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Alanna Rings in the New Year


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... with some very special bells 🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔🔔

 

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I just started reading Terciel & Elinor, Garth Nix's new instalment in the Old Kingdom universe, so I thought an Abhorsen-themed challenge would be appropriate! For those unfamiliar with this world, the seven bells are used by necromancers (and the Abhorsen - who fights necromancers) to summon, control, and vanquish the Dead:

 

Spoiler

The seven bells, in order of their size and power are:

  • Ranna, the first, the smallest bell. Ranna the sleepbringer, the sweet, low sound that brings silence in its wake.
  • Mosrael, the second, a harsh, rowdy bell, the waker. The bell whose sound is a seesaw, throwing the ringer further into Death, as it brings the listener into Life.
  • Kibeth, the walker, a bell of several sounds, a difficult and contrary bell. It can give freedom of movement to one of the Dead, or walk them through the next gate.
  • Dyrim, a musical bell, of clear and pretty tone. Dyrim can return the voice that the Dead have so often lost, but Dyrim can also still a tongue that moves too freely.
  • Belgaer, another tricksome bell that seeks to ring of its own accord. The thinking bell, the bell most necromancers scorn to use. It can restore independent thought, memory and all the patterns of a living person, or slipping in a careless hand, erase them.
  • Saraneth, the deepest, lowest bell. The sound of strength, the binder, the bell that shackles the Dead to the wielder's will.
  • Astarael, the Sorrowful. The banisher, the final bell. Properly rung, it casts everyone who hears it far into Death. Everyone, including the ringer.

 

GOALS

  • Ranna (Sleeper) and Mosrael (Waker): Improve my routine by keeping my work hours between 8 am and 6 pm and, on workout days, finishing the workout by 6 pm. 
    • In other words, I want to workout during a break or before I start my work day, not in the evening. My tentative plan is to split my day into three work blocks (e.g., ~10-12 am, 1-3 pm, and 4-6 pm), but I'll need some flexibility for meetings, house viewings, and probable sleep disruptions. 
    • I've been struggling with a sleep routine, but I'm not tackling that explicitly this challenge (beyond invoking Ranna for some help!) - my hope is that organising my day will help me be ready for bed at a better time, too.
    • I will also try limiting my work days to 5 days a week, but I might need to make up some lost hours due to weekday house viewings.
  • Kibeth (Walker): Do a workout from GMB's Elements programme at least 4x/week
    • Elements is a programme with locomotion movements for building a base of strength, mobility, and control. I am a Warrior at heart, and this programme is a break from my usual strength-focused workouts. I waffled over whether to do Elements or write my own strength programme with dumbbell and bodyweight exercises, but in the end decided I'd rather try something new and hopefully lay a good foundation for more skill-based exercises (e.g., handstands) down the road.

Ranna/Mosrael (routine) and Kibeth (Elements) are my main focuses this challenge, but I have a few smaller goals for maintaining my progress: 

  • Dyrim (Speaker): Post in my challenge at least 5x/week
  • Belgaer (Thinker): By the end of the challenge, make a list of possible fitness goals for 2022 and consider approaches for tackling them over the next challenges.
  • Saraneth (Binder): No store-bought sweets or refined sugar

No Astarael-themed goal as that's not a bell you particularly want to use, but there may be some sorrow during this challenge if we continue being thwarted in our house search 😅

 

Goals key:

🔔 Bell = goal accomplished

🧟‍♂️ Zombie/the Dead = goal missed (only for daily and don't-do-something goals - i.e., my routine and no sugar goals).

◻️Placeholder (for future days)/neutral didn't do (for non-daily goals)

 

A bit about me for any newcomers:

 

Spoiler

Hello! I go by Alanna (after Tamora Pierce's fictional warrior Alanna of Trebond). I joined NF in 2014 and learned how to powerlift, leading to several years of focused training and strength gains. During the past couple of years, though, many of my fitness habits have been challenged by chronic health issue flare-ups as well as pandemic restrictions and stressors. I've rejoined NF this year to build new habits and figure out sustainable fitness goals. Long-term I'd like to focus more on bodyweight strength training and skills, but I also miss deadlifts!

