So after a month or so of getting my bearings at the gym after a decade away, I hired a personal trainer to have a look at me and see where I’m going wrong.
I’ve had not much success with the trainers I’ve had in the past; Extreme Fitness was the only place I had them and frankly… they sucked.
I was pretty good at self-assessment of what was wrong, but I had no idea how to correct it.
Basically, my squat is terrible. Awful. Painful to watch.
I knew that.
Brian, the nice chap I hired to fix where I’m wrong, had me come in on Wednesday night to do my regular workout. Prior to the workout, he did a full mobility assessment and got to see just how messed up I am.
And how messed up am I? Pretty messed up. Some muscle groups are way over developed and some are barely even there. This was clearly evidenced when watching me do what can laughably be called a “squat”.
First off, I’m not the most flexible guy in the world. In fact, despite a decade of Tae Kwon-Do and a lot of Yoga, I still can’t touch my toes. This is contributing to some real mobility issues on full body movement, namely, the squat.
Lemme put up a quit video of a good squat, for that, here’s my go-to fitness blogger, Cookie Monster:
That’s a good squat. (I still don’t think Cookie Monster actually exists and is really some very good CGI…)
Here’s a representation of what mine looks like:
Actually, this kinda looks better than my squat.
So what did Brian have me do?
Well, weight down to 65lbs from 205lbs. Switching from 5x5s to 10x10s. And there is now a bench behind me that I have to lower my ass to, touch, and then go up each time now. Basically, box squats.
It’s brutal. (That guy has his legs incredibly wide, almost in a sumo position, which is odd… but whatever).
Hopefully it will work.
I will say my squat was looking a lot better towards the end of the session, however my legs are sorely mis-developed. And that’s my own fault.
As for my bench, I was pleasantly surprised.
I’ve never really done the bench press as I didn’t have access to a bar, well, ever. So I didn’t have any bad habits formed. This is good.
Anyways, I’m supplementing with the abductor machine until my hip-flexors catch up to the size of my quads.
So, a setback in the weight, but I’m happy with learning and being on the path to corrections.
Not much has really happened in the past while outside of me consuming a lot of media and working on fine-tuning the diet and workout.
Rogers stock has surpassed $41 for the first time in over a year and I’m torn on whether to sell off some of my shares or not. Potato recommends selling some as all eggs in one basket is bad, that said, I don’t have anything else I’m dying to invest in and my gut is telling me that the shares will rise slowly for the foreseeable future especially with LTE roll-out as that opens up an entirely new batch of potential customers. Decisions decisions.
Has anybody else noticed that both Twitter and Reddit are going down due to overload a lot lately?
I will tell you, consuming 4000+ calories in an 8 hour window is rough; especially when you’re used to somewhere around 2000. As you saw in my previous posts, my diet has completely changed. I’m full all the time during that 8 hour feed, which is an odd feeling after being on such a low calorie diet for the past few years.
On the plus side, my body mass is also increasing dramatically as I haven’t missed a workout or a meal. I’m up over 10lbs since October 11th but I would imagine it will slow down. Lift weight has also been steadily increasing, so that’s nice.
Speaking of lifting, the big 5 (Squats, Bench Press, Dead-lifts, Overhead Press and Rows) are steadily rising in terms of weight lifted. My worst lift, by far, is the barbell row. I’m failing way early on it and I think my form is shot to hell. I’ve always suffered from weak lats and traps, but I think that I’m over-taxing them in a hope to make them grow faster. Over training is bad, kids. So I’m gonna cut out pull-ups entirely, and drop it down to just barbell rows and lat cable pull-downs on the same day.
Wasn’t that exciting?
On to the plethora of media I consumed this week…
Who wants some BCs?!
Potato was on some super-secret evil-overlord conference in Turkey last week so we didn’t get to play much. The three games we did play, we destroyed Rez and Farlander (OH THAT’S RIGHT! I WENT THERE! BRING IT!), but haven’t played since. With all the new games that have come up (and are coming out) in the next two months, I’m not sure how much time we’ll have to play (plus, I really need to study…). The new patch made some changes… I guess… I don’t really read them. I just build what Tater tells me to and then hide.
