Monday, January 30, 2006

Checking In

Blogging at 1:31am from a 24 hour cafe in the center of town. My friend E. and I are studying for our respective exams. Mine is at 10:30am, a mere nine hours from now, hers is on Friday. I did have a training session on Sunday (upright rows, lat pulldowns, seated rows) and one this evening (deads and a new exercise for grip). Both decent, but I am so tired this week. I feel like I have to gut out every single rep on every single exercise. I'll add details after the exam is done.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

David's Citadel

Not actually King David's, but still beautiful. I'm going a little crazy trying to get everything done before Thursday, so blogging might be sparse. In the meantime, you get more Jerusalem pictures.

Friday, January 27, 2006

New Program: Days I & II

Work sets are back at 10 reps. Since it's a new program, man-in-charge has me go back to the 10 rep weight from the last microcycle of the previous program and repeat it. So that's why I had little problem keeping the max weight on the 2nd work set in most of the exercises.

If all goes according to plan, I'll do Day III on Sunday, Day IV on Monday, and then Day I again on Tuesday and Day II again on Wednesday. I'm not planning to train on Thursday since I fly that night, there will likely be some last minute stuff I'll need to take care of, and I have to be at the airport three hours before my flight.

Thursday, January 26, 2006, 8:40pm, Day I: Chest & Triceps

Flat BP (supersetted with standing stomach vacuums)
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 30 Kg / 66 lbs
10 x 37.5 Kg / 82.7 lbs
10 x 35 Kg / 77.2 lbs
10 x 35 Kg / 77.2 lbs
12 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs

Incline BP (supersetted with crunches on floor, arms extended)
The gym doesn't have an incline bench station, so I dragged an incline bench into the squat rack. I hope whatever gym I find in Atlanta will have an incline bench station, because I feel self-conscious taking up the rack for non-squat stuff...
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
10 x 30 Kg / 66 lbs
10 x 30 Kg / 66 lbs
10 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
12 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs

Close grip BP (supersetted with side curls off bench)
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
10 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
10 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
10 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
12 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs

Skull Crushers (supersetted with 1 min cardio interval)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
9 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs Could not get the 10th rep on these. I did 6 x 24 Kg at the end of the last program, but after all of the BP work my triceps were fried.
10 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
10 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

I miss my weighted push-ups, but I'm sure I'll get back to them after I come back from Atlanta.

Friday, January 27, 2006, 11:00am, Day II: Quad Dom

Anglo guys in the gym again. Remember the guy who was putting on a squat clinic last Friday? I was working in with him, and he was so nice. I even got a compliment on my squat form. Since we were helping each other change the weights, I got a bit of a bonus workout moving 20 Kg plates to and fro, which I was very happy about. First, because I get extra GPP out of it, but also because some of the guys in the gym still have an issue with me changing the weights when I'm working in with them. I think they'll come around the day I actually squat with the 20 Kg plates. :-)

Squats (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 34 Kg / 75 lbs
10 x 42.5 Kg / 93.7 lbs
10 x 37.5 Kg / 82.7 lbs
10 x 37.5 Kg / 82.7 lbs
12 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs

Lunges (supersetted with floor crunches, elbows forward)
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
10 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
10 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
10 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
12 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs

Leg Extensions (supersetted with curls off bench)
6 x 12 Kg / 26.5 lbs
6 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs
10 x 30 Kg / 66 lbs
10 x 30 Kg / 66 lbs
10 x 30 Kg / 66 lbs
12 x 12 Kg / 26.5 lbs

Freestanding Calf Raise, heels together, db overhead (supersetted with 1 min cardio interval)
6 x 4 Kg / 8.8 lbs
6 x 7 Kg / 15.4 lbs
10 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs
10 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs
10 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs
12 x 4 Kg / 8.8 lbs

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Berlioz and Deads

Had a night off last night, and decided to make use of my JSO student subscription. I bought the 6 concert subscription at the beginning of the season, and the way it works is you call the box office on the day of the concert and they give you whatever seat is left. Since I like going by myself, I usually get an excellent seat. Last night I got a 5th row seat, and then moved to the 4th row after intermission because the person sitting next to me was insufferable.