 

I live in the UK after moving here several years ago for grad school. 2022 is going to be a stressful year - my husband and I are struggling to buy our first house right now in a crazy market, and the house search is taking a ton of time and energy. We're also aching for some stability after a forced home move at the end of 2021, and I would really like a more permanent home where I can make an indoor set-up for my gymnastic rings! 

 

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I'm not familiar with the old kingdom books but will definitely check them out. Sounds like something that I would like. 

 

Following! 

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BADGES: Stormrider

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Oh I love Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series. Very interested to hear what you think of the new book. (I feel like we talked about my re-read of the series early this year)

 

So yes, love the theme and how you structured your goals for this challenge. 
 

I especially like the Belgaer mini-goal to plan out how you use future challenges to work towards a specific fitness goal

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Dry January | 2022 Reading Challenge

 

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." - Qui-Gon Jinn, The Phantom Menace

"I Find That Answer Vague And Unconvincing." - K-2SO, Rogue One

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Following for the necromancy books.

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Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34

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17 hours ago, h3r0 said:

I'm not familiar with the old kingdom books but will definitely check them out. Sounds like something that I would like. 

 

Following! 

 

17 hours ago, Epsilonte said:

What @h3r0 said. :D

 

 

I'm happy to introduce more of my favourites to NF! The first three books (and my favourites in the series) are Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen

 

13 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Thought I’d come visit another warrior! Are gyms closed in the UK? I hope you’ll enjoy elements :) 

 

Hello! Gyms are no longer closed in my part of the UK (at least for now), but since we're trying to minimise both exposure and spending, I'm sticking with home workouts for the foreseeable future.  I do have dip bars, rings (if I can find somewhere to hang them), and about 40 kg of dumbbells, so I don't really have any excuses for not strength training regularly!

 

A few months before COVID hit I was also really struggling to complete and recover from my lifting workouts, even when scaled back, so I need to figure out what I can do sustainably. 

 

12 hours ago, Rebel Pilot Gar said:

Oh I love Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series. Very interested to hear what you think of the new book. (I feel like we talked about my re-read of the series early this year)

 

So yes, love the theme and how you structured your goals for this challenge. 
 

I especially like the Belgaer mini-goal to plan out how you use future challenges to work towards a specific fitness goal

 

Haha I'd forgotten about that conversation - we did indeed. How did you like the newer books? I'm about a quarter of the way through Terciel and Elinor now - so far so good! 

 

Thank you! I was trying to figure out a way to fit in most of the bells and realised that that reflecting and planning was something I needed to do. 

 

9 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

Following for the necromancy books.

 

Thanks! Are you familiar with the series, then?

 

3 hours ago, Harriet said:

Absolutely awesome theme! I'm here to follow and possibly chime in supportively.


Schitts Creek Help GIF by CBC

 

 

Haha, support and bell-related word play will always be appreciated! 

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I'm easing in to Zero Week with some prep:

  • For Kibeth (Walker)
    • My partner and I mostly finished re-organising our new spare room so I have plenty of floor space for Elements (spare room just has boxes that don't need to be fully unpacked, packing supplies we're keeping for the next move, and exercise equipment).
    • I figured out my log in details so I can access Elements. They've switched their format since I last logged in, which is slightly annoying because they re-set my previous progress and I can no longer access videos that I've already seen. It makes sense for me to start at the beginning again anyway, though - it just would have been nice to rewatch some of the videos ahead of my training sessions! 
  • For Belgaer (Thinker):
    • I read an article from GMB - stop trying to replace gym exercises with bodyweight alternatives - which was amusing because I was definitely trying to figure out a substitute for deadlifts. It makes sense, though - ultimately I want to be able to do cool bodyweight exercises, not get really good at, say, glute ham raises. It makes more sense to programme around the skills I want to learn and then use some accessories to target weaknesses. 
    • GMB unfortunately doesn't have much advice on programming. I can't invest in more programmes from them for a while, and I also prefer individualised programmes, so I need to learn how to adapt my powerlifting programming knowledge to bodyweight exercises. I think the main holes in my knowledge are exercise selection and progression. I do have a book - Overcoming Gravity - that should help fill in these gaps. Now I just need to figure out where I packed it 😆.
  • For Ranna/Mosrael (Sleeper/Waker): I really need to wind back my wake-up time - I slept until 11 today 😬

