Tag Archive: yin


Day 25 – Moonlight Asana

The structure of today was very similar to yesterday.  Long day of work, late night yoga.  Tonight would be some hot Yin.

Showed up at the studio, Gigi was going to teach tonight’s Yin.

Gigi and Katherine!

That’s Katherine to Gigi’s left, she was working front desk.

60 min stretchy class, not very full, I think the rush has died down.  This class, Gigi was playing a lot of music, a lot of classical piano.  Is it bad I can only guess who composed those pieces?  The tunes are instantly recognizable, but I’m like…”ehhhh, Beethoven?  Mozart?  Handel?  beats the shit out of me”

The music was very calming, most tranquil, classy even.  That’s why I thought it was kind of funny that we were going through all these hip openers, which can be very stressful for people.  So while the piano tinkles softly in the background, two dozen people are going through mild agony in their hips, sweating and cursing to themselves 🙂  It made me think of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, busting out some Moonlight Sonata while he eats your face off, hahaha!  That duality of the beautiful and the horrible.

time for Dragon pose on the other leg, Officer Pembry

On another note, I think my new favorite combo is doing seated Butterfly while Claire de Lune plays in the background.  I mean, I have always liked that piece anyways, so getting to bust out some restorative spine decompression to it is just nothing but icing 🙂

So we did Child’s pose (not the restorative kind), then Dragon, then seated Butterfly, then Pigeon, then some prone spinal twists, then we did wall-assisted Waterfall (legs up against the wall).  And then it was over, just like that.

Overall, I found the class pretty relaxing and pleasant!  I was in the Yin zone… just semi-meditative and stressfree.  A nice end to my day 🙂

Day 25 down!  Gettin closer!

Day 23 – recovery

Finally!  A recovery day!  Not a day off per se, but no resistance training, just a yin class, just some stretching.  I needed a low tempo day.

Slept in, did a day of work, came home, and napped for a good long while.  Woke up, headed to the studio for some late-night stretchy.

festive Katie

Katie was teaching this Yin, and posed by the Xmas tree for a shot or two.  Get it?  Tree pose.  Xmas tree.  Decoration hanging from her hand.  Decorations hang from Xmas trees.  Christmas.  Tree.  Plus her top says Roots.  Trees have roots.

 

Got changed out, stood by the hot room waiting for it to get cleaned.  Dude leaning against the wall, looks like Joss Whedon.  Stares at me.  I stare back at him.  nonverbal dude communication ensues.

me – “No, you don’t know me, what now Chief?”

him – “Just now waiting to see who will look away first”

me – “Underneath my pleasant public demeanor lies a lot of unresolved anger issues.  So don’t push it.”

 

As a guy, I both accept these male dynamics and am amused by them.  Are women aware of how many staredowns the average man goes through as he walks down the street?  It would blow your mind, you get sized up multiple times a day.

But I digress.  Back to Yin.

60 min class, lots of free space, I’m in luck!  We did child’s pose for a while (the deep kind, where you stretch out your hips, not recover), then we did cat/cow, then pigeon then a seated twist then a half shoelace then supported fish then wind relieving pose then a prone spinal twist.  I think that was it, time flies!

I was much happier with my pigeon tonight, much more serene.  This I took as the barometer of my recovery, I am closer to feeling better.  Now, shoelace… shoelace I find quite hard, but half-shoelace?  I felt nothing…  Katie came over and made some suggestions, but I still felt nothing.  Maybe half shoelace isn’t where my edge lies.  Next time I might do some monkey splits instead (not full ones, that is beyond me currently).  Just like how double pigeon is more restorative for me than stressful, I feel pretty much nothing.  Like how now instead of doing “thread the needle”, I do dead pigeon instead.  Your practice is your own, it won’t look like everyone else’s, and it is a sign of your experience that you don’t feel the need to conform.

Day 23 down!  Looks like it’s back to the weight training!  The break is over!

Spin, shoulders, hot yin, that was the plan for Sunday.

Me neighbour was eager to do another Spin class, and who could blame him?  Spin is great 🙂

I was given a sample of a new preworkout recently, Rivalus Powder Burn.

I have tried Rivalus’ Complx5 before, their stim free pwo, and I like it.  I like it before yoga, it keeps my head clear and me alert.  So I popped the powder burn sample.  I had heard it tasted harsh, but I didn’t notice it.  Felt an immediate spring to my step, ran to the gym!  Powered by tiger nuts!

