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Harriet

Harriet's Year of Transformation: Act IV

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Whee, I finished a first draft of a short story (5000 words) and send it to classmates and family for feedback. It's got teleportation in. It feels awesome working on the writing because I get into that completely absorbed state where I'm focused on one thing. Then I feel happy afterwards. Together with the reading, art, meditation, cooking and gym, it's crowding out some of the listless, random internetting I tend to do, which temporarily makes me feel less anxious but makes my life kind of meaningless in the long term. This is awesome. I used to want to do more worthwhile stuff but felt too exhausted. Or maybe I felt anxious and mistook it for exhaustion/lack of motivation. Unsure. All I know is I felt desperately compelled to spend all my free time doing useless nothings, and felt very bad when asked to do any thing a bit harder but more valuable. Now I still feel anxious and don't always want to do it, but I've found that once I get started it's okay. So I just take some super easy steps, like taking out my equipment and sitting down in the writing chair. 

 

Also, I'm too busy to think about how I should be thinner, and as a result  I'm starting to think I look pretty good. Mr Harriet was awed by the brilliant new muscle I found in my side. It looks totally badass. And I don't even mind my legs. They look sturdy and feminine. I think.

 

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Here's to hoping things keep going smoothly. 
 

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1 hour ago, Harriet said:

It feels awesome working on the writing because I get into that completely absorbed state where I'm focused on one thing. Then I feel happy afterwards. Together with the reading, art, meditation, cooking and gym, it's crowding out some of the listless, random internetting I tend to do, which temporarily makes me feel less anxious but makes my life kind of meaningless in the long term. This is awesome. I used to want to do more worthwhile stuff but felt too exhausted. Or maybe I felt anxious and mistook it for exhaustion/lack of motivation.

 

Lack of motivation and tiredness is actually a symptom of my anxiety...?

 

Huh.

 

These are useful insights. I will have to think on these.

 

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6 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

Lack of motivation and tiredness is actually a symptom of my anxiety...?


I can't speak for anyone else, but they're tightly connected for me. I think in my case depression is the first cause of all three things. But they interact: anxiety is exhausting; avoiding things for any reason makes the anxiety worse; and fatigue makes it harder to summon the emotional resources to cope with even normal levels of anxiety.  It might also interest you to know that inflammation in the brain--the kind you get when recovering from a cold for example--can literally cause lack of motivation and fatigue, and this kind of inflammation may be implicated in depression. Learning this made me decide not to call myself lazy when I feel powerfully compelled to avoid the world and do nothing. It also made me decide to start taking fish oil. 

Happily, I don't have to untangle the causation, because lifting is chipping away at all three symptoms simultaneously <3

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55 minutes ago, Harriet said:


Happily, I don't have to untangle the causation, because lifting is chipping away at all three symptoms simultaneously <3

 

I noticed the same thing! I told my therapist that one of our first sessions, and she replied that most forms of exercise have that effect and that's why she strongly recommends it to patients who are dealing with either anxiety or depression. It makes perfect sense to me that when my body feels better, the rest of me does as well.

 

Lifting tomorrow for me..! Can't wait. :)

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25 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

 

I noticed the same thing! I told my therapist that one of our first sessions, and she replied that most forms of exercise have that effect and that's why she strongly recommends it to patients who are dealing with either anxiety or depression. It makes perfect sense to me that when my body feels better, the rest of me does as well.

 

Lifting tomorrow for me..! Can't wait. :)


ME TOO! After three whole days off for the shoulder! 
 

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On 1/12/2019 at 3:23 PM, Harriet said:

Whee, I finished a first draft of a short story (5000 words) and send it to classmates and family for feedback. It's got teleportation in. It feels awesome working on the writing because I get into that completely absorbed state where I'm focused on one thing. Then I feel happy afterwards. Together with the reading, art, meditation, cooking and gym, it's crowding out some of the listless, random internetting I tend to do, which temporarily makes me feel less anxious but makes my life kind of meaningless in the long term. This is awesome

 

This IS awesome :) There is nothing like getting lost in an activity. Hooray for you! 

