Saturday, 16 February 2008

What's news?

Well, it's been a while since I blogged. Fortunately, that doesn't reflect a corresponding lack of exercise. The WOW program started up at the gym on 4th February, so I've been getting myself along to the gym most days since then. It's pretty much like last year's Biggest Loser challenge, with a few minor modifications. Our gym has managed to sign up two teams. I don't know any of the other participants as yet, but I'm sure that will change over the next 12 weeks.

Because I'm at the gym so much I'm trying to mix up what I'm doing. I have actually used cardio equipment that isn't a treadmill. I've even managed to last on the cross-trainer for longer than 15 minutes. That's quite an effort for me as I find that machine particularly boring. I've made the effort and warmed up on the stationary bike too - another machine that I don't much like. Oh, and I tried out a couple of the programs on the treadmill, to discover that I much prefer doing my own thing and running.

I've also been getting back into my weights program. One thing I've missed with the "new" PT way is having my own program card. I've filled up the last one that I got from Krissi, so I'll have to organise myself and ask for one. They used to leave them on the filing cabinet, but that doesn't seem to be the case now. Of course, I could just buy myself a training diary and do my own thing. In fact, I might do that, as I'm not getting to update my blog with my training lately. I like keeping track of it, as I enjoy seeing how I'm progressing.

Some good news on the knee front. I worked hard to rest it, doing squats to a max of 30 degrees, catching the lift at work instead of walking down the stairs etc, and it's much much better. Funnily enough, it was Yoga that helped me to realise how much it had improved. There's a pose you do where you lie on the floor with your feet flopped out sideways. I've heard it called the corpse pose, which isn't exactly confidence inspiring. Anyway, when I was doing that, my left leg always felt under tension but the other day it was completely relaxed. Of course, I immediately decided that meant I could go back to normal, so I did. My knee wasn't exactly 100% happy but my mind is in charge of my knee and not the other way around!

PT with Krissi has been every bit as much fun as ever. The last two sessions have been fairly similar. They started off with 10 mins on the bike (yep, I hate it as much as ever) and then Krissi stretched me while I was warm. I've been feeling really tight so that's been better than ever. Last week it was my hammies that were making sure I knew I'd been working hard and this week it was my quads. I guess they figure they'll take turns.

After that I did squats while holding a medicine ball. The first time I did this I was imagining how I was going to describe this on my blog. Now this was the first day I felt good on my knee so I was a little apprehensive about doing full squats. The medicine ball immediately took my mind off my legs. Instead I was fascinated by the 5.46 kg sign on it. I was holding the ball by the handles straight out in front of me. It seemed easy enough for all of the time it took me to read that 5.46 kg.

The first time I think we did three sets of 15 squats, holding on the fifth squat each time but yesterday we did three sets of 20. I have to admit that my arms had definitely improved during the week. The couple of extra sessions at the gym made a huge difference and it took longer for me to hug the ball to my tummy instead of holding it out straight in front of me.

I'm getting better at hamstring curls. It amazes me that the exercise never seems to get any easier even though I do it so much better now. Mind you, I feel it in my butt now instead of in my calves. I seem to get myself off line somehow so Krissi is now going to work on getting me to do it in a straight line. It looks like I'm using my stronger leg more so I'm going to try concentrating on pulling the ball back with both legs. I tried to focus on my left leg for the last few yesterday and ended up with the giggles as I fell off the ball. We did three sets of 15 of those too.

I like that I've progressed to doing three sets. I feel so much stronger. Also, when I'm working on my own I know I can start off with two sets while I'm struggling with an exercise and then progress to three when it starts getting easy.

The other week Krissi had me do shoulder presses with 4 kg weights and then chest presses with 7.5 kg weights after I had already exhausted my poor old arms with that massive medicine ball. Well, by the time we got to the chest presses I was done. Krissi had to help me through two wobbly sets of 10 reps. I don't think I managed even one press unassisted. This week she swapped the order around and I got through two sets of 12 chest presses with just a little help for my left arm. I was really pleased as I've been working on this one at the gym. I then did the two sets of 12 shoulder presses, and again I only needed a little help with my left arm in the second set.

I then did the wide grip lateral pull down (yep, I did eventually find out the name of the exercise). Two sets of 12 reps with 20 kg I think. The way I count though, it could have been something else. I've discovered that when I start to lose the action of squeezing my shoulder blades together that pushing my chest forward helps. When Krissi was telling me this I was quite amused. All those years of trying to de-emphasise my chest and now I'm pushing it out there. Still, it makes the exercise so much easier.

We've been working on my plank and I'm managing 60 seconds comfortably now. Well, relatively comfortably. Yesterday I did it twice in a row with a 60 second rest in between. The week before I alternated it with the lat pulldown.

Krissi now has me doing situps where she holds my feet down and I slide my hands along my legs until my wrists reach the end of my knees, and then roll myself back down under control. Well, yesterday I may have rushed down rather than rolled down, but I'm getting better at this one too. I do so love seeing steady improvement.

I went for my first outdoor run in ages last weekend. I headed out to run 5 km on Saturday morning. Because I hadn't been out there for a while I decided I wasn't going to worry about time. Instead I planned to enjoy myself and I did. I ran past a little old lady pushing a pram with a poodle walking along beside her. I was thinking "oh, isn't that sweet, granny with her grandchild". When I reached her she had a spaniel in the pram. Just as sweet but rather amusing.

I played hockey again on Sunday. It wasn't nearly as much fun as the previous week because my quads were complaining about having to run fast. Despite the pain I was glad to be there. I guess I'll eventually get used to playing. The Chinese Women's hockey team were there training when we played. Wow. Were they ever impressive?!?

This week I've had a slightly quieter week as I was in Melbourne for work on Wednesday and Thursday and I travelled back again this weekend. I'm planning to run with Kathryn tomorrow, which should be a lot of fun.


jojo said...

hey matey..sounds like constant improvement..and you now have the gym lingo down you little gym bunny you

MorseyRuns said...

A dog in the pram?? I hope the baby wasn't left at home in the kennel in some bizarre alzheimers mix up??

lg said...

Sounds like that dog is very loved!

Great work at the gym - it's always motivational to see improvements

Andrew(ajh) said...

Nice to see you blogging again. Good to see you're keeping up the exercise too!