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Katerina

2nd Challenge

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I started getting my health together in a focused way a little over a month ago. While my habits were not out of control, they were very sloppy (partly the doing of a couple of years of more tasks than time to do them and partly the result of the pressure coming down now that Survival Mode is not life--let's live a little!), so I decided to start addressing that.  Last challenge, I committed to daily deliberate movement of some kind (i.e., walks or yoga on non-gym days), 3x/weekly lifting, removal of desserts/treats from a daily indulgence to an occasional treat, and moving wine from a daily glass or two thing to a glass every other day. For the most part, it went pretty well, but I am still finding my way. So with that said,

 

Overall goal: change body composition and tell middle age exactly where it can put the weight gain and annoying aches and pains. (I have no interest in looking frumpy or hobbling around as I age.) I am currently reading The Barbell Prescription.

 

Current Task 1: Continue building the daily movement habit. (I once read that habits take at least 6 weeks to form.) This will become more of a challenge as the weather gets colder and the daylight hours get fewer. Daily walks are awesome when it is not dark at 4 pm and bitterly cold. I need to start transitioning and thinking about what that will look like when the world looks like the White Witch's playground. 

 

Current Task 2: I am struggling to find balance as my body adjusts to regular challenging exercise. My goal is to figure out where the sweet spot is for calories/macros. (Up to this point, I have increased protein significantly and started a 16-8 IF most days. I have also referenced IIFYM, but the assumption that because I am female, I must prioritize weight loss makes for macros/calories that are insufficient and thus can make me miserable. So the fine tuning continues.)

 

Current Task 3: Learn proper form and learn how to listen to my body with regard to enough weight/when to increase. My son (hs wrestler) will hopefully help with this a bit. I really don't want to shell out $ for a personal trainer.

 

On a side note, I have learned a couple of things on my journey thus far:

1. Drinking water  (ok, and black coffee, but more water) in the morning before the 8 hour window makes a huge difference. The first week was a question of stubborn endurance, but I was surprised at how easily my body adjusted.

2. At this time, fasted exercise does not work for me. (This was only an option on the weekends anyway, so it took a little longer to figure out.) Maybe that will change as I fine tune macros/calories, but playing with weights while getting shaky seems like a stupid idea.

3. Lifting dehydrated is stupid. (Forgot my water bottle last time. Didn't think it really mattered. I was wrong. Dehydration can also give me the shakes. 20 Oz of water later, life was much better.)

 

 

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Awesome, your quests sound similar to mine. I cut down a lot on sugar and alcohol last challenge. And I'm a newish lifter. Daily movement is also an excellent idea. It's hard to get outside when it's cold, but Redstone suggested shadowboxing intervals to me, which sounds fun and a possible option when walks and cycling are not possible. This goat has the right idea – it is clearly practicing rolls for some kind of martial art.

 

 giphy.gif?cid=3640f6095bca422733394f5067

 

Looking forward to seeing your challenge go well! 
 

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Thank you, Harriet! 

 

Shadowboxing? Huh. I will have to think about that. Space may be an issue for me. I may have to settle for going to the gym more often than I would like just for 30 min of (light) cardio. I much prefer the outdoors, but a good read while pedaling can mute the disappointment a bit. 

woman-reading-on-spin-bike_0.jpg

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New Warrior!

 

Related image

 

Glad you could join us!

 

Solid goals. Very achievable.

 

On 10/19/2018 at 1:36 PM, Katerina said:

I am struggling to find balance as my body adjusts to regular challenging exercise. My goal is to figure out where the sweet spot is for calories/macros. (Up to this point, I have increased protein significantly and started a 16-8 IF most days. I have also referenced IIFYM, but the assumption that because I am female, I must prioritize weight loss makes for macros/calories that are insufficient and thus can make me miserable. So the fine tuning continues.)

 

Macros are tough to do with experienced people. If this is relatively new to you, focus on calories. Obviously don't go on an all twinkies diet, but don't obsess over your Macro split. It will make you crazy.

 

On 10/19/2018 at 1:36 PM, Katerina said:

 Learn proper form and learn how to listen to my body with regard to enough weight/when to increase. My son (hs wrestler) will hopefully help with this a bit. I really don't want to shell out $ for a personal trainer.

 

If you ever get comfortable enough to record yourself, there's a pretty strong community here of people willing to help with form checks. (or not and we can talk it through as well.) I think Personal trainers have their place, but they're not for everyone. What lifts are you focusing on?

 

Welcome to the warriors!