The Good Life
Grabbed this yesterday. Loving it so far. Pretty sure it’s a “will buy” when the retail comes out (yes, I’m a pirate, but I support the games I play for more than 6-8 hours). Truth be told, it’s been a few months since I played Fable 2, but on first impression, the graphics are much better, especially the lighting. They’re not up to levels like Assassin’s Creed, but they are beautiful regardless.
The world is immersive and the landscapes are gorgeous. I’m only a little ways in so far, but already the game feels larger than Fable 2. And I do enjoy how it heralds back to Fable 2 (going so far as to reference my previous characters achievements and gender as the information is stored on the same drive).
Also, the humour is substantial and very amusing. Within an hour of playing the game I found myself running around in a chicken costume rounding up stray chickens. When I would find them, they would start clucking some song which I found very funny. Upon completion of this quest, I was also deemed a Hero Among Chickens, which honestly made me feel a lot better than it probably should have.
As for gender, I always play as a female character in games when the option presents itself. It’s not some latent tendencies or a chauvinistic personality, I just prefer to look at a woman when playing a game for hours on end; I think they look leagues better than the male counterparts in most games, especially in RPGs where getting cool outfits is part of the fun. In Fable 2 the female models for both player characters and NPCs were… large… to say the least. They didn’t look like women. That’s not the case in this one, but I will tell you, there’s some serious modeling issues with breast size… my first thought when loading into the world was “wow… those are… um… large.” With all the cardio my character gets (retrieving chickens and the such), I’m amazed that that cup size hasn’t been reduced…
Anyways, so far Fable 3 is excellent and I’m sure it will eat up some time.
You had such promise...
Star Wars – The Force Unleashed 2
I really wanted to love this game. It was at the top of my “most anticipated” list for 2010.
Sadly, it was not to be.
The only reason that I don’t like it is the length.
The story is fine. The gameplay is more of the same from Force Unleashed (which I loved). But the damn thing was finished, by ME (a TERRIBLE gamer) in 4 hours. On normal.
That’s just wrong. That would be short even for an add-on to an existing game (hell, I think Half-Life Episodes are like 15-20 hours), but for a full game that they’re asking $60 for? Forget it. That’s inexcusable.
I’m a huge proponent of single-player games. I don’t enjoy playing online (outside of narrative co-op, which there simply are not enough of), so the single player story is all I look forward to.
Actually, as I’m just going through this post to proof-read, I’ve been thinking about this… the more I think about the story structure of this, it REALLY seems like it was just the first chapter of something grander; especially considering the inclusion of everyone’s favorite jet-pack sportin’ bounty-hunter and the up-in-the-air ending. Really odd…
Oh ya… and that giant monster that you saw in the first trailer for this way back in 2009… totally redesigned and much crappier looking in the retail game.
Lookit me! I'm so angsty and emo with my cross... whip... thing...
Castlevania – Lords of Shadow
I was never deep into the Castlevania lore from the old platforming games… the sum total of my knowledge was the protagonist was Simon Belmont, he was fighting dracula, and he used a whip instead of a sword.
This new game, Lords of Shadow, is pretty, but to be honest, the story did not grab me enough to make me want to continue playing beyond an hour or so of gameplay (I was waiting for Fable 3 to download). I may return to it if I get really bored down the road, but I doubt it.
So far what I gathered from the story is cliche (that’s not to say bad, just… as expected); evil has entered the world, killed my wife, I’m going out for vengeance and to figure out where the evil is coming from. blah blah blah.
As I said, it’s pretty. The graphics are great, especially the lighting. I do not like the health pool mechanics. As I mentioned up above in my Star Wars rant, I’m not a great gamer; I play stuff on normal for the story. In the past 5-10 years, most games have a form of health regeneration where you get better over time while out of combat. CLOS has gone back to the old “find a health pot in the world” in order to heal yourself. I hate it. Mostly cuz I suck, but still, I hate that mechanic.
The quicktime events also bug the hell out of me as I just hate them in general and my reaction times aren’t that great… well that’s not true, my reaction times are great, but I always hit the wrong damn button.
