Not much to report… and that’s a good thing.

Hey there.  How’s it going for you?  Are you training well?  Managing to avoid the of the pre-Chrismas temptations?  It’s a tough time of year for most exercise programs.  I know Kirt and I fall into the same trap every year.  We train hard and eat well in the lead up to our (usually at the beach) holiday and then when the time for a bit of a break rolls around we completely drop the ball.  Now this is nice for the first couple of days but the lag effect starts to kick in, and we start to feel a little unwell.  Usually overfull, probably a little hung-over and definitely lethargic, meaning we’re not inclined to do any exercise whatsoever.  Even if it was just moderate, like a walk.  I think we’re going to have to try something a little different this year.  And given that we’re not really taking a Christmas break and instead going overseas in February it might not be so difficult.  I’ll have a talk to tony about this and get back to you.

This Week:  Well, so far, so good.  Food and exercise have both been good this week.  In fact, today’s 2 on 1 session with Kirt almost felt easy.  Don’t tell Tony I said that will you?  It’d be like a red rag to a bull I reckon and then Kirt would get mad at me for ‘poking the bear’.   When things ‘click’ it’s kinda invisible as opposed to the the cacaopohny in my head when I’m struggling to make ‘good’ choices.  It’s a nice change.

Ok, I’m off for now.  Looking forward to an early morning interval session so need to make sure I’m rested.

Training Tip:  Do a little forward planning for upcoming events like Christmas lunches and holidays.

Measuring Time Coming Up….. gulp

Well it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a whole month since I was last pinched, measured and weighed.  I wonder what’s happened in that time.

I’m feeling good.

I feel like things are tightening up and my training is going well.  Starting to get into the groove with good food choices, training hard, thinking about my recovery and pushing my limits.  So that’s a huge plus.  I don’t think my weight has actually changed much though.  This is a  ‘wet ya finger and stick it in the air’ kinda guesstimate so don’t buy into it too much.  My pants are not crippling tight, but I’ve had to get some larger shirts.  I’m reading that as a positive though and seeing it as the result of some muscle gains.

Again, the tape measure won’t lie to me so we’ll have to wait and see.

I don’t have much to say training wise.  I had a pretty quiet weekend actually.  I was going to do ParkRun on Saturday but was so flogged from my bike ride on Fri arvo I bailed and took the dog for a walk around the park while Kirt did the 5km.  She got a PB to so well done babe!!

I was also celebrating a mates birthday on Sat night so that was down as one of my cheat meals and I anticipated having a few drinks so made sure I did what I needed to do so that I could have Sunday as a rest day and remain guilt free.  That was nice.

I’m looking forward through the next two weeks and have a few workshops to deliver.  This often makes it a bit difficult (for me anyway) to hit all my training sessions so my goal for the next fortnight is to complete all sessions as prescribed.

Training Tip:  Plan Ahead.

Stay in the moment

Tony and I were chatting when we were on our ride (in some of the easier recovery periods anyway!).  One of the things we discussed was the ‘fear’ or anxiety I experienced in anticipating this ride.  I think I may have mentioned this in this blog before or if not, it’s something I’m intimately familiar with about myself.  When setting goals I struggle with the fact that at any point preceding actually achieving the goal, I’m not actually there yet.

This can tend to deflate me.

Let’s say the goal was to run 5km in 20 mins.  Any run that is over that target time is therefore a failure.  I know, I know… before you jump on me, I know it’s not really a failure.  I’m working on this.  I try to focus on incremental improvement, or even just on putting in a good effort.

Anyway, Tony knows this about me too and suggested that perhaps I was doing that with the bike ride too.  Thinking too much about, anticipating the pain, thinking about the hills, remembering that I used to be fitter etc etc.

What was transpiring was that I was too focused on either the past or the future and was missing the blindingly obvious.  I was free to go for a bike ride in the forest on a Friday afternoon with a good friend.  I was not enjoying the present moment!

My objective for the coming week is to just turn up to sessions.  To not think about goals, PB’s, effort or anything.  I’m going to focus on the process and trust that the results will follow.  Now who says a personal trainer is just someone who counts reps…  Thanks Tony.

