Archive for the ‘Rest/Recovery’ Category

Plugging along

Cycle 2 is almost in the history books!  I’m consistently losing weight – after a big water drop last week, it looks like I’m in the range of 1.75-2 pounds per week.  Works for me!  It would be amazing to lose weight faster than that, but I think it would negative impact my training – which, as I’ve mentioned, is super important to me for reasons above and beyond caloric burn.

 

Last week on day 6 of the cycle (a maintenance day), I had a terrible workout!  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely took the time to grind out every rep of every set, but it didn’t feel good and I wasn’t able to increase the weight on any exercise.  I think I was really depleted from low intake the day before, and only had a cheese stick before hitting the gym.  My workout was later than usual (since it was a weekend), so it had been a LONG time since I put some serious calories in my body.  All week, I’ve been trying to decide how to avoid this result and even considered NOT lifting on a maintenance day and either using it for rest or cardio.  It didn’t make sense, though – training is supposed to go hand in hand with eating, so if I’m eating at maintenance, I should be LIFTING.

Not going to lie – I was more than a little apprehensive this morning.  I took forever to get out the door to the gym (unusual for me) and tried to bargain with myself.  But, I finally reached this conclusion:

If I don’t have a better plan, I should stick to the one I already made.

I think this could be a tiny little turning point for me.  I didn’t overthink things, and trusted the time and energy I put into creating a plan.  Instead of completely changing things on the fly, I decided to just adjust on a smaller level.  Since my issue is primarily around my workout – both energy level and performanceI figured I would adjust my pre-workout nutrition.  That’s a challenge for me – I don’t like having a lot of food in my stomach when I lift, so it had to be something dense but easily digestible.  I ended up having a small banana with my cheese stick. 

The workout went well.  I increased the weight on my exercises, and kept my rest times appropriate.  I’ve also made some good choices with my food today – getting some good, healthy calories in early so I don’t end up trying to stuff myself later.

 

Tomorrow, I will post my weekly progress update toward my goals.  Tonight, Jeb and I are having a date night and going to see “The King’s Speech.”  I’m excited to see it, but suspect that Jeb doesn’t share my enthusiasm!  🙂  Guess it will make up for all the hours I listen to him playing video games (to the extent that I sometimes have dreams taking place in the Halo universe or with Call of Duty characters – he’s so jealous!).

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Rest Days are Hard

I hate them.  I love getting up for my morning workouts, and when I have to take a day off, I don’t feel myself for the whole day.  I try to work out extra hard on the days leading up to the rest day so I really feel like I need to recover, but that doesn’t always do the trick.  I do take rest days, though, for the following reasons:

  • They help keep me from getting injured.
  • It’s probably good for me mentally to keep my perspective on exercise healthy and not obsessive – even though I don’t enjoy it.
  • My joints get achy if I don’t rest enough, especially while doing 5/3/1 and in the weeks immediately following that strength cycle.
  • My workouts over the next couple days following a rest tend to be more productive and it’s easier to keep my intensity level high.
  • I’m not a great sleeper, so I’m not getting as much recovery overnight as I could be.  By taking a couple rest days each week, I give my body a little extra cushion of time to do whatever it needs to do.
  • When I take rest days, I don’t lose strength or fitness – I just worry about it, and I shouldn’t since that doesn’t even make sense!
  • I’m not an elite athlete, and even if I was, I would still rest.

I think I’m going to keep this list accessible to remind myself that it’s ok to take a little time off, and is likely even good for me in the long term.  Plus, pushing myself too hard is not good for me mentally or physically and can derail me on my pursuit of my goals.  It’s ok for me to miss my workouts, but I need to be cautious about letting myself become anxious about missing them.  Back to the grind tomorrow, though, and then kettlebell class on Friday! 🙂

Changing up my program

I’ve been doing some thinking about my current program.  While I LOVE 5/3/1 and am so excited with all my strength gains, it’s becoming clear to me that it isn’t a good long-term program for my body.  It is designed to be long term, but I’m finding that I need to mix things up a bit more.

 

I had a fantastic week of workouts.  I hit PRs with style all week, and then had some killer accessory workouts.  It was fun.  My body, however, is screaming at me.  I was planning to go to my favorite kettlebell class this morning, but when I woke up achy and tired today, I decided to take a rest.  Even my grip muscles are smoked – they tingle a bit when I make a fist.  Even after skipping today’s workout, I still feel really run down.

 

I have been (slowly) reading Todd Durkin’s book, The Impact Body Plan. It take s a holistic approach to fitness and has a circuit-based structure.  I think it will be a drastic change from what I’m doing, but it also will give my body an opportunity to REALLY change.  Plus, it’s a 10-week program, and there are 10 weeks left in 2010.  The timing couldn’t be better.

 

I’m a little sad to say goodbye to 5/3/1, even though it’s undoubtedly only temporary.  I still am toying with competing in powerlifting, and feel strongly that my efforts in 5/3/1 will only make Impact more effective.

 

Looking forward to the change…

I Need Some Rest

I’ve had some fantastic workouts over the last couple of days.  I hit PRs in every lift, felt phenomenal doing it, and even got some compliments!  Riding this wave of positive emotion, I got myself to the gym bright and early this morning and decided to do a circuit.  I’ve done it several times in the past, but not for awhile, so I thought it would be a good way to get my blood pumping and my body warm so I can do some mobility work before Deadlift Day tomorrow.

 

The workout goes like this:

20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest – as many reps as possible of:

Heavy KB Swings

KB Front Squats

Reverse Lunges

Supine Hip Thrusts

KB Push Press

KB Power Rows

Push Ups

KB Tricep Extensions (overhead – like a standing Skull Crusher)

 

Boy did it hurt!  I ended up only doing one round of the workout, a couple planks, and calling it a day.  I started thinking about my recovery lately.  Strangely enough, I have actually been focusing on it more than ever (which is probably why I’ve been having such great workouts).  I’ve made sleep more of a priority, although my sleep QUALITY still isn’t great, and I foam roll every morning after I get out of bed.  I also try to eat extra carbs and protein on my lifting days so I have enough calories to support the demand on my muscles.  I have some new rest/recovery goals – or at least more concrete goals:

  • Lie in bed for at least 8 hours every night
  • Continue to Foam Roll every morning
  • Plan light, restorative workouts or steady state cardio for non-lifting days
  • Get up from my desk at least once every 30 minutes to stretch if I’m doing a lot of paperwork
  • Complete my core work every time I work out, rather than “running out of time”
  • Plan meals so I can have a carb/protein meal in the afternoon after lifting.  Adjust calories accordingly.

I think that’s all.  It’s sometimes tough for me to remember to take it easy sometimes, especially since exercising has such a strong impact on my mental health.  Any workout seems to do the trick though, so I don’t need to “get after it” every day!