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The Week (and Month) in Review: Dumb Scale Luck

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I didn't deserve to lose this week. I didn't track (at least not accurately) on several days. A couple of days, I did not track at all. I worked out a lot and was active as usual, but I didn't follow my formal workout plan very well. Nonetheless, I lost 1 pound this past week. Kind of goes to show that not only does the scale sometimes go up when we don't expect it, it can go down unexpectedly, too. This is one of the reasons that I measure my overall weight loss by the month, not the week. My net loss in August was 1.6 pounds. Considering I was not especially diligent this month, I will take any trend in the downward direction.

I have a goal to be at a 50 pound loss by November 1st, so I better bring it over the next 8 weeks. I tend to have a month or 2 of big losses, and then a month or 2 where I am more relaxed about my eating habits, therefore having smaller overall losses. Here has been my loss pattern month-by-month since January:

*January 2011: -8 lbs (-8 lbs total)
*February 2011: -8.9 lbs (-16.9 lbs total)
*March 2011: -4.2 lbs (-21.1 lbs total)
*April 2011: -6.7 lbs (-27.8 lbs total)
*May 2011: -2.2 lbs (-29.6 total)
*June 2011: -0.2 lbs (-29.8 total)
*July 2011: -6.8 lbs (-36.6 total)
*August 2011: -1.6 lbs (-38.2 lbs total)

I think I'm due for a month or 2 of nice losses at this point.

Things that were good about August:
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*Weight is still headed downward and have almost reached 40 pound total loss

*Finally posted Nerdrageous Blog! entries and am working on more of them--the Nerdrageous Blog! entries help me review kinesiology stuff and formulate ideas

*Was very active on SparkPeople

*Exercised a lot!

*Celebrated 1 Year SparkVersary on August 21st

Things I could stand to improve upon:
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*Food tracking and eating within my calorie range--frankly, I'm lucky to have had a net loss at all this month, but I guess that's what happens when you burn 5,000+ calories per week on a consistent basis

*On that note, I need to get a handle on the stress eating by choosing a constructive way to deal with the stress, such as writing or playing my saxophone

*Following my formal workout plan more closely--I was very active, but often chose to do an activity other than the one I "should" have been doing that day

August wasn't a bad month overall, but I backslid a little bit in some areas. Such is life, and I am working hard to make weight loss a natural part of my life. Some days, weeks, or months will be better than others...but I own the consequences.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KKINNEA 8/29/2011 2:07PM

    Looks like you are keeping things in balance. I think September will treat you right!

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LEONALIONESS 8/29/2011 1:43PM

    Honest question on this point:
"*Following my formal workout plan more closely--I was very active, but often chose to do an activity other than the one I "should" have been doing that day "

So? I don't get why that's a downfall?
If you chose to do something else, something you *wanted* to do and enjoyed, were still active and moving around, why does it matter if it wasn't the thing you "should" have done? Having an active lifestyle is all about making activity fun and wanting to do it. Why focus on the "shoulds" when you're doing a fantastic job staying active doing the things you WANT to do! ;)

The only time I get down on the shoulds is when I'm training for a race. Then I need to hit certain runs, at least, to make sure that my base and such are prepared for the upcoming events. :) Luckily, 99% of the time, the thing I should be doing to prep (running!) is what I WANT to be doing anyway. :) So it works out.

My "shoulds" tend to be ST related. Right now I'm happy to do 1 session a week with heavy weights (I'm doing 15s for biceps for the first set, at least! Which is big for me!) and started biking more which works the opposing muscle groups in my legs and does more for my arms/shoulders than just running. So, I have my shoulds but I'm not stressing them. I like my workouts, I do them 5-6 days a week. All's good!

Good work so far!
You rock!!

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BAZOOKABOBCAT 8/29/2011 11:31AM

    Get it, girl!

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JSALERNO 8/29/2011 4:57AM


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ABB698 8/28/2011 11:23PM

    Hey, your numbers are going in the right direction, that's emoticon worthy in itself! Keep up the good work Girlie!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 8/28/2011 11:09PM

    Excellent analysis of your strong points and things to work on. I enjoyed it. I hope this is a great month for you.

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APIRLRAIN888 8/28/2011 10:30PM

    woohooo keep it up

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TWO-TOO-MUCH 8/28/2011 9:58PM

    You're doing VERY well! Keep up the good work -- I'm with you. Any loss is a good one. :) Have a good week.

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Standing up to a better job

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Image from

I FINALLY had talked my boss into getting me a sit-stand adjustable desk station at work. I was actually trying to get them for everyone, but he said since I had been "the most vocal" about it that I would get one to test it out, and then others may get them later if there is interest. The desk arrived this week and someone else even set it up for me, so it was ready to go when I got to work on Wednesday. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. It easily raises up to stand or lowers to sit without any equipment, and I can even adjust it while I'm on a phone call. My desk was manufactured by Ergotron ( ), and there are a lot of options available. My adjustable work station attaches to an existing desk, but they also have work carts and arms that attach to walls. The model I have was around $500, so not too bad. Some options cost the upwards of $1,000.

I think the desk station will take some of the dread factor out of going to work. I am a very fidgety person, so sitting is hard enough as it already is. I've only worked 3 shifts since having it, but I can already tell a big difference. I have arthritis in my spine, and it affects most of my joints. Sitting is the most exacerbating activity I do to make my joints stiff and painful, and it takes several hours after leaving work to feel better. My back already feels better from not sitting for 8 hours straight. My knee is not constantly flexed, which has been an aggravating factor with my knee pain. For some bizarre reason, it's kind of difficult to be nice and helpful when you're really uncomfortable. Hopefully I will start to like my job a little more and feel a bit more compassionate if I'm not glued to a chair for 8 hours straight, being in pain.

