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scalyfreak

Scalyfreak continues her studies of pyromancy

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4 hours ago, Defining said:

 

 

FWIW, I love inverted rows, cable rows, and chest supported DB rows, but actively avoid bent-over rows of any kind. I just see too much potential for 1) my poor form to eff up my body at some point, 2) for me to get 'distracted' on focusing on core stability rather than the back/shoulder burn I'm looking for, and 3) adding lots of unnecessary force to my spinal column when there are good alterative options available. Anecdotally, I've also noticed that some folks end up putting too much weight on the bar when doing rows, rather than focusing on muscle targeting/activation rather than just moving heavy stuff - besides, some folks postulate that upper back muscles tend to benefit from marginally lighter weights/higher reps rather than heavy loading. But then again, I'm heavily biased towards lower technical lifts and 'safer' lifting options, soooo..... ;) 


Yeah, I think I'm sooo behind on the pulls because I just can't even activate properly. I tend to use my arms and momentum. We'll see. Maybe I'll get back to the proper bb and db rows and pull ups one day, after figuring out where my lats are and gently prodding them awake with the cable pulls. 

 

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Apparently it's been a week and I am due for an update.

 

Physical Stress Management:

I have completely failed at going to the gym at all. This is bad, because it makes the anxiety angry, and when the anxiety is angry, it tries to take over.  Each evening I had a valid reason for not going to the gym (legitimate exhaustion, family event, etc.). All these social commitments to things that are sort of fun while being obligatory due to being family related, are stressful. Instead of going to the gym the day after the social obligation, I stayed home, had alone-time, and hid myself away in books and video games. While this might be good for mental stress management, it goes against my grand plan for using barbells to manage my anxiety.

 

Mental Stress Management:

In the most polite way of stating it that I can think  of: My sleep goals have gone to shit. My brain knows that having alone-time is a good weapon against anxiety, and insists on keeping me awake to have it, instead of letting me go to sleep. My brain is sometimes its own worst enemy.

 

Happiness Factor:

I am working on the Camp NaNo project and enjoying every moment. The local writers' group I found has a Facebook group, and I read there every day and post when I think I can contribute.

 

In other news, that fall in either category, I found the most tasty pork tenderloin recipe this week: https://kristineskitchenblog.com/instant-pot-pork-tenderloin/

 

I deglazed the pot with homemade broth instead of water, then added all the other liquid ingredients in the recipe, and I didn't bother measuring the garlic or ginger. Also, I cut my tenderloin in half to fit it in the pot, I didn't bother slicing it. We ate this with mashed potatoes tonight. Next time, I will experiment with roasted veggies.

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1 hour ago, scalyfreak said:

Instead of going to the gym the day after the social obligation, I stayed home, had alone-time, and hid myself away in books and video games.

 

My brain knows that having alone-time is a good weapon against anxiety, and insists on keeping me awake to have it, instead of letting me go to sleep. 

 

I totally understand these things. It's why I will stay up even later after coming home from a party, but I just call it "unwinding". I hope this week is more chill for you and that you get back to the gym, where the spirits of iron await you.

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11 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

Physical Stress Management:

I have completely failed at going to the gym at all. This is bad, because it makes the anxiety angry, and when the anxiety is angry, it tries to take over.  Each evening I had a valid reason for not going to the gym (legitimate exhaustion, family event, etc.). All these social commitments to things that are sort of fun while being obligatory due to being family related, are stressful. Instead of going to the gym the day after the social obligation, I stayed home, had alone-time, and hid myself away in books and video games. While this might be good for mental stress management, it goes against my grand plan for using barbells to manage my anxiety.

Could you maybe find middle ground and do some body weight or yoga or jumprope work at home, alone, without having to leave the house and go to a gym? That is how I try to split the difference when I need to stay in my own space and not people, but I also know that being active is good for my depression. Maybe this won't work for you, but it is how I deal so I thought I'd throw it out there. 

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10 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

I totally understand these things. It's why I will stay up even later after coming home from a party, but I just call it "unwinding". I hope this week is more chill for you and that you get back to the gym, where the spirits of iron await you.

 

Unfortunately not. More family obligations await. Avengers: Endgame also awaits, which leaves me with the additional challenge of figuring out how to remain emotionally stable after watching both Endgame and the Battle of Winterfell in the span of just a few days... :P

 

51 minutes ago, JessFit said:

Could you maybe find middle ground and do some body weight or yoga or jumprope work at home, alone, without having to leave the house and go to a gym?

