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Iago's trigger has been triggered

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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:00 am

I do seated calf raises with a smith machine, which does work, but is a massive pain to set up.  At my quickest, it still takes a few minutes to get the bench & the platform lined up precisely under the bar, and that does not include the time that it takes to load the weights, which is significant.  Unlike a true seated calf raise machine, you are not raising your own weight, so you really have to pile on the plates.  And then, of course, you are supporting that heavy weight just above the knee, which is uncomfortable even with a pad.  But seated raises work the muscles differently than standing raises, toe presses or anything else, so it is worth the effort -- but I usually avoid doing them every single routine.

I had to take a dent in the last week of my PHAT as I picked up a flu bug with a fever and pretty severe muscular pains.  I usually try to work through respiratory flus & colds by drugging up and going to the gym anyway, but the fever and the aches are just too detrimental.  I did do my upper body power day Monday, before I realized that I was getting sick, but my reps were down and I could not figure out why.  My temperature climbed over 101.5 on Tuesday, so no lower body power day that day, and I was unable to do anything Wednesday, either.  But I just get scared at the thought of a new headache cycle, so I went to the gym yesterday with the intention of doing my back/shoulder hypertrophy day, but was definitely fooling myself.  So I went on the treadmill and just did very light intervals (no faster than 7.0 mph when running, and even that was pushing my luck.)  So pretty much the whole week is shot.  I am heading to the gym right now, and I plan to do cardio again, probably intervals again, but pushing the speed up a little -- not too much, though.  Then for tomorrow I am going to do a full-body weight routine taking selected exercises from every day of the PHAT routine, just to get my muscles working again.  Sunday I plan to do my normal cardio (we will see how that goes) and then Monday I plan to restart my final week of PHAT.  So, at least I have a plan; whether or not it is a good one remains to be seen.  My temperature is "normal" right now, which is still a bit high for me as I generally run about 98.2 instead of 98.6.  

You, sir, are a mess.  Yes, the stress is clearly affecting you. But don't dick around with the shoulder -- get the MRI done as soon as you can.  And while stress can be an obvious contributing factor to the weight loss, losing that much weight while gaining strength is a bit unusual.  You should get checked out.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:12 pm

I saw my doctor today. I have a requisition for an x-Ray and an ultrasound to figure out what's going on with my shoulder. I know what the problem is with my back, and I simply need to let up on the type of weight and volume for a while, and continue to foam roll and stretch. Hard to know what is going on with my shoulder until I get the results back and then talk to my doctor about a plan to get better. When I first talked to my doctor 18 months ago, he figured I had arthritis developing, but the pain is extending into my bicep, suggesting something else like an impingement, tendonitis, rotator cuff tear or any other combination of stuff than can go wrong with our shoulders. I may have arthritis combined with something else. But no way to diagnose without the imagery.

I've given up on a lot of strength work for now, and moved away completely from 5/3/1. I'm doing a simple upper-lower split. For upper, my press movements are limited to push-ups and dips (if my shoulder feels okay, which it usually does for that movement, since I can use strict form and my hands are in a neutral position). I can still work my back fairly well. For lower, I'm going to limit the deadlift weight and volume; I still feel healthy working squats.

The kicker is that I was always weak with standing overhead press. Although it's not a lot, I had finally gotten to loading the bar with two 45-pound plates for reps in overhead press (a milestone for me). It felt good to get there, until later that night when the pain kicked in. I haven't pressed anything since December 24. Dumbbell presses have always been easier for me, but that has a shorter range of motion, so easier to move more weight and less chance of injury. I should never have got it into my head to go back to the barbell, as I feel much better with dumbbells, and it's not like I compete or have anything to prove. I learned that lesson the hard way.

I think the weight loss is largely a calorie-deficit thing. I started watching my intake and calculated my daily needs. I may have a fast metabolism or I was burning more than I thought strength training because I lost the 10 or so pounds slowly. Which is how I was able to still gain strength, maintain muscle mass and lose weight. Essentially, I ran a cut without meaning to. Ironically, my chest size and arm size didn't decrease, but I lost some size in my waist and in back thickness. Not a bad thing, I suppose; just something I wasn't prepared for.

I've also caught a cold or something. My body has the aches. It'll be light workouts for the next while, but that's what my body needs. Time to start listening . . .

