Monday, January 15, 2007

Mags, Deads and Recovery

In a comment to the previous post M@rla asked about Women's Health magazine. I picked it up once or twice and gave up, unimpressed. I have a visceral negative reaction to the word "toning" and I'm disgusted by the mini-weights. (I realise that, as Krista pointed out, it's not easy to keep still for photographs with heavy weights, but I'm still unsympathetic. Hire a stronger model.) In addition, it seems to me that women's magazines have more ad pages per issue than men's magazines, so I'm paying for ads rather than articles. And the ads in men's magazines are more interesting: I'd rather look at cars and electronic gadgets than mascara and shampoo, thank you.

If I feel like reading a women's magazine I get Oxygen. It has way too many silly weight loss ads and fake breasts but at least the women have muscle and are shown doing squats and deads and full push-ups. In fact I bought two copies of their Feb 07 issue just because the cover model was over 40. A couple of years ago there was a Sports Illustrated for Women, but it died for lack of support. It wasn't bad, and it had athletes on the cover, but I still prefer buying the men's magazines. The women's mags seem dumbed-down and too cardio focused.

I've felt like a mid-Western version of the Karate Kid this weekend, except instead of wax-on wax-off it's been scrape-right scrape-left. I scraped ice off my car at least four times yesterday. Chickened out of going to the gym because of the sleet and freezing rain but drove there this morning in the snow, and by the time I got there the sun had come out. By the time I drove back the roads were much better. I did a Day 4: Deads & Bis session: E-Z bar bicep curls, lying cable curls, deadlifts and hamstring curls. The first two supersetted with abwork and the last two supersetted with a minute of cardio. Deadlift numbers were as follows:

6 x 60 lbs / 27.3 Kg
6 x 95 lbs / 43.2 Kg
10 x 120 lbs / 54.6 Kg (July 2006 was 176.4 lbs / 80 Kg. It's a long way back, but I have more confidence in my dead than in any of my lifts, probably because the mechanics are so comfortable.)
10 x 110 lbs / 50 Kg
10 x 100 lbs / 45.5 kg
12 x 60 lbs / 27.3 Kg

Magically, ZZTop's (She's Got) Legs came over the speakers just as I was starting the deads, and that was followed by Billy Idol's White Wedding. The part about "it's a good day to start again" was very apt. :-)

There were two guys outside the gym clearing the snow and ice from the sidewalk, which probably amounted to more physical activity than all of us who were inside the gym working out...

In the middle of the ham curls I felt like I was going to throw up, but I walked around a bit till the feeling subsided and then finished off the last three sets. Just for fun I decided to do the last cardio minute (up and down a step) while carrying a 25 lbs db. In the gym in Jerusalem the guys who were getting ready for army service would do their cardio minutes like that, except they would carry a (much heavier) sandbag. It was fun. A sandbag would be more comfortable though; the db was digging into my shoulder.

I'm thankful that I kept detailed training logs all the time I was in Jerusalem. Nothing like having quality data to prove to oneself that the project is possible. And on the subject of improving tracking and having more quality data to work from, Blood & Sweat made an excellent point last week about quantifying and tracking recovery. Go and learn.

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