 

I can, and I should. Especially given that next week will be similar to this one as far as obligations and activities go, but instead of a therapist appointment I will have the joy of PMSing. :rolleyes:

 

ETA: I just noticed the mini challenge has been posted, and it is body weight exercises. Worst case scenario, I will simply do them. :)

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1 hour ago, scalyfreak said:

Unfortunately not. More family obligations await. Avengers: Endgame also awaits, which leaves me with the additional challenge of figuring out how to remain emotionally stable after watching both Endgame and the Battle of Winterfell in the span of just a few days... :P

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17 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

Mental Stress Management:

In the most polite way of stating it that I can think  of: My sleep goals have gone to shit. My brain knows that having alone-time is a good weapon against anxiety, and insists on keeping me awake to have it, instead of letting me go to sleep. My brain is sometimes its own worst enemy.

 

I'm new to the cheering section of team scalyfreak; whats your background on meditation? It helps my insomnia from anxiety brain a solid 66% of the time, but its a terrible discipline to start learning while you're trying to fall asleep.

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15 minutes ago, Laghail said:

 

I'm new to the cheering section of team scalyfreak; whats your background on meditation? It helps my insomnia from anxiety brain a solid 66% of the time, but its a terrible discipline to start learning while you're trying to fall asleep.

 

I've been doing it since Chapter 3, so a little over a year. I use mediation techniques I learned from the Headspace sleep exercises to help my brain go to sleep. :)

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1 minute ago, scalyfreak said:

 

I've been doing it since Chapter 3, so a little over a year. I use mediation techniques I learned from the Headspace sleep exercises to help my brain go to sleep. :)

Same. Not headspace, but calm, same difference. You ever try a mala? The kinesthetic cues of passing beads through my fingers while deep breathing, it helps me interrupt the anxiety squirrels, kinda like playing with a fidget spinner while meditating so that anxiety itself doesn't sabotage the meditating. Lots of waking up in the morning to find the beads on the ground or in the covers where I dropped them as I fell asleep. 

 

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59 minutes ago, Laghail said:

Same. Not headspace, but calm, same difference. You ever try a mala? The kinesthetic cues of passing beads through my fingers while deep breathing, it helps me interrupt the anxiety squirrels, kinda like playing with a fidget spinner while meditating so that anxiety itself doesn't sabotage the meditating. Lots of waking up in the morning to find the beads on the ground or in the covers where I dropped them as I fell asleep.

 

I abandoned Headspace when they wanted my money, and moved to Insight Timer. And I have never tried a mala, or even heard of one, but it sounds like the same concept as a rosary - it gives the fingers something to do, which keeps the bored part of the brain from interrupting the meditation/reflection/prayer. My anxiety is more of a slow burning ember that over time builds into an explosive wildfire if I let it go unchecked, which is why I'm now studying pyromancy.

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Yes, Mala is kind of rosary-esque, but it is my favorite meditation tool. It helps keep me focused on meditating. My mind likes to wander. 

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On 4/30/2019 at 10:21 AM, JessFit said:

Yes, Mala is kind of rosary-esque, but it is my favorite meditation tool. It helps keep me focused on meditating. My mind likes to wander. 

If I didn't have my grandpa's rosary, I'd be the same.

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I'm a long-time, though inconsistent practitioner of Zazen meditation. In it, the whole body including the hands remain in a fixed posture while the mind pays attention to maintaining that posture while also following the breath. What I notice is that any breakdown of the posture typically mirrors the extent to which I'm tuned in to my breathing vs. anxiety squirrels, mental monkeys, and desire demons... just to name a few of the challenges.

 

Any thoughts on how your internal mental state manifests itself physically, especially in the hands? Is it best to let it work on itself with the mala, or maybe giving it some structure to practice? Or maybe just watch how the anxiety squirrels act on your hands and reflect on it, and learn something from it?

 

I'm realizing I'm mostly addressing @Laghail and @JessFit... just some thoughts/questions.

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15 hours ago, Curl Brogo said:

I'm a long-time, though inconsistent practitioner of Zazen meditation. In it, the whole body including the hands remain in a fixed posture while the mind pays attention to maintaining that posture while also following the breath. What I notice is that any breakdown of the posture typically mirrors the extent to which I'm tuned in to my breathing vs. anxiety squirrels, mental monkeys, and desire demons... just to name a few of the challenges.

 

Any thoughts on how your internal mental state manifests itself physically, especially in the hands? Is it best to let it work on itself with the mala, or maybe giving it some structure to practice? Or maybe just watch how the anxiety squirrels act on your hands and reflect on it, and learn something from it?

 

Fascinating question and it's weird to talk about meditating; talking about the process of noticing the self below our talking self. You know those brief moments where there's no thoughts, those 30 second blips where the first thought you have is that you must now be enlightened but that thought itself wrecks things? Sometimes my fingers pause during those moments, and I think that's a good thing. Other times the beads pace my breathing and keep my body in a good posture with good breath, and those things push my brain into another 30 second blip before I need a refractory monkey mind break. I'm not used to mantra/prayer work, where you recite with each bead; I've been playing with the discipline, and it's more parts distracting than helpful at this point. I respect that usually you need to be bad at something before you can be mediocre. 

