Starting Again

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 1.

The blogging about my fitness regime for the past few years has been about as consistent as the actual sessions, not at all. I have however decided that it is time to start again, but this time try to do both a little smarter as time seems to becoming increasingly precious as a get older and my commitments / lifestyle has continued to change. It’s basically time to start fresh and try to set some new and more achievable goals.

One of the things that I have learnt over the years with goal setting is that they need to challenge you but also be achievable. You need to have a definitive start and end date for the goal and be able to break it down into manageable sized actions to ensure that you actually have the procedures in place to give you the best chance of success. This is what I have decided to do regarding fitness:

Over the length of Term 4 (8 weeks) I will endeavour to exercise five days a week, week days by getting up out of bed between 5:15 and 5:30 every morning. This will allow me to get to the gym no later than 5:50am where I can do an intense workout for 30 – 40 minutes before showering, dressing and heading into school. My sessions will vary between cardio (three times a week) and free weights (two times a week).

For me to be successful in this I know that there’s a few actions important for me to commit to, the first being getting to bed at a decent hour to get enough sleep. I am going to try to commit to getting to bed between 10:30 and 11:00 each night so that at a minimum I’ll be getting 6 hours sleep, I know I can function off this amount quite easily. I also know that I have to get out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off in the morning, any hesitation and I’ll miss my session.

Part of my challenge will also be trying to control what I eat, especially the junk food. I have weakness for chocolate and chips (crisps) that I know are not having a positive effect on my waistline currently.

Posting wise, I’ll try to do a single review post outlining “the week that has been” which would include challenges and successes I have experienced throughout the week.

Week 1: Monday 9th – Friday 13th of October.

I have managed to have a great start to the Term Four Challenge with me getting to the gym on all five days and doing decent workouts.

I have already encounter see problems that have meant changing my routine. The first hindrance occurred as a result of filling in for an indoor soccer team on Monday night, all I can say is that I am so unfit!!! I felt my hamstring go quite weak towards the end of the game, this feeling continued throughout Monday evening. I have experienced this feeling before, usually during rehab. after tearing the same muscle but never without having actually pulled the muscle prior.

Knowing that my leg was in trouble, I made the call to continue with the gym but to lay off the cardio for the remainder of the week – it will be four weights sessions in a row for me!

My next hinderance occurred on Wednesday morning. I made the silly decision to stay out late on Tuesday night by going to a late movie – this meant I didn’t get into bed until after midnight…BAD MOVE! I managed to push through and get out of bed and completed the session.

My Thursday an Friday sessions were completed with minimal problems or disruptions.

Overall, I am happy with the start I have made to the challenge. I am cautious however, it takes three weeks to form a habit and this week will be vitally important in seeing me push through and set up a good routine for the remainder of the challenge.

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Rounding Out the Week

Day 11 – Friday 11th January 2013.

I have found that as the week has progressed I have been feeling increasingly tired and have needed more rest / sleep time to fully recover. I think that this is just going to be a temporary state as my body is still getting used to the rigours of my new training regime, especially when combined with two soccer games this week and also moving house at the same time. What can I say, I just don’t like to do things by half!

This morning I was hoping to get up at 7:00am so I could get in my full cardio gym session before heading down to Fremantle to meet with a good friend of mine and have a cup of coffee. Unfortunately this didn’t eventuate and it was 8:00am before I was out of bed. Immediately I knew that this shortened time period would result in me not getting the usual gym session done and being in Fremantle by the 10:00am meeting time so I decided to modify my session for today. I also felt that my legs would appreciate some respite as I was feeling sorer and tighter than I have done so previously since beginning this new regime.

I arrived at the gym and began my workout just after 8:30am. I started with only 10 minutes on the treadmill and decided not to push myself too hard, this would be the warm up for the remainder of the session. My routine followed its usually course of 5 minutes on 7.5km/h before 5 minutes on 10 km/h, this meant that by the 10 minute mark I had run 1.45km. Throughout the run my legs felt quite tight, especially my left hamstring, so I decided to continually monitor my progress throughout the session the last thing I wanted to do was pull a muscle at this stage of the regime.

My 10 minute row was next, I went into this hoping to try and beat my personal best and row over 2.4km in the time frame. To achieve this I started out harder than usual and after a few minutes settled into 30 strokes per minute with a 500m split of 2 minutes and 10 seconds. I started doing the calculations in my head and realised that even at this pace I would fall short of the 2.4km mark inside the time frame. I lifted my stroke and work rate with my 500m split getting down to between 2 minutes and 2 minutes and 5 seconds, this I managed to hold throughout the remaining row but still missed my target falling short by 100m with a distance of 2.3km coming up right on the 10 minutes. I guess the lesson to learn is that in the early stages I need to get my distance up and not leave everything until after the 5 minute mark!

