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Ancalagon The Black

Ancalagon The Black's "Fire Starter" Challenge

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I've also been struggling with sleep. For me, it was more of a routine change. I was used to staying up until midnight or 1AM. And I really needed to be asleep by 10 (I get up at 6). I worked into it gradually. I forced myself out of bed on the first alarm (I don't set multiple alarms, as all that does is lead me into an hour of crappy sleep - I set the alarm for when I need to get up, then get up). I moved my phone from my bed to my bathroom. I can still hear it, and I have to get up to turn the alarm off. I don't let myself snooze. If I find myself needing to snooze, then I need to get to bed sooner. Some of my sleep adjustment came from being overly tired for a few days because I wasn't getting enough sleep.

I also do better if I turn off electronics. I could surf NF (and other sites) all night. So I also try to put my electronics away (not within arm's reach). I'm not great at this. I try to read an actual book, that helps me get tired. I also sometimes take a really hot bath (with epsom salt if I've had a tough lift!). I read somewhere that your body cooling down after a hot bath naturally helps you fall asleep. Occasionally I do have that time where I can't sleep. Sometimes it's because of outside noise (or strange settling noises in my house). When that's the isseu, the only fix for me is turnign on some type of noise. Sometimes that's a noise app I have. I also have a few "meditation" apps that relax me and often times help me fall asleep. Other times the only answer is Netflix. But I turn it on my iPad and shut the cover to keep the light out. I have found a few movies that are relatively steady with sound and because I always use the same ones, I never find myself wanting to watch what's happening because I've already seen the movie enough times.

I have tried melatonin, and don't really feel it helping me. But I did take that for the first few months when I was trying to get in a routine. Some people said it helps even if you don't feel tired. I also take magnesium because I have a deficiency, but I've heard that also relaxes you so I take it at night. I avoid Vitamin D at night, as I've heard that can energize you.

Hope some of that helps. Insomnia is definitely frustrating, and the more frustrated I personally get, the harder it is to fall asleep! It's like the pressure of not sleeping makes me worry about not sleeping which makes me too revved up to sleep. :)

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Update: Bonus Challenge

I have some definite goals for this 6 week challenge which is all very good. 25% of the challenge time is over. I feel as if I should bust my plateaus and do something fun for tomorrow's workout so that when I go back to my usual workout on Tuesday, I can break through this plateau. I created this workout on a whim because I want to challenge myself. Its a combination of Stronglifts, Starting Strength and the Widowmaker. Also, I will try to do a GOMAD tomorrow if I can as a bonus, bonus challenge. Lets see if I can complete this workout tomorrow.

1. Power Cleans:

65 X 5

95 X 5

115 X 5

135 X 5

155 X 5

2. Deadlifts:

95 X 5

115 X 5

135 X 10

3. Pendlay Rows:

65 X 5

95 X 5

115 X 5

135 X 5

155 X 5

4. Squats:

95 X 5

135 X 10

185 X 20

5. Bench Press:

65 X 5

95 X 5

115 X 5

135 X 10

What do you guys think? Will I be able to do this? Or is this impossible in 1 workout? Also, will I puke my guts out if I do a GOMAD tomorrow with this? Lets see what happens when I shake, rattle and roll my body violently one day to wake it up from this plateaued stupor that it has found itself in.

Maximum Time for this workout: 60 minutes. Not a minute more. If I go over, I will stop. I want to time myself and see what I am doing.

Edited by Ancalagon The Black

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Just got your note to come and take a peek - can you explain the purpose of this? You're trying to get stronger and gain weight?

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Thanks for visiting. Usually, I do a 5X5 workout. My purpose is to gain strength. My workouts are as follows:

Workout A:

Deadlifts (335 lbs)

Bent Over Rows (75 lbs dumbbell in each hand)

Overhead Press (130 lbs)

Workout B:

Squats (300 lbs)

Bench Press (180 lbs)

Pull Ups (10 X 2 right now with an assist of 22lbs. I started with an assist of 88 lbs and I decrease every week as I hit 10 X 2)

I keep alternating the workouts and I have been at this for the last 6 months. I have been gaining strengths and my 5RM for each are given in brackets. I do not know my 1RM. Recently I have been plateauing (hence, my challenges in this edition) and I am going to go to a different gym tomorrow as the regular one is closed for fall break. I have been thinking of creating a fun workout for sometime which should be intense and timed along with a GOMAD for a single day just to try it out.

So, I thought about it for a little bit and came up with this one as a bonus challenge for tomorrow. I want to do all the exercises mentioned above tomorrow within 1 hour and I want to drink a gallon of milk while I am at it.

What do you think? Am I an idiot?