I made it a point to show up early to the gym, and sign my friend and I up as soon as the list was opened up.  I was going to make sure we got spots.

Andrea was teaching, and she continues to prove why she is my fav, just intense spin work, all business.  A really strong Song 7, it went on forever and ever!  I also noticed no awkward jerks on the pedal strokes like yesterday, maybe some of the bikes are better than others.  But I sweat like a demon, worked it out hard.

Andrea & I after class

Bid my neighbour adieu, then headed to the weight room, deja vu!

shoulders:

superset (2 min rest) dumbbell shoulder press & alternating dumbbell front raise w/2-2-2 cadence:  50/20  8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/5

dumbbell lat raise w/drop sets (no rest!):  25×10, 22.5×6, 20×5, 17.5×7, 15×5, 12.5×6

superset upright row & shrugs w/1-4-2 cadence:  65 x 8/8, 8/8, 8/8, 8/8

notes:  this was a pretty quick workout by design.  my rehabbing shoulder can’t handle a lot of volume, and I do a lot of down dogs in yoga, so I wanted a quick blast, not a long haul.  But I wanted the workout to be hard, so I tried to maximize the time under tension, supersets, slow tempo and drop sets.  Trust me, it burns!

The 2-2-2 speed front raises were quite hard on my left shoulder.  I felt the burn especially when I lowered it.  If you weren’t clear, 2-2-2 means I take 2 seconds to raise it, hold it up for 2 seconds, 2 seconds to lower it.  All the while I try to keep my torso squared off, try not to put my back into it and lean forward or start to shrug with my traps.  Traps get their fun later 🙂  Slow proper front raises burn like crazy with little weight, try them out!

It gets harder to bring the dumbbells up for the shoulder presses.  I find it is easiest to clean them up while I stand, and then keep them up as I squat down to the chair.

I think the front raises tested my sprain the hardest.  I was worried the lat raises would hit the sprain, but when I did them, they were just normal hard 🙂  Yeah, drop sets all the way down to hell!  The dumbbells weren’t busy, so I lined up all of them, and just went to town.  When I dropped down to 17.5 DBs, it got suddenly easier, then quickly got hard again.  6 drop sets is no joke!

The traps I supersetted, using the same weight for the rows and the shrugs, just switched up the grip on the bar and kept going without lowering it.  They were actually somewhat easy, but I was testing out the routine, so I can go heavier next time.  1-4-2 cadence means I lift it up, hold it for 4 seconds, lower it slowly, then right back up.  For my purposes, what I found worked best was when I brought it up, I kept my shoulders forward for 2 seconds, then rolled them back (“packed them”) for 2 seconds, then lowered them for 2 seconds.  The shrugs were light, but doing them slow and right after the upright rows made them burn pretty good 🙂  I will go heavier next time and test the sets harder.

Had just enough time after the workout to grab a bite, then headed out to the movies to catch an early afternoon flick with my friend (Looper).

Then I had just enough time to head home and grab my yoga stuff so I could head out to Yin!  Ran to the bus stop, the bus was 5 min late.  This was going to cut it close, I got very worried.  I hadn’t presigned up either, there had just been no time today.  When I got to the studio, my worst nightmare:  the class was full.  5 min before class, they start to give away spots to the wait list, so I asked, but the wait list was already 8 people long!  Crazy!

I guess I deserved that for my trolling of the spin class yesterday 😛  I had been cutting it close and just winging it with the fitness classes for a while.  When November hits, fitness classes get packed to capacity, people want to slim down before xmas.  November is busy, December it gets sort of empty, then January it gets super busy all over again!  It tends to fade Feb and March timeframe, but January is bananas in every gym all over town.  So a word to the wise, always sign up in advance and reserve a spot.  and don’t be late or they will give it away.

