T Nation

Debra's Attempt at a Log

As an attempt to try and figure out my goals, I’ve decided to start a log.

About me and up to today: I’ve been moderately active my whole life with some periods of lower activity. I recently decided to get into better shape largely due to the fact I’ve been smoking way too long and my family history of heart disease and diabetes has motivated me to focus on my health. I quit smoking over a year ago and began running and working out at the same time. I used the exercise as a way to keep me from smoking and satisfy my urges for smokes. Nothing seems to work better for me to kill cravings than a hard run.

Before I quit smoking my resting heart rate was in the 80’s, my blood pressure was moving towards high and my waist was 5 or 6 inches larger. I have my measurements from last year on a PC that needs some care to get it to boot up and I just haven’t gotten around to resuscitating yet so I’m going by memory here. My weight was about 145. (I’m just under 5’5)

A year later, my resting heart rate is around 50, I’ve even seen it drop below 50, but only twice. My blood pressure has dropped significantly to today’s measurement of 106/62. My waist is 25 inches and today I weighed in at 138.

At first I was mostly running/walking and my weightlifting routine was rather sad since I didn’t have a clue. Eventually I took to running everyday mostly 5-7k a day with some shorter intervals thrown in and some longer runs. I started on the path to train for a half marathon and stopped the intervals and sprints. I’ve since passed on the race and picked up the hills and sprints again.

As I learned more about lifting and began trying different things I came to enjoy the large compound lifts more than anything. I do all my lifting at home so my learnings have been limited. At the moment I want to get a coach and get some help and check my form but I haven’t actually called anywhere yet. I am rather intimidated :o I think I can only really say I’ve been lifting for 6 months because what I was doing for the first six months was more trying things on for size (and a lot of crossfit/metcon type stuff)

A good chunk of my motivation in the beginning was of course for looks but I’ve found as I’ve progressed that real gains in terms of speed, strength and power are much more motivating in the long run and I need those in order to stick with what I’m doing. I also really love the work. I love long runs, hard runs, sprints and I love all the lifting. It just feels great.

Unfortunately I haven’t kept a log on my progress and I don’t remember what I started at other than I couldn’t run for more than 2 minutes without getting winded, I could barely go at 5 or 6 miles per hour, my knees showed weakness when hiking and I had chronic neck pain. I have now been able to run 15k without stopping, just had a pr of 82s for 400m, just finished a strenuous 6 day backpacking trip with no pain in my knees whatsoever and my neck pain hasn’t shown itself since I started doing bench press. It’s been an incredible year of progress for me!

I’ve been torn on focusing on running and focusing on lifting and I’ve decided to focus on lifting, but still work on sprinting because I don’t think it’ll be as much at odds with lifting as say training for a half marathon. I do still need to get my running in because I’ve found without it I just want to smoke. There is something important I seem to get out of those 5ks in the morning but I do my best to keep the intensity at 95% or at least vary it.

There’s a gym close by that has a lot of power lifters and folks who are serious about training but it’s very intimidating. I’m planning on calling soon to see if there’s someone who’ll do some coaching of oly lifts but as of yet I haven’t done this.

Now as far as goals are concerned, here’s where I’m a bit uncertain. I don’t have any desire for any more fat loss (while a bit more to show my abs would be a bonus, but I don’t expect that to be maintainable). I do want to get stronger in all my lifts and I wouldn’t mind shaving another 5-10 seconds off my 400m. Perhaps for now a good goal would be 1.5x bw deadlift since I’m approaching 1x? I really am not too sure. I want do be able to C&J and snatch. Hopefully as my log comes along I’ll get more concrete goals.

I’m fully aware I’m a total newb at this and I appreciate any comments/criticism and what ever else anyone might want to say about my log, goals or any feedback whatsoever would be grand :smiley:

My favourite progress pics so far (I haven’t got any before pics right now):
[photo]16898[/photo]
[photo]16899[/photo]

Here’s Saturday and Sunday:
Sat:

sprints
-I did these on the treadmill with 400m jog, the 400m sprinting going 11 mph, 10 mph, 9, and 8 and walking or jogging in between. I don’t know how accurate the treadmill is. 82s is my personal record for 400m and my heart rate wasn’t nearly maxed out, so who knows what could come soon.

400m @ 82s
400m @ 90s
400m @ 100s
400m @ 113s

bench
75x8x3

squats
I’ve only just started adding weight to my squats and without a rack it’s pretty weak.
40x10x7

power cleans
80x8x3

dl
115x5x3

Sunday:

6k run with hills

Today: not there yet!

