Archives for the month of: September, 2014

I have been in college for a while now and have been studying psychology the whole time. I have never been a partyer, preferring to read a book about how alcohol is made than consuming cheap, terrible alcohol. However, over time I have grown to appreciate things like a finely crafted liqueur or beer, smoking a tobacco pipe, or drinking good espresso. After two negative experiences with alcohol and a college psychology course on Substance Abuse, I began really thinking about how we use perception and mind-altering substances in America.

So I decided on a set of rules based on my knowledge of the addiction process and psychology. It is a short list of questions I ask myself if I am thinking of having coffee, a pipe, or a drink.

The Questions:
Am I sad?
Am I lonely?
Am I angry?
Am I stressed out?
Am I overwhelmed?
Have I exercised today or am sore?
Is my blood glucose above 140?

If I say “Yes” to any of these, then I don’t have the smoke or the drink or the caffeine. If I did, I would not be doing it for fun or an experience. I would be doing it to self-medicate instead of solve my problem.

This sounds all pretty and easy for a guy who doesn’t have much interest in partying or drugs of any sort right? Well, that is ignorant. I have been under MASSIVE amounts of stress from legal, social, interpersonal, physical, and emotional sources. This list of questions has likely saved me from picking up an addiction more times than I could possibly count. No one WANTS to have a smoking habit, but they usually don’t have the training to come up with a cognitive tool or don’t have expressed priorities in order to stop themselves. They see a cigarette and think of stress-relief because of their culture. If they stopped to recognize it as a dangerous gamble with a whole world of negative experiences, they would probably never try it, or never in a time where they have a predisposition towards an addiction.

This is really important because it is so much easier to use than abstinence from these tempting options. There are certain things you should never do, like heroin or pre-rolled cigarettes, but there are more things that are interesting and relatively harmless. The problem isn’t that people have too little willpower to resist an addiction. In my mind the problem is that we never give people the tools to resist a poor decision regarding potentially addictive substances and instead make good decisions regarding them.

Okay, so I have become frustrated with how I am making progressions to harder exercises. What happens is I finish a progression standard, like 3 sets of 30 full squats, and the I move to the next step in Convict Conditioning. When I move up to Close squats, if I do a warm-up, I ed up moving from 90-100 squats in a workout to 30 squats total. This makes my workout easier but it takes all the accomplishment I felt before and throws it out the window. It feels tiny and worthless for me, and I am not convinced that the next step is so much more difficult that it can make up for the drastic reduction in Time Under Tension.

I was also watching some youtube videos that explained the directions in Convict Conditioning more clearly than I have ever understood. The idea that I should begin with 1 set of the beginner standard and then not add another set until I reach one set of the intermediate standard. Example: Begin Wall-ups at 10 reps 1 set. Do one set until I can perform a solid set of 25 reps. Only then do I move up to doing 2 sets. This makes much more sense than the random ways I was adding on reps or trying to interrupt the text.

So now I have a few problems with my progression:

  1. Loss of psychological reward
  2. Loss of Time Under Tension
  3. Unstructured increases

What is my solution for this?

I will adopt the above described method of increase my reps before my sets. When I reach a progression standard, the next workout, I will repeat that exercise and on the end I will add as many of the next Step as I can. When I reach 1 set of the beginner standard I will drop a set of the previous step and continue working on increase reps in the 1 set of the new step. This will continue until I replace all of the previous step with the new step.

Example:

Yesterday I did 3 sets of 30 full squats. Next Wednesday I will do 3 sets of 30 reps AND as close to 5 reps of Close Squats as I can get. Let us assume I reach 5 reps. The following Wednesday, I would do 2 sets of 30 full squats and 1 set of 7-10 Close Squats.

02014-09-17

3:30 Full squats

02014-09-24

3:30 Full Squats

1:5 Close Squats

02014-10-01

2:30 Full Squats

1:10 Close Squats

02014-10-08

1:30 Full Squats

1:10 Close Squats

1:5 Close Squats

This would continue till I reach the Progression Standard of  2 sets of 20 reps. Now, would I get rid of that first set ever? No. It would become a more strenuous warm-up. So for Uneven Squats I would end up with 1 set of 20 Close Squats and then my Progression Standard of 2 sets of 20 uneven squats.

Right now I am thinking of how to make a structured progression method for the Handstand Push-ups, but that will require much more thought on whether I want to progress against a wall or stop and master away from the wall handstands.