Starting from absolute zero. For science.

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    Starting from absolute zero. For science.

    Hi, I'm new here!

    Background

    As I'm starting this thing, I'm 36. I started getting weird muscle issues some time maybe 15 years ago: my calves gradually started feeling very tense (especially at rest) and somewhat painful. Obviously everyone told me to "do sports" but I never could bring myself to. I don't really enjoy it that much and then inertia does its thing... in the end, other than my 30-40 minutes of walking and stairs each day, I did pretty much nothing physical for the past... many years.

    I have since discovered many ways to manage this to some extent, most importantly meditation-type techniques and trigger point massage (or something quite like it, anyway). However, over the last few years (and all throughout my life in hindsight), more small irregularities have started creeping up:

    Sometimes getting back pain after as little as 20 minutes of standing (without walking), sometimes lasting for hours without.
    A sense of pressure in the torso area when I'm lying on my back and not resting my arms on top of my torso (happens often but not always).
    A tendency towards clenching my teeth.
    Headaches that feel like my eye muscles just don't want to let go anymore.
    Intermittent pain in my feet.
    Aches in the neck area.
    What seems to be intermittent inner ear myoclonus (tremor that creates a vibrating sensation and a low-pitched sound, but without any other hearing impairments - got that tested).
    Aches and weird sensations in the chest area.
    I'm sure there's more that I am forgetting right now.

    I think all of this can be ascribed to muscle issues. The "symptoms" don't really line up with any of the typical systemic medical issues you might expect, so I never could bring myself to launch into an epic journey from one doctor to the next (a few initial attempts confirmed that there were no straightforward issues in my chest/torso nor legs). On the other hand, proper training seemed complicated and time-consuming and perhaps even expensive (a gym subscription is no small matter for a student with basically no income, which was my situation back then) - so I ended up figuring out these management techniques I mentioned.

    However, I'm not as good at managing this stuff as I'd like to, and so it was a foregone conclusion I'd eventually turn to proper exercise... but it seemed hard to manage all of that, and I wasn't really very interested in the chiselled look that I suspected turns most people to stuff like strength training.

    Then I discovered DAREBEE and some of its entirely manageable training programs - and just looked too realistic and practical to not try. So, here I am.

    The idea

    My main goal is to address all these muscular thingies (technical term) and general fitness and strength trainings are just extras to me for now. My hypothesis is that my muscles are getting fired up excessively due to understimulation, i.e. not enough activity. This seems reasonable given that the same very definitely happens in human perception: if we're exposed to a situation in which there is very little sensory input, the brain will amp it up, which will often result in seeing patterns or even vivid hallucinations. Same principle: understimulation leads to weird side effects in which circuitry gets activated for no real reason.

    Additionally, based on my learning about trigger points / myofascial pain syndrome, I discovered that (a) often multiple groups of muscles share the same major nerves and attachments to the spine and (b) muscle-related pain is often in a different place than the actual muscle issue. In other words, you can try for a long time to help your aching wrist but the problem is actually in the muscle that flexes it and the motor end plates (where the neural pathways attach to the muscle to control it) are actually way further up the arm, near the elbow.

    While looking into all that, I learned a lot about the function of most of the major muscles in the body, and which muscles support and counteract each other. As a result, I can make predictions about what exercises may have which secondary effects. While working my way through various DAREBEE training programs, I'll explain what I expect each exercise to do, and how it actually works out for me.

    The plan

    I want to start out simple, and initially the EPIC FIVE program looked promising, but given how weak my upper body is, the second day was just out of the question (basically, two push-ups and my arms are toast), so I turned to the Foundation program. Later I'll be wanting to do strength training only once or twice a week for each muscle group, since scientific findings suggest that there's an effect of diminishing returns and I don't care about building muscle that much - having the muscles in working order in the first place is much more important to me.
    By and large, scientific findings also discount the usefulness of stretching exercises in most cases, so I'll likely exclude those from my future planning, too.

    Why I'm posting here

    I've been doing this for five days now and it's actually much, much easier to keep at it than I thought - maybe because I expected to have to commit a lot more time and effort than I actually need. I suspect I'm tricking myself into it by starting out easy and then gradually stepping it up, but if it works, great!

    So, for me posting here is less about getting encouragement and accountability and more about sorting things out in my head, trying to understand what I'm doing and why, and keeping track of the results (which isn't so easy without logging). Likely I'll be writing a lot of text occasionally, analyzing what's happening and trying to make sense of all the weird things going on in the body. If you want to chime in for any reason whatsoever, great, happy to have you!

