Puuuuuuuuush Up Progress


So, how am I doing on that pushup goal that I set last September, of being able to do those 50 pushups in a row by June. Originally, I was doing 5 sets of knee pushups to failure, resting for 3 minutes between sets. Eventually, I managed around 40 on the first set, dropping to 32 on the fifth set, and I hated every session. Motivating myself to do the pushups became harder and harder. Eventually, my numbers started dropping, and I started skipping days.

On a whim, in a joke channel at (no longer current) work, I asked my coworkers earlier this year, "I'm working on 50 pushups in a row by June. I'm stalling out at 22 in a row. Any training techniques recommended to get me past this plateau?"

The first response was "Check your macros, brah, probably not getting enough protein."

[record scratch]

Yeah, so, my 40g of protein a day was not going to get me to 50 pushups in a row. I bumped up my protein intake to 80g, but still short of the recommended 120g a day to build muscle.

That was one change. Pushups still HURT, but they are doable. Good call, Zach.

[Aaaaaaaand in retrospect, the "brah" REALLY should have clued me in that I WAS working in a tech-bro culture and that cliques are still strong in companies, even those that claim to have "great culture." Hint: if you have to declare you have great workplace culture, you might not for those not (male and white), and I'd argue even for some of them.]

Another recommendation was to start using rings to do angled ring pull ups, to counter balance the pushing motion. I bought the rings, carried them along with me to San Francisco and Phoenix, and haven't used them yet.

The last recommendation that has changed my [pushup] world was from Jonathan Abra:

Good morning, I just stumbled into your question in training about the push ups. When I tried to get to as many as possible I found two things that were really useful: force yourself to breath, that is the biggest obstacle to repetition and the other thing is to break it down to sets in order to overload the muscles: do 6*5 with 1 min in between or an ascending series with 1 min in between starting at 5 then 6... I got to 120 so I can say it worked well for me. I did those sets 3 times a day but I think building up to it is key to not hurting yourself.

With this, I changed up to "6 rounds of (5 pushups with a minute between them), done 3x a day."

I started with three sets of six rounds of one pushup with a minute between each set of each one. That lasted a day, and I was up to two pushups per round the next day. These are full pushups, not the knee pushups, which is a huge difference. Anyone who says that knee pushups lead to full pushups is lying, they don't translate well at all. I was going 150 knee pushups daily and still couldn't do more than 15 full pushups in a row.

Okay, how many do I need to build up to?

The point is to get to 50 (or even 70 to be safe) anyway, even with breaks because it means the muscle will be able to take the workload and from there its a question of reducing time between sets or the number of reps in each set (but keep the total)

So, I started building up to 6 rounds of 10 pushups in a row, with a minute break between.

I was up to six sets of seven pushups done three times a day. 126 pushups a day! Whoo!

And then, on a whim, I tried a pull-up.

I mean, LOOK at this bar:

How can you walk by and NOT want to try a chin up?

When I tried, I ended up pulling my left lat along the bottom. I refused to believe it, I mean WHO PULLS CHEST MUSCLES?

Right. I refused it and kept my 6 set s of 6 pushups and the pull kept getting worse and worse and worse.

Which meant the only right solution was to stop doing pushups and letting my body heal.

I thought two weeks would be enough. After two weeks, a single pushup hurt in a not-good hurt. I wasn't sore, I was injured. So, I was wrong about those two weeks, and stopped doing any pushups again. I kept stretching, but did no pushups in April.

I started back up three weeks ago, starting at six sets of 2 pushups, done 3 times a day. I was delighted that, despite losing muscle mass, I hadn't lost strength. After a week, I was up to six sets of three pushups done 3 times a day. A week later I was at six sets of four pushups done 3 times a day, again without difficulty (effort, yes, all pushups require effort, but not with difficulty, I had definitely kept my strength). My lat has been achy, definitely hurts with injury pain each pushup.

I'm now back up to my second day of six sets of 5 pushups, done three times a day. My pecs are starting to grow again, and my lat is starting to complain. Instead of bumping up every week, I'll likely go up after ten to 14 days instead, which means I'll miss my June deadline, but might make a revised September goal. I'll be okay with that.

Low on Chocolate


I am running low on good chocolate, down to my last bite.

The chocolate shop is closed until next month.

Do not know how long I can survive after today.

There is a bird in my house


As I was working this morning, I heard a squawk and looked up to see a flutter of a bird panicking in my living room.

It flew up, then towards the front door, which had light coming through the front door screen, but was closed. The bird then turned around and flew back towards the kitchen...


... right into the kitchen window.

Well, f---.

I pulled up my phone, called Mom, and declared, "I have a bird in my house."

I'm pretty sure she said something after that, to which I replied, "I have a bird in my house." I used the same intonation as the "my spoon is too big" animation, without really hearing what Mom said. She said something else, and I repeated, "I have a bird in my house."

At this point, Eric piped up, "Open the windows, close the curtains, darken any space you don't want it to fly into, and it'll find the light."

And Mom continued, "And take a video. Post it to the internet. Tell everyone you have a bird in your house."

"How... very Millennial, Mom."

I wasn't even sure if the bird was still alive at this point.

Thankfully, it was.

It didn't initially fly out of the house, it jumped a couple times up, trying to escape the sink. I was worried it had broken a wing when it didn't immediately fly out of the open window right above it (admittedly, it had just flown INTO said window when it was closed, so maybe it didn't want to go that way).

Eventually, it hopped up onto the counter, along it behind the counter items, onto the floor and out the door. I watched it until

Mom REALLY loves how it bounced along until it could fly off. . (Said linked gif is 35M, btw.)

Morning View

Daily Photo

Wednesdays I usually send Dad a camel picture or animation for Hump Day.

Today, he received a view off my front step.

Death Count: 2


I mowed my lawn today.

This is not an action I do regularly. We have long standing stories in my family about Dad and his lawn and how long the grass grows before he mows. Extended family really, the stories are that grand and that amazing and that tall (the grass, not the tales). Let's just say that my penchant for not mowing the lawn is deeply, deeply rooted in my genetics.

The last time I mowed a lawn was for Mom and Eric. Their yard was really small, it was an easy mow. Nothing like the acre and a half of Dad's lawn.

Anyway, in an attempt not to piss off the neighbors (too much, and not past good-neighbor recovery), I borrowed Eric's lawnmower and mowed the part of my lawn that the sheep cannot reach, which is to say, my whole front yard.

The grass was high enough that, well, items can hide in the grass. Things. Nouns.

Which is to say, dead animals.

I found a small black bird early in the mowing. I'm not quite immune to death, so struggled to pick the thing up and toss it, bury it, something out of the yard. I managed to move that one.

Not the next one, though.

Can't say I'm delighted about running a lawnmower over a dead bird.

I will say that I probably need to become used to the minor deaths around here, it is a farm.

Adulting 202


"By the way, I have designated to you Power of Attorney for my health care."

"Then we should have a discussion about what your wishes are."