January Review

January was a month of re-establishing routines, harnessing focus, and building the integrity of my foundation.

How did it go? Swimmingly!

Health (meditation, sleep, food, relationships, finances) & fitness (yoga, weight lifting, running, biking were the priorities. The mantra: Smile, breathe and go slowly!

Practices fell by the wayside in prior months, but came back with renewed focus, vigor and patience, catapulted by the nine-day juice fast.  That fast set the standard; it was — and continues to be — all downhill from there.

Yoga and running were rebuilt from the ground up, at the very beginning.

Very little was spent on extracurricular activities. Half of everything was saved and applied to debt; the other half was used for food. On just three occasions was money spent on eating out, totaling about $25.

The majority of the pain and distress from re-establishing routines was expunged.

Relationships (thanks, Venus Retrograde!) were assessed and re-assessed.

Sleep is beginning to stabilize; previous standards of fitness are within sight.

Spiritual mantras and visualizations were adapted and added to daily routine. The fruit from all practices are dedicated to God. Many thanks and supplication granted towards God.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

February:

Guidelines:

Yoga: 

Frequency: Daily, to be excepted on the occasions of Full (February 14) and New (none in February) Moon.

Current fitness:  Five repetitions of Surya Namaskara A & B, as well as Padangustasana.

Monthly goal: Standing Sequence in its entirety. Add one pose every two to three days.

Resistance training:

Frequency: StrongLifts: 5×5 will commence two days a week , Mondays and Thursdays.

Monthly goal: Consistency.

Five pounds to each exercise per week will be added, optimally speaking. Any stalls will be handled as they arise.

The goal for the entirety of this cycle of StrongLifts was designated last month, to the tune of:

Squats: 175 lb
Deadlifts: 175 lb
Bench: 175lb
Overhead: 125 lb
Row: 125lb

Current lifts:

Squats: 145 lb
Deadlifts: 145 lb
Bench: 140 lb
Overhead: 95 lb
Row: 95 lb

We are five weeks into this 12-week StrongLift cycle of two days of lifts per week. After 12 weeks we shall take a two-break week to rest our muscles and re-assess our progress and re-designated goals, if any persist.

Running:

Frequency: Three to four days a week (every other day, specifically; and, if one day is missed, two consecutive days of running shall be makeup).

Current fitness: .75 miles

One (.25) warm-up and one (.25) cool-down lap are performed; dynamic stretching as part of the warm-up, static and yogic stretching as part of the cool-down.

Biking: (Informal)

Frequency: Daily (six days per week, minimum, of any distance)

Current fitness: Unknown

Monthly goal: Consistency

There are no minimum requirements of mileage other than the simple experience of riding the bike each and every day.

Long-term the goal is for biking to be a replacement, not simply an alternative, for vehicular transportant, whenever possible.

It is too taxing to push too ambitiously in four different areas of fitness and training. To that end, we shall reassess any and all goals for biking once the current cycle of StrongLifts comes to an end.

Saturday, 2.1:

Hiking with family (extended). Moderate hike at best. Cool, clear, pristine air had a noticeable cleansing effect on lungs, breath and mood.

Yoga practice is still in the infancy stages. Fortunately the work I did the last two weeks of January at the studio — off my head, roughly 8-10 hours of Ashtanga — has mentally and physically primed me, psychologically speaking, for the reintegration of my daily personal practice.

The groundwork shall be laid this month, however. The Standing Sequence is by far the most physically intense part of the Primary Series, beginning with the Sun Salutations until the final poses, Warrior 1 & 2 and Utkatasana, chair posture.

The emphasis here is to go as slowly as possible, scanning the body for tension, fear, and burnout. Have no hesitation in taking it easy and just practicing Surya Namaskara A & B in lieu of whatever the “scheduled” practice is to be. The point is, for now, consistency, not perfection.

Resigned to take it a bit easy on biking for the next few days, as I felt substantial fatigue in my legs and motivation on the bike the previous week. I have not gone a day without biking for a prolonged time, if not the entire month of January. I’ve earned it!

Sunday, 2.2:

Yoga and running. Everything feels good! No biking today.

Monday, 2.3:

Yoga and lifting. Another day off from biking.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 150× 5
Overhead Press: 95× 5
Deadlift: 150 x 1

Tuesday, 2.4:

Yoga, adding Utthita Trikonasana.

No running; will run the next two days instead. No biking either.

Forgot to mention earlier that I have been juicing every day. Roughly 30-35 oz. Every single day! One day at a time! Awesome!

Wednesday, 2.5:

Yoga, run, a little cycling.

Feeling slightly under the weather. Wisely using this time to maintain rather than push ahead. That time will come.

The thought of lifting 3x a week has occurred. If it persists, maybe the final three weeks of StrongLifts I’ll up it to Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Thursday, 2.6:

Yoga, running.

Have a cold. Mustering up the temerity to practice yoga was challenging. But not thinking and just doing is the answer.

Ran with Omar. That dude is fast! Helped me get the motivation on a cold, rainy day.