    I'll continue right on with my very first impression after just 105 seconds of exercise, and then maybe summarize my experience with the first few days of Foundation.

    #2
    EPIC FIVE/FAIL, days 1-2

    I looked at the idea of this program and liked it - and it's suitable for beginners, too. Nice!

    The first day is march steps and high knees. March steps seemed really easy, so I just went through march steps - high knees - march steps and then right into the next high knees, but somehow my knees stopped wanting to cooperate the full distance. I ended up having to take quite the rest before I could finish - but the first magic happened right away, after just 105 seconds total. As I sat back down, all that tension I tend to carry around in my legs started draining - accompanied by the tiny muscle twitches I usually get when that happens. I can make the same thing happening just by focusing my mind, but it typically takes longer and starts out much more slowly than it did with exercise. Cool.

    I believe this is less of a direct physiological effect and more of a neurological/psychological thing, a bit like progressive muscle relaxation. After the first period of rest, it didn't happen again to the same extent when I did the rest of the day's exercises. Oh well. Still, main takeaway: my quads are a little weak. Or maybe a lot. Something you don't notice as much in everyday life...

    Day 2 heralded a reminder of days long gone, when I was required to do push-ups in physical education... the horror! I'm terrible at those. So I looked up how to do them properly before getting into the exercises, but that didn't help much - after two of them I was close to done, and I was supposed to keep going for at least 30 seconds for the first set.

    And thus ended my attempt to do EPIC FIVE. After revisiting the list of programs I settled on Foundation - can't fail there, right?

    Foundation day 1

    This cardio'd me up a fair bit more than expected, but other than the side leg raises I found it quite easy. I can hardly even get a 45 degree angle on side leg raises, though - feels like my tendons don't want me to do more than that (though I think it's actually muscle tension in the antagonists getting in the way, plus weakness in the primary muscles for hip abduction: the tensor fasciae latae and gluteus minimus/medius).

    I wasn't confident I'd be able to manage level 2 (five sets per day) properly, so instead I did (and have been doing on the subsequent days, so far) three sets twice a day. The second set of sets felt a bit easier to do (on all of the days).

    Foundation day 2

    Oh boy. The lunges and squats went about as well as expected (with the hamstrings and iliopsoas feeling challenged the most), but the arm raises and raised arm circles really demonstrated to me that my upper body is a war zone. Even now, more than two days later, my latissimus dorsi muscles (shoulder adductors, lumbar region) are still sore around the edges. Raising the arms felt like quite a chore, too - much more so than holding the arms raised -, so probably the deltoids really needed me to do that, too...

    Foundation day 3

    This was smooth sailing after I'd already done pretty much the same on day 1 of EPIC FIVE. I did six sets total as before, but all of them within one hour I think. My quads were still complaining afterwards, but they felt mostly fine the day after. Progress? Or maybe that's just because I did much fewer high knees than during my attempt at EPIC FIVE.

    Foundation day 4

    I might actually start doing five sets back-to-back soon - this wasn't too hard. Except for those side leg extensions. Clearly, my hip abduction will be needing a fair bit more practice.

    Overall observations

    Unsurprisingly, many of the exercises become much harder if you do the active movement parts of them more slowly. I have yet to figure out how hard I want to make it on myself, but for now I'm doing most of them fairly quickly to get more of that overall cardio activation and less of complete exhaustion. I hope. Anyway, I've been slowing down at times if something felt too easy. I guess it can't hurt to keep doing it that way, or do a mix of different speeds to get more different muscle activation patterns - based on my overall idea of keeping the nervous system stimulated so it doesn't get bored and starts doing stupid things.

    Coming up next, day 5 - more side leg raises, hooray. I curse thee! Everything else looks straightforward, though.

    Comment


      #3
      DAREBEE day 6: Foundation day 5

      This was so approachable that I ended up doing the full 7 sets for level 3. I even looked up all of the exercises again to make sure I wasn't accidentally making them too easy. Huh. Well, at least that kind of backs up my impression that my legs tend to be stronger than everything else (some weak links aside).

