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Elbow Pain

By Michio,

I've been having some elbow pain lately. It started a couple of weeks ago when I tried to move up 5 lbs on my overhead press, and it actually felt pretty severe. I did one set of 5 on my top set and felt a sharp pain building in my left elbow. I rested for a couple of minutes, to see if it would go away, attempted another set, and before I could even fully extend the weight, my elbow hurt way too much and I racked the weight. My entire left forearm and including my hand started to tingle, so I stopped pressing movements for 4 days, then tried overhead press again. However, it still hurt mildly despite deloading 10 lbs.

The pain is also there when I do bench press, but not quite as bad, even when I do my heaviest working set.

It's a sharp pain when I'm pressing a weight, and it persists for a short time after exercise as a dull, throbbing pain that seems to radiate from the ulnar portion inside the joint near my bicep. When I flex my bicep, either with my arm extended or contracted, the pain becomes more pronounced. I feel no pain when doing a tricep extension. In upper body pressing movements, and even in the row, the bicep and tricep are acting as stabilizers, and my elbow was slightly aggravated today after doing bent-over rows.

I have tried improving my technique, really paying attention to how experienced powerlifters are pressing and reading about common elbow problems. It's not tennis elbow, golfer's elbow etc. It's not a problem with the ulnar nerve. I don't know what it is. I did find out my forearm hasn't been totally perpendicular in relation to the ground/bar and correcting my grip and elbow movement when I bench pressed did help a little.

I'm sure it matters, but I actually bowled for 10 years from age 5 to 15, and I haven't experienced any pain or discomfort in my right shoulder or right elbow, I think bowling that much while I was young developed the connective tissue in my right arm well.

For the time being I've been doing alternating DB curls in place of overhead press and bench press. Really the only thing I can think to do right now other than seeing some specialist to figure out exactly what the problem is, is developing my biceps because I think the problem is at least partially attributable to a very weak left bicep. I'll do this for maybe 2-3 weeks, then start low on the OHP and bench press and see what happens. I don't believe in taking ibuprofen or anything like that to reduce the pain. If I'm hurting, my body is telling me something is wrong and I don't want to ignore it or make it disappear.

Lately I've noticed a lot of new people showing up at the gym. I usually go around 5-6 AM. Prior to late December, I pretty much just saw the same few guys that are always there.

I saw this article on the Wall Street Journal: The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym

I'm a noob, 4 months? I've basically just started, and I don't mean to be so negative, but I imagine quite a few of the people showing up at my Anytime Fitness location are going to be gone within the next 2. No surprise, but none of them decided to take on the power rack, or at least try dumbbells.

It's unfortunate, I imagine most really do want to, usually, lose weight as their goal, and may have the willpower necessary, but after reading what some people talk about, even just in the comments on that article, nobody seems to have any idea WTF they're doing. They don't keep an exercise journal, they don't bother to learn some basic things about the human body, they have no idea about nutrition and just act on cliches and people trying to sell them things, and nobody bothers to do strength training that I've seen.

The absolute biggest mistake ever that people make is doing cardio, and more cardio, then starving themselves with these unhealthy diet fads and wondering why they feel like shit and begin doubting whether all this effort is worth it. It works initially, they may even lose 10 lbs in a month, but then the second month, they start gaining again and wondering what happened despite nothing changing, they try a little more, but they just feel progressively worse and stall on their weight loss and eventually give up, while still paying off their 1 year gym contract.

Doing cardio and starving yourself lowers your basal metabolic rate in the long run, and your body starts eating itself, you get weaker. If you're eating 1k calories a day, you aren't even getting a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals in your body, so people try to use supplements to correct this, but it's the not the same as eating actual food because the bioavailability of a vitamin pill is quite low, you piss most of that out anyway. Supplements lack other things such as phytochemicals that you can only get from eating an actual plant.

And diets are all BS and a scam anyway. What matters to weight loss and weight gain is simply Net Calories = Calories In - Calories Out, it doesn't matter where you get it, middle school thermodynamics. Calories Out, again, being affected by your basal metabolic rate. You can increase this massively by doing strength training, muscle requires a lot of energy to use and maintain. You will burn more calories in the end by doing strength training, not cardio.

Women are an unfortunate target for all this bullshit as well. I'd say it's even more important for them to do strength training, but just because of our culture, almost none of them will, so they'll subject themselves to abusing their body with starvation and weakness and unbalanced meals.

Everyone that has a new year's resolution to start exercising or something should stop, and think about why they didn't do it earlier. Maybe wait 1 or 2 months and let the idea float around in the back of their head, and see if they still want to go after thinking about it thoroughly. I started going as soon as I was in a position where I could actually get to the gym and continue going for at least the next several months (just for financial reasons and my personal life), I didn't wait for a fad date, I just went.

