March Review:

Mars retrograde! Should I be surprised I had a setback? No, not really.

Fortunately, in a testament to the massive progress I have made — yet so often refuse to give myself credit for! — it was not long-lasting.

Cause? Burnout. Which is caused by improper maintenance.

Specific possible causes? Hmm. Too much lifting — that’ll tax the CNS. Did not meter out heavy/light days until Week 9 or 10. Ditto off days. Not enough protein. And withdrawal, of course.

Withdrawal was the big one, and the main reason I’m not too worried. I went 4-6 weeks with improper sleep. That alone is by far the biggest, most significant variable. Almost positive that plateau has been eclipsed. I’ll be just fine.

Also learned I need a week off. 12 weeks on, 1 week off.

All in all, however, March was a massive success. It signaled the end of my 12-week fitness window. Now we begin a new window.

Hmm. I’d like to come up with an nifty name for that.

Primary focus will be on yoga. Took it slow for the first 12 weeks. Now we’ll double the pace.

Lifting and running share second billing. Hiking and biking will get their due.

Week 1

April 1, Tuesday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Finishing Sequence:

Baddha Padmasana, Padmasana, Savasana

Mile run. Light biking.

April 2, Wednesday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana

Finishing Sequence:

Baddha Padmasana, Padmasana, Savasana

StrongLifts:

Squats: 180× 5
Bench Press: 160 x 5
Deadlift: 175 x 1

Squats were surprisingly tough. Pain in my upper/middle back area. Hmm. Soreness or pain? It’s more soreness than pain. Not sure. If it persists I will look into it. At the least I will be taking my sweet, sweet time adding weight to the squats.

Felt significantly stronger on the bench, yet I met my match on Set 5, Rep 4. Still looking for my first 5×5 of 160 without missing a rep.

Deadlift was almost easy.

Also did some curls.

April 3, Thursday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana, Paschimottanasana

Baddha Padmasana, Padmasana, Savasana

Two poses added. Another one or two poses added tomorrow, one from Primary and another from finishing.

Very sore this morning. The sorest I’ve been in many, many months. But I didn’t care. I was attacking this practice. Midway, in the midst of balancing poses, I felt the impact of my quietly focused energy. The fire inside.

It was subtle. I did not have to try to wield it. It was just there, harnessed by immense intention.

Attack mode, baby.

Might run today. If not today, certainly tomorrow. Have a big run coming up Sunday that I am cautiously intimidated about: 14 miles! I haven’t ran more than a mile in a long time!

But I am young and in good shape. I can do it. The only question is how much recovery the body will need afterwards.

Running:

.75 mile, with one lap and dynamic stretching for warmup, and walking one lap with static stretching for cool-down.

Lower back was tightening up throughout the run, starting some time on the second lap. Third lap was slow. Decided to listen to my body and call it short.

April 4, Friday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana, Paschimottanasana

Baddha Padmasana, Padmasana, Tolasana, Savasana

Two more poses added.

Tough practice; much more auto-pilot than yesterday due to the disruption and loss of sleep.

The good thing is that I can make it through auto-pilot just fine.

Running:

One mile, with one lap and dynamic stretching for warmup, and walking one lap with static stretching for cool-down.

Felt like I went a little bit slower, but my form was more compact. It felt good but not great.

During cool-down I noticed moderate soreness in my right leg, just below and a little to the side (gee, Adam, how cool would you have felt if you remembered the anatomical terminology?) of the calf. There goes the 14-mile run. I was going to call it off even before then; slow and steady wins the race! I must often remind myself of that.

Resistance:

Snatch: 50 lb x 3
Pullups: 3×3
Pushups: 15×1; 10×2
Leg lifts

Felt weird because I’m in the infancy stage: weak and not quite sure what I’m doing. But gotta start somewhere.

