Tag Archive: happy baby

The plan for today was to do a leg workout in the morning, then a yin class in the evening.

No workouts with Leslie this week, so I thought it would be fun to try something new.  You have to vary it up every once in a while, keep your body guessing.  First you adapt to what you are doing, build the mind-muscle connection, then when you get comfortable, switch it up.

So this would be my week for trying out my backup workouts, and for legs I locked into a brand new one.  Sneak preview:  no lunges! HAHAHAAAAA

I got to the gym at 6 am-ish.  This was also novel for me, I hadn’t done a 6 am workout in a long time.  time to get busy.  Squats at 6 am, say whaaaaaatttt???

bodyweight sissy squats x12, x12, x12, x12 (90s rest b/w sets)

squats:  155 x12, x12, x12, x12, x12 (90s rest)

one-leg leg press machine:  195 x12, x12, x12, x12 (back and forth leg to leg, no rest)

leg extensions:  135 x12, x12, x12, x12, x12, x12, x12 (30 s rest!)

seated leg curls:  135 x12, 150 x12, 165 x12, 180 x12 (90s rest)

stiff-legged dead lifts:  95 x12, x12, x12  (90s rest)

seated leg curls:  90 x12, 105 x12, 120 x12, 135 x12, x12, x12, x12 (30 s rest)

bodyweight straight leg standing calf raise:  80, 80, 80, 80 (90s rest)

notes:  Your eyes don’t deceive you, that is a workout with some pretty beefy volume.  No time for chit-chat, just go after it.  The whole thing took about 80-90 min.  The sissy squats served as my warmup, and the calf raises served as my cooldown.  20 working sets for quads, 14 sets for hams, and 4 sets for calves.  Beefy.

5 sets of squats.  the weight isn’t high, but I wanted to practice my form, go at least as deep as parallel, get used to the feeling of dropping to that depth.  by the end I was dripping sweat.  Some stiffness in the right knee during leg press, it went away quickly.

Yes, your eyes read that right, I did 7 sets of extensions and leg curls with only 30 s rest in between sets!   Basically, I was trying out the FST-7 system.  I haven’t watched the dvd, but my rough understanding is you do a compound exercise, then an isolation, then a compound, then an isolation for 7 sets with 30s rest.  I didn’t do it in quite that order, mine was more like iso, compound, iso, iso.  But the sissy squats warmed me up, the squats were the taxing work, and the leg presses were me reducing the rest time to ramp up into the extensions for the climax.  And let me tell you, the weight was low on the extensions, but they burned!!  I was really feeling it by the end.

I didn’t know what shape the hamstrings would be in by this point, but they felt pretty solid, so I was playing with the weight a lot on the leg curls, finding something that was challenging but I could go the distance with.  I will say this, 90 is WAY too light, I think the pad was dropping just from the weight of my legs, ROFL.  Do my legs weigh 90 pounds?  Holy crap!  Next time I do this workout, I will be able to zero in on the perfect resistance.

SLDL’s remain really awkward for me, so I picked a light weight and worked on form.  They still felt awkward, but I took my time and hopefully built some of that mind-muscle connection.

Calf raises I like high rep bodyweight sets since my calves are big and stubborn, and respond better to massive pump sets.  If I load the weight on the calf machines, I either feel nothing or get a massive cramp, so w/e.

In the evening I headed out to hot yoga for a stretching session.  I walked into the hot room feeling like I was on autopilot, just drift in and set up my spot.  We did some straight wide leg forward folds, cobblers pose, half happy baby (AKA the most miserable pose on Earth, haha).  My mood became grumpy during half happy baby, I am just learning to really hate that pose!  While I dealt with all the negative stuff it dragged up, I noticed I started to fidget more and more during poses.  My mind became busy, I couldn’t hold my focus or maintain my steady breath.  Honestly, most of my yin class was spent just sorting through all the grump.

It was a 60 min class, so luckily the suffering came to an end quite quickly, ha.  But all that pain and discomfort and challenge is exactly what I need.