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Thanks for visiting. Usually, I do a 5X5 workout. My purpose is to gain strength. My workouts are as follows:

Workout A:

Deadlifts (335 lbs)

Bent Over Rows (75 lbs dumbbell in each hand)

Overhead Press (130 lbs)

Workout B:

Squats (300 lbs)

Bench Press (180 lbs)

Pull Ups (10 X 2 right now with an assist of 22lbs. I started with an assist of 88 lbs and I decrease every week as I hit 10 X 2)

I keep alternating the workouts and I have been at this for the last 6 months. I have been gaining strengths and my 5RM for each are given in brackets. I do not know my 1RM. Recently I have been plateauing (hence, my challenges in this edition) and I am going to go to a different gym tomorrow as the regular one is closed for fall break. I have been thinking of creating a fun workout for sometime which should be intense and timed along with a GOMAD for a single day just to try it out.

So, I thought about it for a little bit and came up with this one as a bonus challenge for tomorrow. I want to do all the exercises mentioned above tomorrow within 1 hour and I want to drink a gallon of milk while I am at it.

What do you think? Am I an idiot?

Yes (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) :) To me it honestly looks like you're just starting to warm up with each movement and never doing any actual work (are you doing these for time and a cardio element? Because even if that's the case, it should be structured differently and looking at your numbers it should still probably be heavier)

-The volume is huge compared to your normal volume, but I don't think it will do anything for you.

-Don't drink a gallon of milk in an hour unless you want to throw up. GOMAD is supposed to be the entire day, not an hour :)

-10 deadlifts at 33% aren't really going to do anything for you.

-A true widowmaker should be done pretty much on it's own that day. And will leave you completely dead. This one won't.

If you're looking to switch things up to help you get stronger, I'd suggest adding in assistance movements in your normal routine instead of something like this :)

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Great ! Thanks for the feedback. My objective is to enter and exit the gym in 45 minutes including warm up and cool down. This means 10 minutes for each exercise. ie. approx 2 minutes per set including wait time between sets. For instance, the other day, I did the following deadlift sets:

5 X 135

5 X 185

5 X 225

5 X 275

3 X 345 (I failed on the 4th rep)

Could you explain what you mean when you say that I am not doing any actual work because to me, its pretty hard and I am beat by the time I am out of the gym. I usually fail somewhere on the last set every time. I increase the weight by 5 or 10 everytime I hit all 5 sets. So far, according to my dataset, I have been making a roughly linear progress.

Also, is there a way in which you can know that my numbers for my weight/height should be higher? This is my 6th month of doing this workout and I think in the entire time I have gone all 3 days a week except 1 week.

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Great ! Thanks for the feedback. My objective is to enter and exit the gym in 45 minutes including warm up and cool down. This means 10 minutes for each exercise. ie. approx 2 minutes per set including wait time between sets. For instance, the other day, I did the following deadlift sets:

5 X 135

5 X 185

5 X 225

5 X 275

3 X 345 (I failed on the 4th rep)

Could you explain what you mean when you say that I am not doing any actual work because to me, its pretty hard and I am beat by the time I am out of the gym. I usually fail somewhere on the last set every time. I increase the weight by 5 or 10 everytime I hit all 5 sets. So far, according to my dataset, I have been making a roughly linear progress.

Also, is there a way in which you can know that my numbers for my weight/height should be higher? This is my 6th month of doing this workout and I think in the entire time I have gone all 3 days a week except 1 week.

I meant doing 10 deadlifts at 135 is more like a warmup, if your normal deadlift set is what you listed above :) Not that your normal routine isn't hard. The one that you're thinking of doing tomorrow just seems very light.

And nope - theres the strength standards tables http://www.exrx.net/Testing/WeightLifting/StrengthStandards.htm but that's about it :)

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Aha ! Got it ! I see your point now. Thanks for the feedback !

In your opinion, what is a good, simple advanced beginner or intermediate program? I am quite overwhelmed by 5/3/1 etc. because of the numerous calculations involved. Is there something nice and simpler? The person I started training with initially mentioned the other day that the 5X5 I follow can be modified into a 3X8 after I start slowing down or plateauing to increase lifts. Is there any truth in that?

Everything seems so complicated. :(

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I wouldn't switch it to a 3x8. I'd stick with sets of 5, no more. The only case where I'd do more than 5 is if it's i a drop set (so you do a heavy 3, for example, and then drop the weight down and do as many reps as you can at a much lighter weight)

There are a lot of calculations, but really once you get your head around it it's not that difficult. Also there are generators online and spreadsheets available. I would check with Bigm141414 about 5/3/1. he's been doing it and has better feedback. i've always done my own programming/programming with a coach and never really followed a specific strength program, so it's hard to say.

5/3/1, Mad Cow, Texas Method.

I'd check out this:

http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/After_Starting_Strength

For tomorrow, why not practice your powercleans and then just go for a widowmaker? :) That's a day in itself, would change things up, and will DEFINITELY challenge your body.

