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Harriet

Harriet’s Year of Transformation Act IX
: Hypertrophy Hubris

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So, generally, things are going quite well. I’m lifting and taekwondoing three times per week. I make reasonably healthy home made dinners 6 days per week and keep alcohol to once a week. I am writing every day except Saturdays. I have a writing group I meet once per month. I am incorporating more reading, sketching, meditation and housekeeping into my days, though these are not yet firmly set habits. I’ll keep inviting myself to do them during this challenge, but in a chill, no-pressure way. I’m also choosing to spend less time checking my phone or browsing the internet when I’m bored or anxious. Sleep is going well. I’m settling into the intuitive eating. I’m a bit heavier than before, but I don’t mind. I’ve had success reducing anxiety by treating it as an adrenaline gift from the fire spirits and using a little meditation to disarm the negative effects. I discovered buses and the library, which have enhanced my life. For this challenge I’ll be trying out my own programming while trying to keep up the new habits of reading, sketching, cleaning, and meditation.

 

So I’ve been reading about programming and have decided to finally move on from my near-linear, all-heavy beginner programme to something with more accessories and volume—and blocks!—as an investment in my long term strength. Apparently I need some hypertrophy to get stronger.

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Somehow I don’t really believe I’m capable of putting on much size, but we’ll see. I’m eating as much as I want and having a protein shake every evening. I’ll probably weigh myself occasionally to make sure I’m either maintaining or gaining weight slowly. Somehow I worry I’m going to get fat. Or stay the same. It’s just hard to imagine myself becoming muscular. Oh well, I just have to aim and shoot, right? 

 

The main challenge will be sticking to the programme as written. I have a habit of simply changing things I don’t like.

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And I don’t like high rep work. And I don’t like accessories. But I understand why I chose them and what goals they’re supporting. So I need to practice a bit of resolve. It’s one thing being valiant for twenty seconds when doing a heavy deadlift. It’s another thing scraping up the will to do the next set and the next set when one’s energy and oxygen are dropping and everything feels painful and ugly instead of glorious. Oh well. They didn’t make me for endurance. (They didn’t make me for strength, either, if I’m perfectly honest. I’m pretty sure they made me for reading interspersed with naps.) But I’m going to build whatever work capacity and mental fortitude I can. You can remind me that I said this if, later during the challenge, I complain that five sets of everything is insanity/coma/death and I’m thinking about going low volume/high weight again.

Also, I appear to have shin splints. My plan is to take ibuprofen for a few days, drastically cut down on walking for a few weeks, and substitute the normal taekwondo warmup (jogging, jumping, sprinting, footwork) for something low-impact. I should also try to remember to stretch my calves, I understand tight calves can reduce the feet’s ability to absorb impact.

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All about that hypertrophy, whoo hoo!!! No, I hear you, I am not a huge (pun intended) fan of high rep stuff. By rep 9 or 10 of a 15 rep set I'm thinking "good heavens, I've been doing this for a hundred years, I want to do something else already!" But like other things that I have committed to and toughed out for a while, I am starting to sort of actually like some of the accessory exercises. For me the hard part was just jumping out of that groove of three-heavy-sets-of-three-to-five-and-I'm-done and into those higher numbers and shorter rest breaks - my intensely changephobic brain screamed "ah what are we doing this is new this is different we hates it" - for a week or so. And then it just became "this is the thing we do now."  Because my brain is just weird like that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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2 hours ago, Harriet said:

I complain that five sets of everything is insanity/coma/death

Who in the world would do 5 sets of each lift? That's crazy talk! 

 

[checks own lifting program]

 

Ah, right.  Carry on then :D

 

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4 hours ago, Gemma said:

All about that hypertrophy, whoo hoo!!! No, I hear you, I am not a huge (pun intended) fan of high rep stuff. By rep 9 or 10 of a 15 rep set I'm thinking "good heavens, I've been doing this for a hundred years, I want to do something else already!" But like other things that I have committed to and toughed out for a while, I am starting to sort of actually like some of the accessory exercises. For me the hard part was just jumping out of that groove of three-heavy-sets-of-three-to-five-and-I'm-done and into those higher numbers and shorter rest breaks - my intensely changephobic brain screamed "ah what are we doing this is new this is different we hates it" - for a week or so. And then it just became "this is the thing we do now."  Because my brain is just weird like that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


This is good to know. Maybe I'll adapt, too. I certainly hope so. I'm trying to figure out whether I should keep the higher volume permanently (once I get there), or alternate between high volume and high intensity blocks. 