The program was an all-Berlioz evening, part of the vocal series, and featured conductor Asher Fisch. It began with Carnaval Romain, continued with two songs from Nuits d'etes for bass and orchestra sung by bass Denis Sedov, Mort de Cléopâtre sung by mezzo-soprano Hadar Halevi, and then, after the intermission, the Harold in Italy concerto for viola and orchestra with violist Yuval Gotlibovich.

Tuesday night was deads, and the last day of the program. Man-in-charge is designing a one month program for me to take with me for student teaching month. This mini-program assumes that all I have available is a squat rack and some free weights. I'm sure the gyms in Atlanta will have more than that, but I feel better having a bare bones program to take with me. And, I still have a couple of days before my flight to tweak the new program if needed.

Tuesday Jan 24, 2006, 8:45pm: Day IV Bis and Hams

Long day at school, so I got to the gym later than I'd hoped. Not enough time for the final (50%) deadlift set, which was exacerbated by the fact that I was sharing the rack with one of the guys who was doing squats. So I felt rushed, but also felt strong.

Bicep BB Curls (supersetted with standing crunches)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

BB Hammer Curls using tricep bar (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
Took a bit of time here and really concentrated on form - keeping the elbows more forward, so that these don't end up as just another bunch of bicep curls.
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
6 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
6 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

Hamstring Curls (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 16 Kg / 35.3 lbs
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 17 Kg / 37.5 lbs
6 x 16 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

Deadlifts (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
6 x 29 Kg / 63.9 lbs
6 x 46.5 Kg / 102.5 lbs
6 x 57.5 Kg / 126.8 lbs
6 x 52.5 Kg / 115.7 lbs
6 x 52.5 Kg / 115.7 lbs

Onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Last Days of this Program

One more session left - tonight's scheduled deadlift session - and then I'll be starting a new program. The nice thing about the 6-rep microcycle that ends this program is that it typically produces a bunch of PRs.

Sunday, Jan 22, 2006, 8:00pm Day II, Quad Dom

Squats (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
6 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
6 x 37.5 Kg / 82.7 lbs
6 x 50 Kg / 110.2 lbs Like this one. :-)
6 x 50 Kg / 110.2 lbs
6 x 45 Kg / 99.2 lbs
12 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs

Lunges (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
6 x 30 Kg / 66 lbs
6 x 27.5 Kg / 60.6 lbs
6 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
12 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs

Single leg pistols on a counterweight machine. (Supersetted with side curls off the bench).

Gripper (supersetted with 2 minutes sideways box jumps)
6 x 7.5 Kg / 16.5 lbs
6 x 12 Kg / 26.5 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs Finally! I was beginning to think I'd never get past 13.75.
6 x 13.75 Kg / 30.3 lbs
6 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
12 x 7.5 Kg / 16.5 lbs

Monday Jan 23, 2006, 8:30pm: Day III Back

Upright rows (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
6 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs
6 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
6 x 27.5 Kg / 60.6 lbs
6 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
6 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
12 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs

Lat Pulldowns (supersetted with crunches on floor)
6 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
6 x 40 Kg / 88.2 lbs
7 x 50 Kg / 110.2 lbs The psychologically nice thing is that this is the entire stack on this machine... so now I can move to the other lat pull down machine, where the lowest weight is 48Kg.
7 x 45 Kg / 99.2 lbs
7 x 40 Kg / 88.2 lbs
12 x 25 Kg / 52.9 lbs

Seated Rows (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 26 Kg / 57.3 lbs
6 x 42 Kg / 92.6 lbs
6 x 52 Kg / 114.6 lbs
6 x 50 Kg / 110.2 lbs
6 x 48 Kg / 105.8 lbs
12 x 26 Kg / 57.3 lbs

Standing Calf Raises, heels together; holding DB overhead (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
Man-in-charge pointed out that I have a tendency to drop my right arm, thereby throwing things off, so I've been focusing on keeping the db even overhead.
6 x 4 Kg / 8.8 lbs
6 x 7 Kg / 13.2 lbs
6 x 9 Kg / 17.6 lbs
6 x 8 Kg / 15.4 lbs
6 x 7 Kg / 13.2 lbs
12 x 4 Kg / 8.8 lbs
Did not do the last cardio interval as gym was about to close (so what else is new...)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Old City Walls

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Friday

One of the members of this band goes to my gym. I think you can tell by the picture which of them lifts. They're having their cd launch concert this Friday, Jan 27, 10pm, at the Kultura Club, 154 Herzl St., Tel Aviv. So if you're in Israel, like what you hear on their site, and are not Shomer Shabbat, check them out. One of the Anglo guys at the gym on Friday was wearing their new t-shirt. The front has a pic of the new cd cover and the band name, the back says "Supporting violence against stupidity since 2003". A Sisyphean endeavour, if you ask me.

