Its now week 9 of my fitness project and right in the critical time at which it will either fade to nothing or it will continue and i will make progress. This is the stage at which a lot of people just give up because they don’t see or feel the results. I am a genuine 6kg (maybe more) lighter and 2 inches less around the waist already so that is measurable progress but i do feel pretty beat-up some of the time. I have been thinking about the ‘work’ of fitness quite a bit recently because to keep it going myself it needs to show a result and it needs to be not tedious and not take up vast amounts of my time in the way that it did when i tried the same thing a few years back. With those things in mind i am trying to formulate a work-out strategy that is effective, that doesn’t take too much time and doesn’t just feel like a grind : for sure some of the work will be heavy but it shouldn’t also be boring. What i don’t want to end up as is what i see every morning as i walk to work past the gym : i can see in through the window and just about every morning there is the same bloke sitting on the same exercise bike and listlessly turning the hamster-wheel while looking out of the window. I just want to drag him out of there and tell him to just go for a walk in the woods and enjoy the day but hey ! its his problem.
Now that i am getting familiar with workouts again i can start to plan things so that i get an effective balance of exercise done and plan individual days exercise such that they are quickly done but that hit the spot. The way to do that seems to be (for me) to plan a series of daily workouts of which i can pick one , set up the kit the day before and then go into the workout knowing what i am going to do that day and then not make the mistake of doing the same thing on consecutive days. In a way its similar to the way serious weight trainers think about not doing one ‘leg day’ followed by another leg day but giving ‘legs’ a chance to recover and emphasising another muscle group or metabolic pathway the next day.
A few days ago i accidentally found one of my old training journals in which i used to record every weight, every set and every exercise day after day. Even then i had started to think about my workouts as having different characteristics on different days even during a time when it became increasingly hard to get my workouts done. It should be easier now because with only being at work 2 days a week i should be able to slot the workouts in anywhere although it doesn’t feel that way. I did learn useful and essential things back then : for example it was when i first learnt how to work with free weights and design a basic training plan. I did learn a lot about training metabolic pathways although i note that i did a lot of work at the 2 ends : the ATP cycle and the aerobic cycle and not enough (if any) in the glycolytic (lactate) pathway. Today i am beginning to lay out the plans for daily workouts in which i hit at least one of the metabolic pathways and hit specific muscle groups.
The ‘WOD’ then, or work-out of the day and yes its an idea from Crossfit which i know should have a small r in a little circle next to it to signify something important but i don’t know how to do that on my antediluvian Mac : which i think should have a tiny ‘tm’ next to it !.
As i understand it the WOD idea as it is done at crossfit gyms is that everyone should have a go at a prescribed workout on that day and where the workout changes daily .I can’t say for sure because i have only visited a crossfit gym once, don’t have one near me and have never trained in that style. However what i take from the idea do is to try to plan and design my own work-out of the day and i try to do that at least the day before so that i have a clear idea of what i am going to try and achieve with my own workouts. The main principle for me though is that i am trying to keep my fitness training right at the forefront of my thinking so that i am more likely to 1. do something and 2. feel guilty if the outcome for that day is a big fat nothing. Its essentially my method of motivation by not letting myself NOT think about working out.
As i remember it Crossfit used to give their workouts a name : i seem to remember that ‘fran’ was one although today when i went on the site the WOD just had a number and 170718 just doesn’t ring the same bells !. Back in the day i also used to give my workouts names : they weren’t as nice or PC as ‘fran’ though !.
My problem area right now is the early morning workout at the start of a work day, so far it just hasn’t happened in the way i wanted to and my excuses have been everything from sheer tiredness and lack of drive at that time of day. Certainly lack of discipline and oddly the feeling that more than anything i just need to get to work. What i have achieved as a compromise is experimenting with exercise at work : on a few days last week i set a goal of trying to do 100 press-ups during the day and on the last day got 118 so i didn’t totally lose the whole day. On the same day i also messed about with some planks and some sumo squats. These by the way come from an excellent book by Mark Lauren “You are your own gym”. Its possible that his body weight exercises are the way forward with the early morning workout particularly as they need zero or very little kit and i can do them anywhere….staff might be a bit surprised when i ‘get down and give me 10’ but hey !.
Right now that seems to be the way to go : work on solving one small problem at a time rather than doing everything one day and then nada for a couple. Author and ex SF trainer Mark Lauren does write convincingly about body weight vs gym weighted exercise and i am beginning to see his point.