Training Tip:  Enjoy the moment.

Holy Crappola!!!

I’m going to tell this story in a reverse chronological way and it’s not going to be long because I AM EXHAUSTED.  Thanks Tony.  Thanks hills.  Thanks MTB.  Thanks hot sun.  And I guess thanks silly push your limits ego.

Fri: 8:52pm – legs sore, face stinging, body feels too hot.  Somewhat satisfied.

Fri: 5:30pm – complete body fatigue, aches everywhere, really thirsty and still really, really hot.

Fri: 4:25pm – large shaker of cold water, protein powder and glucose.  (God it feels good going down, cool, refreshing and energy giving)

Fri: 4:20pm – elated.  Dirty, sweaty, home.

Fri: 2:05pm – gassed already and shitting myself about what’s yet in store on my “easy ride”.

Fri: 2:00pm – on my way, nervous, but committed.

Friday 6:50am – tried to find excuse not to go for pre-arranged MTB (mountain bike) ride this afternoon. with Tony.  Excuse shot down.

Friday 6:45am – turned up to a dynamic legs session with Tony.  Great session but our pre-arranged MTB ride in the arvo was weighing on my mind.

Thursday night 11:59pm – laying awake worrying about this ‘easy ride’ Tony had planned for me.  Thinking really negatively.  It’ll hurt.  It’s going to be hard.  I’m going to suffer.  I’ll ruin it for Tony (much faster rider than me). How do I get out of it.  Too much cardio in a row.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.

*Fast forward again…..Friday Present Moment.

Well as it turned out the ride was hard and not easy.  Well hard for me.  I did however manage to complete it.  I feel good that I did it and know that I would’ve felt awful if I didn’t do it.  I do have some work to do over the weekend now that I deferred in order to go for a ride, but that doesn’t seem so bad now.  I am really fatigued, but I’ve eaten well, I am going to bed early and I know that I’ll recover just that little bit stronger as a result.  Oh yeah, and because it was a double session day I’ve been burning fat like a trooper.  I can almost feel it melting off.  Well, that might be a little…. optimistic, but it will be coming off.

Training Tip:  Try to focus on the enjoyment of the activity, don’t worry too much about the challenges or the outcomes.  They’ll come if you keep at it.

If it’s meant to be heavy, it’ll feel…. heavy.

Ha ha.  Sounds like a pretty straight-forward point of view right?

Well, that little gem awaited me this morning when I was doing some heavy sets with Tony.

It’s true though.  I was struggling under the weight and sort of (but not really) complaining about it in the rest between.  “Well mate, it’s meant to be heavy”  he says.  “If it wasn’t you’d just add more weight to it, wouldn’t you?” Tony adds wearing with a quizzical look on his face.

“Well yeah…. I s’pose so” I say, realising the trap I was falling into (you can see it coming can’t you?).

Anyway, the message was clear.  Expect this next set to be heavy.  It’s supposed to be.  You want it to be.  You’d be upset if it wasn’t.  You see the thing about heavy… it’s hard to lift.  So expect it to be hard. I did and it made a massive difference,I reckon I managed another 2 reps and more importantly didn’t ‘panic’ under the load.  I’d heard something similar before about lifting heavy weights off the floor.  “Don’t expect it to move quickly, it’s not meant to.  It’s heavy.”  It’s funny isn’t it how sometimes you need to hear something several times before it sinks in.  I think I’ve got this one sorted… at least for now.

Training Tip:  If a session is meant to be a hard one, don’t be surprised if it feels hard.  

Your body goes where your mind leads

There is a real connection between your brain and your body and leveraging this is the key to success in most endeavours I can think of.

This is something I’ve learned through my work and studies of positive psychology and is something Tony is pretty fond of too.  The theory is simple.  What you think influences what you do.

Think a session is going to suck and it doesn’t matter if you do it today, chances are you’ll find it difficult to go.  Think you can’t lift another rep, you’ll probably be right.  Think to yourself, “I’ll give it a go” and you may be surprised at what happens.  Now I’ve had some experience in applying this method in various aspects of my life but today I had a breakthrough in an area that I’ve been less than successful in managing in the past.