The last couple of Fridays I've been in and out of the gym by 10:30am, but this time I went in a bit later. A group of English speaking guys came in about halfway through my session, and one of them put on a squat clinic. When he came in the rack was occupied, so he went to the bench press station, loaded the bar to 135lbs, pressed it overhead and lowered it behind his neck to rest on his shoulders, and then did several sets of very fast squats as warmup until the rack became available. He's not a short guy either, so his form was that much more impressive. I thought he was doing a Westside variation, but he had earphones on so I held off on asking until he was out of the rack and talking to other people. He said he'd done Westside in the past, and found that his muscles got really strong really fast, but his ligaments & tendons didn't get strong at the same rate, which caused serious joint pain. He said that he was just testing the weight today, feeling it on his shoulders.

For most of my session the music was 80s and 90s pop. Towards my last set of my cardio intervals guy-in-charge finally put on some heavier music. SillyWoman starts complaining, calling it "Let's kill people and die music". She then starts polling people to see if they like it. Most say they like it or don't mind it. One guy points out that in this gym people are concentrating on their exercises and don't even hear the music most of the time. I walked by, and guy-in-charge points to me and says,
"Ask her,"
"She doesn't count," sniffs SillyWoman.
Well then.
I smiled, then asked guy-in-charge what took him so long because I could have really used that music earlier in the workout.

Friday, January 21, 11:30pm, Day I: Chest Triceps Shoulders Work sets @ 6 reps

Flat BP
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 34 Kg / 75 lbs
6 x 42.5 Kg / 93.7 lbs. Finally got the 42.5Kg.
6 x 35 Kg / 71.7 lbs
6 x 35 Kg / 71.7 lbs
12 x 21.5 Kg / 47.4 lbs

Weighted Push Ups (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 0
6 x 0
6 x 5 Kg / 11 lbs
6 x 2.5 Kg / 5.5 lbs
6 x 0
12 x 0

Skull Crushers (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
6 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
6 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs
6 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs

Shoulder Exercise (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
I don't know what to call this one - I'm lying on my back and doing a cable upright row, palms facing in then back, limited range of motion (hips to solarplexus). Originally I was doing seated shoulder presses, then switched to seated lateral raises, but both of them made my right shoulder unhappy. This seems to have solved the problem.
6 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs
6 x 12 Kg / 26.5 lbs
6 x 16 Kg / 35.3 lbs
6 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs
6 x 12 Kg / 26.5 lbs
12 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs

Friday, January 20, 2006

I Love Deadlifts

It might be time to re-write the deadlift song...

Thursday, January 19, 2006, 8:30pm: Day IV Biceps and Hamstrings

Bicep BB Curls (supersetted with standing crunches)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
7 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
7 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
7 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

BB Hammer Curls using tricep bar (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
5 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs "Brachioradialis weak." says man-in-charge. Yup. Can't argue with that one.
7 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
7 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 12 Kg / 26.5 lbs

Hamstring Curls (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
7 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
7 x 17 Kg / 37.5 lbs
7 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

Deadlifts (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
6 x 27.5 Kg / 60.6 lbs
6 x 44 Kg / 91.5 lbs
7 x 55 Kg / 121.3 lbs
7 x 50 Kg / 110.2 lbs
7 x 50 Kg / 110.2 lbs
12 x 27.5 Kg / 60.6 lbs

Went home happy.

