A Journey of Strength and Spirit


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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Thank you @JCU, @Nanna Io, and @Fremen. About that...

This is a non-workout update, but I thought it was important enough to write about.

Woke up today with a major sore throat, and still feeling sick. So I didn't go to the gym.

I took some (3) Covid tests, just to be certain, and all three came up positive. So I've come down with it too.

Feels strange to be on the other end, and it makes sense, considering I've been sick these past few days. It feels very strange that my test yesterday unambiguously showed a negative... but what can you do.

Being the lunk that I am, I think I got it easy, symptom wise. My tastebuds are intact, and I still feel a little comfortable... just tired, muscles exhausted, and a sore throat. I'm more worried about living in the same flat as my mom, as I was conversing with her yesterday... hope that she doesn't catch it too.

So hopefully things work out. Catch you round, Bees!


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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
They moved the Hive button to the top again!

Hey Bees. Ox again, just providing a mid-sickness update.

And thank you kindly to @Calico @HellYeah @TopNotch @Hwestneth @mavie @lofivelcro @Nanna Io @Mianevem @JohnStrong @JCU @BetaCorvi @Fremen @PetiteSheWolf. Your support means everything, and it means a lot to know you have people thinking about you.

So I'm not sure exactly how long I've been ill for - it's possible it started on Thursday. The prevalent symptoms for me have been a general malaise, and a lot of coughing (which has lessened these days). May have to wait a couple of days for symptoms to clear up completely, and for a negative result to show up.

My mom has gotten a little sick too, though she's tested negative. So fingers crossed that she'll be alright. We're still planning on flying out the Friday after next, but that's contingent on us feeling okay.

I've been "surviving" on chocolate chip cookies, podcasts and videogames, and this has done wonders for me disposition /s.

Being as restless as I am, I can't go that much longer without doing a workout - even though I'm still sick. I'll lose my mind. So I'm going to spitball a few exercise ideas in the section below, as a record, and as a potential workout.

This is a pyramid format, partially stolen from Iron Wolf's workouts (this is absurdly easy by his standards). If I'm feeling up for it, will give it a shot tomorrow.

10 squats
10 push ups
10 basic burpees
10 basic burpees + plank jack
10 basic 1-pump burpees
10 basic 2-pump
10 Navy Seals
10 basic 2-pump
10 basic 1-pump burpees
10 basic burpees + plank jack
10 basic burpees
10 push ups
10 squats

Stay well, Bees!

Watching: I've made it through a bit of Barbarian. It's superbly directed and quite freaky at points, so I look forward to finishing the rest of it. Also watching a dash of Andor, though I hope to finish it at the gym.

Playing: I booted up Diablo 3 again. It's as fun as I remember, albeit a touch repetitive (I started a new Barbarian char).

Listening to: Saxon - Hammer of the Gods. Need me some speedy metal to get me through this sickness!



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Thank you so much @TopNotch, @CODawn and @Froud.

Status update. Today I tested negative after about a week of being sick. Towards the tail end, it wasn't even a case of severe symptoms - perhaps some tiredness and a sore cough. I had a feeling that today I would improve, and I was proven right!

Being sick sucks... I promised myself I would do the workout I posted above, but I never got around to it. It was way too easy to loaf around and stay in bed, or play videogames. It felt like it was only one or the other.

So behold my glee when I tested negative instead today! Freedom! Weights! I set out for another Chest Workout, in spite of being a bit weak (this is to be expected after coming off of a sickness).

Paused Bench Press: 130 x 5. Eh, I'm not happy about it, but I'll work to improve on it next time.
Paused Incline Press: 102.5 x 5. Ditto.
Shoulder Press: 65 x 5.
Dumbbell Curls: 22 x 20.

Basic Back-To-The-Gym starter workout.

Take care, and stay safe, Bees!

Playing: A motley variety of things. Diablo 3, Doomsday Hunters, and Ready or Not. My gaming has been listless and frenetic while I've been sick, so I'm hoping to get back to a regular gaming schedule (say, an hour at most a day from the three, four hours daily while being sick). I will say that Doomsday Hunters kind of scratches my roguelike itch. May return to playing Hades for this very reason, though

Watching: I watched Fresh last night, which is a Romance-Horror flick. It's about a young woman who finally lucks out on finding the perfect date after countless mismatches... only there seems to be more to him than meets the eye. And that's all I'll say, as the film depends upon its twist. I give it three and a half swipes out of five. Watched a bit of Andor at the gym, too. At home, just finished watching the notorious thriller "Terrifier". It's unsurprisingly quite gory, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I give it two and a half bloody knives out of five.

