Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Almost 14th Anniversary

Tomorrow is the 14th year anniversary of this blog. I lifted today. Did stretch squats and partial squats. I'll post the numbers over the weekend. I felt like I could go heavy and I decided to keep things moderate. 

I also went and purchased some running shoes. The salesperson said they could last between 300-500 miles depending on how I used them. Given that I'm going to start with 350 foot runs on the short end of a soccer field and walk the long section. I tried out the shoes today and just walked and used the maps app to figure out how far the short section is. I will get the distance at the long section later.

I can definitely feel the tightness in hips and calves. I'll do lots of stretching for sure going forward.

Tomorrow I'll do cardio, walk/run, and then do the walk for May Day starting at 5:30 at Wilson Park. That should be a good day. I'll also post in the evening. 

Solidarity Is Good Medicine!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Recuperation and Inspiration for May Forward!

Appreciate all of you who read this. I updated my Personal Records (aka PRs) at this page. I'll go light this week and see about doing some more cardio and endurance work. Definitely still feeling tired today.

Did 30 minutes on the exercise bike and just focused on keeping my heart rate over 100. Then stretched and the ever present 100 pushups. Tomorrow will be light squats and stretching. Banded side steps and those kinds of things to warm up. I'll write it down and post later.

Feels like the blog is not as exciting if there isn't a competition coming soon. I'll see what I can do. In reality things become pretty routine for the most part. Bench and Deadlifts will likely be on a semi-Wendler progression and Squats will definitely be focused on form. I'll be happy if I can get 95kg or more for the next meet in December!


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Post April 2019 Meet Check In

I think I had a successful meet in Gallup. I'm essentially competing against myself. It is great to try and see my progress. There aren't many people in my age and weight doing "retro" lifting in NASA in New Mexico. I'm sure there are many people who are lifting more than I am, they just aren't competing.

Instead of cutting extra hard before the meet for weight I went ahead and entered at 165lbs. I've done 148lb weight class before. I weighed in at 161 with jeans and shoes. The first meet last April I entered in unequipped (which includes knee and wrist wraps). Last December and yesterday I entered in "Retro" which allows for a belt, however I lift without one, and so did most of the others at different ages and weight classes lifting retro. (EDIT: I lift without a belt or wrist wraps, this is often called lifting "raw.")

For squat I missed my opener at 87.5kg (193lbs) for not going deep enough. I went for 90kg (198lbs) on second because it felt like it was a weight I could get. 90kg went up easy. For my third lift I went for 92.5kg (204lbs). That lift didn't clear. It was also lacking depth. One judge said, that it was "just barely too high." My mentality was off for this lift. At the gym I was able to get 225lbs (102.5kg) so 92.5 or 95kg is doable. I went in expecting it to be hard. At the end will be a some thoughts on making a personal record (PR) next outing.

For bench press I did opened with 80kg (176lbs). It went up fairly easy. I then did 82.5kg (182lbs), and 85kg (187lbs). Since I completed my 3rd attempt at a NASA National and State record I was allowed a 4th lift. I was asked a gentleman named Josh to help to help lift off the rack for me. I went and cleared 87.5kg (193lbs). That's a PR for me in competition.

By the time I started to bench I pulled my mind to thinking about this as a privilege to be participating in this type of event. Being able to lift in a competition was a good challenge and experience. So I took more time prepping and breathing before setting up and actually lifting. Definitely something to keep practicing. Bench also happens to be the lift that is easiest for me to visualize.

For deadlift I went and warmed up. I pulled 275lbs (in the Gallup HS gym they have traditional pound oriented weights). Still I was thinking of lowering my opener from 117.5kg to 102.5kg. Using self talk, visualization, and breathing I was able to stick on it. Opening with 259lbs went up easy. Then I went to 122.5kg (270lbs) and 127.5kg (281lbs). Because this was considered national and state records I was allowed a 4th lift. I went for 135kg (298lbs) and it was challenging yet I pulled it successfully. I remembered to smile before each lift and focus on how I had visualized lifting before.

Overall I am considered to have lifted 312.5kg (689lbs) total. Your other lifts aren't counted in that, however my body definitely feels the other lifts. There was a great deal I learned in this process that I hadn't learned in others. Before I go into that there are so many people to thank. My family most importantly. Lee and partner for feedback, guidance, and cheering on have been a super great help! So many of you have been a great support.

