Archive for the ‘My workouts’ Category

Sitting in the hottub after a short swim I started thinking about how swimming just isn’t as enjoyable for me as it was. Used to be I could swim an hour and feel great about it. Now I do a few laps and I’m bored and ready for something else. It’s not physical, I’m not worse at swimming that I was or able to swim less, I just am not as excited to do it as I was.

This lead me to reconsider what my goals are in what I’m doing. I used to be focused on lifting and running and had specific weights I wanted to lift, and distances or speeds I wanted to run (especially for events I wanted to do).

But I’ve also been slacking on my lifting. So why am I doing what I’m doing?

I realized that right now, my main goals for working out are just your vague and generic I want to be able to do more physically, and I do it for the health benefits. Which doesn’t really require a specific training routine though if I’m not training for anything in particular, just trying to be as healthy as I can be.

So I’m just going to go with my boredom and mix things up in my workouts. I’ve been doing Krav Maga more often (which is only twice a week though).

It is weird realizing that at this time my goals are not easily measurable since they are not performance based but generic health related.

It also however though reminds me of the importance of keeping in mind what your own goals are and how what you are doing is or isn’t based on your goals.

Swimming is Hard

Posted: September 26, 2016 in My workouts, Uncategorized
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I had no idea until I started swimming. I hear about open water swims that are 1-2 miles and I always thought “oh, short swim”. 1 mile is short walking or running. I had no idea how long a 1 mile swim is.

I was shocked to discover when I started swimming that to swim 1 mile I had to swim 33 laps at my gym pool. 33. Wow. I now have swam 1 mile in one go 3 times now. A mile has never seemed so far in my life until trying to swim it. And I swim in a pool, where I can kick off the wall ever 25 meters, and I do half of it backstroke which is far easier (and slower) than front crawl (freestyle). I can only do a few laps freestyle before I need a rest. Whole new respect for people who do long open water swims!

Of course breathing when swimming is the biggest struggle for me. Walking or running, it’s easy- you gasp desperately for air. The hardest part is if I start coughing from my asthma. But swimming? My body wants to pant for air but much of the time (freestyle swimming) my face is in the water and that would result in me drowning. This is the biggest reason I do half the swimming backstroke- it keeps my face out of the water and I can breathe easily.

Luckily my gym has a lifeguard if I ever should fail at the “don’t breathe in the water” step of swimming. Though less comforting when the lifeguard spends long periods talking to someone facing away from the pool I’m in or hours with their nose in their phone, so hopefully I don’t ever need saving.

On the topic of swimming, I’ve been reading The First 20 Minutes by Gretchen Reynolds and she mentions a study where they made rats swim in barrels for 3 hours. THREE HOURS! Those poor rats is all I can think 😦 If we want to understand the impact of swimming on bodies, can’t we use willing human volunteers?

My last mile swim was 1hr 20min 30sec with rests. And those poor rats had to swim 3 hours with no rests. I love swimming but ouch. Poor rats.

I skipped swimming  last night due to a migraine. But I was back tonight!

Was similarly quite tonight. There was a guy standing in the lap pool but no one else swimming. Several folks in and out of the leisure pool and hot tub though.

I feel like being able to go swimming like this is the best thing in my life right now!

Love or temporary infatuation? I guess only time will tell 🙂

That said, I am not great at swimming at all! I tried 5 laps of breast stroke tonight and it was absolutely awful. I was more just flailing around than actually doing a breast stroke. My front crawl/freestyle is only marginally better really.

I love not having to share a lane though, especially tonight as I had difficulty swimming straight and was zig zagging back and forth across the lane!

Day 1 New Gym Membership

Posted: August 16, 2016 in My workouts
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So I found a gym near me that has a pool, and it’s open 22 hrs/day. Membership is quite a bit more expensive than the YMCA would be, but the hours are much better compared to limited lap swim hours in the morning at the Y.

I sent a request online for price information and they got me to come in after work to tour the facility and I decided to go ahead and sign up right away.

Then I went  back at midnight for my first time swimming.

I was very happy that at midnight there was only one person in the lap pool who was getting out just as I got there, so no worries about having to share a lane and getting in anybody’s way.

