Begin...The Rest is Easy

Well shit, I jinxed it, Bruce has peptic ulcers, whatever those are, so the show got postponed indefinitely. Worked out okay because I got slammed by a 3 hour meeting this afternoon so i wouldn’t have had time for the peloton anyway.

Peloton 45 min @ 190 watts

Holy shit balls that sucked. Work was in zones 3-5. I sat in the 3 hour meeting (during which caffeine consumption was high and hydration wasn’t), took the dog on a warm humid walk and jumped straight on the bike. HR was about 35-40 points higher than my normal start point and it never recovered. I was essentially redlining for the last 30 minutes of the ride.

Going to hit bench tomorrow, give the legs some meat, liquid and rest and hope this weekend’s ride is better. It’s an hour at zones 3/4 so it’s not going to be a cake walk.

Completely unrelated but I’m once again endeavoring to learn a bit more Spanish, since I know you’re a language wiz @Bagsy do you have any favorite methods for learning a new language? How’s your Russian going? What are you doing to learn that?


Does that mean that you already know some Spanish? If so, how well? It’s hard to say much without that information. In any case, what suits me may not very well suit you due to different preferences, learning styles, or lifestyles. I am happy to elaborate if you provide some context though.

I’m much closer to B2 than to B1, should probably reach it by spring, so I think it’s going pretty well.

For the past nine months or so I’ve mainly been listening to various podcasts and YouTube videos. I also speak with natives once or twice per week. I write a lot of lengthy messages to my language partners throughout the week. I sometimes read news articles but not as often as I’d like.

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In a quantitative sense, I took 2 years in high school (roughly useless), took 3-4 low/intermediate-level courses in college, and spent a few months in Costa Rica (late 2000s) where i spoke to my host family and most Costa Ricans in Spanish but wasn’t fully immersed as I had some English travelmates. I just took some test that was supposed to assess what level I should study at and it gave me B1. I have little faith in that assessment though.

Qualitatively, not very well. I can read and write better than I can speak it and much better than I can hear it. In my head, I can have conversations with myself about my day-to-day life but haven’t actually meaningfully engaged with Spanish in the last decade plus. When I listen to a beginner podcast I know everything they are saying but am also reminded of two or three phrases or oddities with each 20 minute episode.

Nice, I think, in general, that consuming more Spanish (any language really) media (in a variety of forms) is a promising way to learn something.

I never took any CEFR certifications but I imagine in Swedish I reached somewhere around high B2-A1 (took high school level courses, read ~15 novels, read some political science papers, spoke it in all scenarios). The necessity really helped in that case.

Nice! I didn’t know that you spent some time in Costa Rica. Probably you could just read the descriptions for each level and see which one resonates with your current abilities most, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re around B1.

I see. Have you thought about dramatically increasing the time you spend listening to Spanish content and/or finding a language partner with whom you can regularly speak?

Yep. At the bare minimum I listen to 1.5 to 2 hours of foreign language content per day. A lot of people read that figure and immediately insist that they don’t have time for that, but it adds up easily during my commutes, runs, chores, etc. I might spend additional time talking to a language partner or reading something, but I attribute my successes in language learning to lots of time spent listening. An added bonus from it is that I’ve never struggled very much with pronunciation.

Maybe you mean B2-C1? There is no way that an A1-level speaker is reading novels, hahaha. That’s impressive though. I didn’t know that your Swedish was that advanced.

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I hadn’t really developed a plan but I’ve listened to over an hour each of the last few days. It turns out if I listen while walking the dog I get an hour a day. Started with a podcast about the spread of the internet to one neighborhood in Cuba and while I got the gist, I missed a lot. So I jumped into a podcast that teaches it and have been doing the very annoying (so many ads, don’t want to pay for it) Duolingo on my phone when otherwise doing nothing.

I have a few friends that I could speak to who are native Spanish speakers, one of whom is going to be on my backpacking trip, might try to set something up with him.

Always been a weak point of mine and probably a decent portion of the reason I don’t continue progressing, I don’t feel comfortable speaking it.

I had quite literally just read the table describing the ranking and still goofed up lol.

