Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Light lift, split shifts...

Here it is, the beginning of my holiday training the way I like to ride. I want to make the best use of my training time, so I am doubling up on workouts...

My boyfriend wanted to train me today and share with me the latest of what he has learned from his recent journey back into competing in a bodybuilding competition. He has been successfully acquiring gains from the intense regimen he has been on, and he wanted to share his quest. Oh lucky, lucky me.

Thing is, one training thing led to another and after about 30ish minutes, I was buttered toast. Here's what we did. I feel I should tell you that I did this in a fasted state,as I am excited about burning fat...those workouts always burn all my sugars out and get my body revving higher than I could in a well fueled state.

3 sets straight bar power cleans, about 15 reps, if I could get them all.
leg press warm-up set of 15
2 sets of slow burn presses with 4 second holds, heavy contraction at top

3 sets of slow burn hack squats, 20 reps

That afternoon I ate some whiting fish and cabbage with dried cranberries and mayo.
Little did I know the pain that was to come. I drank some coffee to prepare for the pain.

5pm workout consisted of heavy lower body work.
squat toss with ball
Planks and ab work
Squat rotations

...and basically everything that could have hurt me more. ..thanks Michael. ...Grrrrrrrrr. :) 😈
Anyway I was going back for cardio and got intercepted by his desire to spend some quality time together. yeah after creaming me! 😁

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Face (and butt) Of My Winter Regimen.

My summer workouts consisted of lots of L exercises (L raise, L sits, quadruped exercises like TactFit, primal, kettlebell, low carbs and shorter workouts. Bulletproof coffee, grass fed beef and tuna was on the entire summer menu. Who knew??

My fall workouts turned into a lot of machine work, bar work, heavy lifts and more missed days due to studying. My food changed, returning some fruit and mostly haphazard mistakes to the table. I cut the beef and relied mostly on chicken and fish, with infrequent beef bouts. I thought something was really wrong and then thought it may have been due to extreme depletion, that my system and energy seemed out of balance. That's bound to happen with a lot of intense changes in need of solution. By summer's end I had a net loss of three pounds. Hmph.

But Winter, this is where it seems that I am once again finding balance...but mostly, just a ton of carbs. Well, it's not the amount of carbs the public eats, but it is definitely a larger amount of carbs and bears some recognition as it applies to the scale. I've returned to the cardio route, whereas in the past and up through the summer, I was convinced that carbs were the devil, MCT oil was God, and beef was an angel, just helping people heal from visions of (fat) sugar plum fairies dancing in their heads. But I think this was a needed, necessary change. Yes, I doubled up on need. More on my food and supplementation in my food blog, Chronicles of Food.

I'm on top squats, a peripheral heart action circuit, one set of about four or five kettlebell exercises, total body lift, (C T B S L...Chest, Triceps, back/biceps, shoulders and legs) and anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of cardio. Last week I got three hours of cardio in including the weekend. When you're trying to achieve bigger calorie outputs, this is what usually happens. There was a time when my pitter pattering heart would beat in funny, arrhythmic patterns, as my heart is prone to do...brachychardia created a need to reduce my cardio, and my life changed to one of lifting. However...it was never fun though, to see the scale change. I think I was in denial this whole time, as I wiled it away to muscle gain...and for the most part I think it is. But now, about five years later, I am all of about 14 pounds heavier while being on a regular workout regimen.

Okay, I'll share my weight. It's no secret anyway: I'm 5'7" and I weigh 177. I wear a size 12. I was at 174 for the longest. I was 160 from about 2006, which was a sizable jump from 149 and vegetarian, back when I stopped running marathons, and started building muscle. Then I stayed at about 164 for another five years, slowly sliding up until I hit 174 in 2010. Doctor said this is okay and normal, and to excuse my age. But I'm not okay with it, because it's so far off everything I said I would do. And I don't believe in age drastically reducing hormone function when you are this active.

The part  you truly need to understand about this is not the weight, but the fact that I WEAR THE SAME EXACT SIZE I DID AT 164. There was very little change from one weight to the next. 14 pounds on my body is the definition of extra muscle weight. So why am I excited to still lose? Because the new frontier is to get as lean as possible.

