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Alanna

Alanna Pushes Pause

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On 23 Jun 2016 at 10:24 PM, Alanna said:

Goals have been on point, though I was a bit late (8 min.) getting off the computer last night because I wanted to see the last 84 kg Junior woman's opening deadlift @ 200 kg (!) during the World Classic Powerlifting Championships.

 

On 24 Jun 2016 at 2:18 PM, Alanna said:

Confession: I ignored my screen curfew to watch the political upheaval.

 

Other goals were followed, but I checked my phone until I went to bed (a bit before 10 pm) to see the initial results of the UK referendum.

 

Both were really good reasons to postpone your curfew!

 

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4 hours ago, Urgan said:

My understanding is that calcium and magnesium are needed to balance one another out for optimum muscle function. Your dedicated mag supplement must be throwing you out of balance, perhaps not with calcium but another vitamin? Surely it must be the extra one for blood sugar that is not in enough quantity to match the mag until you take the supplement?? A place to start researching, anyhow. My two cents.

 

Mmm, good point. My original thought was that the magnesium might lower more so than balance blood sugar... good news if you're diabetic, but my blood sugar is pretty good as long as I exercise and watch my carb consumption. The fact that the insomnia is also only a problem when I'm running a calorie deficit also made me think it might be a blood sugar issue.

 

However, some sort of mineral imbalance could be the issue... I was aware of the need to balance certain minerals (e.g., zinc/copper, selenium/iodine), but not the magnesium/calcium relationship -- perhaps because the usual concern is with magnesium deficiency, not excess, in that balance. I don't eat dairy (though I do get leafy greens galore), so perhaps a (small) calcium deficiency is at play? And that could affect sleep. 

 

The other supplement I mentioned (of which a high dose ameliorates the Mg insomnia) is chromium. More research actually needs to be done about its physiological function (though it is known that it plays a role in insulin functioning and blood sugar balance), so my preliminary searching didn't yield any insight about its relationship with Mg (or Ca). There also isn't a ton of research on high doses of chromium, which is why continuing to take an elevated dose isn't a long term option (my old doctor suggested it about a month ago, but the new doctor wants me to wean back down).

 

Once I finish re-introducing the rest of my supplements (I want to make sure that multiple ones aren't causing sleep issues...) I might try taking Mg and Ca together at night to see if the joint supplementation solves the sleep issue. At the very least it would be more data to take to my doctor when I see her again in a month! She's also running some tests for vitamin/mineral deficiencies, so perhaps that will shed some light on things.

 

Thanks for the trouble shooting assistance!

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2 hours ago, AugustaAdaByron said:

 

 

Both were really good reasons to postpone your curfew!

 

 

Better than my usual reasons!

 

Has there been much talk in Germany about the repercussions of Brexit for the science community in Europe?

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My slow mag supplement contains a bit of calcium in it and so does my multi, in addition to what might be found in my diet. I would be interested in how both calcium and chromium interact with mag re:sleep, but yeah, definitely verify it is mag that's the only problem you're dealing with. 

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44 minutes ago, Urgan said:

My slow mag supplement contains a bit of calcium in it and so does my multi, in addition to what might be found in my diet. I would be interested in how both calcium and chromium interact with mag re:sleep, but yeah, definitely verify it is mag that's the only problem you're dealing with. 

 

So from more thorough searching I came across a few claims that chromium decreases calcium excretion, and I managed to track down a reference (not counting that against my no brains/no research goal!). Might be something there, but I wish it was a more well-established relationship.

 

My n is too small for these experiments -- anyone up for cloning me?

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1 hour ago, Alanna said:

 

Better than my usual reasons!

 

Has there been much talk in Germany about the repercussions of Brexit for the science community in Europe?

 

Not really! I've only been in one discussion about it in Germany and the subject was the financial repercussions in countries.

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1 hour ago, Alanna said:

 

So from more thorough searching I came across a few claims that chromium decreases calcium excretion, and I managed to track down a reference (not counting that against my no brains/no research goal!). Might be something there, but I wish it was a more well-established relationship.

 

My n is too small for these experiments -- anyone up for cloning me?

 

Lol, cloning would be awesome. In the meantime, I guess it'll bear out soon whether there's a balance issue. I agree with your doc, FWIW. Large, isolated doses of supplements scare me now, because of the whole Vitamin D debacle (short version: huge dairy diet + vitamin d supplement increasing calcium absorption = huge mag deficiency).

 

Edit to add: not that I'm gainsaying whatever makes you feel better!

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*sits and listens intently to all the wisdom about supplements*

 

I hope you figure out the insomnia thing! Insomnia is one of my least favorite things, so I hope it gets better. 

Also, I'm greatly impressed by your research powers :)

 

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On 6/25/2016 at 5:58 PM, AugustaAdaByron said:

 

Not really! I've only been in one discussion about it in Germany and the subject was the financial repercussions in countries.