I took a swim class my senior year of high school  (as required at my school) and then swam laps once in college at the pool there (which had limited hours and was always filled).

So needless to say I haven’t done much swimming in awhile.

And I forgot how much of a workout it is! I always think of swimming as relaxing, but a lap in and I was breathing so heavily. I spent a lot of time resting between laps, both to catch my breath and because I was having trouble getting my goggles fitted well.

Also my swimsuit is obviously not great for lap swimming because I had to keep stopping to pull the bottom piece back up over my ass (uh-oh!). Getting a new one soon so hopefully that ends up being better.

At one point while I was catching my breath and adjusting my goggles a guy walked by and said “slow down, speedy! you’re going to get a speeding ticket!” Obviously I wasn’t actually swimming fast. But I laughed. I’m not really sure what the intent of the comment was?

After about 15 minutes of laps (and resting) I decided to call it quits for the night as I was feeling a bit sick. I headed over to relax and stretch in the “spa” (hot tub). In there was I think the same guy as before and another man. One of them greeted me with “how you doing, speedy?” then the other made the same joke that “you’re going to get a speeding ticket, speeding up and down those lanes like that!”.

I laughed and mentioned that I’ve barely down any swimming before today since high school.

 

All in all though, I am very happy! I have missed exercise, I love swimming even if I’m awful at it, and I have really, really, really missed the endorphins that come with exercise! After the swim I felt like my brain was just being showered in happy chemicals!

Hopefully my experiences remain as positive.

I’ve read a lot of things about letting go of your ego when lifting. I have always thought that isn’t much of an issue for me. I am not competing with anyone, I don’t care if my weights aren’t impressive sounding, and I have no trouble lowering weight to work on form…. right?

Physical therapy is teaching me that is not right though. The truth is, I definitely struggle with my ego with my physical therapy right now.

I can’t do much workout wise to begin with right now, and what I am doing for physical therapy is basically all body weight focusing on form.

What’s been really surprising to me though, is how sore I can get just from these body weight exercises.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was squatting 200lbs, now I’m doing body weight squats according to the PTs guidelines and feeling sore. And I get really sore doing the calf rises how she has me doing them, when I used to feel like I could do bw calf rises all day without feeling much anything from it.

It’s surprising how some minor tweaks in how I do an exercise is making a huge difference in how it feels. Which, of course right now these tweaks are all specifically designed to target my weak spots.

So, I have to work on letting go of my ego, and the mental view I have of myself as someone who lifts heavy weights, and accept that right now I have to rest and focus on the uber basics right now in order to rebalance my body/strength so that I can safely progress from there.

I mentioned that I did a Krav Maga class recently, but I thought maybe I should write a whole post about my first class experience. It was a while ago now, unfortunately it takes me awhile sometimes to get around to writing up blog posts.

So a few weeks back now I did my first trial Krav Maga class. I’ve been wanting to learn Krav Maga for a while but it’s expensive so I hadn’t ever gotten around to actually doing it. So the closest Krav Maga studio to me has trial classes where you can come in and do a free class to see if you want to sign up. So I signed up for a Thursday evening class.

Before the class:

I got off work about 5pm as planned, rushed home because I still needed to dry the clothes for class. Rushed around to make sure I had shoes and water, only to realize that it was still over an hour before I needed to leave even for planning to be there early. So then I just relaxed for a bit, lost track of time, and ended up leaving later than planned in workout clothes with jeans over my workout capris, separate shoes (as required by them), and a water bottle. Put the address in my GPS and headed out.

So I got to the Krav Maga place and was still early for the class. I had signed up for the trial class online so when I walked in and heard “Erin?” at first I just thought it was someone who had seen an “Erin” sign up for the class, it took me a minute to realize the person who said my name was actually Claire, who I had gone to high school with!

After that I got a tour of the building from a staff person, then chatted with Claire a bit. A Krav Maga level 2 class was wrapping up so I watched for a little bit as they did some disarming moves. Honestly from the little I saw I was surprised that was considered level 2 moves, but I only saw the tail end of the class.