Here is where I stand when people call screaming at me to save their pets.

Sitting all day is bad for anyone, even if we are sitting with good posture. When the trunk is flexed, circulation to and from the lower body is hindered. Ultimately, this could lead to deep vein thrombosis. Sitting upright also causes tightness in the hip flexors and can cause the pelvis to be tilted forward. This can contribute to back pain. Sitting too much can lead to overall inflammation and metabolic problems, probably because it contributes to sedentary lifestyle combined with disrupting blood and lymph circulation in the body. "Sitting disease" is coming to light and more and more workplaces are bringing in adjustable standing desk stations to increase productivity and workplace health. The website has a lot of information about sitting versus standing and the science behind the health issues caused by sitting too much: .

Even schools are starting to rethink the tradition of sitting all day. We have always thought it traditional to sit all day and that it is a sign of attentiveness and discipline to do it well. Adults have a hard enough time sitting all day, yet it is expected of children. Having adjustable workstations for kids makes a ton of sense. They would be healthier mentally and physically with being able to stand. There are movements to bring standing desks to schools:

The added bonus is that I will burn more calories standing versus sitting. I used the calorie calculator at and I will burn an additional 460 calories by standing during my 8 hour shift. I have also been doing lots of calf raises and isometric lower body exercises (like holding squat, lunge, and plie positions). I'll be building rockin' legs while saving lives! Thus far I have been standing for a majority of my shifts and taking short sitting breaks.

There are also treadmill desk options, but these usually cost at least $2,000. I had originally asked for a treadmill desk, but was shot down immediately. With the treadmill desks, you can just walk slowly all day (some of them have built-in limits of about 3 miles/hour). Treadmill desks are certainly ideal, but the expense probably puts most employers off. I have also seen people do a homemade treadmill desk by building an attachment to put on the treadmill console, however, it wouldn't really be adjustable to sit and stand.

I would like to get an adjustable station for home use, too, but since my next computer will likely be a laptop, I'll see about that. I don't sit at my desk at home unless I'm at my computer (usually Sparking!). In the meantime, I may actually just do a set up where I stand only. I can stand or fidget for hours on end, so that may be a better option for home.

And I said I loved my desk so much that I wanted to marry it...SCHWINNER! said she wanted to see pictures, so here you go:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCHWINNER! 8/29/2011 7:42AM

    BAHAHAHAHA, nice work!! :) Love that picture, new Mrs. Standing Desk!

I love this idea - I work in a little cubicle all day, at the computer, so I'd love to have this option too! For now, the best I can do is sit on a ball or something similar, and take breaks as much as I can (though I forget most of the time!!).

I'm anxious to hear an update after using it for a couple weeks, especially to hear how it's improved your pain and weightloss!! :)

Way to go for getting this, too!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 8/28/2011 11:14PM

    Cool. I love it. I have arthritis too and stand up to use my computer. I have a laptop so it works out for me.

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ABB698 8/27/2011 11:09PM

    Love the 'wedding pic' emoticon It looks cool, good for you for being 'vocal' and getting something so good for you! Enjoy!

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CATSDONTPRAY 8/27/2011 9:45PM

    I've wanted to get something like this at work! My friend and I even tried to swap our chairs out with balance balls, just to do something that was better, but they turned out not to be tall enough. It scares me to see that it could lead to DVT. Now that I've had a pulmonary embolism, that is a serious concern for me. I'll have to talk to my doctor about this! I wonder if there's some way that I could get this at work now, based on my medical condition.

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APIRLRAIN888 8/27/2011 7:54PM

    woohoo I just got a lecture from sis about my posture! MAN it's tiring! but GOOD for you!

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KKINNEA 8/27/2011 7:54PM

    Love this - sounds like it really helps. I usually have to remind myself to stand and sit straight trying to correct for posture.

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GEMINIAN1 8/27/2011 7:32PM

    Yah "for some bizarre reason" ... lol.
You so funny!
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This is so awesome.
I'm diggin' the list of bonus'!
When you had this as your Status statement, I actually Googled them because I was so intrigued.
Well, plus, I'm a dork ... :-)

Loooooooove the veil AND bouquet ... nice touch!
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HIKINGSD 8/27/2011 6:53PM

    You're funny! Good for you for fighting for what you what and getting it!

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EMRANA 8/27/2011 6:33PM

  I'm glad it's working out so well! I have severe arthritis in my lower thoracic and lower lumbar spine due to disc injuries, and I know how hard it is to sit at a desk all day! They got me a better chair at my previous job, but it's still a literal pain to sit in it.

May you and your new desk live a happy life together. *teehee*

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JENNIFERHSRN 8/27/2011 5:24PM

    Glad your boss listened to you, hope the change helps the arthritis a lot!

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HIPPICHICK1 8/27/2011 4:37PM

    I hear ya. I have arthritis in my coccyx! What a pain in the a$$.

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MISTYBLUE716 8/27/2011 4:26PM

    awesome! way to make some positive changes!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 8/27/2011 4:06PM

    Sweet! Good for you! I'm lucky to be doing science--a lot of my job HAS to be done on my feet :D

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CANNIE50 8/27/2011 3:54PM

    You make a very cute couple emoticon I have often said I am more sore from sitting too long than from exercising too long. Good for you for doing what you need to do to make your workplace a healthier place to be - I am happy for you.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 8/27/2011 3:47PM

    Wow, good for you getting this desk. I hope you are very happy together.

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EVERSTEPH 8/27/2011 2:39PM

    That is completely fabulous!