What are you up to now that you're done with PHAT?
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:57 pm

Funny that you have problems with the standing barbell press. I mentioned previously that I do as well, though for different reasons. It tends to set off the pinched nerve in my neck, and strangely enough, the stricter the form that I follow, the greater the risk. So it is not a failure to follow proper form; it is simply a motion that does not work for my physiology (due to whatever happened in my teenage years that originally created the problem.) Dumbbells do not cause the same problem, regardless of how I do them. Unlike you, I am not any weaker with a barbell than I am with dumbbells; there is just something about them that makes me prone to having whatever muscle is the one that is having spasms, well, have spasms. So it appears that standing barbell presses are simply cursed and should be avoided at all costs!

I finished my run with PHAT last week, but I wanted to deload for a a week as I was feeling a bit overtaxed, so I am actually doing the same routine for one more week, but at 60%-70% of the final weights. I will start something else next week, but I really have not thought about it too much, other than the fact that I would like to do something a bit more hybrid that incorporates more cardio for fat burning. I do not want to do Tabatas this soon, but maybe something similar. I suppose that I need to get that figured out pretty quickly, because next week is already on its way!
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:59 am

I'm only stronger with dumbbells because of the shorter range of motion. A proper standing barbell press has the bar come down to the top of the chest. With dumbbells, the motion tends to be more to the side, so the dumbbells come down to the top of the delts. Plus, there is more leverage when seated. The bitch with dumbbells is getting them up in the first place.

I'm going through an extended deload while I wait for my tests and results. Still training hard, but with reduced weight and sets. Plus, I've been battling a cold or something for the past 10 days, so I'm feeling drained.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:14 pm

Results confirm a pretty common injury: I have a partially torn supraspinatus tendon (about 50% tear), and some inflammation in the subscapularis. So, rotator cuff injury. My doc didn't refer me to physio, as he didn't think it'd do me much good, since he figured that I'm already pretty strong. His advice is rather simple: take it easy for the next three to six months, back off the weight considerably, and give the tendon time to heal. So I'll be in rehab mode for the next while.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:40 pm

Well, that pretty much blows. One of the two injuries that leave you with extended recovery time and little to nothing in the way of workarounds. I still suffer from tendonitis along the one elbow and forearm, and it only goes away when I completely baby the thing, but then it comes back with repetitive motion anyway. So I just work around it and accept it. I have even started using straps doing heavier weight upright raises, as they can put nasty tension on that tendon and even make me drop the weight from the pain. But those are hardly intended to work that area anyway, so the straps let me really work deep into the shoulders without hurting the tendon too much. You do what you gotta do. But in your case, ouch. There just is not a workaround, other than not working it.

I ended up clicking on a Bodybuilding.com link in my Facebook news feed and really liked what I saw. So I have been doing a Steve Cook program for the last couple of weeks, and while at first it seemed a little odd, when i thought about it more I actually liked it. What is different about it is that it really only has one "working" set. You do three sets per exercise, but the first two are considered warmups at higher reps/lower weights, and only the final set is your target weight/reps. So the whole thing is pretty low volume compared to many others. I thought that it might not work for me, but it actually does the trick. They key is to really concentrate on that one working set and make it count. Of course, the reality is that you could consider it three sets done progressively, rather than two warmup sets and one working set. But I think that there is some psychological benefit to describing it as he does. It makes it seem much easier, and it is, at least mentally speaking. Calling things "warmup" sets makes them seem less intimidating, and as long as you keep the rests short (he recommends one minute) and focus on the movement both during the warmup sets and the working set, you are still getting the work even while your brain thinks that you are not. And even after you realize that the effects are largely psychological, it still seems to work.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/steve-cook-muscle-building-program.html?mcid=SM_facetraining
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:54 pm

I'm fortunate that I can still get away with push-ups, bar dips and light-weight flys for chest. With careful form, those don't cause pain, so I'm confident that I'm not causing further injury. For shoulders, it's pretty much low-weight raises and face pulls. And stretching. Such as life. I'll get over it.

Steve Cook's program looks an awful lot like Dorian Yates' Blood and Guts program, even down to the rest time: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/dorian-yates-blood-guts-6-week-trainer.htm. Yates is the father of high-intensity training.

If you follow the links after the videos (which I find quite inspirational and informative), you can also download printable logs.

I've done the program and it is good, if you can get yourself in the mindset of going to total failure on that last set. There is some debate that the program isn't adequate for non-steroid users, namely because most of us can't push ourselves hard enough on the working set to get the same benefit as someone like Yates, who is clearly elite. The other argument is that we're better off training with less intensity, and hitting each body part twice per week. That might be true, but I still enjoyed the program, when my shoulder allowed me to do it.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Thu Feb 04, 2016 4:47 pm

Actually, if you read Cook's full write-up on his program, he not only credits Dorian Yates with being an inspiration, he even links to Yates's workout. I have been using the Bodybuilding.com logs that Cook has on his (they use the same format regardless of workout.) The only drawback to them is that they are set up as one-use sheets per workout, and not really adaptable to multi-use. I end up writing on the back of the sheet to keep from having to reprint them every week.