 

My husband (also a teacher) and I were talking about what you describe. I am not sure how to go about teaching it (or if it is even possible to do so), but I think as a life skill, kids need to learn how to lose themselves in something meaningful (to them)--doesn't matter if that is physical challenges (like improving their stamina or strength), learning a new skill, or creating something. I'd be curious to hear your (all y'all's) thoughts on how/when you learned how to do this, and if you think there is a way of teaching it. 

 

Quote selection is being dumb again (Sigh), but @scalyfreak alluded to endorphins. They are also awesome. :) My husband, we (he and I) think, doesn't get that rush. He detests exercise in any form because he says he feels worse afterwards (not just typical bit of soreness, but he says it doesn't lift his mood or clear his mind plus he gets sore). I feel sorry for him on that count. If going to the gym just made me feel worse, I would be hard pressed to continue doing it. 

 

My youngest struggles with depression/anxiety, but he is resolutely sedentary. I am hoping when his brother moves up here (He worships this brother, and this one works out regularly.), maybe he can get through to the youngest. 

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Challenge is going well! 

I have written every day, done painting or sketching most days, and done meditation every day. I started using the headspace app and I like it better than just meditating by myself. It makes the time zoom by and I feel super calm afterwards.

Body image is going fine since I deleted the evil pinterest boards. I'm trying to notice bits of me I like, and dwell on those. I think my hair looks extra shiny today for some reason.

I decided to start a bullet journal, and it's great. I often write things down, but then lose them, so the index is brilliant. It's also helping me remember little "unimportant" things like taking my fish oil and vitamin D. And I like crossing things off, so I'm motivated to keep my promises to myself. xxx

Today I did my first ever 160lb Deadlift. I got 7,5,1 reps. Not really sure what's going on. Usually on a new weight I get 3 reps max. Today I was totally energised and killing it, until I wasn't. Oh well. I poured all my available valour over it, and it was glorious by my standards. Also, I forgot my liquid chalk and thought my grip would suck, but it didn't. 

 

Also I did some scapular retraction hang things. They were unpleasant. Sigh. Much like assisted pull-ups. I just seem to be incredibly weak at this type of movement. I also keep drifting between different pulls -- assisted pull-ups, inverted rows, barbell rows, dumbbell rows -- because they all suck in different ways. Except the BB row, that's actually going okay, I'm just weak at it. Putting it first seems to help. I get pretty tired throughout my workout so my later lifts don't get my best effort. It also means I can't really fit in many accessory lifts. Wondering about rearranging my programme somehow, maybe one or two main lifts each day instead of two or three? 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Katerina said:

 

This IS awesome :) There is nothing like getting lost in an activity. Hooray for you! 

 

My husband (also a teacher) and I were talking about what you describe. I am not sure how to go about teaching it (or if it is even possible to do so), but I think as a life skill, kids need to learn how to lose themselves in something meaningful (to them)--doesn't matter if that is physical challenges (like improving their stamina or strength), learning a new skill, or creating something. I'd be curious to hear your (all y'all's) thoughts on how/when you learned how to do this, and if you think there is a way of teaching it. 

 

Quote selection is being dumb again (Sigh), but @scalyfreak alluded to endorphins. They are also awesome. :) My husband, we (he and I) think, doesn't get that rush. He detests exercise in any form because he says he feels worse afterwards (not just typical bit of soreness, but he says it doesn't lift his mood or clear his mind plus he gets sore). I feel sorry for him on that count. If going to the gym just made me feel worse, I would be hard pressed to continue doing it. 

 

My youngest struggles with depression/anxiety, but he is resolutely sedentary. I am hoping when his brother moves up here (He worships this brother, and this one works out regularly.), maybe he can get through to the youngest. 


 I think the flow state happens when you engage in a task that is neither too easy nor too hard. It's also more likely to happen with some activity you have a natural inclination for, I believe. I also know that I stopped getting into flow states when I became anxious about things like art and music, and felt I had to perform well enough in order to protect my ego or get the right grades or impress people. I think it only happens when you do the activity for its own sake. I don't think you can teach it per se, but you might be able to produce environments/opportunities where it's more likely to occur, by setting aside quiet time for kids to work on whatever they want, and praising effort rather than results. 