So no yoga class for me 😦  Karma bit me!  But I didn’t want to lose the 30 day challenge, so I headed home and loaded up a yoga app on my iPhone, haha.  It offered me a 40 min “Shakti” stretching sequence.  I didn’t like it!  The thing about fitness routines is I like just shutting my brain off and doing what the teacher tells me, all the blood flows to my muscles, not to my brain.  Doing it in my home, and waiting for the robot voice to tell me what to do next is just too distracting, I couldn’t really get into it.  But in theory there was nothing wrong with the yoga app, I just prefer the human touch in a devoted setting 🙂

But oh well!  Day 21 down!  This was a crazy weekend 🙂  I loved it, but I hated it… but I LOVED it.  It was a real test.  I think Monday I will do the bare minimum and try to recover a bit 🙂  Normally Sunday is recovery day, but this Sunday… recovery?  What recovery??!?  Monday better be a sweet recovery day 😉

The plan for today was do chest and triceps in the morning, go to work, come home after work, nap, do an evening yin.  ‘Twas a fair plan 🙂

My butt was really dragging this morning, I almost psyched myself out of going to the gym, but I finally made it at about 06:40.

chest & triceps:

warmup presses for a few sets with the 30s

flat DB presses (2 min rest b/w sets):  110×20, 130×12, 150×9, 170×5, 150×8, 130×11, 110×11

machine press (90s rest):  150×12, 12, 12

incline DB flys (90s rest):  80×12, x6, x7

DB skullcrushers:  70×3, x3; 50 x10, 9, 9, 7, 7, 7

seated 2 hand tricep extension:  65 x7, x5; 50 x8, 8, 7, 7

 

notes:  I wasn’t entirely happy with this workout as a whole.

I was cruising along with the flat presses, and my left shoulder gave out 5 reps into the 85 lb DBs, so I climbed back down the ladder, each time my left shoulder stayed tired.  I couldn’t really get anywhere on my 7th set with the 55s either.  I like doing all those sets at all those different weights with the dumbbell presses, it helps me build up strength in my shoulder, which right now is clearly lagging behind my chest.  It is less stressful than pushups on the joint, and I can obviously tinker with the resistance much more easily than I can with pushups.

I wanted to give my chest more work to do, but I also wanted to see how done my shoulder was, so I went to the machine press, but I went fairly light, and just did a few sets of slow reps.  My shoulder felt fine and my chest was able to get some more good squeeze in (would have been better with free moving handles), so I felt confident going on to the flys.

Flys went sort of poorly, unfortunately.  I got through the first set, but either my shoulder was really tired, or I was psyching myself out, and I kept failing out of the next few sets.  The weight isn’t THAT much diffrerent from what I do with Leslie, only slightly more.  HOWEVER, when I do incline flys with Leslie, they are my working sets 4-6.  These flys today were working sets 11-13, LOL.  So maybe I should have gone lighter and respected the volume.

Next up triceps!  Lately I have been giving arms their own day, but I wanted to experiment with the split, and see how I liked it.  Long story short?  I didn’t!!  I was doing 30s last time for the skullcrushers, and it went really well, so this time I moved up to the 35s… I failed out right from the start!  So I took a few breaths, composed myself, went again, failed right away again!  So I gave up and went down to the 25s.  They started out fine, but by the second set with the 25s, my arms were not able to go the distance, they started to fail out around rep 7 every time.  This made me sad.

Again, there are a few factors at play.  I was doing triceps first, and now they are second in the rotation, energy not peak.  Also, triceps get work doing the chest presses, so they weren’t fresh when it was time for the skullcrushers.  My shoulder was also getting tired, so more of the pressure was getting transferred to the elbow, just less helpers available to assist the tricep when it fatigues.

Once you fail out of a few sets, you also start to psyche yourself out, which was happening to me because I kept losing my focus.  There was an old guy right next to me doing dumbbell presses while fluttering his legs in the air like he was riding a bicycle… WTF??!?  DON’T DO THAT.  You make me think you are losing control of the weight and panicking, and now I’m forced to keep an eye on you to keep you from killing yourself.  If you want to work your core, do presses on a stability ball, don’t flail your goddamn legs around like a drowning man.

If I see you combine these 2 moves, I will seriously consider taking the weights away from you.

So, THAT was genuinely distracting.

I moved on to the seated extensions, and the weakness in the triceps continued, I got some mediocre sets in with the 65s, and dropped down to the 50s, and still couldn’t bust out full sets.  My arms were just torched.

In retrospect, given what I have observed, chest work wears out my shoulder, and I have nothing left for arms.  Back work doesn’t seem affected, I have done massive chest/back days and been none the worse for wear.  So I think I will keep up a chest/back & legs & arms & shoulders split, it seems to accomodate my situation the most, aka building my shoulders back up.

