Fatigue Week

This morning’s training session was a good one, I think. Even though my coach is wanting to incur fatigue this week, I felt pretty good throughout my session. The only instances where I didn’t feel so fine were my final deadlift set and during the glute bridges. The back felt achy and uncomfortable during that final deadlift set, and it also felt uncomfortable the moment I settled the weight across my abdomen for the glute bridges. Still, the back is feeling better every session, every week, so I just hope to continue to increase my weights without further set-backs.

1. deficit deadlifts (2-2×1)

warm up: 95 lbs x 8, 135 x 4, 165 x 4, 195 x 2

main event: 205 x 5, 205 x 5, 205 x 4, 205 x 2

As I mentioned already, the back felt fine until the final set here, which is why I only managed 2 reps. Although I most likely could have pushed through to complete another rep or two, I do not want to inflict further harm. Know your limit, play within it!

2. incline bench press (3-1×0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 10

main event: 60 lbs x 12, 60 x 10, 60 x 8

My incline bench is definitely weaker than my regular bench. My shoulders were burning with fatigue by the third set.

3. stiff legged deadlifts (3-1×0)

110 lbs x 15, 110 x 10

4a. side plank

x 30 seconds, x 22 seconds, x 25 seconds

4b. barbell rows

70 lbs x 12, 70 x 12, 70 x 12

4c. glute bridge

40 lbs x 15, 40 x 15, 40 x 15

Week 3, Day 1

With today being a holiday and thus the changes in operating hours both at work and the gym, I knew that I had to begin my training session no later than 8:30 this morning if I was going to get it done at all today. I set my alarm for 7:30 and still found myself fighting the urge to shut it off without actually getting out of bed. I’m sleeping reasonably well these days, and I’m fairly good at ensuring I get enough hours of sleep…sometimes the body just wants more! But I got up and dressed and ready. By 8:30 I was at the gym and ready to begin.

1. high bar squats (2-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 95 x 8, 135 x 5, 165 x 4

main event with belt: 175 x 5, 175 x 5, 175 x 4, 175 x 3

My coach added an extra working set this week but kept the weight the same. I’m trying to work on my breathing technique, and I have a feeling that will be an ongoing, lengthy process. Still, the squats felt better this week compared to last week, even with the extra set and reps. I felt stronger. The back was less of an issue. With the same weight last week, I only managed a total of 8 reps over 3 sets, so this is definitely an improvement.

2. close grip bench (2-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 10, 65 x 6, 85 x 5, 105 x 3

main event: 110 x 4, 110 x 4, 110 x 4, 110 x 4

The weight jumped a little this week and another set was added, but I think the bar was still moving well. The back felt achy as soon as I started arching on the very first warm up set, but by the time I got to the working sets the arch wasn’t really bothering my back at all. At least not during the pressing…getting out of the arch was a tad slow.

3. front squats (3-1×0)

75 lbs x 10, 75 x 8, 75 x 8, 75 x 7

4a. walking lunges

60 lbs x 16, 60 x 16

4b. dumbbell rows

30 lbs x 12, 30 x 10

4c. plank

x 47 seconds, x 30 seconds

4d. dumbbell rear delts

10 lbs x 15, 10 x 13

There was supposed to be 3 sets of all of these exercises, but I called it quits after the second round. Actually, I wanted to pack it in during the first round but managed to push myself to complete two.

 

Procrastination Delayed

It feels like I half-dragged myself to the gym this morning. My intention was to go first thing in the morning, assuming my coach sent me week 2’s program before I was ready to head out. I got up this morning, had a bite to eat, and got ready for the gym. Looked for my car keys and could not find them. I am not the sort of person who misplaces or loses things very often, so it didn’t take long for me to realize that my husband likely had taken my car. A look out the window confirmed my suspicion. Since I work this afternoon and late into the evening, I had a small window of opportunity to hit the gym this morning. I determined that I’d have to train tomorrow morning if my husband didn’t bring my car back by a certain time. Thankfully, he brought it back and I was able to go today. I’m glad I didn’t have to push it off until tomorrow.

1. high bar squats (2-0x0)

warm up: 95 lbs x 5, 135 x 4, 165 x 3

main event, with belt: 175 x 3, 175 x 2, 175 x 3

My coach gave me a couple of new cues to use for my squats, so I was trying to incorporate those today. I’m not sure how successful I was, but I tried. The new cues made the heavier sets feel a bit tougher; however, I think these still felt better than last week’s sets at 165 pounds.

One of the things my coach wanted me to do was to face out of the squat rack rather than facing the mirror. Mirrors are a new thing for me in the gym, because my old gym simply didn’t have any. There I would squat facing the wall or facing the open gym…neither bothered me very much, even when there were other people training in front of me. While I am not fond of seeing my reflection while I squat, I found facing the gym today to be rather disconcerting. In competition I am used to focusing on one spot, having tunnel vision and blocking out everything around me. In the gym during my set, I am still quite capable of focusing my attention and ignoring my surroundings, so I don’t know why I was bothered so much today. Maybe it was the fact that there was someone using the rack directly beside the one I was using…close enough that I had to wait for her to finish her set before I could change my weights.

