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fitness goals

My neighbor mentioned the other day (yesterday) that he’s glad he’s managed to stay in shape, because a lot of people in our class have started to “let go.” (All the stress and studying.) The most common excuse is always “I don’t have time.”

Not true.

You don’t have the time because you don’t make the time for it. There is a definite difference. (We had this concept ingrained into us in EXB from Dr. Paul long, long ago.) If you have time to get drunk every day of the weekend and partially into the weekdays, I think you do in fact have the time to work out. You just choose not to. As long as you own up to the fact that you are prioritizing other things in favor of exercising, we will not have a problem.

For instance, I definitely haven’t been exercising every day, but I am consciously aware of my decision during finals week to forgo working out in favor of more studying. Sometimes, I wonder if this is a mistake, because I’m generally a whole lot more functional/alive/energetic when I do exercise that day, but the stress and the “what if I look at that one slide one more time and it’s actually on the test and I missed it because I went to go work out instead of reading it!?” gets to me.

I try to continue to work out regularly for a variety of reasons (e.g. I like collecting brag rights, I don’t want to be a disgrace to my undergraduate major, I want to be able to practice what I preach/lead by example because no patient is going to listen to me when I tell them to eat healthy foods/exercise if I’m a fat blob, and let’s face it, I’m also kinda vain), so I thought I’d make a list of goals that I want to accomplish. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s a fan of making lists and crossing stuff off of it. There’s just something about it that makes you feel all accomplished and stuffs. I have a bad habit of making a billion overly ambitious goals, so I’ve been trying to remedy this by doing progression-type lists. Here’s my newest one (to be completed, maintained, and/or surpassed hopefully by the end of the school year)!

I’m just gonna go ahead and say that the first goal will undoubtedly be the most difficult for me because it’s a compound goal that involves all kinds of lifestyle changes that I need to keep consistent (clean eating, I have down most of the time, but the drinking water and cardio? Yeah, no. I’m about the farthest you could get from a “cardio queen.” ._.)

1) Get my BF% down to 20%. (Ideal goal = 17-18%.)
Basically, this goal involves clean eating, probably drinking 6+ more cups of fluid than I usually do because my natural state leans towards being a human cactus without the water storage part, and actually doing cardio instead of just strength training.

I actually have no effing clue what I’m at right now, so this may be somewhat of a stretch (stretch only because I am a bottomless pit when it comes to food). When I offered myself up as lab material for the hydrostatic tank back in spring quarter of 2010, I was at 21-22%. I ran a half-marathon about half a year later, so it likely went down…but my year in NJ probably screwed it over like no other. Oh, the joy of unstoppable eating when it’s cold and the plethora of good food around me. ;_; Not that I was complaining, but definite repercussions went along with that. :[ So I want to work to remedy this! Unfortunately, it probably really just means not consuming foods like the black hole that I am, and possibly actually doing cardio again, because I think I’m mildly beasting the weightlifting part. If you were to punch my stomach, you would feel abs of steel! Underneath the pudge.

2) Be able to deadlift 1.5x my body weight. (Ideal goal = 2x BW)
I can technically already do this, but I want to recheck form.

3) Be able to squat 1.5x my body weight. (Not sure what my ideal goal is yet. We’ll see what I can do.)
I’m at 170 right now, so only 10 pounds more!

4) Be able to bench press my body weight. (Same as with squats. We shall see.)
I’m…at 90, so I have a ways to go.

5) Run a 7 minute mile. (Ideal = sub-7)
The fastest I’ve gone is 7:30 on a treadmill. But treadmills are infinitely easier than real-life running, so I’m not sure yet which one I mean. I hate cardio with enough of a passion that it might just be “sub-7 minute mile on a treadmill.” :[

6) Teach and perform a hula for the international festival in January.
This may just turn into me performing a solo hula for the international festival in January, because we have yet to meet so I can teach em’, and time’s a-tickin’.

7) Get a resting HR of under 60. Hooray for increased stroke volume?

I have way too many pole dancing goals, so that cannot go on here or the list would never end.

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super badass

I am in rather joyous spirits! :D I managed to convince myself to get my ass to the gym yesterday (this is somewhat of an ordeal at times, because, much as I do love working out, school can be pretty draining), and it was a good thing I went! (I happened upon a whole lot of ego boosters.)

