Consistent Progress

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 8.

Week 8, the final week of students being at school. While many people would think that this would mean teachers are currently thinking of school holidays and some downtime over the Christmas period, they’d be surprised to find the number of tasks still needing to get done including: marking and finalising marks for reports, course preparation for 2018, professional development planning, ensemble preparation and event organisation. Usually in the past my exercise regime falls by the wayside in these stressful times, I have a habit of getting on tracked and neglecting other important areas of my life.

I have kept to my traditional routine of cardio-vascular sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with weights sessions on Tuesday and Thursday.

My cardio sessions showed a lot of improvement, which I am delighted in. Each day consisted of me spending 15 minutes on the bike, the resistance was still quite low at 5, but I managed to get the RPM consistently between 90 – 100. This meant that I not only got a good warm up but felt breathless at the end of it. I managed to introduce the ergo this week, 5 minutes of intensity with eh resistance on the highest possible , 10. I managed to keep my stroke rate above 30, usually 32 strokes per minute and completed 500 metres in between 2 – 2minutes and 10 seconds. The cardio session finished with a 10 minute run at 10km/h, my highest setting since starting the challenge.

The good results seemed to have continued with the weights sessions. I managed to get the 10kg dumbbells on both days (first time for that!) and used them for a number of exercises including, shoulder fly, bicep curls and tricep extensions. I pushed myself for the bench and shoulder press, using the 15kg dumbbells on Tuesday before bumping up to the 17.5kg on the Thursday. I managed to complete the 12 repetitions on each exercise, there was considerable burn and fatigue on the Thursday session with the 17.5kgs for the shoulder presses.

Overall, I am really happy with the progress made during the week. My attention now turns to this coming week. It will be a challenging one due to the change of routine. The students have left school, I still have Professional Development throughout the week, but as most people know, any change of routine can have a negative effect if one is not diligent.

Here’s to a week of due diligence and discipline!

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Inconsistent Posting Doesn’t Mean Inconsistent Sessions

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 7.

I have had an interesting few weeks regarding my fitness challenge for this term. Interesting not because of a lack of motivation or commitment to actually getting to the gym, in fact I’ve been quite impressed with my consistency, but rather that I have struggled to find the time to write an extensive review of each week’s session with any level of accuracy. I think that the reason behind this is because I have been leaving it until the end of the week to start it, making the task seem much larger than it needs to be. One way that I have considered combatting this is by writing a short reflection each day adding it to the larger post. The habit could tie in with my Trumpet Challenge posting, basically finish the practice session and then spend five minutes writing on each. We’ll wait and see whether I can commit to this throughout this week!

One thing that I do wan tot be clear on though, I have been doing great at getting tot he gym and putting in hard yards consistently.

To recap the last two weeks:

Week 5.

I managed to get all five session complete this week. I am pretty stoked that this was the case. All sessions went well, being able to stretch and push myself that little bit further.

Week 6.

I only managed four session during this week, I missed Friday. The reason behind missing Friday’s session was a bout of food poisoning that I cam down with on Thursday  at around 7:45am. Whilst I was over the symptoms but Friday morning I decided to take a day off to recover as I hadn’t eaten anything since Wednesday evening.

Week 7

Monday – Cardio.

This session went reasonably well. I was a little late to the gym which resulted in me cutting the session short. I only managed 15 minutes on the cycle before heading into school as my right calf has been quite tight and I don’t want to pull anything. Hopefully this will take care of itself throughout the next few days so I can pick up intensity again.

Tuesday – Free Weights.

I managed to hit the gym for a productive free-weights session on the Tuesday morning. I was a little concerned with how this session would go, largely due to waking up a little later than usual. I’m finding that it’s a little more challenging for me to get out of bed with it now being in Week 7 of the school term (energy levels are a little low).

I arrived at the gym just after 6:00am and hit my first snag, I thought there wasn’t a spare bench. After doing some looking I did managed to find one and moved it into position between two other benches, hopefully the other gym members didn’t mind as I encroached on their space a little.

My next problem, no weights between 9 and 15 kg…time to be creative! I used this as an opportunity to increase the dumb-bells being used for my bench and shoulder press by moving up to the 15 kg. his additional resistance was countered by use of 8kg dumbbells for flys, bicep curls and tricep extensions. The shoulder presses were probably the most exerting, especially the last two on each set, I did manage to complete my three sets of twelve so I am satisfied overall.

Wednesday – Cardio.

