30 January 2014

Can’t believe another swathe of days have just slipped by without me taking account of them! I am trying to switch to a totally new track here with my life priorities and it’s hit and miss, some days I feel like I don’t achieve anything and then clumps of days will pass and suddenly whole sections of projects will be complete.
If there’s one thing I really AM happy with this month, it’s my workout schedule. I’ve taken what was an open-ended “gym a couple of times a week plus swimming” and, with a bit of support, come up with what feels like a comprehensive “programme”. It’s been a long time since I really had a “programme” for getting fitter and even longer since I’ve felt really motivated to exercise and enjoyed those super-sweaty give-it-all-you’ve-got gym dates. I’ve developed some plans that are motivating because they offer incremental increases when I’m ready for them, with a steady base-line that’s always achievable – so I can go in with the mindset of whatever I’m capable of on any given day is good enough.

To start with, I am still swimming three mornings a week (this works well with my work schedule and is an easy routine). The push here is towards swimming further: last year I was mostly just swimming 1Ks each time, now I’m moving to 1.33K with a view to working up to a mile for most swims in time. At the moment I am doing 1-2 of the intermediate distance mixed with 1Ks and will shift the mix as I go on – first target is to get four consecutive weeks with at least 1×1.33k swims, I’m on week 3 but it’s already starting to feel like the increased distance is normal. After this I’ll aim to do 1×1.33 and 1×1.66 each week for four weeks, and leave myself to decide the third depending on circumstances.

For the gym, I wanted to do something that would play to my strengths, and for me this is (literally) strength training. One of the things you forget about obesity is that your body has to be strong just to carry you around, so you kind of have a head start  – and while I know this is not the traditional way to approach weightloss, I love strength training because it makes me feel EPIC. Plus it gets me to the gym where I inevitably end up doing cardio as well (more on that to follow).
When I did the induction in December the trainer set me up with the following weights:
Leg press: 55lb
Leg extension: 40lb
Lat pull: 40lb
Chest press: 40lb
After 12 sessions I’m now doing –
Leg press: 295lb (I got a total WTH?! look from the guy using the machine after me one day 😉 that made it all worthwhile!)
Leg extension: 85lb
Lat pull: 85lb
Chest press 55lb
Shoulder press 30lb

I always start with a 10-minute warmup on the cross-trainer; I do compete with myself on speed and HR and calorie burn (as per the machine) and see some improvements – but also appreciate that it’s a warmup and I should be feeling good to be there rather than pushing to the limit every time.

Then after weights I will do some treadmill time. I have an escalating pace plan that adds 0.1kph each week (it doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t but it gets me to where I want to be by the end of March and the more time I have to adjust, the better – running is hard!) At the same time I’m challenging myself to add distance where I can, without dropping speed. On Monday I ran 2km at a pace 0.3kph faster than I ran my first 500m a couple of weeks ago. I am massively motivated to complete this as it will set me up for hopefully being able to run 5K outside once we get to April and those lighter mornings and sunnier weather – I’m thinking about spring and how great it would be to start off the season being able to run like I normally can by the end of season in the autumn!

So the combination of the three sets of strength, swim and run has me loaded with variety and motivated to be doing 6 sessions a week. I’ve done 26 workouts in 31 days and feel like I would be really loathe to miss one because it’s like a missing link in a much bigger plan. I look at this, at the logs, at how I feel working out and just think: that’s actually ME doing that and not someone else!

I’ve signed up for archery in March, just for a little variety and because it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for ages 😉 So February is the chance for me to really focus in the gym and work on the current plan before moving on to something new. Hopefully this’ll be a year of finding out just how much I can accomplish!

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