2. close grip bench (2-0x0)

warm up: 45 lbs x 8, 65 x 5, 85 x 5, 95 x 3

main event: 105 x 5, 105 x 5, 105 x 5

These definitely felt stronger and easier than last week’s sets at 100 pounds. I was nervous about these this morning, because I didn’t have my husband to give me a hand-off for the heavy sets. Somehow I figured out a way to get the bar off the rack by myself without putting my shoulders into a bad position or sapping my strength. The back is still achy and cranky, so the arch wasn’t super comfortable.

3. front squats (3-1×0)

75 lbs x 10, 75 x 8, 75 x 8

Even though the weight increased from last week, I’m so glad that it is still relatively light, because the legs turned into gelatin in the midst of the second set.

4a. walking lunges

60 lbs x 12, 60 x 12, 60 x 10

4b. dumbbell rows

30 lbs x 10, 30 x 10, 30 x 8

4c. plank

x 40 seconds, x 30 seconds, x 25 seconds

4d. dumbbell rear delts

8 lbs x 13, 8 x 12, 8 x 10

 

 

Scheduled

“To be prepared is half the victory.” ~Cervantes

My daughter has expressed her growing excitement for the past several days as she was anticipating the start of a new day-timer. Sure, I rolled my eyes over her excitement, but the truth is that I am just the same when it comes time to begin a new day-timer, calendar, or journal. In fact, my current day-timer will be finished at the end of July, which means I am also rather excited to crack open fresh pages very soon.

I like to be organized and part of being organized means planning my time. Life is busy, but I function better when there is more order than chaos. Since I have never worked a Monday to Friday/9-5 kind of job, as much as I strive for consistency, I have to be flexible. With a work schedule that is rarely the same from week to week, a paper day-timer (as well as the calendar on my phone) is absolutely essential for my sanity.

My training times over the past few years have been fairly consistent, although there were occasional changes made to accommodate holidays, my work schedule, and other situations that would arise from time to time. Now that I am no longer training one-on-one with a trainer, I have more flexibility in what days and times I go to the gym. This can be both good and bad.

Ideally, I would like to train on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; however, there will be times when I have to change days up a bit. I might also need to be flexible with what time I train, although I am already used to training at different times in the day. I exercised a lot of flexibility with this first week of training in my new gym with my new program. I received the program Monday morning and had to work that afternoon/evening, so I started the program on Tuesday. I had considered sticking to the planned Wednesday training day, I ultimately pushed it back until Thursday, because I was sore and needed the rest day. Of course, pushing day 2 until Thursday left me with the same dilemma for day 3…either go to the gym on Friday, sore and unrested, or push it back until Saturday. I opted for Saturday. I made it work for my schedule and what my body needed during this first week back at the gym with a program more physically demanding than what I have been doing for the past month or so.

A friend cautioned me the other day about being too loose with scheduling my training sessions now that I am on my own. Although my friend knows that I am fairly disciplined and consistent with my training, he is familiar with how easy it is to allow training to fall by the wayside when life gets busy. I understand what he had to say and cannot disagree with it. I certainly felt the tugs of laziness this week. It wasn’t that I felt disinclined to get the training in, but rather I found myself wavering in terms of when I would go. I didn’t really want to train Saturday morning, because I knew I’d have to go early in order to be finished and have time to get ready for work; however, I didn’t want to train Friday with the way that my back was hurting from Thursday’s session. I wanted to sleep in on Saturday instead of being at the gym at 8:00 in the morning, but I wasn’t keen on going to the gym after work around 5 pm. There was never any doubt that I would go to the gym, yet my motivation was difficult to find. If I didn’t have a specific purpose to focus on, like my competition in November, I can see how easy it would be to make excuses for skipping a training session now and then.

I’d like to think that I am not such a person as that though. In several areas of my life I am highly disciplined and focused. Depending on what is on the agenda for a training session, I might need to be more flexible with the day and time I train for the simple fact that I might need assistance. Now that my husband and I both go to the same gym, he can give me a spot or a hand-off when necessary, but he won’t always be available to go to the gym at the same time I might like to go. The recent changes to my work schedule might also require more random training sessions than fixed. This is one reason why I live by my day-timer. I function better with the ability to visualize what needs doing and when, and it is easier to put the pieces together in the best order when I can see them all at once.

A New Beginning

I received week one of my new online coaching program yesterday, but I wasn’t able to get to the gym until after work today. It probably wasn’t the best time to train, but sometimes you just got to do what you gotta do! I worked a closing shift last night, and the night owl woke up pretty much as soon as I slipped into bed. Between a brain that wouldn’t shut off and shoulders that couldn’t quite seem to get comfortable, I didn’t sleep too well. I worked until 5:00 tonight, which meant I wanted to hit the gym as soon as possible, before eating dinner and winding down for the night and my weekend. I was under-caffeinated, tired, and feeling sluggish.

I am actually quite excited with my new program. The first day didn’t feel super great, at least not all of it, and I did drop some weight and sets. It will get better. I know it will. My most recent training had a different focus, so my body hasĀ forgotten what it is like to do these sorts of things. It will remember!