You have to have good reasons, because people are going to think you're crazy when you actually stick with it and give it your all, and start eating healthy, then your body starts changing, and people look at you weird. Just recently the assholes started appearing. I take it seriously, now into month 5, I've run into these people so far:

1. "It's great that you're doing this, but you're fine just the way you are. You don't need to do this."

  • I don't need to, but I want to. Haven't you ever wanted something in life and went for it?

2. "Lolol, you only squat like 1 plate, you've been going to the gym for months, shouldn't you be built like Arnold now?"

  • Because every bodybuilder and powerlifter popped out of their mommas ripped and strong.

3. "Who do you think you are? Do you actually think you can get strong? Why do you still workout? I bench more than you squat and I don't even lift."

  • Keep riding on daddy's genetics, I don't care, I'm actually working for it, and if you don't think I can become stronger than you, you have no idea what you're talking about and know nothing. I don't need to compare myself or show off to anyone, I'm doing this for me. Keep your insecurities to yourself.

4. "Why do you eat that? Just get a hamburger or something, it's not going to kill you."

  • Stop asking me for dessert, Jesus Christ, I've had plenty of bad food already. I cheat when it's convenient and when I go out with friends, not every night.

You have to have solid goals and actually do research and read and acquire knowledge from good sources otherwise the haters are going to beat you and talk you down, and that New Year's Resolution is just going to turn into another failure that will be even harder to recover from in the future.

p.s. It sucks living in a state where men are proud of their beer guts.

Bucket List

By Michio,

For fun, a physical fitness bucket list, nothing too crazy, all realistic for me. After seeing what I've been able to accomplish in the past 4 months with a less than excellent diet, and slightly over training myself (not a good thing), and having some difficulties sleeping, I'm surprised other people seem to struggle so hard accomplishing what are honestly really minimal fitness goals, even in perfectly healthy people.

  • Squat 2.5x bodyweight
  • Deadlift 3x bodyweight
  • Bench 2x bodyweight
  • Weigh 200 lbs
  • 150 pushups
  • 50 chinups
  • Walk a mile with 1x my bodyweight on a barbell in any amount of time
  • Complete a marathon in any amount of time
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail in any amount of time
  • Carry a fully grown adult that is injured / in danger with my bare hands to safety (LIKE A REAL MAN)

Right now, I'm just powerlifting, following the popular, simple stronglifts program to gain mass and strength. I don't think it makes sense to say, doing bodyweight, strength, and cardiovascular (endurance and speed) training all at the same time. That sounds like serious overtraining to me, and I wonder at football coaches in high school that overwork their players sometimes believing more = better. 2-a-days are silly. So, one thing at a time here.

Nonetheless, I'm amazed at how fast the human body can adapt, and I think most everyone else will be amazed too and stun themselves, if they sincerely tried instead of limiting themselves.

When I started, I could only squat about 105x5x5 (weight in lbs x set x reps), now I'm at 165x5x5.

When I started, I could only deadlift about 135-145x1x5, now I'm at 210x1x5.

When I started, I could only bench about 75,80x5x5, now I'm at 130x5x5 (not quite at 1xplate yet).

I've gained almost 30 lbs in 4 months, that scale moves up almost every day I go to the gym.

My progress is still kinda slow though--not just being stupidly humble there either, I've seen what other people have done, it blows me away, I got set back a little bit at the beginning of this month, so I'm blasting off now.

I already clearly look thicker and more ripped in the mirror [naked, can't really tell with my clothes on yet, although my breasts are starting to stick out of my shirts now, heh, my pants feel a bit tighter] and I'm not even doing a body building routine or anything, just compound barbell movements. I'll post a progress picture in a couple months. One of my friends had a picture of me with my shirt off at a rave in September '09. I was like, "Holy shit, I was that skinny?!" It motivates me, looking at that picture, I keep it on my desktop (it helps me eat my meals), I looked malnourished in that picture, maybe it was the lighting, I'm at a much healthier weight now though.

I have no idea what my 1 rep maxes are since I've never tried.

Pushups and chinups... I never really do them, sometimes I'll just randomly try to do some for fun. I can do about 30 pushups before collapsing, and something like 8 or 9 chinups... Yeah I got a ways to go on those.

I've always wanted to do a marathon, or some sort of long-distance hiking adventure. The Appalachian Trail is an obvious and popular one. I used to work with a guy that completed the entire trail with his wife, and he was like 50 years old. He showed me a bunch of pictures, really beautiful, I would savor the solitude. When I was 14, I ran my fastest mile which was around 5:40, 2 miles at 12:10, I can run decently. With a little training, how hard could a marathon or casually walking really far be?

Once I reach my strength goals, I want to start doing bodyweight exercises, probably follow the routine in Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade, get a set of gymnastic rings and do some stuff on those, do recreational wall climbing... start running around.

I'll let you know in about 6-7 years when I complete all of the above.


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