Sweden had free courses for immigrants to learn Swedish, one actually gave me a few hundred dollars for passing a class with a good grade. Once past the initial level you could qualify for loans (at an absurdly low interest rate) to study at more advanced levels. Made things a lot easier.

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Peloton 60 min @ 187 watts (9 watt PR)

I ended up taking both Friday and Saturday off from exercise, I woke up Friday and my back was in a huge knot, my lower back, hip, and left foot were all in mild discomfort. I figured I could probably lift upper but also considered I just needed some rest. Woke up Saturday and felt marginally better but not great so just did some stretching, hydrating, and eating.

Didn’t feel perfect today but quite a bit better, I think whatever issue I have with my left side was exacerbated by the high intensity biking efforts, when pushing today it was definitely noticeable. Luckily, everything was loosened up by the halfway point of the ride and it was pretty smooth sailing from there.

HR was 159 on average, which is a shocking 10 points lower than my ride Thursday which was 15 min shorter and only 3 watts higher. Think the recovery helped there.

Plan is to get some food in me and do a quick gym session this afternoon.

I’ve got two low intensity rides next week followed by my FTP test, will probably stress about it soon but not quite yet haha


Got in and got some chest and a bit of legs.

Bench: bar 2 x 10, 135 x 10, 5, 185 x 5, 225 2 x 5, 245 2 x 5, 275 x 5

Pull-ups: 8,8,10
BSS: bw x 8, +25 x 8, +35 x 8

Superset, 3 rounds:
Tri overhead 80 x 10
Rope pull through: 120 x 10
Tri pulldowns: 80 x 10

Bench felt better than it has in a long long time, shoulder felt a bit weak but wasn’t giving me any pain which is lovely. Definitely have some work to do to get strong again here but this is a step in the right direction. Pull throughs got the glutes firing nicely and the BSS sucked, as usual. Probably all the leg work I’ll do until the FTP test


Back for back

Cable row (medium, neutral): 90 x 15, 110 x 12, 130 2 x 10
Smith bb row (pronated): 135, 185 x 10, 235 2 x 10

Súper set
Hammer pulldown: 90, 140, 210 x 10, 260 2 x 10
Hammer curls: 20 x 15, 2 x 25 x 10

Super set
Back extension: bw x 10, +50 2 x 10
Straight bar curls: 50 2 x 25

Decent amount of work, had a few beers and a few smokes last night and stayed up reading later than normal so getting going was a chore but solid work overall. Back is feeling stronger.

Will try to squeeze some extra work in later.


Yeah, on top of how awesome listening is, it’s very easy to squeeze into the day compared to other methods. Though of course reading, writing, and speaking are also important.


Unfortunately, one must speak in order to get better at speaking (as you already realize). There comes a point where it becomes fun or at least much less dreadful. Some people out there don’t care about speaking their target language, but I have a feeling that you aren’t one of them. :smiley:

That’s a good idea. You can also easily find people who are willing to help others with Spanish in exchange for English practice. Your friends might be willing to consistently help you, but usually an exchange where both parties are equally ambitious is ideal.

I can see why that would be an effective motivator!

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Peloton: 45 min @ 175 watts

This was a lower intensity effort and felt that way, which I’m happy about. HR was 149 on average down 12 points from the start of this program while averaging 10 watts more. Lots of progress in conditioning, breathing, and efficiency.

Wasn’t planning on drinking or going out before the FTP but my partner got her results from her certifying boards like 4 weeks early and she passed!!!


second-hand congrats


@throwawayfitness thanks man, I had a lot of confidence in her but the test is a beast so you’re never quite sure. She was delighted. Had 3 (strong) beers last night, a bunch of mediocre food (by diet and taste standards), and no cigs, woo. Still felt the beer this morning, lots of bloat.

13 min treadmill walk

Dead hang: 1 min
OHP: bar x 10, 95 x 5, 135 3 x 5, 1 x 8 (AMRAPBMSH)

Goblet squat hold, bottom position: 3 x 30s
Tri db overhead extension: 35, 40, 45 x 10

Cable lateral raises: 25 3 x 10
Tri rope pulldown: 70 x 15, 90 x 12, 110 x 10 (too heavy)
Face pulls: 90, 110 x 15

Decent enough workout AMRAPBMSH = As many reps as possible before my shoulder hurt. Had 2-4 more in the tank but 8 didn’t feel bad, not a ton of intensity or volume but I think this amount of work is doing me some good in the overhead game. Certainly better than not pressing. Squat holds and the dead hang were both attempts at curing some ailments, both felt good, not sure they will help much but I’ll try to keep them in. Figure both of those movements are things that I should be able to do pain/discomfort free.