 

Guess it doesn't affect EU research too much, does it, unless a researcher wants to work in the UK... but hopefully it won't create new barriers for scientists to work abroad.

 

On 6/25/2016 at 6:41 PM, Urgan said:

 

Lol, cloning would be awesome. In the meantime, I guess it'll bear out soon whether there's a balance issue. I agree with your doc, FWIW. Large, isolated doses of supplements scare me now, because of the whole Vitamin D debacle (short version: huge dairy diet + vitamin d supplement increasing calcium absorption = huge mag deficiency).

 

Edit to add: not that I'm gainsaying whatever makes you feel better!

 

It's a tricky balance, no? A vitamin D deficiency also wouldn't do you any favors, but you also don't want to create new problems (e.g., the migraines)... and in my case, lack of sleep worsens pretty much all of my medical issues. But yeah, I agree -- and I'm happy I found a way to sleep without the high dose chromium.

 

So that explains why removing dairy improved your migraines? I'm glad everything's coming together!

 

19 hours ago, elvenengineer said:

*sits and listens intently to all the wisdom about supplements*

 

I hope you figure out the insomnia thing! Insomnia is one of my least favorite things, so I hope it gets better. 

Also, I'm greatly impressed by your research powers :)

 

 

As you can probably see, adding supplements can be quite a mess :P. It's been easier since I found knowledgeable doctors to work with and get regular testing (e.g., they modify my Vit. D and iron intake based on bloodwork). However, sometimes I still have atypical reactions (as in, completely opposite the expected side effects) to supplements and meds that baffle those doctors... and no one suspected that the magnesium might be a problem. If possible, I'd prefer to address my medical issues through lifestyle choices alone, but eventually lifting and paleo were no longer enough.

 

Thanks :). I'm still sleeping better off the magnesium, so hopefully that was the problem! And that's one of the perks of all the research training -- if it's been published, I'll find it!

 

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I'll type up belated week 1 and 2 recaps at some point -- I've been keeping track of everything in a spreadsheet. In other news, I'm still not recovering great and have decided that maxing out now is not the best idea, so will pass by the deadlift competition in July... live to lift another day. Deadlifts today were blegh -- 270 lbs x 5 was on the agenda, but I called it quits after 3 reps because I felt my form starting to suffer from fatigue... and I also stumbled during the second rep, which isn't a problem I usually have. I think I'll deload everything soon -- if I do start feeling better, I can always go for joker sets on top of the planned weights.

 

One factor that might have contributed to everything being too heavy today: I spent a good chunk of the weekend having an allergic reaction to what was probably hay... nothing ER worthy, but I like being able to breathe properly and could have done without the dose of chronic inflammation. This is a new problem -- I used to own a horse and never had any allergic reactions to anything at the barn -- so I'm also going to add allergy tests to my to-do list for the summer/fall. I don't spend much time around hay these days, but I want to make sure other allergies aren't contributing to the health issues.

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Weekly recaps finally -- see, I can do proper challenges!

 

Week One Recap:

  • Daily plan: 6/7
  • Daily to-do:
    • Movement: 7/7. Not stressing that I'm not getting 10k steps every day anymore... more time for yoga, right? I'll probably do more walking again once it cools off.
    • Adulting: 7/7
    • Adventure: 5/7... took me a couple days to get back on my feet once I came home.
  • Screen curfew: 5.5/7 -- the half from a near miss (8:12 pm instead of 8 pm)
  • No brains: 7/7

Week Two Recap:

  • Daily plan: 7/7
  • Daily to-do:
    • Movement: 6.5/7 (one day was pretty half-hearted stretching)
    • Adulting: 7/7. One of the highlights was getting an airline credit card so perhaps I can fly to England on someone elses dime!
    • Adventure: 7/7
  • Screen curfew: 5.5/7 -- again half points from a near miss (8:08 pm)
  • No brains: 7/7

Going back to add up my points for week one reminded me that during week zero, I was still on the other side of the country... seems like it's been much longer!

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Since my lower back and glutes have been really fatigued and sore lately (stop breaking, Alanna...), I made today Fun with High Bar Squats in order to give my back a bit of a break. I've been using a relatively low bar position for over a year now, so it was fun to play around with high bar again.

 

Squats, Thursday 6/30/16

  • squats (LB): 45 lbs x 5, 95 lbs x 5, 135 lbs x 5
  • squats (switching to HB):
    • 135 lbs x 5
    • 155 lbs x 3
    • 175 lbs x 3
    • 195 lbs x 4 (+ belt)
      • Thoughts during the fourth rep: *at the bottom of the squat* "Hmm, I'm not sure if I can get this back up with great form... maybe I'll bail this" *realizes safety pins are rather low* *pauses* *finishes the rep*
    • 195 lbs x 3 x 2 (+ belt)
    • 155 lbs x 3
  • front squats: 105 lbs x 5 x 3
  • plank (declines, feet on bench): bw x 1:15 min.
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11 minutes ago, Urgan said:

+1 making lemonade out of life lemons. 