I put the game down when I encountered a giant ice… giant… on a frozen lake. I couldn’t figure out at first what I was supposed to do, then when I did figure it out, the mechanics were so unforgiving, that I was thrown from the arm (you hang on to bigs of the giant and destroy runes on his body) 5 times. “To hell with this” and I put in Fable 3.
So in short, pretty game, cliche story, stupid quicktime events and an asinine and unforgiving health pool.
Oh, ya… and where the hell is Dracula?!
I'm a superstar!
Rock Band 3
The song list is amazing. But I’m gonna wait to write more about it until I can get the midi controller and the Fender guitar when they release it in the new year.
Baby, you're a rich man...
The Social Network
I watched a few movies last week, the best of which was The Social Network, which I caught with Mike on Thursday evening. I loved it, as I knew I would.
Written by Aaron Sorkin (my favorite screenwriter, yes, that includes Joss Whedon) and directed by David Fincher, it tells the story of how Facebook got started.
The dialogue is tight (as expected from the writer of The West Wing), and the direction is excellent (it’s David Fincher…).
I really wish I’d been there for Facebook… dude was a billionaire before 30. Would be nice.
These guys toss around money numbers that make my mind boggle.
Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps
I really enjoyed the first Wall Street and the Gordon Gekko charater. This sequel did not let me down either. It was not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it was a good film with strong narrative and nods to the original that I greatly enjoyed. The integration of the 2009 meltdown was a strong plot point and I found the whole film fascinating.
Remember the three rules.
It was just released on Bluray and as soon as I heard that, the theme song stuck in my head until I watched it.
They just don’t make them like that any more.
"I'm like a peacock, you gotta let me fly!"
The Other Guys
Stupid movie, but it made me laugh quite a bit, and that’s all I was asking of it. Basic plot, Mark Whalberg and Will Farrel are the background cops you see in the buddy cop movies. When the two big-shot super-hero cops (played superbly by Dwayne Johnson and Sam Jackson) die (in the most hilarious death scene this year) there is a void that needs to be filled. These two step up and get into all manor of hijinks.
My favorite parts were weith Sam Jackson and Dwayne Johnson, but there’s some great material here… and the police captains (Michael Keaton) second job is hilarious.
Just thought I’d take a picture of what I buy to eat on a weekly basis. It changes sometimes, but for the most part, this is what I eat in a week (except the yogurt is doubled this week… it was on sale…).
So as fall has rolled around, I think I’ve finally got all my ducks in a row and am ready, for the first time, to actually do an appropriate size and strength gaining program for the winter.
As of right now, I’m at 171lbs. Last week I was at 167lbs. So the increase is coming, but I’m hoping to see if I can safely increase that rate of gain.
I’m not to concerned about gaining fat as the past 8 weeks have shown very clearly that using Intermittant Fasting really does help with staying lean. The 16 hour fast period has been helping my upper two abs become more defined without adding a cardio and with a greatly increased calorie intake.
So now the question becomes, what can I do to increase the rate of gains?
My original goal was to hit 190lbs by the end of November while matching the weight gain with strength gains. I think that is easily obtainable having logged everything I’ve been eating and lifting for several weeks now and seeing the linear progression.
The difficulty with IF and muscle mass gain is that it is very hard to cram >3200 calories into a 6-8 hour eating window without bumping the fat content into the stratosphere.
After talking with a friend, and reading and asking questions extensively on Reddit, I think that it’s worth it, for the time being, to throw caution to the wind and attempt the GOMAD program.
So what’s GOMAD? It’s a Gallon Of Milk A Day.
That’s a lot of moo-juice.
I’m currently drinking homogenized at 3.2% fat content. I’ll probably drop this to 2% to offset to some degree the amount of fat contained. I’ll also cut out peanut butter. I think that’s still going to keep me somewhere north of 35% fat content for workout days, but I’ll try to help that by consuming at least 30% of the milk intake in the form of a protein shake.
So let’s see some pretty tables…
First, here’s my intake prior to starting the heavy lifting Starting Strength/Stronglifts program that I’m doing now:
And here’s what I’ve been eating for the past month:
On a workout day.
