a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
earlier sprouts 
18 July 2015 01:46 - "I will leave and I'll return"
rosefox: A woman's muscular arm. (strong)
Readercon is like my New Year's, in that I say "After Readercon I will totally go low-carb again/get to bed on time/start going to the gym/start meditating again/stick to my daily and weekly schedule". So far I've been doing pretty well on the sleep, and Wednesday and today I went to the gym (trying to get in the M/W/F habit), and yesterday I started Headspace over from day one. I'm still catching up on work but determined to really get and stay on track, and good sleep at good hours is helping with the scheduling. I also ate pasta for dinner and half a bar of chocolate for dessert, so I remain an imperfect human being. It was really tasty and I regret nothing.

At the gym I'm doing Stronglifts 5x5, which is very straightforward: for each of 5 different exercises (squats, bench press, rows, overhead press, deadlifts), aim for 5 sets of 5 reps at the current weight (1x5 for deadlifts); if you succeed, add 5 pounds (10 for deadlifts). It's all free weights, so you get a good core workout in the process, and there's no set goal or timeline, which is perfect for me. I warm up my knees with a 10-minute mile on the recumbent exercise bike before each workout.

Half-squats 4x5 @ 0 lb
Bench press 5x5 @ 20 lb (dumbbells) -> 25
Rows 5x5 @ 20 lb (dumbbells, but I think I'll switch to a barbell next time; my big hips kind of get in the way of standing dumbbell rows) -> 25

Full squats 5x5 @ 0 lb -> 5 (I'll do it holding dumbbells by my sides until I get the weight high enough to use a bar)
Overhead press 5x5 @ 20 lb -> 25
Deadlifts 1x5 @ 35 lb -> 45

I expected those weights to be a little challenging but they actually felt very easy! So that means I'm starting appropriately slowly, which is very good. My form is as good as I can get it based on watching lots of videos and having done a lot of different types of exercise in the past, but I've booked some time with a personal trainer on Monday to get professional advice; I know how important form is for avoiding injury, and the heavier I lift, the more important it will be.

For the four days of heavy driving and lots of running around at Readercon, my knees felt AMAZING. Literally no pain at all. As soon as we got home they started complaining about me being too sedentary, and today they were pretty cranky when I got up. But I did the squats and deadlifts anyway, being very very careful with my form and deliberately activating every muscle I could manage, and afterwards, hey presto!, crankiness gone. Right now they're only slightly annoyed. My arms also feel only a little sore even though I came home from the gym, cooked a dinner that required a fair amount of stirring, washed some dishes, took out a great deal of trash and recycling (I had to lock Alex in my room so I could leave the front door open for the five or six trips it took to get everything from the foyer to the curb), and did two loads of laundry (including bedsheets that are challenging to fold on my own). I'll ice my arms before I go to bed but it feels a bit like a formality.

I'm doing Headspace as walking meditation, or on the exercise bike on gym days, so that gets me out of the house and moving around every day. The three of us are also going to try to get in the habit of post-dinner walks on family dinner nights. Yay, solidarity in fitness. :)

So far I think the exercise and meditation is making it a lot easier to calmly wind things down and go to bed when it's bedtime. I have not played a video game in over a week, which is pretty major. I've only had a couple instances of opening Twitter or leaving it open well after I'm supposed to be asleep. Setting up my new phone led to a couple of days of my alarm not waking me (my "sleep" profile in Profile Scheduler+ was blocking alarms, oops), so I've been very well rested if also somewhat late. :) I just need to stay on track.
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