Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 243 of 365 - Bench Press

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 130bpm
Mobility with 12k kettlebell

Work
Bench Press - 5 x 45, 90, 105lbs; 10 x 115lbs
Bent One Arm Rows - 3 x 6/6 x 28k
KB Clean and Press - 6 x 16k's, 20k's; 4 x 24k's

Notes
I felt like doing this zero. I opted for heavier weights and lower volume on the accessory work, to reward myself for doing something. I will pick intensity over volume every time.

 



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 242 of 365 - Yoga

Today's class was done on 5-6 hours of sleep, a far cry short of my typical 8 hours. I felt every minute of that missing time. By the end of class, I almost fell asleep on my mat. I was exhausted.

Coupling the lack of sleep with yesterday's heavy deadlifts meant I was suffering during class. Towards the end, I found myself involuntarily down on one knee at times. On the bright side, I do continue to make progress. There were even times during down dog where my heels were brushing the ground.

I need to get my transition from chatarunga to up dog sorted out. This morning I was having impingment pain in my left shoulder, which is pretty unusual for me. I suspect I was shrugging my shoulders towards my ears as I went through the VInyasa

My yoga mat is laying out to air. I should use it outside of class this week...


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day 241 of 365 - Deadlift


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Deadlift - 5 x 132, 198, 225, 255lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45, 65; 3 x 75, 75, 80lbs


Notes
I need to resume wearing shoes while I deadlift / squat. My feet are cold and it is making my heavy reps sloppy.


 



Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 240 of 365 - Overhead Press


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 80, 90, 105lbs
Renegade Rows - 5 x 6/6 x 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer, #1, BBSA, BBSA, BBSA
Half Getups - 2 x 5/5 x 24k


Notes
Busy and tired this evening. Just punching the clock.

My flexibility has clearly increased from the yoga.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 237 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga this evening went well. I am getting closer to following the teacher's instructions for the entire class. It is freaking hard though.

I have a pretty good idea of the pattern a class follows at this point. I could probably diagram it in a flow chart. I think doing the sequence on my own Thursday mornings would lead to much faster improvement. I am not sure if I am that committed though. We'll see.


Day 237 of 365 - Front Squats


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Front Squat to Box - 5 x BW, 60, 75, 90lbs
DO Fat Gripz Deadlift (35lb plates) - 3 x 10 x 115lbs


Notes
The Fat Gripz made high rep deads a little harder than I expected. Since this deload week and I am not supposed to push myself, I cut back to 3 sets instead of 5.
 



Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 236 of 365 - Bench Press

Bench Press - 5 x 55, 65, 80lbs
One Arm Rows - 10/10 x 20k
KB Clean and Press - 5 x 16k's
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer

Deload week and I did not feel like sweating. Kept it short and sweet.

I am pretty sore from yoga yesterday, which has not happened in awhile. It is a good sign.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 235 of 365 - Yoga

This morning it felt like I was in a completely different yoga class. With the tweaks from Thursday, muscular strength is almost totally removed as a limiting factor. Over the course of just one class, I could feel myself opening much further. I also gassed out more quickly and could not participate in a decent part of the core work. My conditioning ought to improve rapidly though.

Between aggressively cleaning the Manduka mat and keeping a towel at the end of it for my hands, the slipping issue has been mostly resolved. The mat is good enough now, and I think it will keep getting better with time.

I blew my eating out budget for the week - $28 at Gordon Biersch. Salad, pizza and dessert. I didn't even get a beer or an appetizer. It was the best meal I have had in at least a month though. Food does not get any better. Groceries for the week have run under, at $30, but I'll probably spend that last $5 mid-week.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 234 of 365 - Deadlift


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Deadlift - 5 x 120, 145, 175lbs
Overhead Squat - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45, 45, 45lbs

Notes
The cold is gone. Overhead squats kept bouncing between "almost there" and "fantastic". I think a few more months of yoga is going to make these waaay stronger.



Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 233 of 365 - Overhead Press


Work
Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 60, 70lbs


Notes
Quick one tonight. No time and lots of stress. Fortunately it is deload week.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 232 of 365 - Yoga


Physical skills cannot be learned from a book or video. They need to be taught in person. I don't like it, I don't want it to be true, but it has been proven to me time and time again. This morning's yoga lesson was no exception.


Despite reading a half dozen books from the library and watching dozens of youtube videos, there is so much I don't know. Not just things I cannot do, but basic misunderstandings on how to move. Today I started down the path of correcting it. What I learned is below. Once I integrate all this stuff, I'll go back for more. I never anticipated the yoga would be so complex.


Vinyasa
My most fundamental miss was in chaturanga, but all the movements needed a few tweaks. Across the board I am bringing my shoulders to my ears (bad, ears are shoulder poison!) and failing to spread my fingers. Other specific problems:


High Plank - Center my shoulders over my hands

Chaturanga
- The movement is forward and down, not just straight down. I have been trying to perform a close grip push up, which is completely different.

Down Dog
- My upper back is just too tight to let me keep my weight on my legs. This will come with time. I also need to drop my head.

Up Dog
- Knees off the mat is the more intense version of the pose and intentional


I think there is a lot left for me to learn around the transitions between these poses, but I need to get the basics first.


Split Stance Lunges
All sorts of issue here, just basic fundamental misses on how to stand:


1. Hip tuck - the big "no no" from lifting is key in yoga

2. Upper body upright - this comes with the hip tuck and is key to getting the torso aligned

3. Stagger the legs - The legs should not be directly in front of / behind one another . Balancing is much easier when I spread them and the stretch improves

4. Shoulders away from the ears - my shoulders love what is bad for them, unfortunately

5. Spread the fingers - this helps with the upper body opening. After all my years practicing "relaxed tension" with kettlebells overhead, learning this will be tough.


The individual moves also had specific tweaks


Warrior 1 - This is about internal rotation of the hips. I missed putting my rear foot at 10, pushing on the outer edge of that foot, not letting my front knee cave in towards center and moving my hips perpendicular to my mat. When I do all that, the move changes to major hip stretch.

Warrior 2 - This is about external rotation of the hips. The same tweaks from warrior 1 apply, but with my foot at 9 and moving my hips parallel to the mat.

Crescent Lunge - Getting my back leg straight is key here. I did not even realize I was bending it.


By the time we got through all this, my brain was full I am sure I'll need to relearn much of what I was shown. Then there are also the split stance movements with legs straight. They will be trouble.


Standing
We touched on these towards the end of the session.


Forward Fold - I need to extend when I breath in, relax further into the stretch when I breath out. The strength that comes from deadlifting will also make getting deep into the fold difficult

Chair Pose - Keeping the feet close together is more important than getting low. This is not a squat. No weight should be on my toes, but they should be spread. My struggle to keep my torso upright is due to my weak postural muscles in the mid-back. The offset weight of my kettlebells lets me lift around this problem, but that does not help my yoga. Improving my hip tuck also comes into play with the torso alignment.


Obviously there is a lot left to cover here - balances, twists, etc. Time ran out though and I have more than enough to synthesize.


Prone / Supine Movements
No time to cover these today, other than what we went over for the Vinyasa



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 230 of 365 - Yoga


This evening's yoga was uneventful. I am sliding all over the place on my new mat. Hopefully this weekend I can make time to season it like suggested online.


Chatarunga is coming along for me slowly. If the teacher only called it out a few times per class, I would be all set. Unfortunately, I think it's her favorite move after down dog.


Time for two rest days leading into a deload week. Fantastic.



Day 230 of 365 - Front Squats


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Front Squat to Box - 5 x BW, 65, 100; 3 x 130; 1 x 145lbs
DO Axle Deadlift (35lb plates / band on knee) - 5 x 8 x 143lbs


Notes
I am happy to hit my reps on the squats. I just need to trust my program and do the work.