Another One

I didn't turn on the radio or tv last night, so it was only this morning that I heard about Islamic Jihad's latest suicide bombing. This one was in at a Tel Aviv shawarma restaurant. It could have been a lot worse, but the scumbag screwed up:
"Police said the explosion went off in the restaurant's bathroom, possibly prematurely as the bomber tried to prepare the explosive device. In addition, police said, the combination of a relatively small explosive device and the fact that the bomber chose a closed-in shop as his target, limited the damage and the number of wounded."
According to the radio this one was Iranian-financed, Syrian-planned, and Palestinian-executed. Ain't international cooperation grand? My flatmate, who speaks fluent Arabic and follows the Arab media, noted that the bombing was first reported on Iranian tv, and that it took place while the President of Iran and the President of Syria are having a little official visit together. (I hope they choke on their canapes.) For more on terror attacks here, check out this Jan 12 post at Yourish.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Two Nights

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006, 8:00pm Day II, Quad Dom

Squats (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
Seems like more and more guys in the gym are doing squats now (that's a good thing) which means I rarely have the rack to myself anymore (not such a good thing).
6 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs
6 x 37.5 Kg / 82.7 lbs
7 x 47.5 Kg / 104.7 lbs
7 x 42.5 Kg / 93.7 lbs
7 x 42.5 Kg / 93.7 lbs
12 x 25 Kg / 55.1 lbs

Lunges (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
7 x 27.5 Kg / 60.6 lbs
7 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
7 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
12 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs

Single leg pistols on a counterweight machine. (Supersetted with side curls off the bench).

Gripper (supersetted with 2 minutes sideways box jumps)
6 x 7 Kg / 15.4 lbs
6 x 11.25 Kg / 24.8 lbs
7 x 13.75 Kg / 30.3 lbs
7 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
7 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
12 x 7.5 Kg / 16.5 lbs
Did not do the last cardio interval as the gym was about to close.

Wednesday Jan 18, 2006, 8:30pm: Day III Back

Upright rows (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
6 x 12.5Kg / 27.6 lbs
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
7 x 25 Kg / 55.1 lbs
7 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
7 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
12 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs

Lat Pulldowns (supersetted with crunches on floor)
6 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs
6 x 38 Kg / 83.8 lbs
7 x 48 Kg / 105.8 lbs
7 x 45 Kg / 99.2 lbs
7 x 40 Kg / 88.2 lbs
12 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs

Seated Rows (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 25.5 Kg / 56.2 lbs
6 x 40 Kg / 88.2 lbs
7 x 51 Kg / 112.4 lbs
7 x 45 Kg / 99.2 lbs
7 x 42 Kg / 92.6 lbs
12 x 25.5 Kg / 56.2 lbs

Standing Calf Raises, heels together; holding DB overhead (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
6 x 4 Kg / 8.8 lbs
6 x 6 Kg / 13.2 lbs
7 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs
7 x 7 Kg / 15.4 lbs
7 x 6 Kg / 13.2 lbs
12 x 4 Kg / 8.8 lbs
Did all the cardio intervals and was not the last person in the gym. :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Military Women and Exercise

Via this post at Instapundit, I found out about this article in Wired:
"...a decade's worth of research suggests that women are hardly as fragile as critics once thought. A new study by military researchers found that many assumptions about female bodies are "astoundingly wrong.""
I downloaded the 39 page report and read the first twenty or so pages; so many quotes jump out at me. Unfortunately I can't copy and paste out of the pdf. I plan to read the whole thing as soon as my exams are done.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Busy

Trekked to Tel Aviv and back yesterday to meet my aunt who is visiting Israel. Got back to Jerusalem and did Chest Triceps Shoulders. Everything made me happy, especially the push-ups, which were weighted with a 2.5 Kg plate. It's small but it's a start. Life is busy, trying to get as many papers written and as much studying done as I can before I go. I will be writing two exams the week I fly, so the more I can do now the calmer I'll be later.

Clouds over the Jewish cemetary on the Mount of Olives.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Deads

Woke up this morning at 6:45am feeling much better - around 80% well - and headed off to meet a fellow blogger for an 8:00am breakfast at Cafe Shosh on Palmach Street. Had a lovely time while explaining that the The Magnificent Seven qualifies as a chick flick because you get Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen in the same movie. :-)

After breakfast I was waiting at the bus stop when a schoolmate walked by. We exchanged pleasantries, and then she said:
"I'm coming to your house for dinner tonight,"
"Hm?" I say.
Turns out that flatmate #2, unbeknownst to either myself or (as I found out later) flatmate #1, decided to have an 11 person Shabbat dinner this evening.

I was at the gym by 10:30am. It turned out to be a lovely workout. I should lift like this when I'm 100% well. It was also the last free page in the workout log. New notebook arrives Sunday.

