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Harriet

Harriet’s Year of Transformation ACT X

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21 hours ago, miss_marissa said:

What is your programming scheme for the bench? 

One thing that really helps me to make progress on my upper body lifts is to increase the volume. More sets in the 80-90% range at higher reps (6-10 reps). I found that low reps at higher weight never really worked for me to build up the muscles I needed to improve. This worked for me as I have tree trunk legs, but spaghetti arms. Your mileage may vary.


Well, I'm currently only benching every fourth workout (with a dumbbell bench on a different workout). I warm up to a heaviest set, then take 5lb off each time for two or three back off sets. If I get 5 reps on my top set, I increase by 5lb. If I get four or three, I stay at that weight. 
 

Previously, I was benching every other workout (doing heavy bench, heavy squat, no accessories) and I was doing three sets at the same, heaviest weight. I was feeling like the deadlifts in particular were too intense, that's why I started doing back-off sets. And I swapped much of my heavy work for accessories because I was starting to feel the need to address some weaknesses and imbalances. 

Anyway, all my heavy lifts tanked last week, not just the bench. Even though I was on a break from taekwondo. I'm thinking I'm just a bit sick. 
 

21 hours ago, miss_marissa said:

That sweater is so awesome! Great job!

 

Thank you kindly! 

 

21 hours ago, miss_marissa said:

Some things I have been doing recently to help/correct my APT. It's still there, but is (slowly) improving: 

  • 90/90 breathing  I try to do this at least twice a day: morning, night, also a truncated version as the VERY first thing for my warmups
  • glute bridges directly after the 90/90. think of really engaging the glutes and not hamstrings, should be like 90% glutes, 10% hamstrings
  • foam rolling the quads and hip flexors and the "jean pocket" area with a smaller ball (I have one maybe about the size of a softball, but a lacrosse ball works too)


Does the breathing really help? I find it difficult to imagine something so gentle can make a difference. But I should probably foam roll my hip flexors, they are crunchy. 

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So the trip was interesting. As you might already know, two of my major nemeses have been fatigue and anxiety. And they feed each other because when my fatigue was very bad, I would sometimes go out on a trip, find myself very exhausted halfway through, and then feel like a simple task such as figuring out which bus to get home was a gargantuan threat. I don't get that tired any more (praise the earthen spirits). But I do have habitual anxiety about getting stranded away from my refuge. Which means my default tendency is to say no to excursions and trying new things, in order to preserve energy. A very annoying trait, if I solicit my own opinion. Anyway, Mr Harriet loves travelling and doing different things, so for his sake I am trying to say "yes" to more adventures, whether it is something simple like going to the theatre, or something bigger like moving to America for a year. Actually, what happens is he suggests something, my default instinct is "no" but I open my mouth and say "why not?". 

Anyway, I think this year has seen some noticeable improvements in my anxiety, possibly due to the lifting and some other work I've done. So when Mr Harriet said "let's not rent a car but take buses and trains all the way to Santa Cruz", I said "okay". It was actually great, a lot less stressful than driving. Who knew? But the best thing was when we noticed an amusement park on the beach. Apparently it's about a hundred years old and famous for its classic roller coaster which was opened in 1924. Anyway, Mr Harriet said we should go, and I said "why not?". I actually haven't been to any amusement parks since I was a child, and I was apparently a very timid child who did not ride any rollercoasters, except once. Mr Harriet said he spent all his pocket money riding roller coasters at the Oktoberfest as a child (they had Marks in those days, not Euros) and wanted to go on all the rides. 

So I said "why not?" to a roller coaster. Here's the thing. I have a very intense fear--not of heights, but of falling. This is not a cognitive phobia but a physical fear that I only discovered when I tried to go climbing with a friend. So when the rollercoaster dropped me on the first large hill, I actually found out what I sound like when I scream involuntarily--something I never heard before. But the nice thing about roller coasters is there are spikes of acute terror followed by relief as the car goes round easier bits. Anyway, I decided afterwards that a small dose of acute terror is actually very wholesome, so we went on the classic rollercoaster as well. Since it was so mild and easy-going, I said "why not?" to another ride. It looked something like this:

