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An Idle Dad - Be fitter, keep strong, no injury

An Idle Dad

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Hi All,

My first Recruit 6 week challenge pulled up just short of completing when I injured myself in the final week - a small hernia, which was pretty painful I can tell you!


Anyway, I've worked back from there to actually complete my original goals this week! 100kg Deadlift, Squat 80kg, 60kg bench press, 40kg OH press. I'm far more comfortable with those weights and far stronger than I was in Jan/Feb. I'm really, really happy about that. You have no idea.


I'm 40 years old, and very very overweight. My plan two years ago was to get under 100kg (220 lbs) and to do that I needed to drop 40kg (88 pounds). 


In my first year I lost 10kg (22 lbs) and was on track to lose another 10kg this year, but since I injured myself in Feb, my weight has crept up 5kg - back to my weight over ten months ago. So furious with myself.


So - this challenge is perfect timing. Now my Jan-Feb challenge strength goals are complete, it's time to focus on the other parts of wellbeing - fitness & weightloss.


Main goal:

Lose 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs) a week for six weeks. I will accomplish this by completing my side goals:

  1. Continuing 5x5 Stronglifts program each week. I have no lifting goals, just focus on form and increase as it feels good.
  2. Gym twice a week for 30 minutes cardio - I'm thinking 10 minutes bike, 10 minutes cross-trainer/ellipsis thingy, 10 minutes rowing.
  3. 10,000 steps on the weekend. An hour's walking at the local park will get me across the line on Saturday and Sunday
  4. VB6 - I know Paleo is popular here, but I find sticking to Vegan Before 6pm as much easier guide for me. Essentially, no meat or dairy before 6pm, and a sensible dinner. I'm a family guy with a budget, so dinner can't be prime steak with fresh veggies every night - rice or potato has prime spots on our plates and gets eaten my all four kids.
  5. Don't injure myself. Listen to my body, back off when appropriate. 

I am aware 'losing weight' is considered a cop-out crap goal here at Nerd Fitness but I figure when you are as overweight as I am, it is still a valid target. I already go to the gym three days a week and have only slipped weight recently. I'm responsible of course, but I've had a dramatic shift of work hours (12 hours days locked in meetings for around six weeks), including eating work supplied in-meeting food (a grazing table, the worst kind) for lunch - and dinner - over bringing my own lunch. Plus Easter chocolate. :)


Life side quest: Finish Practical Programming for Strength Training by Mark Rippetoe. I have obviously read Starting Strength (which led me to 5x5 Stronglifts) and now I've hit reasonable weights (at least, reasonable for me) I want to see how to keep progressing over time.


In six weeks, literally two days after this challenge finishes, my wife and I are off on a cruise of some South Pacific Islands. This challenge will make sure I have get-up-and-go to play and swim and snorkel with my two eldest kids that are coming with us - and do those activities all day long. I can't wait. It's also why side goal number 5 - don't injure myself - is so important. For the last two years I've injured my shoulder, achilles heel (jogging) and had a hernia. I have no desire to mess up during the lead up.


Anyway, perfect timing NF once again - here goes Recruit six week challenge number two!! 



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My back wasn't twitchy today, but I still went easy and only jumped back to 70kg squats.


PB on OH Press! 42.5kg (92 lbs) - coming from injury, I can't believe I can do this!


Failed on Deadlift 105kg (231 lbs) today (but hey, really pleased to be at 105!). I feel like it's my grip that is the problem. The skins really pinches.


So I have questions:

1) Gloves? Yes or no?

2) Grip strengthening ideas?

3) Alternative hand grips? 


Love to hear thoughts...

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I don't see how losing weight is a cop-out goal if it is really weight that needs to be lost (as opposed to vanity weight loss that's more concerned with a number on the scale than with actual fitness). I think your goals look great. Also, way to go on your great start to your challenge!


(sorry, I can't help you on the lifting questions... I haven't started lifting yet. I've got some other goals I want to meet before I introduce myself to that.)

“What is the nature of the search? you ask. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.†- Walker Percy


Sancte Sebastian, ora pro me.

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Congrats on attaining your previous goals! I've only recently started weight training and learning to focus on form over trying to lift heavier weights is sometimes a challenge in itself. Those are some great goals you've got lined up so keep up the good work!

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Hey there Idle Dad! Hope the lifting is still working out for you!


Here's my take on your questions:

Lifting gloves are probably a bad idea. Over time you'll develop thick, manly calluses on your hands that will protect you from the pain of gripping a knurled barbell. While the pinching certainly sucks in the beginning stages, it DOES get better over time. The general rule with lifting gear of any sort, in my humble opinion, is to use the least amount of secondary stuff possible. That goes for everything from belts, gloves, straps, to fancy lifting shoes. Simple is usually better- you want your body to do the work, not something in-between. When weight starts getting really heavy, and your training progresses beyond a beginner or intermediate level, this advice goes out the window, but by that point you'll know what to use when you need to use it. 


For deadlift, there's a few answers to a slipping grip. Some of your grip strength comes from your forearms, and there's a plethora of exercises to strengthen those- my favorite is probably the wrist roller. A quick bit of googlefu will pull up a wealth of info. Additionally, different companies, like elitefts.com for example, sell hand grip strength thingabobs. You know, the kind with two metal or plastic handles that you squeeze together? Except they have radically increased resistance based on which you select. These will also help. But before any of the above, the more important thing is that I ask what kind of grip you're currently deadlifting with. If it's a double overhand, that's great! You should deadlift with a double overhand grip for as many sets as you possibly can! But when you get to your "working weight" for the day, after warmups or near the end of your warm ups, a lot of guys will switch to either a "mixed grip" or a "hook grip" for their deadlifting. Hook grip is performed by trapping your thumb under your index and sometimes your middle finger- this can be VERY painful. I don't use this grip because of the pain. A mixed grip is simply taking ONE of your hands, and supinating it- turning it around so your palm is facing away from you, while the other hand is a regular, traditional overhand. This will drastically help prevent the bar from slipping. Again, googlefu will offer many examples of both!




Mr. B

Level 1 Recruit

STR: 2 | DEX: 1 | STA: 2 | CON: 2 | WIS: 2 | CHR: 0

Bodyweight: 181 lbs.

Current training max- Squat: 355 lbs. | Bench: 95 lbs.x15 (injury) | Deadlift: 375 lbs.

Group Challenge Thread

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Yeah I totally agree with what Mr. B says. Use minimal lifting gear! The calluses you get will help you in the long run. 


As for the deadlifts, I'm someone who does the mixed grip deadlifts. I find that my grip is the limiting factor for me, and this lets me lift heavier weights, which is awesome :)


Hope you reach your goals!

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