Posts Tagged ‘5/3/1’

My “guns” may not look impressive, but I was feeling strong regardless ūüôā

I really like blogging about my runs after I do them. Strangely though, while I like lifting more, I don’t talk about it as much here. For some reason I just rarely have much to say about my lifting workouts.

So that said: bench workout today! got up to 90lbsx5. which felt good. Did some assistance stuff too. … see, normally this is all I would have to say.

The only thing I have to say about lifting today though is that I’ve been thinking about resting. I know that I should not compare myself to others and so on, but I do sometimes. On fitocracy I see other people do these crazy long lifting workouts- well, they seem crazy long to me at least. And yet, even the shortest lifting workout for me takes forever to get through. 2 squat workouts ago all I did was the basic part of my program with no assistance lifting. Which meant I did a brief warmup (I’ve been doing jumping jacks and body weight squats), then 3 sets of warm up weight barbell squats, then 3 working sets (5 resp, 3 reps, and 1 rep respectively)… well, I take that back, I actually did 4 because the 200lbsx1 felt good enough that I decided to do it twice, then just a short bit of stretching and foam rolling. Still that took me somewhere around 45 minutes.¬†Changing plates and resting between sets adds up (and it actually depends how I’m feeling whether I decided to count the changing plate time as part of my rest time or not).

I also sometimes get antsy during rests between sets because I just want to lift. I also know I could fit in more if I supersetted stuff instead of literally just resting between sets. But that also means I would be getting less actual rest.

And the thing is, I can tell I lift better when I get enough rest between sets though. If I don’t rest long enough I will end up failing sets, which will result in less strength, which will result in not lifting as heavy over time. Which is not my goal.

I’ve been asking myself- do I just rest longer than other people? Though between sets my rests are 90 seconds to 5 minutes depending how heavy/hard the last lift was, which from what I’ve read is not unusual for heavy lifting.

Basically I find myself mentally caught between what I know helps me meet my goals, and envy over other people who manage these really long looking workouts that would probably take all day.

Of course I can never help but wonder how much my health may play a role in this. Dealing with fatigue issues as I do, it seems entirely plausible to me that rest between sets is more important for me, or that I do need to err on the higher side of rest times because of that. I can’t say for certain if that is a factor, but it seems very possible to me that it would be.

So I just have to work though to remember that whatever the reason, I know rest for me is important for lifting heavier.

After my bench workout today I also did sprints. Not immediately after. I changed clothes because my lifting clothes aren’t good running clothes, drank a protein shake, put on music and danced around my living room while my phone charged up a bit more. Then I went out to do sprints. It was raining when I went out but not heavily and I thought “I’m not going to let a little rain stop me!”

So- holy shit it has been over a month since I’ve done sprints!

I could feel it, I was obviously not used to it. I did the same intervals I’ve been doing- 5 minute warm up walk, (30 second sprint, 2 minutes walking) 6 times, 5 minutes cool down walk.

So first run interval, I went all the fuck out! And hurt my shoulder, apparently I was moving my arms too much. And remembered that I normally don’t go so all out on the first sprint so I still have energy for the others.

Rain was getting heavier and I ended up with rain water in my eye and OH GOD IT BURNED!!!!! The fuck is the rain? Normally I would have blamed it on makeup or something but I was wearing none. Maybe sweat but I get sweat dripping in my eyes during workouts all the time, my sweat does not burn my eyes.

Second sprint was slower but still trying to give it my all.

Third sprint I was exhausted.

Rain was still getting heavier.

Fourth sprint I felt dead. Just trying to walk after  was difficult. Also took off my glasses since they were no longer serving any purpose in that rain (though I hate running without them because I cannot see well and it makes me nervous because I easily would not be able to see a dip, hole, or bump in the sidewalk.)

Fifth sprint was quite slow, but I was so exhausted. By the end of that I was really struggling to keep down my protein shake.

Sixth sprint was just a touch faster than the 5th but still slow. Then I got to walk the rest of the way home.

