Off Topic

I was going to write something today, but the snow is coming down in big flakes and I’m gonna go sledding with the puppies instead.

Instead, let’s just have a chat in the comments about whatever meets our fancy. How was your holiday? Want to talk about presents? Or food and drink that keeps you warm in the cold (beer, scotch, coffee, etc.)?

Puppies always like snow.

103 thoughts on “Off Topic

  1. First off late Merry Christmas, hope everyone’s holiday was good…

    I got a big surprise, I was originally saving up for the new windows 8 phone the Nokia Lumia 920, and I guess the family found out somehow because they got it for me. I like it, the polycarbonate body and gorilla glass II, makes it feel very expensive and durable compared to its cost ($100). The live tiles are cool and the camera is great (I think), I really like the windows office that comes with it because I access my log, which I keep in excell format through my phone now, I find that very useful. I still have a lot of playing around with it. For example, I want to change my search engine and browser but there is a severe lack of apps(like google chrome) at the moment compared to Android and iOS, but that will come with time. I also got a free wireless charging pad with it, and its nice; it doesn’t charge as fast as being plugged in but it is nice to just put it down and not plug anything in.

    Oh and my Christmas drink consisted of eggnog with bourbon, mmmm

  2. So for the first time in my entire sort time on this planet. I STAYED HOME for Christmas. Which meant no running around to various different families houses or getting stressed about shit. My wife, my dad, and I grilled big huge ribeyes steaks, baked potatoes (bacon, cheese, sour cream, america), and bacon grease cooked green beans.

    I am never going back to the bullshit driving around everywhere xmas EVER. This was great. Then my dad and I went and saw Django Unchained which was awesome. May not be for everyone, but I could totally get used to low-key non-ftraditional christmas. My wife and I even talked about just going on vacation to somewhere far away next christmas.

    • It’s a salmon and sweet potato mix. We’ve used a few brands, but are currently using Nutro Natural Choice. I prefer the salmon/sweet potato since there are more Omega 3s in the salmon than something else. And I never give them grain and figure the sweet potato is better than regular potato or rice.

      • I too feed my dogs salmon and sweet potato dog food. I have two dogs with allergies and the omega-3 helps with skin and the limited ingredients (one protein, one carb) keep the pups away from anything that might cause an allergic reaction. It rocks

          • One of my dogs doesn’t care what food it is, she will always eat it like an animal. The other one has allergies, but it was mostly environmental allergies when we lived in Florida (she was born in Texas).

  3. I miss being with you. I miss being near you! I miss your laugh! I miss… I miss your scent. I miss your musk.

    That said, I pulled 500 last week. Felt great to have that off my back.

    Hope you had a good Christmas, Justin.

  4. Upgrading to the Sorinex GHD from my homemade GHD with my Christmas money. Excited about that.

    As far as drinks go, bought some ‘Moonshine’ from a local distillery here in Vegas. Taste like moonshine…

    Parents have a Keurig coffee machine, that thing is dangerous, I think I had 10 cups yesterday.

  5. How have people here on TM dealt with lifting during, and the resuming after, a severe cut? I’m pretty much fed up with the extra 45-50 lbs that I’m carrying around, and willing to sacrifice gains on the bar for getting into a decent shape. That said, I clearly won’t be able to make much progress (more like just trying to stave off losses) during the 3 months or whatever it takes. Any tips?

    • I’ve never lost that amount of weight, but I submit that you can lose bodyfat by making good food choices and still recover for training. If you are 50 pounds overweight, then you’ve been overeating, and probably eating crap, meaning that you’re inhibiting your recovery. That means recovery is more than just superfluous calories.

      • Right. I started out at 265 (5’10), got to about 225, started lifting, got down do about 210, and now have crept back up to about 220-225. I have indeed been eating more than I should, and including things I shouldn’t. I know I could probably recomp slowly and lose it over the year, but at this point I’d rather just run through it, and resume gains once I’m at a weight that isn’t firmly in the obese category. I’m just wondering what others have done from a lifting perspective to minimize muscle loss, as I understand doing volume is pretty much out of the picture while doing a PSMF, but if I could/should do something like 3×5 at 90% 2x/week, or something else.