Day 11

To finish I headed over to the cycle for a 10 minute ride. I kept the same regime of alternating between 6 effort level and 3 effort level and had the goal of reaching a distance of over 5km inside the time limit. My first 2 minutes I did fall behind the pace slightly in only riding .9km, this didn’t worry me overly as I always did a slower first two minutes as I built up speed and a rhythm. In the next two minutes I was back on track having ridden 2km inside the four minutes. I decided that I would stretch myself and see what I could achieve, I pulled further ahead int he next 2 minutes and reached the 3km mark by 5 minutes and 45 seconds. I kept pushing myself through to the end of the 10 minutes and managed to ride 6.1km inside this time, a great effort.

Usually at this point I would head over to the mats, stretch and work on my abdominals but I had run out of time. I headed off to have a shower and get changed to go and meet my friend in Fremantle.

I am quite happy with the effort today. Tomorrow’s session is supposed to be a run outside however I might not even get to my session due to the amount I still need to organise and pack for the big move coming up. Normally it would be a just get up earlier, but with how tired I have been feeling and needing my energy to concentrate on the packing and moving of heavy objects it might turn into a miss. As my Saturday sessions I think will become an optional extra in my regime as the year progresses I am not too phased, I still achieved five sessions in this second week.

Reaching New Bests

Day 9 – Wednesday 9th January 2013.

Today I still find myself struggling with the desire to actually do my gym sessions. I know that you go through periods where things are just difficult and you don’t “feel like it” so for me that isn’t really a problem you just do it anyway. As someone once said to me, you do something based on a decision and not on a feeling at the time because feelings come and go.

This morning I got up a little later than usual, I decided that I had better try and recover a little after the hard start to the week and as I didn’t really need to get up urgently didn’t rise until 8:00am. I then headed into the gym to complete my scheduled cross-training session.

The sessions so far have been going well, at least once I get there, so I decided today I would push myself a little harder. I wanted to leave having set new bests across all three disciplines of running (20 minutes), rowing (10 minutes) and bike (15 minutes). This challenge I knew would take it’s toll but I figure that it would be worth giving it a crack and seeing how close I would get.

I began with my 20 minute run on the treadmill and started on the usual 7.km/h for 5 minutes before increasing it to 10 km/h for the next 5 minutes. I would usually leave it on 10km/h for another 5 minutes but decided instead to push myself and raised the level to 12.5km/h. This additional pace took me to doing 4 minute and 48 second kilometres and after holding this for 5 minutes I reduced the speed back to 11km/h. I think that my next session I will try a similar thing but only reduce the final 5 minutes to 11.5km/h and gradually build it up like this.

Day 9My rowing started off well, a stroke rate of 30 per minute and a split of 500m in around the 2 minutes 14 seconds. My aim today was to get over the 2.4km mark inside the 10 minutes, a feat that in itself hasn’t proven that easy in the past. By the 5 minute mark I knew that I was falling behind, I’d be lucky to reach the 2.3km in the time so I increased my work rate by lifting the stroke rate to 32 per minute and reduced my split to 2 minutes and 8 seconds per 500m. By the 8 minute mark I had improved my position but the 2.4km seemed to be proving still elusive, i increased my output by reducing my split down to 2 minutes per 500m and held that for the remaining time. Unfortunately I fell just over 500m short of the 2.4km with a row of 2.345km inside the 10 minutes.

I was feeling quite tired by this point in time as I headed over to the bike for my 15 minute ride. I had missed out on setting new PBs across all three apparatus but was hoping that I could finish by riding over 8km in 15 minutes. I kept the same regime of alternate 2 minute effort levels and began at an alright pace, the rpm was holding around the 100 mark and by the end of 2 minutes I was only just under having ridden a kilometre. I decided to try and push myself that little harder to make up the time and managed to be on track having ridden over 2km by the 4 minute mark with my rpm up at 110. I kept pushing myself and kept pulling further in front, I was not sure whether or not I would get over the 8km in the time and found myself setting targets of distance to have covered by certain times. I know that on average I can ride about 600 metres in every minute on the bike, it would be close but I should be able to get there. By the 13 minute and 30 second mark I had ridden 7km, the end was insight and definitely possible, at approximately 14 minutes and 40 seconds I crossed over the 8km mark – it was done! The ride finished at 15 minutes with a distance of 8.1km being covered, an effort that I am quite proud of.

To finish the session I completed my usual three sets of 50 sit ups, today I pushed myself  with the use of a 9kg medicine ball, the extra weight made it a little harder. I spent the next 10 minutes stretching out my legs, tomorrow I have another 7km run to complete and would like to see if I can get down to 37.5 minutes for it.

A Good Start to the Second Week

Day 7 – Monday 7th January 2013.

To begin this second week of training I returned to the gym to complete a cross training session. I was feeling quite good and optimistic that it would be a good session even though it is still a struggle to actually get motivated to go and do a session.

I arrived at the gym just before 8:00am and started with my usual 20 minute warmup run on the treadmill. I am still not pushing myself too hard with this run and kept to following the same routine of 5 minutes on 7.5km, 10 minutes on 10 km and the 5 minutes on 12.5km. I did find today that it was a lot easier than what it has previously been for me, hopefully this means that I am showing some signs of improved fitness. My plan is to move towards stretching the run by running in 5 minute intervals on 7.5km, 10 km, 12.5km and then 14km however I don’t feel that I am there just yet so maybe the start of next week this can become a possibility.

Day 6At the conclusion of my time on the treadmill it was time fore my 10 minute row. I was determined today to try and set a new PB by rowing over 2.4km in the time frame. I had rowed over2.3km previously so this is my next step in moving towards the 2.5km goal that I have always struggled to maintain regularly. I started off well with a stroke rate of around 30 per minute and an average split of around 2 minutes and 14 seconds. At the 5 minute mark I increased my workload in power and started to row splits down towards 2 minutes and 7 seconds whilst maintaining the same stroke rate. At the  minute mark I lifted my stroke rate and was rowing with a split just above 2 minutes, by the time I crossed the 10 minute mark I had rowed over 2.4km which I am very happy with.

My session was completed with my 15 minute ride. I decided to keep with the same regime I have been doing of alternating resistance every 2 minutes. Todays goal was to ride over the 7.5km inside the time. I began, and as always, had a slowish first 2 minutes as I was trying to find my rhythm. Gradually I managed to stabilise my revolutions at 104 per minute and managed to ride a distance of 7.8km by the time the 15 minutes clicked over. I am quite happy with this effort and look forward to trying to break the 8km in the coming weeks.

After finishing the ride I headed over to the stretching area. I completed 3 sets of 50 sit ups with a 8kg medicine ball before stretching out my legs. I have an indoor soccer game tonight and need to make sure that I am not too stiff and sore before the start of the game.

Overall today’s session has been a good one, I am seeing progress in most of the areas of my training. My big hope is that this can continue not only through this holiday period but throughout the entire year.

A Work in Progress

Day 4 – Friday 4th January 2013.

Today’s gym session really makes me realise that this year is going to continuously be a work in progress. I am still not feeling like getting up and going to do the exercise yet I know the benefits that I will get out of it make it worth it in the long run.

I was quite surprised after getting to the gym with the progress that I am making, my run on the treadmill was similar to the one I did on Monday with completing 3.31km in the 20 minutes moving from speeds of 7.5km/h for 5 minutes to 10 km/h for 10 minutes and a final 5 minutes on 12.5km/h.

Day 4I was feeling pretty good at the conclusion of this run and headed off to complete the 10 minutes on the rowing machine. The last session I completed I managed to row just short of 2250m in the 10 minute time line. I was keen to try and beat this today with a target of a minimum of 2.3km in the 10 minutes. I started at a reasonable tempo knowing that I would pick up the pace in the second half of the row. In the last 2 minutes I picked up the tempo an managed to row 2.4km in the 10 minute time frame, an effort I am very happy. My next task will be to push for the 2.5km in the 10 minutes which will be a big challenge to achieve.

To finish my session I headed to the cycle for a 15 minute ride. I mirrored the routine from earlier in the week in doing 2 minutes on 6 resistance before moving to 2 minutes on 3 resistance and then alternated between these. I was happy with my progress and managed to ride over 8km in the 15 minute time frame.

To finish my session I headed to the stretching area and completed three sets of 50 sit ups with an 8kg medicine ball.

Whilst there is still a long way to go I am happy with the progress I have made in this first week. Hopefully I can use this to build on top of it as I head into the second week come Monday.

A Shorter Session

Day 2 – Wednesday 2nd January 2013.

Today I was really keen on following up on the good start I made yesterday with the run to see in the New Year. I am aware that if I don’t fully commit to training every day from this early stage in the year than I will have considerable difficulty later on (plus I would love to be able to get to the end of the year and to have not missed a day).