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13 hours ago, Harriet said:

 I’ve had success reducing anxiety by treating it as an adrenaline gift from the fire spirits and using a little meditation to disarm the negative effects. I discovered buses and the library, which have enhanced my life. For this challenge I’ll be trying out my own programming while trying to keep up the new habits of reading, sketching, cleaning, and meditation.

 

YAY for all of this. So so excellent!

 

Quote

So I’ve been reading about programming and have decided to finally move on from my near-linear, all-heavy beginner programme to something with more accessories and volume—and blocks!—as an investment in my long term strength. Apparently I need some hypertrophy to get stronger.

 

 

:O ERMEGERD

 

Quote

And I don’t like high rep work. And I don’t like accessories. But I understand why I chose them and what goals they’re supporting. So I need to practice a bit of resolve. 

 

Heyo, If nothing else, at this point in your training, it's certainly worth trying to see if it moves you forward in the way you want. Worst case you ditch it for something else! Best case you find value in something you were not so hot on. Either way, muscular endurance is a trip yo :onthego:

 

Quote

I should also try to remember to stretch my calves, I understand tight calves can reduce the feet’s ability to absorb impact.

 

yup yup yup! really helps

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16 hours ago, Harriet said:

So, generally, things are going quite well. I’m lifting and taekwondoing three times per week. I make reasonably healthy home made dinners 6 days per week and keep alcohol to once a week. I am writing every day except Saturdays. I have a writing group I meet once per month. I am incorporating more reading, sketching, meditation and housekeeping into my days, though these are not yet firmly set habits. I’ll keep inviting myself to do them during this challenge, but in a chill, no-pressure way. I’m also choosing to spend less time checking my phone or browsing the internet when I’m bored or anxious. Sleep is going well. I’m settling into the intuitive eating. I’m a bit heavier than before, but I don’t mind. I’ve had success reducing anxiety by treating it as an adrenaline gift from the fire spirits and using a little meditation to disarm the negative effects. I discovered buses and the library, which have enhanced my life. For this challenge I’ll be trying out my own programming while trying to keep up the new habits of reading, sketching, cleaning, and meditation.

All this makes me so happy to hear!

 

16 hours ago, Harriet said:

So I’ve been reading about programming and have decided to finally move on from my near-linear, all-heavy beginner programme to something with more accessories and volume—and blocks!—as an investment in my long term strength. Apparently I need some hypertrophy to get stronger.

YESSSSSSSSS!!!! ONE OF US!

 

...I mean, I'm totally unbiased and support you experimenting and figuring out what works best for you. But also, 100% second what Gemma said, I had to get used to it, then I learned to love hypertrophy work and now find the thought of 3-minute rest breaks abhorrent. And I feel you, growing up I was built for naps and video games - but building our athleticism is a fun journey. :D

 

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4 minutes ago, Mike Wazowski said:

All this makes me so happy to hear!


That's sweet of you <3 

 

5 minutes ago, Mike Wazowski said:

YESSSSSSSSS!!!! ONE OF US!


No, no, no, its for my strength, I say. It's so I can lift more weight down the line! I'm still a powerlifter! A rather small one, to be sure, but it's the spirit that counts. 

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Alright. I'm not going to obsess about weight, but I do want to keep an eye on it while attempting my hypertrophy phase. I don't want to gain a lot of fat because increasing my weight without increasing my strength is not good for taekwondo or shin splints or bodyweight exercises or fitting into the clothing I already own. 

So, let's just make a non-judgemental note. I'm 70.9kg/156lb, now technically overweight (just). Waist 74cm/29". Hips 107cm/42". It's too hard to estimate by BF% accurately. I found this page with actual scans of women at different levels and it totally contradicts all those illustrated charts you see. Suffice it to say I have some definition in my upper back, a tiny bit in my abs (3 pack, wooo), and almost none in my arms and legs. 