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JSALERNO 8/27/2011 2:14PM


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KRAWRS 8/27/2011 2:01PM

    Looks neat! I read once about an office that had sit/stand desks, but there was also a treadmill option so you were walking (granted, at a leisurely pace, but still) all day! I thought how neat that would be! Exercising all day long. The sit option is nice for days when you're just not feeling too hot though. Congrats on SUCCEEDING in getting the new desk! That is a huge accomplishment!

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APLUSGURL 8/27/2011 2:00PM

    Good for you! I think that is a GREAT idea! I've had surgery on my legs (varcose) and I understand completely!

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MILLISMA 8/27/2011 2:00PM

    Glad you persisted! Looks like a great idea. I've never seen this but it sure makes sense to me.


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Introverts Unite!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I bet you won't believe the real secret behind why I am having success...and why I know I will continue to have success. This windbag of a blog entry actually reflects months of introspection (Ha! More on that later...) and journaling, so pardon the length of the blog.

I am not a shy person. You can probably tell that from reading my blogs or communicating with me. Actually, I tend to be known as one of the most brash and frank people that anyone knows. I am, however, an introvert. I have always been extremely sensitive to noise, lights, and crowds. If I am in a large crowd, I can feel my energy draining away. This has been viewed as an abnormality that must be fixed so I could be "normal." Even psychologists chalked up my desire for quiet as attempting to recover from trauma, and after healing for long enough, I would "come out of my shell." At some point, I would get over wanting to spend hours in my room writing stories (well, some things never change) and would become more "social." Other kids would go hang out with large groups after school, and I just wanted to go home and play my saxophone for a bit (huh, some things really don't change). However, I actually had a tight-knit group of close friends when I was a kid. I tended away from large groups, but I had play dates with others all the time. But then, just like now, I needed a lot of "me" time to recharge.

A major part of our identity stems from whether we are an introvert or an extrovert. Both terms are thrown around casually, but these deep-seated personality traits tell us a lot about who we are. Introverts get their energy from introspection, quiet, and solitude. Extroverts are energized by being around people and feed off the energy of others. Introverts tend to get their energy sapped by being around large groups. People tend to confuse introversion with shyness, loneliness, or disinterest. Since introverts tend to be quieter, the perception may be that an introvert is not engaged in a situation or is just "too bashful" to speak up. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to talk a lot more and very actively seek social interactions. I am NOT saying that I think that extroverted people are somehow inherently toxic. Introversion and extroversion are simply personality traits that are neither good or bad in and of themselves. Whether an introvert or an extrovert, I believe it is important to know what end of the spectrum we fall on so we can better understand how we think and what we need to nurture ourselves. Namely, it's about not trying to force ourselves into being something we're not.

For those familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test, I am an INFJ (Introvert-Intuitive-Feeling-Judging). I was talking to my dad about the Myers-Briggs personality types, and it turns out that he is also an INFJ. This kind of goes to show how much of our personality is probably genetic, as I was not raised by my dad. I do think that this personality type is very accurate for me (and probably fitting that only 1% of the population has this type--I always did have to be the outlier). The Myers-Briggs test is based on psychoanalyst Carl Jung's theories on personality, and is widely used to assess personality types in jobs and schools. The test measures the four traits of introversion-extroversion, intuition-sensing, thinking-feeling, and judgement-perception, and these traits are measured on a continuum. I wish I had paid more attention to my personality type sooner. I had first taken this test as a teenager, and even after getting a degree in psychology, I did not utilize this tool. No personality type is better or more desirable than the other and the test is, of course, not fool-proof, but it is known for giving insight into how we think. Over the past couple of years, I have gotten to know my personality type better (typically classified as "The Counselor"), and I have molded my life to foster my personality type.

(Image from

Is this what an introvert looks like?

We live in a noisy, busy, 24/7 country where silence is anything but golden. It can be truly challenging to be an introvert when the norm is to be highly "sociable." I have allowed people to convince me that my introversion was a deficiency that I must overcome. Over the past two years, I have truly learned to embrace my introversion and to nurture it. Does this mean I have purposely become some kind of hermit? No, not at all. I have awesome friends, I just no longer have that circle of insignificant acquaintances (mostly toxic people) buzzing around and wasting my time. I used to expend a great amount of energy attempting to be more "outgoing," but I just ended up being "fake nice." "Fake nice" really takes it out of me, so now I don't even bother. Now, if I don't have anything nice to say (or anything at all), I don't say anything--literally.

I'm not sure what it is about me that screams "partier" or "schmoozer," but people have constantly expected that I would be a lot more social than I actually am. I have been teased about being "friendless" (ironically, by toxic people who I've rejected as friends). This is probably because I am now a fairly private person and I don't talk about my life with people who I don't know well (or who I may not want to know well). When I would attempt to be more "social," I would talk about myself a lot with whomever, even though I didn't want to. Rejecting the introvert in me has had some very serious consequences throughout my life. I would go as far as to say that my major depressive episodes were triggered by failure to recognize and accept my introversion. I believe it was an interplay between having too much time around other people and allowing toxic people in my life in an attempt to be more "social" (i.e. "more normal"). Instead of giving myself the solitude to recover after trying to help people all day, on top of being at a huge university all day, I would go out with large groups of people to a bar, because that's what "normal" people do. If I told certain "friends" that I would rather stay in, either with them or by myself, for some quiet time, I would get an eye roll and a, "God, you're boring." (In retrospect, why were they my friend if I thought I was so boring?).

