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Evil, but cute & gay about it
...ramblings of the imperfectly innocent
But it feels so good when I stop 
16th-Jul-2007 10:33 pm
matrix, system failure
Going to the gym is always the most stressful part of my day. These past 2 weeks have sucked harder than most.

kimuchi recently recommended New Rules of Lifting as a good workout book. I like a lot of what I read, especially the bits explaining how I was (like most people) doing the leg press entirely wrong, and how I should never do that exercise anyway. But holy hell, even the introductory "break-in" workout is completely kicking my ass.

In addition to the usual pile of annoyances, one of the trainers today pointed out how I was doing my squats wrong (I was doing them exactly how my previous trainer told me to, which only means I really should have fired him sooner than I did). Her analysis plus my complete inability to do enough pushups, or to do reverse crunches at all, lead me to believe that my core is just nowhere near as strong as it needs to be given my bulky upper body. I'm not even to the level of doing stuff designed for people who haven't worked out in years!

I know that that's overreacting, but gah!
17th-Jul-2007 06:43 am (UTC)
Oh no, that break-in workout is hardcore. It's definitely not for "people who haven't worked out in years" (at least I'd hope people in that category would take it slow and modify things as necessary). It also works fast: I promise you in 3 weeks you'll be shocked at how much stronger you are and how much easier it is.
17th-Jul-2007 08:32 am (UTC)
Really? I'm pretty sure one of the scenarios was for beginners to do that workout for 5 weeks. Which was more or less what I was planning on doing. I didn't find anything on what to do if you can't even do the break-in, though. *sigh* I suppose I'll give it a chance. I am glad you told me about it; thanks. And thanks for your encouragement.

Also, I don't think I got your email about when you'll be here. How can I be an effective tour guide if I can't plan?!? 8-}
17th-Jul-2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
The scenario was for the eternal beginner -- the guy who starts working out for a month or three, stops, starts again, etc. I consider myself to be in this category. I have also been lifting weights since high school (off and on, obviously).

It is my one big complaint about the book that while routines after the break-in are sort of structured with the expectation that some guys, say, won't be able to lift a barbell over their head until 10 weeks of working out, or won't be able to clean a well-loaded bar from the ground until a couple of months in...but the break-in isn't really structured or presented with options for someone who needs to work up to the exercises. Actually I think I may comment over on Schuler's blog.

What I'd recommend to you, if you don't mind looking like a dork in the privacy of your own home, is doing planks a couple of times per day. I think there's a picture in the book, (low) plank is basically like the push-up start position but with your elbows on the ground instead of your hands. Hold that for 30 seconds a couple of times a day and you'll be well on your way. Just make sure to keep your head neutral so you don't strain your neck (there's a tendency to try to look up/forward in this position).

I only just got the email from the parents with their flights yesterday, sorry, and they aren't clear yet on which part of their time will be in Victoria, Vancouver, or Seattle. Once they settle that out I'll work on my tickets. It's September, so we've got some time. :)
17th-Jul-2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I'm not saying you should quit after 3 weeks, just that in 3 weeks you'll feel a lot better about it. :) Definitely stick it out for the 5 weeks unless you start getting super-bored.
17th-Jul-2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's still my plan. Rereading what I wrote, that wasn't clear.

It's good that the other routines are structured to allow differing fitness levels; I actually hadn't had time to read that far ahead. I was definitely planning on giving the author my feedback also(well, after completing the break-in).

Thanks for the tip on planks. Yeah, I think I have to find some stuff to do at home, that way I can work on my core *and* workout 3 times a week. I was planning to look up some stuff online, but I'll see what else the book has to offer.
17th-Jul-2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
I can corroborate kimuchi in that "people in that category would take it slow and modify things as necessary".

I just started working out yesterday after no exercise since an 8-week strength training class I did back in 2004. Oh yes... 5 lb dumbbells are my friends...

Actually I might benefit from looking at that book too.
17th-Jul-2007 06:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, it's humbling to start over, no question. My friend who had been doing the routines at the same rate as me is a guy who sort of prides himself on being big and strong (or at least strong-looking)...but he couldn't lift more than I can until well into the first post-break-in routine. The difference is that while I've been active more or less consistently for the last couple of years, he hadn't lifted a finger.
17th-Jul-2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Dumbbell weights are one of the reasons I'm so fed up with myself: I was working out more-or-less consistently for 15 of the past 18 months, and I'm still looking at weights in the 10-15 pound range. Hell, for some of these, I can't even use weights; my body weight alone is too much.

I keep doing my best to not compare myself (like he talks about in the book), but it's not going too well. :(
18th-Jul-2007 12:40 am (UTC)
Hmm, what sort of exercises are you doing with the 10-15lb dumbbells? Are you now doing different exercises that might not have benefited from strength you built on the previous routine? What does your rep range look like?

You also have to consider how changing things up in surprisingly small ways can have a big impact. At the end of Fat Loss 1 I was at 105lb on my squats and deadlifts (3x10)...but squats with my hands up over my head still present a challenge with bodyweight alone...and I don't try it until Thursday on my current plan, but I'm pretty sure I *won't* be doing dumbbell deadlifts with 50lb dumbbells (probably 35lb). I can do 3x10 sets of push-ups (non-girlie style), but I'm pretty sure that doesn't mean I can just lie down and do 3x10 120lb bench-presses (even though that's allegedly equivalent). Etc.

If that doesn't sound relevant to you, I'd suspect your sets have been long (like 15 reps) and you've accidentally been prioritizing building endurance.
17th-Jul-2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Sure! Come on over, you can borrow it. :->

And good for you on getting that set up. It's great that you're making your new space your own.
17th-Jul-2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Let me know how that book works for you. I actually recently just ordered the "Arnold" book from Amazon with a few others to see if I can shake things up a little.
17th-Jul-2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
Will do. I largely agree with his philosophy (do exercises that mimic real-life activities, change things up since everything largely works but nothing works forever), and Kim's group of people seems to like it. I'm going to stick with it a while, so regular reports will probably ensue...

Assuming you mean this book, that seems a little intimidating to me, but I suspect (having seen your pics) that you're in a very different place fitness-wise. Make sure you keep us apprised of your progress. And make sure you include lots of pictures. Purely for documentation, you understand.
17th-Jul-2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
That would be the book. I wouldn't mind progressing a bit further with my workouts.. :-)
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