Nothing to exciting, but yay sprints! Though I need to get around to setting up a runkeeper workout with distance based intervals instead of time, because I do prefer to measure in distance.

Oh, and my plan for tomorrow is to go to a local running group, which I am a bit nervous about. Hope it goes well! I will definitely post about how it goes (crossing my fingers something doesn’t cause me to miss it). I get really anxious about things like this. Especially combining two thing that make me feel anxious-meeting up with a group of strangers, and working out around/with other people.

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Random training post because I feel the need to vent a bit about this.

I ended up taking a full week… actually more- 8 days, off from all workouts. Not planned. Seem to have picked up some virus. Nothing serious, but that’s the thing about chronic illness, catching a little virus that should normally be no big deal will completely knock me on my ass.

So the past week has been a “just getting out of bed takes all my energy” week.

As much as I try not to let it, I do get frustrated when this happens.

Starting to feel better, but not back to my normal even yet.

Still, well enough to workout today. Squats were the next up on my schedule, which was not a good fit for how I was feeling.

I’ve been doing body weights squats in my warmup before I do any with any weight at all. I do some jumping jacks to get blood flowing, then some body weight squats, more jumping jacks, then some body weight lunges, more jumping jacks, then some stretching and foam rolling before I get over to do my warm up sets with the bar.

Before I even started my first warm up set with the bar I could feel my legs shaking a bit- not a good sign. It should take far¬†more body weight squats and lunges than that before my muscles start feeling any fatigue. But I pushed on with the workout at planned. Warm ups went well, first working set of 145×3 went well enough. Then the second working set was meant to be 170×3 but I managed only 1 rep, failing the second. I could have rested and tried again, but I knew if I tried 170 again I wouldn’t be able to lift it again. I was supposed to do 190×3 after 170 too but obviously that was not going to happen.

Instead I dropped back to a very low weight for some zercher squats to finish up with.

On one hand- I absolutely feel better to have done anything after the past week. On the other hand I’m frustrated that it was a squat workout since I feel like I’ve been making no progress at all on squats for a very long time. Which isn’t exactly true. I started really struggling with them and was scaling back my weight more and more for awhile, and just now have been able to bring it back to around where it was. I’ve been looking very forward to finally inching back forward with squats as with my other lifts (progress is slow in general for me, but inching forward is still forward), so it feels extra frustrating to me that it was squats I couldn’t get up to the weight I was supposed to.

But such is life. Hopefully my next squat workout I won’t be as fatigued and will be able to get the planned amounts of weight.

I’ve been extra sick recently. I think due to a combination of factors- first up I had a lack of sleep from finals followed by lack of sleep from holidays and then lack of sleep from a family vacation, which tends to make me more ill and also more susceptible to catching things, and I think I have caught some sort of virus, which is also combined with running out of my medications and not being able to get the refilled yet which causes me to feel crappy in a number of ways. Combine all of this together, I’m pretty miserable.

I’ve also been stressing about being sick because I was supposed to take a qualifying exam today and had to not due to being sick but I was really hoping to get better in time to take it, and if not stressed about it throwing off my plans and my timeline for stuff for school, and I already am not where I should be with so many other things i don’t need to be behind on exams as well- stress, stress, stress (which really doesn’t help the being ill thing).

Monday morning I did deadlifts. I got through the main working sets and to the assistance sets (5 sets of 10 reps at a lighter weight) and was just too sick to get them in. Which technically is “allowed” with the program, but I feel like I did nothing and was feeling crappy about it.

I haven’t tried lifting or running or much of anything sense then. Mostly actually I’ve been spending all my time in bed since then.

And then I feel bad about that. Because I didn’t get as much done over finals as I wanted, and then not ¬†much over holidays, and now not much because of being so sick. And I feel like I’m just totally screwing this all up.

So I had to remind myself of what I’ve said before about this- everyone gets sick sometimes but having times when things get bad (whether it be partly catching something, or just a flare up of a chronic condition) is a more regular occurrence for me. It’s life, I have to work around it best I can. Also I know that lifting is no, cannot be, my top priority (I was just reminding myself not long ago that I’m allowed the time for it at all, that taking care of myself is a valid use of my time), sometimes other things in life will get in the way.