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My work poses the biggest challenge for my introversion. I have a co-worker that sits right by the door to our office, and every time I walk into work she turns around and chirps, "HEY, HOW ARE YA?!?!?!?" in a fake uber-chipper voice that sounds like a chipmunk on meth. I want to respond with, "Let's be honest, you don't care, and I don't care about you, so let's not pretend we do, 'kay?" But a lot of people in America take silence as rudeness, and even the shallowest social interaction is better than "nothing." My current job has posed the biggest issue with trying to embrace my introversion. It seems that almost everyone I work with wants to chit-chat between phone calls (what little time exists between them), and I prefer to take advantage of whatever silent time there is to recharge. It takes everything out of me to talk to people on the phone all day trying to help them (on some days, with a real emphasis on the "trying"). Needless to say, there isn't a lot of quiet time in a call center with 10-20 extroverts in it. My co-workers think I'm bitchy, not because of what I've said to them, but because of what I don't say. It had gotten to the point where a couple of co-workers started teasing and bullying me. I talked to my "supervisor" about it, who blew me off because she is friends with both of the offenders. I went to my boss-boss, who immediately let me move to a different desk in the call center where I would not be directly between the bullies. I told him frankly that when I come to work, I am here to work and I don't really want to socialize with my co-workers. He told me I am well within my rights to blow off whomever I please, so at least I have some support from the higher-ups. Being able to have a little more "me" time at work makes my job a bit better, despite some of the organizational issues at my job.

(Image from

I still get the toxic people, especially at work, trying to worm their way into my life. The best way to keep them out is to not tell them anything at all. I have built up a shameless fortress around myself, and I finally feel okay about it. I just smile because that day I may have met my mother for tea, met a friend for coffee and a walk, met another friend for a swim, and then go to kickboxing with my brother. Far from friendless or anti-social, my life is richer than ever; the toxic people just don't get to know about it. Embracing my introversion has allowed me to prioritize my time to spend it with people who truly matter to me, and that has made my social life as rich as I could ever hoped for.

It took a while for me to realize that all of the changes I have made in the past year have been thanks to getting to know my introverted self better. Accepting and nurturing my introversion has allowed me to be healthier overall--my stress is reduced, and making healthy food and exercise choices are much easier. My stress and emotional eating habits are much more easily kept at bay because I now understand how to reduce my stress levels by creating an "introvert-friendly" environment. I have stress-reduction and coping plans in place. Rather than turning to food to reduce my stress, I carve out time by myself to write, play my saxophone, exercise, or just space out. Rather than trying to turn myself into an extrovert to bring me out of my shell, I had to let the introvert out. I am able to be passionate about the things I want to be passionate about, and distance myself from the things and people who I do not care about. I have more energy now, because I allow more time to myself. I feel like I am even more caring with my friends than I was before, and am better able to be sympathetic with my callers at work. It has only been recently that I truly feel like I am really myself, and who I am meant to be. Being who I am meant to be means I can become the person I really want to become.

I think that understanding our basic personality traits of introversion and extroversion helps us to develop coping mechanisms and to ultimately understand how and why we make the choices that we do. Although it is a popular magazine and not a scientific journal, I thought this article in Psychology Today gave a pretty good overview of introversion and how to cope in a world (or at least a country) where extroversion is the norm. My dad had shown me the article, and I swear it sums me up perfectly:

If you have never taken the Myers-Briggs personality test, here is a link to a free online test:

A good link for thorough descriptions of the personality types is here (although you'd have to pay to take the Myers-Briggs on this site, so I would use the free one for the test):

As for the toxic people who still keep trying to "fix" me or for those who go as far as to bully me, maybe I should be a little more ingenuous with them:

(Image from

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEALOHAOE 8/29/2011 8:04AM

    Totally get what you're saying. I'm an INTP. My mom was a behavioral counsleor or the equivalent in her many positions of employment. It made it even more difficult making friends when i moved every two years (Marine BRAT). I was called shy because I was not the one to stand up and talk to everybody. But, when I got to know a few people each time, I was their group clown.

Even now, as an adult, I have difficulty in crowded stores, mall parking lots, busy restaurants. If people come too close to my bubble (excluding those with whom I am there) physically or through the noise level, I begin to feel closed in. Occasionally, I come close to having panic attacks. It's not usually that severe, but it can get there. Luckily, I know the signs and my husband understands that when I say it's time to go, it is time to go.

I mentioned this to my mom one time and she wanted me to see a psychiatrist. But, this is who I am. I have it under control. It's only an issue when I am particularly stressed or the environment is extremely chaotic. So, I own my personality. It has its ups and its downs. Just as other personality types do.

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PANDARAECASH 8/27/2011 4:55PM

    I am definitely an introvert as well. This was a great blog and insight! I will definitely be taking that test later tonight! Thanks!

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SYZYGY922 8/27/2011 1:05PM

    I'm an INTP. My IN characteristics are really strong, but the T and the P can go so S and J pretty easily. I'm a super introvert! I am also a jerk magnet.

I'm kind of shy, but I'm also somewhat talkative. It throws people off!

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NEWNECK 8/26/2011 6:10PM

    Thanks so much for this post. I am extremely introverted as well (INTJ), and this sentence of yours in particular jumped out at me "Far from friendless or anti-social, my life is richer than ever; the toxic people just don't get to know about it." My life is richer now than it has been for almost a decade, and I have learned that I preserve that richness and the energy to enjoy it when I keep true to myself.
Not only toxic people, but also well-meaning but over-eager friends and family, can really drain all of my energy and enthusiasm with their questioning and re-hashing and opinion-giving. As our culture moves more and more to everyone expressing aloud every single thought they have and commenting on everyone else's, I'm learning to be very comfortable engaging on my terms and only to the degree I choose. And the people who love me accept it, even if they find it baffling.

