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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A hopeful fresh start

Today’s post on how my current fitness and exercise regime is going is one that, hopefully, will be one of change and hope. To be honest, my fitness regime has been terrible over the past few weeks. There’s been many reasons behind that, not getting to bed at an adequate time, not getting enough sleep, work stresses all of a few that has really impacted my overall health and well being.  I am hoping that some of my most recent changes to lifestyle will assist in getting things back on track as I desperately need it!

This morning I manage to get up and get a reasonably decent cardio session in, at least from a time perspective. This happened as a result of the decision to get to bed at a reason

 

able time (10:30pm) as well as being able to sleep through until my alarm went off at 5:30am . I’ll be honest, it was difficult to get out of bed, extremely difficult, due to the cold and darkness but I managed to do this and get to the gym. At the gym I managed to get in a good 15 minute ride on the bike before finishing with a 10 minute run. I didn’t do ground breaking times, but I am hopeful that I can build on these efforts tomorrow morning.

My aim for this week is to get to the gym each morning (Tuesday – Friday) and complete four cardio sessions. If I am successful at this then I will look at changing things next week to have three cards (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) with two weights sessions (Tuesday and Thursday). I foresee the most difficult day will be Thursday as I have Catholic Schools Performing Arts Festival tomorrow night for the Concert Band session. This means I’l be having a late night and the early start the next day is always a challenge to navigate after this!

There’s a lot going on at the moment in life in general, a lot of change and decisions that I need to make moving forward in life. Some of these will be significant changes that will have big effect. I need to make sure that these are made in the right frame of mind, with a clear head and unburdened spirit. I find that a regular exercise routine, when combined with prayer are necessities to enable this.

I won’t be posting every day, however, I hope that in my next post I’ll be able to report that I have been successful in committing to a regular routine!

Bring on 5:30am tomorrow morning!

Steps in the Right Direction

For the first time in a long while it feels like I have taken some steps in the right direction regarding my fitness regime. I will be honest, there’s a lot of work still to do and I’m not there every morning, but I seem to be having more mornings at the gym than not…that’s got to be a good thing, right?

I have changed my routine slightly, hoping that it will keep a little more accountable due to there being more variety. I have started doing some resistance training again, especially using free weights. This is supposed to happen each Tuesday and Thursday with the Monday, Wednesday and Friday spots reserved for cardio focused work.

I want to get to the stage of doing abs work every day, for now it’s only with the cardio days. Let’s give me a little while to get back into it first!!!

I don’t have any misconceptions about some awesomeness on my behalf, I’ll aim for five days a week but if I fall short then it’s ok, I have to be realistic given the season of life. All I know is that I am going to be better off from giving it a shot and having a target to aim for then to just throw in the towel and give up all together.

Here’s to being up at 5:30am tomorrow in the freezing cold!!!

 

A Long Time Between Fitness Posts

Thursday 5th March 2015.

Whilst it has been a long time since I have posted any fitness updates to my webpage I can honestly say that I have been pleasantly surprised with the level of consistency I have retained over a long period of time.

2014 ended up being my best year regarding regular exercise, I didn’t miss a weekday from half way through July through to mid-December when I was holidaying on Rottnest (and even on Rotto I managed to fit in three 15km runs).

I did have some down time after Rottnest, not a lot happened exercise wise from Rottnest through to my return to school at the end of January, however, I have managed to pickup the routine again already with me not missing a weekday since returning to school.

I am yet to decide what my goals are fitness wise for this year, I have tossed up with the idea of running a Half Marathon at the end of May (HBF Run for a Reason) and then maybe the Half Marathon City to Surf in August as well. My first challenge will be at the beginning of May at school, the Inter-House Cross Country. I have challenged the boys in my Tutor Group (the Pastoral Care Form Class I have every morning) that for every boy who beats me I will donate $10 to charity. I am confident that there’s probably only one boy who will beat me, the fastest in the Year 9 cohort, however I’d like to even give it a good crack to beat him.

My training is consisting currently of a 20 minute cycle, I consistently am riding 10km in this time, followed by a 10 minute run running 5 minute kms. Today I increased the time running to 15 minutes keeping the same pace with tomorrow the aim being for 20 minutes at this pace. I would like to be able to work towards keeping a sub-5 minute km pace over an extended distance, I know this will take a bit of work and more attention to my diet.