On a rest day.
If I modify my workout day to incorporate 2 liters of milk (half of the GOMAD) and drop it down to 2% from whole milk, add 2 protein shakes, and half a sweet potato I get this:
Though I’d LIKE to breach 5000 calories, I don’t think that’s reasonable at this point, so I’ll start with this on workout days and stick with my above non-workout days.
This, obviously, is not intended for the long-term. I will do this until the new year or when I pass 200lbs (whichever comes first) and then switch back to a cutting diet.
To most of you, this probably seems nutty, but this is my hobby and there’s nothing dangerous that I’m doing here; there’s no steroid use and the short-term cholesterol increase should have no long-term side effects.
I really wish I had a camera to document progress on this program.
Oh well. Let’s see how it goes. Any advice or thoughts are welcomed.
I hope everyone had a nice thanksgiving. I headed up to the cottage for a weekend with the family. Had a wonderful turkey dinner on Saturday and got a bunch of work done with my brother on the in-floor heating, completing the heat transfer plate installation as well as getting the insulation all up. Framing for the downstairs can now proceed.
How To Train Your Dragon
I watched this on Thursday evening with my dad at the cottage. It was a cute little movie with some very interesting creature design. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I’m not a better person because I’ve seen it. Still not sure on the historical accuracy of it; apparently all mature vikings are Scottish and young vikings are either Spanish or American… something strange must happen at puberty. Overall, a very enjoyable film which I would recommend.
L’Immortel (22 Bullets)
A French film produced by Luc Besson staring Jean Reno, I was expecting a little more action. A revenge film about a mob boss in Marseilles shot 22 times by rivals and the revenge he enacts upon those who wronged him. It’s a good film, but can move slowly at times. I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t watch it again. See it if you’re a fan of Jean Reno.
Resident Evil Afterlife
Crap. Not even pretty crap. Just stupid. I liked the first one in this series, but they’ve just gotten worse and worse as it progresses. They make money though, so I’m sure we’ll see more. Don’t waste your time, in my opinion.
Exercise and Diet
As we’ve come in to the fall here, I’ve decided I want to increase my strength over the winter months, probably until March, and then slim down again for next summer. In order to do that, I need to put on some muscle, which means putting on weight, which means increasing my daily calories.
I’ve switched all of my No-Fat and Low-Fat products to 2% or 3.5% versions and upped my calories to about 3400 per day. It’s a lot of food, but I’m not having any trouble yet.
Right now I’m at 167lbs and I’d LIKE to hit 180lbs by Christmas (which I think is reasonable). That is without gaining to much fat.
The squat goal is 200lbs by my birthday.
We shall see.
I’m having some flexibility issues with my squat, but I’ve got a stretch now which seems to be helping. I’ve just got to remember to do it every day and try to hold it for at least 2 minutes. But I figure if I’m not going deep on the squats, I’m just wasting my time. I’ve added in the leg-press along with leg-extension and hamstring-curls to try to up my leg strength as quickly as possible. Probably stop those within the next month or so if I plateau.
HTPC Storage Space
I’m running seriously low on storage space for the HTPC. I think I’m going to pick up a storage bay Rosewill RSV-S5 SATA 3G 3.5″ HDD 5-Bay. I’m going to try to hold off till after my birthday though. That, with 5 2TB drives, would give me 9.09TB of storage space with a backup in case of drive failure. Should last me at least a few months.
StarCraft 2 – Heart of the Swarm
According to Kotaku, apparently Heart of the Swarm, the next chapter in the StarCraft 2 story is, at minimum, 18 months from store shelves. This means that it will be over 3 years, at the current rate, before we finish the SC2 story. As a single-player-preferred gamer, that’s a REALLY long wait to see what happens.
It’s only October 12th, 11 degrees Celsius, and already I’m ready for spring. I really don’t know why I still live in this country.
Rogers stock, after a LONG period hovering between $35 and $38 has finally passed $40. Now the question is, do I want to sell some? If so, how much? And where do I put it if I get it out? Potato is wise in his suggestion to not have all eggs in one basket, but right now that basket is producing some mighty fine eggs. So at what point to I spread out?