Floater's diary

I decided to bump the nurse´s visit to April because I started a diet to lose as much of water weight as possible and it just messed with my head too much. My psychotherapist said that if my GP is unable to tell by my looks that I´m fit and muscular, a much better option to torturing myself is to apply for a new GP.

Once I was hydrated and fed again, gym has been great. I seem to have a good response to creatine. I seem to recover a little bit faster between sets and I can go on for longer. I am now at a point in my fitness levels where I feel comfortable adding a second workout to some of my workout week days. One rest day each week at least is mandatory and I err on the risk of getting a bit of extra rest rather than risking overdoing it (because my anxiety leading to insomnia and the psych ward was likely related to that). On days that I do two workouts, I either do one pool session and one gym session or two shorter gym sessions. This comes with the benefit of low impact cardio because I walk to the gym and pool.

Food-wise things are going mostly fine. One of the early symptoms of overtraining for me is a loss of appetite so I´m very vigilant of that. I´m intentionally teaching myself to add some jam to my yogurt or eating an extra portion of nuts on days I´m working out hard. On extra hard gym days I treat myself to Taco Bell. It´s more about the joy of getting to eat out and watch people walk by on the street and listen to the music and all that than the food itself. I usually get a quesadilla, a side salad and a sparkling water. Being autistic, I love how fast food tastes the exact same each time. I put a lot of emphasis on eating a big breakfast. On workout days I aim for 400-500 kcals for breakfast and take my ADHD meds. Getting regular with ADHD meds comes with some drawbacks - they sometimes provoke anxiety and migraines - but when it comes with impulse control and keeping up a regulated schedule, they work as advertised. Creatine seems to make my migraines less intense, probably because it helps retain water whereas ADHD meds dry me out.

I´ve been focusing on my chest and this helps with my gender dysphoria more than I had thought it ever could. I obviously still have very noticeable breasts but underneath them my chest is starting to get solid. I´m one of those people in whom breast tissue expands to the armpits and towards the back, so unfortunately I may never reach the level of chiseledness I´d hope for, but less adipose tissue does make the glandular tissue lie a little bit flatter. It looks bumpy and dimply when I´m well hydrated but lies flat after a workout (presumably muscles being in pump also helps mask it).

Biggest change recently is that I have gotten over my awkwardness at the gym. I have enough faith in my ability to keep my joints and spine safe to try out new things and new machines. I do my usual "basic block" training and then explore what I can do with the cable machine or just go play with the dumbbells. A coach would probably call it junk volume, but I call it fun and exploration.

Today´s plan is to have a carbsy lunch and then do a moderate gym sesh and go to the pool in the evening.
Very happy. Today was third day of hard gym work in a row. Had Taco Bell after with fries and a Coke for extra kcals so I'll sleep like a rock before psych tomorrow. Bought protein powder and an adjustable grip strength gadget (gripper?) because forearm muscle definition gives me gender euphoria.
You remembered!! :love::grouphug: Thank you Cate!

I will celebrate by cleaning the boys´ cages (I now have two chinchillas, Timo moved in with me on 9.3. and is adjusting well), making myself a meatloaf as an "anabolic birthday cake", hitting the gym and maybe seeing a friend later.

Birthdays used it make me feel so fucking depressed and sad becaus eI felt like I was losing time on being my authentic self, but for the first time in years I just feel genuinely happy and content on my birthday. It´s nice.
Everything´s good here!

Went to the gym with another trans guy yesterday, he has a background in football and grappling but not much experience at the gym, so he wanted me to show him some basics, and he was happy with what I was showing him so it was a great experience for us both.

Heikki is very sweet and affectionate for as long as Timo stays asleep in his hidey hut but gets a bit tense when Timo is awake, They haven´t been in the same space yet and I won´t introduce them face to face for months yet. No severe displays of aggression have happened, some level of teeth clacking and a "spitting" warning yes, but I´d say it´s within the realm of normal especially as we are in chinchilla mating season and Heikki is very bonded to me so his hormones might make him act jealous.

I moved Timo´s cage to the living room on my birthday, 2 weeks after he moved in, because he was showing signs of boredom in the side room, like biting the cage bars and that´s a habit that should be nipped in the bud. He seems a little nervous in the bigger space that he now shares with Heikki and is less affectionate towards me than in the smaller space but time will probably help with that. On the other hand, when I let him out to run he popcorns and wall surfs so he doesn´t seem miserable. Probably just adjusting to another change! Both boys have poofed some hair due to stress of novelty but nothing too crazy and it will grow back. Heikki often poofs hair if I get new stuff for his cage etc so it just happens easily.
@Trusylver I´m planning to purchase weight lifting straps next month once I´ve taken care of rent and bills. As this will hopefully help me start increasing my compound exercise PRs, getting a lifting belt might be a good idea at some point.