Listening to: Ollie Wride - The Driver. More smooth synth sounds. I'm not usually a fan of Wride's music, but I find the swagger of this one to be irresistible.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Thank you so much @Whirly!

No big gains today. My muscles still felt sore from my last workout, so that might have had something to do with it.

Paused Bench Press: 132.5 x 4. Yuck. I'll give it a few days and try again.
Paused Incline Bench Press: 105 x 5. Better than before, so that's something.
Close Grip Decline Press: 110 x 5, I think.
Machine Triceps Extensions: 13 x 8.
+ Barbell Bicep Curls as a bonus. About 32.5 kg for eight reps.

So no progress yet, but there's still some time before my competition. T-mines 6 days until we go to New York!

Really loving not having Covid. In retrospect, it was like having a long version of the flu. Not the most terrible sickness I've suffered, but I wouldn't want to have it again!

Also bought some yummy Chocolate Peanut Butter flavoured protein for the betterment of the gains! Mmm... tasty gains.

Have a great weekend, Bees!

Playing: Going to go through my old roguelike classic Nuclear Throne. Years ago, I used to play this one over and over again. Might also give Hades a shot again, in celebration of Hades II being announced. Hell yeah!

Watching: Made some headway into Andor. I'm watching the Heist that has been spoken of and prepared for for several episodes and so far, it hasn't disappointed.

Also finishing up an old one - Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1978(?). It's taut, and well-acted.

Listening to: Kiss - God of Thunder. Every now and again, I have to have a Kiss song in my life. It's required, for sure! I love Hotter than Hell and the original self-titled album, but Destroyer has quite a few gems as well, like this one!



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
The Back is back! Today is a Pull workout centered around my favourite exercises.

Deadlifts: 160 x 5. I tore the callus on the pads of my ring finger in the middle of the set, but made it through. When I got to 165, I made it through one rep, but couldn't do any more.
Barbell Rows: 105 x 5.
T-Bar Rows: 92.5 x 5. Tougher than it usually is...
One-Armed Cable Rows: 30 x 6. These are great for really stretching the lats, but I can't use the heavy weights that I use on other exercise stations.
Shrugs: 65 x 10. Haven't done these in... years, at least. Good to train the traps again.

Tomorrow, I'm catching Avatar 2 with the ex. It's a butt-numbing three hours, so I hope my butt makes it out of the theater unscathed and in one piece.

Have a nice end to your weekend, Bees!

Playing: Doomsday Hunters has my interest now, though the gunplay is kind of crap; at least it scratches my "fun" itch. I forgot that I installed Diablo 3, so I'll need to give that another hack.

Watching: Some Game of Thrones flashback vids. Makes me wonder how I'm going to make it until House of the Dragon Season 2! Still chugging along with Andor. I've got to say, I'm liking it a lot more than The Mandalorian. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it has to do with the grounded feel of the series and the sharpness of the writing.

Listening to: Haken - Atlas Stone. I'm not really into prog (at least since I went crazy about it ten years ago), but I have to admit that those who dabble in the genre put out some very inspired offerings. This particular track is positively heavenly.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Hey Bees! Hope that your week has had a good start and (for those of your who celebrate) you're excited for the holidays. Today was Push Day again... feeling stronger, though not dramatically so.

Paused Bench Press: 132.5 x 4 for three sets. Arggh! That fifth rep still evades me. I'm just going to do the only thing I can do, which is get some rest and keep trying. It perhaps says something that I'm managing sets of four compared to sets of three earlier.
Paused Incline Press: 107.5 x 5. Just barely managed this.
Close Grip Press: 115 x 5.
Machine Triceps Extensions: 15 x 8. Close to a PR.
Bodyweight Triceps Extensions: (I don't know the real name for this one) Sets of 8.
Plus Reverse Curls! I maxed at 16 for 16 reps. I want to have forearms like Popeye!