I’m basically the only girl that ever ventures into the free weights portion of our gym, and there was shit everywhere today (a lot of the kids here are apparently incapable of re-racking their weights). I saw one of the guys in my class at the bench press and asked if he’d been in between sets on the squat rack or anything (he was not). He helped me move stuff out of the way so it would expedite the process of me being able to use it. He’s a good soul. I liked his story on how he “lost a high school cheerleader” (aka 100 pounds) when he first decided to start lifting/eating healthy.

I do not have such an inspirational story because I’ve always been pretty scrawny (I’ve only really gained around 52-ish pounds and 4 inches in the past 13 years; I weighed 68 pounds and was 4’11” in 6th grade, so go figure). Aside from not wanting to disgrace my major, my goal when I first started lifting was to look small and unthreatening, but to be really effing strong, so people would be in for a surprise if they ever tried to mess with me. While that still remains a goal, it has expanded to basically encompass my desire to be able to do half a billion moves on the pole and on silks that requires a crapload of strength, flexibility, or both.

I’ve taken to just doing abs in between sets of heavy lifting for maximum time efficiency, so during one of those “breaks,” aforementioned guy (I can’t exactly call him a friend because we haven’t had too many conversations in weeks’/months’ past–he forgot his ID, so I let him into the gym a couple weeks ago and that’s basically how we met) turned to me and said, “You’re a beast, Farrah!” (I’d been doing squats.)

F: Why thank you, good sir! (Yes, I really do talk like this to people in real life. :X )
S: You’re really strong. Did you used to compete or anything?
F: hahaha, no, I’m not that hardcore. I just do this for fun. One of my goals is to be able to deadlift twice my body weight. (Since previous goal of 1.5x my body weight has been achieved. :D!)
S: Really? I’m surprised you can’t do that already.

I explained to him my slight apprehensions of adding too much more weight on even though I know I could do more because I was afraid of effing over my already somewhat-misaligned spine. To me, it’s really saddening because deadlifts are actually my favorite lift. (Although these days, because of my wariness, squats have been fast catching up on my list of favorites.) The breaks I’ve had from lifting have been due to stupid shit like effing over my spine in late 2009-early 2010 and late 2011-early 2012, as well as the lack of a gym with free weights from fall of 2010-early 2011 and…let’s face it, it’s also because I fell in love with pole dancing and spent over half of 2011 basically living at Bel’s studio. I was like a piece of furniture that moved around there.

So if you take all that into account and then backtrack to when I first started lifting (last day of March in 2009), my deadlift started at 70 and (so far) has peaked at 185. I started squats at 65 and am currently at 155. Progress has been pretty slow-going though, because I’ve honestly only improved 65 and 45 lbs, respectively, since early May of 2009. Suffice to say, my weight lifting awesomeness was a lot better when I first started (which is typical due to a whole lot of physiology that I will not go into). I still partially attribute this progress to my ex, since he’s the one who started me up on it, partly because he saw the potential greatness in me (haw haw :O ), but also because my living habits at the time frightened him. (Let’s just say that he met me shortly after I’d climbed out of ochem hell, where I would often have a billion cups of jasmine green tea and Nature Valley Oats & Honey granola bars. I ate over 500 of those and the Fruit & Nut ones that school year, so really, I can’t blame him for being horrified. It was a dark and terrible time.)

Unfortunately, I have since acquired a couple stupid habits and my form for deadlifts has apparently gone to partial shit since then, which would also explain the effing up of my lower back. I started out with Romanian deadlifts and I’m not sure I ever actually learned the proper way to do a regular one. After I did one rep, guy-in-my-class (Steve) asked if I’d mind if he gave me a few tips. (Nope. It was nice of him to ask though; tip guys at the gym are usually the worst.) It was like magic. :O What I’d been forgetting to do = flexing my butt, which was putting all kinds of strain in my lower back. He alerted me of this by poking me at where my piriformis would be located (this attests to the comfort level our class basically has with each other; after OPP and anterior L5 counterstrain, this kinda thing doesn’t faze you anymore) and demonstrated its effectiveness by having me poke him while he was doing one without flexing vs. flexing. I also haven’t been driving the bar straight up. Mysteries solved! I’m not all apprehensive of doing deadlifts anymore! :D!

He also showed me a super easy way to drag the weights off the barbell (easily my least favorite part of lifting, especially when assholes decide not to put their shit away–can you tell that’s one of my pet peeves? >_>), and got me to simultaneously realize and kick the habit I apparently had (I seriously never noticed ._.) of looking at the bar/shifting my weight around while I was picking up the bar to do squats, and the weird shifty one-side-at-a-time sort of deal I’ve been doing (and will never do again, because I just realized how terrible it was for my back, holy shit no wonder it would hurt ._.) when I’m putting the bar back into the rack.