You have to throw yourself into discomfort and strain if you hope to get healthy.  It seems like it shouldn’t be that way, we fool ourselves into thinking that we get healthy by avoiding pressure, but it is the opposite – health flows from adversity.

On a basic level, you have my resistance training.  I push the muscles as much as I can both heavy and for a long time, to push them to suffer microtrauma, the muscles rebuild themselves bigger and stronger, tada! improvement.

Next you have yin.  You stress out the connective tissues, gently push it to a soft edge, cause microtrauma, little tears, then the tissues rebuild you more flexible than you were before.

But take it even further.  I read an article today on the medical benefits of infecting someone with an intestinal parasite.  No, seriously.


How’s this for a tagline:  “Scientists run tests on a lab full of monkeys with chronic diarrhea”   hee hee hee!

Sorry, back to my point.  Scientists are wondering if maybe our sterile healthy environment has made us more susceptible to certain conditions.  Humans as a species grew up on Planet Earth alongside a raft of weird microbes and parasites.  And they made us tougher.  That’s why companies are starting to advertise “probiotic” foods, because we are suspiciously lacking these days in sufficient friendly stomach microbes, that help us digest.

So the thought is that the intestinal parasites gave our immune systems something to do.  But in the western world we have largely eradicated such parasites, and we have also seen the growth of conditions where our immune system is attacking itself, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, inflamed bowels, ulcerative collitis, and other autoimmune-related conditions.

Testing is going on, but it looks like they might be on to something.  Some sort of controlled infestation has certainly cured the monkeys of their chronic diarrhea, they started putting on weight, etc etc.

You know that old adage about avoiding germs all the time makes you weak?  That might be true.  Just like weight training and yin, our immune systems need the occasional workout.  I wouldn’t suggest swallowing some whipworm eggs 😛  But these patterns just keep popping up in Nature, iron sharpens iron, strength through adversity.  You must go out and test yourself, push yourself, try new things, if you expect to get better, to improve.

Food for thought!  Day 16 down!

Get it?  Relax plus Yin?  ugh…

I am starting to fall behind on these blogs, need to catch up! !!    !

Tuesday was my day off.  Not a day off from yoga, I am on a 30 day hot yoga challenge.  But a day off from resistance training.  Meaning the perfect practice to do that day would be a yin class.  Just some deep, mindful stretching.  Just flush it out.  Shorten the microtrauma recovery.  Clear your head.  Sweat it out.

After work, did some grocery shopping.  Picked up some good eats!  Have you heard of P28?

NO SILLY, that’s P90X.  Keep googling.

That’s it!  High protein bread.  I picked up a loaf of bread and some bagels.  why is it high protein?  They add whey isolate protein powder into it, so if you are vegan, this bread might not be for you (whey comes from milk).  The bagels are 100% whole wheat, I haven’t thawed out the bread yet, so I haven’t checked the wrapper on those.  I found them in the frozen food section at the Metro.

How do they taste?  Well, the bagels taste fine.  When you are on a low carb diet… well, let’s say I am grateful for any piece of bread I can get, so I haven’t set the bar that high in terms of taste, haha.  If it were up to me?  I would probably dip them in butter and spackle them with peanut butter.  But these actually taste just fine, all things considered.  They have the consistency of bread, they aren’t cardboard or styrofoam or anything like that.  So give them a try!  Quick boost of carb energy, guilt-free 🙂

After dinner and a nap, I headed off to Yin.  Katie was teaching this one too, just like last night.  She is a teaching machine!


It was a 60 min yin class (in the hot room, natch).  And how was it?  EVIL!  60 min of my least favorite yin poses, hahaha.  Half saddle, half happy baby, half sleeping hero, half shoelace, full shoelace.  Just 60 min of pure awkwardness.  Like, happy baby?  totally fine.  but half happy baby?  painful.  Shoelace?  I got fat thighs, man, my knees don’t stack unless I lie down, haha.  But honestly?  It was probably the class I needed.  It’s like massage sometimes, the tougher it feels, the more you are getting at the good spots.  So this was sort of a hip-heavy practice for me, it just hit the outside of my hips, which aren’t that flexible, vice the INSIDE of my hips, which are pretty flexible for my size.