I'm sorry about your husband's exercise allergy, and your son's depression. I personally tried many, many times to start exercising from early in my teens right through to my late twenties. Nothing stuck, I hated everything. Exercise made me feel like crap. So I was completely sedentary and depressed for, oh, 18 years or so. Only in my 30th year did I finally start walking more often, partly because I enjoyed the calming effect and time to listen to music alone. That year, I also tried boxing. It was really hard, but I think I could have pushed through the exhaustion because fighting is just exciting and I wanted to be badass. But I twisted my ankle badly so I never found out. I kept walking, though, and I think very gradually increased my fitness. After maybe a year of doing this, I expressed a semi-idle interest in my friend's powerlifting... and she ambushed me with an offer to show me the lifts that very weekend. I went. And it was good. I hated every other form of exercise, including bodyweight exercises. But I fell for lifting. So, I guess I'm saying personal preferences and excitement really matter a lot for sticking with exercise. Has he tried a wide variety of activities, not just the ones he thinks he should do? Is there anything that excites him, like climbing or fighting or ball games? Also, my heartfelt wishes for your son's improvement. My friend was a huge factor in making me try lifting--I would have collected underpants about it forever if not for her. So here's to hoping the brother will nudge him into trying something. 

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1 minute ago, Harriet said:

I stopped getting into flow states when I became anxious about things like art and music, and felt I had to perform well enough in order to protect my ego or get the right grades or impress people

 

Excellent point! Thank you for putting this so directly. I know it from my own experience (I got a D on an art project in 2nd grade. I've never gotten over it--obviously. I was praised for my writing from a young age, so that never freaked me out like it does some of my students.), but I though I try to keep it in mind, I just don't always actively think about the vulnerability that learning and creativity require. 

 

4 minutes ago, Harriet said:

So, I guess I'm saying personal preferences and excitement really matter a lot for sticking with exercise. Has he tried a wide variety of activities, not just the ones he thinks he should do? Is there anything that excites him, like climbing or fighting or ball games? Also, my heartfelt wishes for your son's improvement. My friend was a huge factor in making me try lifting--I would have collected underpants about it forever if not for her. So here's to hoping the brother will nudge him into trying something. 

Thank you for the well wishes. :) I have tried to encourage him just to go for walks. He is generally fairly willing to do so when we have puppy duty, but he won't do it on his own. . .or with me. Frankly, we live in a pretty area--lots of bike paths, trees, and a river nearby. I find all of them utterly inviting, and *on occasion* I can get him to take a rather short walk with me, but I don't see the motivating factors for his agreement. (Like why does he usually say no but this time say yes?) We (husband and I) had him in volleyball his freshman year--his choice of activity, but he ended up hating it. He hates bike riding. Oddly, he is proud of me for my journey but unwilling to join me on it. Neither husband nor I are athletic at all, so it's not like I am pushing him to do hard core anything. But, maybe Son #2 will be able to work his magic. Or who knows? Maybe his wife. Son #2 is a lifter; his wife is a rock wall climbing person. We shall see. . . .For what it's worth, Son #4 avoids being alone with his thoughts. I guess maybe that's natural? (While I have been overwhelmed on occasion by personal circumstances and have been mentally/emotionally unhealthy due to the strain, I do not struggle with depression. My advice to him--other than to see a therapist which he refuses to do--has been to not accept the troubling thoughts [One's thoughts do not belong to one per se--they just arise--we are not obligated to accept them.], but maybe that's just too much for him? I don't know.) 

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56 minutes ago, Katerina said:

 

Quote selection is being dumb again (Sigh), but @scalyfreak alluded to endorphins. They are also awesome. :) My husband, we (he and I) think, doesn't get that rush. He detests exercise in any form because he says he feels worse afterwards (not just typical bit of soreness, but he says it doesn't lift his mood or clear his mind plus he gets sore). I feel sorry for him on that count. If going to the gym just made me feel worse, I would be hard pressed to continue doing it. 

