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PaulG Gets Flexy


PaulG

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This challenge feels like a bit of a reset. Last time around, I had lots of fun sharing recipes and experimenting with foods I'd never made before, but I kind of lost the thread on some of my goals and why I started doing challenges in the first place.

 

Enough of that. Quarantine and my post-covid life has really been about 1. getting strong enough to do parkour again, and 2. getting flexible enough to do it at a higher level than I used to. So let's hit that big red reset button, because it's time to get flexy.

 

The background for this challenge: In April and May, back when quarantine and I were deep in our honeymoond period, I decided I was tired of being a hair overweight and as I ramped up my strength training, I also went on a steep cut, going from about 23% bodyfat to 15%. However, during the very last workout before my diet break, I injured my right shoulder (rotator cuff). In the two months since then I have been on an extended diet break, eating at maintenance while I rehab the shoulder. Once I'm able to perform at a high level with the shoulder again -- a level to which I am getting close-ish -- I have another brief cut on the books, and then either more maintenance or, if my strength is adequate, a bulk. Aside from simply getting back to parkour and performing it better, I have a super-top-secret overarching goal of being 175 lbs at 10% bodyfat. This has been a back-of-the-mind goal of mine since I was in my mid twenties, and now that I am kinda-sorta close to it, I can't help myself. I should say, though, that this challenge will not be very diet-heavy.

 

It WILL be somewhat heavy in talk of food, though, because cooking is one of my Big HobbiesTM.

 

My diet strategy: I use IIFYM and track calories using MyFitnessPal, hitting daily calorie and protein goals. I’ve found that bulking and cutting cycles (8 weeks of bulking, followed by ideally 2 weeks of cutting) works best for me, so that’s the strategy I always try to use. However, again, this challenge will not be focused heavily on my diet. I already have it pretty dialed in and I'm not in need of a goal to strive for. Diet stuff will happen in its own time, I want to focus on other things for this challenge.

 

I'm trying a slightly new strategy for goals this time around. I'll stick to the four-goal template, but I'll base my goals on routines now, rather than one-off achievements that might tempt me to push myself too hard. I do like having something to strive for though, even if it's optional; so some goals will have a "bonus point" for an achievement, something that sticking to the goal should make happen within a few weeks.

 

Goals:
 

1) Mobility: Stretch every day, with a max of 6 days off. [BONUS POINT: Get to a 90-degree pike on the floor with a flat back.] This is the third challenge in a row I've had this goal, and there's a reason: I've never actually quite achieved it. My first challenge I missed 7 days of stretching, and this last one I missed 10 (and really didn't have my heart in it at all the last couple of weeks).

 

One of the reasons it hasn't worked, I think, is that I have a five-exercise plan for my hamstrings (the main focus of my flexibility efforts right now) that I'm supposed to do daily. Although on paper it doesn't look like a ton, realistically it will take me 15-20 minutes to run through; half an hour if I'm really unmotivated. The full plan has given me really good gains when I follow it, but even doing 2 of the 5 exercises daily is enough to at least maintain my progress. So I think I'm going to relax a little and count the day as long as I do 3 out of the 5 exercises; that should let me make at least modest progress.

 

2) Strength: Work myself up to full volume on my leg exercises. [BONUS POINT: Do 3x6 real-deal pistol squats.] I am definitely guilty of skipping leg day on a chronic basis. Last challenge I did great work on working myself toward a full pistol squat. However, I really should be doing two leg exercises per workout, and right now I'm only doing one. If I don't make an issue of it it'll never happen, so here we go: by the end of this challenge, I'll be doing 6 sets of leg exercises per workout, probably spread between two exercises.

 

Ideally, I want to get back to doing natural hamstring curls by the end of the challenge as well, which may require me to build some home equipment.

 

3) Food: When I buy a vegetable, use it in at least 3 different dishes. [BONUS POINT: Clean/reorg the fridge twice this challenge.] No diet goal this challenge. Instead, I want to use this to refocus on cooking efficiently.

 

My love of experimenting in the kitchen turned me into something of a project cook. I'm the kind of person who will take on something like Thai grilled chicken and spend three days preparing all the components, just to see what the finished product is meant to taste like. I am willing to do a ton of work for a good result. But I'm also the kind of person who will buy a pound of expensive maitake mushrooms for a single recipe, use half of them, and then discover the rest rotten in the fridge two months later.

 

When quarantine first started, I took it as a challenge to only visit the grocery store once a week, and to focus on using whatever I bought in to make as flexible a selection of dishes as possible. If I had mushrooms, almost every stir fry and pasta I made for the next week or two featured them. If I defrosted a couple of chicken breasts, I would batch-cook them and have a chicken salad one night, and tacos another. If I bought a cabbage and used a quarter of it for one dish, the next night I'd shred it, pack it into a jar, and make sauerkraut or kimchi I could put on sandwiches. Funnily, not long after I started cooking this way, a few enterprising food journalists started writing about it in earnest, coining the term "component cooking."