I’m so glad you’re keeping a log. Your start sounds very similar to my own. Particularly with the smoking and the cardio focused start to health. I worked out 5-6 days a week just to get over the nicotine cravings.

I started my squats the same way as well:) I have a barbell I bought at Walmart and I still use it when I work out at home.

I was indimidated for quite a while but once I made the move, it was no problem.

By the way, I’m completely envious of your legs.

Do you ever still feel like smoking? Mostly I don’t but sometimes, like last night a real craving hits me. I can remember that first hit of nicotine.

Hello!

Congrats on quitting…toughest thing ever!
I’m a former smoker myself…(it’s been over two years now)
I still struggle with urges…
Well, not to turn this into smokers anonymous, it’s good to have you here…and looking forward to your progress towards wherever you end up, LOL!

Thanks for the comments! My legs have just taken this shape recently. I think it was the backpacking trip that really made them strong, or at least lean enough to see the muscle.

I still crave cigarettes way too frequently. I took a week off running and working out two weeks ago and the cravings were strong! It disturbs me how much I still crave cigarettes since its been actually over a year ( I quit june 07) Pepperoni isn’t a bad substitute though :smiley: But I coughed last week and it was the first I could remember coughing in months.

Hi Debra!
You have done very well since you decided tomake your lifestyle changes and I look forward to following your log. I find it amazing that you managed to not put on weight after quitting smoking, I never smoked but everyone in my family who quit had that problem.
When I first stared at teh gym I used to be intimidated by the “boy’s side” of the gym and now I am right at home there. It’s just a matter of getting used to things and getting comfortablea nd knowledgeable about what you are doing.
Good luck!

Debra, I enjoyed reading your log. You sound a lot like me, too. I’ve been lifting for right at a year now, I guess, but more seriously (with more intensity and more dedication) since the beginning of the year. That’s probably when I switched from running as my primary gains focus to lifting.

I’ve found that I’m comfortable maintaining the runs rather than advancing. It’s my main stress reducer and a great place for me to think and problem-solve, so I need it for the psychological fix, but I find I’m happy enough just playing with speed.

Hi Ronda, thanks for your encouragement! I did plump up a bit in the beginning but I eventually lost the excess. It was hard to not diet when I could see my waistline grow but I knew I had to allow myself good food in order to get through and so I fought with exercise :smiley: I’m really glad I went that way because now I know I can eat like a horse as long as it’s clean and carbs are strategic and not put on any fat.

You’re so right about getting knowledgeable. I think I’d be a lot less intimidated if I knew more about what I was doing or talking about. I really think reading here and interacting with you guys will go a long way with my confidence level.

Emily, yeah I find I want to run for my minds sake more than anything. I have a great time in my head for the run but I think that only makes sense to someone else who runs for pleasure! Sprinting is different for me though–that’s just going all out giving it as much as I’ve got and enjoying the endorphins afterwards.

Yesterday I took a day off because of work interfering with sleep.

Today:

5k run this morning before work

after work:
Sprints:
couldn’t quite finish 400m at 11 mph which is good because the treadmill only goes to 12 mph and I’ll have to go outside to the track once I’m ready to move beyond! I think I might try the track anyhow because my garmin watch has a cool gps feature to set circuits and laps.

So:

400m @ 82s --> didn’t quite make it, did the rest okay
400m @ 90s
400m @ 100s
400m @ 113s

Squats:
These were still fairly easy on my legs but I’m not used to the weight behind my neck. I need a different hair solution!
55x10X3

Bench:
75x8x3

power cleans:
80x8x3

dl:
115x6x3

Ran 10k tonight. I was going to try and cut back on the long runs but well I didn’t. :stuck_out_tongue: I also managed 5 chin-ups (barely!) and tried and failed handstand pushups.

I think I might be at my leanest yet as the calipers at the suprailliac measured 6mm. (crikey!) But the scale has me at 142 this morning and 144 tonight. I think I’m up at least a 1/4 inch on my bicep :smiley: The weight is shocking and does not compute.

Tomorrow after work I will definitely call the gym and seek a coach. Now it is written here I must comply.

[quote]debraD wrote:
Ran 10k tonight. I was going to try and cut back on the long runs but well I didn’t. :stuck_out_tongue: I also managed 5 chin-ups (barely!) and tried and failed handstand pushups.