 

Endorphins are indeed awesome, but I think there is more to it than that. There is the simple fact that our bodies were designed for movement, and function better when we let them do that. When the body functions better, we feel better physically, and this in turn helps us feel better mentally and emotionally as well. It also gives me something to look forward to, something that occupies my thoughts on days when I am not working out, and something I can loose myself in when I need to. (Youtube binging, anyone?) 

 

So even though I go to the gym three times in a week, it benefits me the other four days as well, both because of giving me something fun to think about, research and talk about here on NF, and the benefits ot mey body feeling good, don't stop when I leave the gym. :) 

 

21 minutes ago, Harriet said:


 I think the flow state happens when you engage in a task that is neither too easy nor too hard. It's also more likely to happen with some activity you have a natural inclination for, I believe. I also know that I stopped getting into flow states when I became anxious about things like art and music, and felt I had to perform well enough in order to protect my ego or get the right grades or impress people. I think it only happens when you do the activity for its own sake. 

 

All of this. And because of all of this, I agree that I don't think you can teach someone how to lose themselves in an activity.

 

However, you can encourage children to explore and search for that something they are passionate about. You can encourage them when they do find it, regardless of what it is, and support their efforts, regardless of the results. I firmly believe that if we adults do this with the children around us, from an early age, they will discover the joy of getting lost in something to the point time loses all meaning.

 

2 minutes ago, Katerina said:

I have tried to encourage him just to go for walks. He is generally fairly willing to do so when we have puppy duty, but he won't do it on his own. . .or with me. Frankly, we live in a pretty area--lots of bike paths, trees, and a river nearby. I find all of them utterly inviting, and *on occasion* I can get him to take a rather short walk with me, but I don't see the motivating factors for his agreement. (Like why does he usually say no but this time say yes?) We (husband and I) had him in volleyball his freshman year--his choice of activity, but he ended up hating it. He hates bike riding. Oddly, he is proud of me for my journey but unwilling to join me on it.

 

Honestly, it sounds like he's going on walks and joining in the few activities he does (volleyball for example), for the wrong reasons - for someone other than himself. This is not meant as criticism of you or the situation, it's simply intended to be an observation. It is very rare for a person who dislikes physical activity, to voluntarily engage in it for their own enjoyment. They will engage in them because they enjoy the company of the person who does it with them, or to please, but they won't do it every time, and they very rarely instigate it.

 

Harriet already alluded to the idea that your son doesn't dislike all exercise, he just has disliked every form he has tried so far. I agree.I think it's just a matter of finding one he would enjoy. Has he tried swimming as cardio? Lifting? Running? Horse riding? I'm suggesting solitary activities because depression often makes social activities draining and/or highly stressful, and that would obviously be a disincentive to continue with them.

 

That aside, while I have never personally suffered from depression, a close friend of mine struggles with it. From my observations and from conversations we have had, one of the most debilitating side-effects of depression is the constant state of mental and emotional exhaustion.They always feel the way I do when I'm emotionally drained at the end of a long and painful social event, but with more exhaustion and less prickliness. The idea of doing anything that requires energy is too exhausting to even contemplate, let alone do. It's the same concept as not doing something due to anxiety, but instead of being paralyzed by anxiety, the depressed person starts out so exhausted they just can't bring themselves to get started.

 

My friend finds that if they're mentally in a better place, then everything else in life becomes easier, while being in a mental bad place, will screw up everything. Is it possible for you to help your son with the mental side of things? You mentioned advising him not to accept troubling thoughts, have you tried replacing them with affirming statements? Would he be open to trying meditation as a way to gradually redirect the brain itself in a more positive direction? How about environmental changes, like moving furniture around, or increasing the amount of sunlight coming into the room? 

 

Obviously I'm not a professional at depression, only someone who has been trying to understand while in the process of attempting to help a friend, so take all my advice with my grain of salt. :)

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53 minutes ago, Katerina said:

My advice to him--other than to see a therapist which he refuses to do--has been to not accept the troubling thoughts [One's thoughts do not belong to one per se--they just arise--we are not obligated to accept them.], but maybe that's just too much for him? I don't know.) 

