10-15lbs. Cake? Throw a gorram plate on there. Here's the thing, you still want to hit this lift. You don't want to try and fail, so if the day is feeling crappy, it's also completely acceptable and smart to take a bit off your final planned attempt if you're just not in the groove. Make the last attempt, be happy you increased your score, and move on to the next lift. Examples My current 1RM for squats is around 475; I plan on looking for 485 at the end of the day. My attempts will look something like this: 1st: (475) @ 92% = 435 2nd: (475) @ 97% = 460 3rd: (475) @ 102% = 485 Reading material: Maryland Powerlifting writeupAndy Bolton, simple tipYour Challenge: Plan out your three attempts for each lift. +1 Wisdom to those who do. Prepare Your Body Part of participating in a competition is making sure you are going in fresh so that you are at 100%. Lifting heavy weights takes a toll on the body and it needs to be prepared for that stress. The further along you are in your lifting journey, the larger the toll. As you become more adapt at lifting consistently, your body will become accustomed to certain levels of stress. That said, prepping for a competition is nothing like your regular "heavy" days. For you novices, the workout before the competition should be a light day. Reduce your working loads by 20-30% and just get the reps in, keep the movement patterns ingrained and get the blood flowing. Avoid anything that requires work set level effort. This will give your body more time to recover before the competition and make sure it is ready to exert 100% effort rather than maybe 90-95%. For you intermediates, in addition to the light workout before the competition, the two before that should also be light or medium. If you are on a weekly periodization program like the Texas Method, this is especially true. You have learned to put such effort into the lifts and take your body to such a level of exertion that it takes more than just 1 light workout for your body to fully recover. While a light day is 30% lighter than working sets, a medium day may only be 15% lighter. This allows you to still get work in and maintain strength, but does not put as high of a recovery toll on the body. Personally, I like to do a light workout at 3 sets of 5 reps for each lift at around 50% 1RM 3-5 days before the competition, then take the rest off, focusing on getting really good sleep and food intake and making sure I'm at 100% for those lifts. Your challenge: Take it easy, rest up, and prepare yourself as best you can to put in an all out effort on the day you put in your entry. +1 Constitution to those who do. This mini is copied word for word from Gainsdalf who borrowed it from the two Seth did back in early 2013. Since, I was called out for not citing my sources last time, so make sure you read it in Gainsdalf's voice. This Challenge will end on 26 FEB
  2. So, it’s challenge time again, and I did not complete the last challenge because of reasons. But, it’s Lent which is a time of making space and such, and I have a much easier time giving up things during this season for whatever reason. So, enter the de-CRAP-tastic challenge! Goal 1: Decrapify my home Let’s be frank: I buy too much stuff that I end up not even using. I have an amazon box still unopened in my house. So, for Lent, I am going to challenge myself to remove 40 bags of stuff in 40 days. I get Sundays off [because they’re not in Lent, do the math, how cool!] or one day of the week of my choosing = 4 points per bag -> 160 points possible Goal 2: Refrain from buying MOAR CRAP that ends up in my home Until Easter, I will not buy anything that isn’t essential to my survival. This includes food/perishables and paper products. This does NOT include: - purses - makeup - starbucks [when not going out with friends] etc - breakfast sandwiches [i work from home] - the next doodad or gadget I must have I’ll put everything I want on a wishlist [which helps my family with birthday gift choices next month], and at the end of the challenge, I’ll evaluate what items I still want and which ones I didn’t need to buy in the first place = -1 point for every $1 I spend extraneously Goal 3: Reduce crap in my diet I really resonated with raptron’s realization that it is easy to make myself do the things I don’t want to do versus getting myself to NOT DO things I want to do [like eat ice cream]. So, I’m going to focus on the things that I can add to my routine, and not the things I should cut out from my routine. The daily checklist: + Eat protein at every meal + Drink 100oz of water + Eat 5+ cups of vegetables + Log what I eat BONUS POINTS: + MOVE everyday (mobility, walking, workout) + Mindful eating (chew your food slowly, get away from the TV) + Sleep 7-9 hours = 184 points possible [not including bonus] Goal 4: Clear out the mental crap I use the internet WAY too much, and I mostly am sucked into a time vortex which doesn’t do a lot for me, and just leaves things piling up. Also, I have a lot of crap that runs through my head and I don’t take enough time to brain dump it. To wit, I shall: + Turn off the internet at 7 pm every day [2 points per day] + Write a reflection / lessons learned on the day [2 points per day] = 184 points possible You’ll notice I don’t have any specific lifting goals - this is because I’ve gotten into olympic lifting and love it and it’s actually not an issue with willingness to go to class or my personal coaching. I never thought I’d be in a position to say that regarding exercise, but it’s true!
  3. I originally wasn’t going to do a challenge this time, as I’ve struggled with internal peer pressure on these things. I’d been putting things in a battle log, which I update just as I go and a little less stressful for me. But then I saw starpuck’s challenge where she’s doing a weekly challenge and that is more up my alley. So, here I am, ready or not! I’ve selected a word for the year: Prioritize. I want to prioritize my emotional, physical, and mental well being. This may mean I’ll need to make difficult choices, but I’m up for that. So, I’ve made a list of tasks I wish to do for the year, the month, weekly, and daily. The daily builds into the weekly, which builds into the monthly, etc. I’ll save the excess commentary on each one and just list my tasks, which I will track this week. WEEK #1 - Jan 5 - Jan 11: Daily Tasks: Meditate for 10 min Journal for 10 min Declutter for 15 min Sitting Solution workout Track food No recreational sugar Make 3 calls Pray get 8+ hours sleep walk 6,000 steps Practice French for 15 min Weekly Tasks: Take progress photos and measurements Go to church Work out 3 times Walk 15 miles Weekly planning Give away/Throw away 52 items Go to 2 OA meetings Meal planning / order kitchfix Grocery shopping Blog post Choose 2 meetup events to go to Organize Jan brunch with friends Mail sorting Filing Shredding This does look like a lot to do, but there are a lot of things that I can do while on conference calls [WFH FTW!], and I will need to stick to PRIORITIZE, and put these things before less important things like TV and dorking around on the internet. We’ll see how this goes!