Otherwise, Saraneth (Binder) is going well, as I've continued my no non-compliant sugar streak that I started last challenge. And this post satisfies Dyrim (Speaker) for the day :) 

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1 hour ago, Alanna said:

I read an article from GMB - stop trying to replace gym exercises with bodyweight alternatives - which was amusing because I was definitely trying to figure out a substitute for deadlifts. It makes sense, though - ultimately I want to be able to do cool bodyweight exercises, not get really good at, say, glute ham raises. It makes more sense to programme around the skills I want to learn and then use some accessories to target weaknesses. 

That was an interesting read, thanks for sharing! Maye this poster can help you figure out progressions and cool skills. This programming is very light on the hamstrings and legs in general, but you can always add glute bridges or their variations if you feel your legs really need more work.

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4 hours ago, Alanna said:

 

  • GMB unfortunately doesn't have much advice on programming. I can't invest in more programmes from them for a while, and I also prefer individualised programmes, so I need to learn how to adapt my powerlifting programming knowledge to bodyweight exercises. I think the main holes in my knowledge are exercise selection and progression. I do have a book - Overcoming Gravity - that should help fill in these gaps. Now I just need to figure out where I packed it 😆.

I do the programming for our body weight classes (we use rings and paralettes and the floor/wall ofc). It helps to not think in body parts but in movement type- so push/pull, straight or bend arm, squat/lunges and locomotion stuff.. if you have any specific questions perhaps I can help- though ofc we have our preferences and exercise selections that we use a lot and I definitely don’t know everything. 

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Main Quest: becoming a decent kettlebell lifter and a great coach

Current challenge: KB Girl's next turning of the wheel

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3 hours ago, Waanie said:

That was an interesting read, thanks for sharing! Maye this poster can help you figure out progressions and cool skills. This programming is very light on the hamstrings and legs in general, but you can always add glute bridges or their variations if you feel your legs really need more work.

 

Thank you! I think I used his squat progression before, but I haven't been on his website for a while - it's good to have the reminder of that resource :). I have often struggled to jump to the next stage of the progression with programmes like this, though, especially for movements that require more mobility and skill (e.g., pistol squats). Any tips would be appreciated! 

 

I'm also curious if his prerequisites are standard - e.g., do you need to master dips before working towards an L-sit? It seems like people who focus on paralettes and floor work do specific L-sit progressions. He states elsewhere on his site that he recommends being able to do 3 sets of 12 dips, but I've gotten a lot out of working with gymnastic rings at an earlier stage (although I stayed away from ring dips!).

 

Yes, I might just have to add some DB deadlifts or glute bridges/hip thrusts to my routine - from past experience, I probably need some posterior chain work to make sure I don't get knee pain. 

 

34 minutes ago, KB Girl said:

I do the programming for our body weight classes (we use rings and paralettes and the floor/wall ofc). It helps to not think in body parts but in movement type- so push/pull, straight or bend arm, squat/lunges and locomotion stuff.. if you have any specific questions perhaps I can help- though ofc we have our preferences and exercise selections that we use a lot and I definitely don’t know everything. 

 

It would be great to have feedback on my programming attempts as I work out what I want to do over the next few challenges - thank you! I think the variety of exercises in bodyweight training - even breaking it down by movement type! - is what is most overwhelming. With powerlifting programming, I just had to focus on three movements, and then I added in chin-ups for an upper body pull (and because I enjoyed them). Accessories then helped fill in some of the gaps. Do you try to balance all types of movements in a given programming block (e.g., of ~4-8 weeks), or do you focus on just a few movements? One of the big things for me is going to be managing my volume/intensity and making sure I can recover from my workouts - I'm not sure I can make good progress on several different movements at once. 

