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Alanna Trains Some Dragons


Alanna

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Brief backstory: NF Rebel and powerlifter since April 2014. Currently on leave from my graduate program to focus on some health issues before continuing the get-my-PhD saga. The past couple of challenges I’ve solidified the basic, keep-me-functional habits and gathered data to aid in troubleshooting some lingering issues. Now that that foundation is set, it’s time to take on some dragons:

  • I need to take a critical look at my lifting form, especially for deadlifts and bench. After a recent conversation with a friend about bench form, I filmed my bench for the second time ever (yeah, should have done this much more often) and discovered that I’m tucking my elbows too much, putting my elbows ahead of my wrists at the bottom of the lift (à less efficient transfer of force and less pec involvement in the lift). That might explain why my bench lags behind my other lifts so much. Deadlifts, meanwhile, are still feeling awkward after several weeks of mobility issues from a bad mattress, and I really need to keep an eye on my back position.
  • Meditation practice is becoming a habit, but longer meditations are still intimidating.
  • I’ve gotten a bit lazy about batch cooking since returning home, besides cooking-all-the-meat type batch cooking. My cooking is also getting somewhat monotonous, and I want to add more techniques/dishes to my toolkit.
  • Eventually I need to start working again, for a variety of reasons: learning what habits work best for me, establishing productive practices, and making use of my time now to gain skills that will be helpful during my PhD. I also want to give myself plenty of time to rebuild my work tolerance. Plus I enjoy the work and leveling up in this sphere. However, getting better is still the priority.

 

Since slaying dragons is so last millennium, I’ll train dragons this challenge.

tumblr_n3tswytdOf1qmzp1bo1_500.gif

 

GOAL 0: Don’t neglect the essentials

  • Food: Stick to AIP paleo, minus the few foods I’ve reintroduced. Track on MFP. Eat enough.
  • Sleep: 8 pm screen curfew. Track sleep quality.
  • Exercise: Lifting ~3x/week, excluding deload weeks. Walk several times a week.
  • Mobility: Yoga and foam rolling/SMR a few times a week, especially on rest days.

I’m not tracking or scoring these closely – mostly I just need to write these down so I don’t start slipping on that screen curfew!

 

GOAL 1: Scrutinize my form

  • Record, at the minimum
    • My top two 5/3/1 work sets for the Big Four lifts, plus any joker sets
    • My heaviest front squat sets (at least two from the session)
    • At least twice, to check form: RDLs and good mornings
  • Re-read the Starting Strength chapters on the Big Four

One or two misses/partial misses is fine, as long as the misses aren’t on the same lift.

 

GOAL 2: Meditate

  • Meditate daily
  • Have a longer meditation session at least 1x/week (minimum length = 20 min. + (week #)*5 min.)
  • Read Full Catastrophe Living

 

GOAL 3: Escape the cooking rut

 

Try five new recipes over the course of the challenge.

 

iI9mSRz.gif

 

GOAL 4: Devote time each week to focused work, because I can’t be a professional recreational powerlifter forever.

 

Work =

  • Reading literature in my field
  • Working on data analysis or modeling from one of my Master’s or PhD projects
  • Learning a skill that will help me down the road, such as Python (can use non-work related projects for this), machine learning, or dynamical systems theory
  • Working on a Coursera course

Focused =

  • Work for at least 30 min. at a time before taking a break
  • No non-work related internet or phone use (e.g., Facebook, email)
  • Foam rolling/stretching is fine as long as it doesn’t distract from the task
  • Listening to music is fine as long as I pick my selection beforehand/limit jumping around between tracks and playlists

I’ll start with 5 hr/week and then add 0-1 hr to the weekly goal each week depending on how I do/feel.

 

The goals started yesterday since I’m skipping Zero Week this time around for a 5 week challenge (even if MATLAB doesn’t count from zero…).

e8031c4e28474afc5ec04034e3685381.jpg

 

 

 

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Quick note, the elbows leading the wrists at the bottom is a way of reducing the load on the anterior deltoids.  The anterior deltoids are probably taking more load than you want because of the over-tucked elbows.  Even so, you could open up the elbows and still have the elbows lead a little.  How much is a matter of preference/geometry, but I'm just saying they don't necessarily have to strictly stacked.

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Intro

Challenges: #1#2#3#4, #5

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2 minutes ago, Grymm said:

Quick note, the elbows leading the wrists at the bottom is a way of reducing the load on the anterior deltoids.  The anterior deltoids are probably taking more load than you want because of the over-tucked elbows.  Even so, you could open up the elbows and still have the elbows lead a little.  How much is a matter of preference/geometry, but I'm just saying they don't necessarily have to strictly stacked.