I was worried my triceps got a raw deal today, but as I sit here typing this, they feel pretty sore, so maybe I worry too much 🙂

 

Also!  It has been a few days since my legs workout, and it usually takes a little while to see what the DOMS were like, kind of like an autopsy of the workout.  Normally when I get railed by Leslie, my DOMS center around the rectus femoris, which is a direct antagonist to the hamstrings.  This is probably reflective of all the heavy lunges we do (as a consequence of me being heavy).  Basically I feel DOMS in the middle of my thigh and the back of my leg, making walking difficult.

As for these particular DOMS this week, I felt it yesterday much deeper than the rectus femoris, possibly even the vastus intermedius, although I couldn’t be sure, and that isn’t a muscle you can really isolate anyways.  However today, the soreness settled squarely into the outside of my thighs, the vastus lateralis.  I didn’t feel the soreness when I walked, but I felt it when I straightened out my legs.  This means it was the FST-7 sets of the leg extensions that did the microtrauma, which is fine with me.  Possibly also the one leg presses followed by the extensions, both likely suspects.

It could also well be affected by the yoga.  You can hit the vastus lateralis with leg work on closely placed feet, and while I was recovering from the leg training, I was still doing chair pose and eagle squat and flexing my quads in mountain pose, and all those asanas that require you to keep your feet closer than hip width.  So they all came together in a really beautiful way to make my legs sore 🙂

 

Can you tell I have been really inward focused today?  LOL  As the yoga challenge goes on, my attention is squarely set on how I feel inside.  How does my shoulder feel?  How does my elbow feel?  Where do I feel the DOMS in my legs?  Did I hit the triceps on those sets?

My awareness has become very very inward, very introspective.

So when I headed out to Yin tonight, that introspection continues.  I felt detached from everyone else on the bus, like they were moving slowly and clumsily and they all felt like they were getting way too close to me when they walked by.  None of them seemed to be moving mindfully.  At the same time I felt deeply the space caused by the detachment from them.  It reminded me of a passage from the Dao De Jing (translation D C Lau)

Everyone is joyous,
as though feasting at a great sacrifice
or climbing a terrace in springtime.
But I am quiet, not giving any sign,
like an infant who has yet to smile;
aimless, as though I had nowhere to go.

Everyone has more than enough,
I alone seem to be lacking.
I have the mind of a fool, vacant and dull.

Most people see clearly;
I alone am in the dark.

Most people make fine distinctions;
I alone am muddled and confused.
As vague as the ocean,
As unsettled as the wind.

People have their intentions,
I alone am as dull as a yokel.

Everyone else seemed amused, distracted, clumsy, purposeful.  I was just sort of… observing and drifting.  My attention was still focused inwardly.

 

When I got to Yin, Gigi was teaching!  A 60 min late night stretchy session 🙂

ahhh, so fuzzy!

We went through some hip work followed by restorative work.  wind-relieving pose then dragon then twisted dragon then seal then double pigeon then waterfall.

I don’t mind dragon, as I have said before.  But the twisted dragon was rough!  I really felt it on the inside of my thigh, at the hip.

this is the version of twisted dragon we did

Conversely, I LOVVVE winged dragon, aka gecko.  But we didn’t do that 😛

I was also really glad we got to do waterfall, it helped me flush a lot of fresh blood into my sore legs.

 

Day 18 over!  This was a really long entry, but I had a lot to say 🙂  See you tomorrow!

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.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/whipworm-immune-regulation/

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!

Day 11 – Little Stories

Thursday night was an off day from the resistance training, so it was another Yin night.  The 30 day challenge is going well so far!  Hot yoga every single day.

There was a good vibe in the hot room that night.  For me, it was about more than the poses.  It was about the people.  And every person had their own little story.  There was me, blogging away, doing the 30 day challenge, stomach a little upset, thinking about the weekend.

The two mats over to my left were the 2 older heavyset gentlemen who showed up on Tuesday for their first class, so tonight was their second class!  I recognized them and went up to one of them before class and said, “Tuesday night was your first class right?”  He nodded.

“And you’re back for more tonight?  That’s awesome!”

His response, “I’m trying!”

One mat over to their left was another 30 day challenger, a young woman who usually does her classes in Stittsville, but comes out to the city once or twice a week for their classes.  This was her first yin class in 3 years and she was nervous!

