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tinkerer's build a better workout challenge


tinkerer

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I am posting this as I return from a marathon traveling weekend. I introduced myself a couple of days ago and explained about how I ended up in the Assassin's board, but I will fill in more background info here when I have some time this week. Meanwhile, I want to make sure I am committed to the challenge, so here are my goals. Workout #1 is at 5:30 tomorrow morning, so it's off to bed!

I will be starting with a version of Steve's BW workout. (The "modified" example in the advanced BW routine post).

Consistent, Improved Workouts

3X a week do a bodyweight strength training workout +3 Str

Make 1 modification (improvement) to the workout each week +2 Wis

Fill in with 2+ non-strength workouts/activities on off days. +2 Sta

Improve Nutrition

Limit weekday alcohol to 2 drinks/week +2 Con

Improve Education

Spend 1+ hr/week reading about bodyweight strength training +1 Int, +1 Wis

Improve Posture

Develop random reminder system 1st week of challenge

Document times reminder was necessary 2nd week of challenge

Demonstrate improvement by end of challenge

+3 Cha for all three

Life Goal

Go fishing or hiking 3 times +1 Con (I'll assume I catch something and eat it --> and it's good for me)

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Nice on the posture goal! I keep trying to get better at that myself — it's hard work I tell ya!

Re: spending time researching bodyweight strength training... are you going to have a system on keeping notes and organizing what you learn so you can utilize it? It's easy to get sucked into reading things without accurately making good use of your new knowledge.

Looking forward to having you around! Welcome to the Assassins!

Anxious, but ambitious! Current challenge: Undermining the Conspiracy

Find me on Twitter or maybe Instagram

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Definitely share what you learn! And I love your hiking and fishing goal, something that I'm hoping to do a little more of this summer as well.

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that leads to total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." -Frank Herbert, Dune

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This is the Background and Plan post for the challenge.

I had been waffling as to whether to participate or not and decided to jump in and go for it. I want to have a documented measurement of success (not failure) and putting it on here for the world to see seems like a good way to do that. Historically, I get pretty excited about things and then let them fade out of the spotlight.

I will classify myself as an Elf Assassin. My starting points are: Str – 2.5, Dex – 2, Sta – 2.5, Con – 3, Int – 3, Wis – 2.

The point of the challenge for me is three-pronged:

  • Build Strength
  • Build a habit of working out in the morning before work. Right now, it is an “optionâ€; I want to me “my morning routineâ€.
  • Learn enough to know where I want to take BW training. Right now, things like planche, handstand progressions, and levers are new terms. I want to educate myself about what comes next.

Here is how I’m getting started:

Week 1

Workout (From NerdFitness) (1 of 3 Completed Today)

12 Body Weight Squats

12 Walking Lunges

20 Jump Ups

4 Pull Ups

8 dips

4 Chin ups

12 push ups

35 second plank

35 jumping jacks

Reading

Fundamentals of Bodyweight Strength Training

Posture

Timer set on cell phone. When it goes off, mark down yes (good posture) or no (poor posture). Each day is scored as a percentage of Yes over Total. I would like to find a random-interval timer but no luck yet.

Metrics

I took a before picture last night. Will compare with an after picture at the end of the challenge. I will take some body measurements tonight as well.

Let me know if you have any advice or questions!

tinkerer

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Good goals! I like the posture goal--something I need to work on, too. I haven't been fishing in quite a while. Do you fly fish or spin fish?

I haven't tried fly fishing yet, so spin fishing for now. I have been trying to figure out Salmon and Steelhead techniques ever since moving to Oregon. Talk about a frustrating sport to learn!

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Posture

Timer set on cell phone. When it goes off, mark down yes (good posture) or no (poor posture). Each day is scored as a percentage of Yes over Total. I would like to find a random-interval timer but no luck yet.

I like the method. Let me know if you find a random-interval timer. That'd be sweet!

Sea Level

Vintage Sea-elf Assassin

Current Challenge: Sea Level I : Respawn
Pro Aris et Focis

"To the Sea, to the Sea! The white gulls are crying, The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying."

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Posture update: having a reminder going at some odd interval (I think I chose 83 minutes) has really made me aware of my posture. Every time I get a text, email, etc. I sit up straight, as it may also have been "the reminder." This has actually resulted in me counting more than expected "yes, I'm using proper posture" points throughout the day. I guess that means my first week baseline is going to be pretty high...even better! :topsy_turvy: I don't know if it's progress or not, but by 6:30 last night, my back was incredibly sore from being placed in such an "unusual position". I would not have thought it would make such a huge difference.

