Get in Shape Challenge Day 10 – Thursday 25th August

Day Ten of the Get in Shape Challenge saw me up and at the gym for the third day in a row, this time for my weights sessions. Unlike last week my body was feeling very good, there was no soreness or tightness from the previous session on Tuesday which I was hoping would mean I could push myself harder and continue towards regaining the previous form I had six months ago. With this hopeful enthusiasm I rose and did my usual routine of abdominal exercises followed by prayers and then packed my things for the day before heading into Subiaco to the gym.

Arriving at the gym I felt a little hungry, I had been bad and not eaten a lot of food the previous day despite completing both a cardio session and indoor soccer game, but got straight into my bench press. Loading the bar up to the starting weight of 60kg I started the first set and completed it easily so I increased the weight to 65kg. As I lifted the 65kg weight my arms felt incredibly week from the weight and I only managed to get 5 repetitions out, a bit perplexed, I didn’t increase the weight and did my third set where I managed to get out a total of 7 reps.

From here I moved through my routine and regularly found the same sort of problem I had with the bench press, my shoulder press I got out the first 12 on 17.5kg but then managed respectively only 5 and then 9 reps, shoulder flies on 10 kg dumb-bells only 12, 10 and 8 and on my deltoid lifts 12, 10 and 8. Whilst these are ok amounts a repetitions I was a little taken a back by how much effort it was taking me to lift these weights, especially given the ease I did them on Tuesday.

I started thinking about my this could be the case, could it be just the effect of Tuesday’s session or is there another explanation?

This question made me turn my attention to the age old saying of “what you put into something is what you end up getting out”. We always think of this with regards to effort, the more effort we put into any situation equals the more result we get but it can also apply to other aspects of our lives. As is usually the case with most men the answer came from my stomach with a rumbling to signify that it was hungry. This made me stop and think about what I had eaten since my last session yesterday morning…in all honesty not a lot basically a couple of biscuits and a bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce (so not exactly high energy stuff). It was no wonder why I had trouble with the session, I hadn’t refilled my supplies to be able to do the task so my engine was running on empty!

This is going to have to be some thing that I am much more aware of if this challenge is going to be successful. As I am exercising at a higher level of intensity the food intake needs to match this to keep my energy up and enable me to do the work load I am committing myself to. Over the next few days I am going to need to sit down and workout exactly what this diet is going to need to look like to get maximum results.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 9 – Wednesday 24th August

This morning I had a small success on my road to the fitness levels and body shape that I am trying to achieve over this session – my first completed cardio session since beginning the challenge. When the alarm went off this morning at 5:00am I was posed with a choice to either stay in bed or get up and really be proactive in taking my commitment to this challenge to a new level. I chose to make it a fresh start with the cardio workouts and grab this opportunity with both hands. I jumped out of bed and did my usual morning routine of abdominal exercises and then prayer before packing my bags and heading off to the gym in Subiaco. On a side note I am noticing that this week I have started to find it easier to wake up to my alarm then I was last week, this is a really important little change as come tomorrow morning I am expecting to start getting a little less sleep than I have been (probably around the five and a half hour mark more than the six and a half I have been getting).

Having arrived at the gym right bang smack at 6:00am I unloaded my bag and clothes for work in my locker before starting my cardio workout. With today being a Wednesday I decided that I would not push myself too hard with my cardio session as I did have an indoor soccer game with BXVI scheduled for tonight and the last thing I wanted to do was have no energy for the game considering I play in the mid-field sort of role for the team (I always seem to do a lot of running in the games). I started my session on the treadmill with a 15 minute run slowly increasing the speed every 5 minutes from 7.5 to warm up to 10 before finishing on 11.5. This is a long way beneath where I was with my fitness back six months ago but I am aware that I need to ease back into it to prevent any injuries taking place. Over the next few weeks  will look to increase the length of time I am running, aiming for 25 – 30 minutes, and also the intensity of pace throughout that run.