Winter continues with its cool chills and songs of promise.

Have a good week, Bees!

Playing: More Doomsday Hunters, natch. Still waiting for that one killer app to release: I hear that the Steam sale is coming on again in a few days.

Watching: Finished watching Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1978). I find it to be subtle, tasteful horror. It's been written about as one of the best horror remakes of all time, and I can't dispute that, though I find it to be inferior to The Thing (1982) (in my heart, everything is inferior to The Thing). There are many themes at work in the movie and when it gets going - it gets going! I give it four and a half spore pods out of five.

Listening to: Cynic - The Space for This. I don't know if you can call it Death Metal anymore when it focuses on such expansive sonic textures and multi-layered song-writing, as opposed to focused, sledgehammer-blow brutality. After listening to a bit of Haken, I'm rekindling my interest in Prog-Metal.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Thank you @Nanna Io ! I'm glad I'm over my relatively brief bout with Covid. No fun, I tells ya.

Today is the first time I hit legs since getting sick. So I decided to drop the weight by about 20 kg and work my way up.

Worked like a charm. I can't explain why, but sometimes my hip flexors and glutes work together perfectly. I really focused more on the movement, and less on the weight, and it paid off.

Squats: 110 x 5. A lot of thorough warming up, and my sets started with 80 x 5, progressing upwards after I had the motion down; I think I'll be doing this again in the future.
Front Squats: 80 x 5. These felt like an accomplishment, as opposed to just spamming sets and hoping things workout.
Sissy Squats: 36 reps total. The name is a misnomer - done right, these are pretty difficult, and excellent for the front thighs.
Lying Leg Curl: 42.5 x 8.
Back Extensions: 48 in total.

Tomorrow, I'm flying over to The States with mom. Busy making sure we've packed everything. Me being me, I plan to hit the gym even before our flight (it's at 8 in the evening).

I'll see you on the other side, Bees!

Playing: An old classic, Titan Quest, has popped up on my hard drive again. Besides that, a bit of Doomsday Hunters. Haven't played any triple-A games lately...

Watching: I'm making my way through Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio. I'd heard that the two other adaptations (this year) were absolute tosh, but that this rendition was more critically acclaimed. And I've got to say, it deserves its praise. The animation (rendered in stop-motion style) is clean and detailed, and I welcome the changing of the setting to the fascist era of Italy. There's also more than a dash of Del Toro's weird imagery (the "fairy" being a prime example). I recommend it if you're into a more mature fairytale.

Still progressing through Andor, though the pace has slowed down a little...

Listening to: The Who - Heaven and Hell. This song is an absolute monster. I've made a collection of Classic/Hard Rock songs like this one and as you might expect, it's quite a meaty list. Lyrically and nuance-wise, the song is kid's play, but for sheer power, it ranks among The Who's best.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
@lofivelcro It's awesome! I tend to favour the same dual-wield build every time I play, however. Also brings back memories of when I lived in Los Angeles and did nothing but game and eat chocolate lol.

Hey everyone! A brief update before we head to the airport. Today is Push Day, as usual.

Paused Bench Press: 132.5 x 4, 135 x 4. I'll take 135 x 4. Not a bad weight to work on.
Paused Incline Press: 105 x 5.
Decline Close Grip Press: 115 x 5.
Machine Triceps Extensions: 13 x 6.

Done and done. That was the easy part of the day... the hard part is going to be rushing to the airport and being stuck with everyone else trying to beat the rush and check-in early. Gonna be a madhouse, I tells ya.

If I don't post again, Happy Holidays, Bees!

Listening to: Korn - Jingle Balls. Korn reminds us not to take Christmas seriously. This is possibly also the only time a Christmas song has been rendered in Death Metal form.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Thank you @CODawn @lofivelcro @TopNotch @Mianevem @f1and @Fremen! Happy holidays to all of you.

I'm going to make this update shorter than intended cuz I'm on my phone, and without my usual means of posting links and pics.

Christmas is a wrap. I traveled to stay with my sister's family in New York: a very charming and lovely place. They have two kids: one 3 and one 1 years old. I invite you to think on the chaos that results.