Comment edited on: 8/26/2011 6:15:41 PM

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CHRISTINA791 8/26/2011 5:51PM

    Great post! I find that a lot of people just don't get introverts. I love people and I love being social, but it needs to be on my terms and I need my recharge time. That's why I love my weekend runs so much, because it's just me by myself.

For the record, I'm another INFJ too. It took me years after the first time I did the test to find another one, but I see a lot more now. I think we do well in a social online environment.

Comment edited on: 8/26/2011 5:53:47 PM

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    Very interesting blog. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. Thanks for sharing the links, as well.

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    Very interesting blog. I can relate, though I am probably not as introverted as you are. I've always marched to the tune of a different drummer and was labeled as "different all my life. But I know there are many others out there like me who are drowned out by the voices of those who require constant attention.

My parents were both the most extroverted people you have ever met so it was really difficult for me growing up. They were the type of people whose demeanor screamed "BE LIKE ME!" My dad is still irked that I won't wear a cell phone and be available 24/7. He doesn't mind talking while on the toilet or in the bathtub. I find it disgusting and insane. He has explained to me repeatedly about missing important calls. I have had few important calls in my lifetime. I figure if something is really important the state police could find me. Otherwise I miss a lot of irritating calls by not being "wired".

I'm not even good at taking tests to analyze myself as I don't have strong opinions like other people do about a lot of things, other than I want to live my own life the way I want to and avoid pushy demanding people. I don't care if someone else loves or hates broccoli and I want to be afforded the same respect. I don't want someone trying to shove broccoli down my throat. This rubs a lot of people the wrong way. They are control freaks.

I once had a neighbor tell me that if I didn't vote the way she did that her husband would not allow us to be friends. I was the only one who seemed to know we would never be friends. I was not auditioning for a role I didn't want. It's one of the differences between an extrovert and an introvert. An extrovert assumes everyone loves them and in introverts knows they don't. LOL.

I would describe myself as someone who "plays well alone". I'm not a joiner. I do enjoy the company of a select group of people but would prefer to be alone than with "fools". I live in an isolated rural area and love it. I'm not lonely and I'm not shy either. The nature of my former job caused me to have to be in charge and in the spotlight and although I never loved it I handled it well. I also prefer to tell it like it is. I don't like crowds and I prefer one on one or small groups. I prefer to be me and allow others the same right. The world would be a better place if we could all accept people as they are and not how we want them to be.

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CAALAN23 8/26/2011 10:20AM

    I get this completely. I need that time to myself desparately. I do love to be social but it seems I need equal amounts of me time to compensate and people don't understand or get hurt when I supposedly, in their words..."just shut down."

Honestly, I think a lot of people are hurting themselves by not learning to be alone with who they are. I can see it in my son, he doesn't realize how much more balanced he is emotionally if he just spends some quiet time alone once in a while. Otherwise, he just pushes the social juggernaut until their is this dramatic meltdown.

I love your blogs, they dig deep and down to the nitty gritty. Good stuff.


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DOODIE59 8/25/2011 11:32PM

    Thank you for posting this. As the extroverted mother of three introverts, it is always interesting to hear someone external explain their circumstances. I learned long ago that my kids don't have to do things my way to be doing them perfectly for their lives. That's a big lesson:)

Best wishes on your journey to better health:)

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ABB698 8/25/2011 10:53PM

    Whatever letters label you, you are emoticon PERIOD! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISTYBLUE716 8/25/2011 8:31PM

    GREAT blog! I believe I'm an introvert and DEFINITELY benefit from having time to myself and relfect/chill out/focus, etc....its VERY important to acknowledge that..I've tried the whole putting myself out there more in social settings and while I do like being social at times....I don't like tons of attention drawn to myself and I don't like to feel like I need to be talking to're right with everything you're saying! nurture your introvert!

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ANDREA409 8/25/2011 7:34PM

    I'm also INFJ. I always thought it's interesting that, although estimated to be found in only 1% of the population, many of the people I'm friends with are this type also. Guess it's the type I intuitively seek in friends. Makes sense.

Like you, I'm also quite introverted. I'm friendly, and I can probably talk to anyone about anything (read: I'll listen to them talk about anything), but I discovered years ago that being around large groups of people, especially people I don't know, drains the heck outta me. Of course, I immediately assumed it was something wrong with me, because it really does pay to be an extrovert in this society. I worked with the public for the last 10 years and I know there's just no way I could ever do it again.

As far as coworkers go, I definitely do enjoy being able to socialize and be friendly with those I work with. But there is one condition: I refuse to associate with backstabbers, drama-makers, and jerks of all kinds. Around those people, I don't say a word. I've learned from past mistakes. But if someone isn't like that, I've got no problem chatting with him/her.

Bravo, my friend! Thanks for the affirmation that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an 'introvert.' I'll wear the title proudly!

Oh, and terrific article. Thanks for posting the link. I read it with interest. It describes me perfectly as well. I've said for years that I prefer one-on-one conversations because I get overwhelmed in large groups. Too much going on.

Comment edited on: 8/25/2011 7:53:39 PM

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    I am the same way. I am really not good at chit-chat...people at many of my previous jobs have considered me to be a jerk, i'm sure... it's like i just can't relate to some people and i just don't care to. i am much better one-on-one talking with people i actually care about.

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FANGFACEKITTY 8/25/2011 6:54PM

    I've taken the test a few times in the past, can't remember exactly how I scored but I know it was always as an obvious introvert. This time I am an INTJ, aka "The Mastermind" which is fairly accurate. I too am now a lot more comfortable since I've stopped trying to be how I "should" be according to people who are more interested in making everyone a mini-them than in letting us be ourselves.

Thanks for sharing with us! Introverts unite!