I think I might be at my leanest yet as the calipers at the suprailliac measured 6mm. (crikey!) But the scale has me at 142 this morning and 144 tonight. I think I’m up at least a 1/4 inch on my bicep :smiley: The weight is shocking and does not compute.

Tomorrow after work I will definitely call the gym and seek a coach. Now it is written here I must comply. [/quote]

Ahh yet another runner joins us :slight_smile: I’ll be honest, haven’t run much since my half-marathon though I did run the other day and felt fantastic during. Had morning after hip tightness, but that’s to be expected.

Anyways, I hear you on the weight thing. In the past few months I’ve put on 5 pounds but my inches have decreased everywhere I would want (put some on biceps and thighs given my high intensity leg sessions). I’ve given up using my scale as an indicator of anything. My trainer has said “Would you rather be 5’7, weigh 150 and be a size 8/10/12 or would you prefer to be 5’7, 155 and a size 6?” Well duh!

As for the hair, mine isn’t nearly as long as yours, but I tend to throw it in a pony tail then use another elastic and do some sort of bun. It ends up looking like I tried forever to achieve that “messy bun” look, but it works and you won’t keep pulling your hair with the weight on your back.

Hi Court! I did the bun thing, which ends up being close to a beehive once it unwinds itself a bit :smiley: and it was better but my squats are still awkward as hell. But at least the hair isn’t in the way now.

I tried front squats and I did alright but it was very hard on my chest. My legs aren’t getting the workout they should with these guys because of my other weaknesses. I’ll keep working on that.

What I’ve been up to: same as before, very very very slowly increasing weight :slight_smile: I think I can go higher on the power cleans and bench next time.

Thurs:

7k morning run

Sprints:
400m @ 82s (yay!)
400m @ 96s
400m @ 100s
400m @ 100s

bench
75X8X3

squats:
55X8X3

power cleans:
80x8x3

dl:
115x5x3

Fri:

10 k night run

Sat:

sprints:
400m @ 90s
400m @ 95s
400m @ 100s
400m @ 100s

bench
75x8x3

squats:
60x8x3

power cleans:
85x8x3

dl:
115x5x3

A week out of town and no work outs with the exception of a few 6-7k runs up logging roads (which did kick my ass). As my diet was not in my control and I couldn’t get the amount or type of food of my choice I lost a couple of pounds and probably from the wrong places. :frowning:

I don’t expect a lot of strength tomorrow in my first workout in a week and low fat/low protein diet. We shall see.

3k easy run

bench
75x8x1
80x5x4

squats:
85x5x5

power cleans:
85x5x5

dl:
115x7x1
120x5x4

I’ve been told I can do more so I added a bit more weight and tried 5x5

I’m still having trouble with the (front) squat because my chest doesn’t seem to want to hold the weight and I can’t keep my elbows forward. I have a poor quality video I might try and post for some feedback.

I did increase the weight significantly since my last workout and increased the sets also so I think I did pretty good. I’m still not feeling as much as I think I should in my legs and butt.

I also think my cleans need some work because I’m not bending my legs enough. Video is a great way to see what you’re doing wrong! I should post that too because I want criticism, but I’m afraid I’ll actually get criticism…hmmm :smiley:

Speaking of criticism, I’m a bit troubled by this forum and the lack of negative criticism.

Everywhere else I’ve ever posted on the internet about any subject I’ve been bombarded with harsh criticism from a gazillion experts telling me what an idiot I am, but no one has been even slightly rude or harsh or negative at all and I don’t know what to make of that… :o

[quote]debraD wrote:
3k easy run

bench
75x8x1
80x5x4

squats:
85x5x5

power cleans:
85x5x5

dl:
115x7x1
120x5x4

I’ve been told I can do more so I added a bit more weight and tried 5x5

I’m still having trouble with the (front) squat because my chest doesn’t seem to want to hold the weight and I can’t keep my elbows forward. I have a poor quality video I might try and post for some feedback.

I did increase the weight significantly since my last workout and increased the sets also so I think I did pretty good. I’m still not feeling as much as I think I should in my legs and butt.

I also think my cleans need some work because I’m not bending my legs enough. Video is a great way to see what you’re doing wrong! I should post that too because I want criticism, but I’m afraid I’ll actually get criticism…hmmm :smiley:

Speaking of criticism, I’m a bit troubled by this forum and the lack of negative criticism. Everywhere else I’ve ever posted on the internet about any subject I’ve been bombarded with harsh criticism from a gazillion experts telling me what an idiot I am, but no one has been even slightly rude or harsh or negative at all and I don’t know what to make of that… :o[/quote]

Would you feel more comfortable if I told you that you were having a bad hair day and you might want to look into it.