I cannot vouch for the steroid needs, of course, but in my case I have found that absolutely failure is not, well absolutely necessary, but leaving "one in the tank" is not enough, either. I can stop while still able to complete a full rep, but it needs to be to the point that I am pretty positive that I cannot possibly complete the next set. Which is good, because Cook uses leg presses as the primary lift on leg day, and those are tricky to do to absolute failure safely. I also try to make that whole set count by not doing the movement explosively, so that the whole set really counts. It seems to be enough. He is also doing things pre-exhaust, which has its supporters and its detractors, but in this case it it helps since the volume is otherwise low. I like it, at least as a bit of a variation, because for most of the workout it actually seems easier, even if that last set really hurts. My muscles are just as sore the next day as they are with some heavier volume programs, so it must be doing something.



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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:04 pm

I did see that he mentioned Yates, and if you click on Yates' name you do get to Yates' workout, but I didn't see a note of actual credit. And all that I could see that was changed in the workout was the order of the days, some ab work added, and a few extra sets of curls. Everything else seemed largely the same. That said, Cook's version does allow a little more flexibility in timing workouts, as the order of body part sequencing in Yates' version almost necessitates a day off between workouts.

I guess it is a matter of interpretation and definition, but what you're describing sounds to me very much like you're going to failure. The only way to do more is if you did forced reps, negatives or partial reps, none of which I'd recommend without a good spotter. Unless something has changed, I believe you train alone. You're working yourself as hard as you can while still saying safe.

DOMS can be an indication of a good workout. A better sign, however, is progress pictures or a log to capture weight gain or loss, and strength gains. Have you considered mainaining a log or perhaps snapping a self shot in the change room once a week? Those tools can be quite motivating and don't require much in the way of additional effort.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:00 am

All for naught, as I have had two major setbacks in the last two weeks. The first was that I woke up with the pinched nerve in my neck bothering me, not too badly, but the only way to make it completely disappear is to really baby it. So I grudgingly took the week off and did nothing but cardio instead -- not even pushups, or anything else at all. The last day of the week two weeks ago, I did a gentle full-body workout, taking all the main lifts from each day and just doing one set at 60-70% of the normal weight, with no rests between. Almost like circuit training, to still get cardio but remind my muscles how to work. Then I went to the gym last Monday, and it was closed for the week. The owner had put up a note the previous Friday saying that it would be closed from 11-3 on Saturday -- which does not affect me in the slightest -- to move equipment in preparation for their remodel. But not one word about the fact that they were completely closing. So I drove another ten minutes up to her other branch, and lo & behold, all of the weight equipment was gone, with a note on the door saying that new equipment was coming in at the end of the week. So, I had to stick to cardio. I went up there a few times despite the extra drive, and I stayed home and did aerobics the other days. My branch is supposed to have re-opened yesterday evening, but they are still not getting the new weight equipment until next Tuesday, and will be closed for the day. So not only do I pretty much have to start the whole routine from scratch after missing two weeks, but I will have to drive farther Monday & Tuesday.

Some people might consider that a minor nuisance, but I am pretty upset with the owner for not communicating properly. It really screwed me up. Had I known up front that there would be no weight equipment for a week -- especially after having had to take an unplanned week off due to the pinched nerve -- I would have contacted another gym nearby and tried to set up a one week trial. I still could have done so, but by the time that I put all of this together and figured out how really screwed that I was, I had already lost a couple of days and just had to write off the week.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:38 pm

You have every right to be pissed. That was not handled well.

I have had to dial my workouts back further than I wanted. Now that I know what's up with my shoulder, I'm babying it more than I used to. Although it is a struggle, I know it's better in the long run if I let it heal and rest.

While I can still work lower body, I've had to lighten things there too. Deadlift and squats put stress on my shoulder, so I'm using less weight. Outside of warmups, my upper body workouts have been reduced to pushups, pullups with a neutral grip, light flyes, one-arm rows (the two-arm variety torques my shoulder too much), some really light lateral movements for my shoulders and some light arm work. I'm really just trying to mitigate the damage of a long layoff. I've kept my calories about the same (maybe a 100 less on upper body and non-workout days) to try and keep the wrong type of weight gain at bay. And I'm making sure I get lots of protein to try and facilitate healing. I guess it is what it is. I may just have to up the cardio and accept that I can't do much with weights. Sucks, as weightlifting is how I deal with stress. I picked up a Rubik's cube to see if that would help . . .
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:49 pm

Still pissed. The weights are not yet back to my gym, though it looked like they were delivering some this morning. Plus, another huge setback: I just contracted a nasty flu. My fever was over 102 Thursday night, and the aches and pains are severe. I took Thursday & Friday off, though I did head back to the gym this morning and hit the stationary bike for cardio. So with the other missed days due to the mess, I am pretty much going to have to start over whatever program that I do completely from square one. Which sucks.