 

Since I was cutting at the time, my selection of dishes was somewhat small, so this was easy. However, now that I'm eating at maintenance, all the extra calories I can eat have translated into much wilder experiments in the kitchen, and things have started going bad again before I can get to them. So it's time to refocus. My goal is to only buy a couple of veggies per week, and use them liberally in whatever I'm cooking, so nothing goes to waste.

 

And if I can go through the fridge and use up all the little odds and ends of salsas and other condiments I've made over the last few months, so much the better.

 

4) Life: Take ten minutes per day for myself (max ten days off total). I've found myself a little overwhelmed between changes in my work life, absorbing world news, keeping up on NF, and doing my exercise/flexibility stuff. I used to take a little time for myself every day between logging off of work and working out, just to chill. And this is a little embarrassing, because I'm not a believer in any mystical power of meditation... but just laying down on the floor, closing my eyes, and clearing my mind for ten minutes felt awesome. I suppose, at least, I believe that it's not always good for me to be constantly stimulated throughout the day.

 

So this goal means that for ten minutes every day, I'll do something that is just for myself, to clear my head. It doesn't have to be meditation, it can be staring out the window or reading a book I've read before. But I think it should not involve a screen, or being able to see a clock; and I think it should not be physically active.

 

BONUS GOAL: Dress Yourself Like a Human Being. Take a little time once per week to do some reading on men's fashion/style. It has recently come to my attention that I haven't really thought about how I dress since... well, basically college. Outside of work, I rely way too much on the dark jeans/T-shirt combo. Professionally I dress well enough in theory; but now that I've lost some weight, a lot of my nicer pants and collared shirts no longer fit me, and they're well outside the range where getting them tailored is a realistic option. Plus... I'll be honest... because they were sized for a body that was larger than I wanted, I kind of cheaped out and didn't buy particularly nice collared shirts or slacks. And when I poke around clothing stores or websites to try and find better clothes, I realize I don't really know what I'm doing at all. Example: folks, I'm still not 100% sure what chinos are.

 

I don't know entirely what effect I want this goal to have on my wardrobe. Ideally, it would be nice if I could purchase a couple of items that are nice enough to be worn at the office, but wouldn't look out of place in a decent human's personal wardrobe either. I'll have to do some more thinking on this. And likely, a lot more reading.

 

 

Current Stats:

Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 178.8 lbs
Age: 31
Waist Measurement: 28 7/8 inches
Bodyfat: 12.6%

 

Current Progress Photos:

 

Progress photo day is next weekend, so the latest photo is a touch old.

 

gwr1Y8x0_o.jpg

 

Workout Log Legend

Since my training is primarily bodyweight, I use a notation that allows me to log a lot of variables. I log weight (if used), sets, reps, my Form quality, and my rate of perceived exertion.

Form:

a: high-quality form maintained throughout the set. No issues or very minor issues.

b: Average/above-average form. No major issues, but maybe some smaller details need ironing out. (For example, didn't hit my chest to bar quite where I wanted in a pull-up, or didn't focus on scapular retraction as much as I could have in a row.)

c : Below average form. I did the exercise, but didn't do it right. Some possible major issues, though not severe safety issues.In chest-to-bar pullups, chest didn't hit the bar.

d: Poor form, major problems. This is probably a signal I should be ending the set early. If I didn't, I probably deserve chastisement.

RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion):

I shamelessly stole Waldo's system for grading his RPEs, which he outlined in a blog post on StrengthUnbound.com (which sadly, no longer exists). Since it’s tough to find a good explanation on this anymore, here’s mine.

 

My rating is based on Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion system, which is used sometimes in the sports training world. The idea is to track how close to failure I get in each set of an exercise. The original system is a 1-10 scale, but I took a page from the book of an old-hat member (Waldo) and chucked that out the window. The idea is that strength workout sets should nearly always go close to failure, if not to failure itself, so I have no interest in the first 6 numbers on the scale.

 

E: Easy work. Two or more reps left in the tank. This covers pretty much any number from 1-7. My goal is to only see this letter when I’m doing rehab/prehab exercises, or remedial work to build up joint strength, balance or form, like pistol prep work. Otherwise, I should be pushing harder.

 

X: Held one rep in the tank. Rep speed slowed noticeably, slight grind, but not at failure. This is where I try to keep most of my work, especially early in the workout.