Level 1 Class:

Then the level 1 class I signed up for was going to start, and I certainly felt nervous. I set down my stuff in the back of the room, quickly retied my shoes and rushed to get lined up at the start. We all formed a line in front of the instructor, he asked if it was the first time for anyone and I raised my hand. Two other people in the class were there for the second time I guess, but also doing a trial. He asked if anyone had any injuries and I considered if I should mention my issues with my foot but I didn’t want to draw much attention to myself and it’s only really a big problem if I run, so I decided not to mention it. We did some bowing thing to the front then back of the room, then he says to make a circle of the room, and it took me a few moments of seeing what others were doing to realize we were being told to run laps of the room.

Oh.

“Only a problem if I’m running” and what do we start with? Running.

I was clearly not expecting a Krav Maga class to involve running.

I started out at the back of everyone but keeping pace, after a lap or 2 though I started falling behind, I was out of breath and my foot was killing me, but I kept pushing through as much as I could. I was being lapped by several people and definitely feeling embarrassed and out of shape. Then we added various arm movements while running. Then a weird sideways shuffle around the room which felt awkward and I was out of breath and just thinking this is clearly not for me.

After all this we are instructed to find a place around the room and I think, ok, warm up done, now we do krav maga, right?

No.

The downside of writing this so long later is that I don’t remember all of what we did. But there were ab exercises on the floor, jumping to the floor and back up, and then we did some punching at the air. It felt like just another standard fitness class all through this and I’m thinking to myself, just get through this hour long class and be done with it, this is not what I was looking for. I want to learn krav maga, if I wanted just generic fitness classes I could join a random gym closer to me and for cheaper.

Then we do some punching at air, fast paced, so still very aerobic and I’m still out of breath and struggling.

The instructor then makes a comment about how this isn’t some fitness kickboxing class, this is Krav Maga, punch like you mean to hit something. And I’m thinking in my head “is this really any different than a generic fitness kickboxing class?”

Seems though that this was just the warm up, though it was a long warm up in my opinion. I’m not used to a warm-up taking up a full quarter or longer of the class/session time.

Then we were instructed to get a pad from the corner and pair up. A woman comes to me and asks if I want to pair up with her. I was thankful she came and asked me because the “find a partner” stuff always makes me feel uncomfortable. I was feeling awkward and out of place already and asking to partner with someone for fitness endeavors brings back too many memories of being the fat kid in gym class who was always picked last.

I got the feeling that she was probably also an instructor though just taking the class at that moment. We started off then with taking turns one person holding the pad and the other punching it. I finally felt like I was doing what I came there for but was still out of breath and feeling very out of shape because of it. But it was getting fun for me finally, and the woman I was partnered with was incredibly nice and helpful. She kept giving me pointers on everything, showing me how to hold the pad for her to punch, and offering encouragement. After punches we took a water break and then did some kicks. Again, the woman I was partnered with was being helpful showing me what to do and giving advice. The instructor came around and corrected my stance for the kicks.

After kicks we put away the pads and in pairs practiced breaking away from someone trying to choke us from behind. I kept having to be told to be rougher when I was the one doing the pushing/choking from behind. I struggled a bit since my only time doing things like this was a required training at work on safety and getting out of chokes, what to do if someone tries to attack us, et cetera. But being a required work training, even faking everything I was apparently the most rough person in the class. Was hard for me to adjust to a situation were people weren’t afraid of being rough and wanted to practice with more realistic force.

We ended after this lining up again and doing the bows.

After class:

I hung around after chatting with Claire and waiting because by then I had had fun and decided I was going to sign up. I sat down with the two other new folks to go over the membership options. They were a lot less sure and had more questions for me whereas by then I was just like “let’s do this!” This is when I started coughing. At the start just a bit here and there, by the end of the meeting and sign up  a lot more.

I ended up signing up for the krav only option, with a year long commitment. They also do some other classes like yoga, weight lifting, and so on, but you have to have a more expensive membership to do those. I was tempted, mainly for the weight class as it would give me a change to lift with someone in person who could check and correct my form. But it was already super expensive and already going to be a struggle to fit just krav maga classes into my schedule, so I just did that.