Today is a day of lifting. But I don’t have it in me. Tomorrow. Yoga and lifting.

Friday, 2.7:

StrongLifts:

Squats: 150× 5
Bench Press: 145 x 5
Barbell Row: 100 x 5

Felt weak starting out. The cold. But it’s mostly in my head. I was just fine. RAWR!

Yoga, too. Haven’t added any new postures due to the cold. Possibly/probably tomorrow.

Decided to make StrongLifts official and start training three times a week, beginning next week. Yayuhz!

I’m bored and capable. Why not?

Saturday, 2.8:

Yoga, adding Parivritta Trikonasana. Moderate hike. Running later today.

Sunday, 2.9:

Yoga; running.

Cold, bleak morning. Was up early and knocked the running out of the park, though. Awesome!

Monday, 2.10:

Yoga, adding Utthita Parsvakonasna. First time since starting anew that my practice felt strong!

Lifting, running today as well.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 155× 5
Overhead Press: 100× 2; 95 x 3
Deadlift: 155 x 1

RAWR! STRENGTH!

Another good run! Finally getting into decent running shape!

Tuesday, 2.11:

A bit tight in yoga practice today. Tomorrow we’ll add another pose. Forget the name of it, but it’s one of the most challenging ones for me.

I feel like running today, but it’s an off day. Tomorrow!

Wednesday, 2.12:

Yoga. Held off on adding the pose. Will do tomorrow. Remember, the goal is not to have to backtrack, so going too slowly is more preferred than going too quickly, which can be disastrous.

Running and StrongLifts today. Weee! I’m getting noticeably stronger. Fitter.

The run was, by quite a bit, the most challenging to date. Ran the first lap fast, but not blazingly so, yet for whatever reason I felt absurdly winded for lap two and three. Third lap was damn near a crawl, relative to my normal pace. Lower back fatigue, too, which I — rightly or wrongly — interpret as a) out of shape and/or b) too much muscle added on to the upper body, too quickly.

-shrugs- Probably just burst through a plateau.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 155× 5
Bench Press: 145 x 5
Barbell Row: 105 x 5

Woooooo!

This was the first lifting session where I did not feel like Hulk: energized with masculinity. At moments I had to focus and push myself through.

I may only do StrongLifts x3 for this week only. The more weight that is added, the tougher the workouts, obviously. Progressively tougher sessions for yoga, too? Yoga is more of a priority.

Good work, Adam! Strong day’s work.

Thursday, 2.13:

Yoga, adding Parivritta Parsvakonasana.

Biking, a good amount of it. Maybe 20 miles total. Legs feel stronger than ever!

Friday, 2.14:

Full Moon!

That means a day off for yoga.

Biking, just a small amount. To run, mostly.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 155× 5
Overhead Press: 105× 2; 100 x 3
Deadlift: 155 x 1

Woah! I thought I did 100 on Overhead on Monday, so moved up to 105. But no, I actually should’ve done 100 x 5. The fact that I could do what I did today means I am certainly getting stronger!

Gaining weight, too. With all this lifting I may indeed bulk up, but when the period comes to an end, and it’s predominantly yoga and biking/running, I’ll end up cut up like a Greek God.

Running later.

Tough run. My lower back got sore for the second consecutive run. Sore and tight more so than Wednesday. Ruh-roh.

Am I putting on too much muscle/weight too soon or what? Am I running faster? .75 miles should not be difficult, right?

Saturday, 2.15:

Yoga.

Was going to participate in a 16-mile cycling get-together on Meetup, but reading about chronic stress in Spark has convinced me to lay back and see how the StrongLifts schedule affects my body and well-being.

There will be plenty of time and opportunities for runs and cycling. But not if I burn myself out beforehand.

So today it’s just yoga and biking to SSS, which is a fair bike ride, in fact.

Did not bike to SSS after all.

Sunday, 2.16:

Took an impromptu day off from yoga. Reading Spark helped lessen the feelings of guilt. Rest is vital!

Just ran. Good run, much less back soreness.

I seem to have gained five pounds within the past month. StrongLifts in full effect!

Monday, 2.17:

Yoga, adding Prasarita Padottanasana A.

Arduous practice. Felt tight. Felt the stress my feet undergo with the tile just under the mat. Hope to get a Manduka by the end of March!

First day where I firmly felt StrongLifts negatively affecting my practice. This week I’ll remain at 3x a week, for balance purposes, but then the following week I will almost assuredly go back to 2x a week. The only exception is if my body shows able adaptation and this week goes swimmingly.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 160× 5
Bench Press: 150 x 5
Barbell Row: 110 x 5

RAWR! RAW STRENGTH! HOLLA AT CHA BOI!

That was the testosterone talking.

It was funny: on the second set of squats, I slowly but surely lost my balance as I bent below parallel. It didn’t just feel like slow motion, but it actually was: I gradually stumbled onto my backside.

But it wasn’t because the weight was too heavy. On the contrary, it actually felt lighter than the 155 felt last Monday. I simply, and seemingly randomly, lost my balance.

