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Catspaw's Transitional Challenge


catspaw

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Change.  It's what makes us grow and what makes us grow old.  Time ticks ever forwards.  Some of life's turns force their change upon you, while other things never change until you do.

 

I've never been one to sit idly by and let time sweep me where it wills.

 

So while all challenges are about change -- our attempt to move forwards towards some ultimate goal -- some challenges have more life "corners" than others.

 

For me, this challenge is divided into many "before"s and "after"s.  It's different, it's exciting, and it makes formulating goals tricky. :)

 

So perhaps, instead of telling you about a distant island I plan to swim to, and grade myself based on how close I get, and how many waves crash into me along the way, it makes more sense to describe this as a different type of challenge.  For me, these next few weeks are about preparing for the corners ahead, seizing them tight, and rolling gracefully into the new directions they reveal.

 

 

1) Jump off the steady job track

 

I'm a little bit wary about posting this to a public forum before it happens, but here goes. :)  In a few weeks, I'll be quitting my job.

 

I want to give writing a good go, and that's going to require some focus on my part.

 

Go strong: I want to leave well.  I've made lots of contacts I want to keep friendly, and bridges I'd like left standing.  I've done this before, but it always takes deliberate work to make happen.

 

Make the turn: Actually quit.

 

Nail the dismount: Write at least 500 words/day.  Often times, hopefully many, many more words than that.  But this is my "start your squat with just the bar, add weight later" of writing.

 

 

2) Bulk then cut

 

I've been bulking since mid-Oct and plan to continue until mid-Feb.  I really want the next few weeks to count in terms of lean mass gain, so plan on pushing myself extra-hard in the gym, including switching from a 3-day to 4-day split.

 

Go strong: Eating lots (leangains/carb backloading/paleo), and lifting heavy.  Playing with accessory work to also help make that happen.

 

Make the turn: A week or two of maintenance eating in there.  Figuring out smart ways to reduce my food without feeling deprived.

 

Nail the dismount: Nothing extreme!  I'm deliberately putting that here.  I'm not jumping on a protein-sparing modified fast or anything like that.  This isn't prepping for a show, this is just cleaning up a bit.

 

You gotta experiment to find out what works for you.
PM me with any questions about, well, anything! :)
Current challenge: Catspaw Starts Strong

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Tue, Jan 1st - Workout Log

 

First time on a lot of these assistance lifts, so some time was spent figuring out a good max.  Now I have maxes to PR next time. :)

 

Deadlift:

5 @ 135 (warmup)

5 @ 150

3 @ 170

6 @ 190 [PR]

 

1-arm dumbbell row

ELECT reps & no break btw sets

3 @ 12.5, 3 @ 15, 3 @ 17.5, 3 @ 20, 3 @ 22.5, 3 @ 27.5

 

Close-grip pull-down

8 @ 60

8 @ 70

8 @ 80

8 @ 80

8 @ 80

 

Farmer's Carry

3 sets of 4 laps of gym @ 2 x 45 plates

 

Face Pulls

ELECT reps & no break btw sets

3 @ 40, 3 @ 50, 3 @ 50

 

DB Bench Press

15 @ 2 x 27.5 [PR]

12 @ 2 x 27.5

10 @ 2 x 27.5

 

Dead hang

30 secs

You gotta experiment to find out what works for you.
PM me with any questions about, well, anything! :)
Current challenge: Catspaw Starts Strong

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wow. quitting the day job. 

you. are. my. hero.

"Come with me if you want to lift" -The Brominator

"Later, I would learn that coincidences are the most planned things in the world. Later, I would learn that every single moment is a coincidence." - Douglas Coupland

"Anyone who doesn't want french fries every day is a commie." - AngelaTheGeek

Current Challenge

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That's an exciting albiet daunting prospect, quitting your job. Very cool!

 

Not sure what type of writing you do/want to do, and I think your 500 words a day is a great starting point. For when your ready for more, I recently read about someone who had lots of success with this.

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Wow this sounds great! Congrats on choosing to quit. I'm sure it's going to feel so liberating you're going to write even more than 500 words a day :)

Surge, Level 3 Wood Elf RangerSTR 13.5 | DEX 4.5 | STA 9.5 | CON 7.5 | WIS 9.5 | CHA 5"Surge Supra : Rise Above"

 

Operation: Just Do It

"When running up a hill it's alright to give up as many times as you wish; as long as your feet keep moving."

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What do you mean by ELECT reps?  (I love dumbbell rows)

 

It's a rep type I got from Kiefer who adapted it from Christian Thibaudeau.  The idea is to maximize muscle growth without burning out the CNS.  The 5x10-20 assistance reps I was doing last challenge was helping on the muscle growth side, but it was definitely pulling recovery away from my main lifts.

 

Basically you lower the weight slowly during the eccentric part of the movement, and then explode into the contraction phase juuuust before you reach the turnaround point.

You gotta experiment to find out what works for you.
PM me with any questions about, well, anything! :)
Current challenge: Catspaw Starts Strong

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I'm super excited for you! Best of luck in the new year! RAWR! :D

 

RAWR SMASH!

 

wow. quitting the day job. 

you. are. my. hero.

 

D'awww. :)

 

Fingers crossed it doesn't turn into a disaster.  Haha.

 

That's an exciting albiet daunting prospect, quitting your job. Very cool!

 

Thanks.  I've done it before, about two years ago, so it's not quite as scary as it was the first time.

 

I'm exceptionally fortunate that I have jobs out there always available to me, so I can afford to shop around.

 

Go catspaw! I'm so happy to hear this for you. I'm still reading your blog ;] I can't wait to see more of your writing!