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On 10/22/2018 at 1:53 PM, Grumble said:

Macros are tough to do with experienced people. If this is relatively new to you, focus on calories. Obviously don't go on an all twinkies diet, but don't obsess over your Macro split. It will make you crazy.

 

Actually, the macros are my attempt to manage those calories. I have read that protein is the first thing to get straight and then to build around that, so that has been my approach. The increased protein has fixed hangry episodes that lead into eating a dozen cookies at a go because doing so will save a life. . .or several. I promise not to obsess, though :) I was doing more or less paleo a couple of years back, and I know my way around a kitchen and around a CSA box, so I don't feel as out of my element here as I do learning to lift (though that is getting better). 

 

On 10/22/2018 at 1:53 PM, Grumble said:

If you ever get comfortable enough to record yourself, there's a pretty strong community here of people willing to help with form checks. (or not and we can talk it through as well.) I think Personal trainers have their place, but they're not for everyone. What lifts are you focusing on?

 

Thank you. I may in time, but I am still adjusting to thinking of myself as someone who lifts instead of the uncoordinated middle schooler who hated gym class and was always picked last for teams (even though this is X years later). My identity for a long time has focused on the muscle between my ears. :) I am far more comfortable in a bookstore than in a gym. Feel free to chuckle, but my recent personal victory was asking one of the gym employees to show me how to do squats and deadlifts. I HATED having to ask for help, and I still am working through my hatred of mirrors everywhere. (And this is where the crazy comes in. :) )  

 

My son's visit was helpful; I am starting to "feel" what right feels like. My ass is going to demand a serious talk tomorrow morning, I think, telling me how much it hates me--lol. Oddly, the squats seem to address the nagging start of arthritis in one of my ankles.

 

Thank you for rhe welcome! I am happy to be here (even if I am still in the awkward phase). 

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13 hours ago, Katerina said:

I am still adjusting to thinking of myself as someone who lifts instead of the uncoordinated middle schooler who hated gym class and was always picked last for teams (even though this is X years later). My identity for a long time has focused on the muscle between my ears. :) I am far more comfortable in a bookstore than in a gym.

 

I think, if you spend enough time here to really get to know people, you'll discover that this describes a surprisingly large number of your fellow Warriors... or at least where we were when we started our lifting journey.

 

Screw gym class.

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On ‎10‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 4:36 PM, Katerina said:

 

Overall goal: change body composition and tell middle age exactly where it can put the weight gain and annoying aches and pains. (I have no interest in looking frumpy or hobbling around as I age.) I am currently reading The Barbell Prescription.

 

 

Amen, my sister! (I love that book, BTW)

 

On ‎10‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 2:53 PM, Grumble said:

New Warrior!

 

Glad you could join us!

 

 

Welcome to the warriors!

 

Welcome to the Warriors indeed!!!

th?id=OIP.HWjBWickMp74g7BtZtt5vwHaG1&pid

 

 

14 hours ago, Katerina said:

 

Thank you. I may in time, but I am still adjusting to thinking of myself as someone who lifts instead of the uncoordinated middle schooler who hated gym class and was always picked last for teams (even though this is X years later). My identity for a long time has focused on the muscle between my ears. :) I am far more comfortable in a bookstore than in a gym. Feel free to chuckle, but my recent personal victory was asking one of the gym employees to show me how to do squats and deadlifts. I HATED having to ask for help, and I still am working through my hatred of mirrors everywhere. (And this is where the crazy comes in. :) )  

 


This does not sound like crazy to me. This sounds like a completely accurate description of my life up until just a few years ago, and I am still more comfortable in a bookstore than in a gym. I am, in fact, more comfortable in a bookstore or a library than in practically anywhere else possible.
 

1 hour ago, scalyfreak said:

 

I think, if you spend enough time here to really get to know people, you'll discover that this describes a surprisingly large number of your fellow Warriors... or at least where we were when we started our lifting journey.

 

Screw gym class.

 

I firmly believe K-12 gym classes ruined as many peoples' self-image of "healthy human" as sixth grade math ruined peoples' self-image of "intelligent human." (I'm not anti-education, I have an MEd - but it does have potential for great harm as well as great good.)

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16 hours ago, Katerina said:

I am still adjusting to thinking of myself as someone who lifts instead of the uncoordinated middle schooler who hated gym class and was always picked last for teams (even though this is X years later). My identity for a long time has focused on the muscle between my ears. :) 

 

 

3 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

 

I think, if you spend enough time here to really get to know people, you'll discover that this describes a surprisingly large number of your fellow Warriors... or at least where we were when we started our lifting journey.

 

Screw gym class.

