Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Improvising at a sucky gym

So my car broke down. Again. And I'm staying at a friend's place for the time being. The apartment is much closer to my office so it's cheaper in terms of taxi fares. Anyway, the worst thing about staying at someone else's place is that my training routine goes awry.

Thankfully there's a gym at the apartment and I eagerly went there to check out the facilities. It sucked. It sucked big time. There were machines galore and only had a pathetically small range of dumbbells. There are no barbells whatsoever. Yup. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Once upon a time I may make lack of equipment as an excuse not to train. But by now I should know better and should be able to think of ways to use whatever equipments that they have to continue with my training. Sure, it won't be as swell as hitting it up at my very own squat rack but life can be a bitch and when life is bitchy you need to find ways to get around that bitchiness.

So for tonite's workout... And to test the waters, I shall start off with goblet squats and then shoulder presses. Finish it off with farmer's walks. That should not take me long to complete, I reckon.

I hope my car gets fixed pronto.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Pressing Matter

It's guys like this that made the
overhead presstough to judge
Before the benchpress became the staple in powerlifting competitions, the overhead press was used as a measure of strength.  It was one of the things that was competed in powerlifting meets until the year 1972.  The reason why it was omitted wasn't because overhead presses suck or make a lifter prone to injury.  Rather, the overhead press was hard to judge because flexible lifters tend to arch their back which then enable them to press more.

It's easy to figure out why the benchpress was then introduced.  It simply is much easier to judge.

I for one, am not impressed by guys who can bench a huge amount of weight.  I usually go "mehhh...." when I see guys grunting and heaving to bench weights.  But pressing huge weights overhead is another story altogether. Now THAT is impressive.  THAT is the mark of a strong man.  Plus, it has good carryover to real life usage.  Unlike the squat and the deadlift, I don't see how lying on your back and lifting weights can be beneficial when going through your daily activities.

Yes, I am biased.  Sue me.  I am entitled to my opinion.  Plus, it's my blog. Haha.  Anyway, here's a list of benefits of overhead presses:
Keep your elbows tucked in... Like this
dude does right here

  1. It's a total body workout.  It works your legs, glutes, core, shoulders, upper chest, lats... it smokes everything.
  2. It especially gives your obliques a nice workout.
  3. Unlike the benchpress which focuses more on the front shoulders and not much on your back shoulders, the overhead press works all parts of your shoulders.
When done correctly, the overhead press is a heck of an exercise.  For me, it's one of the toughest lifts.  But I love it nonetheless.  However, my shoulder was once injured because I had been using the wrong pressing technique.  Luckily, it wasn't a serious injury but I had to stay away from upper body exercises for a few weeks.  That's enough to make me weep.

My mistake was that my grip was too wide and my elbows were flared.  You must always tuck your elbows in.  For that to happen, you must also have strong and flexible wrists.  Or else you're gonna have some trouble keeping your elbows tucked in when you're at the overhead press starting position.

If you haven't tried out the overhead press, you should.  Just make sure you do it with proper form, ok?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sexism and weightlifting

I sometimes get friend requests from strangers on Facebook.  Usually when I take a look at their profile they are mostly guys and girls who are into fitness.  So I just accept their friend request and classify them under "Fitness Junkie".

Ever so often I get a request from some guy who has a  profile pic of himself (I assume that is himself) shirtless.  And obviously when you pose shirtless you have to look good.  And on my side, whenever I see these kind of profile pics I automatically assume they've got hold of my profile from the myriad of fitness pages I 'liked' on Facebook.  So naturally I just accept the friend request and categorize them under "Fitness Junkie".

Perhaps I shouldn't assume, as I have actually received some stupid comments (well, I think it's stupid) from these buggers that are in my friends list like:

  1. You lift weights?
  2. Oh, you're into bodybuilding?
And other similar things.  I have this one fuckwit who commented on an article I shared on FB about the correct squat technique... and the whole conversation ran something like this:

Fuckwit:  You're into bodybuilding?
Me:  No I'm not into bodybuilding.  I'm more into powerlifting.
Fuckwit:  Oic... really?  But you look so small (I just LOVE the condescending tone)
Me:  So?  Small doesn't necessarily mean weak and big doesn't necessarily mean strong

He has yet to reply.  But what irks me is that someone who is into the sport of bodybuilding/powerlifting (I assume) would make such a stupid comment like "you look so small".  Anyone who has actually spend time to do a bit of research would know that size does not determine strength.  There are so many examples of 'small looking' powerlifters who can lift monumental weights.

Besides, I am a woman for crying out loud.  Add in the fact that I am an ectomorph and you can easily deduce that there's only so much growing that I can do.  It's guys like this particular Fuckwit I encountered that make women shy away from the sport.

Luckily for me, I have a lot of guy friends who are supportive of my passion in weightlifting.  It's too bad that there are those who have a chauvinistic and cynical attitude towards women who are into the sport.  I'm not sure whether it is because of the lack of knowledge or just their overall attitude towards the opposite sex, but all I can say is I am not the only one who is subject to stupid remarks by ignorant guys.

p/s  I am NOT declaring war against men.  A lot of people that have helped me along the way are great guys who are very happy to see women indulge in weightlifting.  But like many things in life... the minority who are opposed to the idea makes the most noise.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

About conditioning... Or the lack of it

Strength and conditioning goes hand in hand. Muscle without muscle endurance does not translate into much. Conditioning work can be grueling yet fun at the same time. If you decide to indulge in only one form of masochism, doing conditioning work should be it.

I for one am worried about my muscle endurance. Yes I am getting stronger, but is my strength akin to a spark.. It burns brightly and brilliantly for a few seconds and then it fizzles out or is more like a burning candle... Burning steadily for hours.

Looking at things now, I am more of the former than the latter. But I am slowly trying to improve things. I do my kettlebell swings on upper body day. But upper body days come once or twice a week and I should do conditioning a bit more frequently.

So I'm looking at swinging on lower body days as well. Just to up the ante a bit. Once it gets to easy than perhaps I'll incorporate some snatches as finishers.

P.s. I do 3 sets of 30 swings as finishers on upper body days.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Increased caloric intake = more mass?

I'm not feeling so good right now. I was under medication, and i guess my stomach wasn't agreeable to it as I kept on puking after I take it. So I have decided to ditch the darned pills and visit my doctor and see if I can get something milder which my tender tummy can handle.

Anyway, prior to me puking my guts out I was actually about 49kg which is pretty impressive for me. Impressive because I didn't really try to devour more than what I usually eat. The only additional 'meals' that I took were cashew nuts and soy bean milk prior to a training session and soy milk again as a post workout drink.

The rest of the time it's the typical day consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

From this little outcome I can conclude that ectomorph me don't really need to stuff myself silly with Big Macs and fries just to get some extra calories in. Eating fairly clean and weight training regularly does the trick. Again, I'd like to emphasize that eating nutrient dense food, and eating clean I.e. Unprocessed food would help you gain mass without gaining too much fat along the way.

At least this is the case for me.