 

Teehee, thanks. :)

 

Wow this sounds great! Congrats on choosing to quit. I'm sure it's going to feel so liberating you're going to write even more than 500 words a day :)

 

Should be fun!

 

Pretty heady stuff.

 

:)

 

Wow, you are a brave brave soul.  Good luck with the writing!  I've enjoyed the snippets that I've caught from your blog.

 

I'm not gonna wish you good luck on the bulking/cutting stuff.  I have full faith in you to sort that out. :)

 

Moar write!  Lift all the things!  Eat all some of the things!

You gotta experiment to find out what works for you.
PM me with any questions about, well, anything! :)
Current challenge: Catspaw Starts Strong

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You got this Catspaw.

Scout 30/Ranger 1 (3 skipped)

Spoiler

"I must not fear. / Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me 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."
-Litany Against Fear

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Shukar Still Isn't Lion

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I wanted to post something in general to talk about the good place I'm in, bulking-wise.

 

Took a week break over the holidays to just eat whatever I felt like.  This included several servings of a hazelnut flourless cake (nom!) and enough turkey to get "holy crap you eat a lot of meat" comments from family.

 

On the whole, though, despite splurging more than I'm accustomed to, food quality was high (all primal), I made many smart decisions (rather than eat handfuls of jellybeans, which are good but not that good, I'll have another piece of hazelnut cake), and I managed to get out and walk for several hours despite the frigid toronto weather.

 

The really big deal, though, happened over the next few days, when I returned home.

 

I got to the gym and thought "I should step on a scale to track my bulk", but stopped myself.

Instead I did a mirror-check.

 

I know the scale lies.  But there's a difference between knowing it and really believing it, and I think I may be starting to really believe it.

 

I tried to imagine different weights and what my reaction would be.  What if I'd lost 5 lbs?  (I hadn't.)  I would be disappointed that many of my gains were water weight and not muscle.  What if I'd gained 5 lbs?  (I don't think I had.)  I would be freaking out that I'd gained too much too fast.  And what if I weighed the exact same for the two weeks?  That I'd overate but lost water weight?  That I'd gained travel water weight but lost muscle?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the scale wasn't going to give me useful information.  So I didn't step on it.

 

Instead I did the mirror check.  Possibly a bit more fluff, but overall still pretty low on fluff considering I'm 3 months into a 4 month bulk.  Arms definitely feel like they've gained a bunch of muscle, which was where I was hoping to gain a bunch.  I feel like I'm better able to contract glutes and lats, which suggests either muscle gain there or at least learning how to fire them properly.

 

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how the bulk is going.

 

And, most importantly, I'm looking forward to doing it again!!

 

Still a little over a month to go.  Happy with my 4-day split and new assistance exercises and hoping to give it one last RAWR push, then a brief cut, and then back on the recomp train of awesomeness.

You gotta experiment to find out what works for you.
PM me with any questions about, well, anything! :)
Current challenge: Catspaw Starts Strong

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Okay, enough blahblahblah about feelings.  Here's something tasty. :)

 

Thai Basil Beef Sliders

 

beef_bite.png

 

 

One of my all-time favorite uses for ground beef, this recipe is based on Health-Bent’s Thai Basil Beef Balls.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 lbs ground beef (I use ground sirloin)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp paleo fish sauce
  • 1 handful thai basil (or normal basil)
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)

Roast the bell pepper.  You can either do this in the oven, or the lazy way (which I like): turn an element on your stove to medium high, and place the pepper on there, turning every time a side chars to black.  Let cool, and then chop finely.

 

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

 

You have a few options for cooking.

  1. Bunch the meat onto skewers in kebab form, and grill into cooked through.
  2. Form into meatballs and bake at 400 for 20-30 mins.
  3. Form into sliders and cook on a cast iron skillet on medium-high in batches for 5-7 minutes a side.

Either way, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how flavorful these lil guys are.

 

You gotta experiment to find out what works for you.
PM me with any questions about, well, anything! :)
Current challenge: Catspaw Starts Strong

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Fri, Jan 4th - Workout Log

 

I've transitioned to evening workouts which means: 1) no fasted training, and 2) no caffeine high.  As such, I don't get quite the normal RAWR but I'm sure I'll adjust.

 

Incline Bench

ELECT reps + no rest btw sets

3 @ 45, 3 @ 50, 3 @ 55, 3 @ 60

 

Bench

5 @ 45

5 @ 70

5 @ 80

5 @ 90

 

Lat pulldowns

3 x 8 @ 90

 

DB Curls

ELECT reps + no rest btw sets

3 @ 12.5, 3 @ 15, 3 @ 17.5, 2L/3R @ 20

 

Close-grip chins

ELECT reps + no rest btw sets

3 @ 100 lb assist, 3 @ 80 lb assist, 3 @ 60 lb assist, 2 @ 40 lb assist

 

Hammer curls

8 @ 20 each arm

5 @ 20 each arm

 

Close-grip bench

ELECT reps

15 @ 50

13 @ 50

10 @ 50

You gotta experiment to find out what works for you.
PM me with any questions about, well, anything! :)
Current challenge: Catspaw Starts Strong

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I found an artist in the area who does henna tattoos that I like.  Considering getting a tummy/flank tattoo at the peak of my bulk to remind myself that beauty is what our bodies can do for us, not how small they are.  Hmmmmmmm! :D

 

I love this and the intentionality behind it. Lovely!

Battle Log

"Either you take care of business and give yourself the best chance of survival (while accepting the inherent fuckedupitude and randomness of life), or you relinquish all hope entirely." -- Krista Scott-Dixon

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