Monday 4 February 2019

3 Month Resistance Plan - v1.2

   This time I'm revisiting my first training plan. When I started this set-up back in April, I didn't know what to expect - of it, or myself. It ended up being the key to a happier life. Why?
1) no cardio. I hate cardio. I mean, really hate it. Kickboxing and Muay Thai is the only time I can do it; anything else is torture.
2) it shifted my focus away from losing weight and on to ability and muscle gain, instead, which meant that my goals changed, were met, and the goal posts moved. I saw amazing progress in my own abilities. I began caring less about how my body looked, and more about what it could do.
3) I started eating more.
4) I didn't get bored as quickly, which saved money - no buying new DVDs every month. In fact, this workout - and all since - have cost me £3.99 a piece. The price of the magazine that I get the total body workouts from. All others are from Youtube.

   I'm revisiting the first of my training plans and giving it three months rather than two. That said, I've also started on bigger weights. When I first started out, I was using a 12.5kg barbell (£30 from Women's Health with a total weight of 20kg). After 8 months of training, I come back to this now and I'm starting it with a 22.5kg barbell. I bought a new 10kg plate.
   The plan is as below:

Monday - Lower body via Whitney Simmons' Youtube (landmine replaced with over-shoulder kettlebell
Tuesday - Yoga & stretching
Wednesday - Total body via Gemma Atkinson & Women's Health Magazine (Jan/Feb 2018)
Thursday - Qi Gong
Friday - Lower body via Whitney Simmons' Youtube
Saturday - Back/upper body Whitney Simmons' Youtube (cables replaced by resistance bands behind a bench)
Sunday - Rest / Qi Gong (if not Thursday)

   But I am approaching it differently. I've hinted time and again towards my experiment with calories, which I plan on writing about in 2-3 months' time once I have some solid information and experience to share. In short, though: I'm eating more. When I started out, I was eating 1,600 calories a day. I'm at 2,000 a day now. I'll elaborate - how, why, when - soon. But I will tell you this: I'm still a UK size 8.

   Because of that experiment, though, I'm only riding this workout for one month, then taking a month out for the Core de Force I would usually have done this month, then picking it back up for two more months over April and May. I'll finally explain the experiment then.

Sunday 3 February 2019

Resistance Training - 3 Month Check-In

   I'm really, really happy with these 3-month training plans. From 2014-2017 I was changing my workout every month, and it worked for me because I was using DVDs and they would generally wear me out (and bore me) if I used them any longer than that, so it was a great excuse to try new things. I tried dance - even Irish step and Celtic - Pilates, yoga, kettlebells, kickboxing, lifting hand weights, I swore by Jillian Michaels. And I lost weight, and I enjoyed it.

   But when I decided to try my hand at larger weights - barbells, mainly - I opted for a 2-month stint with the aim of lifting gradually heavier and really giving my body the chance to put muscle gain over fat loss. I was really daunted by the idea of no change for 2 months, but I gave it my all.

   I loved it. Since then I've put together two 3-month plans, and have seen them all through. I have found that I really, really enjoy working out this way, and it really works for me. The dread I would begin to feel after 2-3 weeks' use of a DVD never reached me with the weights until (if I'm going to be totally honest) half way through the third month. The progress is easier to see, too, and comes much quicker - not necessarily physically, but in ability. I choose my starting weight (light enough to be able to complete a set of 10-12 reps, but heavy enough that the last 2-3 are quite difficult but don't quite break form) and use that for two weeks, then I increase the reps - from 10 to 12, or 12 to 15. Two weeks later, I increase the weights and reduce the reps to the original number if it's necessary, then increase them two weeks later. I increase more frequently if it's necessary, but this 2-week system seems to work.
    It's also a great way to push yourself to lift more, since barbells are so easily increased. When I first started these training plans back in April, I was using a 12.5kg barbell. I finished this last training plan with 22.5kg and bought a new 10kg plate.

   But, where I would usually take a month off and opt for cardio, I've got another idea...

   I've been experimenting with calories - you may have caught mention in my top tips for weightloss post - so I plan to continue for one more month, then take a month of cardio. But I am ready to swap this workout out for another, so I'm heading back to my first 2-month plan, but for 3 months. I begin on Monday, will run it for a month, then take a month out, then come back to it for two more. I don't want to talk about the experiment yet, not until I can provide a solid write-up. With any luck, I'll be done with the basics by April.
   Seeg and I are going away for our 1st wedding anniversary/honeymoon (at last) in May, and while feeling my best is very important, I want to look it, too. So I'm going all out on cardio in March, recouping over April, and hopefully be closer to body confident when we go away than I am now.

   Let's be honest - feeling good is a big, big part of looking good, but a little less belly fat always helps, if it's something that bothers you, and it is something that bothers me. I'm not going to lie and make you feel worse if you disagree by claiming that I don't care about the fat on my body and belittling your insecurities. Because I do, and I want it gone. But I'm no longer prepared to go through extreme measures to do it, and that is progress, because it's moving towards acceptance of my body as it is, of self-love (or self-like, I suppose - body-neutrality is a much more reasonable goal than body-positivity), and that is an important step. If you have no self-love, you could get your dream body and still feel like you're not there, because you'll never be satisfied. You need a rational mindset if you're going to succeed - no outlandish expectations.

   I'll link the workout again tomorrow ♥

Friday 1 February 2019

Friday Favourites

January was a funny sort of month, but in a very good way. It's been so exciting, and has thrown me well outside my comfort zone. I'm not the kind of person who likes to talk about my plans, I prefer, upon the advice of a duck, to show my results instead. So when I embark upon things I don't like to mention them until either I'm finished, or it has solid enough foundations to guarantee completion. Why? I believe in jinxing. It happens all the time. Plus if you tell people your plans and they fall through, you end up looking a fool and, if you do it too often, no one will ever take you seriously. So I keep plans quiet.
However, I hope to write a post about last month's excitement soon, as it's the kind of thing that has just about developed those solid foundations, and will in fact take a full year before it is actually finished. So, if I'm to share it, it will be in the next few weeks when I have the final details.
I'm also about to embark upon something else - two projects, in fact - but they are also long, and while one needs those same foundations before I'm prepared to talk about it, which will take months, the other needs completion. I'm excited, though.

Anyway, this has been a wonderfully cold week, at last. And so my favourites for the week are duly suitable. First of all, socks. Every day for 4 days straight, I found myself saying "I love socks, they're so good" every time I pull them on. I've been walking around with 2-3 pairs on this week. It has been cold. Even when my best friend, Lucy, came over mid-week, she said exactly the same thing. Because socks are simply awesome. As is soup, and Soupologie's curried sweet potato is just amazing.
I also got a new sticker for my laptop, which has been in constant use with my redrafting - Vol'jin, 'For the Horde', by Frenone. I loved her playing cards but was never able to get them, so I was pleased when the designs were made available on her Society6 store. I've followed her art for years.
And Seeg finished Assassin's Creed Odyssey this week, which I was suprised to have enjoyed as much as I did. Amazing game, but terrible in the AC franchise. Ultimately, however, very enjoyable. We managed to get the best ending, too, and I was especially surprised when I teared up. But I am a bit of a baby, to be honest; it doesn't take much to make me cry...

Soupologie   ♥   Warchief sticker by Frenone
Assassin's Creed Odyssey   ♥   Socks