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Thank you very much. I will check out the links et al.

Yes, as for tomorrow, I think practicing power cleans and then doing widowmakers will be great. Fitocracy has a "Advanced Widowmaker" quest where they ask you to do 1.5 times your body weight. I have been wanting to do it for sometime now. For me thats 20 reps at 270 lbs. My 5RM for squats is 300lbs. If I can pull it off then I will drink a gallon of milk like a boss throughout the rest of the day. :)

Thanks again. Updates in 12 hours.

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Update: October 6, 2012

Thanks for the comments guys. I tried hard and somehow, did something. This was a very nice workout and really shook me up nicely.

Warmup Lifts to prepare:

Deadlifts: 135 X 10

Squats: 135 X 10

Bench Press: 135 X 10

Main Lifts:

Power Cleans:

45 X 5

65 X 5

95 X 5

115 X 5

135 X 1 (Fail!)

Baby Widowmaker?

185 X 20

Analysis: It is fall break and the nice weightlifting gym on campus is closed so I had to go to the one where all the brah's hang out. There were people curling in the squat rack and benching in the squat rack and there are only 3 squat racks in the entire gym so I was furious. I had to wait 20 minutes before I got a spot and it was 30 minutes before closing time of the gym.

This is the first time I did power cleans and I tried to maintain proper form. I think I succeeded in all the ones except the last set where I failed after the first. I also had practically no time between sets because of the closing time ticking clock.

So, for the widowmaker (baby), I did not attempt 275 X 20 because I did not have enough time and I wanted to see if I could do it with my body weight at all. Turns out, it was doable but quite difficult. Reps 1-20 were easy but 11-15 difficult and 16-20 rather torturous. But, I had a lot of fun doing them. Now, I want to do a "real" widowmaker squat set. :) This was workout was really good. I felt very "worked-out" after them given that the power cleans and widowmaker took 12 minutes in total to do.

Thanks for the suggestions spezzy and weirdquark! I didn't know there were these calculator thingies. Looks like I need to sneak about the interwebz a bit more. I will be back to my regular routine on Monday. For now, I am drinking a gallon of milk today to celebrate. :)

Today's Bodyweight: 178 lbs

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Your thread is becoming pretty educational! In a good way though. I wouldn't get too upset about having to wait to use a rack, at least you got to use one. The gym I use, in the room I go to, has one squat rack and guys like to monopolize it a lot.

Also, how is the milk drinking going for you?

Good luck with everything!!!

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Hmmm, you mentioned earlier that powerlifters tend to be quite tall.. Any idea why this is?

I would have thought that the best lifters would be of medium build.. Take for instance the squat:

if you have longer legs, the weight is going to be effectively heavier than if it's closer to the fulcrum (knees) :S

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In strong lifts it recommends deloading after stalling 3 workouts in a row, and on what would be the third deload to go to 3x5. it sounds like you might be to the point that you might consider going to 3x5, but i dunno for sure.

anyway, welcome to the challenges and great goals! i hope you obliterate them!

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Thanks for the comments guys.

dae: I did do a GOMAD the other day but I got pretty gassy. :P (Luckily, I live alone) But, I really enjoyed drinking all that milk.

MrTall: I agree with you but I was looking at the world champions in powerlifting and they all hover around 6 feet. Since I am 5'6", thats pretty tall for me. :)

thirster: Good points. I think I want to add 5X5 power cleans into my workout instead of rows. I had a lot of fun with them and I find rows incredibly boring now. :P But, I won't change my workout until this challenge is over.

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Ancalagon in the book Starting Strength RippeToe recommends only doing PCs for 5 sets of 3. I love power cleans though. They're fun, but they get heavier extremely quick!

The force on the back can be exceedingly hard think DL. In 5x5 I thought they recommended only one final set of deadlifts. Different people have kinda pointed me the same way save the back.. one set of DLs at your top weight for the WO should be sufficient.

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Update: October 9, 2012

Squats = 305 X 5

Analysis: I smashed this PR with great gusto although my legs were trembling afterwards. I would like to think that last saturday's widowmaker sets helped. :) I have 10 more lbs to lift 5 times before I finish this goal ! Yay ! I need to work more on my form. I could feel my weight shifting from my heels to my toes resulting in me leaning forward. I suppose, I will have to work on that in addition to attempting to ATG for real since I cannot squat that far (so inflexible. :()

Bench Press: 185 X 5

Analysis: This was nice and easy. My training partner almost had her hands on the last rep as I was teetering between letting go and continuing on. Luckily, I found a last minute gasp of energy and managed to crank it out. I need to work on this form as well by lowering it almost (but not touching) to my chest in a steady manner and locking it out for 2 seconds before attempting the next rep. In all, I feel nice and strong. 15 lbs before this goal is achieved ! Squee?

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