After doing my 15 minute run I moved onto the ergo for a 5 minute ergo, usually I would have done a full 10 minutes but with the game tonight I though it would be best to not go overboard. Setting the machine to just a plain row I planned to row on the highest resistance (10) for the complete 5 minutes keeping the stroke rate above 30 strokes per minute which I managed to do. In the last minute of the row I increased and held the stroke rate at 35 strokes per minute.

To finish my sessions I moved onto the resistance bikes to cycle for a period of 10 minutes. My aim with this exercise was a really simple one, basically push myself as hard as I could on a resistance level of six for the full ten minutes and see how far I could ride. I managed to keep the rpm above 90 throughout the entire 10 minutes and covered a distance of 4.32 km.

After finishing the session I headed over to the stretching area and proceeded to work through all the muscle groups in my legs ensuring that I would stretch out any tightness and fatigue (which my legs were definitely feeling). Holding all stretches for 30 seconds on each leg I worked through my hamstrings, glutes, lower back, quads, groin and calves with various exercises on each group. Every cardio session I do I am always going to make sure I spend a good 10 minutes at the end stretching, I am finding as I get older when I don’t stretch and cool down properly I end up getting a lot tighter and the amounts of injuries I sustain also increases. I am hoping to get through the entire 13 week challenge injury free, stretching will definitely help with this.

Tomorrow is a weights session, my body is feeling pretty good today from a tightness point of view so I am looking forward to getting up and smashing out a good session first thing in the morning. I know the small victory I had today with managing to get a cardio session done is only going to beneficial if it is followed up by making the gym tomorrow for my weights session, so hopefully I can achieve this and not let myself down.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 8 – Tuesday 23rd August

My first scheduled weight session of the week, one that I went to bed last night really looking forward to due to how good my body has been feeling since having a couple of days with no weights training at all (Saturday being the last session).

My alarm went off at 5:00am and after pressing snooze for ten minutes I rose and got ready to head off to the gym. After completing my morning routine of abdominal exercises and prayer I packed my car and headed into Subiaco where I arrived at 5:55am (slowly I am getting better at timing the run to prevent me having to stand out in the cold whilst waiting for the gym to open).

Today I started to increase the weight on some of the exercises I have been doing. I started on the bench press and after completing the first set on 60kg fairly easily and without the tightness I was feeling last week I increased the weight to 65kg which I got out a set of 6 repetitions followed by a set of 8 with a 30 second break in between to rest. After these exercises I continued on with the routine and moved onto my inclined presses using dumb-bells which I increased to 17.5kg for each arm rom the 15kg ones I used last week. This same weight of 17.5kg I kept to use on my shoulder press as well (instead of the 15 kg). All of the exercises I was happy with the repetitions I got out (first set always 12 and then at least 10 and 8 on the second and third sets respectively). Depending on how tight i feel come Thursday I might try and push up some of these weights yet again (I think I will need to do some stretching over the next 24 hours to help me not tighten up too much). The remainder of the exercises I kept similar weights to last week apart from the bicep curls to finish which I increased to a 25kg bar-bell (maybe i will use a 27.5kg one on Thursday).

Overall today’s session felt really good, I did push myself to fail but I feel there is still a bit left in the tank for me to push out come Thursday’s session – I am really looking forward to that challenge!

The next challenge for me will be tomorrow morning’s session at the gym. I have not yet managed to do one cardio session due to no reason than my lack of commitment, I will turn that around tomorrow morning.


Get in Shape Challenge Day 7 – Monday 22nd August

Day Seven, the start of week 2 of the program and I was hoping a turning of the corner with regards to getting to the gym to do my cardio sessions. Unfortunately it didn’t happen again this morning. I woke up at 5:20am and deliberated getting up before deciding that I would get the necessary done in the afternoon after I finished teaching at Mater Dei College at 1:25pm.

The big fail was that I had forgotten I had organised a coffee catch up with someone in Leederville at 2:00pm which would make it impossible for me to do an afternoon session…basically massive fail on my behalf. The lesson that I do need to learn from this is to always get the session done in the morning, even if I think that there is a good possibility of doing it in the afternoon as it has clearly become evident that I will not get an afternoon session done.