      Side leg raises still feel quite awkward, though. I paid more attention to what was going on during the exercise, to put my "antagonists are overdoing their stretch reflex" hypothesis to the test.
      As I raise any leg, its vastus lateralis (outer part of quadriceps) and gluteus medius/minimus (can't quite tell them apart) feel like they're resisting the movement the most. These are the knee extenders and hip abductors (respectively), precisely the muscles getting loaded by raising the leg straight out to the side. Based on my hypothesis, the antagonists (hip adductors: mainly adductor magnus/longus/brevis; knee flexors: mainly hamstrings and gastrocnemius) should have felt like they were the ones limiting the movement. (After repeating the exercise for observation and adding a tiny bit of passive stretch to the hip abduction, I am feeling the adductors, though, so the hypothesis isn't completely irrelevant.)

      The raises weren't really hard or anything, but I still struggle a lot getting even that 45 degree angle I mentioned, and it's a bit of a fight keeping the knee straight while doing it.

      In any case, after letting everything recover for a while, the gluteus medius/minimus (one of them at least, I'm sure) does feel a little sore, so it's quite possible that the sensation was actually some kind of overload response.
      Also, during the previous day's side leg extensions, I noticed that I can abduct the hip almost twice as much when it and the knee are flexed - I guess this all makes sense, then: with the hip and knee straight, the hip abductors have to do a fair bit more work.

      The overall scientific view is that stretching exercises don't really have significant measurable effects, either, and is actually a risk factor in some scenarios, so I think I'll hold off on trying to "fix it with stretching". I guess I'll just see how this changes over time as I keep working these muscles.

      Anyway, on to day 6! I'm not really worried about most of these exercises... except the raised leg circles. I suspect I'm going to hate those.

      Comment


        #4
        DAREBEE days 7-10

        Foundation day 6


        This wasn't that much of a challenge, so I went for the full 5 (level 3) again - I actually did 6 sets by accident. The hip flexors were giving me the most trouble, but nothing serious. Apart from that, if there were any issues at all, it's that my glutes and sacrum didn't really like enjoy all that load on them during the flutter kicks and raised leg circles.
        Fun observation: clockwise circles on that last exercise felt a fair bit more difficult than counter-clockwise...
        Overall result: abdominal obliques and hip flexors feel a little iffy. A few minutes later: noticing that the low back feels a little off, particularly on the right side. I might have twisted the quadratus lumborum and glutes just a little bit. Back to normal the day after, though.

        Foundation day 7

        Again, the legwork was pretty straightforward here (particularly the calf raises - my calf muscles are always too active anyway, so they really don't need the exercise) - my arms are definitely way behind. Chest expansions looked easy on paper, but they weren't that easy, so I stopped at level 2 (5 sets) - don't want to overdo things, after all.

        Foundation day 8

        I was a little surprised to find the normal raises harder than the side raises, but I guess I made it a little harder on myself by sitting almost upright. Anyway, the muscles were starting to have real trouble getting the legs lifted, so I stopped after 3 sets. I'm not really noticing any soreness a day later, but maybe the muscles are just adapting (a known phenomenon, apparently). I guess specifically for the hip flexors, sitting more upright actually worked in my favour - the muscles are lengthened more if you lean back further, and contractions from a lengthened state (eccentric contractions) are thought to cause more soreness, so arguably concentric contractions are superior in terms of post-exercise soreness.

        Anyway, all of this once again reaffirms that body mechanics are quite complex.

        Foundation day 9

        Damn, are my arms weak. 3 sets. I don't want to talk about this any more. Let's just say I'm not looking forward to push-ups in any future programs I'll be doing.

        Comment


          #5
          DAREBEE days 11-16

          Foundation day 10: nothing worth talking about here. Did 5 sets.
          Foundation day 11: working up to push-ups, eh? This is quite doable still. Did 7 sets - raising the arms for the step jacks is still most uncomfortable. My body is weird. Or maybe it's just that the arm were a little preoccupied from the slow climbers at that point.
          Side note, I tried out a (full) plank to get an idea of what's involved in that particular component of doing push-ups - which I'm sure are going to come up at some point in the future - and I spent a fair bit time looking up common gotchas to avoid making them too easy on myself. I get the shakes fairly quickly and even though I felt like I probably could have kept going a little longer, the shaking got quite pronounced around the 30 second mark and so I stopped. I just wanted a basic first impression, and that's what I got.
          Foundation day 12: nothing worth mentioning. Did only 3 sets because I was super tired.
          Foundation day 13: I did the full 5 sets. Man, those leg raises. I have extra long legs. Some sympathy here, please. Also, the opposing sides thing for the dead bugs really confused my poor, poor brain.
          Foundation day 14: Frankly this isn't even doing much anymore. I'm hardly feeling any effect after 3 sets. I got bored after 5 sets and stopped. I'm going to keep completing these days anyway, even though cardio isn't really what I'm planning to focus on (if it was I'd probably have to do a little more than this). Let it not be said that I didn't take this program seriously. Oh well.
          Side note, I tried another full plank and I think my abs (obliques in particular) are still having to recover from yesterday. Curse you, leg raises! ... kidding - I'm sure they mean well. Anyway, I ended up stopping at 30 seconds - again.
          Foundation day 15: now that's more like it. My hamstrings were a little overwhelmed by this one, I got the shakes. Did 5 sets. What's that, you say? It's not "DEADBEE"? Oh yeah, sure, I know. No idea why you felt you had to mention that...