 

Thanks for this -- after double checking the location of the anterior deltoids, it looks like that's where I felt my bench press today (even though it was light, dynamic effort work), so it's good to know that's expected. It's also good to know that some elbow lead is all right. I think going straight from my really-tucked-elbows form to perfectly stacked wrists and elbows would be a bit jarring, too, so I'll experiment with different arm angles and see what feels best (and strongest, while still being safe).

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18 hours ago, elvenengineer said:

Oh goodness, not Matlab! 

 

You can do it! Awesome challenge (I love how to train your dragon SO MUCH!)

R3L5Qpu.gif

 

Haha, I like MATLAB! But then it works well for the type of things I do, and anything is better than pipetting :P.

 

Thanks! I had to have another fun theme after the last challenge :).

 

17 hours ago, wildross said:

Funny, the lady next to me on the plane today was watching this movie.

 

Good choice :). The second film is on Netflix now, too.

 

15 hours ago, Urgan said:

OHAI.

 

HI.

 

upsidedown.gif

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I can check off the first new recipe:

ccf5ffe9e68c3688f15cc9fac71dfc84.jpg

 

Here's the recipe with better photos: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Capers and Olives.

 

I don't use olives or capers often (or ever, really, in the case of capers), and rarely think of using lemon or lemon zest, so this is expanding my repertoire. I also like simple stick-in-the-oven-and-leave type dishes for batch cooking since I can do other things (more cooking, cleaning up the kitchen, etc.) while it's cooking, which will be great when I return to the busy student lifestyle.

 

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That chicken looks good! Never was much good at returning to school after an extended weekend, much less a long break, lol. Week 1: crash and burn. 

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Level 13 Shape-shifting Warrior Monk

STR:45 | DEX:18 | STA:10 | CON:37 | WIS:37 | CHA:27

The stronger the body the more it obeys, the weaker the body the more it commands. -- Siegmund Klein

Battle Log : MFP : Instagram : Challenges - 1, 23456789101112

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20 hours ago, Alanna said:

(even if MATLAB doesn’t count from zero…)

The most annoying thing about MATLAB!!!

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Current Challenge

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On 16 August 2016 at 0:01 AM, Alanna said:

MATLAB

 

tumblr_ne7o1uCZN61tq4of6o1_500.gif

 

Just kidding! If it works for you, it works :) 
 

Solid set of goals you've set out there, best of luck! At some point I should probably take a leaf out of your book and do a screen curfew challenge (*he writes at 1:04 am*)! XD

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9235.gif

 

haygurlhaaaaaaaaay

 

Here's a recipe for you: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-to-feed-a-crowd-slow-cooker-barbacoa-beef-165301

 

I'm unreasonably obsessed with it.  Since you're doing the good ol' AIP I won't suggest the cilantro lime quinoa I usually use, but I will suggest plantains.  You can make them into tortillas if you like (I like to add 1 tsp of lime juice to this recipe, fyi) OR you can just saute some plantains up and eat it in a big ol' bowl.  So good. Much yum. 

 

ETA: And I just realized I mega ditzed. Yeah, that recipe is not AIP. Nevermind... 

 

so much derp. 

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"I'm just going to remember to not eat like an asshole most of the time" - MoC

three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: one must squat.- Brobert Frost
 Half-Elf Warrior | Current Challenge
 New Battle Log | Old Battle Log
Special thanks to AkLulu for drawing my awesome avatar!

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2 hours ago, Hermione Gainser said:

9235.gif

 

haygurlhaaaaaaaaay

 

Here's a recipe for you: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-to-feed-a-crowd-slow-cooker-barbacoa-beef-165301

 

I'm unreasonably obsessed with it.  Since you're doing the good ol' AIP I won't suggest the cilantro lime quinoa I usually use, but I will suggest plantains.  You can make them into tortillas if you like (I like to add 1 tsp of lime juice to this recipe, fyi) OR you can just saute some plantains up and eat it in a big ol' bowl.  So good. Much yum. 

1) Excellent Gif

2) That beef recipe looks amazing

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Goal: Deadlift a (Female) Wookie (100 kg): 65.8%

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On 8/16/2016 at 3:33 PM, Urgan said:

That chicken looks good! Never was much good at returning to school after an extended weekend, much less a long break, lol. Week 1: crash and burn. 

 

Haha, yeah, gonna try to avoid that crash and burning -- I've had my fill of crashing. Thankfully I still have a year to figure things out...

 

On 8/16/2016 at 3:50 PM, miss_marissa said:

The most annoying thing about MATLAB!!!