Other: Took some body measurements (is there a post somewhere on a somewhat repeatable method for this? I search "body measurements how-to" and found...a lot of results.) Also worked out both days so far this week; a good start!

are you going to have a system on keeping notes and organizing what you learn so you can utilize it?

Still working on this. I haven't taken notes since college...anyone have a system they use to keep track of articles and resources for fitness things? I'm new to the smartphone app scene but is this a use for Evernote or something like it? A paper notebook seems so un-nerdy! (Never thought I would say that!)

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Still working on this. I haven't taken notes since college...anyone have a system they use to keep track of articles and resources for fitness things? I'm new to the smartphone app scene but is this a use for Evernote or something like it? A paper notebook seems so un-nerdy! (Never thought I would say that!)

Actually, I find pen and paper the most reliable way to keep track of things. Probably because I'm way too forgetful. I keep a small leather portfolio-type notebook with me, it always has a pad of paper, a pen, and lots of notes sticking out of it. I write down EVERYTHING I think of, just in case it may be useful at some point in my life.

[TABLE=width: 315]

[TABLE=width: 2]

STR:5

STA:7

AGI:6

[/TABLE]

FORTUNE

[TD=align: center]LEVEL II


[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

FAVORS

[/TD]

[TABLE=width: 2]

WIS:4

CON:5

CHA:3

[/TABLE]

THE BRAVE

[/TABLE]

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As nerdy as I am, I still carry a small pocket-size notebook to jot things down on throughout the day...it's faster for me to scribble something down than pull out the phone, launch the app, and peck it out. I do transfer stuff over when I have the opportunity, and use a combination of programs including Evernote, Yojimbo, and Notebook, as each has specific workflows that I like for different things.

drsloomis: level 5 human assassin

STR: 15 | DEX: 17 | CON: 12 | STA: 12 | WIS: 14 | CHA: 8

Current Challenge

 

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So far so good!

Did the BW workout M-W and runs with the dog on Tuesday and today.

I want to add some difficulty to the strength days. I'm thinking I will add Pistol/1 Leg Squats (assisted somehow, working toward Pistol) and L-Sit, V-Sit, or another hold to the workout above. Ryan Sannar suggested in another thread to perform reps more slowly for better strength gains. I will get that a try with tomorrow's workout.

Interested in advice on focusing the workout on strength gains. Should I:

  • increase reps, up to 20 (15?, 25?) and then change exercises
  • just add some more difficult exercises
  • replace certain exercises with harder ones

I've also felt that I haven't been warming up enough beforehand, will try a ~10 minute run to warm-up tomorrow instead of a random assortment of light moves.

Posture wise, I have been somewhere around 50% (actual stats to be collated and posted at the end of 1 week). This is better than I had hoped for, but obviously not 100%.

I read through the article on eatmoveimprove, but it was a little over my head. I'll be checking out the articles on the Assassin's BW Resources thread next. (Already have been actually). I am hoping to revisit the Fundamentals of BW Strength Training at the end of the challenge and actually know understand it.

I've met the alcohol goal for the week. Drank a whole bunch of water too, so all in all a good trade.

No fishing, no hiking yet.

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Weekday workouts begin again tomorrow morning. Last week was a success, 3X strength workouts and 2X light runs with the dog.

This week I'll add in 1 Leg Squats and drop the step-up exercise. The suggestion to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n the reps made the workout a lot harder. I will continue that this week. Can anyone weigh in on how that affects the quality of the exercise? Does it transition more into an endurance building session or am I achieving my goal of strength/muscle gains?

Posture stats: 21 out of 38 checks (55%) indicated good posture. The goal for the rest of the challenge is to demonstrate improvement over this first week.

That's all for now!

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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2 workouts for 2 days so far this week.

Monday I added 1 leg squats (4 X 3 / leg) to the strength workout. Today was a running day, but it was raining so the dog didn't want to go along. I decided to run a 5K and see what time I could get (I haven't timed this before). I was excited with my time, and now I have a good benchmark to work from. I am actually excited enough that I don't know if I believe the stopwatch. I will have to try and duplicate the effort before I'm fully convinced it was running the whole time.

Education-wise I've been poking around on the Resource thread. I like the idea of finding a progression to help me know when to move onto the "next step". I also read reviews for Convict Conditioning and Overcoming Gravity on Amazon. Regarding the search for a progression, it sounds like CC is a pretty solid way to start. I've seen the advice posted on this board that another "progression" is developing your own workouts (beyond that book) but I am not there yet.

Alcohol reduction goal - going well! It has really helped to just put a numerical limit on myself.

Fishing / Hiking - Still no progress here. My occasional fishing buddies are too busy to go along and I haven't made the effort to go alone. I am still optimistic though, there is water in every direction so I will find something.

