On Doing Your Own Thing

I spent the weekend with one of my best friends - a woman my age (late 20’s) who takes her fitness very seriously. She does everything “right” - eats clean consistently, hits the gym 5x/week, drinks all the water - and has lost a ton of fat, gained piles of muscle, and looks, feels and performs better than she has in her life.

We went up to her cottage to play Chinese checkers and bake protein muffins and talk. And she asked me two questions:

What’s a macro?

What’s Crossfit?

Our friendship is a “judgement-free zone”, so my response was to simply explain both. But really? I was jealous. Like, sinking-feeling, incredulous, wide-eyed, take-deep-breaths kind of jealous. The respect and affection and admiration we have for each other is mutual; we both think the other is the shit. But Jesus. I’m calculating macros in the back of my mind every day and have been for years, despite multiple attempts to stop in the name of “balance”. I see Crossfit references everywhere, ranging from respectful recommendations to bombardments of “WE'RE BETTER THAN YOU”. I am constantly questioning my program, my nutrition, my goals, my results, myself. And of course she worries and reflects and adjusts as we all do, but this was a jarring reminder that there are so many different paths to health and happiness, and where I check in on other people’s progress and activities every day (through friends, this blog, etc.), she’s done this all on her own. How much more fulfilled, satisfied, and in-tune with her own body must she be as a result of not comparing herself to anyone else? Sure, she has a pinterest board populated with figure competitors for “motivation”, but at the end of the day, how she feels is most important to her, and she feels way better than I do.

I want to be more like her, but is that just me comparing myself to others again?

People ask me for fitness advice, and what I tell them is always within the context of self-love. Fuel your body. Listen to what it needs. Focus on what you can do rather than how you look. Work hard toward your goals while taking pride in how great you already are. Because you are great - in so many ways that have nothing to do with your body fat %.

I need to start taking my own advice.

updates! going to focus on fat loss for a bit I think. my lowest weight was 121lbs (back when I was excited to be deadlifting 155). I found some photos earlier this week from a year ago and while I know I’m way stronger now, I’d love to be that lean again. obviously I wasn’t happy at the time - standard. I’ll shoot for maybe 5lbs and then reassess in a month or two!

updates! going to focus on fat loss for a bit I think. my lowest weight was 121lbs (back when I was excited to be deadlifting 155). I found some photos earlier this week from a year ago and while I know I’m way stronger now, I’d love to be that lean again. obviously I wasn’t happy at the time - standard. I’ll shoot for maybe 5lbs and then reassess in a month or two!

Gunz progress. A little reminder that not all weight gain is fat…

(and obv the “grrrr” face is unnecessary when there’s actually something to flex) :P

New bodybuilding.com order arrived today. it won’t last anywhere near as long as you’d think…

side note: Syntha 6 is by far the most delicious whey on the market. hardly an iso (up to 15g carbs per serving), the chocolate peanut butter may as well be dessert.

New bodybuilding.com order arrived today. it won’t last anywhere near as long as you’d think…

side note: Syntha 6 is by far the most delicious whey on the market. hardly an iso (up to 15g carbs per serving), the chocolate peanut butter may as well be dessert.

5/3/1 - 1.2: Legs

Second week of 5/3/1 legs. Good stuff. I love working with low reps - mentally it’s just so much easier to go balls out rather than struggling to maintain good form while pacing yourself through the knowledge that you’ve got another 10 reps to go. This Wendler business is strong, fast, and hopefully effective. Time will tell.

Barbell Squat:

  • 50 lb x 5 reps (+48 pts)
  • 65 lb x 5 reps (+53 pts)
  • 75 lb x 3 reps (+46 pts)
  • 90 lb x 3 reps (+50 pts)
  • 100 lb x 3 reps (+54 pts)
  • 115 lb x 4 reps (+68 pts)

Barbell Lunges:

  • 50 lb x 20 reps (+111 pts)
  • 50 lb x 20 reps (+111 pts)
  • 50 lb x 20 reps (+111 pts)

Barbell Step Ups:

  • 50 lb x 16 reps || 20 in (+84 pts)
  • 50 lb x 16 reps || 20 in (+84 pts)
  • 50 lb x 16 reps || 20 in (+84 pts)

5/3/1 - 1.1: Shoulders
Started Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 today! Nick thinks it’s perfect for me, and I’m ready to commit to something that’ll take the guesswork and wasted time out of every trip to the gym and help me achieve some work/life balance. Gonna do this for two months and then reassess, but it’s designed for life, so with any luck, this is the last first day of a new program I ever do.