I took it easy on the deadlifts. Partially because my back was so tired yesterday, but also because I forgot to add 10lbs plates to the bar. Whoops.



Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 229 of 365 - Bench Press


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Bench Press - 5 x 45, 100; 3 x 110; 10 x 125lbs
One Arm Rows - 5 x 10/10 x 24k
KB Clean and Press - 5 x 5/5 x 20k's


Notes
Bench felt as good as it ever does. I am 2-3 cycles away from needing an alternate solution for getting the weight over my chest. Currently I just clean it, sit down on my bench and lay back. With light, 10 rep weights, this works well enough. I am approaching moderate weights that will require something more. I hate to buy racks for an exercise I traditionally have not been able to do. Maybe I can roll the bar up my body or switch to dumbbells.


My hips and lower back were cramping all day Sunday. While they finally released during my warm up this morning, I opted to take it easy with low reps on the clean and press. At least the cold has subsided enough that I could do all 5 sets across.


One more workout, then it's deload week. I might try to fit an extra yoga session in on Saturday, to make up for missing last week and to groove what I learn this Thursday.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 228 of 365 - Yoga


This morning was the inaugural workout for my Manduka mat. Amazon reviews promised it was heavy, stinky and slippery. They were right on all accounts. I was sliding everywhere on this thing. I even fell over getting up at the end of class. In return, my knees and ankles felt great, my balances were more stable and the mat is built to last a lifetime. Manduka promises the mat becomes sticky and stops smelling with use. I believe them and will wait it out.


The normal instructor was on vacation, so class switched up quite a bit. It threw me a little, but I did still experience some small incremental improvements. My mom says I was flowing better, and I was able to stick chatarunga a few times. The new teacher helped me with alignment on warrior 2 and told me when to use a strap with an arm bind, which were both positives in her favor. I do prefer the calmer, quiet demeanor of the regular instructor.


I managed to get through 3 yoga books this weekend - two instructional and one memoir. The instructional books had a lot of small tweaks I think will help me out, including a nice adjustment to the arm position in eagle that highlights what must be the shortest muscles in my entire body. I think stretching out my upper back with that movement made chatarunga accessible to me on Sunday morning.


The memoir was an interesting read, through 25 years of a woman's life and how yoga fit in along the way. It could be summed as "enjoy being present instead of always fighting to improve". A good lesson I think, and once I am "yoga literate", I will embrace it.

My private session is Thursday morning.



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 227 of 365 - Deadlifts


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Deadlift - 5 x 132, 220; 3 x 250; 1 x 280lbs
Overhead Squat - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45, 65, 65, 75lbs


Notes
The cold is losing! I got all my reps and some accessory work in today. I am still tired, but I did it.


Last night I picked up a stack of yoga books at the library - something to do instead of using the internet. I look forward to a lazy afternoon drinking Scotch and learning about yoga.

I kept my grocery spending to $35 again this week, and I hit my $20 eating out budget for last week. It makes me want to lower the limits



Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 226 of 365 - Overhead Press


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 85; 3 x 100, 110lbs
Renegade Rows - 6/6 x 20k
Half Getups - 6/6 x 20k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer


Notes
While I feel much better, my body has not fully recovered from the cold. I kept this one short as a result.


I was surprised how light 110 felt. I am happy to see my press slowly creeping up.


The Manduka yoga might arrived last night. It is heavy, and it stinks! I have it airing out and am looking forward to Sunday's yoga class.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 223 of 365 - Front Squats


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Front Squat to Box - 5 x BW, 65; 3 x 105, 120, 135lbs


Notes
I got up at 6 because I was fed up with trying not to choke on my congestion. My warm up and mobility work opened my breathing. It is a welcome relief I am savoring.