On a positive note, my body is feeling refreshed after having the extra day off yesterday and I am looking forward to this week’s weights sessions to see if I can start to increase the load and repetitions I am doing on my various exercises.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 6 – Sunday 21st August

Day six of the challenge, the first Sunday which is a scheduled total rest day. I decided before starting the challenge that one day a week I would have a total rest day partly to give my body a chance to recover at the end of every week as well as to give me a chance to sit back and reflect on what parts of the challenge were going to plan and where I could focus on improvement.

On reflecting on the challenge so far I am quite happy with my current progress, I have managed to complete all three of the set weight sessions and am already starting to feel like in the coming week I shall start increasing the weight resistance being used. I am not currently happy with my cardio program (or should I say lack of it). I have not managed yet to get to the gym on any of my set days fro cross-training (something that will be remedied in this coming week).

At the end of this coming week I will be weighing myself and measuring my waist size to see if there is any noticeable improvement in these areas as of yet.

I am really excited and looking forward to what the coming week of the challenge will present to me – bring it on!

Get in Shape Challenge Day 5 – Saturday 20th August

Day Five has seen the first weekend session needed to keep my my challenge routine. Saturday morning have been scheduled in as the final weights session of every week before my rest day on Sunday. Out of all the sessions I have scheduled for during the weeks I felt that these ones would be the most difficult to commit to over the entire course of the challenge. To ensure that these sessions get done I know that I need to be at the gym at 7:00am (when it opens) so that it is done prior to my first student for the day whose lesson is at 9:00am.

My alarm went off at 6:30am and after some resistance from my body wanting to lie in bed and snooze I managed to pull myself out of bed, to ensure o got to the gym in time I decided that the my daily abdominal exercises I would leave until I got home from the gym.

I arrived at the gym just after 7:00am and got straight into my regular routine, I had made the decision that for the third session I still would not push myself with too much additional weight resistance – this will occur over the coming weeks as my body continues to get back into some sort of form. I started with my bench press with the weights on 60kg, throughout the first set my chest was still feeling quite tight from the sessions before, however not as tight as they were for Thursday’s session (a good sign that things will start to get easier). After the first set which I managed to get out the full twelve repetitions I stretched out my chest before continuing the final two sets. This, combined with the resistance from doing the sets, started pull out the tightness I was feeling (especially on my left hand side). I didn’t managed to complete either of my final two sets on the bench with the second set getting out 7 and the third set getting out 9, I found my arms were feeling quite fatigued early on, the rest day is definitely being looked forward to.

The remainder of my exercises I was very happy with how my body was feeling, I managed to complete full sets on all exercises with the same weights as I have been using for the entire week. I think that in the next week it will be time to start increasing some of these weights and slowly build it back up towards my PBs that I was setting back three months ago.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 4 – Friday 19th August

Day Four and I seem to be faced with another challenge, or actually the same one from Day 2, sleeping through the alarm. I again found myself sleeping through my alarm(s) set for 5:00 and 5:10am to wake up at 6:05am. Unfortunately this is too late for me to get a session done before being due up at Mater Dei in College in Joondalup to start my teaching day at 7:50am. This aberration on a Friday would normally not stop me from getting a session in with me having time in the afternoon usually to get a cardio session done, however for this fortnight due to various work and personal commitments which are of a great importance to me this time has not been available to me.

To ensure that I got something of a fitness value out of today I got up and did my morning routine including my abdominal exercises and prayer before getting ready for work.

It seems that a pattern is starting to emerge already, make the gym one day and then sleep through the alarm the next day. This is something that I will have to try and address in the coming week as I haven’t gotten a cardio session in since starting the challenge.