 

The straight and bent arm dichotomy is a new consideration for me since there aren't many static holds in lifting, although I have previously worked on things like straight arm holds on dip bars and rings. Do you try to balance straight and bent arm movements in a routine? Also, how important is balancing horizontal vs vertical pushes and pulls? 

 

My naive impressions is also that there are two different styles of bodyweight strength programming: ones where you basically progress from one level to the next (like the start bodyweight strength training routine above) based on rep numbers, and others (like GMB if I understand it correctly) that seem to focus on different levels of a movement/position within the same session by practicing a new level, using a comfortable level to get in more volume and cement skills, and then perhaps also using accessory exercises to address weaknesses that are hindering your progression. Maybe I'm overanalysing these differences, though - do you have any thoughts on this spectrum of approaches (and does it even make sense to divide programmes in this way)?

 

For some context - a couple years ago, I'd worked up to being able to do several chin-ups and dips (on bars) and was starting to play around with false grip on rings (I think I could do 1 or 2 pull-ups with it). For starters, I'd like to work back up to this point and also work towards some more skill-heavy movements such as pistol squats and handstands. 

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An update for the rest of Wednesday:

  • For Ranna/Mosrael (Sleeper/Waker): I finished my workout session just before my cut-off time of 6 pm. 
  • Kibeth (Walker): I did the first session of Elements. The intensity was fine since the focus was learning some new positions, but some of them are quite challenging (as I remembered). I can see how they'd be good preparation for other movements and skills.
  • Belgaer (Thinker)
    • I went for a short walk with the intention of finding some tree branches that I could hang my rings from in a few months once the weather dries up. I think I found a couple of candidates that are at the right height/angle and look strong. It's always a little nerve wracking trusting trees to support my weight, though...
    • I found my copy of Overcoming Gravity!
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8 minutes ago, Alanna said:

I'm also curious if his prerequisites are standard - e.g., do you need to master dips before working towards an L-sit? It seems like people who focus on paralettes and floor work do specific L-sit progressions. He states elsewhere on his site that he recommends being able to do 3 sets of 12 dips, but I've gotten a lot out of working with gymnastic rings at an earlier stage (although I stayed away from ring dips!).

The prereqs seem off to me; pike push ups needed for a crow? Wall handstand push ups for a free handstand? I think not.

 

Whenever I've done BW fitness, I typically also did a lot of yoga. What you could do though, is to just google around a bit for progressions for e.g. pistol squats. I've never done them myselves, as my legs are quite weak, but what I remember from gymnastics is that we always let the heel come off the floor. I think I've seen pistol squat progressions with rolling (GMB), sitting on things that get lower and lower and progressions that start with a heavy dumbbell as counterweight.

 

I'm struggling with programming a bit myself as well; I just don't have clear goals at the moment. I know I feel better when I'm strong (which I'm currently not), and also when I'm doing strenuous exercise a few times per week. Gyms are closed, I'm a bit bored with high-volume dumbbell workouts, so I went back to the routine that worked for me before. I might be looking in various threads for inspiration on motivation and workouts ;).

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5 minutes ago, Waanie said:

The prereqs seem off to me; pike push ups needed for a crow? Wall handstand push ups for a free handstand? I think not.

 

 

I'm glad it's not just me questioning them! That aside, that website does have a good list of exercise descriptions and variations.

 

7 minutes ago, Waanie said:

Whenever I've done BW fitness, I typically also did a lot of yoga. What you could do though, is to just google around a bit for progressions for e.g. pistol squats. I've never done them myselves, as my legs are quite weak, but what I remember from gymnastics is that we always let the heel come off the floor. I think I've seen pistol squat progressions with rolling (GMB), sitting on things that get lower and lower and progressions that start with a heavy dumbbell as counterweight.

 

 

There are so many different approaches to each exercise! I've seen a similar variety in pull-up progressions and assisted versions.@Mad Hatter introduced me to the GMB pistol squat progression this past summer - I think that's been my favourite approach so far, but I probably needed some more strength-focused assistance exercises at this point in time, too, to successfully complete the movement. If only I'd known of the rolling approach when I actually had strong legs from barbell squats 😆

 

That's a great point, though, that there are lots of progressions readily available online for many exercises. Do you have any particular favourite websites besides start bodyweight training and GMB? I guess the harder part will be figuring out why I sometimes get stuck at certain points in those progressions  (e.g., due to mobility, strength, or balance issues) and adjusting my approach accordingly. I also need to figure out the bigger picture of how different exercises fit together and help each other. 