These things happen, and so me the important part is that I just keep moving forward. Maybe it’s at a slower pace than I want, maybe it’s a slower pace than others are at, but that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that I keep at it. So I can’t lift right now until I’m feeling a bit better. Ok. So I’m going to rest and when I feel I can do it safely I will be lifting again.

I’ve in the past let this get me down to where I feel “why even bother if I can’t stay on track?” But things going exactly as I plan or hope doesn’t really matter that much, and it’s not really a realistic goal. What is a realistic goal is doing as much as I can and keeping at it.

(Random thoughts on my training post.)

So onto cycle 2 my weights still seems so much lower than I feel they should be. So trying to remind myself that they will keep getting heavier each cycle, so I’m moving in the right direction. And it means I can focus more on form.

Still feel frustrated though when I know I could be going heavier on certain lifts though.

Still no fractional plates¬†though, so I have to round everything to the closest 5lbs. It’s really only OHP that this is a big issue with since it’s my lightest lift.

Just finished my deload week. Which ended up being basically a whole week off while I worked on finals and then one workout with all 4 lifts at deload weights.

One thing that stands out to me in training is how much lifting makes me aware of my eating and my need to eat better- and eat. The day I did my deload workout all I’d eaten all day were some veggies and wine at a holiday lunch get together. Not a lot of food period, and no protein. And I could feel it, because even lifting light weights was a struggle.

I don’t know how other folks can lift fasted (other than the obvious different people are different). I actually am working on going back to intermittent fasting- I tried it on purpose years ago, then decided it wasn’t for me, then last year realized I was essentially doing it without trying just due to my schedule. I’m not a morning person so on days I worked and had class most of the time I would wake up (so there is however many hours of not eating while I was sleeping), go to work with no breakfast, be busy at work and don’t eat, then go straight to class, then come home and eat dinner- by which time it would typically be 24 hrs or longer since I’d eaten last. After I left my job it stopped being just natural for my routine though. I’m also getting to were I’m extremely hungry if I go awhile without eating which bugs me. Aside from benefits of fasting for short periods, I just like not feeling hungry if I go without eating for a bit because I’m busy! So I’m starting with shorter fasts for now, and going to work my back to doing fasts that are 24 hrs or longer again. But I need to plan fasts around lifting days. I can do other stuff fasted- I suck too much at running to know if it changes my performance but I can run fasted, but lifting? I can feel such a massive difference when I don’t eat, don’t eat enough, or eat the wrong stuff (high carb, no protein).

Anyways, hope this cycle goes well. Looking forward to the weights getting much more challenging than they are right now.

So I was informed by someone recently that Jim Wendler, who created the 5/3/1 lifting program I’m following right now, is a misogynist.

Not sure the exact details of that, but then I came across a Q & A from him, in which he multiple times tells people not to “be a vag” or a pussy. ¬†And apparently he has also coined the term “north of vag”, apparently a response to frustration at the “emasculation” of society and lifting. (eye-rolling so hard right now).

He’s also the same dude who mentions the program putting hair on your chest.

Personally I prefer not to have hair on my chest and I am a fan of vaginas.

And given that vaginas play an important role in the process of giving birth to new life, created within women’s bodies, I think vaginas are pretty damn strong and capable of much more impressive feats than just lifting heavy weights.

Maybe that’s why Wendler has such a problem with vaginas? I think he might just be jealous of their awesomeness…

5/3/1 Wave A completed

Posted: November 13, 2014 in training
Tags: , , ,

So I finished the my first time doing “wave a”, ie the first week, of 5/3/1. Took me a week and a half instead of a week though, because life happens.

I’m looking forward to the next week with higher % lifts.

I’ve still yet to figure out fractional issues so I’m still rounding everything to the nearest 5lbs.

So far I am still loving being able to focus a bit more on upper body than I was before.