Want to study snatch/clean/jerk technique on my own for a bit. Then next month, or maybe late this month, I’ll hire Derek for an hour or two and come up to speed on the basics. Then, in July, I’m going to his buddy’s CrossFit gym and lifting Olympic lifts 3x/week. Badass!

But that’s then. For now I’m still figuring out the routine. Two days or three days a week? Been pondering. At least one day 5×5, and another day for body weight. But should I just keep body weight separate from snatch/clean/jerk? That’s what may end up happening. For now let’s just focus on learning form a little at a time, in bite-sized chunks. We’ll see how I feel next week.

My snatch form was clearly awful, but whatever. It’s a start. Not going to hurt myself lifting 50 pounds. But I can already tell it’s quite a challenging lift.

April 5, Saturday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C

Finishing Sequence:

Urdhva Dhanurasana, Paschimottanasana, Salamba Sarvangasana

Baddha Padmasana, Padmasana, Tolasana, Savasana

Added Paschimottanasana B & C, as well as Salamba Sarvangasana.

Bit fatigued, bit sore. Practice a little weaker. But got through it just fine. Once I got through Prasarita Padottanasana A-D, I was rolling. Lots of sweat.

Biking: about 15 miles total.

Pretty fatigued. Lots of food. Hopefully lots of sleep. Hot bath.

April 6, Sunday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C

Finishing Sequence

Yes, I did the entire finishing sequence. That’s adding eight or ten or however many poses in one day!

But they’re restorative, and headstand aside, not particuarly challenging. (Except Urdhva Dhanurasana. Still the bane of my existence.) I have a hunch that completing the entire finishing sequence will have significant benefits as far as recovery and hormonal profile goes.

Think about it. For many weeks I was doing vigorous Standing Sequence poses. There was little cool-down. Finishing is very important; it’s there for a reason. This adds tremendous balance to my routine and, quite frankly, it’s a bit long overdue.

I’ll stick to this routine for a while and allow my mind to adjust. (Physically I am more than capable; it’s all mental at this point.) Then, in 5-7 days, we’ll start adding Primary Series poses every day.

Running: one mile. My Achilles/calf is feeling a lot better! Had a friend give a massage in that area and it’s helped a ton. No pain during the run, or even discomfort. Felt ~80% after and feels fine now. Whew. May have dodged a bullet.

Biking: Moderate. Okay, lots of biking this weekend, relatively speaking. Yesterday was ~15 miles. Today was ~7 or 8. Legs definitely getting stronger, but I certainly felt fatigued.

Settled on a resistance training routine. Three days a week: M-W-F. 5×5, Olympic, body weight. Simple. It all fell into place and it feels right. Let’s do it!

April 7, Monday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Lack of sleep. Today is impromptu recovery.

May bike to grocery store. May not.

April 8, Tuesday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C

Finishing Sequence

What a struggle. My worst/best practice ever. Worst because, on the surface, it sucked. Best because I got through it nonetheless. It’s easy to get through it when all is well. Much harder when your body is wet cement.

Running: one mile.

Strongest run since I resumed last week. Very strong run. Leg pain/soreness/injury is completely gone. Amazing what a little massage can do!

StrongLifts:

Squats: 180× 5
Overhead Press: 110 x 5
Barbell Row: 125 x 5

Challenging. All of ’em.

But there’s no pressure to add weight. Just chugging along.

April 9, Wednesday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C

Finishing Sequence

Much stronger practice.

Patience. We’re up to an hour a day now. I feel like just rushing through the Surya Namaskaras, but there is no “rushing.” Everything takes its time.

4.4m hike this evening.

April 10, Thursday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C, Purvottanasana

Finishing Sequence

Felt a bit tight. Feeling a bit discouraged at perceived lack of progress.

Thinking often during practice. All kinds of thoughts.

Breath has been much stronger today and yesterday, however.

It may be time to cut back a bit on weight training. For the time being, anyway. This cycle isn’t supposed to be about weights anyway. It’s supposed to be about yoga.

