Monday, 16 July 2012

Today's training

Today was a good day for training. I've been suffering a rotator cuff injury which - when I finally realised I needed to rest properly and do no upper body weights at all - has started to recover. As a result of focusing solely on cardio for the past month, my cardio has perked up a bit - my love of running is having a resurgence, albeit just on the treadmill at the moment. I'm hoping I'll get back to running outside again soon.

So, I thought I'd share what I did today:

Warm up - a race on the Trixter Xdream bike

Treadmill -  intervals - walking at 4mph for 30 seconds, running at 5.8mph for 1 min. I started at a 3% incline, and added half a percent after every run. I made it all the way to 7% - although as it got higher, I dropped down to running for 30 seconds too.

Weights - rehab weights for shoulder
Cable chest press @ 6.25kg per arm x 12/10/8
Inverted row x 5/5/5/4
Reverse fly @ 4kg per arm x 10/10/10
Dumbbell bench press @ 6kg per arm x 10/10 (as a rehab technique, when my arms are straight up I allow my shoulders to lie flat against the bench, using the weights in my hand to push my shoulders down - and I do the exercise much slower than in the video, to make sure I'm not putting any excess strain on my shoulder)
Walking lunges @ 6kg per arm x 8/8/8
Leg press @ 75kg x 10/8/8
Lateral raise @ 4kg per arm x 10/8 (similar to this video, but starting with my palms facing my thighs, which activates the rhomboids and encourages the deltoids[shoulder] to relax)
Bicep curls @ 6kg x 10/10/8
Tricep pulldown @ 8.75kg x 8/8/8

All of these exercises were only performed until I could feel my shoulder pulling/hurting. This was only my second session lifting weights that were more than 2kg, and it felt good. I'm looking forward to slowly increasing the amount of weight I can lift... but when I say slowly, I mean r e a l l y slowly - I don't plan on getting injured again any time soon.

So, that was my training, what does yours look like?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Updated 'About Me' Page

As I tweeted about this blog, I ought to write a post. I'm cheating slightly, because I'm just going to point you towards my 'About Me' page, located somewhere on that left hand column (unless I change the layout of this blog in the months to come, in which case it could be anywhere!)

Please say hello and tell me a bit about yourself!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

How to push yourself at the gym

If you're following me - and I know there are five of you out there - you've probably forgotten you follow me, because it's been a while since I posted. I've averaged about one post every 7 or 8 weeks of this year so far, but my plan is to at least try for a weekly post.

As I was pushing myself on the treadmill today ( I'd already done 10 minutes cycling, and followed the run with 20 minutes on the cross-trainer) I looked around and noticed how other people weren't sweating buckets and glowing bright red. These people come to the gym - mostly women, I'm sad to say - potter about on a couple of machines, maybe lift a dumbbell or two, and leave. Some of them leave with their make-up fully in tact - whereas I do not, ever ever wear make-up to the gym because it wouldn't last two minutes.

These ladies, who look lovely and are able to catch up on their reading while cycling, will find that in a couple of months they will still have the same levels of fitness as they did today. They will still weigh the same, even though they're convinced they should be losing tens of pounds because they come to the gym three times a week. After a while, they'll become disillusioned and give up.

I don't want you to give up. I want everyone who walks into a gym for the first time to achieve their goals eventually. I want them to enjoy working out, to even grow to love it like I do!

So, what's the right way to push yourself?

  • Workout at the right heart rate -we use the Karvonen formula, which allows for a higher working heart rate zone. This link is interesting, because it compares different formulas.
  • If you haven't increased the levels on your cardio machines for a few weeks, just increase it by one. You can always lower it back down half-way through the programme, but you should find that after a couple of sessions you won't need to.
  • Increase the weight you lift by the smallest increment available and see if you can complete the same number of reps. If you can, do the same after another couple of sessions until you have to reduce your reps a little bit.
  • Do not be afraid to sweat.
  • Don't worry whether other people are watching you. They'll be stares of admiration.
  • At our gym, we offer regular reviews of your programme. I know some gyms don't offer that service or charge - if that's the case, get an instructor to check your technique periodically. It's very easy to fall into bad practices.
  • Use the mirrors to check your technique - that's what they are there for.
These are just a few ways to make sure you are always pushing yourself. Although it might not be what you want to hear, working out should never be easy. But, as your fitness, endurance and strength increase, you'll be able to handle it better!