 

when_life_give_you_lemons_ask_for_more_p

 

One of the powerlifters at my school's gym hurt his back and couldn't deadlift or back squat for several months... but I often saw him doing really heavy front squats instead. When my first low bar sets felt questionable, I figured I could use a similar strategy to shift the load to different muscles. I might just switch to high bar for a cycle or two to see if that addresses weaknesses in my low bar squat... if I can't train harder, I'll try training smarter.

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But seriously my quads yesterday:

55559fce43ebf604f1556ddb0b6e662c0624cd1a

 

Seems like I've been neglecting my quads lately. High bar squats for the next cycle or two (or three) it is!

 

Had another play-it-by-ear workout today in order to see if last week's bench break + 2 massages have fixed my arm issues. Still kept it relatively light and low volume juuust in case:

  • bench: 45 lbs x 5, 65 lbs x 5, 85 lbs x 5, 95 lbs x 3, 110 lbs x 3, 120 lbs x 3
  • OHP (DE): 65 lbs x 3 x 10 EMOM
  • pull-ups (with green band around foot): bw x 8, 7, 6
  • Russian twists: bw + 10 lbs x 15 x 3

Arm feels good so far!

 

Also happy because I got to listen to Bastille on the way to and from the gym (courtesy of another library visit) :D. Good music makes having to drive everywhere much more tolerable.

 

 

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On 7/2/2016 at 4:48 PM, Alanna said:

Also happy because I got to listen to Bastille on the way to and from the gym (courtesy of another library visit) :D. Good music makes having to drive everywhere much more tolerable.

 

Nice! Libraries are the best :)

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Week Three Recap:

  • Daily plan: 7/7
  • Daily to-do:
    • Movement: 7/7. Most of my days are >= 10k steps again, too.
    • Adulting: 7/7
    • Adventure: 6/7
  • Screen curfew: 6/7 -- two cases are half points from near misses (8:02 and 8:20 pm)
  • No brains: 7/7

Otherwise... finished off my play-it-by-ear week with sumo deadlifts (sumo to again lighten the workload on my back) + dynamic effort squats on Sunday, then OHP + dynamic effort bench on Tuesday.

 

I started a new cycle (lowering all of my training maxes) on Wednesday with high bar squats, working up to 185 lbs x 6 (my AMRAP set), 195 lbs x 3 (+ belt), and 205 lbs x 3 (+ belt). Quads are getting used to the extra work XD.

 

One of my adventures this week was coding up my 531 program in Python, which took way longer than it should have since I'm not fluent in the language. Next step is to make some pretty graphs to visualize my progress in terms of training maxes!

 

I also hiked ~5 miles on the Fourth -- there were some quite steep portions, but the view at the end was worth it!

 

Major adulting accomplishments for today were scheduling a dentist appointment (cleaning + exam) before I lose my dental insurance and arranging to send my laptop in to a service center to fix a crack in the base. I feel way too pleased with myself about finally crossing these off things off my to-do list.

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13 minutes ago, Urgan said:

Seems like things have been going very well, how's the sleep and nutrition stuff treating you?

 

Sleep isn't quite 100% yet but has been better :). Recently I've had a tendency to wake up a couple hours after first falling asleep, but I go back to sleep pretty easily, so... *shrug*. I think one other supplement was bothering me, and the Mg + Ca combination seems fine (thanks again!) -- but I need to do some more experimentation down the road to be sure.

 

Nutrition-wise -- I did a bit of tracking and it looks like I haven't been getting enough protein, which may underlie some of the recovery issues (I'm eating a bit less overall just since I'm walking less these days, and I think I inadvertently cut out a proportional amount of protein instead of keeping it constant as I should have). My old go-to paleo-but-not-aip-paleo protein powder doesn't seem to be bothering me, so that's been an easy way to up my protein intake!

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2 minutes ago, Urgan said:

Sweet. Well, we always be experimenting, right? You're way better off than you were, for sure.

 

Yep -- always chasing down the ever-moving target of what works!

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Wrapping up my challenge a tad early because I need to mail out my laptop for a repair (and I'm not writing a re-cap on my phone):

 

Week Four Recap:

  • Daily plan: 7/7
  • Daily to-do:
    • Movement: 7/7
    • Adulting: 6.5/7
    • Adventure: 7/7 by the end of today, including the aforementioned hike, learning to play anagrams, and hopping on a horse for the first time in almost 2 years
  • Screen curfew: will be 7/7
  • No brains: 7/7

Very brief challenge recap: Success. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do next challenge, too -- just might be a little late posting it because of the lack of computer.

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Don't blame you a bit, typing more than a quick reply (quoting, wut?) on phones is torment. You did great on your challenge and hopefully the computer comes back all fixed and you still have money afterward~

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