Just be careful who you take your feedback from. There are a million self appointed experts who have no more experience than any one else and can have you turning in too many directions.

I appreciate feedback from people who have demonstrated experience in my chosen sport such as some of the ladies and gentlemen here. The rest of it I discard or openly mock the source. It really depends on my mood at the moment.

I’d love to see your videos but I won’t offer advice since I don’t have much experience of my own. I love doing cleans too and I’m sure my form isn’t great.

[quote]debraD wrote:
3k easy run

bench
75x8x1
80x5x4

squats:
85x5x5

power cleans:
85x5x5

dl:
115x7x1
120x5x4

I’ve been told I can do more so I added a bit more weight and tried 5x5

I’m still having trouble with the (front) squat because my chest doesn’t seem to want to hold the weight and I can’t keep my elbows forward. I have a poor quality video I might try and post for some feedback.

I did increase the weight significantly since my last workout and increased the sets also so I think I did pretty good. I’m still not feeling as much as I think I should in my legs and butt.

I also think my cleans need some work because I’m not bending my legs enough. Video is a great way to see what you’re doing wrong! I should post that too because I want criticism, but I’m afraid I’ll actually get criticism…hmmm :smiley:

Speaking of criticism, I’m a bit troubled by this forum and the lack of negative criticism. Everywhere else I’ve ever posted on the internet about any subject I’ve been bombarded with harsh criticism from a gazillion experts telling me what an idiot I am, but no one has been even slightly rude or harsh or negative at all and I don’t know what to make of that… :o[/quote]

Ok, I’ll tell you something if you want to know, though I wouldn’t take it as criticism as I really believe some people just don’t realize. You can lift alot more then you are lifting.

With the number of reps you are doing for Bench and DL at least you can certainly hit higher numbers at lower reps if needed, though I do suggest a good warm up before hitting PRs.

Thanks Ronda! That’s the kind of feedback I’m looking for :smiley: I was mostly joking about the criticism part–I really want to know where I’m going wrong because I’m just trying to figure this out by reading here and in some other forums.

I’ll see what I can do next time. That really helps me a lot. Thanks again for the direction :smiley:

Ouroboro, I didn’t see your post there. I think you are more experienced than you give yourself credit for! But good advice about the self-appointed experts. The nice thing about here is you can get a good idea of someone’s credibility by their other posts and how others regard their posts.

Really poor quality video of my squat. This is my 4th set. Please excuse the awful decor of my basement :slight_smile:

[quote]debraD wrote:
Really poor quality video of my squat. This is my 4th set. Please excuse the awful decor of my basement :)[/quote]

Afraid I can’t be horribly negative here, so I won’t bore you with an obvious fake.

I admire that you are doing front squats. You need to lift your elbows more and bear the weight on your delts. With your elbows down like that, the weight is being held largely by your wrists, which will be unmanageable when the weight goes up. If you can’t bend your wrists enough to hold it as you are with your elbows straight out in front of you, cross your arms and hold the weight with your clavicles and delts.

Otherwise, your form is quite nice. And I mean that as critically as possible.

(wanted to work in a Starting Strength reference, but couldn’t do it with a straight face…)

[quote]sdspeedracer wrote:
debraD wrote:
Really poor quality video of my squat. This is my 4th set. Please excuse the awful decor of my basement :slight_smile:

I admire that you are doing front squats.

(wanted to work in a Starting Strength reference, but couldn’t do it with a straight face…)[/quote]

Debra, I agree with Speedracer… however I think instead of doing Front Squats you should really examine your program. You’re missing a lot of really important things. I think you should look into Starting Strength because women are pretty slow and can’t handle much more than that training-wise. Hopefully you can manage to count to five. Otherwise ask a 3 year old boy to do it for you while you lift. If you need more info on SS either google/wiki it or ask our resident expert… altho I haven’t seen him around PW lately… hmmmm.

There…how’s that for a SS reference? haha

Seriously though, I have nothing more to add than above. When you lift your elbows you will likely feel like it’s choking you until you find the corrent position. Personally I can’t cross my arms in front with it because I find the weight moves around too much. Try holding the bar a few different ways but definitely get your elbows out.

I’m not here to criticize, but am just reading along!
I think you have lots of potential! It will all come together eventually :slight_smile: