Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 274 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga went well. Tonight's sub teacher turned out to be very good. She kept the room 5-10 degrees cooler, sequenced a little differently, and I did not gas out at all. She was young and a little nervous, but I am ok with that. We spent a lot of time in hip openers, which is always great for me. I left class calmer than I entered. Total win.

I have been shopping for squat / bench stands. I don't want to commit the space to a rack, but am getting frustrated with how much a nice set of welded stands cost. The $270 I can handle, but freight is another $175. I' can get something bolt together for about $200, but I don't really want made in China junk. I may have to settle for just doing higher reps on my bench and squats. Maybe something used will show up on craigslist eventually.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 273 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 130bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 70, 80; 8 x 90lbs
Renegade Rows - 3 x 8/8 x 16k
Grippers - 5/5 x Trainer; 3 x 5/5 x #1

I stopped my presses a rep or two short of failure. My motivation was not all that high, and my shoulders were clearly tired from last night's yoga.

I checked the yoga schedule, it's a different sub teacher tomorrow night. I hope she runs a calmer class. I am really looking forward to my normal teacher on Sunday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 272 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga this evening went alright. We had the sub teacher from Sunday's class. I do not know if she keeps the room hotter or her sequence is just harder, but I gassed out again. After class, I had so little left in me, I actually stopped some place for a drink. I never do that. My normal teacher is back on Thursday. I am looking forward to it.

I worked out my upcoming lifting cycle over the weekend, based on the 2nd edition of 5/3/1. I'll resume the weights tomorrow. I made 3 changes that I think will let me get more out of my next few cycles of the program:

1. My new plan is to yoga 3 days a week and lift the other 4 days a week. I will take rest days when I just cannot make it into the gym. I expect 4-5 rest days a month.

2. I have my assistance lifts programmed based on percentages now. This included reducing the volume and intensity. I think it will lead to more consistent assistance work and better performance on the main exercises.

3. I added calculated 1, 5 and 8 rep maxes for each exercise to my print out. This will help me on setting rep goals for my all out sets.

My first 6 cycles of 5/3/1 added 15lbs to my front squat, 20lbs to my bench, 5lbs to my deadlift and 5lbs to my overhead press. These are small increments. I am happy with them, but I think I can do a little better moving forward, especially on my deadlift and overhead press.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 270 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga this morning was rough. I had not done anything physical since Monday and it showed. My flexibility and strength were still there, but I gassed out halfway through class. I have never been able to wear myself out like that before. It looks like I'll be able to attend 3x a week for the next month though. That should help.

With everything else I had going on last week, I opted to make my deload week involve zero time with the weights. I have been through 6 cycles of 5/3/1 without missing a single workout. It is time to unwind and cycle back with new weights based on my current maxes. I bought the 2nd edition of the ebook and will tweak my program based upon it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 264 of 365 - Front Squat

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

Front Squats to Box - 5 x BW, 3 x 120, 1x135; Fail x 154, 154, 154lbs

Out of energy. I could not clean 154 to attempt my front squat.

Time for deload week. Will have to cycle the squat weights back for my next cycle. I may also drop the box.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 263 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga this morning was relatively uneventful. I made it through the full side bridge series. I learned I have been cheating on my normal bridges. Doing them the "right" way is much harder. I am starting to get comfortable holding chatarunga. Small increments of progress all around - I am happy.

We'll see what I keep after taking the next week off. Yikes!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 262 of 365 - Bench Press

Bench Press - 5 x 45, 110; 3 x 115; 10 x 130lbs

I felt like doing nothing, so I did the bare minimum and called it a day. Time for whisky.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 261 of 365 - Deadlift

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

Deadlifts - 5 x 132lbs; 3 x 198; 5 x 225; 3 x 255; 1 x 285lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45, 65, 75; 2 x 85; 1 x 88, 88lbs

Pulling 285 was not too bad, certainly much easier than the triple with 270 last week.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 260 of 365 - Yoga

Today's class did not go as well as Tuesday's. I was up a little too late last night and paid for it. On the bright side, it looks like I am getting to keep the side planks. I was able to do them unbraced again today.

The teacher did yoga along with the class today. It was great to see all the crazy stuff she is always asking us to do, actually done. There are some things she does that I would really like to have for myself. I think many of them are attainable within 6 months to a year.

There is, however, a grace she does all the movements with. I am not sure I'll ever be able to replicate that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 258 of 365 - Yoga

Yoga went really well this evening. Attending class every 2 or 3 days makes a huge difference in how much flexibility I retain. Hopefully I keep at least some of it after returning to my normal schedule next week.

I still cannot do wheel during class. My arms are just too tired. I did manage to do side plank without bracing the foot of my top leg on the ground, which is a first for me in class.

Rest day tomorrow. Yoga again on Thursday.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 257 of 365 - Overhead Press

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 115bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Overhead Press - 5 x 45, 90; 3 x 105; 2 x 115lbs

Yesterday's yoga wore me out. I have another class tomorrow. Rather than beat up my stabilizing muscles, I opted to skip the accessory work.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 256 of 365 - Yoga

We had a substitute teacher today. She follows a different sequence than the normal instructor and is higher energy. The change in sequence was interesting, but I could do with less energy. I have a hard enough time calming down during the tough parts of class as it is.

A few hours after class, I gave wheel another shot at home. I was surprised by how far into the pose I can now get. This stuff is making changes happen.

Work is going to mess up my class schedule next week, so I'll be going Tu, Th and Sun this coming week. Sunday's class ought to be really fun!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 255 of 365 - Front Squats

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

Front Squats to Box - 5 x BW, 3 x 110, 125; 2 x 140lbs
Axle Deadlifts (35lb plates / band for form) - 5 x 7 x 163lbs

This one went how I expected.

Got groceries this morning. Food buget is on track.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 254 of 365 - Bench Press

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

Bench Press - 5 x 45; 3 x 95, 110; 10 x 125lbs
Bent One Arm Rows - 3 x 6/6 x 28k
KB Clean and Press - 6 x 16k's, 20k's;

Short on sleep today. I got my reps in but that's about it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 253 of 365 - Yoga

Tonight's class went quite well. For most of the hour, I actually felt like I was participating, rather than fighting to keep up. That is a first for me. The last time I exercised was 3 days ago, and I think going into class fresh made it a lot easier.

I also made small progress on the transition between chatarunga and up dog. The postural muscles in my upper/mid back are definitely relaxing as I drop into chatarunga. By lowering all the way to the ground, resetting my back and shoulders, then pressing into up dog, I found I was able to get through the whole class without any shoulder pain from impingement. It felt great, much more comfortable. I need to figure out how to end up with my shoulders set correctly at the bottom of chatarunga, but until then, this is a nice interim solution.

I noticed my Manduka mat has started to become pliable. It has stopped fighting me when I roll it up after class, and I can feel myself sinking into the mat during class. The problems I was having with slipping have diminished quite a bit. It makes me happy that the mat is actually breaking in like the company promised.

Today it occurred to me that no matter how much I improve, the teacher is going to keep providing options to increase difficulty. It is a good reminder that the goal is to be present with my limits, not to do crazy awesome bending like a pretzel.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 251 of 365 - April in Review

Progress was significant in April, and more importantly, it occurred out of habit. I do need to watch my tendency to discount what I achieve on auto-pilot. I trend towards unrealistic expectations for myself, and I know they will burn me out.

My only real complaint is the feeling I have no time. It beats being bored though!

1. Lifting - Got through another cycle of 5/3/1. I am approaching limit weights on squats and deadlifts. The grip contest I decided to skip was cancelled anyway. I am experimenting with the 3 day a week 5/3/1 cycle now, to make up time lost to yoga. With the TV seasons ending, I had to restart my Netflix. It really is a lot faster to use than searching the web for the latest shows.

2. Eat on $4 a day - Other than a week where I had a $28 lunch, hitting my current weekly goals of $35 for groceries and $20 for eating out went well. I did have to change my eating out habits significantly to stay on budget - primarily choosing less expensive places and dishes. One time we had people over to cook instead of going out. During May, I'll learn to use the pressure cooker I ordered. Once I can cook bean and rice based dishes well, I think $4 a day groceries becomes more viable. My plan is to eat oatmeal once a day, rice and beans once a day, then mix up my last meal to keep it interesting.

3. Be social - Yoga has helped a lot here, ensuring I get out of the house at least twice a week. Otherwise I am still trying to spend time with people I like. After a lifetime of introversion, it feels un-natural. I do have fun though. I would say in addition to yoga, I managed to do something with friends at least once a week.

4. Maintain my home - I got the AC cleaned, checked and topped off with coolant. Nothing else was done. The home owner's association sent me a violation notice for our ripped screen, so it looks like I'll at least have to take care of that in May. I hate paying fines more than I hate working on the house.

5. Excel as a quality engineer - Progress was a little slower than expected here, due to an extra, major off cycle release in the month. I also had to conduct the annual computer security incident response test, which is time consuming. I did get work in progress reporting setup for the IT project portfolio. Unexpectedly, I ended up helping one of our other teams set the foundation for reporting on their project portfolio. The security scanner is still fighting with me, and I did not get time to sync up our Dev environment with Test/Prod. May will at least see the environment sync finished. Hopefully work will start on the build server as well. My team is bought in on the concept of continuous integration.

Overall, life is going well.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 250 of 365 - Deadlift

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

Deadlifts - 5 x 132lbs; 3 x 200, 242, 270lbs
Overhead Squats - 5 x BW, Hollow Bar, 45, 45, 45lbs

Shoulders and upper back were tired from yoga. I decided not to push it on my overhead squats.

Deadlifts were tough.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 249 of 365 - Yoga

Class this morning was uneventful. I do not think I did any new movements. The instructor switched up our flow enough that I could not anticipate what was coming next for most of class. It was entertaining.

My single biggest impediment to an actual flow is now the transition between chatarunga and up dog. My shoulders shrug towards my ears as I go down, then when I press up, it feels like the impingement test my physical therapist and ortho did to diagnose my shoulder problem. I suspect this is a strength issue in my upper/mid back, so for now I am just fighting like heck to keep the shoulders down and back, then skipping the transition between moves once I get tired. Maybe if I try to lift my chest while I drop down, that will help.

If it is not sorted by the end of the month, I'll work it into another private session with the yoga teacher. 4 more weeks should be enough time for everything I learned from her to become habit or need to be re-taught.

I have to miss Tuesday's class, but I think I'll be able to make it up on Thursday. Lifting 3x a week instead of 4x has really introduced a lot of flexibility into my schedule.

I am on track with my grocery and eating out budgets.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 248 of 365 - Overhead Press

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

Overhead Press - 5 x BW, 85, 95; 3 x 110lbs
Renegade Rows - 5 x 6/6 x 24k
Half Get Up - 2 x 6/6 x 24k

Got my reps. Lifting 3x less frequently is not hurting my strength.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 247 of 365 - Front Squats

Warm Up
Elliptical - 10 minutes at level 12, cool down to < 130bpm
Foam Roller, stretching and mobility with 12k kettlebell

Front Squats to Box - 5 x BW, 65lbs, 100lbs, 120lbs; 3 x 135lbs
Axle Deadlifts (35lb plates / band for form) - 5 x 6 x 163lbs

Missed my reps on front squats. I'll keep with the planned weights for this cycle, then I'll have to drop back a cycle or two.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 244 of 365 - Yoga

Lifting in the morning, followed by yoga in the evening, has proven too time consuming. Physically it works, but mentally I am wearing out. I decided to reduce my lifting from 4 days a week to 3. This means I went into tonight's yoga class much fresher than normal.

Making things more unusual - the class only had 6 people in it, the teacher practiced with us and it was incredibly humid. I managed to keep up with the flow much better, but found myself really sliding all over the mat by the end of class. It was great to be able to see how the teacher does things through the course of an entire class.

I had been hoping to do wheel during class (after hitting it at home on Sunday evening), but I just did not have the strength that was required. The pose does not come until the very end of class, when I am tired and my mat is slippery. It's going to take awhile before I can do it. I did find the energy to do low quality versions of shoulder stand and plow.

Tonight was extra slippery because of the humidity. My mat is nice and sticky when dry, so I am not sure there is much I can do about it. Maybe get in better shape so I don't sweat so much, lol. It does seem like as I get better at a pose, I am relying less upon friction with the mat to stabilize. That's probably the answer, but it's a long wait!

I managed to score the Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker for $150 off Amazon today. This thing is top of the line. Once I learn a few rice / bean / lentil meals that rely upon it, I think I can make a sizable dent in my grocery budget. Outside of making it easy to use dried beans, it also cooks much faster than a typical pot (pressure is good!), so I will be more likely to batch cook.