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HIKINGSD 8/25/2011 5:59PM

    Great blog! Love the last statement especially :)

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KRAWRS 8/25/2011 4:05PM

    I love your blogs. :P

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JULIE2719 8/25/2011 3:57PM

    Interesting observations - I have never taken that test but on Thomas Concepts I am a THeoretical THinker. I tend to be very much an introvert, but when it comes to working out, I really feed on the energy of the gym. If there are a lot of people working out I have more energy and I get a better work out. If the gym is deserted - like on a Friday or Saturday night - I can barely do anything - my energy is just not there. So for my first HM race I chose a race that was expected to have over 3000 participants because I don't have enough desire to run to be out there all alone along the route and keep running. I can do it on my training runs because I tell myself my time does not matter, I am just doing a training run. My time in a race doesn't really matter either - but I need the energy of the "crowd" to keep going. It is not that I talk to people or have any desire to say hello to anyone - I just feel the energy of others working out.
We are all so interesting and so complex.
Fun observations.

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TEXTMONKEY 8/25/2011 3:49PM

    Yup, you got it right about the introvert/extrovert thing. A lot of people peg me as an extrovert because I'm certainly not shy. But I get the energy sucked out of me by crowds. I took off my "corporate mask" years ago. I wasn't sure why I did that at the time, but looking back, it was because not being who God intended me to be took a helluva lot of energy that I could be using to nurture genuine relationships.

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ME_THE_REMAKE 8/25/2011 3:42PM

  Thanks for posting - just what I needed right now, as I have been feeling like I don't "fit" just lately. My result was ISFJ - strong I and F, moderate S and J. I guess you have given me something to focus on to help me understand why I am how I am, so emoticon

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JSALERNO 8/25/2011 3:03PM


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APIRLRAIN888 8/25/2011 2:15PM

    thanks for sharing

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ALICIAYOUNG1127 8/25/2011 1:59PM

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!amazi
ng, awesome..someone in the world understands me!!!! It does totally suck living in the world with everyone thinking you are bitchy or rude..but I am going to be 40 soon, and I dont give a hoot!!!!I am going to make use of your helpful links...and maybe even print part of your blog and paste it on my forhead so people can read it!!! emoticon

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LISA-120 8/25/2011 1:54PM

    AWESOME blog! I too am an introvert and I love how you have put into words so much of how I feel. My poor DH doesn't get it, but does allow me some alone time when I start getting out of sorts. Thanks for the links too. I am going to check them out.

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EMRANA 8/25/2011 1:49PM

  Major INFP here. And YAY, Unite!

I SO relate to this blog. Loved the part where your chipmunky co-worker always has to be loud about you, and you want to say, let's be honest, you don't care. I have always had it be like fingernails on a chalkboard when the office has to go through the "good morning" singsong over and over. People say "how are you" as a matter of habit, and they often walk away as the other person is responding anyway!

I have a thing about noise. lol It's not that I am not polite. I'm actually accused constantly of being too caring and too empathetic. But it's that shallow stuff that grates on me. If you haven't checked out the Highly Sensitive Person material, you should! Elaine Aron wrote one of the most popular books about it.

I'm way on the Feeling scale on Myers Briggs. So I guess I get impatient. Not perfect, just reallyreally heavy on my personality type. I'm not in the middle, I'm WAY introvert/intuitor/feeler. The perceiver is closer to the middle. But yeah. I guess you could say I'm just "very." lol

Love the last photo!!


Comment edited on: 8/25/2011 1:51:18 PM

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The Most Local Food Available (as in right outside my door)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This year was the first year I have attempted to plant vegetables and some fruits. I had planted the following:

peppers (sweet bell and spicy)
beans (soybeans, Dragon's Tongue, and Calypso)
variety of herbs

I admit, I have been a relatively neglectful gardener this summer. I've gone out and done some quick and dirty weeding, but the bed is far from weed-free. Despite this, I have still had some pretty good yields, especially considering this is my first attempt at vegetable gardening. I thought veggies would be a lot more work, but I basically just planted them, then waited for the harvest!

The vegetable garden August, 2011. Those are carrots in the lower left-hand corner.

It's ridiculously easy to grow veggies in containers. Here are my tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Watering is a breeze, too, with them all being together.

Handful of strawberries. Over the past couple of months, I've been able to pick a small handful almost every day. I have never had better tasting strawberries.

The blueberry plants (with a strawberry container and a bucket of water lilies). I had a couple of blueberries this year, but I expect that these young plants will produce more next year.

Lettuces in window boxes. I had good production May through early July when it started to get way too hot. I will start planting some again as it cools down over the next couple of weeks.

Broccoli plants next to the strawberry patch. I produced a whopping 2 broccoli florets!

Calypso beans.

Soybeans--really fresh edamame!

Dragon's Tongue bean pods.


Teeny tiny baby bell peppers.

Lil' itty-bitty baby eggplant.

Yukon Gold potatoes. I grew these in a potato growing bag. Super easy!

So pretty!

I look forward to next year, as I've learned a lot this year!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yum!! I love to garden. Good job!! You did great!!

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TWO-TOO-MUCH 8/24/2011 2:35PM

    Kudos to you! Just goes to show what can be done with even a little space. :)

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MYOWNHERO 8/24/2011 11:18AM


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HIPPICHICK1 8/24/2011 11:11AM

    I'm going to be planting a garden next summer. I'm so very excited about it. emoticon on your harvest!!

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    WOW!!!!!! You did a great job! VERY impressive. I did a small little baby garden this year and it was easier than I thought too! Some of those beans look pretty interesting. I've never seen them before! I will have to check them out!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HIKINGSD 8/23/2011 11:53PM

    I love your garden! Thank you for sharing!