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Are you starting at the advanced body weight workout? I just tried that, and I started to seriously workout a year ago. afterwards I was all "beyond thunderDOMES!" So sore. But then I did it again 2 days later ;)

Progression is kinda a difficult thing. I'm always trying to find what to do next. People seem pretty stoked about CC and Overcoming Gravity around here. Steve's Rebel Strength Guide is good for ideas, too. The BeastSkills webs sites and many others have tutorials for more advanced stuff like one-hand push-ups or handstands. And sometimes I just YouTube "hamstring exercises" or some kinda of activity I want to try, and there's tons of how-to vids on there.

<--<< Daughter of Artemis >>-->

 

 
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Are you starting at the advanced body weight workout?

The workout I started with was the dialed down version of the advanced BW workout. Part of what I want to accomplish with this challenge is to better define where I am and how/where I want to improve from that point. I've been increasing reps this week, but have not made it to the difficulty level I think I should be working at yet.

I've been reading through the resource thread and some of the tutorials on Beastskills. They have been enlightening, at least related to where I can be working toward if not showing me things I can do today.

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Hi Everyone-

It has been a pretty busy week, so this update really covers everything from last Sunday.

Here is a summary of the week:

Monday:

Strength Workout

Short warmup run

Three Sets of:

4 Single Leg Squats

I have the strength to do at least a couple these, but not the balance so that is what I am focusing on for now

11 Bodyweight Squats

12 Lunges

4 Pullups

8 Dips

4 Chinups

12 Pushups

37 Seconds Plank

35 Jumping Jacks

Cool down stretching

I didn't feel that I had pushed as hard as I want to on this, so for Wednesday upped the reps for several exercises.

Tuesday:

Running day. As I mentioned, decided to try timing a 5k as the dog wasn't up for rain-running. 5.25K in 22:14. Pretty excited with that time.

Wednesday:

Strength Workout

Short warmup run

Three Sets of:

4 Single Leg Squats

12 Bodyweight Squats

20 Lunges

5 Pullups

9 Dips

5 Chinups

13 Pushups

37 Seconds Plank

35 Jumping Jacks

Cool down stretching

I still had some left after this, so decided to increase again on Friday. This is part of the goal for the challenge, to figure out where I am and improve from there.

Thursday:

Running day. I didn't believe my time from Tuesday so I used a gps run mapper to check my 5K time. 5K in 21:20. Pretty excited again.

Thursday night I went to a concert with my wife and a friend. This was definitely a challenge to keeping the alcohol consumption goal for the week. However, I split a beer with my wife and enjoyed the night. The music was great and we had a good time. However, we also stayed out until midnight, which leads to...

Friday:

Did not want to get up for the 5:30 workout, but decided that in order to build the habit, I was going to do it. Even though I knew it would suck. And it did. :) I kept the added reps from the Wednesday plan.

Strength Workout

Short warmup run

Two Sets of:

4 Single Leg Squats

12 Bodyweight Squats

20 Lunges

6 Pullups

10 Dips

6 Chinups

14 Pushups

37 Seconds Plank

35 Jumping Jacks

Cool down stretching

After two sets I was done. But I had woke up, worked out, and hopefully mentally built that habit. I'm going to keep these rep numbers for next week and see how three sets works.

Saturday:

Went for a bike ride with my work friend, 30 miles on a mountain bike (pretty flat). Nice way to spend a Saturday morning. He said he has lost 30 lbs in a little over a month, basically watching what he eats very carefully and riding his bike ~30-50 miles a day (he also has a pretty physical job, I suspect this has aided the cause). I was impressed. He is training for a 50 mile race with his wife in September.

Sunday:

Went for a hike. The trail turned out to be impassable but the group had a great time (dogs included this time).

General

Education:

Looked through the bodyweight resources thread for Assassins. Mostly I was verifying that I was doing exercises propertly, learning what different terms mean, etc. Next week, I would like to establish guidelines for progressions. For example, I think I should be changing the pushups out for something else, as I can do more than 12 or so...

Posture:

I'm not sure if I'm improving, need to find the tally sheet at work to get a complete picture. I did notice that Friday, when I was exhausted, I had terrible posture.

Fishing, Hiking:

Disappointed to learn that I shouldn't eat the fish from anywhere within a half hour drive from the house. But I went hiking!

Next week:

Dropping jumping jacks from the strength workout as they are more of a high-rep exercise and not really what I'm working for. My friends like their beer and this will be a pretty social week, with the holiday and all, so keeping to the two beers limit will be a challenge. I really have been enjoying the increase in energy on mornings after not drinking though, which helps to justify skipping at night.