Speaking of which, look! I almost look like I have arm muscles! (was actually trying to get a photo of my workout outfit).

This is the reason I started doing 5/3/1 and I like it.¬†I definitely feel like I’ve gotten a better upper body workout this past week and a half than I¬†had been getting trying to follow stronglifts.

I also like the flexibility of the assistance work, since it’s optional. I have yet to do a “jack shit” workout- never done only the main lifts. But my squats workout was a short one for me. I was exhausted and did the main lifts, 5 sets of 10 at 40% for squats, and then 5 sets of 10 hip thrusts with the bar only. Which is a short workout for me, lol.

But it’s nice that if I have the time and energy I can add in all kinds of extra stuff. And if I don’t, the main part is short and quick. So I’m liking that.

So that’s my update I guess, lol.

So I mentioned recently that I don’t really talk a lot about my training and workouts here except a few mentions of my programs.

But maybe I should. And by “should”, I mean it’s my blog, so why the heck not?

So on that topic:

I mentioned recently switching to 5/3/1 from Stronglifts.

For those not familiar let me start with a brief overview of how each program works. I’ll throw this in a different color so that you can easily skip past this if you already know about these prorams.

Stronglifts has two workouts, A and B, and  5 lifts. The lifts used in Stronglifts are the barbell squat, bench press, barbell row, overhead press, and deadlift. These are arranged into two workouts:

Workout A:

Squat

Bench Press

Barbell Row

Workout B:

Squat

Overhead Press

Deadlift

For each of these you do 5 working sets of 5 reps, each time you successfully do your 5×5 you add 5lbs to the weight you life nextime. Along with the 5 working sets they recommend a number or warmup sets. I was doing about 4 warmup sets for squats and then 2 warm up sets for the others usually. So it’s more than 5 sets if you count warmups. And stronglifts recommends doing these 3 times a week alternating A and B.

As you can see with stronglifts, you would be increasing weight very fast if you don’t stall at any weight.
As I mentioned, I decided to switch to 5/3/1/ because I was always exhausted after all those squats and was not progressing in any other lifts anymore.

5/3/1 has 4 workouts focusing on 4 lifts. The 4 lifts are the barbell squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. So 5/3/1 does not include the barbell row as a primary lift. Each of the 4 workouts then is focused on one and only 1 primary lift.

Using this website as a guide¬†for each lift you progress through 4 “waves”. For each it recommend¬†3 warmup sets. 40% x5reps, 50%x 5 reps, 60%x 3 reps.

After the warmup you do 3 working sets. For wave A you do 75% x 5, 80% x 5, 85% x 5, Wave B is 80% x 3, 85% x 3, 90% x 3, Wave C 75% x 5, 85% x 3, 95% x 1 and then Wave D is a deload wave at 60% x 5, 65% x 5, 70% x 5. 

So they weight is all based on percent of your 1 rep max. The website I linked has a calculation to estimate your 1 rep max if you’ve never tried to max out for 1 rep on a lift.¬†

But wait! Not that simple! You are actually supposed to consider 90% of that to be your 1 rep max for purposes of the program. So you calculate a 1 rep max, then take 90% of that, then take whichever percentage of that.

Oh, and after you complete the 4 waves you then add 5lbs for upper-body and 10lbs for lower body to your 1RM to repeat the 4 waves based on that

In addition to the 1 lift each workout, you can do some optional assistance work after.

As you can see 5/3/1 is not really as simple as stronglifts in terms of simplicity of the set up.

As I already mentioned the main reason I’m switching is because I like being able to focus on one primary lift each workout and not being exhausted from squats before all my upper body lifts.

So having just started with 5/3/1 here are some of my thoughts:

1. It’s more complicated!¬†

So I’ve read around several different sites explaining 5/3/1, I still f-ed up on my understanding of it the first workout.