Of course I’ve mentioned the rest in other posts- by the time I got home my coughing was pretty severe and kept getting worse all night. By morning I was still coughing constantly and ended up calling in sick to work because I couldn’t imagine trying to talk to people when I was hacking constantly like that. Not only was I coughing though, but after a coughing spasm there would be a few seconds were I felt like I couldn’t start breathing again. Coughing kept up though it got marginally better over the weekend and so I went into the doctor and was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and prescribed an inhaler.

Oh, and after I got home Claire posted a video on facebook:

At first I hated how I looked, but after a bit I liked it.

I just got back now from my second class. Went fairly similar to before. People are nice and helpful. Had a bit of a panic attack for fear of not being able to breath after. And despite the inhaler I am coughing again :-\

Still, it is fun.

My “guns” may not look impressive, but I was feeling strong regardless 🙂

I really like blogging about my runs after I do them. Strangely though, while I like lifting more, I don’t talk about it as much here. For some reason I just rarely have much to say about my lifting workouts.

So that said: bench workout today! got up to 90lbsx5. which felt good. Did some assistance stuff too. … see, normally this is all I would have to say.

The only thing I have to say about lifting today though is that I’ve been thinking about resting. I know that I should not compare myself to others and so on, but I do sometimes. On fitocracy I see other people do these crazy long lifting workouts- well, they seem crazy long to me at least. And yet, even the shortest lifting workout for me takes forever to get through. 2 squat workouts ago all I did was the basic part of my program with no assistance lifting. Which meant I did a brief warmup (I’ve been doing jumping jacks and body weight squats), then 3 sets of warm up weight barbell squats, then 3 working sets (5 resp, 3 reps, and 1 rep respectively)… well, I take that back, I actually did 4 because the 200lbsx1 felt good enough that I decided to do it twice, then just a short bit of stretching and foam rolling. Still that took me somewhere around 45 minutes. Changing plates and resting between sets adds up (and it actually depends how I’m feeling whether I decided to count the changing plate time as part of my rest time or not).

I also sometimes get antsy during rests between sets because I just want to lift. I also know I could fit in more if I supersetted stuff instead of literally just resting between sets. But that also means I would be getting less actual rest.

And the thing is, I can tell I lift better when I get enough rest between sets though. If I don’t rest long enough I will end up failing sets, which will result in less strength, which will result in not lifting as heavy over time. Which is not my goal.

I’ve been asking myself- do I just rest longer than other people? Though between sets my rests are 90 seconds to 5 minutes depending how heavy/hard the last lift was, which from what I’ve read is not unusual for heavy lifting.

Basically I find myself mentally caught between what I know helps me meet my goals, and envy over other people who manage these really long looking workouts that would probably take all day.

Of course I can never help but wonder how much my health may play a role in this. Dealing with fatigue issues as I do, it seems entirely plausible to me that rest between sets is more important for me, or that I do need to err on the higher side of rest times because of that. I can’t say for certain if that is a factor, but it seems very possible to me that it would be.

So I just have to work though to remember that whatever the reason, I know rest for me is important for lifting heavier.

After my bench workout today I also did sprints. Not immediately after. I changed clothes because my lifting clothes aren’t good running clothes, drank a protein shake, put on music and danced around my living room while my phone charged up a bit more. Then I went out to do sprints. It was raining when I went out but not heavily and I thought “I’m not going to let a little rain stop me!”

So- holy shit it has been over a month since I’ve done sprints!

I could feel it, I was obviously not used to it. I did the same intervals I’ve been doing- 5 minute warm up walk, (30 second sprint, 2 minutes walking) 6 times, 5 minutes cool down walk.

So first run interval, I went all the fuck out! And hurt my shoulder, apparently I was moving my arms too much. And remembered that I normally don’t go so all out on the first sprint so I still have energy for the others.

Rain was getting heavier and I ended up with rain water in my eye and OH GOD IT BURNED!!!!! The fuck is the rain? Normally I would have blamed it on makeup or something but I was wearing none. Maybe sweat but I get sweat dripping in my eyes during workouts all the time, my sweat does not burn my eyes.

Second sprint was slower but still trying to give it my all.

Third sprint I was exhausted.

Rain was still getting heavier.

Fourth sprint I felt dead. Just trying to walk after  was difficult. Also took off my glasses since they were no longer serving any purpose in that rain (though I hate running without them because I cannot see well and it makes me nervous because I easily would not be able to see a dip, hole, or bump in the sidewalk.)

