I decided to have a good solid workout today… and then it was only after I had worn myself out completely that I remembered that it was almost the end of the month, and that I had planned Tests and measurements between today and Thursday. Oh well, so much for sticking to my workout plan. The trouble is, that I keep seeing things that I would like to try out or do, and I keep getting the urge to work out. So much so that I feel kind of out of sorts on the days that I really should be resting.
One of the things that I have realised though, is that my plan was a little naive. Where I had tried to space certain things out, I had either not allowed for enough of a workout on some days that the rest days seemed a little silly, while on other days I had a hard workout which made me feel like I needed a rest day out of my schedule. Half way through, I decided to seriously examine what CrossFit was about, and realised that my planned pattern of workout days and rests are in keeping with the CrossFit way of doing things, but the majority of the workouts didn’t really provide me with the stimulus required to get the most out of this pattern of workouts, and that a more dedicated HIIT approach with extra flexibility exercises outside of the schedule might have served me better.
The plan hasn’t been a total write off however. I’ve been able to use it to learn a lot about what makes a poorly designed and poorly executed plan, and I can fine tune it from here to get more out of the idea. On the other hand, I could take a leaf out of the CrossFit book and simply follow a HIITx3 + Rest pattern, and try to avoid doing the same workouts. I can still schedule in days for testing and measuring, using those days to get in workouts that are the tests themselves, and using a few benchmark workouts to help me gauge my fitness improvement.
I’ve often said that it is OK to encounter failure in your journey, and better to accept the failures in order to learn from them and to improve overall. In my own case, I feel a sense of achievement from this because not only have I learned from my failure, I also live by the example that I try to teach to others. These are things that I can personally take pride in and use to encourage myself to achieve even greater things on my journey.
So today I decided to do a fixed number of reps for 4 different exercises. This is relatively new ground for me because I usually prefer to work to time and intensity rather than counting the reps, and I guess I am still digesting all of the CrossFit stuff that I had been looking into, and so I guess that really influenced my choice of workout for today. So the workout was basically the following:
- 200 Rows
- 100 Squats
- 50 Push-ups
- 100 Reverse Flys with a side stand
(50 per arm)
I don’t have a rowing machine, so I used my heaviest resistance band and did a full row in a sitting position. While it doesn’t work the legs the way a rowing machine would, the upper body, arms and core are all still fully engaged. I also used a lighter resistance band for the reverse fly.
To ensure I did not overwork muscle groups by using them continuously, I broke the workout down into 5 sets so that the exercises were alternated and would give certain muscle groups a rest. I did however complete the exercise without stopping for a rest between sets, worked slow enough to ensure I maintained form, yet quickly enough to work to the maximum intensity that I am capable of. The workout took me 15 minutes and 24 seconds to complete, and left me feeling sweaty and completely wasted. You know that feeling when everything including your hair is hurting?
As I write this post, I am making my way methodically through a plate full of fish and mixed vegetables which is full of colour and protein and in keeping with my Paleo leanings. And of course I’ve been standing by my own advice with regards to post workout rehydration, making my way through an extra 600ml of water that I won’t count towards my minimum daily requirement. Now that I am a little rested from my workout, I’ll go through a process of stretching those muscles that I have worked the hardest, which is mostly my quads and shoulders, and I’ll be sure to work on my Psoas and Hamstrings which have always been very tight and where all of my recurrent injury problems have come from in the past.
Post workout thoughts
My shoulders now feel like an elephant has been trampling on them, and yet I know that this is the good soreness, and not the bad one that means I need a surgeon! While I thought that the workout had totalled my shoulders, I’m now feeling a delayed reaction from my legs and belly, so I KNOW that I’ve worked everything really hard. So while I’ll need to wait a couple of days before do my fitness tests, I know that the muscle ache will pass quickly, and that I’ll be ready and able to do my testing.
I am very pleased to have avoided any sort of injury over the course of the last month. I have worked my body harder than I can ever remember, and yet I have not been forced to skip workouts or avoid movement as I used to whenever I had tried to do regular exercise in the past. This is a huge accomplishment for me which shows that I have really learned a lot over the last few months about how better to work my body efficiently and more importantly to work it safely. Having effectively cured myself of chronic back pain, I am able to recover much more quickly from strenuous exercise, and by sticking to my post workout recovery regimen I am able to do a workout daily that would have left me resting for a week in the days when I was an injury-prone noob. Every little win that I have had over the past few months has made it easier for me to build momentum with my journey, and every failure has been less of a setback and more of an encouragement to keep learning and trying harder. So much so, that today I feel as if the momentum continues to build and so to does my health and fitness.
I’ll be taking photos in a couple of days to add to my progress page, and I expect to log improvements to all of my measurements and tests. Truth be told, I take girth and skin-fold measurements weekly, and the numbers have been showing me that my progress has been quite steady. I won’t spill the beans early – even though I’m tempted to – because I’d rather analyse the results all together, but I’m really excited about sharing the results with you in a couple of days time.