Another frustrating occurrence happened tonight, one that I am going to have to be very mindful of – the power of words and allowing other people to speak into my life as to what is possible and what isn’t. Tonight I have been told by some people that my goals aren’t possible, that coming up to the age of 30 with my body changing that things like a bit of weight around the middle is normal and that I’d better just get used to it. Well guess what? I am not going to just accept that and get used to it, my aim is to lose that bit of excess weight and I plan be successful with that. There are many people I know who are around my age (and older) who are in better shape, if they can do it then so can I. I am not a believer in this whole concept of “because you are getting older you can’t keep in as a good a shape” I feel that is just people making excuses. If anyone else wants to make those excuses for themselves fine, but don’t go sharing that ideal with me and try to pollute my mindset and desired goals. Their stinking thinking and negative opinions are not welcome in my world. I understand that they feel they are doing it show concern for me and “have my best interest at heart” but I have a much better grasp of what is my best interest and what is possible for me than any other person.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 3 – Thursday 18th August

Today was a difficult day to commit to  getting up and getting to the gym. My alarm went off at 5:00am and I wanted to just role over and go back to sleep. My lack of enthusiasm this morning was due to a number of reasons, firstly I got to bed later last night than I have the previous two nights meaning I had less sleep, my body still felt quite sore from the weights session two days earlier and with it being both dark and cold staying beneath the covers just seemed so much more appealing. I know these early stages of setting a routine and getting the body back into some sort of routine is always going to be the hardest stage of the challenge… all I am going to have to do is push through the pain and discomfort so that I achieve the result by the end of the 13 weeks. I must it is much easier to say it though than to go through it!!!

After toying with the concept of staying in bed I rose and did my abdominal routine, prepared my clothing for teaching later in the day and headed off to the gym. As happened on Tuesday morning, I arrived at Fitness First in Subiaco by 5:50am and waited for the gym to open at 6:00am (please Fitness First look at your opening times and even just half and hour earlier at 5:30am would be a better opening time for me). After dropping my things off in a locker I commenced my routine.

The routine I followed was the same as the one from Monday (this will be my routine for the next 12 weeks and slowly I will look to increase both the intensity and the load I carry for each exercise). I started on the bench press and put my warmup weight of 60kg on the bar and began to start the first set – PAIN! I was immediately met by an incredible tightness and soreness across the chest from the session two days earlier, the tightness was incredible! I got out six repetitions on 60 kgs and stopped to stretch, I knew from this that today’s session was going to be one of those ones where you are continuously having to push through the pain and fatigue to get the results desired. I find these sessions the most difficult but also in the long term the most rewarding as well. After stretching I continued with the weight on 60 kg and managed to get out another two sets of 6 reps with a short break to stretch in between.

The remainder of the session followed a similar line to the bench press with regards to soreness and tightness, although to a lesser extent. I did manage to complete all the exercises on the same weights as Tuesday’s session with the same reps (3 sets of 12). This really hurt, but it was in my capacity. I think I will see how I am feeling on Saturday morning to gauge what (if anything) I should increase weight bearing wise, these first two weeks are designed to get me back into the routine and not kill me. My triceps were the other muscle group incredibly tight, using the 10 kg  dumb bell I got out sets of 12, 10 and then 9 with each arm before failing, I could feel the tightness slowly pulling out of each muscle as I continued with the repetitions.

Overall I am happy with how the session went. I was very tight and it really hurt, however, going on past experience there should only be one or maybe two more sessions that will hirt like this one in tightness before the body adjusts. This afternoon I am going to head off to get some more protein supplements to help in both my muscle building and also recovery.

Fingers crossed tomorrow goes better than Wednesday and I manage to get up for a gym based cardio session.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 2 – Wednesday 17th August

My second day of the challenge and already a massive hiccup… Slept through my alarm!!!

By the time I woke up I had missed the window of opportunity to get the gym before work which I am so disappointed about. I am glad that at least tonight I do have my indoor soccer game with BXVI so I will get at least a little bit of cardio fitness work.