And then came home, watched some tv, caught some snoozes, and that was that!  A tough but well-deserved recoveryin day.  Day 9 down!

Day 2 – Blaze of Glory

I wake up in the morning,

and I raise my weary head,

got an old coat for a pillow,

and the earth was last night’s bed

Those are the opening lyrics to Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory.  I mostly remember it from the Young Guns movie, an attempt to combine the Brat Pack with a Western.

Nice try Hollywood


Years ago, as I was building song files for my mp3 list, I started adding songs from the singing/musical instrument playing video games popular at the time.  I thought it would broaden my musical tastes, and help me learn the songs for when they popped up in rotation when I played said games.  At one point in time, that included an influx of Bon Jovi songs.

Somewhere along the line, my computer decided that Blaze of Glory was the most awesome goddamn song ON THE PLANET.  So whenever I opened up my setlist on random rotation, it would start off with Blaze of Glory.  So if I wanted to open up my setlist and look for rockin songs, for slow songs, for power ballads, short punk dittys, older songs, newer songs, WHATEVER, at least 75% of the time the computer starts me off with Blaze of Glory.  For at least 3 years now, I have listened to Blaze of Glory at least 5 times a week.  At least I listen to it as long as it takes for my player to load the rest of the setlist and stabilize so I can click “next”.  I usually have to listen to the opening riff and those first few lines up above.

By now I have probably listened to Blaze of Glory darn close to a thousand times.  Does that sound like a nightmare to you?  It is.  I could just delete the file, but the collector in me screams out, “but it’s in Rock Band!  You need to keep the set complete.”  Every once in a while I add a raft of new songs, hoping my computer will find one it likes better, and with well over 2,000 songs in the list, Bon Jovi shows no signs of slowing down.

It’s like when Bill Murray kept waking up to the same song on the radio in Groundhog Day.  He went through all sorts of emotions, as did I:  for the longest time I would just yell and scream at this song, for a while I would shut my speakers off until I could change songs, after a while I became really depressed, like the World was trying to tell me something.  By now, I am at peace with it.  Blaze of Glory might be one of the Songs in the Key of My Life that the Universe has picked for me.  No sense trying to fight it any more.

I got you, babe

And yes, I realize the computer probably likes the file name, in some sort of alphabetical Dewey Decimal System sense, but I have changed the file name a handful of times, and it makes no difference.  It doesn’t start with this song 100% of the time, and on those days it doesn’t I almost might feel a little sad.  I mutter the lyrics to myself every now and then.

Hey Jeremy, what’s the song you’ve listened to the most in your life? 

Me, oh… Blaze of Glory. 

What??  Is that your favorite song?

No.  But it is my anthem.

…you got a problem, buddy.

So.  Today.  I felt exhausted when I woke up, but I knew I had some yoga ahead of me.  And those lyrics sprang to mind.  My anthem comes to my rescue yet again, reminding me to just go for it, even if I am likely to fail.  Is that deep?  Or is it just… the power of BON JOVI.

New Jersey’s finest

I wanted to take in one of those nice morning classes, there was one with some Yin in there, which sounded great for my aching joints.  But I couldn’t, I had… some stuff to deal with.  I will draw your attention back to the themes from Day 1, and just say that… I had some issues to sort out first.  Once those were out of the way, I headed out, and made it to the studio for the last class on holiday Sunday, the Noon “Detox Flow” class.

Detox Flow at this studio is taught by Tiffani.  It is a Seane Corn-inspired sequence, again in a hot room, for about an hour.  The goal is to string together a sequence of moves that will help your body cleanse itself of the toxins in our environment.  So, in honour once again of my blog from yesterday… there would be bits of Seane Corn in my movements today!

Well?  Nothing?

Fine!  Humour is subjective.