After a stressful few days managing the kids (I'm aware that those of you with kids put up with their behavior for life), I stole away for a pre-planned trip to Tarrytown - an absurdly charming town known for its association with Washington Irving. I must say that as an arch introvert, having some time to myself to explore and hang out on my own is just what I needed. I don't think it's anyone's fault - I'm simply built to value my alone time.

Oh and I got to go to the gym! Today was... supposed to be something, but I just trained chest.

Paused Bench: 135 x 3. Yuck. To be expected, though.
Incline Press machine: Uhh, I think several plates.
Flat Bench machine: Ditties.
Cable Extensions: 27 kg ish x 8.

Good to train, but I hope my strength goes back to where it was.

I'm sitting here with a Cherry Coke Zero and it's dark out, but only 5 pm. I think I'll take it easy for the rest of the night.

See you round, Bees!

Playing: Nothing, regrettably. Maybe I should download something on my phone.

Watching: Was watching Labyrinth with the fam a few nights ago. Love that one!

Listening to: Gunship - Shadow Fury. No YouTube link today.


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Mercenary from Italy
Posts: 1,104
"“Keep an eye on the staircases. They like to change.” Percy Weasley, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone."
Happy New Year


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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Hey everyone! I'm back in Hong Kong and ready to get back to work. I did workout twice in the last two weeks but I feel like my workouts were marred by weakness and inconsistency. So I'll "start again", now that I'm back home. I do miss my family over in NY, and the feel of being in the USA in general, but it was time to come home.

Thank you @Fremen @PetiteSheWolf and @TopNotch for your correspondence and well wishes. Now that I'm back home and have said my goodbyes, I kind of miss the kiddies. Kind of. It's good to hear about others' experiences in raising children.

I got off the plane twelve hours ago but I still felt like working out. I worked my Back today, as I'm saving Chest for tomorrow (after my bodily rhythms have caught up).

Today was an absolute crusher!

Deadlifts: 155 x 5. Going to go for more weight next time, as these felt comfortable.
Barbell Rows: 100 x 6.
T-Bar Rows: 85 x 5. Real tough, these.
Machine One Armed Row: 55 x 6.
Incline Dumbbell Rows: 22 x 8... I think.
Machine Lat Pulldown: 67.5 x 8. More therapy for the lats.
Inverted Rows: 12 reps at max.

So an absolute gauntlet of exercises. The reasoning for this was during my vacation, I had very few opportunities to hit the gym. It's good to have the chance to workout regularly again.

Peace out, Bees! See you tomorrow.

Watching: I finished watching Andor at the gym today. I almost always never watch dramas because I have a genuine dislike of unexciting, conversation-based plots that go nowhere and feature no action (I'm a big action and explosions nut). And Andor is... well, a conversation-based drama with the (very) occasional set piece. Those things balanced, however, I really liked this show. It's facile to say that it's a grittier rendition of the Star Wars universe, but you know what? It is. We get to see regular people in this universe trying to survive, and the nascent beginnings of what will be the first true opposition to the Empire. I loved the sharp dialogue... it feels like the most realistic wordplay I've ever heard in a Star Wars work. And the set pieces I mentioned earlier are amazing, and not only that, but absolutely moving. The one caveat is that it is indeed a talky show, and takes its time. Well, my patience was rewarded. I give it five timid, cuddly droids out of five.

Playing: I haven't played a single video game in the past three weeks... looking forward to getting some gaming in tonight. Maybe Cyberpunk?

Listening to: The Sound - Golden Soldiers. I'm kind of at a loss as to song choice, so here's an old favourite.



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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
Thank you so much @CODawn @Fremen @PetiteSheWolf @JCU and @JohnStrong! What a warm welcome from all of you. It's great to be back in The Hive.

Today is my back-to-basics bench day. I hit my muscles pretty damn hard to compensate for feeling weak.

Bench: 127.5 x 5. What a relief. I had a workout a few weeks back where I only benched 125 x 3. I can work with these weights.
Incline Press: 105 x 5. Feeling good. Love the feel of this one.
Decline Close Grip Press: 110 x 5. Some triceps work.
Triceps Pushdown: 14 x 6. Is it just me, or do I change the name of this stupid exercise every time I write it down?!
EZ-Bar Reverse Curls: 30 x 10. Eh, I'll take it.