  4. 18 weeks until the big day when I turn 40, that's 126 days, 42 of them are in this challenge and I'm gonna make them count. Main Challenge Goal Cut 1.5% Body fat Goal 1 (DEX 2, CHA 1) Track calories more than half the days this challenge (22 or more), aim for a calorie deficit of 750 a day. Goal 2 (STR 5) No more than 3 alcoholic drinks at one time. I've tried lots of methods to be able to drink during a challenge without going over the top. The main one that works is zero alcohol but I'm trying again with a new variation. This is a based on an article that says research shows that 3 beers doesn't affect strength gains or recovery, so backed by some logic hopefully I can stick to it. Goal 3 (DEX 5) 10 mins mobility every day this challenge. No excuses, it's only 10 minutes. Side goal (DEX 2) Swim 3 times during challenge ---------------------------- Every time I try to get my pullup and overhead work progressing I do really well for about 2-3 weeks then I get injured. I've finally strung these events together and learnt my lesson that I must do some mobility work and settle for some slow progress if I want to make gains on overhead work without getting injured. It's only taken me 18 months to realise that I'm coming into this challenge with some problems with nerves in my neck and some weird tingles in my hands at times. All a result of taking on too much snatching and kipping too fast. So I've done no overhead work for a week now and just been cleared by the physio to do some strict press at 20-30 kilos as part of my rehab. I still find it weird that I got really excited when he said that. Since I started crossfit 2-3 weeks ago I've realised that I can't be good at everything all the time. I've been mulling over dropping one class and using the time for something I want to improve for myself. But what to focus my efforts on? I was thinking hey I'm good at squats and I like squats, maybe that's the thing to do....but finally I think I need to confront my weakness and do some slow progression on strict press and general shoulder mobility. It's pullups and overhead work that are holding me back from getting competitive beginner times in crossfit benchmark WOD's and I want that to change. I've also been secretly coveting a muscle up before I turn 40 but haven't told anyone. There I said it. Yikes! Lower body fat means less lard to get up above that bar so I have plenty of motivation to track calories, let's get to work.
  5. I'm a slightly older guy (39) and have picked up a few injuries over the last 18 months, mostly while chasing PR's. I get great satisfaction from achieving PR's, feeling stronger and learning new skills and techniques. I've made some good progress on my lifting and fitness, now at a point where I have met my initial goal to be fit enough and powerful enough to play 5 full squash games and not have my fitness be an obstacle or fade at all during the match. If I lose now it's because of strategy or skill. I've been pondering the last couple of weeks.... You can't go on progressing and making gains forever so at what point do you accept the level you are at and work just to maintain it? Do you go all the way to the end of your genetic potential or is there a point at which you accept you're strong and in great shape then work to maintain that. How much is enough?
  6. I already do ALOT but it's time to do MOAR! But sometimes less is more.....so I'm going to do more of less things. Main Quest: Attain 12% BF at least once. Challenge 7 goals: Goal 1 - Physio recovery exercises - 6 days a week, no excuses. (DEX 5) I injured my shoulder last challenge, it's not 100% but it's much better. The physio has identified the cause as postural so I need to strengthen some muscles with exercises and adjust my posture, particularly my shoulder blades. The exercises take me about 15 - 20 mins a day and I didn't do them last week hardly at all. There are no excuses, if I don't do them it's because I'm being lazy. Feel free to call me out on this. I will not get better if I don't do them. Goal 2 - Do a thing twice a week (WIS 1, CON 2) Do something extra twice a week, this could be swimming, squash, badminton, surfing, scuba, an extra walk, whatever I feel like but I have to do something extra at least twice a week. Goal 3 - 50% Paleo (CHA 3) I want to lose some body fat before I go on holiday to Hawaii in December. History shows the best way to do this is to integrate some Paleo meals. I'm going to shoot for 50% this time, that's 10 main meals a week. Side Quest: Relax and be Positive. (WIS 2) I visited an old friend for the weekend during one of the between challenge rest weeks, while I was there I realized I am overloading myself with worry and stress. This is partly due to going the whole year without a holiday and partly just because I tend to push myself by being concerned about things. This challenge I'd like to try to relax more and not sweat the small stuff so much. I can do this by being more organised, re-making my time management plan and 'working the plan'. Life is good, time to relax into it and enjoy. Here we go for the final push of 2013, 4 weeks to Hawaii
  7. I'm taking the plunge and buying myself a set of Olympic plates and a bar. I'm buying the plates through my local crossfit box but they don't sell the bars. Now I'm trying to understand why there is such variation in the price of the Oly bars? A couple questions: 1. Is it worth paying double for a bar to get one with needle bearings instead of bushing? (I've only been lifting for 6 weeks) 2. Any ideas why these bars: http://www.cyber-market.com.au/olympic-bars-c-45_74.html are so much cheaper than these bars: http://www.muscledriverau.com.au/Pendlay-Nexgen-Bushing-Bars_c_8.html or these bars: http://www.rogueaustralia.com/bars/ I've read up a little and can understand the difference in cost between bushing and bearing bars but I don't see why the Cyberfit are so much cheaper than the others. Is this an indication of a great deal or poor quality? I have their power rack which is very good quality and I'm very pleased with. Thanks Dominic
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