Sunday 30 September 2018

Resistance Training - 3-Month Check-In

   It's amazing how the last week or two of a 3-month plan can fill you with such energy. The end was in sight and I wanted to reap as much as I could while it lasted, so I pulled out all the stops. This past week I increased all reps and sets and weights wherever I could - 4 sets became 5; 12 reps became 15; 17.5kg became 20kg. I am so ridiculously proud of myself. And sore. I was focused, I was determined, and I felt every single rep. I hit muscle fatigue, I shredded my glutes and hamstrings to pieces, my foam roller became my new best friend, and I had a bit of fun with new proteins - flavours and types. I'd previously decided to try collagen, hearing it was also very good for bones and joints, but after buying a bag and then doing a little more research, it looks like I jumped the gun. Collagen is great for bones, cartelidge, joints and such, but it's not a whole protein (it contains only 8 of the 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot make, and it isn't balanced, with much higher amounts of three in particular: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) and isn't so reliable for muscle repair. But rather than get rid, I've returned to using whey but I add half a scoop of collagen to it, too, which ultimately frees up more of the proteins in the whey to act on my muscles rather than trying to repair muscle, bone and joints at the same time. Also, rocky road whey.

   But throughout my first training plan, and towards the end of the second month of this training plan, I was fatigued. I knew I could do better, but with every week that passed I seemed to slip further and further from my PBs, and it really had a bad effect on me. I was still determined and focused, but I wasn't enthusiastic as much, and it got worse every week. But I knew I was eating enough, so I had a look at what I was eating, and I realised: I'm low in iron. Women, it seems, find it quite easy to become iron-deficient, especially at certain times of the month, and, especially, if they work out and lift weights in particular. Iron is responsible for lots of things including blood quality and circulation, and low iron leads to fatigue, moodiness, dizziness, headaches - all of which I've been getting with increasing frequency over the past two months. So, about three weeks ago, I started taking an iron supplement, and adding red meat into my diet and ensuring wherever I can that it is coupled with vitamin C and not with calcium - so no beef lasagne, but beef with broccoli, cauliflower or sweet potatoes is a winner. Calcium inhibits the absorption of iron, as does tea, coffee, cocoa and eggs, whereas vitamin C increases it, so I've been paying particular attention to when I take it. And I've genuinely been feeling better, so I think I've hit the nail on the head. Only time will tell, though. Because on Monday, I'm starting Core de Force, and that means fatigue will come more easily.

   Yes, I'm returning to Core de Force. But not the DVD. There's nothing at all wrong with it, but in these 1-month training breaks, where I focus on cardio and body weight resistance instead, it's nice to ensure there's something new to do. I've far from exhausted the DVD, even though I used it all the way through June and have supplemented my training from July-September with it, but when I found out that there were a few other videos on BeachBody On Demand, I had to have a go. So I have. It's not cheap, but I got the DVD for £15 on Ebay and I know it's going to be worth the money.
   I'm excited, and I've bought an agility ladder. It was last-minute so I hope I get it in time, but I can make do the first week without it if need be.

   I'll start a new 3-month training plan in November, and I have 5 weeks to put it together. It will follow the same format as this one: lower body, total body, lower body, HIIT, and probably with a core-strengthening sequence on one of my down-days and an active recovery on another. We're moving swiftly into the autumn now, so warm evenings and afternoons are no longer an excuse for active recovery/rest days to be so sedentary.


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