I had a great Cardio session on Wednesday morning. I arrived at the gym just after 6:00am again, the struggle to get out of bed continued. I made a conscious decision to push myself this morning both on the bike and the run afterwards. I managed to elevate the RPM on the cycle to an average of 95, which I was happy with. The run started at 8.5km/h before moving up to 9km/h, 9.5km/h and, finally, 10km/h in 2 minute intervals.

My legs felt fatigued at the end, but it was a good feeling!

Thursday – Free Weights.

I mangled to replicate the Tuesday sessions except for one small detail, the 10kg dumb-bells were also free. I am excited that I got out all of my sets with the 15km / 10kg dumb-bell combination. There was a little bit of struggle at the end of each set so I feel that I’m at about the right level of resistance for now. Looking forward to being able to push the further in the coming weeks!

Friday – Cardio.

This was my latest start to the week – I got on the bike at 6:15am which is very disappointing. I pushed myself hard through the 15 minutes and then had a choice, do I leave to get to school at my usual time or do I run? I compromised and ran for 5 minutes on the treadmill, but this time straight onto the 10km/h. I would have liked to have gotten the 10 minutes in but knew I was strapped for time to fit in all the commitments I had before my full day school meeting was beginning.

Reflection.

I’m happy with the progress made this week. My biggest downfall is still the going to bed at a decent hour. Hopefully I can work not his in the coming week and keep pushing to reach new levels and achievements!

 

 

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Back on Track

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 4.

After the disappointment that I experienced in my Fitness Challenge last week through missing a day on Friday. I was determined to make this coming week one of success, setting a consistent routine of 5 days and hopefully setting some new PBs since starting this challenge.

Monday- Cardio Vascular.

The week started with my cardio session. I was keen to get in a good session but got to the gym slightly later than usual (approximately 6:00am). I managed to jump on the bike and complete 15 minutes with the RPM at approximately 90 and a resistance level of 5. Whilst I am relatively happy with this I’d like to look at either increasing the RPM, the resistance or both.

I then continued my session on the treadmill with a 10 minute run. I wanted to try to continue to build on the work done in previous weeks by increasing the speed, I managed to keep it at 8.5km/h for the entire run. Ideally, this will be increased closer to the 10km/h over the course of this week.

Tuesday – Weights.

My weights session went quite well for my Tuesday session. I managed to get a bench relatively easily and also got both he 12.5kg and 10 kg dumb bells (which is a difficult feat). I completed my 3 x 12 rep sets on bench press, shoulder press, shoulder fly and bicep curls before changing to the 9kg dumb bells for the tricep extensions. I am still cautious of the pain in my right shoulder when I lift the dumb bell into position for the tricep extension. I have found that supporting the shoulder with my left hand has assisted in this.

 

Wednesday – Cardio Vascular.

I managed to get up and to the gym in excellent time this morning, by 5:50am. This was really important for today’s session as it is my earlier start at school with a 7:00am for a big band rehearsal. I completed a session similar to my Monday one, unfortunately there were no gains in my cycling there were, however, gains in the run with me increasing the speed to 9km/h. Whilst this does not seem like a significant increase it has had a positive effect on the outlook of the challenge…maybe I am starting to get a little fitter.

Thursday – Weights.

My weights session went quite well this morning. Unfortunately there were some hiccups with the weights available as I could only get the 12.5kg and 8 kg dumb-bell sets. I managed to compete all of my routine quite easily as a result of this reduced weight. I tried to counter this through increasing the intensity and reducing rest times between each set. It serves me right for getting to the gym a little later than usual! There’s a huge difference between 5:50 and 6:00am.

Friday – Cardio Vascular.

I have managed it, five sessions in the week!

It feels really good to have completed another full week of the challenge and gotten things back on track. I completed a cardio session identical to my previous ones for the week. I am a little disappointed that I haven’t gone the extra mile and completed any ergo sessions, perhaps that’s something that I can add into Week 5 a little more consistently.

Other work that would be nice to start adding in is some work on my abs, perhaps a different exercise each day to keep it interesting as I do find abs the most boring to work and commit to.

Week in Review.

I am absolutely wrapped to be able to say I completed my five sessions. There’s some improvement in the quality of sessions that I can address as I head into Week 5, especially the cardio through adding in the ergo for five minutes and an abs routine for each day. I might look at varying the abs routine to keep it interesting (Sit-ups and planks one day; obliques and extensions alternate).