Pushing hard was challenging and doable. Planning for lifts and being able to do a little more in the gym than what I expected to do at the meet was helpful overall. Saying and writing that, "squats are my weakest lift" isn't helpful. They definitely need some work and I'll be on that. Initially for squats I was focusing on that the people I usually talk to weren't there, I didn't see any other lifters that represented The Power Plant, etc. Not to be too harsh on myself, however I think I was essentially doing the "pity party" thing. It took some work to get focused and positive. That's part of what I'll keep working on. I plan on continuing to do the three lifts while adding endurance. It is good for me to know that I can compete at both 148lb and 165lb weight classes. I doubt I'll go to 132lb or 181lb weight classes soon.

Specifically I'll be working on hip flexibility, back strength, and training so that I'm always going as low as possible on squats so I can focus on moving the weight. Specifically some muscle building, stretching, and developing power throughout the entire squat. For deadlifts and bench press I will work on accessory muscles to make sure to avoid imbalances that can lead to injuries. Lateral hip strength, rotator cuff muscle development, and grip strength will be key.

Since I'm planning to start running a lot of lower body flexibility and stability work will be key. Things like "monster walks" and core work will be key. Starting with the stretches and light lifts suggested here will also be part of this work.

Visualization and developing a routine for my key lifts are the plan. This feels like a good plan. My cardio and bike routine will change up for more endurance as well. The exercises below are in the link above as well.

Thanks to those of you who tell me this blog is helpful.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Recovery Week Training 2019

I've been feeling exhausted so I figured definitely no weight lifting this week. Two days and I'll be done with the meet. I ended up skipping Monday, Thursday, and I'll skip tomorrow. I'm still doing my 100 pushups though.

Here's what I did on Tuesday and Wednesday:
Exercise bike for 25 minutes set on "fat burner" with a focus on having my heart rate above 125 beats per minute. Worked up a good sweat. I'll probably increase time going forward.

Used the Gripper at 35lbs for 3 sets of 20

360 Hip Rotation for 3 sets of 10
10 sets of 10 pushups in between different exercises
Elevated single leg squat 3 sets of 5 on each side
Monster walk for 10 steps each side with 10 air squats at the end of each round for 3 sets
Standing ITB stretch on each side for 30 seconds 3 times each side
Single leg standing active ham stretch 3 times each side
Static calf stretch 30 seconds each side
Standing quad stretch 30 seconds each side
Seated figure 4 stretch for 30 seconds each side

I'm sleeping as much as I can this week. It was definitely a week of feeling tired and I hope that time off is the right approach. Next week will be light and maybe starting some different types of exercises after that, including getting some shoes for running.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter 2019

Ended my fast from last Sunday to today with a protein drink, an orange, and a banana. After the gym started working on the front yard yesterday and felt it in my back. Worked on the yard again this morning for about an hour. Feels good to have the front yard "patio" space useable and cleared out.

Weighed in this morning at 150.4 lbs, and my blood pressure before taking my meds was 111/65 with a 75 pulse. That feels pretty good. I don't have a glucose meter right now, however I'm pretty sure it would have been lower.

Had a little bit of menudo and a small tamal for lunch.

I'll be focusing on integrating accessory muscles and stretching for the next several months. Exercises like a single leg toe touch for hamstrings, banded side steps for hips, etc.

Have a wonderful day and week. I may post a link to some of the stretches and exercises.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Last April 2019 Heavy Workout

Did cardio and calisthenics workout yesterday. It was definitely a challenge. Today I went heavy and generally felt good. Did a couple of hours of pulling weeds after the gym and feeling it in my back. Think that I'm starting to pick up a little more energy. Next week will be mostly cardio and calisthenics. I'll double check with my coach, Lee from The PowerPlant.

Today, Saturday April 20, 2019 I did the following

Bike warm up for 10 minutes, figure I need more warm up time
Range of Motion warm-up exercises

Squat 135x5, 205x3, and 230x3. I did fewer sets at a higher weight as I'm more focused on getting my body used to moving heavy weight than volume or endurance for now.

Bench press 135x5, 185x3, and 200 for one and a half reps. I'm very glad I'm willing to ask for spotter. The guy asked if I wanted to try again and I said, "no thanks, it's more than I was really needing to lift."

Deadlifts 135x5, 225x3, and 270x3. That was a good lift. Hopefully I can clear 280 next weekend.

Push-ups I did 20 with very strict form on the minute for five minutes to get my 100 for the day.

Gripper 35lbs for 3 sets of 20

I skipped burpees today, finished with stretches and wall stretch.

No heavy work next week until Saturday. It's all about recovery. I may do some work on shoulders and hips. Light and just to start getting my body able to go up in December for that meet. I'll also start getting my body ready to run.

