nutrition and hydration. So this is what happened. I got laid off earlier this week, and once again I kind of fell into panic mode, eating less food and probably not drinking enough water. Since I usually donate plasma when things get a little sketchy and the money might be running slow, I went and donated as well on Tuesday. If you don’t know what donating plasma is like, you basically get your body drained for 30 bucks and sent on your way. It can be quite lucrative if you maintain a good schedule, but leading a physically active life can put a damper on doing it too often. Either way, my calves were pretty bad for a couple days, for I skipped out on doing anything on Thursday and just simply drank water like there was no tomorrow. I should have known better. I should have been taking care of myself a little better this week. And the moment my calves went bad was a moment I didn’t expect. Here I was on Wednesday, doing a whole bunch of leg exercises, and then Jon puts me through the ringer by having me do some back squats. I want to get better at them in regards to weight, but that day Jon had me work the bar for speed rather than weight. I pounded out 65 total reps at various weights, feeling more than confident. And then I had to do some work on the monkey bars, and that is when the calf seized up. I managed to get through the rest of the workout, but I knew my failures had nothing to do with the gym and all to do with my personal life.
Personally, I’m glad I didn’t start the two-a-day idea I was hoping to implement this week, reserving it for next week instead. Its not just the fact you are hurting, the psychological blow that is placed on you is quite unbelievable. Take my last Ragnar for instance. I got so flummoxed about my last run of the day that I nearly psyched myself out from the worry and the preparation. And then I did, killing my run in good time and in the heat of the day no less. I was pretty scared to do anything on Thursday, and I finally opted to do a run on Friday evening. I hadn’t run all week, and so doing 5.15 miles wasn’t too bad on my body. But the best news was the fact I didn’t cramp up again, even though the cloud cover I initially started running in turned into the bright of day and the wind was fast and hard enough to make my muscles work harder than normal. Sheer will got me through. But probably just as important as the desire to run that distance is the fact that I didn’t try to kill myself for a perceived shortcoming.
Instead of worrying, I sought to drink more water and eat better food. Sure, I wasn’t munching on any PHOD bars or such, but I did eat some good beans and ate a healthy combination of quinoa and rice. Come to think of it, I wish I did have some PHOD bars this week. I’m kind of hunkering for some Pro-Nuts! Anyway, I also got plenty of sleep and rest over the course of Thursday and Friday night, which is pretty easy when your main goal over the course of a few days is sitting at your desk, looking for a new job and such. But sleep was the biggest help, for I was actually going to bed early and the weather was fairly cool, meaning my patterns were not disrupted for once! I will admit to you all, sometimes the recovery part is not something I excel in. I stay up too late playing online games, or I stay up to late watching old movies in my massive DVD collection or I just work out to often and too much. If I hadn’t been slacking off so often on the sleep, I might even have some better gains. But let me tell you one thing, even though you are working out everyday and seeing some massive changes, the gains can happen just as well when you get the rest you need!
Take for example my hang cleans. Last week I could barely get under 185 pounds. This week, even after doing a whole bunch of reps and various exercises, I nearly got it up to my shoulder. If I had been able to get my elbows up, I might have actually complete the movement. But alas, I was tired. I did manage to break my old standard by doing 175 pounds, but I probably tired myself out by doing that weight. In fact, my hang cleaning is starting to become second nature, for the hope of breaking 200 pounds by the end of the summer might be a real possibility. It has certainly helped my dead lifting out, for I had no problem doing a little circuit work on it, plowing through eight reps at 205, six at 255, four at 275 and then four more at 295. Having experienced the fruits of my labor in the gym on Saturday, I kind of took note just how important resting is. Now I have always been something of an idiot when it comes to the recovery phase, mainly because of my inane desire to lose weight and become a little more aesthetic. My goals are not necessarily the problem, but my habits could definitely be a little bit of a short coming in the recovery side of training. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm
This was probably the best article I saw on the subject, and I got to tell you, I rarely if ever follow any of these ideas. Fortunately, I have Jon and the good people at Parsons Training to help me manage my workouts, so not focusing on one area too much is not a problem for me as well as managing good stretching and cool down techniques. Honestly, without them, I would be doing curls to infinity and doing crazy workouts that are perfect for Gym Fails. Without fail, my ultimate obstacle is sleep and rest, and I have to start doing more of that. You see, when you rest and let your body calm down from the hell you put it through in the gym, you are giving yourself time to actually repair the damage. Tiny tears in your muscle are being caused due to the workout, and as your body fixes these tears, your muscle becomes bigger and stronger due to the space being filled. If you keep tearing the hell out of your muscles and not let them recover, you are doing yourself a disservice by creating muscle fatigue and killing your potential. Though I will say, my arm definition is getting a little better, for my triceps are actually starting come a little!