My body today feels pretty dodgy, the tightness and soreness from doing the first weight session of the new schedule is definitely setting in. Tomorrow is a weights session (if I manage to get out of bed that is). I am hoping that my body has recovered a little better than how it is currently feeling.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 1 – Tuesday 16th August

Tuesday 16th of August 2011

Today is the first real day of the physical side of my get into shape challenge and what a way to start – 5:00am wake up!

My alarm went off at 5:00am and unlike i have done on so many other mornings when I have turned it off, rolled over and gone back to sleep I actually got up and started to get ready for my gym sessions – today was going to be a weights session, my first in about two months (always painful in the coming days). Before I could get going to the gym I had to go through my new morning routine I that I want to try and do every morning without fail. I started with my abs exercises including set ups, bridging (both forward and then on either side) and some light dumbbell work. After this was completed I said my morning prayers before getting in the car and heading off to Fitness First Platinum in Subiaco.

I arrived at the gym at 5:50am ready to get in there and start as soon as it opens at 6:00am. I find it quite frustrating that the gym doesn’t open until 6:00am as it is always a stretch for me to get everything done I need to, washed and changed and out to which ever school I am teaching at by the time I start teaching (a hint Fitness First…open at 5:30am please!!!). Today’s session was going to be aimed at not going too hard with the weights being used but rather slowly building back into routine over the first few weeks of training. The last thing I wanted to do was go too hard and then be so sore that I have to take time off before being able to train again, that would be an epic fail on my behalf.

I started with my bench press and loaded the bar up to 60 kg. The first set of 12 I managed to smash out fairly easy (the last couple were a bit of a strain) this weight normally is simple for me to do but because of the time off I thought it would be wise to not go much above this to make it a worthwhile session. I completed the second set of twelve with a bit more difficulty, the last set was no good  what soever with me only managing to get out 4 reps…looks like there’s a bit of ground to recover.

Next I moved onto the dumbbells to start focusing on my upper pecs and shoulder muscles. I like to work at a high intensity with lower weights for the first few weeks of a training regime to make sure I am keeping the heart rate up throughout my workout. I alternated between an inclined press with 15 kg dumbbells and vertical lifts with 10 kg dumbbells with a 30 second rest in between each set of 12 repetitions (one set was equal to both exercises being done). I did manage to get through and complete all three sets of these, but as with the bench press did find it quite difficult towards the end (it’s amazing how much strength can be lost in such a short period of time).

On completion of this I moved onto combining a set of Shoulder presses (no incline with 15 kg weights) with a set of bicep curls ( seated with 10 kg weights). I completed these exercises in a similar fashion to the two exercises previously done in combination as sets of 12 repetitions. The bicep curls I was doing seated with locking my elbows into my body to isolate the muscle to be doing the lifting, to many times at the gyms you see people doing bicep curls and getting there entire body involved in the lift – I would rather do a smaller weight and really work the specific muscle group.

Next I moved onto completing three sets of shoulder flys using the 10 kg wieghts, inbetween each set I worked my triceps with single armed triceps curls also using the 10 kg weights (12 on the rights arm and then 12 on the left arm). The flies I did manage to do quite easily and i think I will use the 12.5 kg weights on Thursday, the triceps curls I didn’t manage to complete even two full sets on either arm (the first set I did twelve, then struggled with 9 on each arm for 2nd set and the third set saw me fail at 7). Upon completing this I worked my deltoid muscle group using a 20 kg dumbbell.

Usually I would move on to my lats and spend some time working this group, however all the exercises I usually do I couldn’t this morning due to the equipment being used and me starting to run short on time! I moved onto my final muscle exercises – bicep curls with a barbell and triceps squats using my own body weight (one set being 12 repetitions of each of being completed before rest). Today I used only the 20 kg barbell (I was up to using the 30 kg one 2 months ago), I wanted to ensure I would get through the exercise and not blow up. Both sets of exercises I managed to complete so I think on Thursday I shall have to increase the weight and resistance to get  that little more strain out of it all.

All up I am really happy with the first morning of training, it is only early days though! Tomorrow is a cardio session at the gym – another 5:00am start will be needed. Fingers crossed I can make it two in a row!

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