      • Thanks for unintentionally answering a question that’s been rattling around since I started TM a month ago. I had a hunch I could make gains and drop fat. I guess it’s time to go from eating “mostly clean” to eating ultra clean for training.

        • What would you consider clean eating vs ultra clean eating? I’m not being a smart ass, I’m really just not sure I know any more. It used to be a 1 pound steak, 2 baked potatoes and 2 cans of green beans was a good meal…then carbs became the enemy…or it was brown rice only, and no corn; too much sugar in corn…that’s when I just couldn’t keep up anymore!

  6. I’m on day 4 of the Flu but held it together for a good Christmas with the kids. At least I feel on the upswing! We are expecting that snow here in New England tonight.

    I was an AAU Raw powerlifting world champion and 2 time national champion at 198 Jr. I’m now 33, 250#s and haven’t touched a weight in 5+ years. Like every one else I’ve got the job, 2 kids, and am trying to finish night school in Electrical Engineering. Excuses excuses!

    I am going to be hitting up my work gym 2 to 3 times a week and can’t figure out a decent program from general strength and power. They have dumb bells, bars, benches, but no real squat set up, just a smith machine. I have never been good with devising programs. You beasts have any ideas?

    As always, stay bearded and stay bold!

    The Bay State Game Cock

      • I live out near Worcester now but used to basically live at Vinny Grecco’s Powerhouse that used to be in Watertown. You a MA guy, Paul? Did you used to travel in any of those circles?

        • I am in Weymouth, and I am a late comer to the iron game. There are no serious gyms close enough for a 33 year old husband/dad with two little kids either, so I am at the point where I’m just going to cruise and take whatever progress I can.

          Are there no good gyms in the Worcester area? I figured PL would be bigger out there than in my neck of the woods.

          • There is Bay State Gym in Worcester. They have a long history of power lifters and strongmen coming out of there. It’s literally the basement of an old factory; some real hardcore shit. If you’re ever passing through and looking for a workout it’s only like 8 bucks to go for the day. It’s just a tad too far to go coming home from work, which is already 52 miles one way. That and going to night school would put too much stress on the wife with the kids. I wouldn’t do that to her.

            • I hear ya. I don’t even have school in the mix and getting to the gym twice a week is pretty much all I can do without feeling I am missing out on family time.

              Also, 52 miles! I will never complain about my 12 miles ever again!

              • Paul, you ever try the Ten X club in norwell? I went once as a guest, looks expensive (no idea), but they have bumpers and platforms, plenty of racks, etc. GHR as well. i’m fortunate, living in boston, I get to use the community center for $25 for the year (not a typo). its a dump but has a squat rack, barbells and plates!

                • Now that I think of it, Baystate Athletic Club in Scituate used to hold meets, they might be an option. I’m not sure what their current status is.

                  • That place looks sweet, but Scituate is a bit of a haul from where I am. Probably about 40 minutes each way I would guess, which with the wife and kids would be too long to travel. But again, if I move down in that area in the next couple years it is definitely someplace I will be checking out.

                • I used to go there years ago (like a decade ago) when it was 21st Century Family Fitness. I had heard when it switched to Ten x that it became more of a spa type place than a real gym, but bumpers and platforms are never a bad thing. It’s a little far for me now though, but in a couple years hopefully we’ll move down towards that area and maybe it’ll be an option.

                  • Hey guys. TenX has some good gear but under new ownership they’ve jacked up the monthly to 40 bucks a month without keeping up with repairs etc. I was going there for six months b/c of the platforms, bumpers multiple squat racks, k-bells, dumbbells up to 130 etc and was willing to pay the 40 until they tried to hit members with a $100 fee for “repairs” that weren’t being made in the first place. Steve Trapilo opened the joint as Family Fitness, ex NFLer and all around great guy he would be pissed at the current owners. RIP Trapper

  7. Got a coffee grinder for Christmas, which I am looking forward to putting to good use. Sweet, sweet coffee.

    It’s kind of funny what gifts I get excited about now. When I was a kid, I could care less about clothes but now my reaction is, “Nice, a sweater! It’s so thick and warm, this is great!!!”

  8. Had a great holiday. Got some nice flanell from my lady and she got a gym bag with shoes, belt etc in it. So on Christmas Day we went to the gym and set some rep PRs in the squat and bench. I got to use my spandex shorts in the squat for the first time, loving it.