The other area I still need to work on is my diet. Whilst I have worked own reducing the amount of snacks and am no longer eating many chips (crisps) I still am finding I am eating a little too much chocolate. I guess more self control is needed when I go to the shops to buy berries and mangos as a snack for the evening!

On a positive note, I have increased my water intake each day. I will try to keep at the 2 – 3 litres in the coming week.

 

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A Slight Hiccup

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 3.

Week Three was proving to be another strong week. I really was feeling that a good routine had been setup, I was feeling fresh, enthusiastic and really keen to not miss a day and I didn’t, until Friday.

A slight hiccup occurred, certain circumstances outside of my control lead to me having to miss my early morning Friday session. I had then planned to go for a run during one of my breaks at school, unfortunately, again, due to circumstances outside my control this could not happen either.

Monday – Cardio-Vascular.

I am aware that in a lot of ways Mondays are the hardest session in the week to commit to. I also believe that they are the most important. I always find it difficult to get out of bed after the weekend, I love my job but it’s the longest point until another break making the motivation at times not high. I have also found that if I commit to Monday the other sessions become easier during the week. Similarly, the intensity of my Monday training also sets the intensity for the week. It is my thermostat day so to speak.

I arrived at the gym a little later this morning, I didn’t get out of bed until 5:40am rather than the 5:20am. More attention is going to be needed to be given to my alarm and getting up straight away, no more snoozes!

Despite this slightly later start I did manage to do the same routine as on Friday last week; 15 minutes cycle; 5 minutes ergo; 10 minutes run. No world records were set today but the intensity was good and I headed off to school and my trumpet challenge practice feeling that the week had started as positively as I possibly could.

Tuesday – Weights Session.

For the second day in a row I arrived a little later at the gym, these bed times need to improve! This caused some problems with the weights I had available and also getting bench to work with – 10 minutes makes a huge difference!

Luckily, I noticed a bench under the Smith’s Machine, I grabbed it and repositioned for use with the free weights. The only weights I could get today were the 12.5kg and 8 kg weights which cause a few issues for some of the exercises. I managed to complete the chest and shoulder press with the 12.5kg but had to use the 8 kg weights for the other exercises. To ensure an intense workout, I worked muscle groups in pairs through alternating exercises with little break between. Bench press worked with should fly; Shoulder Press with Bicep Curls; Triceps at end. I wanted to do my lat pulldown again but the machines were busy so I headed to the abs area to complete a series of setups.

Wednesday – Cardio Vascular.

A disappointing session due to sleeping in. I managed to only get out the 15 minute in the bike before having to shower and change for school’s 7:00am rehearsal.

Thursday – Free Weights.

Today was a better session, largely due to getting up on time and to the gym to start before 6:00am . I managed to get the weights I needed for the workout being the 12.5kg and 10kg dumb-bells and worked on the muscle groups in the same combination as Tuesday’s session. I swapped the heavier dumbbells for 9kg weights for the triceps, I’d like to try the 10kg but am cautious as I do not want to re-injured my shoulder while lifting the weight into position.

Friday – Cardio Vascular.

I had intended to complete a hard cardio session this morning. Unfortunately, the best made plans can be turned on their head very quickly. Some family difficulties arose which resulted in em not leaving the house until later 7:00am. Rather than miss my Trumpet Challenge practice I decided that I could probably get a run in on campus grounds during one of my breaks (during the last two periods of the day). This didn’t eventuate due to being allocated a relief class at that time.

Weekly Reflections.

I am again happy with the progress made during the week. Of course, there is some disappointment about Friday’s missed day, but sometimes these things can’t be helped and one of the things I am truly focusing on in life is omg;y worrying about the things in your power to change or effect. There’s no pint losing positivity or energy over decision or factors that aren’t your to control (easier said then done).

I have eaten a little more junk food than I wanted this week, something I will try and rectify in the coming week.

I am really looking forward to next week’s sessions and, hopefully, getting back to the full five days.

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Positive Steps

Term Four Fitness Challenge Review – Week 2.

I am feeling a great sense of achievement from this last week’s fitness sessions. Not that I have broken any world records or even personal best, but rather that I have managed to complete a full five days work outs without having to shorten any of them. I honestly cannot remember the last time that this has occurred!

My sessions incorporated a range of cardio-vascular and free weights routines. I completed three cardio vascular routines over the days Monday, Wednesday and Friday with free weights session on the Tuesday and Thursday to break up the routine. I will try to give an overview of each session below and then a few additional reflections.