 

Is he doing anything at all to treat the depression? I'm aware that it's a bit of a puzzle - when you're depressed you don't really want to do anything. But he has to do something, because there's no guarantee that it will get better by itself. If he refuses therapy, he might be willing to work through the exercises in David Burns' "Feeling Good" a classic handbook on CBT that really helped me... but only when I put the work in to doing the exercises regularly, for a long period. 

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On another note. What are everyone's favourite trusted sources for programming? I read so many things that contradict each other, or every article adds a new suggestion until I'm totally confused. Today I learned that either I should stick with full body workouts until I'm a 300lb monster lifting fistfuls of wildebeest for warmups. OR full body workouts are terrible unless I'm a sub-novice still on pink dumbbells and air benches*

*like a barbell bench, but with no barbell. 

 

I lose puff throughout my workout and the later lifts suffer (low work capacity? probably from years of being sedentary). I'm trying to figure out if an upper/lower split would be good. I feel like some volume and accessories might help with my fatigue and specific weaknesses, but I can't seem to fit them in when I'm doing three main movements. I'm trying to read what the best solution to this is, but every website gives me a different answer. Sometimes articles written by different people within the same website give me different answers. Who do I trust? 


 

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19 minutes ago, Harriet said:

I feel like some volume and accessories might help with my fatigue and specific weaknesses, but I can't seem to fit them in when I'm doing three main movements. I'm trying to read what the best solution to this is, but every website gives me a different answer.

 

Accessories that target the specific areas you want to strengthen, will definitely improve there.

 

I do my accessories first, as a warm-up, then I do my big three. I do it this way, because that is what works for me, and ultimately, that is how you decide who you should take advice from. Obviously they should give safe and knowledgeable advice, but it must be advice that works for you.

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44 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

I do my accessories first, as a warm-up, then I do my big three

 

This is an interesting approach, I hadn't thought of that. I guess some of the smaller activation type exercises would scarcely detract at all from later lifts. 

 

44 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

I do it this way, because that is what works for me, and ultimately, that is how you decide who you should take advice from. Obviously they should give safe and knowledgeable advice, but it must be advice that works for you.


So... experiment? This makes sense, but I still need a way to determine the most plausible approaches to experiment with. I don't want to try something for a few months and get weaker.

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2 minutes ago, Harriet said:

So... experiment? This makes sense, but I still need a way to determine the most plausible approaches to experiment with.

 

Yep. Experiment! Fitness is one big experiment to see what gets the best results. And since we never really stop once we reach our temporary goal, the experiment never ends.

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This is going to be a pretty long post because it is a complex question. And I want to make sure you’ve got some decent words to google for searching later.

 

To start the axiom of strength programming is: Everything works and nothing works forever.

The corollary to that is: hopping from program to program can be detrimental and can lead to months of workout fuck-around-itis (that's a technical term, I swear).

 

As for sites, a lot of the internet in this respect is hot garbage. Especially these days with shill sites using SEO to get to the top of google in hopes of selling you something. The basic ideas behind most training programs you find online are simple enough to understand: set/rep range, lift order (whether full body every day or splits), and accessories. Every program is a mix of these categories. Some can get really complex, or be dead simple to follow. It all depends on what the trainee needs. Now there are a few styles you will come across: linear progression styles (starting strength 3x5, stronglifts 5x5), AMRAP styles (5/3/1 or Greyskull LP variants), bodybuilding styles, and after those it can get complicated.  

 

My first recommendation would be to check out the the Lifting Knowledge base and Programming sections of this forum, which I see you’ve visited in the past. The Overview of the Various Strength Training programs thread has a lot of wonderful discussion about various programs and can provide some options. The questionnaire that chairohkey put together is also a great place to begin finding an answer. The big thing when asking what to do next is to post what you’ve done before, for how long, what your current constraints are (weaknesses, time, equipment, etc) and what your current goals are. Most programs come in the 4-8 week time frames and recommendations can be made to accommodate almost any constraint.

 

As for non-NF sites: my usual go to for powerlifting specific training information is T-Nation. I will warn you the site is probably not safe for work, but the content is amazing. I tend to start my powerlifting searches with “t nation [foo]”” where foo is whatever i am interested in. Their Training For Newbies is one of my first links I send people who want to know more of the details of training and programming as it gives you a one stop place for terminology which is important. A lot of internet searching is just trying to find the right words for the new things you are wanting to try out.

