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MaD MaLKaV

[MaD MaLKaV] is a Warrior

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Hello Warriors!  I've mainly switched away from yoga to lifting weights as my primary form of exercise, so I'm migrating from the Druid guild where I've done all my previous challenges to the Warrior guild.  I'm still a newbie, so I don't post big numbers yet like some of you beasts, but I've been steadily getting better since starting a couple of months ago.  I've updated my sig and my little icon to be a Warrior though, so I guess it's official.

 

I've collected a couple of challenge goals that I drag along with me from challenge to challenge to make sure I keep my newly built habits, and I tend to tweak things a little from challenge to challenge.  This challenge, I'm saying goodbye to "No caffeine" and my extra credit goals of yoga and getting up at 5 AM.  I don't get enough sleep when I get up at 5 AM, and I don't do yoga so much anymore.  "No caffeine" was fun to see that I could do it, but I don't particular find anything wrong with caffeine, so feel no need to stick to it.  I'm adjusting my cardio (walking) goal to two days a week, since I can't reliably promise a good walk on the weekend with my family.  I'll score an extra point for that week when it does happen though, on either weekend day.  I've had great success tracking calories with My Fitness Pal and lost around 60 or 70 pounds, but now I'm eating more to bulk, so I've put back on about 20 pounds (where over 12 of that is muscle, according to the electric scale thing).  I joined a muscle building challenge at my gym, and that's what got me started with weight lifting.  I'll switch to cutting after a while, so I can trim back that other weight again a bit.  For now, I'm sticking with the 2700 calories or more per day plan that I've been on the past couple of months.  I only award myself 1 point for eating in excess, since it's a lot easier that eating at a deficit.  I was debating now that I'm a warrior giving myself a month off from meditating, but instead I'm going to go from 15 minutes to 20 minutes this month (a step I've been putting off for a while). 

 

I normally count week 0, but I'm taking it easy and playing everything by ear this week.  Still going to the gym and taking care of my hygiene, but taking the week off from meditating and maybe even reading so I can catch up on YouTube videos (mostly behind on John Oliver's).

 

1) Go to the gym and lift some weights (+1 STR per day, aiming for 3 days a week)

2) Go to the gym and do cardio (walk at 3mph or higher, or stationary cycle) for 30-45 minutes (+1 STA per day, aiming for 2 days a week).  Extra hikes and walks on the weekend can count for extra points beyond the minimum +2.

3) Count calories in MyFitnessPal on phone.  Target at least 2740 calories/day.  (+1 CON)

4) Wake up every morning 30 minutes early, so I can meditate first thing.  That puts me up at 6 AM instead of 6:30 AM.  (+1 CON)

5) Meditate every weekday for 25 minutes.  If I don't do it in the morning, then do it before bed.  (+3 WIS)

6) Spend 30 minutes reading from the Great Books of the Western World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Books_of_the_Western_World).  (+3 WIS)

7) Floss my teeth. (+1 CHA)

8) Shave every day (+1 CHA).  I was shaving every third day.  Would be nice to stay clean shaven.

9) Brush my teeth at night (+1 CHA).  Dentist recommended.  I was brushing (and floss) in the morning only, but I've done this well for a month now.

 

Classics read so far: Homer [Iliad, the Odyssey], Edith Hamilton [Mythology], Aeschylus [All Complete Works], Sophocles [All Complete Works], Euripides [All Complete Works], The Portable Greek Historians (with selections from Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Polybius), Marcus Aurelius [Meditations], Pierre Hadot [The Inner Citadel], Dante [The Divine Comedy], Milton [Paradise Lost], Bertrand Russell [A History of Western Philosophy, An Analysis of Mind, The Conquest of Happiness, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy, The Problems of Philosophy, Why I Am Not a Christian]

 

Currently reading: Plato [All Works, including contested]

 

Current Weight: 218.1

Pounds lost last challenge: -8.0

 

As far as my lifting, my personal trainer has me on what I think would be called a brosplit right now.  One day for legs, one for push, and one for pull.  I personally think full body is better for a newbie, so was doing full body workouts on my non-trainer days for a bit, but in the past two weeks I've changed to doing it his way, since I'm paying the guy for his advice.  I can't really work out as long just hammering one muscle group, but it's nice getting in and out of the gym fairly quick, I guess.  It's only six months I have him around, and I can change back to three days of full body workouts a week (more like Stronglifts or Starting Strength) afterwards, if it suits my recovery. 