 

16 minutes ago, Waanie said:

I'm struggling with programming a bit myself as well; I just don't have clear goals at the moment. I know I feel better when I'm strong (which I'm currently not), and also when I'm doing strenuous exercise a few times per week. Gyms are closed, I'm a bit bored with high-volume dumbbell workouts, so I went back to the routine that worked for me before. I might be looking in various threads for inspiration on motivation and workouts ;).

 

I could have written something very similar - I've been floundering since I stopped training with a barbell. I want to learn some new skills, too, rather than just trying to substitute my previous exercises with the best DB or bodyweight approximations. I will follow along and see if I can borrow any ideas from you, too :)

 

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I looooved those books are a kid (and also Tamora Pierce).  Here for some good nerdy book reading fun!

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“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” John Steinbeck

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” – T.S. Eliot

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” – Toni Morrison

"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given to us" JRR Tolkien

 

Human Bard: CON 2, WIS 5, INT 1, CHA 2

 

Current Challenge: Nova Levels Up (and maybe doesn't abandon a challenge...)

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9 hours ago, Alanna said:

Thanks! Are you familiar with the series, then?

 

Not at all. But I recognized the name Garth Nix as a writer "people" say good things about, and I'm a sucker for good fantasy. I've also always been interested in non-stereotypical approaches to necromancy in fantasy, so now I'm curious. :) 

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Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

Personal Challenges, a.k.a.The Saga of Scaly Freak: Tutorial; Ch 1; Ch 2; Ch 3; Ch 4; Ch 5; Ch 6; Intermission; Intermission II; Ch 7; Ch 8; Ch 9; Ch 10; Ch 11; Ch 12 ; Ch 13; Ch 14Ch 15; Ch 16; Ch 17; Intermission IIICh 18; Ch 19; Ch 20; Ch 21; Ch 22; Ch 23; Ch 24; Ch 25; Intermission IV; Ch 26; Ch 27; Ch 28; Ch 29; Ch 30; Ch 31; Ch 32; Ch 33; Ch 34

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I'm here for the Elements and for the books! I've never read Nix, but I just added Sabriel to my library waitlist ... because anyone who knows their way around Tortall is officially fully qualified to recommend books to me! 

 

I'm listening my way through a bunch of GMB Autonomy podcasts, and they are very intentional about not offering a lot of programming advice because every person/every situation is different. Their basic philosophy is <paraphrased> "what are your personal goals? Not what Rippetoe or Gentilcore say your goals should be, but what you personally want to be better at. As long as you are overall getting stronger/happy with your mobility/improving your motor control, then ... train what you care about.  If you need explosiveness and power to improve your life in weekend pickup baskeball games, then do box jumps. If you want to run up and down stairs on laundry day without getting winded, add some cardio, if you love jiujitsu do more shoulder stretching and rolling on the floor ... etc." 

 

In a way I 100% agree with them, that makes sense, but on the other hand I did get used to having someone just tell me exactly what to do every day and trust that "they're a professional, so this must be a good balance."  The Giant Meatball guys are a massive paradigm shift away from everything I've ever done before and my mind is still a bit reeling. 

 

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“To see that your life is a story while you're in the middle of living it may be a help to living it well."

-Ursula K. Le Guin

 

                                                                                                                                

 

 

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13 hours ago, Alanna said:

Haha I'd forgotten about that conversation - we did indeed. How did you like the newer books? I'm about a quarter of the way through Terciel and Elinor now - so far so good! 

 

Thank you! I was trying to figure out a way to fit in most of the bells and realised that that reflecting and planning was something I needed to do. 