 

Y: Hit failure or very close when I’m working out calm, may have stopped right before physically crapping out, but couldn’t have performed another rep without really amping myself up. Final rep was grinding and slow.

 

Z: Hit true failure and needed to pump myself up to do it — jumping, making noises, etc. Very slow, grinding final rep.


/: denotes left/right reps in a set of a single-limb exercise. For example, 5/3 reps on a pistol squat means 5 reps on my left leg, 3 reps on my right.

(): used for my eccentric exercises where I need to note both reps and time under tension. For example, a set of pull-up negatives shown as 3(6s) is 3 reps of 6 seconds each.

 

There are other techniques that deserve extra notation, of course, but these are the ones I'm using in my current workout.

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Following for flexiness, fitness, food & fanciness!

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HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

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17 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Following for flexiness, fitness, food & fanciness!


Wooooo!!

 

11 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

I think @PaulG needs to rename his challenge. 😄


As far as alliterative wording goes, it’s certainly a fantastic four...

 

10 hours ago, Mike Wazowski said:

Following along! It's really cool that you were able to capture progress pics along the way, and impressive progress you've made during quarantine!

 

They’ll keep going up, though diet break means they probably won’t be very exciting!

 

10 hours ago, Rubble said:

I'm looking forward to following your journey! Awesome goals, and good luck on that pike!

 

Thanks! We all want a great pike, but none of us want to do the compression work it takes to get there (ie: I don’t want to). Hopefully some structure will help.

 

1 hour ago, dancezwithkittehz said:

Following!!! :D


Glad to have you here!!

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Cowardly Assassin
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Nothing like a Week 0 Monday for a crazy project or two.

 

I have been accused of spending most of my waking life in the kitchen, and I proved you all right today. To prep for my tofu-making extravaganza, I pulled out the wok and fried some chiles and spices for the xianglajiang dipping sauce that will be part of the dish. You’re supposed to steep the chiles in boiling water, pound them in a mortar, and then fry them until all their water is gone. It seemed like a waste of effort, though, to spend an hour hydrating the chiles only to dehydrate (fry) them. Instead, I blitzed them in a spice grinder and fried them straight-up with the spices.

 

While I was at it, since I’ve been out of Sichuan-style hongyou chile oil for a few weeks now, I heated some extra oil and made a big batch.

 

And finally... since tofu-making wasn’t happening tonight, I set my sights on something else: @WhiteGhost’s Ganchao Dougan.

 

vofwzGGg_o.jpeg
 

A couple notes:

 

- I assumed the recipe WG kindly gave me was meant to feed 2-3 people, so I assumed “large scoop” meant about a teaspoon and “small scoop” meant about a third of that. In the end though, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t measure anything very precisely. I just used teaspoons from the regular cutlery set and eyeballed everything. Oh, and I edged down the sugar because 1+ tsp seemed like a lot for one serving. And I threw in a pinch of MSG... and a little extra light soy sauce.

 

- When you fry dougan like this recipe wants you to fry it, it takes on a TON of oil. Between the peanut oil and the butter I used, we were looking at 20g of oil. I was going to pour off most of it once the dougan finished frying... but by the time I started getting browning like you see in the third pic, the dougan has absorbed all but a scant tablespoon! This dish was great, but it was not macro friendly.

 

- I didn’t have carrot, but I did have celtuce! AKA wosun. I didn’t bother to blanch it.
 

- I dislike the uncomplicated sweetness of bell peppers, so I used a mix of Anaheim and Fresno peppers I’d bought the other day instead. They have just enough heat to wake you up a little, but not enough to actually make you call the dish “spicy.“

 

- The recipe didn’t call for it, but I swirled in a little soy sauce and shaoxing wine toward the end, to cool down the wok. It’s force of habit at this point. And I didn’t add any sesame oil at all until the last second, to preserve its flavor.

 

- As it turned out, I made a mistake edging down the sugar. I hadn’t calibrated properly for the doubanjiang or douchi, which are both super-salty (they’re both fermented beans, so preserved mainly with salt). In the end, I liked the dark color and the dish came out super-savory and roasty, from all the salt and fermented pastes; but it needed something to balance it a little. It definitely needed sweetness. On that note, it probably needed a touch of acidity, although the recipe we worked from doesn’t call for anything that would add acid (such as wine).


All in all, I’d call this test a good pointer toward a potential better recipe. Though I don’t know if what I come up with next time will turn out to be against the lore. :D

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Cowardly Assassin
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6 hours ago, PaulG said:

I assumed “large scoop” meant about a teaspoon and “small scoop” meant about a third of that.

The video didn't get any more specific than that so I'm afraid I couldn't be more help.  To me it looked more like 1tbsp for large and 1tsp for small, but that is just my rough guess.