 

I'm not good at deadlifting yet (it's one of the goals I've set with my trainer, to deadlift more often).  I have a tendency to round my back when I lift with it, so want to practice my deadlift with someone watching my form until I'm good at it.  I'm getting pretty good at squatting.  I' currently bench pressing with one of the machines until I learn where I give out, so I don't get stuck under the weight and need a spot. 

 

Currently my trainer has me focusing on doing exercises with 1 min rest.  It's another nice thing for getting out of the gym fairly quick, but I do a lot better at consistently lifting the weight and not missing reps on my latter sets when I rest for at least 2 minutes (even longer for bench press, which seems to be where my recovery is the worst).  But I figure if recovery is something you can train, it doesn't hurt to stress it for a bit and see if it gets better.  I've been putting on less muscle since setting my recovery times down to 1 minute, and it especially wrecks my push day sets.  My squats and leg presses actually recover in 1 minute, even though I use a lot more weight for those.  I'm still building up to my maximum in the squat, I think.

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welcome to the warriors!! yoga and weight lifting actually go great together in my book. i find it's the best way for me to train mobility for the lifts.

 

smart insights on your current lifting program and especially rest times! i also need longer than 1 min rests for upper body days so you're not alone there. but if you're sticking to your trainers advice, just drop the weight if you need to after the first or second set! no shame in that. since you're doing what you called a muscle building program, shorter rest times would make sense. a strength building program would benefit from longer rest periods.

 

good luck!

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Welcome to the Warriors!

 

Related image

 

Yoga mats are in the warmup area. Power racks are here, here, here, and there. Treadmills and ellipticals are by the restrooms. Enjoy your stay.

 

@CourtnieMarie nailed it. Hypertrophy (muscle building) based programs benefit from shorter rest times, and a side effect of that is going to be lower weights. Don't tie your ego to how much you lift. Tie it to how strong you feel afterwards. And as long as you stick to it, and progress, you WILL feel strong.

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14 hours ago, MaD MaLKaV said:

As far as my lifting, my personal trainer has me on what I think would be called a brosplit right now.  One day for legs, one for push, and one for pull. 

 

I did this "brosplit" for years, I think you'll find success with it.  

 

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17 hours ago, MaD MaLKaV said:

Hello Warriors!  I've mainly switched away from yoga to lifting weights as my primary form of exercise.

 

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There is nothing quite like lifting weights. You will have a lot of

 

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Welcome aboard!  The best thing about trainers is they get you in the gym.  That's interesting about your squat vs. deadlift.  Most people get the deadlift down a lot quicker. 

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3 hours ago, Grymm said:

Welcome aboard!  The best thing about trainers is they get you in the gym.  That's interesting about your squat vs. deadlift.  Most people get the deadlift down a lot quicker. 

 

I still feel a little weird like "am I in the right spot" with low bar squat.  High bar seemed to make more sense.  The weight stays up though, so I guess it's in the right position.  Not sure why I always want to round my back on deadlift.  Trainer noticed me doing it for some other back exercises too.  I do it for that weird bend in half exercise where you're sort've suspended from the device and bending towards the floor.  I get a bit better when it's pointed out to me at least, so having another set of eyes is helpful.

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I'm glad I took Week 0 off.  My company just rolled out an updated version of our main software product for one of our big clients, and it had some problems, so I've been working a lot of overtime.  I haven't been able to think about reading, and I had to do my Monday strength training Tuesday (skipping cardio Tuesday) and my Wednesday strength training tonight instead.  No cardio this week, but at least I'll get my three strength training sessions in.  *knock on wood*  I even had to cancel two personal trainer sessions.  I'm pretty good about working out without the trainer now, but I hate paying for something that I'm not even getting any use out of.  We solved all the priority 1 bugs in a release last night, so hopefully life is about to get back closer to normal.  