The biggest hurdle to my achieving my best results is probably going to be related to sleep, particularly getting enough of it. I am still getting up at 5:15am every morning to exercise before work, however I haven’t been too disciplined with going to bed so far this year. This is starting to now make me feel that little more tired first thing in the morning and it’s harder to motivate myself to really push to my fullest capacity when at the gym.

There’s no time like the present to really get cracking!!!

Consistency is the Key to Success in the Long Term

Day 275 – Tuesday 30th September 2014 – Cardiovascular Session.

It’s been a long time since I have sat down to write a fitness update on how I am going in reaching my 2014 goals that I set out in “New Beginnings”. The year has proved to be a busy one and finding the time to sit down regularly and write about my fitness journey has proved challenging if not impossible on a regular basis. Having said this though, it has been pleasing to see me get into a good routine over the past eleven weeks of the year in completing cardio sessions.

Day 193_1I did have a troubled part of the year from mid-February through until the end of May, usually this would write me off for the remainder of the year, it is so difficult to get back into habit once you have lost it. I have been pleased that this hasn’t been the case, since the middle of July I have completed five cardio sessions almost every week, I have been rising at 5:15am and getting done a combination of riding, running and rowing with some abdominal work thrown in there over the past few weeks.  Since this date I have only missed four training days, this has always occurred as a result of me sleeping through my alarm clock in the morning (usually due to it not going off because of a flat battery).

In this time I have increased my average cycle distance from 10km in 20 minutes to averaging over 11km in 20 minutes with a personal best up at 11.5km. I have increased the work load adding in a 5 minute row on the ergo and a 10 minute run, the run is now slowly increasing in its intensity as well and I hope to be able to increase the length of this run in the coming weeks.

I did find that yesterday’s session is the headrest one that I have completed for a very long time due to the nature of it. The gym was closed until 9:00am with it being a public holiday in Perth, I know my weaknesses and that I would not complete any exercise if it wasn’t done early so I decided to go for a run. This is the first outdoor run of any distance that I have completed for a long time, and I didn’t hold back as I completed 10km inside 50 minutes. My legs started to burn towards the end of it, and I knew that they’d be sore later but I didn’t mind as it was quite an achievement for myself.

Today has been difficult, my legs are so sore and the session this morning at the gym I had to take easy due to fatigue. I did manage to complete my 20 minutes on the bike, riding only 9.8km, a 5 minute ergo and 10 minute run before spending a decent amount of time stretching out some sore and tired muscles.

I really enjoyed my run, moving forward I think I will need to incorporate one longer run a week into my program. I don’t overly want to drop a gym session so it might mean moving to a six day a week program. My program will need to change in the next week as I try to restart my weights program, there’s been very little of this done so far this year…things are about to get a bit more painful.

Back into the Routine of Things

Day 13 – Monday 13th January 2014 – Cardiovascular Session.

Today saw me return to the gym and my regular routine for the first time since injuring my calf muscle. Today was a planned cardiovascular workout day and I was keen to complete a worthwhile session to make up for the missed sessions due to the calf strain.

Whilst I was keen to put in a good session I was also aware of not pushing things too hard as I would not want to cause further disruption to my routine and I have an indoor soccer game tonight that I want to be fighting fit for. To ensure that I would get through this session I decided to keep away from running on the treadmill instead opting for a long ride followed by a longer session on the rowing machine before finishing with an additional ride.

I arrived at the gym and headed for the cycles, my first ride was a 20 minute cycle with a medium resistance set. I managed to keep a relatively good speed up and had completed a distance of 10km inside the 20minutes. My upper legs, particularly glutes, were hurting towards the end of the ride but at this stage my calf was feeling quite good.

The row was next on the agenda today,  I was going to complete a 10 minute row instead of my usual 5 minutes. The row probably wasn’t the most intense one that I have ever done though I did manage to keep my stroke rate up at the 30 strokes per minute and my average 500m split around the 2 minute and 5 second mark.

I finished the cardio part of the session with another ten minute cycle. Managing to keep the intensity up I rode an additional 5km in this time.

I then headed to the stretching abs area and completed three sets of fifty sit ups before doing a comprehensive stretch.

Tomorrow is supposed to be my next weights day, I am looking forward to getting into completing another one. So far getting back into the routine of things is proving quite enjoyable.

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