Rightio – I feel like I’ve lost my way a little bit over the past few weeks or even month. Yes, I was busy and yes, perhaps I did have a sound justification for it, but now I do not, and still I find myself wallowing around. Missing sessions, eating too much, and generally putting off what it is that I want to do.
Do I want to do it?
If you looked at my behaviour, you’d think probably not. But I DO want to be fitter, stronger, leaner, healthier. I KNOW exercise is one of the very foundations of a successful life and one that I enjoy laying (the foundation).
So anyway, in an effort to motivate myself off the couch and into the gym, here are my new goals.
- Strength – 100kg 1RM Bench Press
- Endurance – Spartan Level 1 = sub 12 mins
- Measurements – Weight = 80kg, skin folds – 80mm
Input equals output.
I’m not sure you will recall but some time ago I mentioned a slight niggle I had in my shoulder/s. I was stumped for ages about what to do about it. Did I need a physio, acupuncture, massage, osteo, what? Over the years I’ve incurred several injuries, mostly cumulative overuse type injuries but there have been a few acute injuries from lifting something incorrectly (or falling off a childs scooter on NYE). In my experience I found that one practitioner was not able to treat/resolve all injuries. For instance, when I was experiencing foot pain (when running) due to tight (really tight) ITB’s I found that a particular massage technique (Bowen I think) designed to allow the sheath surrounding my muscles to slide rather than stick together, that I got immediate and significant improvements. Another example was a nerve issue in my left arm that was escalating and wrecking my whole back, eventually leading to loss of motor function in my arm that required a combination of chiropractic treatment (slight fused vertebra in my next) and trigger point massage (to release all the muscles that had been trying to accommodate the restricted movement and site of injury). I’ve also had an osteo fix my lower back in one session after I pinched something doing heavy deadlifts that couldn’t help my shoulders at all. so suffice to say I was a little confused as to who to approach. Problem was that my shoulders were getting worse, not better. I was having trouble pulling a shirt over my head, I couldn’t do push ups unless my elbows were tight in against my body and the final straw was it was starting to hurt when I was trying to do bench press with either bar or dumbbells. Enough!
I’ve never had much exposure to acupuncture but I am very open to Eastern medicines and much of the theory behind acupuncture I’m into. The flow of energy through your body for one. So I went along to a physio/acupuncturist to have my shoulders seen too. Now it’s probably an understatement to say that shoulders are a finicky little joint. They are notoriously unstable despite have such a complex range of motion… or perhaps because of it. I’ve now had 4 sessions and am pleased to say that I think things are improving but it really feels like 2 steps forward and 1 step back. After the last couple of treatments I’ve experienced an increase in localised pain and an increase in the pain through those previously explained movements (t-shirt, bench press etc) and then 2 days later it seems to have settled down and actually improved. Go figure. I’m going to persevere with treatment though because one thing I’m aware of is that you’ve got to give a practitioner (of any persuasion) time to actually effect change. This injury took me a long time to accumulate so to expect it to disappear in one or two sessions is somewhat unrealistic methinks.
So my advice to you is thus. If you are experiencing a little niggle that doesn’t go away after a few days. Go and get it seen too. If not sure to whom, ask someone who’s got some experience in this space. A fellow athlete, your trainer or coach. Just watch out for the well intentioned but highly subjective advice of ‘them’. Give the practitioner a few sessions to get it right but if you’re not ‘clicking’ with them (or the injury is getting worse) don’t be afraid to try a different approach.
Well I had my weigh in and measure yesterday.
My 6 weeks in review has been a mixture of some really good training and eating consistency and a few multi-day blowouts. I put much of this down to the volume of work I had in this period but overall I’m pretty happy with the outcome. I’m officially back to the best shape I’ve been in. I don’t have the measurements etc to hand but I think my skin folds were around 90mm and my weight was 81. something. Tony and I have set some new goals and I’ve got a totally new training plan that I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into. For the next 3 months I get to train like a fighter would train. Probably minus the sparring… so fingers crossed I should stay pretty.
Kirt and I have have been doing a twice a week Kettlebell group session together as well. There’s 6 in the class which is a nice size and we’ve always enjoyed training together. Feels like an efficient use of time and joins two important life elements – exercise and time with your loved ones. Win/Win all the way to the bank.
Ciao for now! I got a party to get ready for.
My observations are that most change, even self-initiated change is somewhat difficult. The most recent example of this that I’ve experienced is not from my clients or the organisations I work with but myself.
I’ve finally managed to make the shift to my new gym!! Yay!! I’ve been putting it off as it’s a new environment and quite different from my usual gym. Instead of having a dedicated weights room this is more of a boxing/kickboxing gym with bags, a ring, speedballs etc and an area that has some free and machine weights. I guess I was being a little self-conscious about turning up in there. Could have been a more testosterone fuelled environment than I really like. Turns out it wasn’t. Or hasn’t been yet.