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I guess it's worth explaining this muscle building challenge, since I've already mentioned it.  I lost around 60-70 pounds from calorie counting with no exercise other than a little yoga here and there (I thought I hated exercise, but I've been ok since starting strength training), and I decided to join a gym.  To tell the truth, I'm not sure why I joined up when I did.  I wasn't done losing weight yet.  I always planned to put on some muscle after I was done losing weight.  But I got on a fitness reading kick, and I read all the StrongLifts stuff, then I read Starting Strength, and then Practical Programming, and I wanted to life.  The first gym I tried had lots of machines and no squat racks and no power rack.  So I called around other gyms looking for one with a power rack, and then joined that one. 

 

Granted, I had no idea how to use a power rack, even though I had seen pictures and videos of the things, so I decided to get a personal trainer for six months to help me get started.  Well, it turns out the gym was having a weight loss/muscle gain challenge that started the week after I joined.  I figured I had lots of noob gains to make, so why not give the muscle gaining portion of the challenge a try.  It was $169 to participate but included four personal training sessions, so didn't seem too bad at $40 a session investment even if I didn't win, and I stood a chance to win $250 if I gained the most muscle.  I used the extra personal training sessions to meet twice a week the first four weeks, to get me off to a good start, and jumped into working out three times a week.  I did 3x/week strength training for two months, then I added the two incline walking cardio sessions on Tues/Thurs a couple of weeks ago.  I'm a little over two and a half months into the challenge now.  It ends next Thursday.  Currently I'm in first place in my gym, but two guys from other local gyms that are participating have me beat in the overall standings.  Either way, I got my money's worth out of it, and gained 12.1 pounds of muscle so far, so I'm not too worried about it.  Overall, I've gained almost 30 pounds from my low point in weight loss, but a lot of the non-muscle weight is water.  I gained over 5 pounds as soon as I went off my diet from eating normal again, and I put on some extra water weight when I started creatine.  I'm sure I put on a little fat too, but my 34 pants still fit and my 36 shorts hang pretty loose, so I'm not too worried about the weight gain.  I do plan to go back and try to cut down some more at some point though.  Creatine and two protein shakes a day are my only supplementation.  I didn't feel like adding in the laundry list of stuff my trainer originally recommended just to try to win $250. 

 

So that explains my challenge and what brought me to where I am today.  I'll probably keep bulking for three more months while I have personal trainer sessions setup, and then go into a cutting phase for a bit where I cut down to 1600 calories or so but keep my protein up by continuing the two protein shakes a day, and see if I can lose a little more weight while keeping the muscle I've put on.  I'm not that upset with the point I stopped losing weight at, even though I wouldn't mind losing a little more.  34 inch waist is a lot smaller than the 40 inch that most of my clothes still are, since I haven't stopped to buy new threads in all this other than the two pairs of dress pants and two pairs of shorts that I bought so I had something to wear with the belt being optional.  Anyway, it hardly makes sense to re-do my wardrobe when I'm not done yet.  I think I want to stop around 32 inch waist, maybe even 30.  I don't have to go too small, since I'm six foot tall and large framed so wear a little weight pretty well.  I didn't even look that big at 40, but I do look noticeably better with my shirt off now.  I've found that eating 2700 calories a day helps me feel extra committed to my workouts, since I don't want all those calories to just go to putting back on fat, and it's a nice change being full all the time after about a year of strict calorie counting.

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On 8/7/2018 at 8:37 PM, MaD MaLKaV said:

I'm still a newbie, so I don't post big numbers yet like some of you beasts, 

 

 

Pffft, like that matters.  :rolleyes:

 

On 8/7/2018 at 8:37 PM, MaD MaLKaV said:

I've been steadily getting better since starting a couple of months ago

 

This matters. It's not a competition, at least not versus other lifters. Our opponent is gravity, and the price we fight over is the weight. The weight. Will. Move. Upwards!

 

That is what it's all about. :)

 

Welcome to the guild!