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Body fat % is kind of a mystery to me.  According to the various illustrated charts/picture samples, I could fall anywhere between 18% to 30% depending on which body part I reference.  We have 2 smart scales in our house, and they don't even agree (one shows 22% and one shows 26%).

 

I guess some things are just a mystery

 

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1 hour ago, WhiteGhost said:

Body fat % is kind of a mystery to me.  According to the various illustrated charts/picture samples, I could fall anywhere between 18% to 30% depending on which body part I reference.  We have 2 smart scales in our house, and they don't even agree (one shows 22% and one shows 26%).

 

I guess some things are just a mystery

 


Oh yeah. I am for sure in between 20 and 30. Probably. 

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YEEE! Hypertrophy!!!

 

1 hour ago, Harriet said:

I found this page with actual scans of women at different levels and it totally contradicts all those illustrated charts you see. 

THAT is very neat. 

 

It's old as heck and the scale isn't very clear or well defined, the athletes are bizarrely lit and greased up, some of the poses are strange, and I don't think they should have listed weight in general... BUT I still always love the bodies of different elite athletes spread. It's just cool that so bodies can be fit in so many different ways. 

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On 6/25/2019 at 9:47 AM, raptron said:

It's old as heck and the scale isn't very clear or well defined, the athletes are bizarrely lit and greased up, some of the poses are strange, and I don't think they should have listed weight in general... BUT I still always love the bodies of different elite athletes spread. It's just cool that so bodies can be fit in so many different ways. 


It's a good one. I wish there were more things like it. Interesting that most of the female athletes are actually less lean and vacuum-packed than the fitness models one sees on social media. But most of them are still reasonably lean. 

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Heavy squats today. I hit a new PR: 3 reps at 145lb. They didn't look as neat as I would have liked, however. And my next set suffered: I failed my fourth rep at 135lb. I would expect to get multiple sets of 5 with 135lb. Maybe I'm tired today, or maybe going all out on a new weight just takes a toll on the later sets. 


After the last couple of workouts I felt less hungry than usual, and my normal lunch seemed like too much. Hmm. I'm usually reliably hungry after lifting. Also, for some reason, I am having a self-conscious day in which I think I look way too fat. Yesterday I thought I looked fine. Meh. Probably I should just ignore it and keep slaying.

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Deathly tired. I just slept for half an hour and I feel I'd like another three hours or so. But I can't sleep because I said I'd edit Mr Harriet's article on Iris Marion Young and the concept of responsibility.

 

Also, I am meeting my writer's group tonight but instead of meeting at a cafe as usual, we're going to someone's house. We all said we'd bring something to eat. But I only know how to make ONE food that is appropriate for taking to people's houses. It is a red wine, fig and rosemary jam thing that can be eaten with cheese and crackers. I am currently simmering dried figs in wine with fresh rosemary. It smells nice, but the wine vapours are probably not contributing to optimal wakefulness. I will put what do you call ems on top. Pine nuts. Does anyone else know any fairly easy to make party type foods? You know, little things that don't need plates? Also, can anyone summon the mystical pegasus of high energy to slap me in the face with its bright and airy wings? 

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On 6/27/2019 at 5:11 AM, Harriet said:

Does anyone else know any fairly easy to make party type foods?

I always struggle with this and end up just bringing cookies or brownies.  I need to learn something maybe a little more healthy to bring

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11 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I always struggle with this and end up just bringing cookies or brownies.  I need to learn something maybe a little more healthy to bring


Oh yeah, little desserts are easy enough. I have trouble thinking of savoury things, though. 

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New deadlift PR: 185lb x 4

ETA the above reads as though I am not excited. I am hugely excited. Here is a representation in animal units of 185lb (from what animal do you even lift) and a string of exclamation marks to express my feelings. !!!!!!!!!! 

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Since I have swapped straight sets for back off sets I can obviously lift a bit heavier for that first set, so I set a couple of new PRs recently. I expect things will slow down a bit now, though.