 

6 hours ago, PaulG said:

I didn’t have carrot, but I did have celtuce! AKA wosun.

I neglected to mention that in the video he added that the carrot was there basically to add color, and that he wanted something reddish but didn't feel like going with a red pepper..  Totally counts as staying on recipe ;) 

 

6 hours ago, PaulG said:

Though I don’t know if what I come up with next time will turn out to be against the lore. :D

I am not convinced the original recipe was even 100% in accordance with the lore :D 

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HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

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Yumm. As always your food makes me wish I lived closer to asian markets with good selection. 😭  Someday traveling will be a thing again and I can do a run to LA. I wonder if I also can order some of these things since I'm unwilling to drive an hour somewhere right now...I may need to think about trying that!

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23 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Even if it didn't come out perfect it sure looks great!

 

Thanks! Btw, I have not forgotten about your question on quick recipes from my last challenge thread, I just had to ponder it a little and I've barely had time to post quick updates the last couple days. I will try and address it tomorrow.

 

17 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

The video didn't get any more specific than that so I'm afraid I couldn't be more help.  To me it looked more like 1tbsp for large and 1tsp for small, but that is just my rough guess.

 

I neglected to mention that in the video he added that the carrot was there basically to add color, and that he wanted something reddish but didn't feel like going with a red pepper..  Totally counts as staying on recipe ;) 

 

I am not convinced the original recipe was even 100% in accordance with the lore :D 

 

I guessed about the same. I roughly thirded those quantities to make a single serving. I think it worked out okay, at least in the parts I stayed on-recipe.

 

Boom, I feel like people barely ever actually need carrot in their stir fry... you mentioned kung pao chicken in your own thread, on the West Coast we seem to have our own bastardized version that had no cucumber, but has a ton of bell peppers and carrot. Dislike.

 

4 hours ago, dancezwithkittehz said:

Yumm. As always your food makes me wish I lived closer to asian markets with good selection. 😭  Someday traveling will be a thing again and I can do a run to LA. I wonder if I also can order some of these things since I'm unwilling to drive an hour somewhere right now...I may need to think about trying that!

 

Some stuff is easy to find in a store but hard to find online (mainly shaoxing wine, because the decent stuff is actual wine and tough to ship around liquor laws). Most you can find with a quick search on the evil Bezos machine, though.

 

The only thing in that recipe you'd need extra skillz to get hold of would probably be the pixian doubanjiang (the red paste of fermented chiles and fava beans). For specialty Sichuan ingredients like that, I recommend the Mala Market. I have never ordered from them myself, but I know a few people who have. I also recognize a few brands they carry, and as far as I can tell it's all very well-vetted and high quality. Kenji likes them, if that means anything. ;)

 

For Thai stuff, Importfood.com has amazing selection. Any specialty online purveyor will of course be far more expensive than your local shops, but if you can swing it, both are good companies to support.

 

--

 

Workout Log 7/28/20

- Going in: tired. We're in the middle of a heat wave and it's one of the hottest days of the summer so far. It was killing me before I even started.


Warmup


9in. Pistols: 10/10a-x, 10/10b-x, 10/10a-x

- Hmm... pretty sure this means I'm switching to real pistols now!


Pushups: 10a-e, 12a-e, 12a-x


Incline Ring Rows: 12a-e, 12a-e, 12a-y


Tuck L-Sits: 11sc-e, 12sb-x


Half-ROM Stool Dip Eccentrics: 3(7s)b-x, 3(7s)c-y

- These continue to feel the most difficult for my shoulder, I have real trouble keeping my shoulders retracted and as depressed as possible. There's also a huge temptation to let the elbow flare. Must fight temptation.


Assisted FG Ring Pullups: 4b-x, 4b-e

 

L (6lbs): 10/10a-4
Y (6lbs): 8/8b-5, 8/8a-6
T (6lbs): 8/8a-5, 8/8a-7
P: 20s
Sidelying Can (6lbs): 8/8a-5, 13/13a-5
Upright Ext Rotation (6lbs): 15/15a-6, 15/15b-7
Sidelying Ext Rotation (6lbs): 13/13a-5, 13/13a-6
High IR (6lbs): 16/16a-5


Deep Step-Ups: 5/5b-e


Compression Work: 3x12s


Cooldown

 

- Some extra volume on the dips and pullups. It felt tough, but my shoulder stayed pretty solid until the end of PT. It felt a little achy, but I wasn't sure if it was problem-achy. So I killed the last set of High IRs and finished up.

 

- This workout is really starting to take a long time... I know I dawdled a little, but we're looking at 2 hours 20 minutes now.