The problem I was facing with today’s session was that I was on a strict time limit due to being given free tickets to the 7th session of the Hopman Cup and needing to catch public transport into the city. Perth’s public transport is very average and quite unreliable so I needed to give myself plenty of time to be able to be in by 9:30am to meet my friend who I was taking along. A secondary problem I was facing was that I have developed a significant blister on yesterday’s run which had popped and I was a little reticent about aggravating the area.

Day 2I finally fought off my demons and committed to a shorter session consisting of a 10 minute run, 10 minute row and 10 minute cycle. I arrived at the gym and felt quite sore as I got onto the treadmill to run. The blister on my foot was very sore whenever the shoe rubbed against the spot, I ignored the pain and began my run. After a few minutes the pain from the blister subsided and I continued to increase my speed from the starting 7.5km/h to 10km/h each for 5 minutes.

I headed onto the rowing machine for my 10 minute row, as with the treadmill I wasn’t interested in pushing myself too hard but wanted to get a decent workout. I began at a slowish pace with a stroke rate of 29 strokes per minute and a 500 minute split of 2 minutes 14 seconds. At the 5 minute point and again at the 8 minute point I increased the intensity and had completed 2.25km by the 10 minute mark, I think my goal for the next session might be to try for over 2.4km in 10 minutes.

To finish the session I headed to the cycle and began my 10 minute ride. I copied the format used the other day with alternating every 2 minutes from 6 resistance back to 3 resistance. i managed to ride 4.8km in the 10 minute time frame.

I felt quite satisfied with the quality of the session today, whilst the length wasn’t as long it did feel like it was good quality and I do feel stronger. One side point is that I think I will start putting a band aid on my blister, the excess rubbing has caused a significant amount of bleeding from my heel. Hopefully a band aid will stop some of that bleeding (a little).

Rounding Out the Year

Day 221 – Monday 31st December 2012

This morning’s session signalled the end of my Fitness Training 2012 regime, to complete the year I hit the gym to do a cross-training regime.

I am quite happy with how the session went, especially considering that when I got up this morning I didn’t overly feel like completing the session. Perth’s heatwave has continued and living in a house with no air conditioning meant that the outside temperature of 40 plus degrees last night was really like 45 degrees inside the apartment. The result of these conditions was a night of disrupted sleep with me waking every couple of hours from only a light sleep to turn the fan back on and in a pool of my own sweat (not very pleasant at all).

I finally did manage to pull myself out of bed at 7:00am (an hour and a half after when I had planned to get up) and due to the temperature already being over 35 degrees I decided to head into the gym to do a cross training session rather than complete a 7km run.

I arrived at the gym a little after 8:00am and headed for the treadmill. Starting on 7.5km an hour I did 5 minutes before increasing the speed to 10km/h for 10 minutes and then finally 12.5km/h for the last five minutes. After 20 minutes I had run 3.31km which would equate to an average of  kilometre every 6 minutes and 3 seconds. I was feeling nicely warmed up by this stage and headed to the rowing machine to complete a 10 minute row. I had decided that I still wasn’t going to push myself too hard on the row and so set out keeping my stroke rate at 30 per minute and an average 500m split of around the 2 minutes and 15 seconds. For the first 8 minutes I managed to maintain this before increasing the work rate for the last 2 minutes to have completed a distance of 2,247m inside the 10 minute timeframe.

Day 221My legs were beginning to feel fatigued from the work put in across the running and the rowing as I headed onto the cycle to complete a 15 minute ride. I alternated the resistance on the bike in two minute intervals beginning with the resistance on 6. My legs were quite fatigued and I found it difficult to sustain a speed above 90 rpm on the level 6 resistance. By the end of the 15 minutes I managed to have ridden a distance of 6.89km, whilst this is a long way beneath my personal best I am aware that I am still only just getting back into the routine.

To complete my workout I moved over to the stretching area and completed three sets of 50 sit ups using a 7kg medicine ball to provide extra resistance. After this I spent a good 10 minutes stretching out my leg muscles to try and help in my recovery before tomorrow’s planned run in the morning.

As the year draws to a close and I look back on my training in 2012 I can honestly say that I have learnt a lot about myself. There is a bit of disappointment that I did have an end of the year where I didn’t really commit to my training, as a result of this I have put on weight and feel incredibly unfit. I am excited though about the prospects moving forward into 2013, the past week has been enjoyable to start to try and get some sort of routine back, I do have a long way to go but feel like it is possible. I am still considering the goals I want to set for myself in fitness and life in general in 2013 as there are many exciting factors outside of control that will come into play. Do I want to try and run a a marathon come August, or do I want to change my regime a little and include cycling and swimming to push for a triathlon? My main focus on training is to try and have a healthy lifestyle, I want to feel good and hopefully extend the length of my life so that I will have more time to spend with my beautiful wife and the children we will have in the future. Whilst these are my focus and main motivation I do know that it is important for me to set some short term goals.

