PaulG Posted February 15, 2021 Report Share Posted February 15, 2021 I MADE IT! So I sort of checked out of Week 5 of the last challenge. My bad! I spent the week unusually tired, working and finishing my day later than usual, and I just felt too doggone tired to drag myself through writing for another hour -- which in itself is probably longer than I should be spending on my daily posts. I won't lie. I like the challenge format and I've definitely implemented habits and gotten things done I wouldn't have otherwise. BUT... toward the end of last challenge, it started to feel like I was sort of spinning my wheels, blocked in one way or another from making progress on most of my goals. This is especially frustrating because I try hard to make my goals SMART. When all of a sudden the ground shifts under me and I either can't or shouldn't meet my goals within the challenge timeframe, it doesn't feel great. So last challenge was both tiring and frustrating for me -- I don't feel like I got much done. I didn't get a chance to recap last challenge, so what the hell, let's spoiler it. Spoiler 1) Strength: Improve Function in My Left Shoulder. I started out thinking my shoulder issue stemmed from my biceps tendon, and the answer seemed to be PT-style bicep curls. BUT: halfway through the challenge I saw an actual, real live PT. Her diagnosis changed both my understanding of my injury (turns out it always comes back to the lower trap) and my timeline for when I'm likely to get back to full-volume strength training, which is my main goal right now. All through the final weeks of the challenge, I followed my PT religiously, and I definitely improved my shoulder function. Thus, my grade for this goal is a straight-up A+. However... it's been frustrating, suddenly seeing how my shoulder is actually functioning, and how far I need to go before I'll be actively working on false grip pull-ups and dips again. 2) Mobility: Hip + Hamstring work every mobility/class day. I actually knocked this out of the park every week except for Week 4. My post-workout stretching took a dive in Week 5, though, because I had trouble adjusting to the new strength and PT routine, and I got distracted more easily as my workout wound down by things like cooking dinner. So although workout stuff wasn't technically part of the challenge, my hips are actually feeling a little stiffer than when I started in January. Let's go with a B. 3) Diet: Stick to a meal plan. I did the thing, every week except for Week 5, when I resorted to just using up whatever was in the house and not thinking much about any of my meals. Another last-minute derailing. Let's go B-. 4) Life: Improve my living situation. This may have been the most frustrating of all. I took some first steps, talked to my leasing office about a new unit, asked to see it... and then spent like two weeks waiting around for photos, finally getting them toward the end of Week 5. Dumb. I wanted to have everything set in stone by the end of January. Luckily, it turned out that deadline wasn't strictly necessary, and now I'm out of my lease, paying month-to-month while we figure out the potential transfer. But this was the other main goal where I felt like the rug was pulled from under me. Since the delay was legitimately not my fault, I'll still give myself an A. 5) Life (again): Write a plan. I did some brainstorming on goals for the next year, but I have no excuses here, I just didn't do it. Oops. D. The technical start of Week 1 means this will be a full challenge. Since I don't have Week 0 to ease into things, I'm just hitting the ground running with... all the stuff I didn't quite finish last time. I'll consider this my 2021 challenge, reloaded. And I'll hope the screenwriters don't do to my sequel what they did to The Matrix. Overarching Goal: Get back a base of functional strength in the shoulders and hips. My plan for a while is that come next challenge, I want to start focusing on skill development in parkour and being more active in that community. I just need to be a little more injury-proof to get to that point. And hey, a bigger apartment wouldn't be half-bad either. Goals: 1) Life (Again!): Improve my living situation. This is priority #1! I have talked to my leasing office, I have an inspection of my current apartment planned for tomorrow, and then all we have to do is start the transfer process... and I have to do the thing I am most intimidated by: negotiate my rent price with my management company, who I know will try to charge me an extra $145 per month in rent beyond what they would charge a new customer (you know, the people they have to spend a bunch of money on marketing and background checks and labor to get a lease signed). It SHOULD have happened in January, but it NEEDS to happen in February. So by the end of this challenge, I'll either have plans to transfer within my current apartment building, or -- if I can't get a deal done with these landlords -- I'll have plans to move out to a new one. 2) Life (Also Again!): Finally write that plan. Look folks, I need some medium- to long-term goals for the next year. What's more, last year I found it extremely helpful to have a diet calendar, where I sketched out roughly how long cut and bulk cycles were likely to take so I could plan them around things like holidays and vacations (even though that got derailed to some degree). It didn't get done last challenge; so now present Paul has to pick up the slack for past Paul and do the dang thing. 3) Mobility: Stretch while watching TV or Youtube on non-workout days. I did pretty well last challenge at getting my mobility done, but I didn't do a great job at tying it to a particular place in my routine. I have a feeling this is mainly what caused me to slide off-plan toward the end of last challenge -- the practices I don't carve out a place in my day for tend to slide to the back, and by then I'd really rather get some extra sleep. I always set aside some time for reading/TV/Youtube education, though, so it makes sense to combine these two. Every day, I'll use my passive viewing/reading time to get in at least two stretches from my hip/hamstring routine. 4) Strength: Write the master workout plan. My shoulder PT means I can't really actively build my strength in the way I'd like. The bright side of this month or two of cooling-off, though, means I have some time to consider what makes a balanced strength routine, especially when I don't have access to weights. This goal will be twofold: first, by the end of the challenge I want to have a strength and mobility routine written out, with at least a few progression steps planned for each exercise. Second, I want to answer some deeper questions that I haven't thought about in a while, like: how do you construct a bodyweight routine to replace everything deadlifts do for weightlifters? Is it enough to have just one core exercise and an L-sit progression? How can I ensure my shoulders don't backslide and get injured again? I think I'll be devoting a little bit of time on this thread to banging my head against those kinds of walls -- and I could definitely use some help, so if anyone has thoughts on any of those questions, I would love to hear them! BONUS GOAL: Finish the book Explain Pain. Shoulda happened last month, but didn't. Oops! I feel like an idiot, because it is truly an easy book to read -- it almost has the formatting of a picture book, with about as much info on each page as two or three Twitter posts -- but for some reason I just can't get absorbed in it easily. I think I need to start by setting a fifteen-minute timer when I read it to give myself a chance to settle in. Current Stats: Height: 6’ 0” Weight: 174 lbs Age: 32 Waist Measurement: 28 3/8 inches Bodyfat: 11.5% Current Injuries: - L Lower trap dysfunction/spasm-type nonsense (currently rehabbing) - L Hip flexor weakness/tightness/pain (currently rehabbing, improving well) Current Progress Photos: No big changes via diet in a while, so they ain't up to date! Workout Log Legend Spoiler 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. 5 Quote Cowardly Assassin Training Log | Challenges: Current, 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st Link to comment
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