Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

Photo of my jeans

Photo of my jeans

A little while back I went to a thrift store with a friend and decided to buy some men’s jeans, because I was interested in playing with some less femme outfits.

This pair of men’s jeans has now become my go to pair of jeans… mainly just because they are currently the only jeans I own that both fit and don’t have huge gaping holes in the thighs.

Wearing them though has really emphasized some of the difference between men and women’s clothing. These are things I sort of knew before, but it’s different to hear about than experience.

The First is Obvious: The Different Cut

Like I said- obvious. Though despite knowing that men’s pants were not designed for people with significantly wider hips than waists, it still didn’t help to much with trying to guess what would fit me. Although men’s jeans are sized supposedly with straight forward numbers for waist and inseam, that didn’t help me much. Should I try to find a waist size that is the size of my hips? No, surely that would be too big… But it should definitely be larger than my actual waist size.

It didn’t help trying to guess that the men’s jeans that fit me look way larger than women’s jeans that fit me because of the fact that they are basically straight up and down. The women’s jeans I typically wear have a smaller waistband than hip/ass area, then they are fitted around thighs, knees, and upper calf then either straight down from the calf or slightly wider after the calf. So men’s jeans that fit around my hips look massively larger in every other area.

I think the size for these jeans ended up being about 5 inches larger than my actual waist measurement. I expected them to be a bit on the big side and to need a belt but they actually fit fine without a belt. A bit loose around my waist when standing, but smaller than my hips by several inches still so no risk of falling off. So clearly I was right that I didn’t need to get a waist size as large as my hips, but certainly more than just a couple inches larger than my waist.

Oh, also I wear them around my waist, higher than most of my women’s jeans fit. Because I cannot get used to men’s clothing were the crotch ends up between your thighs.

The Material is Thicker

This is probably the biggest difference. The material is so thick and heavy to me. There are good things and bad things about this, it’s been an adjustment getting used to how heavy they feel compared to women’s jeans because they have a thicker material. Also more material than fitted women’s jeans that I would wear, but even compared to some wide legged women’s jeans I’ve had, these are much heavier because the material is so much thicker.

Like a lot of women my size, I am constantly having to replace jeans because the thighs end up with huge holes in them from my thighs rubbing together while walking and wearing away the material. I find myself wondering how long I could go before that would be a problem with these jeans- I am sure they would last much longer due to the thicker material that seems designed to hold up to wear better.

Now obviously I am working with a very limited and bias sample here. Also for women’s jeans I prefer the stretch material jeans which is a thinner material. But imagining tight fitted pants in the material of my men’s jeans… I don’t think I’ve able to move!

The Pockets are HUGE

Seriously- HUGE! I’ve always known that men’s jeans have bigger pockets, but damn! Even when I have women’s jeans with pockets, and pockets that seem a decent size to me, my phone will typically take up the whole pocket and still be sticking out a little. If I put my wallet and keys in my pocket- part of that is hanging out.

These jeans though- the pockets are almost the size of my primary purse. I have purses that are smaller than these pockets! I feel like I need to put my phone on a string to pull it out of the depths of the pockets. I could fit whole books in the pockets if I wanted to- not that I really want to, but I could! They pocket starts a little below my waist and ends about halfway down my thigh. Now, I’m only 5ft, so that is obviously not as far a distance as taller people, but still. HUGE!

Really the main take away though, and reason I felt like posting this is how much it really makes obvious to me how men’s clothing are designed for function, and women’s clothing are not. Women’s clothing often don’t have pockets at all, or small pockets when they do, because pockets can ruin the lines and look of clothing- no one gives a shit about if you have shit you need to put in a pocket, it’s always appearance over function. The thinner material likely goes hand in hand with fit difference, women’s being designed typically for a form fitting look. Yet it definitely has me wondering about the average lifespan of men’s jeans vs women’s jeans, because I am sure these men’s jeans will hold up longer than my women’s jeans.

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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.

I hate when people lie to try to make a point. I’ve been seeing a lot of claims recently that fitness costs nothing- just go outside and run! And really, as much as I love fitness and think it’s worth the cost, and I think it’s also an investment in myself, my well being, and my health. Financially speaking that will have pay-offs, more importantly it has non-financial pay-offs.

But yes- it costs money! How much will vary, but it does cost money.