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CAMOGIE3 8/23/2011 11:50PM

    Awesome!!!!! I'm gonna try soy beans next year. Found a recipe on SP for making tofu and soy milk. And I love edamame! The calypso beans look do they taste?

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ANGELWENDYMAMA 8/23/2011 11:44PM

    Wow! Congratulations!!! This is inspiring to me as my son and husband want to do vegetable gardening.. I know I'd be doing the lion's share of the work and I never got it started this year. Did you start with seeds? Seedlings? Why did you use containers instead of planting them into the ground? Why was that easier? I'd like to know what to do to start a veggie garden next year. Can I grow it next to tulips and other bulb flowers or not? Hehehe.. thanks!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 8/23/2011 9:48PM

    AHHHH! I miss my container garden! I moved to an apartment with a really tiny and shaded-over balcony :( At least my oregano is still up and kicking!

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MSCANELA 8/23/2011 9:12PM

  I love gardening. I live in an apartment with a small terrace. I guess I can grow some of the veggies you grew in the pots. Worth a try! Your veggie garden is lovely! emoticon

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    to me, that looks like a lot of work! but it would be nice to go outside and pick fresh veggies all the time. i love fresh tomatoes.

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EMRANA 8/23/2011 6:53PM

  YUM! I`ve been enjoying some of a good friend`s veggie garden in the past few weeks. Like you say, nothing better! He had a little strawberry I tried last week, just like yours, and it was like a totally different fruit. Super yummy!

Thanks for sharing yours with us!

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EVERSTEPH 8/23/2011 6:28PM

    Fabulous! I'm so jealous! This was the first summer that I didn't do a garden since hubby & I bought our house. Stepping on an underground yellowjacket colony when harvesting my cauliflower last summer scared the bee-jesus out of me (get it?!) and I never got the nerve to get rolling this year.

I especially LOVE lettuce and spinach from the garden - nothing like it! :-)

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BECKY3774 8/23/2011 6:28PM

    Yay!!!! I'm jealous!! I live in an apartment, and don't trust the neighbors not to try to sabotage my planting, so I don't bother, but mom grows tomatoes and I pilfer them. They are the best!!!

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MARVEEME 8/23/2011 6:09PM

    YUMMY! What time is dinner? I'm on my way................

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GEMINIAN1 8/23/2011 4:20PM

    Love it.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEE0973 8/23/2011 4:05PM

    Nice.!! I want to start a vegetable garden myself. I need to find out what I can plant right now in Tampa FL. Thanks for sharing

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CANNIE50 8/23/2011 3:53PM

    very impressive emoticon emoticon

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SCHWINNER! 8/23/2011 3:50PM

    Nice crop!! I've been a neglectful gardener this year too, but I blame it on the stupid deer that was eating everything for the first half of the growing season. Normally I'm drowning in tomatoes by this time of year, making soups and sauces AND giving some away... I have harvested about 6 so far :( Luckily I think the deer hasn't been around lately, as my squash plants are coming back! Fingers crossed.

I've never seen a potato bag - I will check that out though; I totally wanted to do potatoes this year but didn't get around to it!

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KKINNEA 8/23/2011 3:20PM

    Nice veggies! My poor carrots were clobbered by enthusiatic zuchinni and our lettuce was too late. I've learned some for next year too!

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APIRLRAIN888 8/23/2011 2:50PM

    beautiful, only tomato this year... thinking more next year

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Nerdrageous Blog!: Get Nervous About Strength Training

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Brain is worth more than brawn."
-American proverb

Most people picture one thing when they think of strength training: muscles. Muscles are like the engine driving the body's actions. The muscles provide the brawn to make the movement happen. But what good is the engine without the computer? Muscles don't exist in a vacuum. The nervous system is the computer that makes the movement possible, and is often forgotten in training. Since I take more of an exercise physiologist's approach to training rather than a personal trainer's approach, I focus a lot on the nervous system in developing strength training programs. Having a basic understanding of the computer driving the engine assists in getting better results from a strength training program.

In every one of my physiology courses, the nervous system was the first system covered. This is because the nervous system controls everything that we do. The strength gains during the first six months of a strength training program occur primarily because of changes in the nervous system ("neural adaptations"). Of course, all of the body systems (musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, etc.) incur changes from exercise, but adaptations in an individual system will wax and wane during different phases of training. The major player in starting out a strength training program is the nervous system. Once the nervous system is adapted and programmed to the exercise, then other adaptations really start to come into play. The neural adaptations "prime" the body, in essence, to make other changes. Neural adaptations occur in the motor units and neuromuscular junctions, which are how the nervous system communicates with the muscles.

A motor unit is an individual motor nerve and the muscle groups to which it connects. The motor nerve originates in the brain or spinal cord and connects to the muscle fiber by a gap called a neuromuscular junction. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is released at the neuromuscular junction when a motor unit is stimulated. Acetylcholine then stimulates muscle contraction. This short, short version explains the very basics of how the central nervous system communicates with the muscles.

Scanning eletromicrograph of neuromuscular junctions. Image from

Diagram of a motor unit. Image from

Diagram of neuromuscular junctions. Image from

Diagram of acetylcholine being released at a neuromuscular junction after motor unit is stimulated. Image from

In order to develop power in the muscles, the motor units must be highly stimulated through training. As I mentioned, most of the strength gains occurring during the first six months of a strength training program come from neural adaptations. The strength gains are a result of motor unit recruitment and synchronization. Large muscles, such of those in the legs, may have thousands of motor units connecting to it. Strength training synchronizes the motor units, and better synchronization means more efficient movements. When more motor units are recruited during a movement, there is better coordination and faster connections between the central nervous system and the muscles, and thus there is greater strength. While the motor units of an individual muscle are being trained with strength training, the coordination and connections between different muscles are improved as well.