Since I have the head cold, I only did my main movement. No reason to beat up my immune system with 50 deadlifts. 8000 additional pounds of volume in my workout is the last thing I need right now.


Yoga tonight. I look forward getting my heart rate up in the warm room. I expect it will feel even better than my warm up this morning.



Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 222 of 365 - Bench Press

Bench Press - 3 x 45, 90, 105; 10 x 120lbs

That's it. I picked up a head cold this weekend and am short on time today. Some sessions just require compromise. I will be going to be early, to ensure my squats and yoga fit in tomorrow.

I broke down and ordered the Manduka yoga mat. I am hooked.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 221 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga had an interesting dynamic this morning. I was feeling weak but more flexible than usual. I was kind of able to do chatarunga at the start of class, but it quickly faded, until about 30 minutes in I was just plopping on to the mat. My right shoulder is by far my weakest link.

We did more upper body binds than usual. This is really good for me. It makes my shoulder restrictions and imbalance quite obvious. I assume practicing movements that highlight my limitations will gradually improve them. If I had the discipline to practice yoga on my own, just think what might happen...

The instructor only offered once class today, so the room was really full. I would estimate at least 25 people. This meant people were on all sides of me, including several who were advanced in their practice. It was great to see how the "hard" modifications to the asanas work, even though I have no intention of doing them.

I did notice that some people (the young women and middle aged men, it seemed) will insist upon trying to force the hardest variation of a movement, no matter what. Even if the easier version still has a lot left to offer, they struggle mightily against the "extreme" pose.

I realize this reflects a lack of focus on my part, but I found all their wobbling very distracting. It also reinforced my commitment to a "do the simple movements well" strategy. Yoga is about being with my limits, not showing off for the person next to me.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 220 of 365 - Deadlift


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Deadlift - 3 x 132, 205, 230, 265lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45lbs, 45lbs, 65lbs


Notes
Run down today. I was not sure if I would get my reps, but I did. I have to trust the program.


Yoga tomorrow. Other than that, I am taking the rest of the weekend easy.



Day 220 of 365 - March in Review


I am satisfied with how March went. The decision to limit internet comics, message boards and news sites to Friday evening has helped free up a lot of time. It is the most important thing I did all month.


1. Lifting - I finished my 4th cycle of 5/3/1 and am stronger than ever. Hard to complain about that. I will stick with the program in April. I did decide to skip the grip contest. Taking a long weekend to go lift requires a lot more trade offs than I expected. I guess I am getting old. It is good I have so many important things in my weekend though. I started the yoga, which does seem to complement lifting nicely. I may acquire my own yoga mat in April, using some of the money that was budgeted for the grip contest.


2. Eat on $4 a day - I stuck to my $35 a week budget for groceries. That's $5 a day, but I am eating quite well. I do track eating out as an entertainment expense. I got into trouble with it this month. Somehow I mananged to spend $250! I was not that entertained. I am introducing a $20/week eating out limit as of April. Part of this may have been due to the oven breaking, but that excuse is gone. The oven is working better than ever after getting fixed. Once again I spent more money than required on whisky. However, I have quite the stockpile at this point.


3. Become competitive at pool - This goal has really morphed into "don't just sit in the basement and play video games all day". I made nice progress here, joining the yoga class, which ensures I get out of the house twice a week. I also made time to hang out with people, even went to a barn for an afternoon. I am happier for it, despite my inclination to be a hermit. We actually had new people in our house, for the first time in about 6 months. I have lots going on in April and am trying to keep my calendar full.


4. Maintain my home - I got the oven fixed. A repairman was required, but at least I diagnosed the problem correctly myself. I still need to do more here. In April, at the very least, I will get the air conditioner re-charged for summer. My window of opportunity for getting the attic inspected is gradually closing, so I ought to take care of that as well. Home ownership really feels like more trouble than it is worth. I was strongly tempted by Penfed to refinance with their 2% home equity loan. A 5 year term is really aggressive though. I ultimately decided it would tie up too many resources in the house. If rates are still this low in a year, I may change my mind.