Then there was the teacher, who just that very day had announced her engagement!  Her now-official fiance had showed up for the class, and when they were done cleaning the room from the previous class, he was the first one in the room looking for a spot for his mat 🙂

 

This is the thing about yoga, you start off learning the poses.  But as time goes on, you start to learn the little stories, you become more of a community.  Everyone is friendly and supportive, and it starts to feel like home, a place you could come to over and over.  The other sidenote about that handful of little stories?  All of them (me included) all found spots at the back of the class on purpose.  These people don’t feel like yoga stars, everyone has hesitation, everyone has doubt.  But when we come together, we fill the room with our energy and make the whole event happen.  All these little stories can add up into a strong community.

 

As for the practice itself?  It was 60 min of yin.  We did half-frogs and deer twists and neck stretches and some nice long pigeons and a few others.  An hour goes by quick!

Day 11 down!  Hope to have more to tell you soon!

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!

peace!

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 7 – chest, back, yin

I was going to write all this great stuff about what I was doing at 11:11/11/11/11… and then I realized it’s 2012.  Oh well.

So the plan for today was to do some spin, see how my shoulder felt, make a choice on back or chest work, go home, rest, then do some yin.

But today is Rememberance Day, so I thought there might be complications.  I checked the gym schedule, and it wasn’t on the list for reduced hours.  So I headed down to see if they were running Spin.  I showed up… place is locked up.  Nearby mall guy tells me he doesn’t think they will be open until 12:30, even though the mall opened its doors at 8.  Pretty lazy if you ask me.  Too lazy to post up their reduced hours on the website like every other Goodlife.  It’s like we are just SUPPOSED to expect less customer service on a stat holiday.  So they just lock the doors and wander away.  Weak.

I had to find another Goodlife, and phoned around.  I decided to avoid the downtown core, what with the ceremonies, and went southeast to backup gym #1, which I knew relatively well.  Plus I could go shop at GNC after!  Oh, perfect.

Showed up, asked if they were running any spin, they said only at 9 am, and that was well over by this point.  My shoulder felt good, so I launched into my back workout.  That took half an hour.  My shoulder felt good and I still had energy, so I decided to do chest also.

back:

5 min warmup cardio

100 rep rows:  hammer strength row machine – 90 lbs.  x40, (60s rest) x20, (40s rest) x20, (20s rest) x14, (6s rest) x6

superset reverse grip cable row&neutral grip pulldown – 120/105: x 20/20, 20/20, 10/15

superset reverse pec dec&straight arm pulldowns – 50/50:  x 20/20, 20/20, 20/20

chest:

DB flat press:  100×20, 130×12, 150×9, 170×5, 150×4, 130×12, 100×15

machine press:  180×4, 160×8, 160×6

pec dec:  110 x15, x15, x15

notes:  I don’t know if this seems like much, but I hadn’t had much to eat this morning, and by the end, I was DONE.  Trust me, the gas tank was empty.  I was hungry, shivering, ready to go sleep.  This was kind of an asshole workout, supersetting machines means you have to rush around and shoo people away.  Doing the presses meant I had a minefield of dumbbells around my bench, it meant looking around hard just to FIND all the dumbbells I wanted in the first place.

I did the rows, no problem.  Unfortunately with this gym there is just ONE cable row and pulldown station that everyone loves to go on, most popular thing in the whole place.  So I knew I couldn’t waste any time, and just went at it.  By the third superset, there was a guy fiddling with the pulldowns while I was doing rows, so I apologized and said I would come do my last set right away.  This is why the reverse grip cable rows stop at 10 on the last set, I had to jump off and free up the pulldowns for the other guy.

Then when I was taking the straight bar off so I could move it to a tricep station for straight pulldowns, I caught my thumb on a sharp piece of the alligator clip, sliced it clean open… blood dribbling down my hand, blood dribbling onto the cable row machine, it was awkward.  So I kept pressure on my thumb, rubbed it a few times with disinfectant (cutting yourself on rusty iron is no fun), wiped down the alligator clip and the machine.  I had some spare time while I waited for the bleeding to stop, so I watched the Rememberance day ceremonies on a nearby tv.

So that was what I was doing at 11:11 11/11/12, I was watching a tv in the gym, drenched in sweat, chest heaving from some rugged back supersets, hands bleeding.

Gym was crowded but the machines were free, so I used the pec rec in revserse before going back to the straight pulldowns.  Again I had to apologize to a guy for hogging 2 machines, he had started doing tricep stuff on my pulldown station.  But that’s what I had to do.  supersets are awesome, but you feel like a dick.  At least it wasn’t “circuit training”, where you tie up like 6 machines, haha.

