Monday, March 5, 2012

Falling in love with lifting

Wow, I haven't updated in a while. A few things have happened since my last post. First of all, I moved to Austin, where I'm currently having a blast. Way preferable to where I was living. Second, I got deeper into the sport of weightlifting, and now consider myself thoroughly obsessed. We're talking, "staying up past bedtime to read lifting blogs even though the number one lifting rule is get TONS of sleep" style obsessed.

I joined an awesome gym here in Austin that's very no-frills, just tons of racks and benches, with everyday regulars lifting heavy. I think there's maybe one treadmill in the whole place. No music, no freezing air conditioning, no makeup-spackled Lululemon bunnies bouncing slowly on ellipticals for their "cardio". Everyone who works out there is really nice, too, and very willing to offer advice, help, or a spot if you need it.

I mentioned a while back that I was doing three sets RPT-style, but I've switched back to 5x5s because I was just feeling like I needed more work on form and more practice with the weekly toll of lifting before I tried a style that essentially has you starting the set with your max load. One of the sites I've come across in my gigantic lifting info-feast is Nerd Fitness, which has a great forum, and whose founder wrote an ebook called Rebel Fitness. I purchased and read the whole thing (it's sitting on my ipad alongside Starting Strength as my current most-read book) and have been scaling back the various lifting moves I was doing for a more streamlined approach that I think is going to build a stronger base of not only strength but skill on the bar. So right now, my lifting routine looks like:

Day A:
Push Press 5x5 (current load: 65)
Squat 5x5 (current load: 85 [I can definitely squat more weight, but my form requires a lot of work due to my tight hips and sway back, so I'm keeping it a little low]).

Day B:
Pullups 5x5 (currently: still cannot do a single one. Am doing a lot of negatives and one-foot assisted pullups.)
Deadlift 5x5 (current load: 155 [I will probably be doing 135 tomorrow, though, because my form on this one is also bad. My fireman friend at the gym helped me correct it last time and I need to scale back the weight to practice.)

I alternate back and forth every other day instead of defining "workout weeks", because I discovered that I just really don't like taking two rest days in a row (usually what happens when I do a MWF lifting schedule). On the off days, depending on how I feel, I'm either resting, sprinting, or doing a quick metcon with my sandbag, kettlebell, or hammer.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that I also walk River 2 miles twice a day, and have been throwing in a run with her in the morning lately, just because I need to get back into the habit of running for Tough Mudder--nothing long, just a couple miles. I'm going to start adding my niece in her jogging stroller into the running mix, too, because running while pushing an extra forty pounds seems like something that will help with TM training. Lastly, I also ride my bike, not daily, but probably something like three times a week. I mostly go short distances, and usually for utility, like going to the grocery store and hauling back my groceries, or buying dog food/cat litter, or riding to the coffeeshop to work, like I did today.

So, it's a much more active life here in Austin, which suits me fine.

Another great thing about lifting is that skipping a workout is not just unthinkable, it's a huge bummer when forces intervene to make me miss a workout (i.e. the gym closes earlier on Saturday, which I found to my dismay when I showed up at 7 to work out the other day). I enjoy it so much that I look forward to the gym--like, a LOT. So I've been really on top of getting my workouts done.

I'm going to try to be more diligent about posting, but I'm moving again in about a week, this time into the apartment where I will be living indefinitely, so I'll be pretty busy.

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