 

Dinner found me feeling lazy and wanting to clear the fridge of some three-day-old takeout rice, celtuce stem, and leftover dougan from last night. So I went even more off the rails with @WhiteGhost's recipe and tweaked the ganchao dougan into a fried rice dish (#lorecrimes).

 

It was actually fairly easy, mainly because I broke the shape rule by refusing to dice the dougan or veggies. I made an extra-concentrated sauce from a large scoop of sugar, 1.5 small scoops dark soy, a smidgen of chicken bouillion, a small scoop of water, and half a small scoop of zhenjiang vinegar. Altogether it gave me about a tablespoon of sauce, which is about perfect for fried rice. The vinegar was FOR SURE not in the original recipe, but it needed acid dammit!

 

It ended up ugly, but wonderful. The sweetness and acid did a lot to balance the heat and salt of the other ingredients. Only thing I'd do next time is edge the dark soy down to 1 scoop.

Cowardly Assassin
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28 minutes ago, PaulG said:

on the West Coast we seem to have our own bastardized version that had no cucumber, but has a ton of bell peppers and carrot.

wut - WTF- Jackie Chan - quickmeme

 

 

35 minutes ago, PaulG said:

It ended up ugly, but wonderful.

Ugly but wonderful is a surprisingly common combination

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HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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16 hours ago, PaulG said:

 

 

For Thai stuff, Importfood.com has amazing selection. Any specialty online purveyor will of course be far more expensive than your local shops, but if you can swing it, both are good companies to support.

 

 

 

Oh heyyy. I've actually ordered from them before long ago but kind of forgot about them. I ordered galangal and some kefir lime leaves many many years back.

 

There is also a decent market by my work that has galangal for whenever we get back to actually going to the office, but once again hour drive and I'm trying to avoid doing that for the moment. I think that place also actually is where I managed to get decent shaoxing wine so they kind of have a combination of various different asian cooking supplies and not just thai. Basically where I Iive my only ethnic market options without driving an hour ish either way are Mexican markets, but most of that is also available at regular grocers too because Southern CA. Small, non-diverse city problems!!!  I will have to check out the Kenji recommended shop too!

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On 7/28/2020 at 11:41 PM, WhiteGhost said:

Ugly but wonderful is a surprisingly common combination

 

QFT

 

On 7/29/2020 at 4:07 PM, dancezwithkittehz said:

Oh heyyy. I've actually ordered from them before long ago but kind of forgot about them. I ordered galangal and some kefir lime leaves many many years back.

 

There is also a decent market by my work that has galangal for whenever we get back to actually going to the office, but once again hour drive and I'm trying to avoid doing that for the moment. I think that place also actually is where I managed to get decent shaoxing wine so they kind of have a combination of various different asian cooking supplies and not just thai. Basically where I Iive my only ethnic market options without driving an hour ish either way are Mexican markets, but most of that is also available at regular grocers too because Southern CA. Small, non-diverse city problems!!!  I will have to check out the Kenji recommended shop too!

 

I'll keep an eye out for what you come up with!

 

--

 

I figured I haven't really posted my warmup yet, and it's usually too much to write it all out, so I'll put it in a little spoiler at the top here...

 

Spoiler

Hamstring MFR
Hamstring Nerve Glides
Hollow Hold 30s
Reverse Plank 30s
Planche Lean (as long as I can hold it)
Fingertip Plank
Wrist Pushups
1st Knuckle Pushups
Pullup Bar Fingertip Hang
False Grip Hang
Wall Slides
1-Leg Straight Leg RDLs

Workout Log 7/30/20

- Going in: it's beastly hot again. Not okay! I was in training at work all day, and training via Webex from home means I have lots of time and brainpower to just work on mobility throughout the day. I stretched hamstrings, I did a couch stretch at my desk right in the middle of the workday, I even put a stool under my desk and used it to do one-leg L compression work while listening to a lecture. So... hamstrings were already feeling worked by now.


Warmup


Pistol Squats: 4/4b-e, 5/5b-x, 7/7b-x

- I started out playing it safe, but they were easy enough that in the last set I just went for it. Really happy with how it turned out! I can do pistols 4 realz now!