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Hiya Everyone-

My wife and I are unplugging this weekend for our anniversary, so here is the summary through week three:

Workouts:

Monday:

Strength Workout - 3 sets

1 Leg Squats - 4 Ea Leg

Squats BW - 12

Lunges - 20

Pullups - 6

Dips - 10

Chinups - 6

Pushups - 14

Plank - 37 sec

Tuesday:

5.0 Mile run @ 38:53

Wednesday:

Strength Workout - 3 sets

1 Leg Squats - 4 Ea Leg

Squats BW - 12

Lunges - 20

Pullups - 6,7,7

Dips - 10,11,11

Chinups - 6

Pushups - 15

Plank - 37 sec

Thursday:

4.0 Mile run @ 30:06

Friday:

Strength Workout - 2 sets

Pullups - 7

Dips - 11

Chinups - 6

Pushups - 16

Plank - 37 sec

Education:

I neglected this due to a very busy week. I'm not terribly dissappointed, as I've been putting way over the intended hour per week of reading, but I don't like seeing my effort drop off as time progresses. This is a priority for next week.

Posture:

Stats since the end of week 1 - 21/40 or 52.5%. This indicates a downward trend, but I've been noticing that it is more on my mind than prior to the challenge. I am optimistic my stats will improve by the end of the challenge. I do not think the 52.5% down from 55% is statistically relevant...

Nutrition/Alcohol:

Big win this week! I went out with friends, had tacos, and celebrated the forth of July. Most of these events have been 2+ beer nights in the past, but I only had a couple on the 4th and none the other nights.

Hiking/Fishing:

None since last weekend. My wife and I are kayaking this weekend, but I don't think that counts. I am a little behind on this, but not terribly so.

Notes:

It was a mental struggle to workout on the 4th. It is way harder for me to workout when it isn't part of a routine. That being said, I'm always glad when I do. Just reinforces the importance of me making morning workouts a habit and not a choice.

No leg exercises on Friday as running has been aggravating my knee. I have a PT appointment next Friday to have it looked at.

Having the mental accountability of posting on here has kept me getting up in the morning and helped me to meet the nutrition goal. That being said, I've noticed a definite decrease in motivation for the strength workouts, I think because they are difficult to measure beyond "7 pullups". I've been loving using MapMyRun for the runs and keeping track of what I'm doing, it makes me run probably 1 min/mile faster just knowing I'm "on the clock". Does anyone have any bodyweight strength goals they have used for motivation?

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend! Go Squad E!

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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I have a few minutes so here is an update for the first half of the week...

Workouts:

Monday:

Strength Workout - 3 sets

1-Leg Squats - 4 ea Leg

BW Squats - 12

Lunges - 20

Pullups - 7

Dips - 11

Chinups - 6

Pushups - 16

Plank - 37 sec

Tuesday:

Running - 4.07 Miles in 28:26

Wednesday:

Strength Workout - 3 sets

Pullups - 7

Dips - 11

1-Leg Squats - 4 ea Leg

Chinups - 6

Pushups - 16

BW Squats - 12

Plank - 37 sec

Lunges - 20 X 2

Education:

Learned about recovery time, in that for strength I need to be waiting longer between sets. To help with this I mixed leg exercises into the upper body exercises. I also need to look at advancing pushups to a harder variation. I tried diamonds for one set today, and my elbows did not like them.

Consumption/Nutrition:

Due to the wedding anniversary, I am over the alcohol goal for the week by 2 drinks. This is my first failure on this goal, but due to the special occasion I am not experiencing a lot of remorse.

Hiking/Fishing:

Trying to set up a hiking trip for the weekend.

Posture:

Data collection ongoing.

tinkerer
Level 14 Elven Blacksmith

current challenge - yearlong quest

14 13 12 11 10 9.1 9.0 8 7 6 5 4,2 4.1 4.0 3 2 1

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Nice job! Pushup variations start becoming a good idea, especially once you hit the 15-20 mark. I'm curious what was going on with your elbows when you did them.

Diamonds work your triceps much harder than regular pushups. One thing I'm seeing is you are doing dips in the same workouts, which work your triceps just as hard, if not harder. My guess is you're just working your triceps insanely hard and your elbows are feeling the strain.

To mitigate that in my workouts, I usually stick to just one push exercise per workout, either dips or pushups, and switch between them during the week. If you want to keep doing both, I'd suggest a pushup variation that works your chest more than your arms, like wide-arm pushups. If those are still too easy, try elevating your feet with a box or the seat of a chair. The higher your feet are, the tougher they'll be.

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

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