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Barghest's No Excuses Challenge


Barghest

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Realized I posted this in the wrong forum originally - I didn't realize the main "4 Week Challenge" link at the top of the page directed me to a challenge from July. Anyway, while I'm tempted to jump right in and do a bunch of challenges, I'm going to start with just a few of the smaller goals suggested for first-time challengers - except for the fitness one, because that's already a well-established habit that I'm just trying to up by one extra day a week.

 

Diet

- Eat a vegetable with one meal each day (27/28)

- Have two days per week 100% on-plan. (Week 1: 1/2; Week 2: 2/2; Week 3: 1/2; Week 4: 2/2)

 

Fitness

- Hit every single workout for the next eight weeks of my written program (4/week plus one extra on 9/25, for 17 sessions total) (17/17)

 

Level Up Your Life

- Get in bed no later than 11pm at least two week-nights per week. Reading allowed until 11:20 at the latest. (Week 1: 1/2; Week 2: 0/2; Week 3: 1/2; Week 4: 1/2)

 

Reward for accomplishing the above: A new tee shirt. Not sure which one yet - maybe a Pokemon gym shirt that I can wear specifically to the gym.

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Very cool, Calanthrophy! Thanks for sharing - I love the background and instrumentals.

 

Leg day today! Pretty easy squats - 12 sets of 3 explosive reps at 140lbs

Went hard on leg press though - 12/10/8/6/4 reps at 235/325/415/465/505 respectively.

Followed up with kettlebell step-ups, leg extensions, RDL, and finally hamstring curls using the TRX station. Crouching down is going to be hell on Thursday - just in time for deadlift day.

 

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The soreness from leg day didn't last nearly as long as I thought it did - maybe taking BCAAs that day helped? I haven't been doing that, but maybe I will start up again. I'll test again after tomorrow's session, which will be shoulders/arms.

 

Rep deadlift day on Thursday - four sets at 200lbs for eight reps. The gym was busy, so I ended up sharing the bar and shortening my rests quite a bit - still, these were pretty good. I have a blister on my right ring finger that hurts like crazy though - not sure how best to make it go away.

 

Nutrition and training sessions are going well - but I need to do more work on sleeping. I got to bed once by 11, and that was last night. (I'm not trying for an 11pm bedtime on weekends, so here I am at 1:35am writing this.) I'm going to work harder on keeping track of time in the evening, so I don't look up from whatever I'm doing at 10:30pm and realize I haven't showered or made my lunch for the next day.

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Wow, eating within like an hour of hitting the gym really makes a difference - either that or I just had a lot of excess energy today. Today is mostly an accessory day to shore up some weaknesses in the back/shoulder area, but it went really well. Could have upped the weight some on skullcrushers, but the gym was getting ready to close and I didn't want to lose time fiddling around with changing out the plates.

 

Looking forward to an evening of video games, at first alone and then with friends!

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2 hours ago, Barghest said:

Wow, eating within like an hour of hitting the gym really makes a difference - either that or I just had a lot of excess energy today. Today is mostly an accessory day to shore up some weaknesses in the back/shoulder area, but it went really well. Could have upped the weight some on skullcrushers, but the gym was getting ready to close and I didn't want to lose time fiddling around with changing out the plates.

 

Looking forward to an evening of video games, at first alone and then with friends!

 

I've found BCAAs really do great things for me. I used to be starving mid-way through my sets, now I don't get hungry till about an hour after lifting. Also the other day my sets were lethargic because we'd just done some capacity training type stuff and I was so buggered, but after I drank my BCAAs my form improved pretty quickly. And I also have dinner about an hour afterwards, but I didn't do that last week and far worse doms than usual the next day. :) 

 

What games were you playing?

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23 hours ago, ManicSpider said:

 

I've found BCAAs really do great things for me. I used to be starving mid-way through my sets, now I don't get hungry till about an hour after lifting. Also the other day my sets were lethargic because we'd just done some capacity training type stuff and I was so buggered, but after I drank my BCAAs my form improved pretty quickly. And I also have dinner about an hour afterwards, but I didn't do that last week and far worse doms than usual the next day. :) 

 

What games were you playing?

Usually I don't have the chance to eat in the ~60-90 minute window before my gym session, but maybe I'll start bringing the BCAA powder in a shaker to work and drink it on the way - that might make some difference. I also noticed that I had fewer DOMS after that session.

 

We played Mysterium first, then went to get frozen yogurt and came back to play a few rounds of Fibbage/Drawful. After friends left, I played some Saints Row the Third, which I've been playing the last few days. I like it a lot better than the GTA demos I've tried (never played the whole game) because it's a more self-aware game that doesn't take itself seriously.

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Deadlift day today - 230x2, for five sets. Went up pretty easy actually - the only dilemma was that by the last set my hands hurt like crazy. The rest of the session went pretty well - I was at my second-choice gym again, so lots of high school folks around, many of whom were just messing around and taking up way more space than necessary, but I was in and out of the room anyway, so it wasn't too much of a hassle.