Pushups: 13a-e, 13a-e, 13a-e


Incline Ring Rows: 13a-e, 13a-x, 13a-x


Tuck L-Sits: 14sb-e, 14sb-x


Half-ROM Stool Dip Eccentrics: 3(8s)b-x, 3(8s)b-x


Assisted FG Ring Pullups: 4a-x, 4b-e


L (6lbs): 10/10a-6
Y (6lbs): 9/9b-6, 9/9a-8
T (6lbs): 8/8a-6, 8/8a-8
P: 20s
Sidelying Can (6lbs): 16/16a-5, 13/13a-6
Upright Ext Rotation (6lbs): 14/14a-7, 13/13b-7
Sidelying Ext Rotation (6lbs): 13/13a-5
High IR (6lbs): 16/16a-5
DB Extensions (10lbs): 10/10a-7


Compression Work: 2x12s


Cooldown

 

- I thought I'd do this workout without adding any volume for once, so I'm not riding the edge of failure or messing with my shoulder too much. The shoulder felt great the whole way through, but I did not. Maybe because of the heat, but I got some mild nausea partway through the work. Really dragged my feet again, started at 4:15 and didn't finish until after 7.

 

- The shoulder was just really feeling worked by the end of the isolation work though, so I cut off my last set of the last couple exercises.

 

- Forgot my step-ups until after the compression work was done and threw in the towel. It's too damn hot.

 

LET'S TALK ABOUT TOFU.

 

Turns out: not easy to make.

 

The process itself couldn't be simpler. just blend soybeans with some water, strain, boil, and throw in a little pinch of magnesium chloride (called nigari) to coagulate it. Well, things did not go perfectly and the explosion of dishes you see below is what happened to just one part of my kitchen:

 

FiSdTsCm_o.jpg

 

In the end, all I could do was kick myself. The hard part about tofu making isn't working with the soy milk at all -- it's using those damn salts to coagulate it. Even once you dissolve it in water, it is VERY difficult to spread a half-teaspoon of nigari over the surface of an entire pot of soy milk. After an encouraging start, at the last minute, I added too much nigari.

 

I had been told that the difference between storebought and homemade tofu is like the difference between storebought and homemade bread. When I tasted my tofu, I could taste a rich beany flavor that just doesn't exist in commercial tofu... but even more I could taste the extra, unneeded nigari, which had turned the whole batch salty and sort of bitter, like sea salt mixed with aluminum. It was badly flawed, not something I could serve to anyone.

 

But you know... a really good, spicy dipping sauce and a cold beer can bury a multitude of sins... so it was dinner. :D

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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8 hours ago, PaulG said:

Pistol Squats: 4/4b-e, 5/5b-x, 7/7b-x

- I started out playing it safe, but they were easy enough that in the last set I just went for it. Really happy with how it turned out! I can do pistols 4 realz now!

Woot!

 

8 hours ago, PaulG said:

But you know... a really good, spicy dipping sauce and a cold beer can bury a multitude of sins... so it was dinner. :D

Truer words. 😂

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Raptron, alot assassin

67666564636261605958 575655545352515049484746454443424140393837363534333231302928272625242322212019181716151413121110987 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1

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8 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Haha nice save! Are you going to try again?


I think so! I have another half pound of soybeans I’ll have to store otherwise. Now that you ask, I realize I should probably do it fairly soon, while I’m still on a maintenance diet and it’s still fresh in my mind.

 

It’s doable on a weeknight, it’s just a lot of active work. Not tonight though — right now I’m proofing a loaf of bread and prepping to make braised short ribs.😁

 

Parkour class is on Sunday!!!

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Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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12 hours ago, PaulG said:

prepping to make braised short ribs.😁

Oohh, can't wait to hear how they turn out

HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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I really like this challenge it all feels like things I ought to be doing too. For style I struggle to stay current too but what helps me is watching current young adult tv shows on Netflix and stealing ideas from what some of the guys are wearing. Stylists are getting paid big bucks to make these guys look amazing.

 

I'm looking forward to reading about your parkour too. That organization you're a part of looks epic and maybe I'll join you later down the road :)

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On 7/31/2020 at 12:55 AM, PaulG said:

Pistol Squats: 4/4b-e, 5/5b-x, 7/7b-x

👏 woo, pistols!

 

Quote

But you know... a really good, spicy dipping sauce and a cold beer can bury a multitude of sins... so it was dinner. :D

Couldn't agree more!

 

If you want random help on style stuff, feel free to hit me up! While I'm not incredibly knowledgeable on men's style, I've put some time in getting my closet to mostly fit well and be styles I liked so I can share what I found to be helpful in that process (plus insert stereotype about gay men and fashion sense here).

 Ballroom dancer, data nerd, calisthenics dabbler

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On 8/2/2020 at 5:50 PM, Vidd said:

I really like this challenge it all feels like things I ought to be doing too. For style I struggle to stay current too but what helps me is watching current young adult tv shows on Netflix and stealing ideas from what some of the guys are wearing. Stylists are getting paid big bucks to make these guys look amazing.