Fifth sprint was quite slow, but I was so exhausted. By the end of that I was really struggling to keep down my protein shake.

Sixth sprint was just a touch faster than the 5th but still slow. Then I got to walk the rest of the way home.

Nothing to exciting, but yay sprints! Though I need to get around to setting up a runkeeper workout with distance based intervals instead of time, because I do prefer to measure in distance.

Oh, and my plan for tomorrow is to go to a local running group, which I am a bit nervous about. Hope it goes well! I will definitely post about how it goes (crossing my fingers something doesn’t cause me to miss it). I get really anxious about things like this. Especially combining two thing that make me feel anxious-meeting up with a group of strangers, and working out around/with other people.

(Random thoughts on my training post.)

So onto cycle 2 my weights still seems so much lower than I feel they should be. So trying to remind myself that they will keep getting heavier each cycle, so I’m moving in the right direction. And it means I can focus more on form.

Still feel frustrated though when I know I could be going heavier on certain lifts though.

Still no fractional plates though, so I have to round everything to the closest 5lbs. It’s really only OHP that this is a big issue with since it’s my lightest lift.

Just finished my deload week. Which ended up being basically a whole week off while I worked on finals and then one workout with all 4 lifts at deload weights.

One thing that stands out to me in training is how much lifting makes me aware of my eating and my need to eat better- and eat. The day I did my deload workout all I’d eaten all day were some veggies and wine at a holiday lunch get together. Not a lot of food period, and no protein. And I could feel it, because even lifting light weights was a struggle.

I don’t know how other folks can lift fasted (other than the obvious different people are different). I actually am working on going back to intermittent fasting- I tried it on purpose years ago, then decided it wasn’t for me, then last year realized I was essentially doing it without trying just due to my schedule. I’m not a morning person so on days I worked and had class most of the time I would wake up (so there is however many hours of not eating while I was sleeping), go to work with no breakfast, be busy at work and don’t eat, then go straight to class, then come home and eat dinner- by which time it would typically be 24 hrs or longer since I’d eaten last. After I left my job it stopped being just natural for my routine though. I’m also getting to were I’m extremely hungry if I go awhile without eating which bugs me. Aside from benefits of fasting for short periods, I just like not feeling hungry if I go without eating for a bit because I’m busy! So I’m starting with shorter fasts for now, and going to work my back to doing fasts that are 24 hrs or longer again. But I need to plan fasts around lifting days. I can do other stuff fasted- I suck too much at running to know if it changes my performance but I can run fasted, but lifting? I can feel such a massive difference when I don’t eat, don’t eat enough, or eat the wrong stuff (high carb, no protein).

Anyways, hope this cycle goes well. Looking forward to the weights getting much more challenging than they are right now.

So I had been doing or trying to do stronglifts. Decided today that I need to change to a different program.

After squats I’m exhausted and I’m not making progress on anything else and I know part of that is because by the time I get into anything else I’m totally exhausted from my squats.

Photo between sets of my workout this morning.

So I think I am going to try switching over to 5/3/1 I’ve looked into this before and I think right now it would be good as it focuses on 1 major lift per workout and then whatever assistance work one wants to add as well, but never focusing on more than 1 major lift at a time. I also hope this will give me the ability to focus more effectively on upper body since it will give me days when I am doing just a main upper body lift (Bench or OHP) combined with upper body assistance work. Which overall then would mean doing even more upper body work as well, which I think I need.

Anyways, I don’t really talk tons about my training here but thought I’d throw a post out about this planned change.

So I mentioned before that I am following stronglifts 5×5.

I’m fairly early on but so far love it and would definitely recommend it. So far I am liking having specific guidelines for increasing weights. And just used the app for the first time and like the timer for rests between sets.

This post really though is mainly for me, I realized I should keep track of my starting point so I can see better how far I’ve come with it later on, and figured I would post here to help me keep track and let others in on my eventual progress as well!

Starting weights:

Squat: 100lbs

Bench Press: 75lbs

Barbell Row: 95lbs

Overhead Press: 55lbs

Deadlift: 180lbs