Friday, January 13, 2006, 10:15am: Day IV Biceps and Hamstrings

Bicep BB Curls (supersetted with standing crunches)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs
8 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs After last Friday's failure (9 x 20 Kg instead of 10 x 20 Kg), guy-in-charge decided to drop the weight down and re-start the progression. I'm not stressed by this as I prefer smooth upward progressions in the weights I'm lifting, and there have been too many failures on the curls.
8 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
8 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

I should explain how things work at the gym. When you join man-in-charge designs a program for you based on your goals. (When I joined I told him I wanted to get stronger and that I'm not here to lose weight or fit into a dress size. I'm now on my third program and the goal is get stronger and do a pull up at some point.) When you come in for a session, you do your warm up and then the 50% and 80% of the max weight set on your own, and then you call man-in-charge or guy-in-charge over to watch your max weight set. Depending on how cleanly you do that set, they will tell you how much weight to drop for the next set, and also critique your technique as needed. Then they do the same for the rest of your work sets.

BB Hammer Curls using tricep bar (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
8 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs Exactly the right weight. I had enough for eight perfect reps and that's it.
8 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
8 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

"You're disappearing," says one of the guys.
"I just work out later at night," I say, thinking that he means I'm not in the gym at the times he's usually in the gym anymore.
"No, you're like half a person," *light bulb goes on* It's a weight loss compliment. Trust me, the exchange sounded much better in Hebrew.

Hamstring Curls (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 9 Kg / 19.8 lbs
6 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs
8 x 18 Kg / 39.7 lbs Neither easy nor difficult. The hard part is keeping my mind focused on the curls. I'm already thinking ahead to the deads at this point.
8 x 16 Kg / 35.3 lbs
8 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 9 Kg / 19.8 lbs

Deadlifts (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
6 x 25 Kg / 55.1 lbs
6 x 41.5 Kg / 91.5 lbs
8 x 51.5 Kg / 113.5 lbs Man-in-charge came in while I was finishing the ham curls, so he, rather than guy-in-charge, was watching these... and he tells me to stay at the same weight. :-)
8 x 51.5 Kg / 113.5 lbs
8 x 46.5 Kg / 102.5 lbs
12 x 25 Kg / 55.1 lbs
The cardio intervals went well. I had lots of energy; being told to stay at the same weight after your max set will do that.

There are two people waiting to use the rack when I'm done. Older guy works in with me at the end, doing his warm up set while I do a cardio interval. He goes off to do the leg press and asks me to tell him when I'm done. Younger guy decides to wait, not realising that there's someone else ahead of him.
"Next time say something," I said to younger guy, "I have three minutes between sets; lots of time to take weight on and off the bar and move the bar to squat height," Younger guy looks dubious,
"But I have 90 Kg," he says.
"I've shared the rack with someone doing 110 Kg," I said, "I'll make you a deal: you rest, I'll take the weight on and off the bar." He still looked dubious, but I hope he'll take me up on it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sinuses And New Music

Stairs on the way to Zion Gate.



Rainy and cold day today - high of 9C/48F. My sinuses hurt and I'm going through tissues at an alarming rate. I'm on my fourth liter of water of the day and I've been eating every three hours. I think this cold actually started on Tuesday night. Wednesday was a cold and tiring day at the university, after which (in denial about the cold) I went in to train Back. I don't think I would have gone in if it was squats or deads. The lifting went fine, but I didn't do the cardio intervals because I was completely exhausted by the time I got to them. No training tonight. I hope to recover sufficiently by morning to get the fourth session of the week done.

This is what last night looked like:

Wednesday Jan 11, 2006, 8:00pm: Day III Back

Upright rows (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
6 x 12.5Kg / 27.6 lbs
6 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
8 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs
8 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
8 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
12 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs

Lat Pulldowns (supersetted with crunches on floor)
6 x 23 Kg / 50.7 lbs
6 x 37 Kg / 81.6 lbs
8 x 46 Kg / 101.4 lbs
8 x 41 Kg / 90.4 lbs
8 x 36 Kg / 79.4 lbs
12 x 23 Kg / 50.7 lbs

Seated Rows (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs
6 x 37 Kg / 81.6 lbs
8 x 46 Kg / 101.4 lbs
8 x 42 Kg / 92.6 lbs
8 x 42 Kg / 92.6 lbs
12 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs

Standing Calf Raises, heels together; holding DB overhead
6 x 3 Kg / 6.6 lbs
6 x 5 Kg / 11 lbs
8 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs
8 x 8 Kg / 17.6 lbs
8 x 7 Kg / 15.4 lbs
12 x 3 Kg / 6.6 lbs

A couple of weeks ago one of the guys in the gym put together some sampler cds for me. I've been listening to them to decide what to buy when I go to the US next month. I wasn't expecting to develop a taste for hardcore/metal (not that I'm clear on the difference between these yet) as my workout music - certainly not at age 35 :-) Seems a fringe benefit of working out on a regular basis is becoming aware of bands I never knew existed; these include Callisto, The Red Chord, Necrophagist, Hate Eternal, Misery Signals, The Red Death, All Shall Perish, Burn the Priest, Into the Moat, Bury Your Dead, Bleed the Sky, Scarve... and a bunch of others with equally non-cheery names that I can't remember offhand. Reminds me of when I was 11 years old and an older cousin made me a cassette mix tape to introduce me to rock'n'roll... If you have any suggestions for other bands I should check out, or a music shelf like Scott's, please leave them in the comments - or e-mail them to me before the end of January.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Two Days Down

There was a Chest-Triceps-Shoulders workout Sunday evening. Started inauspiciously on the bench press because my technique seemed to disappear; chest was not up, elbows were not in. Got through it, and the push up sets that followed were good. The highlight of the evening was the skull crushers.
6 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
6 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
8 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
8 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
8 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 12.5 Kg/ 27.6 lbs
The warm-up sets on felt very heavy, and I had serious doubts that I would finish the third set. But once I started it I decided that I would just concentrate on one rep at a time and whatever happens happens. When I got to the 8th rep I was thinking 'one more...oh, that was the last one'

No training on Monday night as I got back from the university, decided not to go to my night study session and went straight to bed. Both my morning and afternoon study partners have been sick this week and I was worried about catching whatever they have. Morning study partner insists she is not sick, she just has a cough...

Last night was interesting:

Tuesday, Jan 10, 2006, 8:00pm Day II, Quad Dom

Squats (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
I was sharing the squat rack with two guys: one just learning how to squat, the other starting to do squats again after not doing them for a very long time. A third guy was waiting for the three of us to finish with the rack so that he could do his sets.
6 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
6 x 36.5 Kg / 80.5 lbs
8 x 45 Kg / 99.2 lbs
8 x 42.5 Kg / 93.7 lbs
8 x 40 Kg / 88.2 lbs
At this point I decided to skip the last set (12 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs) and throw it in later once the rack is free, since guy #3 has been waiting long enough. In theory I'm supposed to stay in the squat rack to do my lunges. Someone suggests doing them on the Smith Machine, but I don't want to have anything to do with the Smith Machine, so I look around and realise one of the bench press benches is free. I take the bar from there and use it for the lunges. I have to sit down to rack and unrack it, but that's fine.

In between sets of lunges I try to catch a glimpse of guy #3 squatting. I don't usually stand around watching other people train, but I'm curious because I've seen him in the gym before, and it is obvious that he trains legs, but I've only seen him do chest and shoulders. Unsurprisingly, the guy can squat. His max sets last night were 160Kg / 353 lbs. Sweet. And after that he went and worked the hack squat machine for awhile.

Lunges (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
6 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
8 x 25 Kg / 55 lbs
8 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
8 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
12 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs

Single leg pistols on a counterweight machine. (Supersetted with side curls off the bench).

The rack is now free so I throw in the last set of squats from before. I don't know that it will be of much use at this point, but I can be a bit obsessive about leg day...

Gripper (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
6 x 6.25 Kg / 13.8 lbs
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
8 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
8 x 11.25 Kg / 24.8 lbs
8 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
12 x 6.25 Kg / 13.8 lbs
Did all the cardio intervals this time and they felt easier than before. This was the music for the last 15 minutes or so of the workout; I think it helped. :-)

Monday, January 09, 2006

And Victory To You Too

I wish I could speak Russian and Georgian. Most of the people in my gym speak one or the other or both, and since I've joined I've only picked up three Russian words: shto-"what", davai -"work" (as in stop blithering and start the set), and da svedanya-"good night". None in Georgian. Granted, language acquisition is not my priority during training sessions, but three words is just pathetic. So I decided to look up some basic Georgian phrases, and discovered that gamarjoba, the Georgian word for hello, is literally "victory". Contrast to Hebrew, where the word for hello, shalom, is literally "peace". I think the Georgians have something here. :-)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

More Old City

I love walking in and around the Old City; there's no shortage of things to photograph. First, shops in the Christian quarter at a windy moment. Second, the gate to the Couvent Armenien St-Sauver, outside Zion Gate. One day it might be open when I get there and I'll be able to take pictures of the buildings and not just the gate.



Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday Night - Friday Morning

10 rep work sets - so the weights are dropping a bit. I used to detest the 10 rep days; in a previous program there were 12 rep work sets also... But at some point my attitude changed, and now I enjoy seeing the former 8 rep weight become the new 10 rep weight. On the other hand, there's still a tiny sigh of relief when the 10 rep series is done. Tuesday was Chest-Shoulders-Triceps, Wednesday was Quad-Dom, and both went well. That left Thursday and Friday, and then on Sunday I'd be in 8 rep land again...

Thursday night I talked to man-in-charge about rest periods again. I'm trying to get through my workouts faster, both to save time and to maintain focus. He had previously told me that maximum rest between lifting sets, including the supersetted ab work, should be three minutes. I asked him what was the minimum amount of rest, if any, and he said 1-1.5 minutes. Then he said that 30 seconds is good, but that very few people can sustain that pace throughout a workout.

At the end of the workout on Thursday I asked him if there was a minimum time between workouts. He said at least 12 hours from the end of one to the start of the next, and preferably 24 hours. Ah, I said. He wasn't thrilled that I was planning to come in Friday morning to deadlift, but I said that I'll adjust the schedule next week so that there would be at least 12 hours between Thursday night's and Friday morning's sessions. This week I was trying to make it to a 10:30am lecture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute about early Christian Biblical Exegesis, so while Thursday's session ended at 10:00pm. Friday's session had to start at 8:30am at the latest.

Thursday Jan 5, 2006, 8:40pm: Day III Back

Upright rows (supersetted with stomach vaccuums)
6 x 12.5Kg / 27.6 lbs
6 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
10 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
10 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs
10 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs
12 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs

Lat Pulldowns (supersetted with crunches on floor)
6 x 22 Kg / 48,5 lbs
6 x 35 Kg / 77.2 lbs
10 x 44 Kg / 97 lbs
10 x 40 Kg / 88.2 lbs
10 x 35 Kg / 77.2 lbs
12 x 22 Kg / 48.5 lbs

Seated Rows (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 22 Kg / 48.5 lbs
6 x 36 Kg / 79.4 lbs
10 x 44 Kg / 97 lbs
10 x 38 Kg / 83.8 lbs
10 x 32 Kg / 70.5 lbs
12 x 22 Kg / 48.5 lbs

Standing Calf Raises; holding DB overhead (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
6 x 3 Kg / 6.6 lbs
6 x 5 Kg / 11 lbs
10 x 7 Kg / 15.4 lbs
10 x 6 Kg / 13.2 lbs
10 x 6 Kg / 13.2 lbs
12 x 3 Kg / 6.6 lbs

Friday, January 6, 2006, 8:30am: Day IV Biceps and Hamstrings

Woke up at 6:45am to make sure I got a decent breakfast and at least 1L of water in before the workout.

Bicep BB Curls (supersetted with standing crunches)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
9 x 20 Kg / 44 lbs Argh! Should have been ten.
10 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
10 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

BB Hammer Curls using tricep bar (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs
10 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
10 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
10 x 12.5 Kg / 27.6 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

Hamstring Curls (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 8.5 Kg / 18.7 lbs
6 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs
10 x 17 Kg / 37.5 lbs
10 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
10 x 14 Kg / 30.9 lbs
12 x 8.5 Kg / 18.7 lbs

Deadlifts (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
I'm trying to pay careful attention to how I'm lifting so I can respond to John's comment on this post.
6 x 24 Kg / 52.9 lbs
6 x 38 Kg / 83.8 lbs
10 x 47.5 Kg / 104.7 lbs
2 x 42.5 Kg / 93.7 lbs At this point guy-in-charge asked me something about the deadlift and I stopped to talk it over with him. After a few words it dawns on me that standing around holding this weight is not useful, so I racked the bar, finished the discussion, and then picked it up again and did the set.
10 x 42.5 Kg / 93.7 lbs
10 x 40 Kg / 88.2 lbs
12 x 25 Kg / 55.1 lbs I was rushing, and it was easier to grab two 2.5 Kg plates than it was to grab the 1.25 Kg plates and the 0.75 Kg collars...

