Last night was squat night at the gym. I know that on Mondays, another guy who is very strong, also does squats. Recently, I've been able to get to the gym before him, so that I'm done with my six squat sets before he shows up. Yesterday, we had to stop at the grocery store, pick up my daughter from school, fight some very slippery roads (rain on top of ice), drop my daughter off at home, change clothes, and then head to the gym. I got there just as the other guy got there.
I was in the squat rack first, but offered to share with him. He was hesitant until I explained that my six sets would take 20+ minutes from start to finish. After that, we compromised on a bar setting (he's shorter than I am and lifts heavier, so he needs to rack the weight lower) and we got to work.
I warmed up at 45, 95, and 135. Then, I did a set of 6 at 185. He upped the weight to 225 for his warm-up set! That was perfect for me, as my next set was a single rep at 225. Then, he went to 3 wheels - 315 - for a set. Back to me, and I did six reps at 195. Then, he did a single rep with 4 wheels - 405. He struggled a bit, even though I've seen him do reps at that weight before. It was great to watch him, because his form is so perfect. He's a former competitive powerlifter (525 best squat, 550 deadlift, 425 bench) who tore his rotator cuff doing bench presses a couple years ago. He's on the comeback trail now.
Next, I had my single rep attempt at 255 for a new PR. I was shaking on the way back up and the other guy, Mike, encouraged me the whole way. I nailed it and while we changed the weights for his next set, he gave me some pointers on form. He told me that "you have to look up to get up" and that I'd had my head down. I know better, but I'd slipped into a bad habit. I focused on my head position for the final two sets and they went much better.
Next, Mike did a single rep at 425 and he was done. I then did 12 reps at 175 and then 16 reps at 155.
After that, I had Bulgarian split squats and step-ups in a superset. My doctor was on the rowing machine right beside me and he yelled (sort of) at me during my first set of step-ups to not be using my back foot to push off. It's so hard to not do that. Sometimes, I think the only cure is to do them in reverse and do single leg squats from a bench - drop one foot to the floor - just touching it and then return to the top. But, those are even tougher than step-ups - a very demanding exercise. On the second and third set of step-ups, I did bodyweight only and my form was better.
As an aside, my doctor is in pretty good shape these days and he gives me some of the credit for that. After I came to work here at the hospital, we got to know each other better than when I'd only been a patient of his. He started to tell me that he'd taken up running on occasion, and I was part of the reason. About a year ago or so, he told me that he'd done his first ever 10 miler and he was very proud about that. He said that he knew a 10 miler was nothing for me, but I cut him short a bit. I told him that I remember the first time I ran 10 miles very clearly because it was a milestone event to go that far. I told him it was great progress and that comparing what he's doing to the stupid stuff I do makes no sense. So, in the past couple years, he's dropped some excess weight and gotten stronger. He was looking strong on the rowing machine last night. I think that all of us who exercise regularly have the ability to positively influence others to get off their butts. I know that I've done that with my own family and some friends, which makes me feel that my exercise isn't as purely self-centered as it seems to be at times.
Tonight, I'll run easily for an hour before I go to a Christmas concert that my daughter is in. It's a band and chorus concert and she's in both, so she'll have a busy night between singing and playing the flute.
After yesterday's warm temperatures and rain, our snowpack is down significantly. But, the next few days look very promising. It's supposed to start snowing just after midnight tonight and the forecast is calling for 3"-8" of snow by tomorrow night. Then, another storm will hit Friday, although this one has the potential for mixed precipitation just like last Friday. Even worse, places to the south that got hit so hard by ice last Friday may see a repeat on a smaller scale. Then, we are due for another snowstorm on Sunday as well. By the end of Sunday's storm, we should have about 18" of new snow on the valley floors and more in the mountains. After yesterday, the ski resorts really need that snow for the upcoming Christmas holiday period.
People who actually read this blog (and Site Meter tells me there are a few of you out there) will notice that I'm obsessed with weather this time of year. All people who love skiing become obsessed that way once the ski season starts. It's not just me.