listing_fireball_32853817_ver1.0-1.jpg

It actually tips you 90 degrees so you're staring at the extremely steep fall you're about to experience. Suffice it to say the terror was both acute and prolonged, and I became hysterical. Oh well. The good news is, the worst bit of my life is now over and the rest should be fine. Unbelievably, some people seem to like it. I assume we differ in our visceral responses to being dropped from heights. Anyway, we went on several other rides, including a very silly ghost train. I had a disappointing float (we call them spiders, or ice-cream sodas) with too much ice cream, and I gained a few more freckles from spending hours in the sun. All in all, it was a good experience. I somehow feel like the brief, manageable terror of rollercoasters might help me with my day to day anxieties. Anyway, I feel good because I discovered a really fun, interesting place and had a nice day with Mr Harriet that would not have happened if I had followed my usual instinct to avoid new things. I should say "why not?" to more things. Just not fireballs. 

I do in fact seem to have a sinus infection and have not done any writing or exercise for several days now. But we're back and home and I'm going to get back into everything. I can definitely lift with a sinus infection (not contagious, I think), I just have to take it a bit easier.

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That's a lot of "why not"s you've gone through, there, congrats! I'm glad you've lived to tell the tale.

 

49 minutes ago, Harriet said:

I assume we differ in our visceral responses to being dropped from heights.

They must have chosen the "have your organs not splatter when hitting the ground at high velocity" feat that us, mere mortals, usually forego.

 

Get well and lift up!

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2 hours ago, Jean said:

That's a lot of "why not"s you've gone through, there, congrats! I'm glad you've lived to tell the tale.

 

They must have chosen the "have your organs not splatter when hitting the ground at high velocity" feat that us, mere mortals, usually forego.

 

Get well and lift up!


Thank you :) 
 

1 hour ago, JustCallMeAmber said:

I LOVE rollercoasters but would definitely not try that fireball thing. Major kudos to you!

Hope your sinus infections clears up soon! :)


Thanks. But I only did it out of ignorance. I thought it couldn't be that different from the rollercoaster, especially since others including small children were lining up voluntarily. My mistake. >< 

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32 minutes ago, CourtnieMarie said:

so many fears overcome! sorry about the sub-par float. so disappointing 

 

My ideal ice cream soda would have lots of soda and just a little bit of ice cream. Otherwise it's just a weird milkshake. Flavours available when I was a child included lime and cola. I've never tried it with root beer, which seems to be an American specialty.

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3 hours ago, Harriet said:

Anyway, I feel good because I discovered a really fun, interesting place and had a nice day with Mr Harriet that would not have happened if I had followed my usual instinct to avoid new things. I should say "why not?" to more things. Just not fireballs. 

Ahhh, what a lovely trip!

 

I love rollercoasters but something quite as whirly as that ride would probably make me motion sick these days. I hadn't realized Oktoberfest was so amusement park-like with all of the rides until I went last fall -- I basically spent all of my pocket money too. :D

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It's Sunday. I weight 70.5kg -- within the usual range -- and have done nothing much this week except the aforementioned trip and being-dropped-from-heights-quest. I have added a fair bit of cash to the write-or-pay envelope of punishment, which my brother is quite gleeful about. I think the sinus infection has shot my motivation. But I'm starting to get restless which means recovery is happening. I miss lifting and will go tomorrow, even if I don't manage much. I need to get back to the writing before this stuck feeling builds. 

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20 hours ago, Harriet said:

I have added a fair bit of cash to the write-or-pay envelope of punishment, which my brother is quite gleeful about. I think the sinus infection has shot my motivation.

 

You didn't include an exception clause in case of illness or personal emergency? That is both impressive and a careless oversight.

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5 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

You didn't include an exception clause in case of illness or personal emergency? That is both impressive and a careless oversight.


It wasn't an oversight, it was a deliberate but apparently ineffective attempt to control my future self. Emergencies can be allowed at my brother's discretion... but travel and minor illness don't warrant them. I knew there would be travel and sinus infections--there always are. They aren't devastating enough to prevent me from spending just 5 minutes on writing, if I have the right mindset. But... on several days over these last two weeks, when I asked myself "Do you want to spend a mere five minutes writing and save $10, or do you want to be a complete and unmitigated slug?", my reply was "take my money". 