I have taken a few classes with Tiffani, and don’t know her that well, but Tiffani carries the dubious distinction of always seeming to be the teacher teaching the class I wander into when I am feeling at my lowest.  Over the past year I have taken a class with her when my shoulder was BECOMING sprained, so I didn’t know what was wrong, I just knew it felt bad in my body somehow, and it made my practice awkward.  I did another class with her when I was dealing with some stuff in my personal life, and again today I was dealing with some events in my personal life that I won’t get into.  Suffice it to say I knew I had a lot of negative gunk in my pipes, just like yesterday, but probably worse.  So yeah, more “shadow” in my practice today.

I didn’t really want to go to yoga.  On days like this, I just want to draw the blinds and listen to music.


But I was doing a 30 day challenge, and I was too stubborn to give up on it.  I would rather go out… in a blaze of glory, haha.

I wonder what Tiffani must think of me, she must be like, “what the hell is this guy’s problem?  he always seems so angry in class, but keeps coming back.”  haha, such is my life.  It isn’t you Tiffani!  Your classes are great.

So we started off with some “thread the needle” (hip stretching) and a fairly long opening savasana, ok so far so good.  Then the flow began.  We did lots of sun salutations, a lot of standing twists, a few Warriors.  Overall, it felt like a fairly shoulder-heavy class – all the time it felt like I was either pushing with my shoulder (like with chaturanga), or lifting my shoulder up and against the socket (lifting my arms up and behind my back for a wide leg forward bend), or stretching my shoulder out when pulling something (like in happy baby).

happy baby

This was the first time I had done yoga classes 3 days in a row since I had sprained my shoulder.  My shoulder had had some good workouts on Friday and Saturday.  But today, with what SEEMED like a shoulder-intensive sequence (although I might have been projecting my own feelings), I found it really really difficult.  Downward Dog is supposed to be a rest pose, but for me it just felt like the pose I do to NOT let my shoulder get any rest before we flow through the next set of moves.

down dog

I had to sit out a few down dogs, and let my shoulder recharge.  As I did a few recharges and the class kept going, then just like yesterday the frustration started to creep up.  Along with that frustration was a bag of mixed emotions over the things in my life I could not change.  As the flow kept going, I thought, “wasn’t this class supposed to be an hour?  FRIG, how long is it?  did they change it to 90 min and not tell anyone?”  Time slowed down to a crawl.  I used to be able to breeze through a 60 min sequence, but this one was giving me grief.

I started to turn into THAT guy.  You know the one, he should be resting but he isn’t so when he breathes in and out it sounds loud and angry?  Yeah, I started to become THAT guy.  Loud and angry breather guy.  I knew in my heart of hearts that when you lose your breath, you aren’t doing yoga any more.  But I didn’t want to stop and calm things down, I wanted to “force” my way through the class, like I wanted to “force” today to be over with so I could move on.  In retrospect, it was pretty shameful.  But again, that’s life, not always pretty.

Even for the final savasana, when you are supposed to surrender, and let your body cool down, I still couldn’t surrender, I was obsessed with going out in a blaze of glory.  Shiva wasn’t going to lay down before Kali in corpse pose, he was going to get slaughtered, defiantly.  When everyone else was slowing down their breath, I was covering my face with my palms and tensing up my arms, balling my hands into fists.  I felt emotional.  That’s how much gunk I had to shake off today, it was a bad day in progress.

I got it out of my system to some extent.  I tried to at the very least leave it all on the mat, leave it in the hot room.  After class, Tiffani gamely agreed to take some pixx, even right after class, at our least composed.

See how we have our arms around each other?  That was her idea!  Noone hugs me at my sweatiest, holy jeez!  Haha, yoga teachers of the world, consider the bar RAISED.  If she can be kind and understanding enough to accept me at my worst, then maybe things aren’t that bad.

(By the way, I am leaning away because I felt awkward draping my sweaty armpit across a woman’s shoulder.  My momma raised me different than that!  haha)

It hasn’t been my favorite day today.  Normally when I have days like this, I lock myself away, and I flood my body with sugar and caffeine and chemicals.  But this month was going to be different, I went out in the sunshine.  I exercised.  I hugged people.  I ate real food.  I drank a lot of water.  My day didn’t magically become awesome, but I did what I could with what I had.

Another challenge day over 🙂  See you tomorrow.