You are a power lifter so do you have any suggestions about at which point of increasing the load I should start wearing a belt? I currently weigh around 80 kg and can lift 10x40 kg with no discomfort to my lower back, but going much higher than that, my grip fails me, so I don´t really know how much I could maximally lift and at which point I could use the extra support of a belt. I´ll be wiser about that once I get the straps but, yeah.
Blahh. One on my long-time autism workers is quitting and starting at another autism org. I´m super happy for her because the new place will give her opportunities to educate other autism workers and take more responsibility and hopefully change the field itself, but I´m also a little bit bummed that I won´t be seeing her around anymore. I gave her a cutting of my favorite Schlumbergera and a little nugget of selenite for good luck.

Mentally I´d like to exercise today but physically I feel like I could use a rest day. I´ll go for a walk and see how I feel, and maybe have a light gym session in the evening if movement makes me feel nicer/better. If I just keep feeling physically "clogged", it´s time for rest. I need to clean up the boys´ cages tonight. This is going to be the first time I do it when they are awake. They are getting more relaxed about being in the same room so I don´t expect them to pick up a fight through the cage bars. But of course I´ll keep an eye on them the whole time.
My body feels like shit and I definitely hit the luteal phase earlier than I had expected. I feel weak, joints are very sore with twinges of random pain, chest is very sore and swollen to the point where even showering hurts from the water hitting it. Oh, and diarhhea, of course.

I was disputing with myself whether to deload now, but I´ll push through, because if I do a proper deload during every luteal phase, it will limit my monthly workout volume by so much that I´m unlikely to see much progress. Today I had planned pool for the morning and gym for the evening. I kinda feel more like hitting the gym now and the pool later, but it´s only open until 5PM so I gotta leave right about now if I want to do that. But then I wouldn´t have to shower in the evening. I guess I´ll do that even though cardio after lifting isn´t optimal for gains. But also, I have OCD so going into the optimizing thinking isn´t always the best thing for me to do.
I took an extra rest day yesterday because my joints were feeling sore. Seemed like the right choice because today I woke up feeling great. Yesterday I opened the monthly view of my calendar and marked a red x on every day this year I hit the gym, and a blue x on every day I went to the swimming pool. It´s an impressive amount of exercise. Especially considering that I got covid from the psych ward in December.

For this year I´m sticking to the plan of having a deload week around the new moon each month. It does make my mesocycles short, but it´s a fact that I need more recovery time than the average person. There have been instances this year where I have felt skin and connective tissue tear (painlessly) when lifting. It doesn´t matter I don´t have the official Ehlers-Danlos diagnosis, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... I also get visible progress with my short mesos so for now this should be a good system. Towards the end of the year I might shorten the deloads or I might start to have every other deload as full rest and every other as very light exercise. I´m learning as I go.

About the Ehlers Danlos thing. I´m going to a physiotherapist in two weeks. It´s for migraines but I´ll bring up the Ehlers Danlos thing again. It´s super important it is looked into because it might effect my viability for future surgeries. Testosterone tends to alleviate the EDS symptoms but the connective tissue will still be more fragile than an average person´s, so.
Today I feel sad. I filled out forms for the upcoming employability evaluations. Filling out those forms always reminds me of how defunct I am. Takes me away from feeling pride and peace about the life I have now, and makes me think about all the things I do not have and never had, and how hard I was pushing myself when I was trying to be part of the work force. And I did try, really hard.
I have good news for a change! I had my BMI remeasured at the nurse´s office yesterday and it´s lower than the one calculated by the doc as I´m half a cm taller, and also a bit lighter than the measurements the doc used. The nurse told me straight that it´s stupid that the surgery criteria use BMI, because "you must be an athlete of some sort". First time anyone has ever called me that! I told her that I´m a passionate hobby bodybuilder and she wrote that down in the notes. So, yeah, according to the BMI I´m still obese but I don´t mind; down the line I can either lose 5kg to fit the criteria for surgery, or if I get lucky, I might find a doctor who´s willing to take note of my body composition and lifestyle and greenlight the surgery anyway.