I also like the stress relief from weight lifting. You get a more concentrated endorphin rush -- God bless endorphins -- and the level of concentration required (provided you can stay focused) keeps your mind off of other things. But you definitively do much better than I do with the eating, and props to you for doing so. As much as it may suck to have to dial the lifting back, your dedication to monitoring your intake does help offset that.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:08 pm

I hope at this point that the weights are back and the flu is gone.

I'm still hampered, but that's not going to change for months. I have tried mixing things up a little, creating giant sets of squats or deads paired with giants sets of pull-ups and push-ups. Then I move on to another lower body move and pair that with a lighter movement for upper body (but still sticking to the movements I mentioned in my last post). At least it gets me breathing . . .

And I can now solve a Rubik's cube, so there's that (I had never played with one before). But how the heck did some kid manage it in 4.9 seconds. I'm not sure my fingers could move that fast!
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:58 pm

I solved Rubik's cube when it was first released. Took me a week to figure it out, but after all of these years, I can still pick one up and solve it, albeit not as quickly as I could before. I have no idea how my method compares to any of the ones that are used now, or any of the ones in myriad books that were written on how to solve it. My method is my own, but it works.

When they released Rubik's Magic a couple of years later, it took me nearly two weeks. I do not know if they even make those anymore, but I doubt that I could solve one at all without having to figure it out all over again.


Ah, my sicknesses. Well, I went from a viral infection, likely a cold, to something that they called "acute respiratory distress" -- aka, I could barely breathe -- to influenza A, all in the span of a month. I had to opt for various doctors at the Urgent Care since I was unable to get an appointment set up. They put me on a nebulizer with albuterol (as well as oral prednisone) to help with the breathing. The viral infections and flus finally went away, but the breathing issues have remained. During all of that, I noticed an odd smell in my work car that I thought might be a pinhole leak somewhere in the coolant system (vaporizing antifreeze in the ventilation system) but it turns out that the cabin air filter was clogged with something that looked like black mold. So I am driving a spare car now while they have the vehicle tested and hazmat cleaned, if necessary. I still have not heard the results from that, but I am seeing my regular doctor now and she has put me through pulmonary testing, and the specialist was going to be in today to look at the results and confer with her. I have not heard back about that yet, either.

So that has really made working out difficult. I get out of breath easily while running, even after having taken a dose of albuterol, so I have stuck with the stationary bike on cardio days, and struggled mightily with it. Weights have really been tough. I started back on the classic M&F 6-week mass program, but some things are really difficult. I feel like I am going to pass out from heavy squats or deadlifts, so I have to be careful. Plus, the new equipment is in the gym, but there are some pluses and minuses with it. But that is a whole different story.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Wed Apr 13, 2016 10:30 am

Well, shit. You have not had it easy. It's tough with setbacks, injuries and sickness. Best we can do is rest, and get back to it when we can, then ease back in to it. We train what we can.

I think Rubik's Magic is still around, but I have never attempted to solve that puzzle. With the cube, it was a lot easier to solve once I realized that you need to solve layers, not sides.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Mon May 09, 2016 3:45 am

Well, I made it to the end of the six week routine, but it has been pretty tough. Intense cardio is pretty tough, too. I am going to deload this week. But it appears that I have severe stress to my lungs courtesy of the cocktail of things that happened all in a row -- the mold exposure, the severe cold, the severe flu -- and it was just too much. Minus the inhalers, my lung capacity is down to about 72%. With inhalers, it goes back up to 98%. So, I am on a pretty potent combination inhaler. I am supposed to use that for six weeks and then go back in to get checked out again. Hopefully, all of the damage is just temporary, and it will work its way out. But it is always possible that it triggered asthma that will be permanent. So we shall see. I am thinking that it is likely just temporary.

Plus, our eldest just got diagnosed with canine Cushing's Disease. Never rains, but it pours!
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Mon May 09, 2016 4:35 pm

I'm sorry. Are you planning treatment?
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  East on Sun May 15, 2016 8:19 pm

If you are still using that x7200 for anything:

http://www.eurocom.com/ec/release%2880%29ec

It will take an x5690. (You should upgrade the bios to the latest version before attempting though)
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Sun May 22, 2016 6:24 pm

Thanks, but I just cleaned it up and gave it to a friend in need. Aging or not, it was ten times as powerful as what he had.