Anyway, back to the gym! So its quite obvious that I was making some good gains, for I blasted through deadlifts without a problem, beat my personal best in the hang clean and busted hump consistently for a good 75 minutes. I wasn’t playing with my phone or flirting with the women that didn’t want my unwanted advances or even trying to work on my selfie game. Even with all of this happening and me looking good all the while, Jon was still getting on my case about my hang cleans. First and foremost, I pretty much jumped right into it, doing very little preparation and not even doing any practice runs with the bar or some low weight like 75-95 pounds. I just went right into it! Since I also had to do a squat for this movement as well, I was instantly burning up calories as I jumped in weight from 135 all the way to 175. But like any good trainer or teacher, Jon kept pointing out my folly in the lack of prep. “You could have hit that 185 if you had warmed up properly.” Now I will admit, I get pretty gung-ho when it comes to the Olympic lifts. It’s “man” contest for me that I am trying to win, so I often times skip out on the essential and important stuff that is necessary. But I’m actually kind of hindering my own performance. http://www.fitnesshealth101.com/fitness/weight-training/beginners/warm-up
The worst thing you can do for yourself going into a workout is going in cold. Perhaps this is a the reason why my right deltoid has been causing so many troubles for me over the last couple weeks, for the soreness might have been a result of me not warming my body up enough and then going straight into some exercise. Now I know some of you don’t want to hear this, but doing a little work on the treadmill or doing some extremely light warm-up weights can be very good for you. First of all, you body is moving, which means you have now increased your blood flow and created a chain reaction within your system. When this happens, your muscle become much more elastic, giving you a much better range of emotion and giving you a better chance at performing. Much like a furnace, as your body starts burning up the glycogen stores, your energy starts building up and allows you to power through movements at a much higher speed. What happens when you don’t warm up properly? Since you’re body is stationary as opposed to “rolling downhill,” you will expend much more energy to restart the engine. Avoiding injury is extremely important, because how else are you going to be work hard in the gym if you keep messing your body up? Food for thought indeed. And then there is the issue with the heart. As you warm up, your blood vessels will dilate and allow you to pump blood much more efficiently. Rather than shocking the heart with say 20 deadlifts, doing some light cardio to get the body moving will help in your performance and recovery time between sets.
There are plenty of other good reasons to warm up, like getting the body temperature up to induce sweating and allowing your body to increase the secretion of hormones to aid in your workout. I guess I am going to have to stop being so lazy about the warm-up faze in my workout. I mean, I started doing al the exercises the various trainers at Parsons showed met fix up my foot and my running gait, and it seems to be working just fine. Either way, hubris is most likely the reason why I never warm-up much anymore. When you think you are as awesome as I am, it can get to your head. Let’s face it, yesterday I found out I have lost some 16.5 inches off my stomach since the day I started at Parsons Training. That’s basically the circumference of one of the bumper plates I lift. That’s about the size of a pizza I used to shovel down! Heck, in the last few months, despite dropping only seven pounds, I have dropped about three inches. Granted, another Parsons client kind of one-upped me by losing four inches over the course of a year (way to go Krista!), it still proves that even though you don’t feel like your are making progress, you actually are!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.