I’m self employed and my work tends to come in waves.  Really busy, followed by the sound of crickets and then really busy again.  Funnily enough its when I’m quiet that I find it difficult to get into a rhythm and often struggle to complete my training sessions or stick to any kind of routine.

Weird huh?

It seems when I have all day to do something I put it off and put it off.  Then have to juggle things at the end of the day to get it in.  Well today was not much different.  Except for one key feature.  My mental game was better.

I knew I was procrastinating and managed to apply some self-talk to get around it.  I visualised why I was committing to a training program, I reflected on how I felt soft and out of condition this past weekend at Straddie, and I reminded myself;

a) how much I enjoyed the session and

b) how bad I would feel if I missed it.

And what do you know???  I went and did one of my strongest strength sessions thus far.

Nice one Sean.  🙂

Training Tip.  

Use positive visualisation to remind yourself why you’re training in the first place.  It’s how you deal with each doubt, barrier and excuse that will make the difference in the end, don’t be tempted to ‘just let this one slide’.

Introducing…. the smile technique

Wow!  It’s been nearly 12 hours since this mornings 2 on 1 training session and I’m only just starting to feel normal again.  I learned a few things this morning.

Simple does not mean easy.  Kirt and I had three stations set up.  Push ups, deadlifts, clean and snatch (or something like that).  The weights weren’t heavy.  You could quite easily do a set of 10.

The task.

In under 20 minutes we were to complete 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 reps of each station.  So 10 push ups, 10 deadies and 10 of those snatch/squat (torture) things.  Then 9 of each and so on.

Sounds simple right?

WRONG.

It was one of the toughest workouts I’ve yet to do and had me on the floor writhing in pain (discomfort) for several minutes post completion.

Flexibility is as important as strength and endurance.  I’m not flexible. That’s probably an understatement.  I’m really, really not flexible.  Never really been much of a problem for me though.  Nothing’s broken or strained and I’ve always been able to do what I need to.  So long as that’s not got much to do with my hamstrings.  Or hamironbars I should say.  One of the exercises today really requires good range of motion through hips, lower back, hammies etc in order to be done well.  As soon as you lean forward the weight you’re holding on your shoulders starts to exert pressure in a direction you don’t want it too.  Forward, not down.  This put soooo much pressure on my lower back to compensate that I was physically unable to complete the lift on several occasions and I was only lifting 12kg dumbbells.

The Smiling Technique is Most Effective When it’s Really Hard to Do. If you know Tony you probably know the smiling technique, even if you don’t know, you know it.  Ever heard him say “Smile at it”?  When an exercise is getting hard and your head is screaming at you to stop, and your muscles are burning that’s when you’ll often hear this little gem.  My variation today was “this is a good exercise to practice the smiling technique on”.  Boy was he right.  I’m not sure I actually managed to crack a smile, but I’m smiling as I write this.

Does that count I wonder?

Make Up Sessions Hurt.  This morning, in fact this whole week is going to be increased intensity to make up for the lethargic weekend I had.  In hindsight, I think it would have been easier to stick to the plan over the weekend.

I was tempted to lie about my weekend but decided that I was not just cheating myself if I did that (I could probably live with that as unpleasant as it would no doubt be) but I’d be cheating Tony too.  He invests a lot of himself into his clients and his business and would be genuinely concerned if I wasn’t getting results despite ‘sticking to the program’.  He’d then make changes to things based on inaccurate information which wouldn’t work either.  Also, there’s no reason not to tell him.  He is extremely non-judgemental.  Whatever you tell him, he accepts as it being real (for you at least) and then moves into ‘what can we do about it?’ mode.  This is a surprising quality for someone who has been in the industry for over 10 years and has no doubt heard just about every excuse under the sun.

What he chooses to listen to instead, is the client saying “I want to get fit, lose weight, look good for my wedding or feel fab at 40” and works towards that.

Ok.  This was useful.  I’m sufficiently motivated to drag myself to the pool for a recovery swim.

Your Challenge for the Day.

I’m going to try this too.  When a situation is getting you down, or is feeling challenging and difficult remember to just smile at it.  Here’s one to take with you if you can’t find your own.