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So, I was excited to start meditating again, so I sat 25 minutes instead of just 20.  I may as welldo that more often.  I'm already getting up at 6 AM, and I normally don't start getting ready until 6:30 AM, and I need about 5 minutes to get my eyes open and grab the cushion and get to my meditation spot...  So why not see how 25 works out, even if it means doing 10 minutes more than I did last challenge.  Today it actually felt pretty good.  I had lots of time to get distracted and then get back to my breath for little bits.  I updated my main challenge to make the goal 25 minutes instead of 20.

 

In other news, I may have to deal with five pounds of off-brand whey powder.  My wife didn't order replacements in time, and I'm set to be out of protein shakes tomorrow morning.  There's no way I can meet my protein goals on my mostly vegetarian diet without some protein powder.  My wife says Aldi has an off-brand we can buy a supply of to get us through.  I've never seen it there, so there may be some hunting to find it.  If not, we can grab the Sam's brand.  I've dealt with the Sam's brand before, and it was a little off tasting but mostly ok.

 

Also, I don't feel like starting back my reading.  I feel like continuing the re-watch of Rick & Morty that I started this weekend.  But it wouldn't be much of a "challenge" if I always go to just do what I want, would it?  So, I'll get back to reading Plato after work for 30 minutes.  I'm on Statesman.  Maybe I'll still have time to continue Rick & Morty after the gym and shopping for milk and whey powder, if I'm not too tired.

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nice work with the meditation! i feel you on dealing with store brand protein powder. sometimes i use that mishap as an excuse to try a fun brand/flavor that the store carries. do you have anything like a GNC nearby? whole foods has some good options too, tho expensive.

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6 hours ago, MaD MaLKaV said:

I feel like continuing the re-watch of Rick & Morty that I started this weekend. 

 

This is clearly the correct course of action...

 

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8 hours ago, MaD MaLKaV said:

In other news, I may have to deal with five pounds of off-brand whey powder.  My wife didn't order replacements in time, and I'm set to be out of protein shakes tomorrow morning.  There's no way I can meet my protein goals on my mostly vegetarian diet without some protein powder.  My wife says Aldi has an off-brand we can buy a supply of to get us through.  I've never seen it there, so there may be some hunting to find it.  If not, we can grab the Sam's brand.  I've dealt with the Sam's brand before, and it was a little off tasting but mostly ok.

 

By Sam's brand you mean Sam's club? YOur best bet may be EAS, but none of them are great options. Can you order via amazon? ON Gold standard is always a safe option.

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15 hours ago, Grumble said:

 

By Sam's brand you mean Sam's club? YOur best bet may be EAS, but none of them are great options. Can you order via amazon? ON Gold standard is always a safe option.

I think the problem is the wait time for the online order to be delivered!

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15 hours ago, Grumble said:

Can you order via amazon? ON Gold standard is always a safe option.

21 minutes ago, CourtnieMarie said:

I think the problem is the wait time for the online order to be delivered!

 

Yep. That's the problem.  We ordered the usual.  Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard.  It just won't arrive until Monday.  So we ended up getting Aldi brand protein power to get me through the next couple of days.  It's really sweet with artificial sweetener and doesn't mix as well, but otherwise seems tolerable enough and was cheap.  

 

My wife is normally better about keeping the good whey powder stocked, but she was holding out for a sale somewhere this time and the sale never happened before I was mostly out.

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So, last night was Leg Day.

 

Squats: 2x10x45, 5x15x185

Leg Press: 5x15x270

Leg Extension: 2x15x60, 1x12x60

Leg Curl: 1x15x70, 1x18x70, 1x15x70

Ab Machine: 3x15x70

 

Weights are in pounds.  I feel like I should lift heavier weights where I can't do 15 reps.  My primary focus has been muscle building for this challenge, but I'ld like to switch to more of a strength focus.  I could probably up the weight on my leg press 90 pounds and see how that works out.  I'm at a problem point with my squat.  I can handle the weight for 15 reps, but I didn't feel really in control of it with it up on my back and I got into a minor bind re-racking it twice.  Maybe I ought to stay at 185 for another time or two and get used to it on my back.  I've been upping my squat by 10 pounds every week without much difficulty, and on the squat machine I can do 200 15 times when I don't have to control the weight on my back (I used the squat machine last week, because the squat racks were all busy).