After the straight pulldowns, my triceps felt tired, not sure if I should be feeling it there.  I made a mental note to talk to Leslie about it.

When I was doing the dumbbell presses, my shoulder gave out when I was using the 85s.  I had thought I would get at least 6 reps, then try out the 95s.  But my left arm went almost up, then dropped back down on the 6th rep, so I counted it as 5, then worked my way back down the weights.  Again, the reason I jumped from 100 to 130 is that I couldn’t find the 55 lb dumbbells, they were God knows where.  So I used 50s, then 65s, 75s, 85s.  When I went back down the ladder for the second set of 75s, my left shoulder failed out after the 4th rep.  So I knew I was done.  Things got a lot easier by the 65s, and with the 50s, I was just tired.  I wouldn’t say I had an awesome chest workout, the shoulder weakness holds me back from PR, but it is what it is.  Sometimes the strong parts gotta wait for the weak parts to catch up.

I was TRYING to do machine press, when I became HEAVILY distracted by this fool doing tricep pushdowns.  He was in street clothes, bopping along to his walkman, movin and groovin during his reps, rhythmically pressing down while gyrating.  This of course means he was swinging, and it means he wasn’t isolating his tris.  So he was cheating.  But he looked SO HAPPY.  I thought the guy was awesome.  But don’t take just my word for it, I caught a bit of it on camera!

Please bear in mind he was swinging with that same rhythm for about 2 min straight.  Pure comedy.  I was only about 10 ft away, so I couldn’t film for too long without it getting awkward.  The downside of it was, this guy was SO ridiculous, I kept cracking up, and couldn’t really get anything down on the machine press, as my pathetic reps point out.

Watching him jerk around, I was all like

I was feeling anemic, so I finished off with the pec dec, and showered, went for food, went home, slept, warmed up.

Then I headed out for some early evening yin!

It was a cold,grey Nov 11, as they always are.  This was the view out the window of the yoga studio.

Yin was a 90 min class, led by Gigi, focusing on the stomach?  I dunno, seemed like back and hips to me.  But I wouldn’t know a meridian from meningitis, so I will take the teacher’s word for it 🙂  I found myself in the corner next to a coupld of old fat guys, which is cool.  I like to see guys try out yoga for the first time 🙂

We did firefly and pigeon and childs pose and some twists and half saddle and all kinds of other stuff, it was fun!  It was also over before I knew it.  Day 7 is over and done!  I came home to watch some Walking Dead and Dexter.

And how was your day today?

Day 4 & 5 – the quiet spaces

Woops! Ran out of time to post last night, so this is a double dip.

The big challenge to yoga, and maybe you can apply this to life in general, is to focus and maintain your breath.  This is MUCH harder than it sounds.  The poses get harder and harder, but the goal is the same, maintain your composure, breathe steady.  For me I have found my breathing has 2 enemies in yoga class:  painful change, and the quiet spaces.

Painful change is the one you knew was coming, AHHH this dragon pose is uncomfortable as hell, AHHHH

Quiet spaces though, they sneak up on you.  Right when the pose stops being painful, your mind starts to wander.  HMMM, pigeon pose is comfy tonight, HMMM I should write about this in my blog, HMMM I should write about distractions in my blog, HMMM is that the sound of someone opening their water bottle, HMMM I could sure go for a sip of water right now… and it goes on and on.

They are both the enemies of your breath, just focus on your breath.

So Thursday night, I went home after work and napped hard.  Then I went to late night yin.  Focus on Thursday was on hips.  Whenever you hear “we’re doing hips”, most ppl think oh shit Dragon pose!  With me though, I seem to have flexibility in my hips, not in EVERY direction, but in some poses my hips are good with it.  Double pigeon for example?  I can do that all day long, that’s pure chill for me.  With Dragon, it used to hurt, it used to be stressful, I would feel a lot of emotions.

But over the last year and a half of doing yoga, Dragon doesn’t bother me any more, there are no surprises.  Yeah it hurts, yeah I find my edge, but when other people are releasing emotions and going insane inside their head, I feel… nothing.  My emotions got smart, and don’t hide in my hips any more, they hide in my sprained shoulder or my knotty calves, or my sore IT band.  But not in my hips.  So when you are begging for the teacher to show mercy in Dragon, I am drifting into a state of reverie, just meditation.  That’s when the quiet spaces come in, I am struggling to stay focused, not struggling with the sensations.  The discomfort is inconsequential, the agony ephemeral.  Very zen.  At least until I start to spin my mind onto the rest of my day, then I lose my breath and have to catch myself.

