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kwesadilo returns from vacation

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I've been messing around for a long time and not posting due to holidays and other logistical challenges. I just got back from vacation, and I should have a long stretch of uninterrupted workouts ahead of me. Seems like a good time to start doing challenges again.


Fitness Goals

  • Work on my form. My lifts haven't really gone anywhere for quite some time, and I'm suspicious that I have developed form issues. As luck would have it, my gym is having clinics on the big 3 lifts over the next 3 Wednesdays, so my goal is to attend those clinics. Improving one's form isn't very quantifiable, and I don't actually know that there's anything wrong, so that's probably the best I can do in terms of a form goal.
    • If we're still doing attribute points, this will be 4 STR.
  • Gain weight. I think another reason my lifts have stalled might be that I've lost a little weight in the past few months. I weighed 175 lbs. on Saturday, so we'll call that my starting weight. I want to gain 5 lbs. in the next 4 weeks. I might amend this with a body composition requirement, but I don't have a recent body fat measurement right now.
    • 4 CON.


Lift Goals

  • Do my taxes. I have all of my W-2s and friends, although I'm not 100% certain where they all are right now. I want to have my taxes filed 4 weeks from now.
    • 3 WIS.
  • Spend 3 hours a week reading SICP and doing exercises. I've been slacking off on this for a long time. I need to get back into the habit of learning new stuff.
    • 3 WIS.
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Week 1 update

  • Form: I went to the deadlift clinic last Wednesday. I didn't really learn anything new, but it was good to have someone else look at my form, and I think focusing on back extension has helped me this week.
  • Weight gain: I weighed 176 lbs. this morning. My scale doesn't do fractions, so it's hard to say whether I'm behind or ahead. I've been trying to eat more, and it feels like I have been. I get breakfast and lunch at the cafeteria at work, so it's hard to count calories, but I've been finishing a full plate of food in less time and getting hungry for more snacks in the afternoon.
  • Taxes: I believe I have located all of the W-2s and 1099s that I need to do my taxes. This task was accompanied by much procrastination and gnashing of teeth.
  • SICP: I didn't do anything this week. I hope to make up for it next week.
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Week 2 update

  • Form: I went to the squat clinic last Wednesday. It wasn't quite as helpful as the deadlift clinic, because the trainer talked for the whole hour, and then I had to go, so he didn't get to see me squat except goblet squats with a kettle bell. He did suggest that my ankle mobility was more limited than might be desired, but I'm not sure that was a useful piece of information. Nevertheless, I have made some modifications to my squat form that seem to be useful.
    Firstly, I have become more intentional about keeping my hips from leading my knees. I had gotten in the habit of letting my hips bend significantly before unlocking my knees, and then my hips would also start extending before my knees on the way up, and I would be unbalanced. Over the last couple weeks, I've tried to have my and knees unlock at the same time, which seems to help with heavy sets and reduce back pain. In the last couple workouts, I have switched to unlocking my hips a fraction of a second before my knees, and that seems to completely eliminate any low-back pain.
    The second change I've made is to focus more on bracing my trunk, and that has definitely helped. I think keeping my hips where they are supposed to be has also made it a lot easier.
  • Weight gain: When I weighed myself on Sunday morning, I weighed 179 lbs. I have almost reached my goal. I pretty much pulled 180 lbs. out of thin air to put myself on an upward trajectory. Now I have to decide whether I want to continue to eat at the same level, which will presumably result in significantly overshooting 180. I should probably take a body fat measurement.
  • Taxes: No progress.
  • SICP: Worked for an hour and a half this weekend. I spent a substantial amount of time that could have otherwise been spent on SICP fixing my computer, because the programming environment for the book has lain dormant for some time and fallen into disrepair. This work is ongoing. Nevertheless, I am now behind by 4.5 hours. I need to spend more time during the week working on this.
Edited by kwesadilo
Misstated original goal weight
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Week 3 update

  • Form: I went to the bench clinic last week, so this goal is in the bag. I've been focusing for a few weeks on keeping the bar from hitting my chest too far down, and this reinforced that. I'm not going for a totally vertical bar path, as was advocated by the trainer in the clinic, but I've definitely benefited from a bar path that is more vertical that I have been doing for awhile. The bar stays balanced at higher weights, and my elbow pain is getting better.
  • Weight gain: When I weighed myself on Saturday, I was 182 lbs., but by this morning, I was back down to 180. If nothing else, this proves that the scale is a fickle mistress. I feel like I ate a little bit less last week than the week before. I might want to turn the dial up just a little bit.
  • Taxes: No progress.
  • SICP: I did problems for 5 hours on Saturday, taking care of this week and leaving 2 hours less in the hole. Now I need to do 5.5 hours this week.

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Week 4 update

  • Form: Already done. On Friday, I noticed that if I grip the bar harder during overhead press, the pain in my left wrist goes away, so I will probably keep doing that. It also seemed to help for bench today. Unfortunately, this method does not work for power cleans that rack too low.
    • +4 STR
  • Weight gain: I was a little worried that I was going to dip back under my goal weight before the end of the challenge, but I weighed 181 lbs. on Sunday. Nailed it.
    • +4 CON
  • Taxes: I did my federal and state taxes on Tuesday and my local taxes on the weekend. This one is done.
    • +3 WIS
  • SICP: I did 2 hours on Saturday and another hour on Sunday, which leaves me 2.5 hours short of my goal.
    • I'd call this 75% done, but fractional attribute points are annoying. +2 WIS

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