2. It feels so much lighter and easier!

For the main lifts I’m doing fewer sets and lighter weights than I was used to with strong lifts. Which I’m trying to trust the prescribed progression of this and not feel like I’m just always going backward. I do still wonder if I should just use my actual calculated 1 rep max instead of taking 90% of it. I read that 90% was in part to counterbalance people who would overestimate their one rep max by using a previous max when they aren’t currently lifting that heavy, and people using really bad form to get their max weight.¬†My numbers are either a 1 rep max I’ve done recently or calculated from recent weights I’ve done at higher reps.

And with 5/3/1 you are changing your weight each set and only doing 3 working sets.

3. Progress is prescribed at a lower rate.

And I think part of this is that my weights are way lower than what seems the expectation of where folks start 5/3/1 at. so adding 5 or 10lbs to the 1 RM and then calculating a percent of that seems a small increase compared to adding 5lbs (or 10 for deadlift) each time to the weight you lift. And with my 1RM numbers being small already. Plus this is a slight problem in that I don’t have fractional plates, so right now the smallest weight increase I can do is 5lbs (or I guess 2.5lb if I had an imbalanced bar). And why the heck are fractonal plates so friggin expensive? Amazon has a set totaling 5 lbs (set of 1/4 lb, 1/2 lb, 3/4 lb and 1 lb) for $60. $60 for 5 lbs? Am I the only one who thinks that sounds completely ridiculous? So right now I’m trying to think of another way I can add small amounts of weight to my bar that don’t involve spending $60 for 5 measly lbs.

4. I’m doing more assistance work than seems recommended.¬†

So reading around I see a lot of folks saying no more than 1-2 assistance exercises per workout.

I did 5 with my first, which was bench- also I’m out of order because I did 5×5 squats the day before I switched so I’m doing bench, deadlift, ohp, squat instead of squat, bench, deadlift, ohp.

I planned for 4 with deadlifts but stopped after 3.

I keep seeing that the important part is that assistance work doesn’t take away from the main lift. So my feeling is, if all my assistance work is after the main lift, it shouldn’t be making a different to my main lift. Basically how I’ve been planning it is start with major lift, the assistance work in prioritized in order, so whenever I get exhausted and can’t do more (or run out of time) I ¬†stop.

Also right now some of my “assistance work” is just extra stuff I want to throw in, more than stuff they recommend. Like I want to keep doing barbell rows so now I am calling that “assistance work”. I also love hip thrusts for more glute work, so I’m going to call that “assistance work”. So I’m kind of just making stuff up and doing whatever for that.

5. I’m doing low weight, high rep and it feels so weird.

So another recommendation for assistance work is “big and boring”. doing 5 sets of 10 reps at a low weight. This is mostly recommended for use with the main lift. So after the prescribed sets, reps, and weights for the main lift, I then aim to do 5 sets of 10 reps at 40% weight. Since I didn’t really know what to do for weight, reps, and sets for the other assistance work, I’ve decided to adopt this for all the assistance work for now.

It feels really weird doing high rep, low weight :-\

Well, technically it says to increase this weight percentage overtime too to whatever works out as the max you can do for 8-10 rep. Still lower weight and higher rep than I’m used to though.

Which I may then be able to fit less assistance work once I’m doing more weights. Also less with lower body because that always takes more out of me than upper body lifts- which also maybe will change once I get my weights higher with upper body.

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Me doing hip thrusts after deadlifts.

So, there’s where my thoughts are on this right now.

So I had been doing or trying to do stronglifts. Decided today that I need to change to a different program.

After squats I’m exhausted and I’m not making progress on anything else and I know part of that is because by the time I get into anything else I’m totally exhausted from my squats.

Photo between sets of my workout this morning.

So I think I am going to try switching over to 5/3/1¬†I’ve looked into this before and I think right now it would be good as it focuses on 1 major lift per workout and then whatever assistance work one wants to add as well, but never focusing on more than 1 major lift at a time. I also hope this will give me the ability to focus more effectively on upper body since it will give me days when I am doing just a main upper body lift (Bench or OHP) combined with upper body assistance work. Which overall then would mean doing even more upper body work as well, which I think I need.

Anyways, I don’t really talk tons about my training here but thought I’d throw a post out about this planned change.