1. high bar squats

warm up: 95 x 6, 135 x 6, 165 x 4

main event: 185 x 2, 165 x 4, 165 x 4

The warm up set at 165 felt tough, so I put my belt on for my working sets. 185 pounds felt tough and ugly. Ironically, when I looked at the video after, my form actually looked good, certainly better than how it felt. Still, that weight was tough and I was supposed to do 4-6 reps. I dropped the weight in the hopes that I could at least get more reps in, but the second set still felt quite tough and ugly, especially the fourth rep where I’m sure my chest was lagging behind. The final set was the best. It didn’t exactly feel easy, but the reps felt better.

2. bench press, close grip

warm up: 45 x 8, 65 x 6, 85 x 6

main event: 100 x 6, 100 x 5, 100 x 4

Warm ups felt great. The first working set felt good. The fifth rep on the second set misgrooved a bit and felt tough enough to call the set, and I was basically done after the fourth rep on the final set.

3. front squats

65 x 15, 65 x 10

I was given a decent weight range for the front squats, since my new coach is only just learning what I’m capable of and what works for me. Since the front squats have been feeling tough lately, I stuck with the lowest weight in the range…well, for that reason and also that I was feeling wiped out and weak already!

4a. walking lunges

40 lbs x 15, 50 lbs x 15

4b. dumbbell rows

20 lbs x 12, 25 lbs x 12

4c. plank

x 30 seconds, x 30 seconds

4d. dumbbell rear delts

8 lbs x 12, 8 lbs x 12

These four exercises were supposed to be done for 3 sets, but I cut it at 2.

First day done and so am I. Tomorrow I’ll be back for day 2, and then I can get back on track with my regular training days.

The Unexpected Deload

A lot can happen in a week, and this past week has seen its’ share of happenings. The week had a bit of a rough start with several unexpected ups and downs, but it smoothed out quite quickly and easily. In a way, everything changed, or at least one thing did. My coach of the past 3.5 years let me go as a client, saying that he felt he was holding me back and could do no more for me.

I could have been devastated by that announcement, but I wasn’t. While I did cry a few tears that night, the tear ducts actually dried up quite quickly and I never did feel devastated. Was my coach holding me back? I don’t know, and it doesn’t even matter. I am at peace with the decision, at peace with myself, and I’m looking forward to this next stage.

Needless to say, I haven’t trained at all this week. No gym. No coach. No big deal. I put out some feelers in search of a new coach and gathered information. I took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in on the days I didn’t have to work early in the morning. (Actually, I’ve been sleeping very well all week long.) I was able to get together with a friend for an overdue catch-up. It’s generally been a good week, despite a couple of family matters, like stitches (not me!).

Yesterday, I finally decided on a new coach. I will be doing online coaching, which is something completely new to me, but I think I have a decent understanding of the essentials now. It will be different. It will be okay. Maybe even better than okay. I am always up for a challenge, and I do have goals!

Lungs vs. Lunges

I finished my training session a little more than an hour ago, yet I have already been asked by two different people if I had a good session. Most sessions are good. They might not always be easy. I might not always get to do the main lifts I love the most, but training is always a good thing. Today’s training session was generally good, although there was a rough, tough spot.

1a. glute-ham raises

5 sets of 8 reps

1b. front squats-flat shoes

43 lbs x 10, 93 x 6, 113 x 8, 128 x 6, 128 x 6

1c. band pull-aparts-orange band

5 sets of 15 reps

1d. bench press-close grip

paused reps: 45 lbs x 10, 75 x 8, 95 x 8, 105 x 6

touch and go: 105 x 6

2a. low bar reverse lunges-alternating

43 lbs x 16, 93 x 16

This is where I hit a tough spot. The first set of lunges with just the bar was fine. The second set started out okay but soon felt incredibly difficult. Breathing became a challenge, the bar felt heavy, and a sense of panic began to flood my brain. Finishing the set required every ounce of self-discipline and determination I could muster, and even then it was tough. We opted to stay at the same weight for the next set, but my coach told me to stop sooner if breathing became an issue again.

93 x 6

I don’t know which set felt harder! I struggled with balance from the beginning with this set. Honestly at this point in time, I do not recall if my breathing was as much of a struggle after only 6 reps, but I suspect that it was to some degree. As much as I wasn’t keen on quitting after only 6 reps, that feeling of panic filled me again and so I stopped. I know I am wholly capable of doing reverse lunges with that much weight, if not more, on my back, and I am not prone to panic attacks in general. As much as there are moments or situations where I feel anxious, I am not someone who goes full out panic mode. So this was odd and disconcerting. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I hardly slept last night. Perhaps it was my breakfast of cold brew coffee and Fruit Loops. The heat? The pace? My own inner turmoil? All of that or none of it? Some random combination of the above? I don’t know.

2b. glute-ham sit-ups

x 12, x 10, x 15

2c. single arm kettlebell rows

16kg x 12 each

with a strap: 20kg x 12 each, 20kg x 12 each