Monday – Cardio-Vascular.

This was my first cardio session since the slight hamstring strain I experienced last Monday at indoor soccer. I did not know how the session was going to go, I wanted to get the most out out of it but also not tear of pull anything – a fine balance to keep.

Arriving at the gym just before 6:00am, I was on the bike for 15 minutes to start this session. I didn’t push myself too hard with the resistance only on 5 and the rpm at approximately 90 rpm. Eventually I will aim to work this back up to the 100 rpm but I did manage to work up a sweat and become short of breath – I guess that this shows how unfit I really am!

After completing my cycle session I proceeded to the treadmill for a 1o minute run. I made the decision that this week I would not reintroduce the ergo until the end of the week to give my legs a little more time to recover. I proceeded with the treadmill on 10km/h for the first few minutes, this was causing me a little trouble beyond what I was comfortable with so, not wanting to cause an injury, I reduce the speed to 8km/h which I held for the remainder of the time.

I am happy with this effort for my first session back into cardio, it will give me a good base to build from over the coming weeks.

Tuesday – Free Weights.

I have continued to focus my free weights sessions on lighter weights with higher intensity / less rest the between sets. Today’s session saw me using the 10kg weights for my chest press, should press, shoulder fly and bicep curls. I then changed down to the 8kg weights for tricep curls. I am still conscious of the long standing injury I have to my right shoulder, this is particularly sore when moving the weight into place for the tricep curl.

I managed to complete all the exercises relatively well, I think that Thursday’s session will involve me increasing some of the weights.

Wednesday – Cardio-Vascular

My Wednesday session needs to be short and sweet due to my earlier start at school with a 7:00am ensemble rehearsal. I managed to mirror the session I did on Monday, again finding that it was the right balance between exerting without over exerting.

Thursday – Free Weights.

I kept the same routine as I did on Tuesday’s session. One problem I encountered were the weights that were available. I managed to get some 12.5kg weights for the chest and shoulder presses but could not get 10 kg dumb-bells for the biceps. I dropped the weight of the biceps to 9kg which I also used for the tricep curls and should fly.

The lat machine was free on this day, I added in three sets of twelve reps with a low weight resistance to my routine to start working my lats again.

Friday – Cardio Vascular.

The final session of the week. I am wrapped to be able dos ay that I have completed a full five days! This session saw me push myself a little harder on the bike, increasing the rpm to an average 95. I also added in the ego for the first time, boy did it hurt! I completed five minutes holding my stroke rate at 30 strokes per minute and an average 500m split of just over two minutes.

The session finished with my ten minute run on the treadmill. The speed of this was not increased due to me not wanting to overdo things after my ergo introduction.

Weekly Reflections.

The week has been a success overall. Five session is making me feel pretty good. Other positives is that I have continued to cut out the junk food, very little chocolate and chips have been consumed during this week!

One area that I will need to continue to focus on is my bedtime routine and getting to bed at a decent hour. By the end of the week I am finding myself feeling quite tired due to that bedtime curfew going out the window a little too often.

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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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Get in Shape Challenge Day 80 – Thursday 3rd November

The last 24 hours has been a really interesting time for me, a mixture of extreme highs and extreme lows. No, I am not bi-polar although being a musician it is possible to have quite large emotional swings, I am talking about the glories of winning a Grand Final  when combined with the disappointment of lack of discipline in missing this morning’s weights session.

Last night’s indoor soccer game for the grand final was an absolute cracker, we won it 3-2 largely due to a great effort from every player on the team. My decision to take the extra day rest yesterday was a really good one with me having to play the majority of the second half, especially after two of our players went down injured, one with a strained groin and the other from a dirty tackle. I must have played an alright game as I won the “player of the final” award for best on ground. It is something that I wasn’t expecting at all as I feel there were a number of better players out there than me on the night.

Moving from the highs of a grand final victory to the lows of not getting a session done this morning. I woke up at 5:10am when my alarm went off but rolled over and turned it off. There are no words to describe the disappointment I feel from doing this. It is true that last night I didn’t sleep overly well due to the heat and humidity, however it really needs to make no difference what the weather conditions are like. I imagine that over summer there will be plenty of hot summer days and nights, if I let that stop me from training then I will miss more sessions than I will be able to count. Tomorrow is a cardio day, ideally I think I might try and get both a cardio and weights in as Saturday is my buck’s party and the all day festivities will hinder my usual training routine.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 79 – Wednesday 2nd November

I made the extremely difficult decision today to take an extra days rest due to the importance of tonight’s indoor soccer grand final. I hadn’t fully made this decision until my alarm went off this morning at 5:00am as I really was torn as to what the best thing to do was.