Didn't do the last two cardio intervals, but made it to the lecture on time. Had a banana and chocolate 1% milk on the way there by way of a post-workout snack.

That Night

That night I got home from the gym around 11:00pm, didn't turn on the tv or the radio, ate dinner and was ready to go to bed when flatmate #1 arrived at the apartment and went straight to the television set. That's when I found out about the Prime Minister's stroke and hospitalization.

I don't usually watch tv during the week, but it has been on a lot since Wednesday night. (It's going to be off during Shabbat - sundown Friday to sundown Saturday - as we keep Shabbat in all common elements of the apartment.) If you want to understand why this country has been in a bit of a shock, read this Krauthammer piece.

I get extremely annoyed when I read articles that mention the stroke in the same breath as his excess weight. As one of the doctors speaking on tv Wednesday night pointed out, despite his weight and age, he did NOT have high blood pressure (#1 risk factor for stroke) or atherosclerosis (thickened arteries). Furthermore, it is likely that the blood thinning medication the doctors prescribed after his mini-stroke two weeks ago contributed to the massive hemorrhage he experienced after the major stroke.

Update: A lovely blog post from Haaretz, of all places, about a prayer for the PM. If you're saying a Jewish prayer, his Hebrew name is Ariel ben Dvora. (In Jewish prayer, when you're praying for someone's health you identify them as first name - son/daughter of - mother's first name.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mitigating Stress

I been extremely worried about some university matters and this has taken up far too much of my mental energy over the past 48 hours. For the record, I am much better than I was during my first degree, when I was a bundle of nerves for four+ years and kept myself calm by stuffing food down my throat. It worked, but there were (ahem) side-effects.

Mitigation strategy was to eat super clean yesterday - there was cottage cheese, there was a tuna can, there were many fruit and veggies. I also managed 3.5 L of water and at least five cups of green tea. There's something to be said for having a box of green tea bags accessible at all times.

Decent chest-shoulders-triceps session last night. Might add it to the post later - depends on how the day goes. Meanwhile, here's another picture: columns at the entrance to the Dormition Abbey (where Catholics believe Mary fell asleep and was assumed into heaven. Dormition from the French verb dormir: to sleep).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2006's First Workout

Sunday was a family visit out of town (cousin had new baby), which on the one hand is fun and on the other hand is stress+travel time+expense+non-ideal food. So, last night was the first workout of 2006. I might not blog the workouts in this much detail until I get to the 6 rep cycle again, but we'll see how swamped I get.

Monday, January 2, 2006, 8:30pm: Day IV Biceps and Hamstrings

Bicep BB Curls (supersetted with standing crunches)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 17.5 Kg / 38.6 lbs
5 x 22.5 Kg / 49.6 lbs Should have been six reps. Instead it was four, pause, one.
6 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
6 x 16.5 Kg / 36.4 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

BB Hammer Curls using tricep bar (supersetted with leg lifts on bench)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
6 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

Hamstring Curls (supersetted with side curls off the bench)
6 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs
6 x 15 Kg / 33 lbs
6 x 19 Kg / 41.9 lbs
6 x 17 Kg / 37.5 lbs
6 x 16 Kg / 35.3 lbs
12 x 10 Kg / 22 lbs

Deadlifts (supersetted with 2 minute sideways box jumps)
6 x 25 Kg / 55.1 lbs
6 x 41.5 Kg / 91.5 lbs
6 x 51.5Kg / 113.5 lbs - which is 79% of body weight.
6 x 46.5 Kg / 102.5 lbs
6 x 41.5 Kg / 91.5 lbs
12 x 25 Kg / 55.1 lbs
Again, ran out of time and didn't do the last two 2-minute intervals.

Arches in the Upper Room

From the Mount Zion walking tour: this is a picture of arches in the Upper Room, which some people believe to be the room of the Last Supper. According to the tour guide, the arches are from the Crusader era.