5/3/1 - 1.1: Shoulders

Started Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 today! Nick thinks it’s perfect for me, and I’m ready to commit to something that’ll take the guesswork and wasted time out of every trip to the gym and help me achieve some work/life balance. Gonna do this for two months and then reassess, but it’s designed for life, so with any luck, this is the last first day of a new program I ever do.

10.20.12: Legs

Leg Day! My squats aren’t getting any heavier, but my form is improving significantly, which also counts as progress, so I’ll take it. I saw this photo the other day and had kind of a lightbulb moment. I can’t describe exactly how, but the way I think about squat form has changed and it’s done wonders for how strong I feel doing them. Keeping my neck in line with my spine, my shoulders back, etc. seems to distribute the weight differently, and with a slightly wider stance than usual (despite my shitty hip), has given me a lot more power. All good things despite there being no change in the numbers.

Barbell Squat:

  • 0 lb x 20 reps (+45 pts)
  • 45 lb x 10 reps (+55 pts)
  • 65 lb x 10 reps (+63 pts)
  • 65 lb x 6 reps (+57 pts)
  • 95 lb x 10 reps (+77 pts)
  • 115 lb x 6 reps (+79 pts)
  • 115 lb x 6 reps (+79 pts)

Barbell Lunges:

  • 50 lb x 20 reps (+111 pts)
  • 50 lb x 20 reps (+111 pts)
  • 50 lb x 20 reps (+111 pts)
  • 50 lb x 20 reps (+111 pts)

10.18.12: Back & Chest

Two plates!!! WOOOOOO!!!! This PR brought to you by Jack3d ;)

Just the big stuff today. Legs tomorrow.

Barbell Deadlift:

  • 135 lb x 10 reps (+101 pts)
  • 155 lb x 10 reps (+115 pts)
  • 185 lb x 10 reps (+141 pts)
  • 205 lb x 6 reps (+146 pts)
  • 225 lb x 2 reps (+106 pts) <— Boom.

Barbell Bench Press:

  • 65 lb x 10 reps (+63 pts)
  • 75 lb x 6 reps (+60 pts)
  • 85 lb x 5 reps (+61 pts)
  • 85 lb x 5 reps (+61 pts)

Weigh In:

127.4lbs.

I was 131ish on Sept 2nd when I started cutting, and lost a couple in that first week, but didn’t do another weigh in after that. I was worried about what my Asia trip did, but it looks like my as-frequent-as-possible workouts, fairly balanced food choices, and miles upon miles of walking kept me on track. Great news :)

10.16.12: Shoulders & Arms

Tra la la, back to the grind. Jet lagged, between jobs, and my house is a mess, but life is good :)

Standing Barbell Shoulder Press (OHP):

  • 45 lb x 10 reps (+75 pts)
  • 55 lb x 8 reps (+78 pts)
  • 65 lb x 5 reps (+73 pts) <— shit’s heavy.

Push Press:

  • 65 lb x 8 reps (+45 pts)
  • 65 lb x 6 reps (+42 pts)
  • 55 lb x 10 reps (+44 pts)
  • 55 lb x 10 reps (+44 pts)

Dumbbell Bicep Curl:

  • 20 lb x 10 reps (+35 pts)
  • 20 lb x 10 reps (+35 pts)
  • 20 lb x 10 reps (+35 pts)
  • 20 lb x 10 reps (+35 pts)

Triceps Pushdown:

  • 30 lb x 10 reps (+12 pts)
  • 30 lb x 10 reps (+12 pts)
  • 30 lb x 10 reps (+12 pts)
  • 30 lb x 10 reps (+12 pts)