Nah, the most annoying thing is actually getting a license! I had some issues getting my last license via my lab (the lab gets it via a subscription to another group, but that subscription had expired). Finally the IT guy who was helping me out emailed me, "this is a bit much" and decided not to wait for all the official things to be checked off before giving me access XD.

 

On 8/16/2016 at 5:23 PM, AugustaAdaByron said:

Following of course! Hoping to get inspired by your screen curfew too.

 

I haven't had to work on Matlab since 2005, if I recall correctly. 

Why is something so simple so hard? I was about 15 min. late on Wednesday -- otherwise, I'm keeping up with it.

 

You don't do much implementation if I recall, do you? What is your go-to language when you code?

 

22 hours ago, Chronosus said:

 

tumblr_ne7o1uCZN61tq4of6o1_500.gif

 

Just kidding! If it works for you, it works :) 
 

Solid set of goals you've set out there, best of luck! At some point I should probably take a leaf out of your book and do a screen curfew challenge (*he writes at 1:04 am*)! XD

 

*grumbles at how everyone is hating on MATLAB*

 

tumblr_n8qywsHX8x1rk32t9o3_500.gif

 

(One day I'll learn Python like the cool kids ;))

 

9 hours ago, Hermione Gainser said:

9235.gif

 

haygurlhaaaaaaaaay

 

Here's a recipe for you: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-to-feed-a-crowd-slow-cooker-barbacoa-beef-165301

 

I'm unreasonably obsessed with it.  Since you're doing the good ol' AIP I won't suggest the cilantro lime quinoa I usually use, but I will suggest plantains.  You can make them into tortillas if you like (I like to add 1 tsp of lime juice to this recipe, fyi) OR you can just saute some plantains up and eat it in a big ol' bowl.  So good. Much yum. 

 

ETA: And I just realized I mega ditzed. Yeah, that recipe is not AIP. Nevermind... 

 

so much derp. 

 

Hermione!!!

 

tumblr_nlo5edeqV51qk9eg1o1_500.gif

 

Are you going to make a challenge for this round? :D

 

Those plantain tortillas looking amazing *pins*

 

6 hours ago, elvenengineer said:

1) Excellent Gif

2) That beef recipe looks amazing

 

No worries about the beef recipe -- elvenengineer can use it :P. I do need to find more things to do with my Instant Pot -- right now I just pull it out ones every 5-7 days to cook a couple whole chickens and make bone broth.

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Update:

 

As mentioned above, I was a tad late for my screen curfew on one day, but otherwise all the essentials are on track.

 

Form check videos are happening: high bar squats (my last for a while since I'm switching back to low bar) and good mornings, + some extra bench recordings on Monday, sad (cause weak) bench and front squats on Wednesday, and deadlift, RDLs, and OHP today. As some of you know, I'm hesitant to post videos on here, but I think I'm going to cave so I can get some feedback, especially on deadlifts. Anything for the deadlift.

 

I'm also meditating daily and did a surprisingly easy 29 min. meditation (below). Even though my mind is still

tumblr_n6yxraYDg01qcjzvuo1_r1_500.gif

 

One new recipe has been successfully attempted, and I got the ingredients for a couple more I want to try today.

 

I've only done 0.75 hrs of my goal 5 of work, but I took and edited dog photos for the rescue I volunteer at... so at least I'm being productive in a way that's not helpful for my future PhD? I'll get on this -- there's a reason it needed to be a goal.

 

The aforementioned meditation:

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Alanna said:

 

You don't do much implementation if I recall, do you? What is your go-to language when you code?

 

 

Implemantation? Code? What are these words? :P 

 

The last time I had to code anything was when I was teaching the Computer Science labs during my PhD (which was Java). I've only used computers, for anything other than typing or procrastinating, once when I had to find some graphs and was too lazy to draw them all so I had the computer output them.

 

btw I know it's stressful uploading videos but after you do it a couple of times, it's no big deal anymore. :) 

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Level "I have no clue" Warrior

Current challenge

Battle log

 

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20 hours ago, Emerald_Dragonfly said:

I was hesitant to post videos,  too.  I was happy when I finally did. 

 

1 hour ago, AugustaAdaByron said:

btw I know it's stressful uploading videos but after you do it a couple of times, it's no big deal anymore. :) 

 

48 minutes ago, Urgan said:

Yeah, re: form videos, we don't bite. It's all about those gains, right?

 

Oh, I'm not worried about the critiques themselves -- the worst case scenario feedback would be, "girl, stop, you're going to hurt yourself!" and I'd much rather find that out *before* hurting myself :). I'm just hesitant about putting my mug (or, even if I blurred that out, other personal identifying/recognizable visual info like the rest of me or my gym) on a public internet forum.