 

I'm looking forward to reading about your parkour too. That organization you're a part of looks epic and maybe I'll join you later down the road :)

 

I think a big chunk of my difficulty is I'm just never paying attention to it, ever. Even if I think someone looks good in what they're wearing, I just don't look at it closely enough to remember what it was later. Hopefully a little reading -- along with the challenge goal, so it's on the brain -- will help.

 

Parkour Visions is great! We're a little smaller than we used to be. Parkour no longer enjoys the zeitgeist it had a few years ago, so there are fewer newish students. We still have a decent number of high-level practitioners though, and I think PKV's curriculum is excellent for learning. I had practiced on my own a few times before starting classes, but once I was learning from coaches I took huge leaps forward. You learn way faster when you're watching someone demo a technique in person and getting real-time feedback.

 

On 8/4/2020 at 11:51 AM, Mike Wazowski said:

👏 woo, pistols!

 

If you want random help on style stuff, feel free to hit me up! While I'm not incredibly knowledgeable on men's style, I've put some time in getting my closet to mostly fit well and be styles I liked so I can share what I found to be helpful in that process (plus insert stereotype about gay men and fashion sense here).

 

Pistols!!!

 

I would happily take you up on that. Like I mentioned in my initial post, I just have never really put thought into how I want to look past my college-aged "T-shirt and jeans that actually fit", so I guess I'm kinda in the existential crisis stage. Did anything in particular help you as far as watching for/zeroing in on styles you wanted to emulate?

 

On 8/3/2020 at 11:54 AM, KB Girl said:

Here! Mostly for the food if I’m honest ;) 

 

I'll take it!

 

On 8/1/2020 at 3:01 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Oohh, can't wait to hear how they turn out

 

Freaking awesome. The ribs turned out freaking awesome.

 

I thought about taking photos of my bread making process since I know a few people have been interested in that this challenge. But honestly, it's not that groundbreaking, I mostly follow Ken Forkish's process with a few tips cribbed from Serious Eats' article series on bread. I did get a decent photo of the finished product, though:

 

4pjoFNMa_o.jpg

 

The ribs themselves... well, they took about 5.5 hours to make. I figured if I was going to spend forty bucks on beef, I'd better treat it right. The recipe for restaurant-style red wine-braised short ribs was from Daniel Gritzer, and it was the fussiest thing I've done in a very long time. You brown the ribs, you brown some veggies, dump in red wine, braise it all for three hours, strain the veggies back out of the sauce, boil down that sauce for another hour... you make a port syrup... you get the idea. This was definitely the kind of thing that a restaurant would do every night, but any sane home cook would only do for a holiday or anniversary.

 

But I will give Gritzer this: he promised restaurant-style short ribs, and he freakin' delivered. Once I mixed down the sauce and had it coating the back of the spoon, the dish looked exactly like the recipe photos, to the point that taking my own photos seemed redundant. The sauce got that spot-on, dark red-purple hue. And it tasted like the perfect union of meat and wine and candy.

 

That was Friday. From there, things kind of flew off the rails for a few days. Saturday I only had time to do the briefest of workouts: a friend asked me over to barbecue brisket, and when I got there I ended up cooking side dishes for his family and a few friends, a party of almost ten people (which was many more people than I was expecting to see).

 

Workout Log 8/1/20


Warmup


Pistol Squats: 6/6a-e, 9/9a-x


Pike Pushup Eccentrics: 3(5s)b-e


Incline Ring Rows: 14b-e


Cooldown

 

Sunday I met an ex (with whom I'd broken up a couple months back) for dim sum, for that first awkward meet-up where we see if we can still be friends (we can). Then I went to parkour, which was a brief 60-minute class. We did fairly basic things to start -- some jumping, running and agility drills -- but by Monday I was crazy-sore.

 

Monday, btw, we started a new round of training at work that requires us to start at 6 AM; so my sleep schedule has been thrown off like crazy ever since. And compounding that, a friend swung by on her way back from a run in my neighborhood, which turned into a couple of cocktails and a late bedtime.

 

I was sleep-deprived enough by the end of work on Tuesday that I skipped that day's workout entirely. And to cap it all off... Saturday through Tuesday, between unknown quantities of barbecue, dumplings, and just plain old failing to track anything... I didn't wind up counting any calories those days, which broke a streak I've had going since early April. A little bit of a bummer, but I'm back on the horse and my waist measurement hasn't changed at all.

 

So I think that about catches us up? I almost did a Week 1 recap, then I realized we're only halfway through it. I need to get my head in the game. Or get some sleep. :D

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Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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On 7/27/2020 at 6:30 AM, Mad Hatter said:

Well I was going to kindly ask for your best stupid simple/quick recipes. :D I do realise you like spending days on end cooking, but maybe you have some of those too?

 

I am bringing your question over from the old challenge thread, because that thread is dead. (DEAD!)