5. Excel as a quality engineer - The darn security scanner broke again, I hate that thing. Otherwise the month was good. I am mostly through the kanban book and starting to contemplate work in progress reporting for our IT project portfolio - probably sometime in April. Kanban definitely trumps an Agile approach like scrum, at least for my environment. One of the barriers to automated testing was resolved. I have our environments and version control totally sync'd, except for the development ghetto That will happen in April, which then lets us start thinking about a build server. Another project that will free up a day per month of my time is halfway done.


April ought to bring steady progress. That is all I can ask for.



Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 219 of 365 - Yoga

This morning I did Hatha yoga at the local LA Fitness. It was quite a bit different than the Vinyasa flow - a cold room, slow movement and mirrors everywhere. The visual feedback was nice and the instructor had time to demonstrate each exercise. I think attending regularly would improve my form quickly.

On the other hand, my heart rate never really got high enough to provide a cardio benefit. Coupled with the cool temperature, I never got warm enough to move freely and sink deeply into the poses. Holding a lunge for a long time is not easy, but I am not sure it was beneficial to my goals.

It was fun to try something new. Now if I could install mirrors at the local yoga studio...

I did get to see the Manduka yoga mat in person. I want one.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 218 of 365 - Overhead Press


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 120bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Overhead Press - 3 x 45, 80, 95; 5 x 105lbs
Renegade Rows - 6/6 x 20k
Half Getups - 6/6 x 20k
Grippers - 3/3 x Trainer, #1, BBSA; 1/Miss x BBSM


Notes
Did this one a day early, since an extra yoga class is scheduled for tomorrow. I took it easy on the accessory work to keep my overall weekly volume unchanged.


 



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 216 of 365 - Yoga

I went into yoga class feeling lethargic. I came out energized. That's a first for me. Too bad it's 8pm by the time I get home.

Progress continues in small increments. I am still far from knowing what to do, and even further from actually doing it, but change is happening.


Day 216 of 365 - Front Squats


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 130bpm
Mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Front Squat to Box - 5 x BW, 65, 100, 115; 5 x 130lbs
DO Axle Deadlifts (35lb plates, band on knees) - 5 x 10 x 163lbs


Notes
I thought skipping my stretching and foam roller might leave additional tension in my body that would help with the squats. It made me weaker instead.


Front squats were right at my edge. I need that limit to increase.


I worked hard and am ready for my rest days.



Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 215 of 365 - Bench Press


Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 125bpm
Foam roller and mobility with 12k kettlebell


Work
Bench Press - 5 x 45, 85, 100; 10 x 110lbs
One Arm Rows - 10/10 x 24k
KB Clean and Press - 10 x 20k's


Notes
My shoulders were crunchy while benching. It did not feel great. I just could not find a groove today.

I told myself on the clean and presses, if I got a set of 10, I could stop for the day. I did it. Now I'll work on adding those across. I think that set was a 2 rep PR at this weight.

I short changed my sleep again last night. I have a big release coming up and have been burning the candle at both ends to prepare for it. My pace is not sustainable. I need to dial back soon.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 214 of 365 - Yoga

I did the Sunday morning 8am yoga class. Getting up early was a little rough, but the only way I can fit this into my week is by losing a little sleep. Once again I had some small incremental improvements.

My flexibility and understanding of what is going on has developed enough that I was able to really gas myself out. When I took the kettlebell classes, I had to pace the workout so I would not throw up. I am approaching that level with the Vinyasa flow.

If the point of yoga is to be present with your limits, I am improving rapidly!

Mom invited me to her Friday morning class this week, since I have Good Friday off. I also put an email request in to schedule a private lesson on the following Thursday. If that works out, I'll have 2 straight weeks of yoga every 2nd or 3rd day. I am in a great spot for a burst of higher frequency to pay off.