Just go outside and run? Really? I have never hear actual advice regarding getting started running that suggests one should just go out in whatever footwear is closest and run in that. Everything I’ve read says that running in improper footwear can cause injuries and should be avoided. I’ve read over and over that people should expect to spend around $100 or more on a good pair of running shoes. Which is also what I spent on my first pair of running shoes that I got at a running store where I trusted the advice given on what kind of shoe I should wear based on watching me walk. After that I decided to try out the whole “barefoot” running thing. Except not literally barefoot, I bought vibrams which cost over $100 as well, because actually going barefoot would pose a different set of dangers. Just heading outside my house to run barefoot outside means running across areas with broken glass among other danger to one’s feet. Not to mention even if one was going to take such a risk, that would only be possible a few months out of the year after that you risk hypothermia and frostbite.

My new vibrams shoes, which I got for under $50

My new vibrams shoes

I just had to buy a new pair of vibrams for running and thankfully they were cheaper than my old ones. Though they also seem to be a somewhat cheaper quality so I am not sure they will last me as long as the old ones.

And as a woman with boobs, for running, I consider a good sports bra non-optional. All the good sports bras I have also ran me >$50 a piece (which is why I own only 3 good sport bras). I’m a D cup, and those basic little sports bras you can pick up at meijer or wherever do not provide the support needed for running. I have those types of sports bras too, they work for some lifting*, yoga, and other low impact activities, but I can’t wear them for running.

*depends on the lift. I prefer something better if I’m doing Clean and Jerks or similar which will result in bounce.

Aside from that, the rest is not as essential. I suppose I don’t really NEED designated workout clothing, though honestly anyone who is going to claim that what you wear doesn’t matter, I have to wonder how much exercise they are really doing. Running in my jeans will not be comfortable, and lifting and yoga I’m definitely going to have restricted range of motion in them. I have a few pairs of lounging around pants which could work for lifting or yoga- I’d be stopping every couple seconds to pull them up from falling off my ass if I tried running them. So yeah, I have specific running pants that are made for wearing while working out that I wear for running and lifting.

Totally gratuitous picture of me in my workout clothes

Totally gratuitous picture of me in my workout clothes

Aside from that for the most part my workout clothes aren’t really that workout specific. I find some t-shirts more uncomfortable to workout than others. The one pictures above, aside from loving the saying on it, is actually really comfortable for working out in- it doesn’t shift around too much or bunch up. But I don’t bother with shirts made for working out usually- my workout shirts are just standard t-shirts or tank top, and hoodies, that are comfortable to wear when working out.

But pretending like clothes don’t matter? No- clothes do matter! Physically speaking some are more comfortable than others and that matters.

Beside that, psychologically they can matter and that’s just as valid as the physical aspects as well. I actually care what I look like when I’m working out even thought typically I workout in my own home, alone, in my basement. So why do I care? Because I have more fun and more motivation working out if I feel a bit badass about it. Though it also matters what I’m wearing if I’m going to take form check videos that I might post online, because sometimes I lift in underwear and a sports bra… but I’m not posting a form check video of me squatting in just a bra and underwear.

Of course before I move entirely away from the topic of clothing, I also wear gloves when lifting and I have a lifting belt, so there are some more fitness specific clothing items I own and use that cost money. Though certainly both are matters of personal preference and not entirely required.

Aside from clothing though, not all fitness is running and even running outdoor depending on your location can not always be an option. I prefer running outside but it’s hard to do during Michigan winters- I don’t mind bundling up with the cold, the difficulty though comes when sidewalks and streets are not shoveled or plowed and we have several feet of snow. You ever try running through that? I have. It doesn’t work very well. So come winter if I want to keep running, realistically I’m going to have to find a way to do that indoors. So that means pay for a gym membership or treadmill… luckily for me the first part is actually covered in my tuition, so I just need to pay or parking to go to the on campus fitness center.

But what if running isn’t your thing? Every person isn’t interesting in all areas of fitness.

I posted before about how much my home gym cost me and how it relates to average gym membership costs, so I won’t bother going over all that again. But for most people, if you want to work out, there is some cost involved in it. For most people that means gym memberships fees. Or you workout at home and pay for any costs associated with that. Unless you only body weight stuff that requires no equipment- though even pullups will require a bar, but it’s certainly rather limiting if you go that route.

I think the cost is worth it and certainly there are ways to cut costs. And I would hope that people wouldn’t be pushed away from getting active because they think they need all the fanciest equipment. Heck, even though most places say to expect to spend $100+ on running shoes, you can find some that are cheaper if you know what you are looking for and shop around. Don’t be discouraged and give up. But also, let’s be honest about it- zero cost options are pretty limited. I don’t see any benefit being served by pretending this isn’t the case.