    Now I feel a bit drained on the social front. So it’s going to be some calm weeks ahead with some reading and minimal contact with people. They stress me out way too much.

  9. I added some Dr. Martens to my collection today. I got the Alfies which are essentially Dr. Martens’ version of Chuck Taylors. They are fuckin sick. I couldn’t get a good pic in my room but heres a pic from online.

    http://l4.zassets.com/images/z/1/7/6/3/9/7/1763970-p-MULTIVIEW.jpg

    Also, my dad built me some SICK technique boxes that are stackable for box squats too. 4 inch sections.

    That’s all for my random talk. goodbye now.

      • well my favorite band is Pearl Jam and the reason why I have many pairs of Dr. Martens boots and shoes so I guess you can call me a grunge kid! ya old fart.

        • How are the quality on their non-boot shoes? I own two pairs of low cut boots from them. Been looking for some plain black flat canvas style shoes, but a lot of them offered by big companies are cheap as fuck.

          I just need to sack up and buy more sambas but its all I have ever really worn…

          • I pulled for the first time in them today and they felt WAY better than chucks. The canvas upper is a lot stiffer.

            I have owned many pairs of Docs, have older boots and newer boots as well as some low cut boots and shoes. I will say it seems like their newer style of footwear is a little bit lesser quality than some of the older boots I have.

            AS for these canvas Alfies, they seem very solid and well made. I definitely think they are made better and will last longer than a pair of chucks. If you can find these in an Outlet store as I did (got them at Rack Room), you can get them for 50 bucks, otherwise they are 70 + shipping if you buy online. I’ve never tried the Sambas so I can’t compare.

  10. Had a great Christmas! We didn’t travel, but had lots of family over and ate lots of good food (ham, ham, sweet potatoes, more ham), eggnog in coffee, eggnog with brandy, beer.

    What part of Utah are you in Justin? From the pics and vids you post it looks like a great area, especially with all that snow. Know anything about the job market?

    • I’m north of SLC. As for job market, it depends on what you have experience in. There’s an Air Force base here (with a lot of contractors), and I know some guys involved in IT stuff around SLC (which is apparently a budding place for IT shit?). Other than that I’m not so sure.

    • RD if you want all that snow’ try out Logan, UT. Granted you’ll end up working for less than you’re worth & eating Beto’s for dinner, but its damn pretty.

      • Thanks Justin and emilyeb. Maybe I can just go be a mountain man (grow a beard, wear flannel and animal skins). I have no IT knowledge. Just a fireman.

        Thanks!

  11. Alright guys, I need some suggestions. I got a make your own beer kit for xmas that came with a keg and bottles (I think it makes 2 gallons a batch). It has premade mixtures to make the beer, but says you can experiment for your own tastes. So, suggestions on what to add? I think it came with an american ale, a blonde, a lager and porter

          • I would do your first batch with no additives to see how you like brewing and get a feel for the process.
            If you like brewing I would suggest 2 items
            http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/star-san.html
            starsan. it is a no rinse sanitizer that you can use at every step. Its and quick and the little bit that gets left behind when you dump it out of your fermenter acts as fertilizer for the yeast.
            Number 2 would be an extra carboy
            http://home-brewing.northernbrewer.com/search#w=carboy&asug=
            3 gallon would suit your current setup but a 6 or a 5 gallon would be an investment as you get into brewing make sure you purchase an appropriate stopper and an airlock as well.

            The reason for the second carboy is a secondary fermenter. To improve the clarity of the beer and prevent off flavors from the yeast it is better to leave it 7-14 days in the primary fermenter and then 7-14 days in a secondary fermenter depending on the style adjust your time. Some styles like Belgian sour ales take longer we have a flanders red ale right now that sat 2 weeks in primary 2 weeks in secondary and is finishing up a year in an old wine cask right now.

            A real easy flavored beer is a bourbon barrel stout or porter. For your size set up I would take a pint size mason jar fill it with oak chips and bourbon. Let it sit for about a week and taste it to make sure it is “oaky” enough for your taste if not give it another week or two. Strain out the oak chip mush that is left behind and add the oaky whisky to your porter or stout. This is one way to do that style and it is easy for a beginner.