To that end, I’m skipping Olympic lifts this week. Feel a bit run down today. A little on edge.

Body weight day and some curls tomorrow. Next week if I feel up to it we’ll do Olympics. We’ll see.

Running: one mile. Strong run, even though I didn’t feel like it. Body responding well.

Hike yesterday evening was good. Met new people. Discovered a new trail. Moderate exercise. Great sights of nature. Amazing view. Good air.

April 11, Friday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C, Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Finishing Sequence

Yoga is demanding center stage once again. I think I fell in love with yoga all over again in today’s practice!

Ah, the perfect imperfections. I don’t know, something was just magical. Subtly so. No “wow” moments or energy. It just was. And I accepted it.

The finishing sequence is powerful. I can feel it relaxing me. Balancing my hormones.

Sleep is improving. I suspect that plus the additional yoga is leading to improved decision-making.

I was right all along. This three-month cycle is to be about yoga and cardio. Weight-lifting on the back burner.

I got ego-obsessed for a while. Focusing on my appearance, on looking swole, on stymied fat loss. Blah blah blah.

Feels good. Less stress!

April 12, Saturday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C, Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Finishing Sequence

Worked out with Ryan, too. Jump rope, pull-ups, pushups, leg lifts. Forgot curls. Find a way to do dips, too.

April 13, Sunday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Meh. -.-

At least I did that. Almost didn’t do anything. Something is always better than nothing.

April 14, Monday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C, Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

Finishing Sequence

A bit of a sloppy practice, but it was far from miserable. Enjoyable despite the sloppiness, the latter quality not evident until the balancing poses.

Had to take a huge dump (lol) at the end so the final few poses, especially Tolasana, were a bit rushed.

I realized I’ve added too many poses too quickly. We won’t be adding any for at least the next week. It’s become a mental barrier to start my practice: “Oh, an hour of this?!” We’ll work through that, though.

StrongLifts:

Squats: 180× 5
Bench Press: 160 x 5
Deadlift: 180 x 1

Realized how my Deadlift form is off.

I have finally come to a conclusion I am satisfied with. Adding weight isn’t the priority. I want to get to 200 Squat/DL, 175 Bench, 125 Overhead and 125 Row (already there), and that will happen even if I only add weight at a snail’s pace. For this 3-month cycle I am primarily focused on cardio.

Now’s the time to brush up on my form and to just find the enjoyment in lifting. I really did not want to lift today — only six hours of sleep — but once I started pumping iron I felt pretty darn good! Surprisingly good. It was actually — gasp — fun!

Get cut, lose fat, stay at 155 or even 150, and focus everything on yoga. Running, hiking, biking, jump rope, sprinting will come. Yoga is by far the most important.

Running: one mile.

April 15, Tuesday:

Full Moon

April 16, Wednesday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C, Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschmottanasana

Finishing Sequence

Bit of a mental challenge to begin, but this was a strong practice. We’re definitely nearing toward breaking through another plateau, so must stay strong and persevere.

Running: one mile.

Still taking it easy on the running, but that will change soon. Five trail runs for >5 miles set up over the next two weeks. Pretty excited!

Biking: around the city picking up groceries.

April 17, Thursday:

Yoga:

Surya Namaskara A & B, x5

Standing Sequence

Primary Series:

Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, C, Purvottanasana

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschmottanasana

Janu Sirsasana A

Finishing Sequence

Impromptu addition of Janu Sirsasana A! One of my favorite poses, so I don’t need much prompting to practice it. The Janu and Marichyasana series I adore!

Strong practice. For a few days or so I have been worried about the sudden additional workload. A handful of times I have gotten up to around this point of practice in the Primary Series, only to suddenly fall off. Determined to break that cycle.

I am impressed at what I have accomplished to date. I tend to be hard on myself, a pure perfectionist, but one must take a step back and honor what has been done. Deciding to go slowly has been the perfect decision!

Running: one mile.

 

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