 

The Starting Strength website is another good resource, but the site isn’t quite as easy to navigate these days. Although it just so happens that the newest article in the programming section reminded me of your question. Mark Rippetoe in general is a decent resource if you get your hands on his Practical Programming for Strength Training. At some point you may outgrow Starting Strength’s advice. Most lifters do.

 

The last site I’d recommend is the now no-longer-updated Myosythesis. Lots of good details on more exercise science-y topics and the affects of training. Not quite programming related, but may give you more insight/intuition on why a program calls for certain things.

 

Some normal program templates to look at:

 

  • Starting strength 3x5/Stronglifts 5x5

    •  Basic A/B program, three lifts, weight increases every week

  • Madcow 5x5

    • A bit more complicated than SS or SL, but can be effective.

  • Wendler 5/3/1

    • Low rep AMRAP with one main lift every session, and time for accessories.

      • Several various accessory selections to choose from, such as Big But Boring

    •  Includes a deload week during week 4.

    •  Can be run basically forever.

  • Texas Method

    •  Similar to SL 5x5, but reduces sets from 5 to 3 to 1 as the week goes on. Three sessions a week.

  • Cube method

  • Danger Method

    • Designed by forum member jdanger. Pretty solid 15 week program broken out into 4 distinct blocks (volume/conditioning, strength, power, peaking).

    •  I'm partial to this as it is two main lifts, plus accessories, and is well thought out.

    • Plus it comes with a handy google sheet that does all the calculations for you. All you have to do is follow the program

  • Smolov/Smolov Jr.

    • This can be used as a template for one main lift (expect DLs for the most part) that you want to specifically increase. It’s rough, not going to lie, lots of volume so dedicate your gym time to that one lift and then accessories.

  • PHAT and PHUL

    • Power/hypertrophy split routines.

    • Lots of reps and takes a decent amount of time to run these.

All in all, I hope this gives a basic guide to start your programming search. Feel free to ask anything, we’re all here to help :)

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1 hour ago, bigm141414 said:

All in all, I hope this gives a basic guide to start your programming search. Feel free to ask anything, we’re all here to help :)


Thank you kindly for the detailed reply :) 

Yeah, the programming board here helped me out with a few things, most importantly my deadlift freak-outs. They're gone! Happiness is mine! But I always try to figure out everything by myself first, because I don't want to bother anyone by asking for MOAR help. But then I get confused by reading too many things.


I am familiar with t-nation and with some of these programmes. I've actually spent a lot of time reading on T-nation! The problem is I get a bit overwhelmed by all the information, especially since for every site that recommends x/y/z there's another that says it's terrible and will lead to slow gains. Sometimes even within sites like t-nation, or here on nerd fitness, there will be differing views. I was recently considering 5/3/1 and even bought and read the book, because I thought that with one lift per day, I would be able to fit in all the accessories for my weak spots. But then I read lots of critical things about it and was worried that doing each lift only once per week would be insufficient. How to decide who's right? My problem isn't lack of information, it's too much information and not being able to intuit what is most important and who to trust/ignore. Arghhh! 

 

Right now, I want to do my main movements at least twice a week, because I don't have recovery problems between workouts and I feel like reducing frequency could be a mistake for me at my novice level. But I also want to fit in some accessories for problem spots. But I get tired during the workout so my later lifts suck. I've just walked away without even attempting my iso holds a few times now. Also my pulls are terrible so I want to prioritise them but I also love my deadlifts and benches and don't want to sacrifice them. So... how do I fit in main lifts including pulls twice a week plus accessories without being uselessly tired toward the end? Or alternatively, is there a way to be less tired during sessions? Is it cardio? You can tell me if it is in fact cardio. I can handle the truth. 

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Quote

Thank you kindly for the detailed reply :) 


You're welcome :)

Quote

Yeah, the programming board here helped me out with a few things, most importantly my deadlift freak-outs. They're gone! Happiness is mine! But I always try to figure out everything by myself first, because I don't want to bother anyone by asking for MOAR help. But then I get confused by reading too many things.