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I got back to the gym for the first time in a couple of weeks. It felt great. On the bus on the way there, I was buzzed with the berserker state. Once upon a time, I would have interpreted this as anxiety and wondered what was wrong with me. I would have interpreted the squats as a frightening enemy that I should flee, or face only after a draining battle between anxiety and willpower. Today I ignored the slightly unpleasant twisting sensation and thanked the fire spirits for the berserker blessing because I knew it was releasing sugars and fats into my blood and increasing my oxygen consumption for the purpose of squatting heavy. Also, I know that intense activity mitigates the health damage that berserker states can do, so I was doubly glad to be squatting.

 

Squats went well:

150lb x 5 

140lb x 5

130lb x 5

Glute bridges: 155lb x 12/12/12 (I’m not sure if I’m doing them right or if they’re really helping. I don’t feel much in the glutes. My lower back and hams keep trying to take over.)
Scapular Pulls: 8/8/8/8/8

DB OHP:

20lb x 15

25lb x 8/7

22.5lb x 7 (I think 22.5lb would be the perfect weight to start with, actually)

 

I did my cold shower, hour outside, and bit of writing today.

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39 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

image.png.88748d83c7f1cd9959e6438189968b90.png


"If it moves hit it"... is this a recommendation in your capacity as official good advice/bad advice nerd? 

I have a powerlifting version:

If it doesn't move, rip it
If it does move, reposition your feet so they're under the bar, lower your hips, brace, then 

If it doesn't move, rip it
If neither of these works, stop pulling on the power rack

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7 hours ago, Harriet said:

"If it moves hit it"... is this a recommendation in your capacity as official good advice/bad advice nerd? 

 

Yes. Absolutely.

 

7 hours ago, Harriet said:

I have a powerlifting version:

If it doesn't move, rip it
If it does move, reposition your feet so they're under the bar, lower your hips, brace, then 

If it doesn't move, rip it
If neither of these works, stop pulling on the power rack

 

Never mind. I take it back! This is my new recommendation in my capacity as official good advice/bad advice nerd. Stop pulling on the power rack! 

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16 hours ago, Harriet said:

Squats went well:

150lb x 5 

140lb x 5

130lb x 5

Glute bridges: 155lb x 12/12/12 (I’m not sure if I’m doing them right or if they’re really helping. I don’t feel much in the glutes. My lower back and hams keep trying to take over.)
Scapular Pulls: 8/8/8/8/8

DB OHP:

20lb x 15

25lb x 8/7

22.5lb x 7 (I think 22.5lb would be the perfect weight to start with, actually)

 

I did my cold shower, hour outside, and bit of writing today.

yeah! nice work yesterday

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So I had a roughly two week break from lifting due to the travel and feeling sick, and squats were my first lift after returning on Monday. I was rewarded with severe DOMS. It still hurts to sit down. Or get up. Or walk. Anyway, it was time to return to the bench. You may recall that something bad was happening with my bench--I was progressively losing reps off my max instead of adding them. After getting 4 reps for my first ever attempt at 100lb, I then got 3 reps the next workout, then 2 the workout after that... 

Today I was feeling totally pumped and excited and ready to bench, and I was hoping the time off might have helped. The warmup felt fine, so I put in the safety rails and loaded up 100lb. And got 1 rep. ONE REP. WHY? Why you hurt me like this, bench? Ugh. Anyway. I dropped back to 90lb, got 5 reps, and I'm just going to pretend I never conquered 95 or 100 and approach them again, like it's my first time, maybe with fractional plates. I'm going to go back to benching without the safety rails. They're distracting because I have to really puff up my chest and overarch my back in order not to hit them, and think maybe I slow down my descent a bit to avoid hitting them. I was thinking maybe slowing down is having a detrimental effect on my max. Thats why I squat below parallel, too. Trying slow down and reverse from an arbitrary stopping point seems harder than just going through the whole range. 

Inverted rows were not great. I think I was using my arms instead of my lats. Also, I suck so much even though I set the bar on the smith machine quite high.
Lunges were terrible. I did one set, then felt bilious and filled with NOPE at the prospect of a second (did I mention the bad DOMS?)
Lateral raise: 10lb x 10/10/8/8 
 

Then I came home and felt sleepy and slept. Sigh. I was so ready for this workout to be glorious. 

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Sorry you had a bummer of a workout - but you still got in and did the thing, despite soreness and recovery from being sick, and that's awesome. Hope you're feeling much better now!

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58 minutes ago, Harriet said:

So I had a roughly two week break from lifting due to the travel and feeling sick, and squats were my first lift after returning on Monday. I was rewarded with severe DOMS. It still hurts to sit down. Or get up. Or walk.