 

So I’m a little split between just giving you five or six recipes that don’t require a lot of prep time, or else giving you some philosophy about “the quickest way to cook is to cook what you know”, which I think is far more true (but sounds like a bunch of unhelpful bullshit).


I cook quickest when I am cooking something I’ve cooked before, when I don’t need to look carefully at a recipe, and I already have most or all of the ingredients ready-made. How you get to that point kind of depends on you and what you like to cook.

 

What’s in your pantry makes a big difference. If you don’t make it a habit to keep cured pork hanging around in your fridge, then making a pasta like Amatriciana probably sounds like a huge pain in the ass that will necessitate a trip to a specialty store. But if you always have pecorino, and pancetta/guanciale in your pantry, it’s a quick weeknight sauce. So it’s tempting to say I don’t know what is actually quick for you to cook, since I don’t know what you keep around.


But I’ll try! The recipes below work well for how I’ve tailored my pantry (mainly to Italian, Thai and some Chinese food). But if your pantry is not that, or if you have different interests, I’m sure I could dredge up a few ideas more suited to you.

 

Easy Meat Stuff:
Three times out of five, my “fancy” cooking is just me pulling a pork chop or chicken parts out of my freezer. Then I take a more complicated recipe, something really delicious looking… and I straight up steal their flavoring idea, throw out all the time-consuming grilling or barbecue instructions, and just pan-sear the meat instead.


Pan-Seared Pork Chops (not so much a recipe, as a technique you can apply to the recipes below)
Thai BBQ Grilled Pork (just sub the “Thai seasoning sauce” with whatever soy sauce you've got)
Lemongrass Grilled Pork


Sheet Pan Stuff:
Sheet pan dinners seem to have gotten popular recently, and there are plenty of crappy recipes out there. I like them for one main advantage: you can cook a protein and veggie at the same time and turn them into two courses. Even if the recipe doesn’t have you cook a veg, like the miso-glazed salmon, nothing’s stopping you from throwing some Brussels sprouts onto the pan beside the fish, or throwing some hardy greens underneath it.


Miso-Glazed Broiled Salmon or Black Cod
Sheet Pan Porgy with Blistered Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes (you gotta buy a fish, but this is one of my favorites)
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas


Takeout-Style Recipes:
You see a lot of these recipes for dishes that are served at things like street carts, noodle stalls, and other fast-casual joints. These recipes often look like monsters, especially the ones in unfamiliar cuisines, because they usually have several prepared ingredients that you have to make yourself — like spice oils or other condiments. Once you have those waiting in your pantry or fridge, though, they become very easy to prepare. These are some of the quickest for me: start a pot of water boiling for some noodles, do prep while it heats, throw your prepared seasonings in a bowl; boil noodles, blanch a veggie or two in the noodle water, throw it all in the bowl, mix together, eat.


Hot-Sour Egg Noodles with Pork (rough recipe / video)


Egg Noodles with BBQ Pork


As you continue to go through these types of recipes, you’ll start to see how although they all follow roughly the same framework, they’re pretty flexible on ingredients. If you don’t have wontons lying around, or bean sprouts, you don’t need to add them. If it's a soup recipe, you can just throw the fish sauce/vinegar in the bowl and with the noodles and meat to make it "dry". If you don’t have pork or fish balls, but you have chicken, just use that. Marinating the meat tastes good but it’s not strictly necessary.


Kuaytiew Muu Naam Sai - Thai “Clear Soup” Noodles - I use broth to make it a soup, but it could just as easily be done without them.


Dan Dan noodles are part of a different cuisine, so the pantry items are different, but they follow the same principle and rough framework. If you have some chile oil and sesame paste already in your fridge, it’s just boil water/prep some meat&veg/toss mix sauce in serving bowl/boil noodles/cook veg&meat/dump, mix, serve.


MAMA Phat is an illustration that this kind of fridge-raid mentality can be applied to many kinds of cooking techniques other than largely-blanched noodle bowls. You can use instant ramen noodles, you can use glass noodles, you can load up whatever veg you want.


Oyakodon - no tricks here, this one is just super quick to put together. Just start the sauce simmering while you get the onion and chicken prepped, and everything flows quickly from there.

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5 hours ago, PaulG said:

Oyakodon

The name of this dish always makes me giggle a bit.  Don is short for Donburi which is a kind of dish in Japan that a number of variants.  Oyako literally means parent (oya) and child (ko).  These refer of course to the chicken and eggs, but I always find it funny that they actually named this food that way.

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HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread    Bodyweight Exercise Library

The Arruvia Conspiracy Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 567, 89, 10 

Other Challenges: 12345, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28Mardi Gras [Current]

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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