Friday, I geared up for a workout with Leslie and then yoga right after.  It was shaping up to be a grueling day, at the end of a grueling week.  All this late night yoga had caused my sleep to suffer, it was coming in short naps, not marathon hibernations.  I was sure my leptin and ghrelin had gone to shit, and my mood was… “short”.  Even with the yoga, I was losing patience.  At everything.  I needed a massive sleep to just recharge my battery and my heart and brain fully, not in bursts.  I had energy to work out, don’t get me wrong, but my mood was… not right.

This must be going around a lot lately, because at the end of the workday, Leslie called me with an urgent message – she was not feeling well, and needed to go home and crash.  No session for us.  You would think I would be relieved, but it is no reprieve for me.  I don’t want to skip workouts, they are like skipping meals for me, you go hungry without feeding the beast.  HOWEVER, this meant Friday would be an easier day, yoga only, and I could spread my upperbody workout around over the weekend 🙂  So I can make lemonade out of this 🙂

I went home, ate, napped, headed to yoga.  It was Friday night by-donation class, meaning it was full of rude n00bs.  People who don’t know what “silent room” means, people with cell phones going off during the class, people breathing like wounded bulls and crashing around like drunken sailors, room packed to capacity, haha.  But it’s all good.  I arrived to find the teacher Lisa, crawling around on the ceiling like a Japanese horror movie.

the Grudge!

OK kidding.  She was very nice to do an arm balance for my blog on request, thanks Lisa!

Class itself was an hour, we went through the standard Moksha sequence, standing stuff, balance work, ab work, back work, twists, hip stuff, etc.  First time doing balance work in a while, I wasn’t TOO bad, not awesome though.  Again I suck at ab exercises, Lisa noticed and called me out on it, haha.  But hey!  Doing abs 5-7 times a week is too much!  I feel no shame in avoiding overtraining my already IMPRESSIVE abdominal section 🙂  So I did some ab stuff, but barely half of it.  I did the plank stuff though.

Left yoga, decided to treat myself to some tapas!  Tuna sashimi and a beet salad, thanks for asking 🙂

delish and fancy!

Looking forward to sleeping in super heavy tomorrow, then bring on the long weekend!  I have TONS of stuff at the gym planned.  Wish me luck!

hot yoga on a cold day

It felt like the summer would last forever.  But this past week especially, I could feel winter was here to stay.  How fortuitous, then, that this hot yoga challenge is going on, every single cold, scary day I get to run into a steamy sauna packed with people and sweat it all out.  When I go from the hot room to the cold outdoors, it feels good.  Apart from the physical activity and the afterglow of all that, I feel the temperature change in my skin.  My face for example, I sweat like crazy, take a shower, scrub my face, then step outside and feel my pores tighten back up against the wind.  It really does feel quite nice.

Today, Day 2!  After work I had this hankering to go to the gym and lift, but I realized I had some non-exercise stuff to do, to take care of myself.  So right after work I booked a massage, haha.  It was an hourlong session, and felt great.  She focused mostly on my legs and shoulders.  My legs especially were tight, she said she could have spent a lot more time on my calves, and I wanted my poor shoulders to get a lot of TLC.  My only regret is I wish she had done some ART (active release therapy) on my shoulders.  Oh well.

Then I headed home, cooked up chicken for the rest of the week (PCC – perpetually cooking chicken), took a nap (glorious!) then headed out to the yoga studio.  Another latenight session, this one a yin class.  Vanessa was teaching!  I had never had a class with Vanessa before, so I was looking forward to it.

pre-class shot w Vanessa

Class was a lot of fun!  Deep, stretchy fun.  The room was packed and humid as heck!  I guess latenight yin is a big draw.  We did seated butterfly, windshield wiper knees, square pose (LOVE the square), some dangling pose to garland back to dangling, some sphinx and some seal (including lifting my feet off the ground during seal, which I have never done), a few spinal twists, and maybe more that I can’t remember.  It was an hourlong class and I felt focused and in the zone the whole time.

Came home, watched some tv, and fell asleep.  And that was my day!  See you next time!