I finished the original trilogy + Clariel and think I jumped to a different series before continuing with the other new stuff. Clariel was a fun read but story seemed to cut off just as it was getting interesting. But I do need to pick up Terciel and Elinor from my library at some point…

 

very interested in your thoughts of the elements programme. I bought it a couple years ago but never fully worked through it.

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Dry January | 2022 Reading Challenge

 

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." - Qui-Gon Jinn, The Phantom Menace

"I Find That Answer Vague And Unconvincing." - K-2SO, Rogue One

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14 hours ago, Alanna said:

That's a great point, though, that there are lots of progressions readily available online for many exercises. Do you have any particular favourite websites besides start bodyweight training and GMB? I guess the harder part will be figuring out why I sometimes get stuck at certain points in those progressions  (e.g., due to mobility, strength, or balance issues) and adjusting my approach accordingly. I also need to figure out the bigger picture of how different exercises fit together and help each other. 

I'm also regularly at reddit's r/bodyweightfitness. Although they are a bit full of themselves and it feels really male-dominant, they have a lot of information and some subtly different progressions as well.

 

10 hours ago, Gemma said:

what are your personal goals? Not what Rippetoe or Gentilcore say your goals should be, but what you personally want to be better at.

The problem is that I don't really have any :P. I want to not let my body withold me from doing fun things or heavy chores like pruning trees. If I go on vacation and the hike has many hills, I want to not be too exhausted. If someone needs help with moving, I want to be able to carry stuff, etc. If I do any activity, I want to not get injured. This is not really something you can train for, so training for some basic strength and mobility seems the most logical choice for me. It also helps my mental health a lot to do some strenuous exercise, but that in itself is also not a goal. I could set some goals to have something to work towards (e.g. pull ups), but those goals are quite arbitrary.

 

11 hours ago, Gemma said:

they are very intentional about not offering a lot of programming advice because every person/every situation is different.

... and because that is their business model?

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14 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

Not at all. But I recognized the name Garth Nix as a writer "people" say good things about, and I'm a sucker for good fantasy. I've also always been interested in non-stereotypical approaches to necromancy in fantasy, so now I'm curious. :) 

 

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've read many necromancy books, so I can't comment on whether this series falls into those stereotypes!

 

Since you have a dog (if I remember correctly), I can also recommend the series for its fun canine companion - she appears in Book 2 :)

 

12 hours ago, Gemma said:

I'm here for the Elements and for the books! I've never read Nix, but I just added Sabriel to my library waitlist ... because anyone who knows their way around Tortall is officially fully qualified to recommend books to me! 

 

Welcome - I hope you enjoy Sabriel! It seems I now have a reputation to uphold 😆

 

12 hours ago, Gemma said:

I'm listening my way through a bunch of GMB Autonomy podcasts, and they are very intentional about not offering a lot of programming advice because every person/every situation is different. Their basic philosophy is <paraphrased> "what are your personal goals? Not what Rippetoe or Gentilcore say your goals should be, but what you personally want to be better at. As long as you are overall getting stronger/happy with your mobility/improving your motor control, then ... train what you care about.  If you need explosiveness and power to improve your life in weekend pickup baskeball games, then do box jumps. If you want to run up and down stairs on laundry day without getting winded, add some cardio, if you love jiujitsu do more shoulder stretching and rolling on the floor ... etc." 

 

In a way I 100% agree with them, that makes sense, but on the other hand I did get used to having someone just tell me exactly what to do every day and trust that "they're a professional, so this must be a good balance."  The Giant Meatball guys are a massive paradigm shift away from everything I've ever done before and my mind is still a bit reeling. 

 

Thank you for filling me in on that philosophy! It's a bit strange to me since that's an argument for personalised programming, not no programming at all. The key part is "as long as you are improving" - a programme with a sensible structure across days, weeks, and months helps you make good progress while managing fatigue and recovery! They have some general guidelines for structuring sessions (their 5 Ps) and training blocks, but these are very broad strokes. (Edited to add: found one of their podcasts that seems to go into more detail on periodisation! https://gmb.io/training-cycles/)

 

GMB Elements is a big shift for me, too, both in terms of the type of exercises and programming - I'm just going to have to trust in the process and see where it takes me over the next several weeks!