I feel 2013 is going to be a great year for me and my family and friends, on this note I say fair well to the Fitness Training 2012 an hello to my 2013 regime – Pushing the Limits 2013.

 

A Disappointing Effort

Day 218 – Friday 28th December 2012.

I would like to be writing this post saying that this morning I was up at 5:00am and completed my planned 10km run. Unfortunately, this is no the case, in a disappointing effort I didn’t complete my run this morning. My alarm went off at 5:15am and instead of getting up I rolled over, turned it off and went back to sleep.

Day 218

They say that you can learn something from every situation and I believe that this is no exception. One of the largest factors for my failing to get up this morning was a failure to go to bed at a reasonable hour last night. I was hoping to go to bed between 10:00 and 10:30pm however got distracted by a movie that came on television which didn’t finish until just before midnight. Five hours sleep always used to be enough for me to be able to function, however in the past year I have found that I can’t function as well off that amount of sleep. I have been working off a six to six and a half hour regime but think that I may need to try and get seven hours sleep a night regularly as I go into 2013. One of the advantages with this next four weeks is that I get to work on finding the “right” bed time for me to be able to not just survive but function at my best in the coming year.

I am sure as the next year progresses I will need to reassess amount of sleep and things will change, but if I  have a plan it is always easier to readjust it after having been proactive than just being purely reactive in all things.

Here’s to a (hopefully) earlier night tonight and a great run tomorrow morning!

Mondays are Always a Struggle

Day Forty Two – Monday 12th of March 2012.

It was really difficult to get out of bed this morning when my alarm went off at 5:30am. I don’t know if it is because of this head cold I have or if it is just the repercussions of the busy lifestyle that I am living but my body is just feeling tired a lot, I am not seeming to recover over the weekend period…That is something that will need to be addressed going forward further into the year, it is only March after all!

After much internal fighting with myself I managed to convince myself to go and do some sort of session, even if it was a light one. On top of being tired my left leg is feeling quite numb today due to some vaccination boosters I had yesterday. I didn’t want to overdo the session due to this soreness in my leg so a light session sounded like a good option.

I arrived at the gym quite late (6:15am) and was on the bike by just after 6:20am. Today was going to be super light with no pushing myself at all, it was more a matter of doing something today rather than intensity. I set the bike to an effort of three (half what I usually use) and started off. I was only going to ride for a total of 20 minutes today, as I needed to make sure I wasn’t late for work at 7:30am. By the end of the 20 minutes I had ridden only 9km, I had gotten up a little bit of a sweat but nowhere my usual efforts.

Tomorrow I will continue to try and rebuild and refocus, hopefully it will get easier as the week progresses…

What Do We Do When We Fail?

Day 38 – Thursday 8th March 2012.

THis week has been probably the most difficult week of the Fitness Training 2012 I have had experienced so far. After weeks of feeling like I could just do it all really easily I have found that I have hit a wall with regards to everything from training to writing my posts to overall energy. Ok, the posts writing has just been because I have found it really difficult to just get a moment to do it between teaching, study and spending time with Melis but the other factors have been just a lack of being motivated.

I ended up having the whole long weekend off training and I feel that this really might have had something to do with it due to a loss of momentum. That all being said, I have tried to get back into good routine but have just found it difficult.

The last few days I have been reminded of line from the latest Batman movies,

What do we do when we fail?

We pick ourselves back up again.

This is really what I am trying to do this week, failure itself does not dictate how successful I am going to be, in fact as motivational speaker and leader John Maxwell would say, the one common trait all successful leaders have is that they have failed continuously, it is however a matter of how you deal with that failure and pick yourself back up.

Todays session was an ok one, I have found myself feeling tired a lot recently. I got to the gym just after 6:00am and was on the treadmill for my 20 minute run by 6:10. The run went well, my nose being blocked made it hard to breath but I did manage my usual start to the session with running at speeds of 7.5, 10, 12.5 and finally 10km/h in 5 minute intervals. The distance covered by the end was the usual 3.33km.

I moved onto the bike for my ride, whilst I would have loved to have ridden for 15 minutes I did only manage 10minutes and covered 5.32km in this time. A little disappointing and definitely a lot more work will be needed to get things rolling again properly.

I will endeavour to get back into my daily posts…I jst have to make the time ensure it gets done I guess!

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