My Happy Place

This morning’s training session was a bit easier than Monday’s, even though it was upper body and I frequently find the upper body stuff to be more challenging. It wasn’t that Monday’s session was brutal or anything, but the sets of 8 and keeping the muscles under tension feels so much tougher when you’ve been doing fewer reps with a competition drawing closer.

1a. braced single arm dumbbell presses

20 lbs x 6 each

25 lbs x 6 each x 4 sets

These were actually not too bad. The goal over the next few weeks will be to add more reps to each set.

1b. chin ups, with green band, supinated grip

x 6, x 6, x 6, x 6, x 5

It’s been a while since I’ve done chins, so I was somewhat surprised by how decent these felt for the most part.

2a. close grip bench press using Swiss bar, no pause at lock-out/keep muscles under tension (which also means I don’t breathe properly despite my coach’s reminders)

33 lbs x 10, 63 x 8, 83 x 8, 93 x 8, 93 x 7

The Swiss bar is an interesting animal. It wobbles and plays with your balance. I really should have, could have done another rep on the final set, but my grip was slipping. I’m not sure if it was just the awkwardness of the bar or if my hands were especially sweaty, but my grip definitely felt challenged towards the end of the latter sets. The insecure feeling of my grip in combination with the command to NOT pause at the top of the press made life interesting for the moment.

2b. bent over barbell rows

75 lbs x 15, 95 x 12, 105 x 12, 105 x 7

The last set was tougher, because Michael adjusted my form just a bit to benefit my deadlift more. I might have done a couple of reps before the adjustment.

3a. lying triceps extensions with Swiss bar

33 lbs x 8, 33 x ?

During the first set, I noticed some tightness on the outside of my left shoulder when I would go into the deepest part of the extension. Partway through the second set, Michael had me stop the extension right before I reached the point I felt the tightness, so I sort of stopped counting the reps and focused on what I was doing. I am sure I did at least 8, maybe even 10-12.

3b. barbell curls

45 lbs x 8, x 7

Curls aren’t much of a favourite, but I tried to remain optimistic when Michael asked if I could curl the 45 pound bar. I kept them fairly strict, because that’s just the way I am. Still not a big fan of the curls. Maybe one day I’ll have big, strong biceps!

The good news is that the lower back is finally feeling almost like normal. Of course, I have sore body parts from Monday’s training, but that soreness won’t last too long. A friend commented today about my ability to jump back into training right after a competition. Even if I didn’t have another competition coming so quickly, I would still be in the gym as soon as I could be. Immediately following one or two of my earlier competitions, Michael would tell me that I didn’t need to come in on the Monday to train, and I would always say that I would be there. I don’t think he has said that for my last two competitions, so I think he realizes that I am just going to be there unless he takes drastic measures and bans me! 😉 But in all seriousness, the gym is a happy place for me (which doesn’t mean I’m unhappy everywhere else!) and going to the gym never, ever feels like a chore. Training has become such a part of who I am…it just feels natural. There are days when I feel tired or cranky or anti-social, days when I don’t want to go to work, to church, to the store for groceries. In my running days, there were days when I would have to talk myself into going for a run. Training is completely different! No matter how tired, cranky or moody I am, I want to go to the gym and I always feel better for it. I may want to avoid the world some days, but I never want to miss a training session. I loved running and I miss being able to run, but I have never once had to talk myself into going to the gym the way that I did with running. Well, maybe I did have to talk myself into going to the gym on that very first day, but I’m not the same person I was then!

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