 

Two years ago I got around that by having a private form check party in the NF messages -- @Hermione Gainser and @AugustaAdaByron were there for that!

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58 minutes ago, Alanna said:

 

 

 

Oh, I'm not worried about the critiques themselves -- the worst case scenario feedback would be, "girl, stop, you're going to hurt yourself!" and I'd much rather find that out *before* hurting myself :). I'm just hesitant about putting my mug (or, even if I blurred that out, other personal identifying/recognizable visual info like the rest of me or my gym) on a public internet forum.

 

Two years ago I got around that by having a private form check party in the NF messages -- @Hermione Gainser and @AugustaAdaByron were there for that!

 

That was my concern about posting videos too because it's pretty clear which one is my gym in Berlin (and, of course, how awesome it is :P).

 

I recall that, I had no advice to offer. I was just following along. :D

You could upload the videos somewhere and then send the link (and a password) to the people who offer and you'd like them to do a form check?

 

 

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Level "I have no clue" Warrior

Current challenge

Battle log

 

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17 hours ago, AugustaAdaByron said:

You could upload the videos somewhere and then send the link (and a password) to the people who offer and you'd like them to do a form check?

 

Was thinking this, too. I offer my eyes for the sacred Form Check, if you like.

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Level 13 Shape-shifting Warrior Monk

STR:45 | DEX:18 | STA:10 | CON:37 | WIS:37 | CHA:27

The stronger the body the more it obeys, the weaker the body the more it commands. -- Siegmund Klein

Battle Log : MFP : Instagram : Challenges - 1, 23456789101112

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22 hours ago, AugustaAdaByron said:

 

That was my concern about posting videos too because it's pretty clear which one is my gym in Berlin (and, of course, how awesome it is :P).

 

I recall that, I had no advice to offer. I was just following along. :D

You could upload the videos somewhere and then send the link (and a password) to the people who offer and you'd like them to do a form check?

 

 

What changed your mind? You just wanted us all to be jealous of that awesome gym, right? ;)

 

Doesn't matter -- you were still there for the party!

 

Yeah, if I don't post them I figured I could do that or have another NF messages form check party with unlisted youtube videos if I have any takers. I wonder how many people can be included in the same message thread in the new forums... the limit used to be five. I guess the drawback to this is that others can't potentially benefit from the advice that I receive (though I don't know if anyone else besides me occasionally browses the form check forum to 1) learn to spot what the form checkers notice, and 2) find people with similar forms slips so they can use the same advice they receive :P).

 

5 hours ago, Urgan said:

 

Was thinking this, too. I offer my eyes for the sacred Form Check, if you like.

 

Thanks Urgan -- I might take you up on that :)

 

1 hour ago, Emerald_Dragonfly said:

I totally get it.  I was nervous about it, too.  I decided that instead of blurring out, I would just be careful what I post. 

 

 

Glad I'm not the only one... your policy is probably a good call for anything on the internet, regardless of videos or not!

 

7 hours ago, Taddea Zhaan said:

I'm here to be the one fashionably late to the party. But today is still zero week, so maybe I'm perfectly on time?

 

Your timing is perfect -- just in time for the Zero Week recap!

 

----------------

 

WEEK ZERO RECAP

  • Essentials (food/sleep/exercise/mobility): stuck to, besides being ~15 min. late off my computer one day (which means the screen curfew is still serving as intended)
  • Form
    • Videos: All the requisite big lifts and front squats recorded, and I also recorded good mornings and RDLs 1x each, too.
    • SS reading: About halfway through the deadlifts section
  • Meditate
    • Daily meditations: check
    • Long meditations: two 29 min. meditations, so check plus
    • FCL reading: finally made it past the introduction and am a few chapters in
  • Cooking: I got excited about trying new recipes and ending up doing three this week:
    • The aforementioned Roasted Chicken Thighs with Capers and Olives
    • Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars (skipping the syrup), which are great since portable protein/snacks are hard to find with AIP, and it's a way for me to up my calories without diving into a jar of cashew butter. I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin, but they're growing on me. I also want to try them with sweet potato and extra protein (either by upping the collagen or seeing if I can mix in some of my protein powder).
    • Super easy Sweet and Crunchy Tuna Salad. I also added avocado (no justification needed) and played around with some extra herbs.
  • Focused work: Finished my 5 hrs (mostly learning the nuts and bolts of machine learning) by completing 4.25 hrs on Saturday (which, after being out of work, was a bit of a marathon session). So, gonna keep the goal at 5 hrs for Week One and this time avoid doing almost all of it at once.

tumblr_inline_mxm7sckReX1s54jn6.gif

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