 

Tomorrow will be bench day, I think, then squats on Thursday and shoulders/arms on Friday.

 

In terms of my other goals - veggies have been spot-on so far, and sleep has been pretty okay. I got plenty of sleep over the weekend, which was lovely, but doesn't count toward my goal unfortunately. :P At least I'll be starting this week with a 100% on-plan eating day. I'm calling yesterday on-plan too, because even though I didn't eat all the foods on my plan, I think I still got roughly the same macros from what I did eat.

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Having a screen curfew might help with the sleep.  About an hour before bed I stop using all the screens and get ready for bed, read, journal, chat with my boys - I'm still up but not using the screen.  Once I do get in bed sometimes I'll read a book (not on the kindle but an old fashioned paper kind) or write in my journal for 15-30 minutes maybe but sometimes not.  I do use a sleep mask as well.  There's lots of ambient light in the room from chargers and alarm clocks and sometimes the husband unit on his screen...  Blocking all that out helps me not want to just "check one more thing..."  Anyway.  I've found it helpful and I get about 7-8 hours a sleep now since I've put together this bedtime routine.  Good luck with week two!

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Rock Gnome Assassin

Lvl 28

 

 

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Thanks for the suggestion! :) I've been trying to get off the computer/phone about 30 minutes in advance, but maybe I'll move it to an hour and see if that helps me stick to it a little better. Once I turn off the lights I usually don't have a hard time getting to sleep, but maybe deciding not to use screens will lower distractions and get me to actually finish what I need to finish before my chosen lights-out time.

 

Overall I'd call this a good week. Still definitely struggling with bedtime, but everything else went well and got accomplished the way I hoped. Leg day killed - 165lb squat for 8 reps, four times, followed by a whole bunch of accessory exercises (including an extra set of leg presses at 375 because I got distracted and lost track of what I was doing). Hoping to include a few more veggies next week than my go-to broccoli, but it won't be the end of the world if I don't. I love broccoli anyway.

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On ‎10‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 3:11 PM, Emerald_Dragonfly said:

 

Excellent! Well done!  

Thanks! :)

 

Checking in again today. Last night was deadlift day, which went pretty well I think. I'm doing some high-rep work on TRX rows and lat pulldown, and I'm up to 95lbs for 15 reps on the latter, which is excellent. Really trying to focus on doing some shoulder work - it's a huge weak spot for me.

 

Actually, Steve's recent posts about gymnastics rings, coupled with the awesome body comp work he's done with them, makes me think maybe I'll try out some ring work of my own. How important is having the small rings for someone with small hands, I wonder...?

 

I finally got to sleep before 11 on Monday night! Clearly I needed it, because I was still tired on Tuesday. I've been feeling a bit worn-down lately, particularly after full days of moderate activity - I'm thinking maybe I'm not recouping well enough now that I'm hitting the gym four days a week instead of three. Gonna try adding some BCAAs to start out with to see if the immediate effects will help stave off longer-term fatigue, and make sure to hydrate in the meantime. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll have to redouble my efforts on sleep.

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Still doing pretty well overall, I think. Checking in today right before heading out to the gym for shoulders/arms day. I've made a few adjustments lately, and I'm going to try making another today - I'm going to leave my phone in my locker at the gym this time. I think I tend to check it too much and lose track of how much I'm resting. Also, I'm going to deload in general on a lot of the exercises I'm doing, and focus on really building up with good form and trying to pause at the height of the contraction for things like chest flys, for example. This way, I think I can get a more intense exercise that takes less time to get through - I'd like to go down from two hours per session to about 90 minutes, though I expect that to vary depending on whether I'm doing a day with a high number of reps per set, where I'll naturally need more rest again.

 

Finally, I went hiking up the 12th highest mountain in the state yesterday (the aptly-named Giant Mountain) and it absolutely kicked my ass. I was reminded of two things: I need a smaller hiking backpack, and I have been neglecting my cardiovascular system for too long. I do prefer weight training to cardio, but I think I've gone a bit too far with it, and I need to go back to a more well-rounded program. So that's something to work on - probably my next challenge!

 

Now then - off to the gym!

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Wow, I didn't realize it's been a whole week since I've checked back here. I missed a day in terms of vegetables last week (lots of overtime plus gaming night = not-great food choices), but otherwise I think two of my two goals went extremely well. I made it to the gym every single time I intended to, and one mistake in a whole month isn't a problem as far as I'm concerned.

 

The other two, though... Sleeping just didn't go well. I need to work on this more, and right now I think I just need to spend time struggling with it for a bit - I don't think a quick fix is going to work on my sleep time. I'm going to add it to my list of goals for next challenge period.

 

As for being on-plan... Eh. I'm not thrilled with how I did, but really, I don't think it was super awful. Most of the days I didn't stick to the plan, I still ate healthy - just differently. Given that I'm trying to alter my relationship with food to something a little healthier in general, I think that's a good sign, and am satisfied with how this went overall, despite the numbers showing not-great results.

 

Looking forward to this upcoming session - I'm going to give my goals some thought, and post within the next day or two, I think.

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