            Having a secondary fermenter is useful when flavoring because after your boil you pretty much have a hoppy sweet tea so you don’t get a feel for the qualities of the beer. After primary most of the sugars have been utilized by the yeast and you can use a wine thief to remove a sample and add some flavor to see if youll like it. Some people like to use the mason jar trick with vodka and what ever fruit or peppers or wood(apple wood, cherry wood etc) they want to add. then you can add a little to the sample to get an idea how the finished product will taste. Me and the guy I brew with are at the point we add the ingredients directly to secondary or to the mash (we do all grain brewing now) because we know more or less how it will turn out. We just won a gold medal for our blonde on cherries. Try adding a pound per gallon of cherries to your blonde if you like in the fermenter.

            Sanitation is key keep everything clean. Have fun man!

    • You could add some hops either during the boil or after fermenting (but before bottling, strain them out) to something like a pale ale. For the porter, get a muslin bag, 1/2 lb of french roast or other robust coffee, and let it steep while fermenting. Add some honey 1/2 lb for your 2 gallons to the blonde to give a floral sweeter kick to it.

  12. I received a bottle each of Courvosier, Lagavuglin 16, Jameson 12, and Chivas Regal. Cooked three pounds of bacon on Christmas morning. Bought myself an old but barely used and perfectly straight Ivanko oly bar (plus old school spin lock collars and about 200 pounds in iron plates) for a hundred bones.

    Decent Christmas, I’d say.

  13. Quit 2 gyms in 2 days over the christmas period. New PR. First one due to witnessing 5 minute flex session of bros right after a “killer pec sesh”. A man can only take so much.

    Second gym looked good (and cheaper) right up until my first session where I noticed the only place to bench is inside the only squat rack. Way to go losers, combine the least used and most used piece of equipment in 1 go pissing everyone off.

    Last choice in town is the local crossfit which is full of kool-aid drinkers and seem to be on an even higher wanker level than your standard cf gym, so its garage gym setup for me.

    Anyone reading in the Batemans Bay, NSW area and not an axe murderer (recovering axe murderer is ok) hit me up if you just want to squat.

  14. Highlight of Christmas break:
    Woke up for an early morning gym session with my Dad on Christmas Eve. This guy is the definition of ‘old man strength’. I did some squats and he was benching, leg pressing. I was so full of pride watching him repping out with the heavy weights. Please note, he is 78 (nearly 79) & goes to the gym 5 days a week, says hi to all the regulars & lifts heavy before going to work. He despises the treadmill.

    A few weeks ago a young lady (30′s) came up to him and said, “I think its so sweet that you come in here every day.” This really pissed him off, and he replied, ” I think its sweet that you come in too.” :)

  15. Having a great time off here in central PA – Hiked 9 miles yesterday with my best friends in the snow over two mountains and found a couple geocaches. Finally hit a volume day squat PR on Monday of 315x5x5 (I’m 33y/o, 5’5″) and was stoked as a bloke about that, too.

    (Found this in the woods and had to play around: http://tinypic.com/r/90dfyb/6 )

    Am relaxing at the moment with a huge mug of hard cider I kegged last week – Crushed and pressed a bushel of apples in October (Stayman, Granny Smith, and McIntosh) and fermented 10 gallons of the cider. For the one 5 gallon batch I pitched in Champagne yeast and for the other 5 gallons I pitched Nottingham ale yeast. The Champagne batch came out great – Really dry and about 14% alcohol and the other one still has some residual sweetness w/about 8% abv. Got them in corny kegs and force carbonating as we speak. *hic*

  16. I stayed with family up in Minnesota. I stayed at my aunt’s… My cousin is a huge hippie, so I got to smoke some *cough* with her which was pretty cool. She also adopted a dog that was chained up in the woods in Colorado near where she lives. It was starving and had chewed through his back teeth trying to break free. I don’t know who does sick things like leaving a dog chained up in the woods, and I don’t want to know. She took this dog in and started feeding him and taking him to the vet etc. He’s gained weight back and she even has him pull sleds filled with rocks for treats to make him strong. This dog follows her everywhere and is the sweetest dog in the world. He’s part dingo, and very regal looking. Just thought that was an interesting annecdote. I worked on my bench arch earlier today and I’m glad to say I hit a PR set of five at 260 on the bench. I hope everyone else had as interesting of a holiday as I did in upstate Minnesota. It was freezing!! I want to wish a very happy holidays on all you good 70s big people!