 

I also finally got the nerve to try negative pull-ups. Why is that so difficult, you ask? Well the pull-up handles in the weight room are too high for me--I have to jump to reach them at all, so there was no way to cheat my way up for negatives. Except. The power racks have little handles on one side, and I saw some men doing pull-ups off them. And I saw someone moving the hooks that hold the bar so he could use them as steps. I did the same. I put the hooks down low so I could climb up the rack and grab the pull-up handles. It probably looks very silly, me climbing up there then dropping down repeatedly. But the negatives feel very different to the lat pull-down machine, so I think it might be worthwhile. I can't lower myself particularly slowly, yet; I am rather heavier than I am strong. But I felt it working some muscles in my side/under my arms. I guess that's good. And there's no painful joint clicking like with the pull-down. I can also add a scapular pull-up at the bottom of each rep, just to make it super useful. I hope this will actually get me closer to doing real pull-ups. 

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10 hours ago, Harriet said:

But the negatives feel very different to the lat pull-down machine

I find the muscles involved in pullups to be very different from the one on the LPD machine.  I am personally of the opinion that LPDs are not a very good progression at all for pullups because it doesn't recruit all of the muscles you will need for the pullup while also recruiting some you don't need (i.e. using abs and legs to hold yourself against the support on the bottom)

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7 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I find the muscles involved in pullups to be very different from the one on the LPD machine.  I am personally of the opinion that LPDs are not a very good progression at all for pullups because it doesn't recruit all of the muscles you will need for the pullup while also recruiting some you don't need (i.e. using abs and legs to hold yourself against the support on the bottom)


Good to know. I've had trouble finding the right pulling exercises. It seems like I never get much stronger at them, and I couldn't help "cheating" at bb and db rows. But the seated cable row seems to be good (at least I know where my lats are now), and the pull-up negatives have been recommended by people here and elsewhere on the net who said that neither the lat pull-down nor the assisted pull-up machine helped them.

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On 6/26/2019 at 1:10 PM, Harriet said:


It's a good one. I wish there were more things like it. Interesting that most of the female athletes are actually less lean and vacuum-packed than the fitness models one sees on social media. But most of them are still reasonably lean. 

 

I suspect that is a side effect of training for actual athletic performance, instead of training for looking lean and thin.

 

On 6/28/2019 at 1:49 PM, Harriet said:


The power racks have little handles on one side, and I saw some men doing pull-ups off them. And I saw someone moving the hooks that hold the bar so he could use them as steps.

 

At my gym, I see people using a barbell in the power rack for body weight rows all the time. :) 

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We did spinning hook kicks yesterday. They're supposed to look like this:

 

PastImpassionedEuropeanpolecat-max-1mb.g

I thought I would struggle with them but mine were actually solid, and I got some compliments. I can't actually remember whether I did them when I first trained in taekwondo, 15 years ago... I must have at least tried them, but I don't recall. Anyway, it was so much fun. One of the black belts was super sweet and gave me a lot of help with various things, which is always nice. I also have a favourite red belt who always chats and helps me out. The only thing is, because I am currently sitting out the warmups due to shin splints, every time the black belts pass me as they jog around the mat, they give me something new and amusing to do ("now do squats" "now do sit-ups" "now do pike push-ups", "now some side-bends"), and because they're men they tend to overestimate my upper body strength: "Okay, now do pushups on your fingertips". Yeah, have you seen my bony voldemort fingers? I'm pretty sure they would snap. Anyway, I'm getting some EXTRA strength exercises because strength-ing 3 times per week is not enough.

Also, two days later, I have strong DOMS in my wings* from the pull-up negatives, which I think is a sign that I wasn't really using those muscles before. So I'm uncomfortable, but I think I'm on the right track.

*You know. Down the side of my back. Wait... are those my lats? What have I been using for deadlifts, seated rows and pull-downs, then? Rhomboids? 

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Zero week was pretty good: I did my workouts as written, did some meditation every day, finished a book and fit in a bit of sketching. Housekeeping is down, though. I probably need to set some even smaller tasks that are even less intimidating when I'm tired. 

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