One of the reasons I'm super pleased with this week's work mostly because I am fasting. My last meal was Sunday evening and I'll not eat until tomorrow. Friday and today have been hardest. I also decided that if I don't make the 148 category I'll be fine at 165. That reminds me, it's time to go register!


Thursday, April 18, 2019

2nd Workout of Last Heavy Week April 2019

Continued to think over much of the mental work needed to be healthier. I think it is a good practice to develop this aspect in and out of the gym. Also had some good feedback on the earlier blog posts.

I'm still in touch with Lee from The PowerPlant. I really appreciate his support. He helps me keep things in perspective.

I'm also appreciative of my friend who introduced me. She had told me that the blog inspired her to compete in a powerlifting meet, she had competed before, and that inspired me to compete. It was a good push as I wasn't sure what I would be doing to keep focused on exercising to deal with the diabetes and general health.

I'll keep doing some powerlifting going forward. I think it is time to add some endurance work as well. I'm nervous about running and also excited for the challenge. It will be a huge deal. I have a marathon-running friend who is providing some encouragement. Actually I have several friends who run. There are many friends who think running is crazy. I get that. I used to think many exercise programs were useless if you weren't an athlete. However I'm obviously in a different place now.

It's interesting how our attitudes can change through our life. I'm really happy for that flexibility. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to grow and change. I've tried to be friendly and loving toward others all through my entire life. However I know I've been mean, grouchy, and a few times actually abusive. Hopefully I can keep growth in mind for the rest of my life.

OK, enough of that. Below is my workout for today.

Bike warm-up, 10 minutes
Range of Motion exercises

Squat 135x5, 205x3, 225x3, and 230x3. I was surprised that I felt like trying 230. Even more surprising is that I was on an awkward squat rack and I needed to lower the pins. I asked these guys who go in and do "strong-man" work to help me with that.

Bench 135x5, 185x3, 195x3, and 200x3. I asked the same guys to spot me. It was nice to get over myself and ask for help. I definitely won't go past 200. It was hard even with a spotter. I may stop at 195 if no one is in the gym with me on Saturday.

Deadlifts 135x5, 225x3, 245x3, and 270x2. For the third rep my lower back didn't feel right so I stopped. In my mind I was having the conversation about whether I should try to push through or stop. I think being safe is OK. Just another spot to work on. 265x3 can be calculated as 289, and 270x2 comes out to 284 at this 1RM Calculator. Both get me past my last record. I'll go by feel on Saturday.

I did push-ups and the gripper as super sets
Push-ups 42, 42, 16
Gripper 25lbs for three sets of 20

Then I did 10 burpees, stretches and a wall stretch.

My elbows are both feeling like I worked out. Other than that I'm feeling pretty good for this heavy of a workout.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mindset Thoughts for April 2019

So I've been trying to figure out working on my mental game. I've done lots of reading and listening to podcasts. Many things repeat.

That's made me reflect a lot. Here's what I feel a big idea that I've had in my mind since yesterday.

I have many challenges, as we all do. What I've realized is that I've let things that are challenges become walls. In my mind this means is that I've let parts of my life become anchors, super-heavy and don't let you move (I know there are positive ways to see anchors) when they really were/are more like giant stones that are challenging me to grow.

Went to a funeral over the weekend and the sermon centered around the idea of not taking advantage of suffering. It made me reflect and we had a long drive home after the service so I'm guessing this percolated in my head. I realize I'm not into promoting suffering. I do think that all of us have some struggles and those can help us grow, or become suffering. It would be suffering if it is actually harming us beyond repair.

So now I'm working being able to always strive to look at the inconveniences, challenges, stresses, etc. in my life as opportunities to grow. There are some things in my life that may not change. In fact, odds are they will stay the same or get worse. However, for me to move forward I need to own that as a possibility, yet work as though they will change and trust that I can figure out how to move things forward. This is true in my home and work life.

Remembering how much of what I value in life has been a result of hard work will be key. Before my Jefita passed I tried talking with her about how the rough patches based on her decisions were part of what made me "me." She took it as bad and as a critique. I am not sure that she ever fully heard that while it wasn't great, that I'm a better person because of it.

I have been ruminating on mistakes and outright harmful things I've done in my life. I'm realizing that it is important to own them and then forgive myself and let them go. I've also done some good things in life and I want to own them.

A colleague called me humble today. We had a good talk about that. So many things to consider and ponder.