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18 hours ago, Curl Brogo said:

I'm a long-time, though inconsistent practitioner of Zazen meditation. In it, the whole body including the hands remain in a fixed posture while the mind pays attention to maintaining that posture while also following the breath. What I notice is that any breakdown of the posture typically mirrors the extent to which I'm tuned in to my breathing vs. anxiety squirrels, mental monkeys, and desire demons... just to name a few of the challenges.

 

I always assumed it has a name, now I actually know what it is! :)

 

This is what I do. Find a comfortable position/posture, settle my breathing and focus on each individual breath, while maintaining my position. I fidget non-stop at nearly every waking moment of my life. My hope is that by keeping up with my own version of Zazen, I will gradually be able to control the fidgeting compulsion.

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7 hours ago, Laghail said:

 

Fascinating question and it's weird to talk about meditating; talking about the process of noticing the self below our talking self. You know those brief moments where there's no thoughts, those 30 second blips where the first thought you have is that you must now be enlightened but that thought itself wrecks things? Sometimes my fingers pause during those moments, and I think that's a good thing. Other times the beads pace my breathing and keep my body in a good posture with good breath, and those things push my brain into another 30 second blip before I need a refractory monkey mind break. I'm not used to mantra/prayer work, where you recite with each bead; I've been playing with the discipline, and it's more parts distracting than helpful at this point. I respect that usually you need to be bad at something before you can be mediocre. 

 

Right. Just keep polishing that mirror till you realize there is no mirror.

 

For me its similar. I use the traditional posture of the Soto Zen school, with the hands placed in the maha mudra position. It's not a complicated maneuvre, but it should be done very precisely and deliberately. When the monkeys have hold of my mind my thumbs collapse inward, or when I finally catch myself they might be lazily resting rather than "holding a grain of rice gently but securely." The good semi-enlightened moments are when all comes together, posture, breath, the hands, and the present moment is just there as it is.

 

I've not done much mantra work either. In the past few months I have toyed with transcendental meditation and it seems somewhat effective. You just pick a nonsense syllable or word and repeat it in you mind. But I find it's more of a reset the brain, rather than a being present exercise. But I suppose resetting should make you more in the moment when you're done.

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After cheerfully commenting in everyone else's threads, on everyone else's challenge updates, I realized that I am once again overdue for an update of my own.

 

Physical Stress Management:

  • I have sprained my left ankle. This is aggravating and annoying, and successfully interferes with all the barbell lifts except bench press, and considering I rely on leg drive to lift that last heavy set, I probably need to back off on bench press as well. I have moped, and comforted Self-Indulgence with candy and ice cream, and am determined to get back to the gym tonight. What I'll do once I get there... time will tell.
  • After reading through excellent program summaries on physiqz.com I have decided to try out the one they labelled Wendler 5/3/1. They provide formulas and spreadsheets that will make it easy to prepare and set this up, so I will mess around with this while the ankle heals.

 

Mental Stress Management:

  • The anxiety became very angry, and successfully took over for an evening. This is the first time that's happened in several months, since before the massive boss fight with Stress Monster last fall in fact, so though it was quite a setback, there is a silver lining: It took quite a lot to push the anxiety far enough to lead to firebombing of innocent bystanders, much more than it used to take. As an extra bonus, I also have a much better understanding of what feeds the anxiety flames and what I can do to manage them better, which is important and feel like some kind of progress.
  • Doing a mental reset on sleep goals, and getting back to going to bed despite the urge to finish what I'm doing. Baby steps!

 

Happiness Factor:

  • Still plotting out the lives and challenges of bartenders in space
  • Signed up for a volunteer event in June
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26 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

I have sprained my left ankle.


Bummer. I sprained mine badly a couple of years ago, and again a year later. It has taken ages to get back to normal-ish. Hopefully yours is less severe and will heal up quickly. 
 

27 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

The anxiety became very angry, and successfully took over for an evening. This is the first time that's happened in several months, since before the massive boss fight with Stress Monster last fall in fact, so though it was quite a setback, there is a silver lining: It took quite a lot to push the anxiety far enough to lead to firebombing of innocent bystanders, much more than it used to take. As an extra bonus, I also have a much better understanding of what feeds the anxiety flames and what I can do to manage them better, which is important and feel like some kind of progress.


This sounds like a downward fluctuation in within a general upward trend. 

Here. I found this and thought of you. 

 

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Boo on the ankle, and the anxiety, but I'm glad the anxiety is in a better place. Also, this thread just made my day. 

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55 minutes ago, JessFit said:

 Also, this thread just made my day. 

 

We need moar 'saurs!
 

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