 

Ah the ol' analysis paralysis. Happens to the best of us. Luckily we're here to help sift and sort information! 

 

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I was recently considering 5/3/1 and even bought and read the book, because I thought that with one lift per day, I would be able to fit in all the accessories for my weak spots. But then I read lots of critical things about it and was worried that doing each lift only once per week would be insufficient. How to decide who's right? My problem isn't lack of information, it's too much information and not being able to intuit what is most important and who to trust/ignore. Arghhh! 

 

Yeah I agree, trying to find out who to trust about this stuff is difficult. Here's what I normally do: trust those who wrote the program. Remember the first half of axiom Everything works. It's true. The programs were designed not to please every single person. A lot of the naysayers (who haven't heard the second part of the axiom and nothing works forever), on the internet and even on the NF boards, forget that we're all individuals and have our own goals. If you read the criticisms the subtext is almost always "this program does not meet my very specific needs and goals at this particular time and therefore is bad". 

 

Quote

Right now, I want to do my main movements at least twice a week, because I don't have recovery problems between workouts and I feel like reducing frequency could be a mistake for me at my novice level. But I also want to fit in some accessories for problem spots. But I get tired during the workout so my later lifts suck. I've just walked away without even attempting my iso holds a few times now. Also my pulls are terrible so I want to prioritise them but I also love my deadlifts and benches and don't want to sacrifice them. So... how do I fit in main lifts including pulls twice a week plus accessories without being uselessly tired toward the end? Or alternatively, is there a way to be less tired during sessions? Is it cardio? You can tell me if it is in fact cardio. I can handle the truth. 

 

 

You've done a great job of identifying what you want to work on. If you are feeling taxed by the three main lifts per workout thing it's totally cool to drop to two mains and a bunch of accessories. You can get strong by doing less. And if you do less reps, you should be able to add more weight quickly, which will mean that the lighter weights at higher reps will feel easier, which in turn will lead you to not be so winded by them by the end of the workout. 

 

I'll use 5/3/1 as an example which may work for you. You'd have 4 sessions, one main lift one accessory lift (with the Boring but big variant e.g bench main and high rep OHP, squat main and high rep DL, etc) and a bunch of other accessory stuff for weak spots so if you want to work on pulls and you'd add in DB rows, or face pulls or whatever, until your arms fall off. Maybe even do a bro session of nothing but vanity bicep curls. And maybe even some cardio (gasp! I prefer the word conditioning :D). Do some HIIT such as tabata sprints, or the godforsaken tabata burpees at the end of every session. Or an EMOM of kettlebell swings if you want to stick with weights. The deload week in 531 is especially great to dedicate time to conditioning. All of this is perfectly doable and will get you strong would still fit into about an hour of gym time. 

 

 

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I have very little to add on the programming front (I know enough to know that I hardly know anything) but woo for the PR on deadlift! And on finding positive things for body image!

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58 minutes ago, bigm141414 said:

Ah the ol' analysis paralysis. Happens to the best of us. Luckily we're here to help sift and sort information! 


Thank you so much. I get totally flustered and forget to keep it simple and use my common sense sometimes.

 

Here are some thank you wombats.

 

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59 minutes ago, bigm141414 said:

You've done a great job of identifying what you want to work on. If you are feeling taxed by the three main lifts per workout thing it's totally cool to drop to two mains and a bunch of accessories. You can get strong by doing less. And if you do less reps, you should be able to add more weight quickly, which will mean that the lighter weights at higher reps will feel easier, which in turn will lead you to not be so winded by them by the end of the workout. 

 

I'll use 5/3/1 as an example which may work for you. You'd have 4 sessions, one main lift one accessory lift (with the Boring but big variant e.g bench main and high rep OHP, squat main and high rep DL, etc) and a bunch of other accessory stuff for weak spots so if you want to work on pulls and you'd add in DB rows, or face pulls or whatever, until your arms fall off. Maybe even do a bro session of nothing but vanity bicep curls. And maybe even some cardio (gasp! I prefer the word conditioning :D). Do some HIIT such as tabata sprints, or the godforsaken tabata burpees at the end of every session. Or an EMOM of kettlebell swings if you want to stick with weights. The deload week in 531 is especially great to dedicate time to conditioning. All of this is perfectly doable and will get you strong would still fit into about an hour of gym time. 