My reasoning for taking the day off includes that I have been injured and whilst I am feeling really good today I didn’t want to risk the chance of redoing my calf and not being able to play. The other important factor is I feel that tonight I will need to do a lot of running and a lot of work off the ball if we are to get over the line, this will take me being fully prepared and ready to go not just physically but also mentally. So rest day it is.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 78 – Tuesday 1st November

Today marked the opportunity for me to get back into the gym in my first session since injuring my calf last Wednesday night in our indoor soccer semi-final. when my alarm went off at 5:00am I will be the first to admit that it really was a struggle to get out of bed, whilst Im a waking up alright at this time the combination of having gotten used to a little extra sleep and my hay fever (which has been exceptionally bad for weeks now) did make quite difficult to do. After a moment of hesitation I was up and out the door heading for the gym in Subiaco.

I arrived at the gym at 5:45am and had to wait outside as it was not open yet, I have found it interesting how more people are up and at the gym first thing now that it is light by this time. The gym doors opened at 5:55am and after dropping off my things I headed for the bench to start my weights session. The bench press went quite well, I had no idea after missing two sessions what the outcome would be so I loaded the bar to 65kg to warm up and managed a full 12 repetitions. My next set I managed to get out 7 repetitions on 75kg before a final set of only 2 on 77.5kg. It is a bit of a disappointing outcome and I hope that come Thursday I can improve on this.

My next lot of exercises I was quite happy with the results I got. I did drop down the weight back to the 25kg dumb-bells for the incline bench press from the 27.5kg I used last week, I figured that with having missed two sessions it would be pretty arrogant to think I could just smash out where I left off when I really pushed hard to do this weight last week. With the 25kg dumb-bell I managed to get out three sets of 12 repetitions but the last set was a real struggle, especially the getting them up and into position, in other words it was a good move from me to drop the weight. In between these sets I did my vertical lifts with the 12.5kg dumb-bells, I managed these ones alright and got out all three sets of 12 repetitions.

As with the incline press I dropped my weight back to 29kg for the shoulder press, I knew that anything above this would be a big struggle for me to get out (and maybe even up into position). With this lighter weight I did manage to always get the weights into position, the last set was extremely difficult to, and did manage sets of 12, 12 and 9 repetitions. My bicep curls I did in between with the 12.5kg dumb-bells and managed to do 3 sets of 12 repetitions.

My arms were starting to feel quite tired at this stage but I was determined to push through and make this session a really good one. With this in mind i changed over onto a flat bench and got myself two 15kg dub-bells to do my sitting shoulder flies. I managed three sets of 12 repetitions with these (a new personal best) and also got out three sets of 12 repetitions on the triceps extensions with the 12.5kg dumb-bells in between each set of flies.The following dead lifts were also successful with 3 sets of 12 repetitions each arm wit the 22.5kg dumb-bell.

The lat-pulldown machines were all being used at this stage so I moved onto my bicep curls using the 35kg bar-bell and the triceps dips. I found the curls quite difficult today and only managed sets of 12, 9 and 6 repetitions before my arms were failing, as usual I did manage all three set of the dips with 12 repetitions each. With the time being limited that I had and the machines still all being used I decided to finish off my workout with some abdominal work. I went and got myself a medium sized fit-ball and did 30 sit ups on it – it is quite amusing to me doing this as although there are such lower repetitions really I am really feeling it through my abs when doing this here – no cramping today though thank goodness.

Today’s session i feel was a good start to get back into the routine. I am not sure as to whether I will come tomorrow and do a light cardio session as we do have the grand final on tomorrow night and are playing a very good team. It might mean an additional rest day before hitting the gym again on Thursday.

Get in Shape Challenge Day 77 – Monday 31st October

I was hoping to get today’s session in this afternoon, unfortunately as I feared yesterday the hay fever season has beaten me, it just didn’t happen.

I suppose that it would be possible to look on it from a positive point of view being that it does give me extra time for my left calf to recover before the indoor soccer grand final that is happening on Wednesday night. I still can’r hide some of my disappointment as I was really hoping to get the session done. My only hope now can be that tomorrow morning I can get up early to get the Tuesday morning weights session done.

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