          Comment


            #6
            DAREBEE days 17-21

            Foundation day 16: each exercise on its own doesn't look too bad... this is still a little harder than I feel it should be because of what yesterday's exercise did to the hamstrings, but all in all it's fine and I did the full 5 sets.
            Side note, looks like the first half of my first training program is already over. Cool.
            Foundation day 17: this one was a joke, my breath didn't even speed up or anything. I might have to cut out most of the breaks for this to actually do something. Oh well, next time. I did the full 7 sets.
            However, side leg raises are still painful. Guess I'll just have to limit myself more strictly to angles that are not.
            Foundation day 18: finally another strength day to bring back humility. My arms still suck, and clearly stepping up the legwork is doing something, too. I stopped after 3 sets because I got a few twinges of pain that weren't just from the load. I think I may have been a little too exhausted for this session.
            Foundation day 19: Welp, I must have been exhausted again. It was quite hard to finish the minimum 3 sets, I had to fight to get my legs as high as they should go. Also apparently I put some light strain on my right hamstrings the day before - I felt that while doing this.
            Foundation day 20: Hmm, this was easier than I expected. Still, I did only 3 sets because I started feeling a little off, and not in the typical "working out" way. Better safe than sorry, right?

            Coming up next: a bunch of easy things and - gasp - more side leg raises. Will I survive? (Probably not. Don't expect any further updates. I'm kidding.)

            Comment


              #7
              DAREBEE days 22-24

              Foundation day 21: Again, this wasn't too hard (now that I'm not trying to take the side leg raises further than my legs seem to want to go). I skipped four of the breaks between sets, doing 7 sets in total.

              Foundation day 22: This was more doable than I expected. I even eliminated two of the rests between sets, doing 5 sets in total. I extended the final plank to about 15 seconds, at which point it got a little unstable. Hoping to push muscles further into peripheral fatigue to stimulate strength and/or muscle increases. I'm not completely sure how the two relate - it seems to be a little more complicated than you'd think at first glance.
              Anyway, I've been doing more research on the side and I think I'll be focusing mostly on anaerobic exercise after I finish Foundation, and any aerobic exercise I'll try to do at a high intensity. After all, I want to get decent results without spending too much time on exercises, and these approaches seem to be confirmed by research to be quite viable.
              I still haven't figured out whether I'll turn to a different program next (they tend to have a built-in balance of strength and endurance which might not quite match my plans), or pick a few workouts from the database, or just build my own workouts from basic exercises. Either way I'll probably modify reps and sets substantially to focus on pushing muscles into fatigue as quickly as possible and avoiding central fatigue getting in the way.

              Foundation day 23: After doing the basic 3 sets, I tried something slightly different: doing a few more of the squats and arm circles, but at an extremely slow speed, to make it much harder and probably pushing the exercises a lot further into anaerobic territory. I've already been playing with slowing down some of the exercises for a little extra challenge, but this was the first time taking it this far. The arm circles aren't really that hard, though, after getting the muscles warmed up a little (and after three sets they were), so I think the squats are the more interesting part, mostly challenging the quadriceps on the way down, i.e. eccentric contraction. It seems quite easy to push that into fatigue with just a few reps, but I'm not sure whether it's central (CNS) fatigue (which doesn't really "do" anything for strength) or peripheral fatigue (which does).