I have a little over five weeks until my competition. My weight magically dropped to 79 kg last night... not sure why. I have been exercising more and eating less; maybe that's been adding up. Last night, I did have a few bites of a jelly donut and ten Milk Duds. Digression time: MILK DUDS. When I got to NY, I made their acquisition a priority; I hadn't eaten them in six years (the last time I was stateside). I took seven packs back with me to HK so that I can enjoy the chocolatey, chewy caramel goodness for... a week? Haha, if they even last that long.

I know, I know! I'm supposed to be on point diet-wise, but candy - particularly chocolate, is my weakness. I guess everyone has a vice.

Didn't sleep too well last night, though I fell asleep later in the night. Jet lag?

See you tomorrow Bees!

Playing: Bleh... Waiting for the Dead Space remake, as the two big hits I was previously waiting for (WH: Darktide and Callisto Protocol) have turned out to be forgettable (glad I didn't make a blind purchase). I haven't found a "disposable" mindless game I can play at the same time as I listen to my favourite podcasts. All my current games aren't really hitting that sweet spot.

Watching: I started watching Jack Ryan (I'm not going to bother with the stupid "Tom Clancy's" part) Season 3 in the gym. After the highs of Andor, I feel like this series is formulaic and simple in comparison. But I'll keep watching, if only for the entertainment value.

Listening to: Local H - Cold Manor. Even though I was only partially educated in America, this song hits really close to home for me. It's such a simple song, but it screams the truth with its lyrics on the education system and our places in society:

We're running in place till we die/
And for all the reasons why?/
You'll never win



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Ranger from Australia
Posts: 734
"Motivation is temporary. Discipline is forever."
Digression time: MILK DUDS. When I got to NY, I made their acquisition a priority; I hadn't eaten them in six years (the last time I was stateside). I took seven packs back with me to HK so that I can enjoy the chocolatey, chewy caramel goodness for... a week? Haha, if they even last that long.
When I went to America, I stocked up on cinnamon sweets. Oh man! Don't know why we can't have that sort of thing here. We used to have a cinnamon chewing gum but that only had a brief appearance. I loved it.


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Alchemist from France
Posts: 331
I can understand you for chocolate, it is a huge weakness for me! So I get a small square (about half of those you get with your coffee in fancy restaurants / cafés) every day, good quality, but NOT more. If I have some belgian pralines on hand, no chocolate square, my fix's done.


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Warrior from Hong Kong
Posts: 169
@TopNotch I've never tried those, but they sound like a treat. There's so much stuff that can be found in America that can't be found elsewhere (except good Chinese food, hehe).
@PetiteSheWolf That's some good discipline. I would always tell myself a handful or small bowl is enough, but I end up eating more anyway. Meh.

Another crusher of a day! Today I went back to Legs, accounting for getting weaker on vacation.

Squats: 100 x 5. I started from 80 and made it a goal to reach at least 100.
Front Squats: 75 x 5. Tougher than I remembered them being.
Machine Leg Extension: 120 x 10. Made a point of doing these deliberately and with good form.
Sissy Squats: 10 reps for the top set.
Machine Leg Curls: 35 x 8. I need more hamstring exercises!

When I came home, I ended up eating a touch too much. Had a pear, and more bites of the same doughnut. I was hungry! I'm making up for it by doing sets of kettlebell swings.

I'm tempted to take a break tomorrow and get some bubble tea, but I'm on a roll. So let's see what happens.

Hope your Monday grooves, Bees!

Playing: I've found a suitable brainless game! Last Epoch. It shall last me many hours as I make my way through these late nights.

Watching: Tonight I shall watch the Last of Us Episode 1, which looks fantastic. Meanwhile, at the gym, Jack Ryan is less than fantastic.

Listening to: HEALTH - Tears. The whole Max Payne 3 soundtrack is amazing, but Tears makes the biggest impact, thanks to a late-game action scene set to the song.



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Ranger from Australia
Posts: 734
"Motivation is temporary. Discipline is forever."
There's so much stuff that can be found in America that can't be found elsewhere (except good Chinese food, hehe).
And isn't that strange? I was taken to a Chinese restaurant when I was staying in Bakersfield and I had to ask for chopsticks! Here, you have to ask for a fork (if you absolutely need one).