While most people picture a bodybuilder when they think of someone who is very strong, it is not necessarily the case that someone with large amount of muscle mass will be incredibly strong. The nervous system must be trained in order to develop great strength. In the case of having very powerful muscles, having less is sometimes more.

Picture of Melanie Roach, Olympic weightlifter. You don't have to be big and bulky to be very strong--this is the nervous system at work. Image from

This bodybuilder (Betty Pariso) is probably not nearly as powerful as Melanie Roach. She also probably used steroids to look like this. Image from

The women pictured above are undoubtedly both strong, but Melanie Roach is far more powerful than a bodybuilder. Bodybuilders focus on building up a large amount of muscle fibers by focusing on muscle hypertrophy training. Muscle hypertrophy is built by lifting 8-12 repetitions to failure, usually performing 3 or more sets per muscle group. Of course, developing muscle hypertrophy has its place, and really does build some nice muscle definition. However, power is built by focusing on explosive movements that highly engage the motor units. A power lifter trains to lift very heavy weights by lifting anywhere from 1-7 reps to failure, with several minutes of rest between the sets. The strength ultimately comes from the nervous system and developing the connections between the muscles and nerves to lift far more than one's body weight. Heavy weights recruit far more motor units than light weights, which is why it is so important to lift a truly challenging weight when strength training.

Image from

Rather than saying brains are worth more than brawn, I would say brains make brawn. Imagery is a powerful tool in building strength because the nervous system will be more engaged during the workout. What has to happen before an action happens? It has to start in the brain, whether it is consciously pictured or not. Actively imagining the movement will create more power by engaging more motor units. When I've helped people develop a strength training program, I show them pictures of the muscles being worked so they can have a clear picture of the muscle they are working on. I also explain the opposing (antagonist) muscles so that both the positive and negative movements in an exercise can be thoroughly worked. A lot of the work in performing any exercise is consciously engaging in the exercise and not just trying to breeze through it. "Mind over matter" really can work in our favor in strength training and producing the desired results.

Beautiful image of of neuromuscular junctions in action. The pink areas are the nerve endings where they are connecting to muscle fibers, where acetylcholine is released. The bright blue strands are the nerve fibers. Image from

The best results from strength training come from working smarter, not harder, in a very literal sense. I will be posting blogs about specific strength training methods in the future and the training goals that different methods accomplish, but I think it helps to understand the basics of neural adaptations. The principles of neural adaptations are similar for aerobic exercise, too, and I will blog about aerobic exercise and the interplay between and aerobic and strength training at some point. Neural adaptations from exercise encompasses a huge area of study, and as it was my main focus in studying kinesiology (namely, the ultimate effects on behavior and mental health), I will probably talk about it a lot.

Now, go get "nervous" about strength training and lift some heavy weights!

"Sensation and volition, so far as they are connected with corporeal motions, are functions of the brain alone...the will operating in the brain only, by a motion begun there, and propagated along the nerves, produces the contraction of the muscles."
-Dr. William Cullen


Baechle, T. R., & Earle, R. W. (Eds.). (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Wilmore, J. H., Costill, D. L., & Kenney, W. L. (2008). Physiology of sport and exercise. (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Zatsiorsky, V. M., & Kraemer, W. J. (2006). Science and practice of strength training. (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESSBRAUN 8/23/2011 7:16AM

    Love it!!

Thanks for the physiology lesson!! emoticon

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NEWNECK 8/23/2011 12:42AM

    Great info, thanks! I love fitness discussions based in physiology and kinesiology. I look forward to your future posts.

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SMILINGTREE 8/22/2011 11:40PM

    One of the most interesting things about watching my daughter take aerialists lessons has been seeing her develop amazing strength. The dancers dont lift weights, but they are so strong it is astounding. Your discussion about how the smaller, powerlifter Melanie Roach is probably more powerful and stronger than the body builder reminded me of the strength of those lithe, thin aerialists.

You have also inspired me to get my weights! I have a set in storage and need them at home.

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ANGELWENDYMAMA 8/22/2011 11:10PM

    Hey everyone, LIKE this blog post so it can be shown to more people on SP! It's awesome!

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EVERSTEPH 8/22/2011 10:52PM

    Interesting! Like the imagery. Thanks for the info!

I'd prefer to stay chubby than have body like Pariso. :/ ...just me!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 8/22/2011 10:12PM

    FREAKING LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! I'm just starting to learn the Oly lifts--no kidding, the neural adaptation is by FAR the hardest part! I'm reasonably strong for my size/gender, but I have to go WAY light with starting to get the hang of the clean, but can't find my snatch at all. (hee hee!)

It's also worth mentioning that the weightlifter pictured above probably looks more lean in normal clothing (and when she's not bracing her core mid-jerk!).

Keep lifting and being awesome!! emoticon

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SCHWINNER! 8/22/2011 9:38PM

    This science dork thinks you'r geektastic :) Very cool info - Spark should have you do guest blogs.

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APIRLRAIN888 8/22/2011 9:34PM

    lol brain make brawns LOVE it

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DARKTHOR 8/22/2011 9:00PM

    Wow, lots of great information here. Thank you!

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CANNIE50 8/22/2011 8:57PM

    Your blogs are so impressive. I always learn something (or many somethings). I will be taking this knowledge to the gym with me tomorrow (my rudimentary understanding of it, that is). I love the point you make about a bodybuilder vs a powerlifter. Your great big brain is such an asset to Sparkpeople! THank you!

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CAMOGIE3 8/22/2011 8:35PM

    I LOVE your nerdrageous blogs!!! You rock!

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