This is specific and makes sense, thank you again! So would my pulls still get better if just prioritise them as accessories, doing them most days? I thought maybe they had to be heavy and become the main lift of the day sometimes in order to improve. 

So to clarify, conditioning/hiit can increase one's ability to do more in a single workout? 
 

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So to clarify, conditioning/hiit can increase one's ability to do more in a single workout? 

Yes'm.

 

But if you are getting tired during a workout, you can also increase rest between sets (how long are your current workouts and would you be okay with adding more time to them?) and/or take a look at your pre-workout nutrition. For me, personally, if I'm totally gassed during a lifting workout, it usually means I did not adequately fuel myself for it. It might be worth looking into having a light snack beforehand if you don't already, or making your lunches a bit bigger (if you are an afternoon workout person)? I know you're not trying to take on too much on the nutrition front, but it is part of the equation and worth thinking about if you are ready to do so. :)

 

Also, it's easy when you are excited about something to just keep delving back into the rabbit hole of internet research to see if you can find magical solutions and recommendations. RESIST. It's natural to want to make sure we're doing the Best Possible Thing, but honestly, just doing the work is 90% of the answer. 

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1 hour ago, raptron said:

Also, it's easy when you are excited about something to just keep delving back into the rabbit hole of internet research to see if you can find magical solutions and recommendations. RESIST. It's natural to want to make sure we're doing the Best Possible Thing, but honestly, just doing the work is 90% of the answer.

 

QFT.

 

This needs to go on a poster somewhere so I can remember it.

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1 hour ago, raptron said:

But if you are getting tired during a workout, you can also increase rest between sets (how long are your current workouts and would you be okay with adding more time to them?)


My current workout seems to be about 50 minutes or something, I haven't counted. A bit more rest might help. I was wondering if not-enough-rest was the reason for my odd deadlift reps yesterday: I got 7 reps, then 5, then just one. My heart rate was still higher than normal after a three minute rest, so maybe I should have waited longer? 

 

1 hour ago, raptron said:

It might be worth looking into having a light snack beforehand if you don't already, or making your lunches a bit bigger (if you are an afternoon workout person)?

 

I eat oats for breakfast (nerds encouraged me not be afraid of carbs), then it takes me about an hour to get ready, walk to the gym, get changed and start my first set (yes, I walk everywhere, it takes about 40 minutes to the gym). I can't really eat more oats than I already do, I eat until I'm satisfied. But then I'm super hungry after the workout, sometimes a bit hungry during it. I guess this is normal? I don't want to be a crazy gym bro with an energy drink that I have to sip between every single rep, but sometimes I wish I had a bit of sugar water or something about halfway through.

 

1 hour ago, raptron said:

Also, it's easy when you are excited about something to just keep delving back into the rabbit hole of internet research to see if you can find magical solutions and recommendations. RESIST. It's natural to want to make sure we're doing the Best Possible Thing, but honestly, just doing the work is 90% of the answer. 


Ha, yes. Especially with lifting where I'm super excited and want to do everything possible to succeed, but the results come slowly, so it's tempting to think I'm doing it wrong, and to research the perfect programme in order to speed things up and get MAXIMUM results. Diagnosis: novice lifter is novice. Prescription: lift the things. 

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2 hours ago, Harriet said:

Ha, yes. Especially with lifting where I'm super excited and want to do everything possible to succeed, but the results come slowly, so it's tempting to think I'm doing it wrong, and to research the perfect programme in order to speed things up and get MAXIMUM results. Diagnosis: novice lifter is novice. Prescription: lift the things  properly

FIFY

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22 hours ago, Harriet said:

he might be willing to work through the exercises in David Burns' "Feeling Good" a classic handbook on CBT that really helped me... but only when I put the work in to doing the exercises regularly, for a long perio

It won't hurt to ask. Thank you for the suggestion :)

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