Regarding my lungs, there is not treatment, per se, just management. I am on a pretty powerful combination inhaler, and basically all that we can do is hope that it clears up in a few months. If not, then I may have simply developed asthma for life. I have a follow up appointment the first week of June, so that is not too far off, but so far I have really not noticed much of a change. I went bicycling both days this weekend and despite the warmer weather, my lungs ended up burning by the time I got home. It felt just like they do if you are out in cold weather. So, not good, at least yet.

I finished deloading and decided to go back to Stoppani's 12 week Micro Muscle program, which is the repeated four week linear cycles. (12-15 reps week one, 9-11 week two, 6-8 week three, and 3-5 week four; going back to 12-15 on the start of the next cycle, with the same primary lifts but with all of the assistance lifts varied.) Since I am struggling a bit with cardio, I am doing two minute rests with cardioacceleration during them, just to squeeze in a bit of extra fat burning without stressing my lungs too much. Is what it is.

How is your battered body doing?
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  East on Mon May 23, 2016 11:57 am

That really sucks. i hope you feel better.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Thu May 26, 2016 12:55 pm

It's been four months since my shoulder tear was confirmed. At that time, I was told to layoff for three to six months. It still hurts and I still have limited use of my left shoulder. I have been able to do push-ups, and two weeks ago I started doing incline dumbbell presses. I wanted to test myself and the heaviest I could do was 55-pound dumbbells. I had the strength to do more, but I was really cautious about injury and did not want to overdo. I don't think I will go any heavier for some time and I may back off. I have also worked up to slightly heavier lateral raises (15- to 20-pound dumbbells, depending on the day, and those generally feel okay). Otherwise, I do dynamic stretching to keep up with mobility. I am doing no overhead work and don't think I'll be able to for many months to come. Even then, it's possible overhead work will always be a challenge for me now.

For back, I've been able to do pull-ups and one-arm rows with decent weight. I may try barbell rows in a few weeks. Legs have been largely unaffected, although I have had to lighten the load there too, as I feel the bar tweak my shoulder. Ditto for deadlifts. Because of my reduced upperbody work, I've only been going in three days a week, which has me a bit twitchy. I have been watching my food and I haven't gained or lost weight, and I don't think I look overly different, which is surprising. I just wish my shoulder would heal quicker. It's taking a long time and still hurts daily.

How is your dog doing? Any chance for treatment there?
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Tue May 31, 2016 3:37 am

Well, best wishes that you get the crazy thing over eventually!

In my case, I pulled a "never rains but it pours" yesterday by wrenching the muscles in my lower back slightly. Not while performing work, naturally, since I was watching my form carefully, but rather while putting down the weights after a set, when you are not necessarily paying as close attention (I usually am, but it just takes that one time of letting your guard down.) I was doing skull crushers and finished a set and was sitting up when I did it. I was able to finish the workout, but I had to stop doing the cardioacceleration, as that was really hurting my back. I stretched out carefully at the end, and did my best to self-massage the knotted muscles by rubbing my lower back on one of the handles on the side of one of the machines, and it seems fine this morning. But I am doing back/biceps today, so I am going to have to be extra cautious!

Sofia is on chemotherapy drugs right now, and she will have to keep taking them for the rest of her life. They should shrink the tumor and return her cortisol levels to more normal numbers, which should hopefully result in her symptoms improving. It should give her a good quality of life for her remaining years, but the disease will shorten her life. The vet says that she should make it for another two or three years. (She is currently eight years old, so that definitely means that she will lose a few years.)
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Seamaster on Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:32 pm

I'm hoping your lumbar turned out to be okay?

I'm sorry to hear about Sofia, but glad to hear that her quality of life will be good. At the end of the day, that's what matters most.

While I said I would avoid overhead work, I've been doing bottoms-up kettle ball presses. I find they work well for strengthening overall stability, since you must have stability to press the weight. I haven't been pressing any crazy weights, so hoping that it helps.
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Re: Iago's trigger has been triggered

Post  Iago on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:50 pm

The back is better, but when I have been skipping leg days. The last one I did was a couple of weeks ago, and I did not like how I felt after the squats, so I decided to suck it up and just skip the legs entirely for one of the four-week cycles. I have run those days instead, though the lungs are still a bit dicey, even with the inhalers. I think that I may do some limited leg stuff tomorrow, just to keep the muscles working. Lighter leg presses, for example, but nothing like squats that involves the lower back. Maybe some step-ups.
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