I’m now just waiting for my new training regime from Tony before I’m 100% focused on my new goals etc. We meet on Thursday to do a session together, do a measure (and pics) and work out a new approach. I’ll post my results shortly after. I’m hopeful for some good numbers this month. I was tracking well and am again but did have a slight disruption due to being busy. We’ll see.
So in hindsight (like usual) the change wasn’t so bad. In fact, when it’s in the rearview mirror you really find yourself wondering “what was all the fuss about?”. I guess it’s a case of bit by bit. One pebble falling down a hill can cause a landslide and so can one small step lead to another. And another….
Take your one small step tomorrow and if you have already, what’s the next small step you need to make?
Tony writes a short article in Zenergy’s weekly newsletter. It’s always an interesting read and this weeks article got me thinking.
I was just this weekend saying to Kirt that one thing I do miss about the triathlon community is that being surrounded by fellow devotees to good food, early mornings and rigorous training really helps you to make the right choice to support your fitness, skills or racing goals. Mores to the point, you have less opportunity to be distracted by the detailer’s of life, like boozy social gatherings, eating out all the time, and sleeping in. Far less opportunity if you’re training for triathlons.
Kirt and I have long ago learned (and rapidly forgotten on many occasions) the value of setting up your environment so that temptations are not presented versus surrounding yourself with them and then having to use WILL POWER to deny said temptations.
Some principles that work(ed) for me:
- Don’t bring it into the house. If you do, you’re going to eat it.
- Pre-prepare your meals (lunches especially). When good food is ready to hand, you’ll find yourself eating it with no fuss whatsoever. Let yourself get hungry with no good stuff nearby and good luck trying to avoid junk.
- Get your exercise done in the morning, then you’re less likely to skip a workout due to an overwhelming day.
- Train with a partner (doesn’t always work for me unfortunately, but it is a good idea). Tony suggested multiple partners in case one doesn’t turn up. If that’s you though (me) it doesn’t really help, in fact probably makes me feel less guilty about not turning up.
- Have something at stake. I pay training fees to Tony and don’t want to waste that by not capitalising on my own sessions.
- Make a commitment to some form of competition. Nothing like a looming race day to make you honest in your training.
You’ve heard the saying “two steps forwards and one step backwards” right? It’s usually used to denote (in my world anyway) some form of self-sabotage. Working hard on my diet all week only to cave on the weekend and binge eat. it seems to be my pattern. I lust after the discipline of people like Tony who (from the outside at least) never seem to falter in their commitment to a healthy lifestyle. [No, I’m not comparing. Not really. But thanks for reminding me]. Funnily enough I don’t apply things to myself that I would apply to others. Like, every person has their own experience of the world. So today I’m going to choose not to lament over the fact that Easter was a blow-out in all respects. Booze, bad food and bugger all activity, but rather remind myself that I’m still moving forward and that the path to a goal does not have to be perfect, but rather optimal. Optimal given my lifestyle, what I enjoy, the friends I have and so on, not perfect as in an elite athlete who’s being paid to train, supported by nutritionalists etc etc.
I feel better already. 🙂
Ok, well that spike of work is now behind me and I feel wrecked. So much so that I’ve been hitting the sack at about 8:30pm most nights this week. I even fell asleep on the sofa last night!!
Today is my first day of holidays and my commitment to myself was to have a fit and active Easter break. God knows I need it after a pretty sustained break from training for about a week now. So what’s up? Kinda weird actually. Although I really feel like training and am totally committed to do so, I’m reluctant to go…? I guess I just have to make the start. Go pack my gym bag, get in the car and before I know it I’ll be done.
I heard myself saying to a group of managers yesterday that one of the challenges of creating work life balance was the lack of clarity about the balance component. They didn’t actually have a clear idea of the sorts of things they wanted to be doing, other than staying at work. Sure they had the evocative stuff, like lying on a tropical island. But that’s not an everyday thing. Scientific principle. Nature abhors a vacuum. It will seek to fill it. Life is like that. If there was a clear space in your day that some balance activity would fit (quality time with the wife or kids, exercise, relaxation etc) then all your other stuff would rush in and fill that space. Usually work. One needs to grab those big rocks (priorities) and just drop them into the rushing river and the water will flow around. Sometimes the rock gets rolled away but usually it stays there and things adjust accordingly. So when you’re considering whether to stay another hour at the office or not, perhaps weigh it against something more tangible, like “Oooh, that’s my yoga class I’m missing and then I’ll be a rigid old man…”. How did I get here? I think without the ‘rock’ of exercise in my life this past week, life has rushed to fill the space and now I’m out of the habit.
Observation: healthy habits – hard to form, easy to break.
Anyhoo, I’m off to the gym now.
Enjoy your Easter.