Core and stretching on deck for this afternoon, another relatively easy Peloton for tomorrow.


Knocked these out in a row
10 min meditation/stretching
10 min foam rolling
10 min core

45 min peloton @ 167 watts
10 min peloton @ 148 watts

Riding was rough on the heart and legs today but made it through. 2 off days then the FTP test.


Took yesterday off, walked 13k steps but that’s just a bit more than normal. Body felt shit, so it was a good call.

Felt a bit better this morning and wanted to do something so I hit my biannual arm day.

Followed the first workout laid out in this article, except I substituted machine dips for bench dips. 30 second rests between sets. Mountain Dog Arms

Cross body hammer curls: 20 2 x 10 (warmup), 25 3 x 10
Ez preacher curl: 50 x 8 (warmup), 55 3 x 8
Ez curl (3s negatives) 55 2 x 8

1 min dead hang

Rope pushdown: 40 x 15 (warmup), 70 2 x 12, 90 2 x 12
Machine dip (failure): 90 x 10, 180 x 10 (warmup), 270 x 15,10,9
Skullcrushers: 50 3 x 15

Lots of focus on small pauses where Meadows lays them out and hard contractions, felt great. Should make this a quarterly affair, at least.

I had the dip machine set wide initially but moved it in for my last set, better tri focus. Also couldn’t get the weight right for that much volume with that little rest on the push downs went 70,90,90,70 lol

Bought myself some food to prep, my diet has been trash recently, need to get focus back there. FTP test tomorrow and maybe something else, if I don’t have a heart attack.


I can understand that to a degree but, like, how can you ever understand it without speaking it. The nuance available in writing is unique but really understanding people requires more than that.

How do you accomplish most of this? Does the letter writing/correspondence with pen pals make up a significant portion?

Hadn’t thought about that but mutual benefit, apart from money, is probably one of the better motivators.

A complete aside, how do you like The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We?

10 min peloton warmup
20 min FTP test @ 261 watts

My lord. I felt like I crushed the test I did a few months ago, I felt like this crushed me. Averaged 180 BPM for 20min with a peak of 189, pretty sure this qualifies as hard conditioning. Felt like I could’ve played things a little differently/better but I gave it all I had and improved by 7 watts at a similar weight, over 2 months.

Not going to test this again for at least 3-4 months, going to spend a lot of time expanding my base before I hit another one. Glad to have it over with, back to hitting the weights a bit harder and easier efforts on the bike.


Got a meadowsesque shoulder workout in, order was a bit off but pretty close to script otherwise

Rear deltoid flies: 15 3 x 25
Partial lateral raises (db): 30 4 x 15
Slight incline smith OHP: 95, 135 x 8, 185 3 x 6
Full lateral raise (Arsenal machine): 40 3 x 12

Holy smokes that pumped the bell out of my delts, took a few sets to get comfortable pressing in the smith machine but that ended up being fine, shoulder held up beautifully throughout it


Going full bro mate ?

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I did an arm day followed by a shoulder day, so I don’t think I can respond any way other than “yes.”

I was mostly just trying to do things that wouldn’t stress my back/lower body for that FTP test though, should be back to hitting lower with some intensity sooner rather than later.


I think they don’t want to understand people though :joy: only text.

I read a lot of books in German. Unfortunately, I can’t just borrow books in Russian and read them, so in that case I read news articles from time to time. But yeah, my language partners and I communicate a lot by text, so that covers a lot of this.

It’s especially nice if you are friends/become friends with language partners. It’s different for everyone, but for me, iTalki lessons with a decent teacher have done nothing for my Russian compared to communicating regularly with natives.

It’s amazing, and that’s coming from someone who has been more of a casual fan of Mitski. I binged it all weekend. But now I’m not sure – I might like Laugh Track better…

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