For now I'm going to focus on the reality that there are few anchors holding me stuck. Looking at the challenges that come at me as opportunities to overcome. As often as possible to find a way to have some joy in overcoming them. Another step is looking for challenges that can help me be prepared for those that aren't invited.

One of those will be starting to run. I may also swim. Doing more outdoors stuff, etc.

The other day I wrote about having energy, and had a couple of messages appreciating that. Since I like metaphors I'm going to use this as much as I can. When I feel tired and want to just stop I'm going to think of a shark. My understanding is that they need to keep moving to stay alive. Obviously adequate rest is important and I'll try for 7 or more hours of sleep a day. Outside of that I'll see how often I can keep moving in some form. Even if it is slow I'll see if I can keep making progress.

It's an experiment. I get to try lots of stuff and see what works. Hopefully I keep learning and growing!!!


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

PRs Before Meet 2019

I realize that I've been naming the posts as if I'm going to keep pushing myself on the powerlifting. I might. It would be nice to be very old and still powerlifting. Time will tell.

Also, May 1 will be the 14th anniversary of this blog! I'm going to let that percolate and see if it encourages me to try any new challenges. I know I want to do more bodyweight, and start running this year. May also try to swim more this year.

OK, so yesterday I worked at keeping my heart rate over 125 on the bike set on "fat burner." It was a bit tough. Definitely pushed me out of nasal breathing and into breathing through my mouth.

Today I did some good lifting. I am lifting more than many people would think makes sense. I'm doing all of the "big three" lifts every weight workout. I think 5 sets of 5 was too much for the weight I'm going for now. Last week I lifted 2 sets of 5 and then 3 sets of 3. This week I am doing one set of 5 and three sets of 3. It's less volume however I also pushed the weight up. I want my body to be ready to deal with heavy weight more than being able to do lots of repetitions for this period.

The mental work has increased also. I've been visualizing more for my lifts. Squats have been hard to visualize. Deadlifts are getting easier and bench has been easiest. Outside of the gym I've been continuing to look at how I interpret things. Checking myself when I get into negative mindsets has been hard yet useful. Remembering to look at stressful things as opportunities to grow (using weightlifting as a metaphor when I can) has been very useful. I had ideas for what to write about this earlier and I'm blank now. I'll post again on it in the future.

Today's workout was:
Bike 9 minutes over 90 rpm
Forgot my Range of Motion portion of the warm-up (posting here so if I look back it will serve as a reminder)

Squat 135x5, 185x3, 205x3, 225x3! Being bad at math when I'm sleepy is helpful sometimes. I didn't realize I had put 225 on the bar. I was intending for 215. Not knowing helped me from psyching myself out.

Bench 135x5, 175x3, 185x3, and 195x3! Another personal best. This time I knew what I was doing. :)

Deadlift 135x5, 225x3, 245x3, and 265x3! I'm super happy about this.

My overall plan is just to get my body used to the weight I've been doing. However, if I can get more than this I will. Today was a hard day at work, though I didn't know it would be that. Thursday could very easily be a rough day so I'll see how I feel about pushing it. Could be useful to push before a rough day.

After lifting I did push-ups, burpees, and 3 sets of 20 on the gripper machine with 20lbs.

Then I did some stretching and also the wall stretch.

I might do some cardio tonight, jumping jacks at least. Trying to push through to a new level of energy. I've tried resting more, and that doesn't seem to do it. So I figure that increasing cardio may help out.

During the day job I have tons of things to look for solutions too! I get to do some interesting stuff for sure!

That's it for today!


*Notes for me
Continuing to use the 1 rep max (1RM) calculator my max lifts for this week are (last meet in parentheses):
Squat 245lbs (203)
Bench 213lbs (176)
Deadlifts 289lbs (270) [275x3 would be a 300...]

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Less than two weeks to go! April 2019 version

Ran across this video this morning and since I'm starting a fast tonight it seemed like a perfect thing to post. This is supposed to be my heaviest week in this cycle. I'll strive for that. The "worst case" is that I'll lift moderate and then lift heavy the following Tuesday and just focus on recovery before the meet. Just going to play it by ear.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Third Week Final Prep Month for April 2019

Keeping on this week. Tweaking and testing things is fun.

Did the bike cardio and calisthenics Monday and Wednesday, and plan on it for tomorrow. I keep trying to figure out what works best. I'm going to try keeping my heart rate around 125 beats per minute tomorrow, see what that's like.

I've kept up the 100 push-ups a day, sometimes more. I sometimes switch and do burpees, since they include a push-up I count those. I'm doing the grip machine for 3 sets of 20 every workout as well. Been going up 2.5lbs a day.