 

9 hours ago, Rebel Pilot Gar said:

Clariel was a fun read but story seemed to cut off just as it was getting interesting.

 

I think you need to read Goldenhand 😉

 

1 hour ago, Waanie said:

The problem is that I don't really have any :P. I want to not let my body withold me from doing fun things or heavy chores like pruning trees. If I go on vacation and the hike has many hills, I want to not be too exhausted. If someone needs help with moving, I want to be able to carry stuff, etc. If I do any activity, I want to not get injured. This is not really something you can train for, so training for some basic strength and mobility seems the most logical choice for me. It also helps my mental health a lot to do some strenuous exercise, but that in itself is also not a goal. I could set some goals to have something to work towards (e.g. pull ups), but those goals are quite arbitrary.

 

 

These goals do seem very consistent with GMB's philosophy, which is part of what attracted me to their programming. But I also just want to be able to do cool stuff like pull-ups and, eventually, a muscle-up! My days of trying to put as much weight on the bar as possible might be behind me, though, at least for now... it's fun, but after a certain point it also gets very taxing. I had to be on point with my recovery (sleep, food, soft-tissue work, volume/intensity management) and even then, training took a lot out of me. At this point in my life at least, I don't want to invest that much time and energy in training. 

 

1 hour ago, Waanie said:

... and because that is their business model?

 

Haha, that was also my jaded assumption for why GMB doesn't have more articles on designing programmes. 

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4 hours ago, Waanie said:

 

The problem is that I don't really have any :P. I want to not let my body withold me from doing fun things or heavy chores like pruning trees. If I go on vacation and the hike has many hills, I want to not be too exhausted. If someone needs help with moving, I want to be able to carry stuff, etc. If I do any activity, I want to not get injured. This is not really something you can train for, so training for some basic strength and mobility seems the most logical choice for me. It also helps my mental health a lot to do some strenuous exercise, but that in itself is also not a goal. I could set some goals to have something to work towards (e.g. pull ups), but those goals are quite arbitrary.

 

Honestly that is pretty darn close to my goals.  Move well, control my pain levels, age gracefully (I'm 55 years old and have a chronic pain condition), be able to play with my grandchildren without getting tired after three minutes, and get enough daily movement to glean mental health benefits. 

I do have some arbitrary skills that I want to master, but they mostly just guide my decisions about what to commit to for a given period of time. I'm focusing on push-up progressions now not because being able to do more/better push-ups is going to enhance my life, but just because mastering something I couldn't do before makes me happy.  Pull-ups, handstands, shrimp squat ... I don't need any of these party tricks, but having a target to shoot at keeps me coming back.  Mental games I play with myself  🤷‍♀️

 

4 hours ago, Waanie said:

,.. and because that is their business model?

True story :) 

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4 hours ago, Alanna said:

 

Thank you for filling me in on that philosophy! It's a bit strange to me since that's an argument for personalised programming, not no programming at all. The key part is "as long as you are improving" - a programme with a sensible structure across days, weeks, and months helps you make good progress while managing fatigue and recovery! They have some general guidelines for structuring sessions (their 5 Ps) and training blocks, but these are very broad strokes. (Edited to add: found one of their podcasts that seems to go into more detail on periodisation! https://gmb.io/training-cycles/)


100% agree, but to get personalized programming that accounts for individual goals,  current capabilities, injury history, etc.,  you really need a one-to-one client-to-coach relationship.  It's always such a delicate balance of getting enough information/programming/coaching to progress and be safe while operating within the time and $$ budget that you have to work with. I miss having a coach and am often tempted by the idea of NF coaching or hiring a face to face personal trainer, but my available dollars have other priorities right now, so "program myself using the programs I have and my own goals, adjust as I learn what works for me and what doesn't, autoregulate for safety" is my best current compromise. 