I´ve been looking into German Volume Training and I think I´ll give it a spin. I will probably need to modify it a little, because I know from experience that my joints and ligaments can´t take 12 weeks of training without a deload. But the basic concept of two exercises per session with 10 sets of 10 reps, with 60 seconds between sets, sounds like a lot of fun. Of course, as I use a commercial gym, I may not always be able to hog a machine for that long but that´s just a good reason to keep a little bit of flexibility in the plan. (Or - should I just grow enough confidence to appear at the gym with the mindset that I have a plan, I´m gonna follow it, I have the right to work a spot that I need on that day?)

I don´t usually clock my rest periods between sets. Sometimes I count seconds in my head, sometimes I read the news (but no absent scrolling as that´s just bad manners). Maybe it would be fun to start clocking for a change. Especially as GVT sounds so exhausting that externalizing the counting to a clock would likely be a sensible choice.
I had a bad enough migraine two days ago that I had to go to the ER for IV fluids and IV painkiller. Yesterday was spent recovering, today I plan to start my GVT meso.

My body doesn´t feel at 100% so I may have to settle with not completing the planned program today, but I´ll try my very best.

Lately I struggle with water retention a lot. When I pinch my abdomen, the roll is still smaller than it used to be, but the fat looks very jiggly. I have eaten very sensibly lately so I doubt it´s excess sodium intake. I may have something hormonal going on, which would explain the migraines as well as they tend to happen during the time when I would menstruate if I didn´t have a progesterone IUD. The water retention is bad news for my mental health because it seems to trigger ED thoughts a lot. Of course, I´m now approaching the end of my bulk anyway, with only three weeks to go, so after that I can see if I could fine-tune my diet and change up my workouts a little bit. The water retention is bad enough to cause discomfort in my finger joints from the swelling so that sucks.

Heikki and Timo, the chinchillas, are doing great. Timo has now been with me for just about a month and is cshowing affection towards me, which for a chinchilla is a very quick acclimation.
First day of my GVT meso completed. Notes:

Incline bench pressing the bar (20kg) 10x10 was very hard. I completed the intended workout but had to take little breaks in the middle of sets towards the end to keep my technique safe. 20.4. Is the next time I´ll be doing this exercise, and I think I´ll still just use the bar, because I´d rather complete the 10x10 with perfect technique before adding weight.

Lat pulldown with a narrow grip was easier but not easy. I started with 25 kg and added up to 37,5 on sets 2-5, then did the rest with 30. This is not ideal, the instructions said to use the same weight each set, I should have started heavier. I also had a mental mix-up and slowed on the concentrics instead of the eccentrics, and tbh I´m a bit annoyed about that. I can see why it happened (doing the incline BP the bar had to go down slow, so my brain just repeated this pattern instead of realizing that in a pulling movement going UP is the eccentric)), but still feel a bit stupid especially as I was huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf...

But, considering I was feeling awful in the morning from the after effects of migraine and having taken a migraine prophylactic (I need to try some other med, Triptyl really just doesn´t agree with me), I feel very happy about having been able to push through the discomfort of this kind of volume, and on 20.4. I´ll be much wiser and fix what I didn´t get right this time around :)
Yesterday I went kickboarding for 30 mins and aqua jogging for 30 mins. Today is second session in my GVT meso, 10x10 squats and 10x10 seated dumbbell overhead presses. I´m still pretty sore from two days ago but we´ll see how it goes. I need to buy some help protein on my way home.

Took some progress pics in my underwear in the morning. My back fat is starting to become pretty much nonexistent to the point where the skin folds look like actual skin folds, not fat rolls. That´s cool. V-taper is also getting more and more pronounced. My waist isn´t anywhere near bodybuilder slim, but that´s not the look I´m going for either. I enjoy training my obliques and having a straighter, less hourglass torso because it feels more gender affirming that way.

I´ve been eating at a slight surplus and apparently could have been eating at a bigger surplus because the scale said 83kg this morning. When the GVT meso ends in May, after a deload I think I´ll focus on building strength throughout the summer and eat on maintenance. My physical activity is so hard and frequent now, and I carry so much muscle mass, that I keep getting a bit shocked about how much I´m required to eat. I eat 80% whole foods and 20% convenience/ hyper palatable stuff and it seems to be working great. I´ve switched form soy protein to hemp protein because it has 8% of fat which helps me get in enough calories.

Dysphoria is what it is.