And well...now some of that weight is fat. I'm not gonna S-T-R-E-T-C-H the truth on that one. Herein lies the balance of enough movement, the damned clear credential, and the lovely bennies of butter and cream. This is to be discussed on another post...

Why am I taking so long to blog?

The answer is, I don't know why.

Really, it's ridiculous in all honesty. Here I am, this exercise maven, working out with obsessive consistency for years upon years, and I don't show any signs of stopping. But here's the thing. Sometimes I just simply stop professing to the world what block of exercise gunk I am currently chewing on. But I'm back, and I'll at least show writing consistency for the next month, as I take a few much needed weeks off for my winter break. The best part about it is that I will be having some true moments of relaxation: no homework, no student papers to grade, nothing! I'm so excited that I may decide to cook and do two workouts daily.

The real reason, or most likely, the reason that is truest to form, is that I've been both busy and befuddled by my results. When I took out my carbs, grains and fruit this summer, I just knew the pounds would drop off and disappear. When I realized that only three pounds had only truly moved, then that's when I knew I needed to do something different. When I went to my doctor and found that, according to her records, most of my vital signs and endocrine levels including my thyroid were registering as normal, I think I got a bit worn out and slowly reverted back to carbs, but also my tougher workouts. I did notice that my tough workouts were tougher with more exercise and less food, granted, especially since I wasn't used to it.

I went through an interesting workout shift where I once again had noticed my leaving out my kettles and lifting a lot of straight bar work, tons of heavy squats, multiple reps and high sets (like 100 weighted top squats, 10 a set). This truly made me a happy young woman. I also have been doing a lot more machines as well.

I guess it  really boils down to getting into a new groove that I can sink my teeth into and be proud of. That's what took me so long to blog. But now I'm back and ready to use the fine tooth comb to explore.

Change The Game: Ls and Ups workshop doldrums. Part two.

The tough thing about stopping my entire kettlebell program to work on Ls and pull-ups, was that I feared I'd lose progress on my bellwork intensity and endurance. Not only was it a tenuous new skill, it was necessary. How else could I expect to achieve the needed results when new muscle synergy had to come in to assist the work? Those muscles needed extra rest and I had no choice. Same muscle fatigue and failure repping happens when I sprint. Those crazy leg muscles give walking something to reconsider when it all boils down to it. I'm just a nub on the floor after a new muscle challenge. It's tedium, but necessary tedium...

So after the summer of drills, I settled back into a nice kettle and endurance lifting sandwich. What I hadn't expected, was that the L practice completely disappeared again, much to my dismay. At this point, they don't seem to be able to coexist together peacefully. Having said that, I realize that to some end, if I do not work on the muscles that ultimately are the weakest link to my overall strength, I may never get strong. Relying on building strength to get more strength is the ultimate test of whether you know or not why you're in the gym. Come to the gym, have a plan...but don't have the plan of lifting to build strength, with the strongest, most capable muscle groups your body knows. What good will come of it? More compensation on an already weak link?

Ultimately I think I just began to lose hope. I was cramping so much when practicing L sits that I felt I needed a muscle kinetic chain captain, like an innervation specialist, to give me a once over, hopefully fixing the muscles that enjoy cramping. That was one of those blind, uneducated hopes that it wasn't in fact the anatomical system that was disturbing my balance. At the same time, my back is much stronger and so are my legs. My L raises with both bent and straight legs have definitely improved. My hanging L raises hurt, but mostly due to the grip, though I became confused as to which was causing the greatest amount of pain after awhile. Or was the cramping due to my reduced carbs and heightened fake sweetener intake? I could never tell.

There is definitely some merit to doing what you are good at, but not at the cost of your overall fitness gains.

If there isn't a nice bit of relaxed tension and happy confusion, brought in by a little angry accomplishment, you're not at the gym. Maybe you're in the kitchen, or in bed even. After all, you may as well be, if you didn't come to the gym to get a little frustrated at how crazy hard that last exercise was.