              General conclusions, recent research, and planning ahead for future exercises:

              Quick intro to what seems to be the state of the art strength and hypertrophy research: CNS fatigue is when the nervous system reduces how much you can activate a certain muscle, and it has nothing to do with normal fatigue. Peripheral fatigue is when the muscle itself is having a harder time activating. The latter is when stimulation of muscle growth actually begins; the former just gets in the way (I suppose endurance training involves pushing into CNS fatigue so you can get better at delaying it - but I don't have a proper source on that).

              CNS fatigue accumulates over any workout and drops back down during rests (under normal circumstances). The more CNS fatigue you've got going, the less the exercises actually do for you - after all, the fatigue prevents you from fully using the muscle, so while it feels like you're training to exhaustion, you're not actually exhausting the muscle. Hence, if you want muscle growth, you want as little CNS fatigue as possible, and the way to achieve that is to (a) do the hardest exercises first while CNS fatigue is zero or very low, (b) focus on making sets more intense rather than longer, and (c) make rests several minutes long to give CNS fatigue time to drop down again.

              Now, in practice, I have no idea whether it's possible to distinguish CNS fatigue from peripheral fatigue just based on how they "feel". This is something I'm hoping to find out, by doing medium-load exercises with enough rest between sets to recover from CNS fatigue, and checking at the beginning of the second set whether the feeling of fatigue differs compared to what I experience at somewhat lighter load while CNS fatigue would be higher (i.e. further into a set).

              In any case, the Foundation program doesn't seem ideal to achieve the kind of structure my research suggests - it's a mix of low-load and medium-load exercises, mixed with some cardio (very low load and higher rep count). I'm still going to complete the program because I'm fairly sure a little cardio will be good for me, too... but overall the benefit of anaerobic exercises geared towards peripheral fatigue seems a fair bit higher. So, what I'm going to do is limit myself to a lower number of sets (level 1, I guess), but precede them by a set or two that focuses more on medium to high load on the muscle(s) targeted by the day's exercises (by modifying the day's exercises or finding other, more strength-focused exercises for those muscles). I'll also increase rest times a little. This should also make the "normal" sets count for more.

              The other thing is that exercise stimulating muscle growth will increase the muscle's protein synthesis for about 48 hours, so it's not too useful to do more strength exercises for the same muscle in that time while it's already doing its thing. So, some of the days I might simply stick with what's in the program because there's no big advantage to scaling it up again within the "window of growth".

              For tomorrow, there's a lot of upward leg extension stuff, so that involves the hip extensors and flexors and the knee extensors/flexors to a lesser extent. The hip flexors are easy to challenge with sit-ups, I'll have to think about the rest.

              Comment


                #8
                jast Massive welcome to the hive! Look forward to seeing that badge keep up the epic work. If you ever need any help we are all here to help out

                Comment


                  #9
                  Well damn.

                  DAREBEE days 25-31

                  Foundation day 24: The plan was to do this on Monday. Monday was the day I slept less than 2 hours and the commute took even longer than normal (6 hours total). I was completely out of it when I got home and I went to sleep pretty much immediately. So, I missed a day for the first time. Yay! I did 3 sets the next day, though.
                  Foundation day 25: Missed it again. Yay! To make up for it, I did the first 3 sets (without a break) and immediately went on to...
                  Foundation day 26: As per the plans I made a few days ago, I did all the movements in the first set extremely slowly - as slowly as I could without shaking. I then immediately went on to the second and third set, each without resting.
                  Foundation day 27: Another double day to make up for the day I missed. I did the 3 sets without rests and segued into...:
                  Foundation day 28: Did 3 sets without rests, going very slowly on all the movements for the first. I'm not sure I could have managed another set after this double whammy.
                  Foundation day 29: I did a very slow first set, then halfway into the next set I got interrupted, so after 5-10 minutes I did another 3 sets. I got a lot of the shakes during the crunches, but everything was still doable. I actually accidentally trained my neck flexors a little, too, by not supporting my head for the first two and a half sets.
                  Foundation day 30: Standard fare. I took a 30 second rest after the first set but bordered on failing the second set, so I doubled the rest time after that. Again, almost failed. Anyway, that's 3 sets, so let's just leave it there.

                  ... aaand that's my first program in the bag. Now I have to think about what to do next. Decisions, decisions...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Congratulations on finishing "Foundation" and Belated Welcome to the Hive.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Very good, it will be interesting to see what you choose.