The fall did not cause any injury in large part because of strength and skill gained through yoga and weight lifting. How awesome!

I felt very strong today. The bench press, which had been quite arduous the prior few weeks, felt easier than ever! It wasn’t easy, but I was shocked at how much strength I had just one week after struggling so much.

Barbell rows were easy. I may just add five pounds on Friday, the next time I repeat this set of lifts.

I will go running later. I have decided to go from 3.5 to 4 runs per week. All that means is alternating the schedule, running consecutively once during the week, and then the typical on-off schedule. So Sunday-Monday will become the consecutive runs, adding runs on Wednesday and Friday as well.

It just came to me intuitively, but I think it will serve well in affording my body more recovery time. Running on days I lift (M-W-F being lifting days) will give my mind and body more time without strenuous activity, which shall increase my health and fitness. (Thanks, Spark!) This is because my main weakness was having so few hours of total rest.

So the days I don’t lift or run will be yoga and, if I so choose, biking days (as well as the occasional hike, I imagine). In other words: low-impact.

Weeeee!

Tuesday, 2.18:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A

A little tight, but strong practice nonetheless. Great breathing!

Wednesday, 2.19:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A

Strong practice.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 160× 5
Overhead Press: 105× 5
Deadlift: 160 x 1

I had to check the weight during squats: ‘Is this really 160?’

Yes. Yes it is.

I was not feeling it going into this workout. Just tired. A little scared, too. First time I’ve been scared coming into StrongLifts since we began this cycle. (This is Week 8, for the record.)

I am slightly discouraged that my physique is not yet reflecting my substantially improved strength.

I mean, I was struggling with 95 lb on Overhead a few weeks ago. Now I’m blasting — okay, it was a little bit of a struggle; form suffered on maybe four total reps — through 105.

By the end of this cycle, I’ll probably have surpassed or be at all my personal record in lifts. My SL goals are within sight!

This week has been much better, stress-wise, than last. I am starting to believe I will keep it at 3x a week until the end.

Also ran, yes. A strong run! I still have not timed any of my runs, but I can tell I am getting substantially faster.

I’ll keep it at .75 miles until next month, where I shall increase it to a full mile.

Keep chuggin’ along, Adam.

Thursday, 2.20:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B

Strong practice.

No biking or anything else.

Friday, 2.21:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B

Will get a Manduka soon. I practice over tile floor; it’s killing my feet.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 160× 5
Bench Press: 150 x 5
Barbell Row: 110 x 5

And a run.

You know the deal.

Saturday, 2.22:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B

Feet are taking the worst of it.

Biking for errands around the city. Other than that: chilling.

Sunday, 2.23:

Yoga:

Sun Salutations:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C

Good practice. Biked to and fro SSS. Ran with Gil.

Monday, 2.24:

Yoga:

Sun Salutations:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C

Good practice, although I did not sweat. Odd. Bandhas and strength and endurance and flexibility are all significantly improved. Going slowly is really paying off!

Looking forward to getting my Manduka later this week.

Ran. Had stomach distress the first lap. Hampered the entire run, truly. Oh well.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 165× 5
Overhead Press: 110× 2; 105 x 3 (failure on the very last rep)
Deadlift: 165 x 1

Had the least amount of rest this workout. Yes, definitely my strongest SL to date.

Tuesday, 2.25:

Yoga:

Sun Salutations:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C

Very close to abandoning, or at least severely delaying, today’s practice. Yikes!

Crisis mode. Tomorrow: first thing. No excuses.

Went for a run, too. Going to run tomorrow and Thursday, too, because it’s set to rain Friday and Saturday.

Saturday is a much-needed off day, by the way, completely off for everything. And a juice fast to boot. March 1! New Moon!

May hike with Gil later.

Wednesday, 2.26:

Yoga:

Sun Salutations:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C

Time to add Prasarita D tomorrow?

StrongLifts:

Squats: 165× 5
Bench Press: 155 x 5
Barbell Row: 115 x 5

Failed a couple of times during the 4th and 5th sets of Bench. Still lifted all of them at 155 in the end, however.

Everything else was fine. Chugging along.

Going for a run after a hot bath. Then the hike with Gil.

Thursday, 2.27:

Yoga:

Sun Salutations:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D

Friday, 2.28:

Yoga:

Sun Salutations:

Surya Namaskara A & B, 5x each

Standing Sequence:

Padangusthasana; Padahastasana

Utthita Trikonasana; Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana; Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D

StrongLifts:

Squats: 165× 5
Bench Press: 155 x 5
Deadlift: 165 x 1

Ugh. Bench Press wasn’t scheduled. Overhead Press was. Whoops!

Bench was pretty hard. Lifted to failure a couple of times at the end.

Everything else was cool.

Hmm, so what does this mean… Overhead Press two consecutive days? So 110 x 5 next Monday and Wednesday. So Squat/Overhead/Row, and then Squat/Overhead/Deadlift.

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