Reducing heavier sets from 5 to 3 seems to be helpful. While the 1 rep max calculator estimates lower for 3 than 5 obviously, I think I'll still be fine at the end of the month.

Here's the lifting I did this week. I'm off Saturday as I'll be out of town for a funeral.

Bike 8 minutes
Squat 135x5, 155x5, 180x3, 200x3, and 210x3
Bench 135x5, 155x5, 170x3, 180x3, and 185x3
Deadlift 135x5, 185x5, 205x3, 225x3, and 245x3, my grip held up with this approach.
Push-ups 42, 42
Gripper 7.5lbs for 3 sets of 20
Burpees 8 (these are mixed so push-ups then gripper, etc.)
Wall stretch

Bike 7 minutes (I wanted to go up and didn't look at the Tuesday workout)
Range of motion warm-ups
Squat 135x5, 155x5, 185x3, 205x3, and 215x3, really liked going up to this weight
Bench 135x5, 155x5, 175x3, 185x3, and 190x3, I was glad I pushed on this
Deadlift 135x5, 185x5, 205x3, 225x3, and 250x3, I was happy to get this set!
Push-ups 42, 42
Gripper 12.5lbs for 20, 30, and 20
Burpees 8 
Stretches (a marathon runner buddy sent me this routine)
Wall stretch 

I'll do cardio tomorrow, rest Sunday, then see how lifting goes next week. Should be challenging. Biceps are still feeling funky. It's good to notice how different things impact my body. On the 215 squat my left bicep had some discomfort. After the deadlifts my lower back is stiff. I think I'll need to do some variety of lower back work and more flexibility work going forward. Endurance work will hopefully provide some help as well.

I think I hit a point where I'm not over working it, I think I under-recover. So making sure I get more sleep, which has been hard lately, will be a big deal. Especially as I add endurance work. Feel free to share your favorite endurance routines in the comments.


Sunday, April 07, 2019

Second Week Final Prep Month for April 2019

I was out of town for 3 days this week. So I had some extended time not lifting. I still did my 100 push-ups a day, also did walking, swimming, and other calisthenics.

I lifted Thursday and Saturday. Friday I did cardio and calisthenics. Here's what I did below.

Warm-up 5 minutes on bike
Squat 135lbsx5 reps, 157x5, 177x5, 197x5, 207x5. I found a pair of plates that said 11lbs so I went with it.
Bench 135x5, 155x5, 165x5, 175x5, and 180x5.
Deadlift 135x5, 225x5, 235x5, 245x3,
I felt stuck on that last set of deadlifts so I walked the gym and then did 42 push-ups
Deadlift 225x4
Then finished the 100 push-ups
Finished with a wall stretch.

Warm-up 6 minutes on bike
Squat 135lbsx5 reps, 155x5, 175x5, 195x5, 205x6. 
Bench 135x5, 155x5, 165x5, 175x5, and 180x5 
Deadlift 135x5, 185x5, 205x5, 225x5, (I think going from 135 to 225 was too big a jump last workout)
I still felt stuck on that last set of deadlifts so I  did 42 push-ups
Deadlift 245x1 and 240x1 feels like my grip isn't keeping up.
Another 42 pushups, 8 Burpees (which I'm counting toward my 100 push-ups because it's part of the exercise)
Finished with a wall stretch and realized I was short on push-ups and knocked out the remaining 8.

Checked in with Lee from the PowerPlant and I'll add some grip work for the rest of the month and likely long-term. I don't know what percentage was mental and my worrying about getting hurt, and what part is my actually being wise and not pushing it. I'll try visualizing more. 

It was interesting that later in the day it felt like I had done a bicep workout. My arms were just feeling it. Not feeling that today. My back also felt stiff. I'm thinking of changing up my routine next week and doing the two lighter sets at 5 repetitions still and the rest of the sets at 3 reps. I'm not really needing volume, I just need to adapt to the weight I'm pushing myself to do. We'll see how that goes.

From sitting at a conference for 3 days that I don't have the energy to keep me going through that. I'll work on endurance after this month. I'll even try running again. About 12 years ago I developed really painful back and leg issues. I had a doc suggest I stop lifting and to not lift anything over 10lbs. I followed that advice and it wasn't that helpful. Now with what I've learned and moved through I think that endurance is a good next phase. I can maintain my strength and also try to get my energy capacity even higher. I'll check out CrossFit/SEALFit type stuff as well as adding yoga and swimming. It will be fun to run again, hopefully not super painful. 


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