First off – let is be said that this weekend was absolutely incredible – it was my year’s half-way ball, celebrating 2.5 years of medicine. The parts I remember were brilliant and the parts I don’t were, according to photographs, quite fantastic also. I’ve never played “baggo” before but will play it every day for the rest of my life, perhaps not always with wine.

I made certain I’d reach the gym today…if you make a plan, you should stick to it. However, there were numerous hurdles in the way:

– Sleep deprivation
– Hunger
– Dehydration
– 2 day hangover
– Knee injury (I reckon the Ceilidh did me no favours)

I caught some Z’s earlier today to catch up on a sleepless weekend, but I’ve heard too many times before that you can’t “catch up” on sleep and that you just need to stick to your 7/8 hours. Such bollocks – without that 3 hour sleep I reckon my heart would’ve stopped beating half way through my dinner.

Hunger, a tender issue in this household as Ross and I are constantly hungry. We had nothing left in the flat after a weekend away and no time yet to shop and so had a pasta/bacon/cheese/eggs mixed that tasted incredible. Perhaps “hunger” isn’t quite the word to use, but “diet” would be more relevant. Diet in itself and the many pitfalls of today (skipping breakfast, too much synthetic crap, too little fruit/veg) will be a blog post of its own in the next few weeks. A fan of super high protein diets? Think again, but think later.

Dehydration wouldn’t have been an issue had I not got carried away blogging before the gym and had I not left for the gym without a bottle in my bag. There are an infinite amount of calculators online that will give you exactly how much water you need in a day, but if in doubt – 3 litres will see you through MOST days near optimally.

2 day hangover – do I even need to explain this? It’s more of a cover really, encompassing all of the aforementioned factors. Plus a huge dent to motivation and confidence!

My left knee is giving me trouble and I have absolutely no idea how it has come around. A quick brainstorm today came up with bursitis but I’m yet to think it through. Ah well, time to blast some Diclofenac I have left over from an old shoulder injury – Rowers, watch out for muscle imbalances, you are a biomechanical nightmare and need to get strangers (qualified or not) to rub your muscles down often as possible. Hell, that goes for any athlete.

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Regardless, we completed today’s session and were actually impressed with ourselves all things considered. The knee, despite a 120kg 5 rep set of back squats, did not bother me one bit, I didn’t even feel it. Though I was being a bit of a hard ass on myself, felt I owed it after the weekend’s madness.

The session was a straight 5×5 (5 reps, 5 sets) over back squats, bench press and bent over rows.

The squats were quite challenging, especially in the tail end of the last set. I feel they are quite on the mark – not absolutely exhaustive and not too easy.

However, the bench press and bent over rows were much less challenging.
With regards to the bench, this didn’t bother me at all. It’s my weakest lift and I feel a low, very gradual increase is what will benefit me the most as I feel there are still improvements in my technique to come. Starting low, but not too low, will give me that time to improve.

With bent over rows, it bothers me. It’s my best lift (relatively) and I reckon I perhaps was too much of a technique nazi went testing its max.

However, considering the way the programme works, with gradual small increases with each session, I’m maintaining the scores the way they are. In the end, strength training isn’t about displaying strength, it’s about building it – wisely.

Strength training is a varied thing, it is not rigid and things will change from day to day…but I want to see what this programme is made of. I’m sticking it out.

————

Ross whined like a little bitch about not being tired enough at the end of the session (sly compliment). This is due to his years in endurance based exercise and of course the martial arts mind-set. Not being hugely out of breath following a strength building session is pretty standard – it is not a cardiovascularly exhausting, so when you first begin strength training, do not freak out because you’re not dying at the end. There are of course variants of this (super-sets, HIIT) but these are not as effective at building pure strength as they are strength/power endurance. That said, as we’re doing all things strength related, this will be a part of our training at some stage in the future.

————

To summarize, day 1 could have been a lot better, but it could have been a lot worse. Over time, I’ll post details about adequate diet, flexibility, technique and motivation – but I’m saving training days for posting about what happened that day only. The fact we made it to the gym despite every possible issue occurring is a testament to our dedication.

If you get one take home message from our session today, let is be this:

We were exhausted, unmotivated, aching, unprepared and out of whack – but we made GAINS regardless and will be better at moving heavy objects tomorrow because we made the EFFORT. Never lose sight of the objective, the smallest gain is a gain regardless.

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