Load up the bar, pick it up, take a good step back with one foot and then the other. Don’t move em’ anymore. Do your thing. Step forward until the bar hits the rack on both sides–you don’t need to look at it while you’re doing that because it’s not like it moved or anything while you were lifting–and set it down. Why did I never do this before?! ;_; Better late than never, I guess.

S: I’m going to make you a champion, Farrah. You definitely have the talent for it.

Hells yes! :D (I find this particularly flattering because he used to compete in powerlifting. :D!) Mark my words, kids! I am on my way to greatness! (Or at least, I’m working on it.)

the latest

My newest nickname is the “Asian shrimp.” More often just shortened to “shrimp.”

It was also, in essence, self-imposed, because we were talking about games we used to play during recess. I happened to mention that one of the things I’d liked other than wallball was Red Rover, because the opposing team would always pick me due to the fact that I was an Asian shrimp (in 6th grade, I was 4’11” and weighed 68 pounds, so there is little else you could’ve called me) and they tended to underestimate my ability to hurtle at them at a rather quick speed with unexpected force.

They think it’s particularly amusing because I can’t even eat shrimp.

I think it’s cute though, so I’ll take it. :O

While we’re talking about my shrimpy status (I’ve gained 52 pounds and 4.5-ish inches since then), I’m pretty proud of my latest two accomplishments (more so of the running than anything because if you know me, I am basically a shit when it comes to endurance/running anything more than a sprint)!

#1: I ran a 7:30 mile!
Just to clarify, this is exciting because from the start of elementary school to age 14.5, my fastest mile time was a 9:14. Yep. In my sophomore year of high school, our mile runs were graded on improvement, and I (stupidly) ran the fastest mile I’d ever run (8:19) and had to improve on that throughout the year. I made it to an 8:02, due in part to the fact that I gave up sprinting the last 10 feet because I thought 8 minutes had already passed. (sigh.) I’ve only gone running like…4 times since June (which I really don’t recommend, by the way), so whoa there. :O Where did this come from?

#2: I’m up to squatting 150 lbs! :]
But my deadlift has gone to shit (I think it’s mostly because I’m afraid of murdering my spine again. I should really go get that fixed one of these days). Slowly but surely!

bench press qualifier

There’s a bench press competition this Friday, but I can’t participate in it because I will be flying across the country to attend my hopefully-last interview for med school. (This is my tied-for-first-choice med school, although if I’m to be honest, I’m leaning toward the one I’ve already been accepted to. Its only real downside is that it’s far from all the people I love and care about, and the people I most enjoy spending my time with.)

But, back to this bench press competition. I was pretty devastated that I’d have to miss it (that and Soupervan’s official grand opening! ;_; ), but I decided to go for the qualifier anyway, just for fun. (That was last Friday.)

Here are my disclaimers:
1) It’s actually been a pretty long while since I’ve lifted weights regularly, largely because I spent the summer cheating on lifting weights with pole dancing. The fact that I’ve been a basement/study-room-dwelling drone trying to learn theough osmosis for the past several weeks really doesn’t help either.
2) Bench press is my absolute worst “event” (out of deadlifts, squats and bench press).
3) It’s generally not the best of ideas to lift weights at a 3:30 pm competition when you’ve been up since 7 am, are running on 4 hours of sleep, a bowl of oatmeal, an apple, and some almonds.

For the record, this was the last qualifier for lightweight (<130 lbs) females (you just need to do 6 reps at 50% BW). The most anyone has done so far is 23, which I did last Monday, but I only managed to do 20 on Friday. :[ I completely blame cell bio and the aforementioned disclaimers.) All the rest did 6-7 reps.

This is really all just to justify why I didn’t do as many as I believe I normally could. :[ I was pretty disappointed in myself because this is the weight I was doing less than 2 weeks after I first started lifting. In my head, doing only 20 is somewhat of a fail, although truth be told, it’s not like I’ve been training for/have ever trained for it or anything. :[

However, the guy counting my reps is apparently the head of the Olympic weightlifting gym on campus that I still have yet to get myself to (this week, mark my words.) When I told him I couldn’t be there this Friday (I told the registration people too and asked of I could just do the qualifier for fun; I’m kinda honest to a fault), he told me to email him after this week and he’d get me a finalist t-shirt. ;] ;] ;] hells yes!

I got a free t-shirt! :D