 

1 hour ago, Gemma said:


This does not sound like crazy to me. This sounds like a completely accurate description of my life up until just a few years ago, and I am still more comfortable in a bookstore than in a gym. I am, in fact, more comfortable in a bookstore or a library than in practically anywhere else possible.
 

 

I firmly believe K-12 gym classes ruined as many peoples' self-image of "healthy human" as sixth grade math ruined peoples' self-image of "intelligent human." (I'm not anti-education, I have an MEd - but it does have potential for great harm as well as great good.)

 

Yep, yep, yep. I long identified with being the smart kid. It's actually hugely limiting because when teachers constantly tell you you're smart, you start to think it's innate and instead of being motivated to practice stuff, you get scared of attempting challenging things that will reveal to everyone that you're not smart after all. At least, that's how I reacted. Also, years of classes that were not challenging at all trained me to be lazy and killed any native motivation and love of learning I had. I'm trying to relearn these things as an adult.

 

I sucked pretty bad at sports at school, and 20 years of sitting on my butt eating pasta didn't help. When my friend convinced me of the benefits of lifting, I hid in my house and practiced with dumbbells for months because I couldn't possibly walk into a gym, let alone the free weights section, at my current embarrassing level minus-five. Then one day I said "Oh, I'd like to work up to using barbells" and she was like "Good, we'll go together on Sunday and I'll show you how" and I was like "This Sunday? This coming Sunday? Me? Um....okay." and that was the start of the start. Now I still suck at sport--even lifting-- but I'm happier. No one can stop me walking in to the weights section and getting a little better at it. I still cringe when I see myself in leggings, and I'm trying not to compare myself to leaner, stronger, taller, leggier, better-dressed women with amazing hair in the gym. But they have great lighting that is showing up some shape in my arms (which were previously just pale tubes) that I never had before, so the mirrors aren't all bad :D

 

Anyway, the point of this rambling tale is that it's awesome that you've started, and you totally belong here and in the free weights section. And doing something you know you're not good at, and don't associate your identify with yet, can be very liberating. 

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18 hours ago, Katerina said:

My identity for a long time has focused on the muscle between my ears. :) I am far more comfortable in a bookstore than in a gym.

 Are you me?

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On 10/24/2018 at 11:40 AM, Gemma said:

firmly believe K-12 gym classes ruined as many peoples' self-image of "healthy human" as sixth grade math ruined peoples' self-image of "intelligent human." (I'm not anti-education, I have an MEd - but it does have potential for great harm as well as great good.)

 

Yes, I think methodology matters a lot. I have had a couple of math teachers who explained things in a way that made sense, but most could have been speaking Swahili for all the good it did me. I came across a title years ago that aimed to put math in terms of language, but I didn't buy it at the time, and I have long since lost the title.

 

As for gym class, I suspect that is a budgeting issue. In a perfect world, kids would be required to move their bodies but would be given a ton of options as to what that might look like. The emphasis on games/competition is, for many, I think, a mistake. Particularly middle school is a form of political hell; to add competition in somewhere else and require everyone to participate is sadistic. 

 

And I also am not anti-ed; I am (also?) a teacher. :) (I figure if you have a MEd, you are likely a teacher.)

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Ok, so the week has gone pretty well in terms of executing the plan. 

 

I had one day that I chose sleep over going for a walk, but I think on occasion that may be a necessity. (Random insomnia sucks.) Other than that, I have been pretty much on my game here 

 

Today was my 3rd gym day this week, so check. The employee I usually turn to for help said my form is excellent, so huzzah! I moved up 10 pounds for both squats and deadlifts. Nothing impressive--30 to 40 and 40 to 50, respectively, but hey, progress! :)

 

Food. . .I have been behaving quite well in terms of choices, but yesterday was an ALL THE FOOD day. I think may know why: the day before was a workout day; I wasn't that hungry, so I didn't eat that much (under calorie guideline), so I think yesterday my body insisted on payback. But again, I didn't do anything stupid or crazy -- just more than I would normally eat in a day. 

 

So on to the next week! 

 

 

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On 10/24/2018 at 1:11 PM, Harriet said:

'm trying not to compare myself to leaner, stronger, taller, leggier, better-dressed women with amazing hair in the gym. 

Who the hell gets all prettied up to go to the gym? (Smh) I aim for just shy of scary--lol.

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2 hours ago, Katerina said:

Ok, so the week has gone pretty well in terms of executing the plan. 