  17. Had a decent christmas, first without my grandmother (which my mother took fairly well). Got nice fat gripz though.

    Question for everyone: will i ever truly be 70s big if i cant grow a beard? Its a great source of humiliation for me. No beard and 6 inch wrists at 6ft 2, 190lbs and looking like a stick man. I’ll squat, hinge, press and pull until i can do so no more but a beard shall never manifest itself upon my bare cheek…whats a (wannabe) man to do?

    Happy holidays everyone..

  18. I participated in a fundraiser called lifts 4 gifts at a local crossfit affiliate in Detroit. It was suppose to be a powerlifting-esque event with 3 attempts of squat, bench, and deadlift but they subbed out bench for a press (aka the “crossfit total”). I squatted 375, pressed 190 and deadlifted 520. Pretty happy with the results.

    Xmas was low key. Got a cool Michael yessis book I wanted and a snowblower (perfect timing since we just got 5 inches today, i will wait now for the “that is what she said”) Also saw the movie, cirque de soleil. Talk about strength.

  19. Justin,
    Im 5’8″, 15 years old and 160lbs. I’ve been training for about a year minus 4 months because of a back injury. I have never done starting strength and just lifted heavy weights 3x per week for most of the year. I have been doing the Texas method for 3 months and increased my squat from 245 for 5 to 315 for 5. I’m getting much stronger, but Im wondering if I should stick with the Texas method or use starting strength. My goal is just to get as strong as possible.

  20. Had a good Christmas with my family. My dad, as a giant present to my entire family, bought us a case of Westvleteren XII, which is considered to be the best beer in the world and is certainly delicious enough to support that claim. I also finally committed to moving out to Seattle (I live in Chicago), which is a very scary life change but I’m excited for it. Anyone know any good gyms out there around the Fremont area?

  21. Nursing a sinus infection (have you bros tried the NETI POT) so haven’t trained all week.

    These are my 2013 goals:
    Squat 500 pounds
    Deadlift 500 pounds for reps
    Bench 300 pounds
    Press bodyweight for reps
    Compete again and PR my total and all lifts

  22. Was excited to get a 3″ belt from Best Belts. Gonna try it out tonight. Also got FIT and Practical Programming. New Years Resolution is to save up for a good bar/squat stand/bumper plates. Got a Keurig too, and I honestly don’t remember what life was like before it.

  23. Got some chalk, a foam roller, a couple jump stretch bands, and a pair of Rogue Do-Wins. Fuck yeah.

    Spent some quality time with the family, eating good food and drinking good beer. Can’t complain.

    Looking forward to training harder and smarter in 2013 and starting school. The long road to becoming a physical therapist begins in January.

    Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday.

  24. Can anyone recommend some resources for me to learn about the anatomy of the back, posture, etc (possibly specific to lifting)?

    I’ve been experiencing some lower back pain for about a week after my last deadlift day. I have however, continued to squat (carefully), and it actually feels better afterwards.

    My back is starting to feel better, but I’d like to learn as much as I can about what’s going on so I can prevent it in the future. I will also probably make an appointment with a chiropractor but I’m not a fan putting blind trust into them.

  25. Christmas=AWESOME. Got engaged, got some lifting shoes, got a new barbell, brewed a Saison Ale drank some Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale now its time to do work.
    Hope everyone had a good Christmas too.

  26. I have yet to have celebrated Christmas (I’m one of those weird Orthodox religion people). So I’m currently waiting until January 7th. I spent a copious amount of money on my niece and nephews because I love the shit out of those whippersnappers. I’m probably not going to get anything from my 100K earning cheap ass engineer brother because he’s that kind of prick, but I took the liberty of buying him a steakhouse giftcard and I plan to give it to him while wearing flannel. Very gentlemanly like, I think.

    My deadlift training session sucked yesterday. I went to pulling in WL shoes again, but Coach ixnayed it. He says it pitches me over the bar. Had to drop the weight from 180KG to 150. He said my back was rounding and I was headed for some injury. My ego is shattered.

    Fuck, I sound like Brent.

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