“You used to lift 180kg” she said

As it often happens, a lot of things came at once:

I developed more of a social life here and have people to go drinking with.
I got another, better paid job that I hope will be more interesting than the current one.
I’m back (re)starting strength.

I go shooting Wednesday, which has been really relaxing. The club shoots small bore rifles prone at 25 yards, which has been different.But my groupings have been surprisingly small, and the people have been enthusiastic about me joining. It’s a sport I’d love to keep up. If we ever do go to the USA, which might be on the cards, I’d love to shoot different disciplines.In the meantime, I’ll keep up what I’m doing. I think a longer stock would help. Find it a bit tricky to shoot with the sling and jacket, still too much muscle action keeping it in place. Breathing has been OK. I’ve stopped snatching the trigger, and my pull is smoother. My elbow can be a little swollen after shooting prone, might see about some more padding for it. It’s funny to say, but I think more realistic shooting games have helped with my sight picture. Adjusting sights for the groupings too. But windage and yardage are still well beyond shooting teacup size targets at 25yrds indoors. Maybe in the future!

Getting much better at ballroom dancing, and can now waltz around the room with the turns and corners. I find it mentally taxing. Foxtrot is getting more complicated, but we’re managing. Jive we’ve got the basic figures and a few flourishes in. Even did a bit of samba. Initially, I was crap, but after I started thinking about it more outside of the class, I’m feeling it more. When I fucked up the timing and stood there, my partner said “Come on, you used to lift 180kg!” She chose the words she knew would hurt me most. So maybe getting my totals up again would help with the mental effort of dancing.

The new job is in the same town, doing more of the same stuff. But I’ll actually be employed by the office I work in, and not be a contractor. After the yearly bonus, it’s about a 25% pay increase. So that will help with buying a car and keeping it on the road, along with saving for a wedding and (eventually) house. We are thinking about travelling, and my partner is looking at jobs in London or elsewhere in the UK. So I don’t know how long I’ll stay in this new job.

The people seem very nice however. They have a big site move coming up, and will be consolidating a lot of IT equipment. So it’s a chance to use everything I’ve learned so far. I’ll also be administering their SAP system, which I’m a little dubious about. The Germans I worked with called it “Schreib’s auf papier” among other rude names. I like data processing in moderate doses, and I think a little development work would help.

I’ve kept studying for my Cisco CCNET. The exam for ICND1 goes to V3 in September, so hopefully I can pass before then. I’m not sure I want to be a network engineer, but it definitely won’t hurt to get it wherever I go. I think the days of making a good living as an IT generalist are over. Once the CCNET is done, I might go for some project management courses. Feel like I should work on my management skills more.
Got to see the dietitian last week about losing 8kg in 2 months when I arrived in the UK. Also about the bad gas and tiredness. The gas has been cut down significantly since I cut out dairy, specifically milk. I tried lactose-free milk, but it still upset my stomach. So it’s likely that it’s a protein in the milk, along with the lactose. Soft cheese is also bad for it. I can tolerate hard cheeses and a little yogurt better. They flagged a couple of things to try. I’ve also found it hard to put on weight, as I hover between 72-73kg. So between the unexplained weight
and the tiredness, they are getting me to a gastroenterologist. I personally put it down to stress from the move and much reduced physical activity (100 miles cycling in 5 days every week down to 20 miles a week). But when I was on the anti inflammatory, I noted that milk was making me sick. I think that’s not related, just a consequence of getting older.
As for restarting strength, I’m stretching more, working on bodyweight stuff and doing some light dumbbell exercises. My thoracic spine is quite tight and I’m not mobile, and I reckon it will probably be another 4-5 months of daily stretching until I see improvement on it. I’d see about picking up a barbell. My quality of life was better when I was lifting. I don’t wanna get hurt again, so I’ll be more sensible this time. I have been pain free daily for almost 9 months. I’m cycling out to the gun club which is about 10 miles with plenty of hills. So my legs are sure to explode as they did before. DB presses and pushups for my shoulders and neck.

Assistance for the side glutes and prone cobras for my shoulder retraction. My overhead position is pretty bad at the moment. Just trying to keep active, pain free and reasonably fit. I’m talking about walking the Alps  with some Irish friends, so I’d like to be in shape for that.

In terms of time management, I’m not sure how you guys fit in everything you do. It was easy in college, and when I had nothing else in my life but finance, squatting and eating. But it’s a little harder when you’ve got to balance your partner, your interests and your career. That’s been a humbling realization.


5 thoughts on ““You used to lift 180kg” she said

  1. Congrats on the life gainz. Things seem to be coming along quite nicely for you. Big props on keeping up your education efforts.

    Lifting will probably help with the pain management. Even if you have serious injuries, getting the muscles stronger can’t hurt.

    “In terms of time management, I’m not sure how you guys fit in everything you do.”

    IMO a priority list is essential. Working out 3 evenings per week for about an hour leaves you 4 nights to do other things. Or you could lift in the mornings, before work, and have your evenings free. The free time is there, you just have to shuffle things around until you find it 🙂

  2. Besides thoracic extension, do you do any TVA work or are cognizant of it? I think this is a big thing, and it goes hand in hand with thoracic extension as well (they’re pretty much connected to each other…) Big thing for posture and not snapping your spinal shit up as well. Also I think the whole powerlifting “push your belly out” thing is very bad for lifting if you actually like keeping your spine in good shape. It might be OK on max attempts, but for your general lifting I think it’s bad. By “filling the belly with air” you cause a lordosis of the spine, so obviously you can lift more, but of course, now the discs are compressed. Then when they’re already compressed, and under load, snap city. As I understand it, spondylolisthesis is caused by more or less lordosis.

    If you take a look at Lu there, in a no-homo way of course, you don’t see him pushing his belly out, as a matter of fact, you almost see the opposite at his navel. This is to prevent the overlordosis from occurring, thus snap city. Maybe Dave Tate and Jim Wendler and Rippletits don’t lift this way, but they’re all fat old men living in snap city right now. So besides the TVA exercises (look up some) if you ever get back to doing back squats or deadlifts, try doing it with the abs neutral, or to really get a good workout, doing a chest vacuum with lighter sets. This is actually something I learned IRL from a trainer at my gym (vegan dude) and it’s been something I think quite helpful to me.

    I dunno, just some thoughts on it. Definitely look into your TVA though, and if you can’t keep a flat lower back when lying down on the floor, then it needs work.

    1. “By “filling the belly with air” you cause a lordosis of the spine”

      I think this comes from the mistaken cue of pushing your abs “forward” instead of “out”. I blame Pavel the Stakhanovite Swindler for this miscue. Properly filling your belly with air should expand your abdominals in all directions, including the sides (obliques), will activate your TVA and will prevent lordosis.

      Practicing muscle control helps a lot with figuring ab muscle roles, and could also help with your thoracic mobility.

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