 

I had one day that I chose sleep over going for a walk, but I think on occasion that may be a necessity. (Random insomnia sucks.) Other than that, I have been pretty much on my game here 

 

Today was my 3rd gym day this week, so check. The employee I usually turn to for help said my form is excellent, so huzzah! I moved up 10 pounds for both squats and deadlifts. Nothing impressive--30 to 40 and 40 to 50, respectively, but hey, progress! :)

 

Food. . .I have been behaving quite well in terms of choices, but yesterday was an ALL THE FOOD day. I think may know why: the day before was a workout day; I wasn't that hungry, so I didn't eat that much (under calorie guideline), so I think yesterday my body insisted on payback. But again, I didn't do anything stupid or crazy -- just more than I would normally eat in a day. 

 

So on to the next week! 

 

 

 

giphy.gif?cid=3640f6095bd482da4665485232

 

Some deviations from the plan are necessary. As long as there's a solid pattern to deviate from, you're still doing great! And progress is progress! Go you!

 

2 hours ago, Katerina said:

Who the hell gets all prettied up to go to the gym? (Smh) I aim for just shy of scary--lol.

 

University students who probably didn't even try, just just rolled out of bed looking perfect. I can't judge because I find it hard to leave the house without at least a little makeup to make me look less undead-level-pale. I'm working on it, though. 

 

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Ok, so this week I have been on my game in terms of faithful to workouts. Walking when not working out. . .mostly.  (Still a crazy week.) I did yoga on Sunday (30 min.), so yeah, pretty consistent.

 

The food element is something I am going to try to kind of wing a bit in terms of calories. I am still focusing on getting enough protein, minding the fat, eating lots of fruits/veggies, and minimizing sweets; my appetite is still feeling insane, though. I have not been overeating (as measured by that awful "I should have stopped 5 bites ago" feeling), and I am still looking to avoid prison time for a hangry meltdown, so I am trying to listen to my body while using my head. 

 

My squats are still at 40 (and I feel good AFTER I do them, but wow, they suck), and I have started doing.  . .not sure how to call it. . .backwards curls (?) because that 40 pounds is a little awkward from the pick up to the elbow bend for me. I hope this makes sense.

 

Deadlifts are up to 60. I can do 3x10, but yeah, I expect to be parked here on those for a couple of weeks. I am happy with that, though. It's clear progress :)

 

 

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On 11/1/2018 at 6:07 PM, Katerina said:

My squats are still at 40 (and I feel good AFTER I do them, but wow, they suck),

This is progress. if they feel bad all the time, then they feel good afterwards, sonn they will feel good during, then you move up. See? Progress.

 

On 11/1/2018 at 6:07 PM, Katerina said:

and I have started doing.  . .not sure how to call it. . .backwards curls (?) because that 40 pounds is a little awkward from the pick up to the elbow bend for me. I hope this makes sense.

It sounds kind of like behind the back rows? Can you describe the movement?

 

On 11/1/2018 at 6:07 PM, Katerina said:

Deadlifts are up to 60. I can do 3x10, but yeah, I expect to be parked here on those for a couple of weeks. I am happy with that, though. It's clear progress :)

PROGRESS!

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On 11/1/2018 at 6:07 PM, Katerina said:

The food element is something I am going to try to kind of wing a bit in terms of calories. I am still focusing on getting enough protein, minding the fat, eating lots of fruits/veggies, and minimizing sweets; my appetite is still feeling insane, though. I have not been overeating (as measured by that awful "I should have stopped 5 bites ago" feeling), and I am still looking to avoid prison time for a hangry meltdown, so I am trying to listen to my body while using my head. 

 


I don't count calories any more. I just hate it. I figure if I start gaining or losing weight or feeling bad, my diet has a predictable enough pattern that I can make behavioural adjustments. Some days (sometimes a few days in a row, actually) I am super hungry and eat all the things, plus cheese. Other days I wander through the day thinking "oh, did I not eat breakfast? should I eat something now?" and just eating because mealtime. I think listening to your body is a great idea, especially with a little bit of head guidance.

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On 11/5/2018 at 1:52 PM, Grumble said:
On 11/1/2018 at 8:07 PM, Katerina said:

do them, but wow, they suck),

This is progress. if they feel bad all the time, then they feel good afterwards, sonn they will feel good during, then you move up. See? Progress

 

Well, I have increased my range of motion just a touch to go just beyond parallel, so yay. (It seems that you are telling me though that progress is rewarded by more suck--lol.)

 

As for the curls I am doing to address my struggle to "flip" the barbell from pick up to squat, see below. (30#)

 

I have also started doing shoulder presses (at 20#) for a similar reason: the lower body is going to outpace my ability to, er, assume the position. That was a surprise when I felt my abs getting involved (not heavily, but it was there).