Biggest health concern in this moment is migraines. They are the worst around the luteal phase in my hormonal cycle. Outside of that they don´t show up too often and I have been able to only use NSAIDs and triptans during the luteal phase which is very good. However, as the days are getting long and bright the symptoms also get worse so that sucks.
Today my workout sucked. I felt like I couldn´t get anything right, had trouble focusing, mind-muscle connection wasn´t there. But some days are like that. I still willed myself through session 3 of my GVT program and next week will hopefully be nicer.

One of the signs that fatigue is getting high is that my abs don´t fire right. I set the bench flat for DB flies, and couldn´t get back after my first set. I just turtled there until I managed to grab onto the ass end of the bench with my hand and hoisted myself up that way. Granted, a part of the problem is that the benches are too high for me so that my feet could hit the ground properly. I was also still tired from squatting 10x10 two days ago. But I hate when that happens. I just set the bench on a slight angle (because then my feet are flat on the floor and getting up is not an issue) and finished the flies. It shouldn´t really be a core strength issue because I can do leg raises without any issues. I guess I didn´t recover enough during my last deload week. I hate that I need to recover as much as I do. On rest days I feel like I´m worthless for not doing anything to improve myself.
To add: doing a program, especially one as intense as GVT, is definitely more taxing psychologically than hitting the gym and doing stuff that feels good that day and is somewhat sensible regarding what muscle group is being worked with.

I don´t dislike having a program to follow. It´s just very different. But I´m learning a lot as I go. That´s never a bad thing.
Was in a very awful mood today. I had physiotherapy on Monday and while the physio himself was nice, there were things about that appointment that really triggered me. I was sent to the physio by my GP who wouldn´t even listen to me asking her for a referral to a breast reduction consultation, but sent me to the physio instead. The physio seemed fairly OK other than examining me without explaining what he was doing, or asking if I was OK with it. I shrugged it off, my body is like a car I take to the shop anyway, so I didn´t think it would matter. But it did. I began to lose sleep over the week and my workouts were bad because I kept doubting my own skills. On Friday I went to check what the physio had written about me and, yeah. He clearly hand´t really listened to what I had been saying. It felt awful.

I have to go to him again so he can check that my migraines are not due to bad form at the gym. Initially he had said it´s just a formality but after reading the text, I no longer know if he was just acting nice because I´m a retard? I sent a three-page detailed explanation of my workouts and why I work out the way I do. He won´t read it but now it exists in the patient database in case someone else tells me my hormonal migraines are from bad form. Stress was enough that after my pool workout I started to have delusions while sitting in the sauna. I just wish I could afford surgery via the private sector and not have to rely on the goodwill of public healthcare practitioners.

My autism assistance worker today seemed distraught when I disclosed to her that I´ve been thinking about the option of performing a small skin removal surgery on myself and having the wounds stitched up at the ER. I know it´s generally not something that people are considered to be able to do on themselves but there are ways to control hemorrhaging and I have had experiences of being able to shut out pain sensations when I´m under enough stress. It feels much preferable to having to go to a physiotherapist who just tells me to exercise less and to go to a massage. A massage would not relax me when the cause of my distress is attached to my chest like evil twins.

Anyway. I weigh 4 kg more than in January, but a pair of sports underwear I bought around Christmas and haven´t used yet that used to give me a muffin top don´t give me a muffin top anymore. Body recomposition is a helluva thing! Very happy with my results. Some day I´ll get the tits fixed as well. Let´s hope I won´t have to play veterinarian on myself to get it done.
I had psychotherapy today and I showed him the patient database entry by the physio, and my psychotherapist told me to never go to him again. He said that the entry makes it sound like I cause my own migraines by exercising wrong and that the physio probably didn´t listen to me due to prejudices related to autism and transness. It sucks that my social skills are so bad I can´t even tell when people are not being on my side.

But something good came out of this as well. My GP who has provided bad care before has cut down my migraine meds without consulting me about it. I called the health center and they´ll try to fix that, but also the receptionist put me in queue for a breast reduction surgery!!! That doesn´t mean too much per se, it just means that eventually my new GP will see me about the issue at some point down the line, but it´s much better than not being in queue at all. Also, as my mass block will end on 4.5. and I´ll spend the summer focusing on cutting, I´ll have a very decent chance of being very close to the BMI requirement by the time the consultation rolls around. Depending on the doctor, they may or may not consider my body comp as a factor for surgery access, but I know I´ll have a nicer time going to the consultation if I´m a kilo over the threshold and not 5.