 

I am also recently back after a long break, and I feel your pain. Literally. DOMS make everything painful!

 

I also feel your pain on the loss of progress and sympathize. I am struggling to accept it and to approach the numbers as if it's the first time I'm trying to get to them, so I will draw inspiration from you. :)

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20 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

 

I am also recently back after a long break, and I feel your pain. Literally. DOMS make everything painful!

 

I also feel your pain on the loss of progress and sympathize. I am struggling to accept it and to approach the numbers as if it's the first time I'm trying to get to them, so I will draw inspiration from you. :)


You too, huh? Alas. Trying really really really hard has not made me a powerlifting champion, so I'm going to have to trust to effort over time, with time being an equally important ingredient. Though I keep wondering if my programming is wrong...which may be why I keep trying different things. Am I tweaking for optimal results, or am I just programme hopping? I've been reading up on it I'm super confused about what I should do.

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41 minutes ago, Harriet said:


You too, huh? Alas. Trying really really really hard has not made me a powerlifting champion,

 

Sure it has. You champion powerlifting in every sub forum you visit.

 

42 minutes ago, Harriet said:

Though I keep wondering if my programming is wrong...which may be why I keep trying different things. Am I tweaking for optimal results, or am I just programme hopping? I've been reading up on it I'm super confused about what I should do.

 

I have been running the same program for over a year, because it seems to work, and because I like it, but I am starting to become frustrated with the number of times I have lost progress and been forced to back off and lower the weights to "start over". That is the main reason I'm looking for a new program, so I can get some variety, and so I can get more genuine feeling of really starting something new. I'm not sure which program I want to use though, and will probably end up doing what I did last time, and take a program that is almost right, and then tweak it until it feels right.

 

I'm less concerned about "real" powerlifting progress, and more concerned with having something I enjoy and look forward to. Any powerlifting program out there will increase my strength, after all. :)

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36 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

 

Sure it has. You champion powerlifting in every sub forum you visit.

 


Ooops. Have I been knocking on people's doors asking them if they'd like to know about the spirits of the earth and how they can receive unconditional glory through submission to the iron? With pamphlets? 
 

36 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

I have been running the same program for over a year, because it seems to work, and because I like it

 

Which programme? 
 

36 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

I'm less concerned about "real" powerlifting progress, and more concerned with having something I enjoy and look forward to. Any powerlifting program out there will increase my strength, after all. :)


Actually, this is a very good point. Since progress is going to be slow anyway, it's important to like and enjoy one's programme. But obviously I wouldn't like much it if I accidentally programmed it so that I made really poor progress OR was having to maximally grind every time. And I don't like the sensation of wondering what I'm doing is wrong, then jumping to something else and wondering if that's wrong, too. 

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49 minutes ago, Harriet said:

Which programme

 

I found a modified version of the Greyskull program on a subreddit. I took that version and modified it to match the equipment available in my gym, and what I like doing. It's basically alternating squats and deadlifts, with one upper body push and one upper body pull each workout. It's in an app on my phone, so copy-pasting will not happen here today :P

 

49 minutes ago, Harriet said:

Actually, this is a very good point. Since progress is going to be slow anyway, it's important to like and enjoy one's programme.


That is an excellent summary of the point I was trying to make. I would even argue that it's not just important, it is critical to enjoy the process/act of lifting as much as we can. If all we care about is the result, the journey there eventually becomes miserable. I like that I make progress and become stronger, but the long-term elusive goal in the far future is nearly worthless when it comes to making me go to the gym, or when I try to explain why lifting is awesome and I enjoy it.

 

Gym time is Special Me-Time. Lifting is cheaper than therapy. Barbells are the best anti-anxiety medication ever. <-- This is the big why of lifting.

 

Becoming physically stronger is just a bonus. :)

 

EDIT: I am obviously speaking only for myself here. But I do firmly believe that it's important to have a reason to enjoy lifting, that's separated from lifting progress. That is what gets us through the plateaus.

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1 hour ago, scalyfreak said:

 

I found a modified version of the Greyskull program on a subreddit. I took that version and modified it to match the equipment available in my gym, and what I like doing. It's basically alternating squats and deadlifts, with one upper body push and one upper body pull each workout. It's in an app on my phone, so copy-pasting will not happen here today :P


I'll look into greyskull, cheers. 

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