Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

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! 🙂

Training Log

Another successful Deadlift Day!

Yesterday, I approached my workout with some trepidation.  My workouts all week had been GREAT, and I was starting to feel a little bit of the wear and tear.  I was worried that my  hard work all week would negatively effect my important Thursday ritual.  Deadlifting isn’t my favorite exercise (Squats are), but I’ve learned to love them – especially after my gym got bars with a smaller diameter and bumper plates.  Suddenly, my stubby little fingers can reach all the way around the bar and my range of motion is much more realistic.  My numbers have been improving steadily since I’ve been working with the progressions in 5/3/1 and, even more so, since I have had those other little boosts.  Yesterday’s workout:


3 @ 100#

3 @ 115#

15 @ 130#


Hip Thrusts:

2 sets of 15 @ 45#


Single-leg Romanian Deadlift:

2 sets of 8 @ 16kg


Normally, I can hit 8-10 reps on my last heavy set – but FIFTEEN??  I was so excited (still am!).  Also, you may have noticed, but I decided to cut my accessory work since I had such a productive session in my main lift and was feeling so exhausted.  All in all, though, a successful day!


Have you tried Deadlifting?  You should, especially if you’re a woman.

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!