 

I welcome any comments on my exercise choices or whatever.  I really just took a collection of exercises my trainer showed me that seemed pretty effective and called them Leg day.  Come to think of it, he didn't show me too many alternative leg exercises, so I didn't make many choices with leg day.  I didn't do the exercise where you lay on your belly, and I did the one leg at a time leg extension and leg curl.  I normally superset those two together if both pieces of equipment are clear, but the leg curl has been popular at my gym lately.  My trainer showed me more exercises than I knew what to do with for push and pull day, so I just came up with a 45 min-1 hour arrangement of exercises that I preferred for those days, but leg day never had too many choices.

 

Leg day is also a good example of why I prefer three full body days to hyper-focused body part days.  When I did three full body days, I squatted everyday, so at the end of the week I had done 15 sets of squats.  When I do a leg day, I hit 16 sets of leg exercises, but six of those sets are isolated movements like leg extension and leg curls.  I do like fitting in leg presses though, and I don't mind the tired feeling in a region you get from focusing on it all day.  My legs get a little wobbly on leg day.

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want to make sure your not switching to soon to a strength focus without giving the muscle building a chance? we've all definitely and still do have the "ooh shiny new program!" feels.

 

and we can definitely give you more accessories for leg day if you want them. sometimes it's nice to have fewer options at the beginning though and just stay focused on those. on the other hand you are doing a lot of machine work for accessories. if we knew where you might be having trouble on your squat we could probably direct you to accessories that would help your specific situation. BUT the most important part is getting your squat in a comfortable place. might be better to spend your time looking at your form and execution rather then trying out new accessories.

 

just my $0.02 for now! 

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49 minutes ago, MaD MaLKaV said:

Weights are in pounds.  I feel like I should lift heavier weights where I can't do 15 reps.  My primary focus has been muscle building for this challenge, but I'ld like to switch to more of a strength focus. 

I'm gonna jump on this one too. Especially since I am currently playing around with multiple programs. I am testing out somewhere around 5 different programs right now, but they are all focused on conditioning and Interval training. I would not try out a hypertrophy or PL program at the same time. If you aren't comfortable with the program you're doing, you can change, or make adjustments within the scope of the program, but don't start flipping between different TYPES of programs. 

 

49 minutes ago, MaD MaLKaV said:

I could probably up the weight on my leg press 90 pounds and see how that works out.  I'm at a problem point with my squat.  I can handle the weight for 15 reps, but I didn't feel really in control of it with it up on my back and I got into a minor bind re-racking it twice.  Maybe I ought to stay at 185 for another time or two and get used to it on my back.  I've been upping my squat by 10 pounds every week without much difficulty, and on the squat machine I can do 200 15 times when I don't have to control the weight on my back (I used the squat machine last week, because the squat racks were all busy).

IF you are not in control, if you are having problems re-racking, you cannot handle the weights. Do not try to 'bro up' to do heavier weight. And NOOB gains don't last forever. 10 lbs a week is significant. And yes, I know that's pretty standard for programs like Stronglifts or Starting Strength. But even those don't last too long. There's absolutely nothing wrong with staying static for a week (or three) to make sure your form is on point.

 

As for accessories? We got lots of those. But @CourtnieMarie is right, get your form straight first. Then accessorize.

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53 minutes ago, Grumble said:

There's absolutely nothing wrong with staying static for a week (or three) to make sure your form is on point.

 

It's probably all in my head from not being used to having so much weight on my back, but I don't mind not tossing some pounds on there for a week or two while I make sure to double check that I'm definitely under the middle of the bar before hoisting it up on my shoulders.

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Also on the re-racking, is the problem coming in low and hitting the end or underside of the hook?  Maybe you need to unrack from the next lower position.  If you have J-hooks, you should be able to walk the bar into the upright and then put it down.  You will be coming in lower than you unrack because you're tired so you need some clearance.  My training partner is 2" shorter than me, so we squat out of his position.  At light weights, I'm actually over the back of the j-hook, but once I get up to work sets I don't have that problem.  You do not want to have a mis-hap racking the bar.

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