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1 hour ago, Gemma said:

100% agree, but to get personalized programming that accounts for individual goals,  current capabilities, injury history, etc.,  you really need a one-to-one client-to-coach relationship.  It's always such a delicate balance of getting enough information/programming/coaching to progress and be safe while operating within the time and $$ budget that you have to work with. I miss having a coach and am often tempted by the idea of NF coaching or hiring a face to face personal trainer, but my available dollars have other priorities right now, so "program myself using the programs I have and my own goals, adjust as I learn what works for me and what doesn't, autoregulate for safety" is my best current compromise. 

 

Programming for yourself counts as personalised programming! Even if GMB was rather dismissive of that approach in the podcast I listed above 😅:

Spoiler

Andy: Yeah. And just a general PSA for anybody who is a beginner or even if you’ve been training for a little while but haven’t really followed too much of a program or haven’t seen a whole lot of progress lately, one of the really important things to consider is that …

I’ve met a lot of very, very intelligent people and what I know from experience of working with many, many, many people, is that no matter how smart you are, no number of books that you can read … There are no number of Wikipedia and T Nation and Reddit articles that you can read, that will teach you how to make a program that will actually be worth a shit. Unless you have done … Unless you have followed the programs for at least … I would say at least two years even. At least a year but more likely two years. You need at least a year, probably more like two years of actual following programs, probably written by other people, that are well thought out to see how they work, to know how they work for you and to get a sense of as you go through these things and as you cycle and you go from one program to another, one phase of a program to another phase, to see how that goes for you.

Anyway, I don’t want to get too off track but just as a PSA when we’re talking about things, it doesn’t mean that you should try to make your own program or try to organize the perfect training cycle or anything right now. You need to have some experience with these things to be able to implement them. Dan John always says, “If you’re your own coach, your coach is an idiot.”

I love that. I think a lot of people have said that.

Ryan: Yeah.

Andy: I have written so many perfect training programs for myself and I have followed zero of them. And if that’s somebody with decades of experience, if that’s the way it works for me, I’m just willing to bet most people starting out are not going fare any better.

Ryan: Yeah. Just to throw this out there as well, is I have a coach as well. I don’t actually really write my own training programs because again, I know I’m going to do things that I want to be doing and there’s things that I’m missing out on. And so that’s why I have a couple of people that help me out with that.

 I'd rather use programmes written by more experienced people for a couple years first, as suggested by GMB, but like you I'm not in a position where I can afford paid programmes or personalised coaching at this time (Elements was an earlier purchase). And a lot of the free bodyweight routines seem geared towards people that can tolerate higher volumes than me. I'll start with Elements and then trust my powerlifting programming experience to hold me in good stead for switching over to a different type of training, even if it's not ideal. I'll at least make better progress than no programme at all, as long as I'm careful not to over do things or hurt myself!

 

Despite their hesitance to impart programming knowledge, I did find the podcast helpful, and I've made some progress on my Belgaer (Thinker) goal:

  • Elements should take me through January/February and help me build a nice foundation as well as training habit. 
  • After that, after a deload, I think I'm going to tackle pistol squats during March/April/May: 
    • I'll set the first block (~4 weeks) to focus on strength and mobility needed for the movement - so focusing on single leg squat variations like Bulgarian split squats and shrimp squats for strength, while also working on my ankle, hip, and back mobility. I'll work on scales for strength and balance, too.  I can still do my Elements locomotion movements a couple times a week, perhaps as play or for lighter training sessions. In the "push" part of my training sessions, I'll do an easier squat variation and also add some upper body movements that I'm already comfortable with - probably push ups and inverted rows (or their progressions) - to maintain and maybe build a little upper body strength for future cycles. 
    • In the second block (~4 weeks), I'll focus more on the skill parts of the movement using GMB's rolling progression to pistol squats, while maintaining and perhaps still progressing some on the strength and mobility sides of the movement. In particular, I'll ease back on the "push" volume after the first block and put the skill practice early in my sessions, while I'm fresh.
    • Last couple of weeks of the cycle would then focus on refining the skill, but we'll see how far I get first! 

I'm sure I'll modify and refine this plan over the next couple of months - I want to plan out exercises, volumes, and weekly periodisation in more detail, if nothing else - but I'm at least feeling less aimless now that I have some rough cycles planned out. Feedback is welcome, too!

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