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                        #12
                        Good job. Looking forward to your new challenge hope you find something to reach your goals.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          DAREBEE day 31-32

                          Transitional day: Since I did the last day of Foundation shortly after midnight (wanted to get it over with), I decided to do some really light exercise later in the day just to stay in the swing of things. 20 jumping jacks, 20 butt kicks, 20 squats, 20 raised arm circles, that kind of thing. Nothing special. (This is why I'm counting day 31 again in this post's title.)

                          ... and now, without further ado, the next program:

                          30 Days of Gravity day 1:

                          For various reasons, including several pieces of research I looked into, I have decided to focus on strength, even though I hardly need it for anything, nor do I care that much about the looks that may or may not come with it. A few posts earlier I was wondering whether it wasn't better to focus on strength exclusively, whereas Gravity adds in a few other exercises for balance, and also has a notable aerobic component in most of its strength-focused exercises - which, according to the research, doesn't seem to be the ideal way to build muscle mass specifically. That said, obviously aerobic exercise has its benefits, too... and, in the end, I figured I shouldn't overthink it.

                          And there's another component I maybe didn't consider enough: while I don't think actually committing to the program is going to be a major issue, nutrition is. I have the occasional (not too rare) day or two where I tend to undereat, sometimes quite significantly. I suspect that if I focus on strength alone, some of these episodes may end up hurting my muscles more than helping them, whereas if I add the aerobic component and the overall exhaustion that comes along with it, I might be more motivated to "fill up", basically. Time will tell.

                          To focus a little more on the strength aspect and a little less on the aerobic aspect, unless indicated otherwise, I'm going to split the pairwise exercises by side, i.e. on this first day I'm going to do 30 leg raises to the left and then 30 to the right rather than alternating them, hopefully pushing the muscles into overload more.

                          So, day 1 of this program involved a bunch (60 at level I which I'm not going to be stupid enough to exceed at my current level) of lunge step-ups, side leg raises and squats, plus three nice sets of wall sits to exhaustion (part II). I almost finished part I in one go but ended up taking a ~20 second break before the last 20 squats because I was close to seeing stars. After finishing that, with 2-3 minutes rest to recover a little more, I went on to the wall sits, stopping when the sit started to feel like blood circulation in my legs was starting to take a hit (tingling and what not) on top of some shaking. I didn't do perfect form on all of them - I think the first one (60 seconds to be on the safe side) I didn't go quite low enough, the second one (75 seconds) I did but my lower legs were angled out a bit which must have made it easier, and the third (60 seconds) I'm fairly sure I did everything right. It sure was a little harder.

                          I took the two full minutes rest between sets to give CNS fatigue a little more time to recover so peripheral fatigue becomes more likely. That's the theory, anyway.

                          Now that it's all done with, I feel just a little sore and just a little nauseous - perfect! The latter should be gone within the hour and the former... well, I figure I'll find out soon enough.
                          Looking forward to sucking at push-ups tomorrow! Yay!

                          Side note: thanks for your comments and welcomes, folks! Right now I don't see myself becoming a more active part of this community - fitness just isn't a defining thing for me right now, and I'm involved in so many other communities I have to cut a few corners somewhere. Nothing personal, of course! You guys rock!

                          PS. help, my legs don't want to carry me downstairs anymore! Good thing the bedroom is upstairs.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Happy Badge Day

                            Comment


                              #15
                              DAREBEE day 33 (days in a row: 7)

                              Gravity day 2: I knew this was going to suck...

                              The first part wasn't a big deal, I did all the sets with 30 seconds of rest each, then 2 minutes rest before I got into the second part. Which... I'm having a hard time with, just like I expected. I can hardly do two push-ups properly, after that the only way I could continue is by lowering myself all the way down to the floor before pushing back up. So I did about 25 seconds of that and decided it wasn't really making a lot of sense cheating like that. Another couple minutes rest and I redid part II, this time with knee push-ups. However, after the first set of 30 seconds (plus rest), I simply couldn't continue at all. I could drop myself down, wait a few secs, then lift myself back up (barely), and that's all my body was willing to give me. Damn. On the bright side, I think my muscles did get the message - it's not just that I can't continue, but the muscles also feel a little... off. A mite sore, perhaps, hard to tell. I'm going to assume that that means I'm heading in the right direction, if slowly.

                              Hopefully I'll work my way up.

                              Normally I wouldn't bother posting something this short, but I absolutely had to test drive my new profile picture. A fitting mascot for strength building, I think... breaking rocks with his bare hands, he is. (Picture taken in Dartmoor National Park, UK, this summer.)

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