1591b.jpg

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So, there's two things going. Reverse curls are the move you're doing based off the picture. What would probably serve you best in the long run, assuming you are going to be doing front squats that way instead of from the rack, is the power clean, into front squat. Clean also works going into the shoulder press. I'm on mobile right now, but I'll post a good video of clean to front squat tomorrow.

Related, why aren't you doing front squats off the rack?

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4 hours ago, Grumble said:

What would probably serve you best in the long run, assuming you are going to be doing front squats that way instead of from the rack, is the power clean, into front squa

 

Ok, so you know I am a newbie :) By rack, you mean the quasi-machine thing with the regularly spaced rests the leave the bar, yes? If so, I haven't used it yet. I am using barbells that are not attached to anything. The are on a rack that holds them in graduated weights 20-60. Also, I am doing a low back squat, not a front squat, so where I am starting to run into trouble is that I can pick up anything on that rack, but getting the barbell from pick up to behind me starts to become a challenge at 40. I can do it, but I wouldn't try it at 50 for reasons of risk (knowing the limits of my own upper body strength). I am guessing you are going to tell me to move over to the (quasi-machine) rack. :)That would solve the issue. 

 

Speaking of working with the rack (which I haven't done--my son showed it to me briefly, but since I was squatting 30 and deadlifting 40 at the time, it didn't seem anything to really worry to much about since the unattached barbells go up to 60), I assume I can also use it to deadlift? 

 

I will look forward to your video. I've heard the term "power clean" but haven't looked it up yet as I am still in basic mode, trying to build good form habits. (I have to think about position and movement--it's not automatic.)

 

(Btw, I always use my phone which is why I usually don't insert all the fun graphics.)

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4 hours ago, Katerina said:

 

Ok, so you know I am a newbie :) By rack, you mean the quasi-machine thing with the regularly spaced rests the leave the bar, yes? If so, I haven't used it yet.

I'm sorry. I just kind of lingo'd at you without though. My bad.

Ok.

Lemme roll this back.

Image result for power rack vs squat rack

On your left is a power rack, on your right is a squat rack/squat stand.

 

Honest recommendation is learn to lift from the rack, even at 40#. Build good habits early on.

 

Quote

I am using barbells that are not attached to anything. The are on a rack that holds them in graduated weights 20-60.

The prebuilt, not quite the right length, barbells. I know those. It makes it hard to put those in the rack as they are not long enough. If you work out with your son, I would ask him to help set them on your back, because right now you're doing a reverse curl into a modified shoulder press just to get them in position, and that actually a relatively advanced moved.

You're accidentally doing something called a barbell complex, almost like this one without the front squat.

 

Quote

Also, I am doing a low back squat, not a front squat, so where I am starting to run into trouble is that I can pick up anything on that rack, but getting the barbell from pick up to behind me starts to become a challenge at 40. I can do it, but I wouldn't try it at 50 for reasons of risk (knowing the limits of my own upper body strength). I am guessing you are going to tell me to move over to the (quasi-machine) rack. :)That would solve the issue. 

Once you hit 45#, move on to a full size barbell, that's the weight of the bar by itself, and it's just going to be better overall. You could also use a smith machine  (pictured below) but I have issues with them because they are on a track and often result in bad form without a spotter to check you.

Image result for smith machine

 

Quote

Speaking of working with the rack (which I haven't done--my son showed it to me briefly, but since I was squatting 30 and deadlifting 40 at the time, it didn't seem anything to really worry to much about since the unattached barbells go up to 60), I assume I can also use it to deadlift? 

Not really, you can rack them there on the light weights, but a deadlift should be done from the ground or a solid base you can bring the weight back to every time.

 

Quote

I will look forward to your video. I've heard the term "power clean" but haven't looked it up yet as I am still in basic mode, trying to build good form habits. (I have to think about position and movement--it's not automatic.)

Image result for power clean gif
This is a hang clean. It lets you get the weights to your shoulders with minimum muscle effort, letting you use momentum instead. It's more what I am referring to than a power clean.
 
Image result for power clean gif
Which is this.
 
Shower Shaq GIF - Shower Shaq Clean GIFs
But not this.
 
But this is all moot if you can use a rack to get the weight on your shoulders. As you said, you're still in basic mode. Keep it simple.
 
Quote

(Btw, I always use my phone which is why I usually don't insert all the fun graphics.)

You can still use them, it just takes work. 

 

There's your knowledge vomit for the morning. It's a lot to take in so take what of it what you need to right now. We'll be here any time you have questions. 

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