Saturday, 14 February 2009

Two good exercise sessions

On Friday I did weights with Krissi in the morning and then weights with Allan in the evening. I'm not planning to do that on a regular basis. I just didn't manage to sort out a schedule before my holiday. I thought about cancelling Allan's session, realised that I'd be missing my PT for three weeks and decided to chance the DOMS.

I love the session with Krissi each week. It was pretty much the usual session, a warm up on the bike, squats, hamstring curls, chest presses and abs work. I am squatting a little more weight now, my hamstring curls are getting better (yes, there is always another form improvement available) and my chest presses were fantastic! Yay me. LOL. I worked out that I've been chest pressing 32.5 kg, as the collars weigh 2.5 kg. On Friday morning I managed to do three sets of 12 presses. That's the best I've ever done. Mind you, it was really 11 and a half on the third set, but Krissi told me that she thought I could count it. I was amazed to make 12 the first set let along the second and third.

For abs work, it was crunches, standard, oblique then reverse, followed by a 1 minute bridge. I remember when I couldn't manage to get a single set of 10 crunches done, let alone hold my legs up in the air for 12 crunches. I managed the 1 minute bridge quite well. We're now going to work on my form. It's better than it was but my backside could still come down a bit.

After work I headed off to Elite Physique for my session with Allan. I told him what I'd already done, and he modified my program for me. We started off with shoulder presses. He had me pressing 15 lbs, which is more than I've ever done. I managed the three sets ok. Then he took me off to a machine for more shoulder presses. I was hopeless. There was nothing left. I gathered, although I might be guessing, that we went to the machine to squeeze out as many presses as possible. Because the machine holds your form for you, my arms weren't going to be wobbling all over the place and Allan could work out how much I had left. Mind you, as I said, I could be wrong about the motivation.

We then headed off to do dead lifts. I figured I was up for them. We did the first set with 35 kg on the bar, then we did three sets with 45 kg. I was expecting just two more sets. On the last set, I had to set, then take up the tension and then power up. It was really different to what I'm used to doing.

After that we did leg presses in a machine, then biceps work in a machine, then more walking lunges. It was a good workout.

I'm not sure how much exercise I'll be doing in China. I expect we'll be doing lots of walking. I gather the Wall might be a challenge. Should be fun.

I'm not expecting to get my blog updated over the next three weeks. All the best to you all. Happy running, exercising, and enjoying life in general.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Running and PT

Yesterday was one of those days when I felt like I was back to being the 'old' me, as in the 'I love to exercise' me, not the 'I've been sitting on a couch for the last 10 years me'. I love the way I feel after a good exercise day.

In the morning I went for a run with Krissi. She wasn't feeling too well, so I was doing most of the chatting, to keep her distracted from her upset tummy. I felt like I worked really hard, but I managed the run and the chatter. Mind you, the few times we sped up to catch a pedestrian light, Krissi was still running much faster than me. I think she'd have to be a lot sicker before I had any chance of keeping up!

I had my usual 'feel good all day' feeling after the run. You've got to love endorphins.

In the evening I had PT with Allan. I realised that one of the reasons I'm enjoying this so much is the rapid improvement that you get whenever you do something new. It will be interesting to see if it's as much fun when the gains are smaller. Mind you, I'm determined to enjoy it!

It was pretty much the usual session. I started with dead lifts. A warmup set of half a dozen reps with 10 kg on the bar (35 kg total), then three sets of 12 reps with 20 kg on the bar. It felt really comfortable. I knew what I was doing, I was setting myself up for each lift properly and I didn't need to keep looking down at the bar. Mind you, I was glad we didn't add more weight, as I was struggling to hold the form by the end. My arms were tired and I was finding it hard to concentrate.

After that we did squats to the box. I did the first set without a mirror to watch. It seemed a lot harder, but it made me realise how much I needed to concentrate on how the exercise felt. I was getting up off the box much more easily, particularly when he suggested I concentrate on the bar and lifting through that with my upper body rather than on my legs. It sounded silly but it was much easier when I was doing that. Weird.

More chest presses. I was pleased with how those went. We skipped the lat pulldown and headed off to do walking lunges. Three sets of those holding 10lb weights. The technique is easier. Allan explained some of the science of it to me, which I really enjoyed. I don't care what the muscle is called, but I do like to know what's going on that makes doing it this way feel stable and doing it that way hard work.

I've got that kind of tired but good feeling today. My muscles know they worked. My legs are tired. All I really need now is a nap!

Oh, I went to the doctor today. No drama, just a routine test. Sonia checked my blood pressure while I was there. It was bang on 120/80. You've got to love it.

I picked up our visas today. Woohoo! Only three days to go now.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Weekly update

Another weekly update. It's been so hot in Canberra that I really haven't been outside much this week. On Tuesday I had double PT, Krissi in the morning and Allan in the evening.

I went for a run with Krissi. I had absolutely dreaded it. I was tense before I started. I was telling myself that I wouldn't automatically get a migraine every time I ran, particularly as I now knew to hydrate properly. I also had a protein drink before I went, which was a good idea when I was drinking it but felt like a really bad idea when I continued to taste it. That problem was solved by brushing my teeth again.

Krissi had lots to tell me about her trip to Japan, which was distracting. It was a slow run but at least we were out there. My running form was all over the place, probably because I'd been so tense when I started. I didn't realise for a while - I just thought I'd forgotten how to run. On the return trip I could see my shadow. I looked like an old lady shuffling along. After a conscious effort to relax my upper body I seemed to run a bit better. Of course, the added incentive of needing a toilet break after my protein drink probably helped.

My Garmin knew I wasn't running all that hard. My calorie burn was down to about 2/3 of the usual amount. It seems technology doesn't take mental fatigue into account. Funnily enough, even though I suffered through the run I felt fabulous all day.

It was a hectic day. TB and I were dropping off our visa applications for China and the ute was going in for a service. I dashed home, showered, and then we headed off to the Consulate. Our invitation letter didn't quite cut it, so we weren't able to submit our applications. TB dropped me at work, then headed off to his work. Meetings all day, and then a taxi to the service station. Yep, I got to drive the ute! I don't get the opportunity that often any more. V8's are a lot of fun after driving around in a granny-mobile. I dashed back home to send an email to China, asking for a more formal letter of invitation, then hurried off to the gym. Of course, in the ute it felt as though I cruised over there.

Allan took me through my routine. It was busier at 6 pm on a Tuesday than it is at 5 pm on Fridays. Lots of people in classes, kids waiting to be picked up after martial arts etc. There was a real buzz in the air. We still managed to get whatever equipment we needed. That's an advantage of having your PT with you.

The difference with this session was that Allan was starting to increase the weights I was lifting. He was really happy with my form (I've been well taught) and I'm happy too with the way he describes what he wants me to do. I learned that the bar weight 20 kgs and the collars weigh 5 kgs. I'm squatting with just the bar at the moment. Allan is making squats more difficult for me by lowering the box height rather than by adding weight. With the deadlifts, I was lifting 35 kg, which we increased to 45 kg for the last set. I was really able to feel that I was using my legs with the additional weight on the bar.

We moved to the 'light' gym, where I did chest presses. I warmed up with just the bar, then Allan added small weights. I really struggled with those, so he removed the collars. Much easier. After that some lat pulldowns. They were easy. He increased the weight a couple of times. I think he's realised that I'm stronger than I look.

Walking lunges were next on the agenda. We had to do them in the hallway, which seemed so much longer than the class room. Probably because it was. I was still able to do walking lunges so we concentrated on my form. I hadn't realised just how much I was favouring my left knee, even though it's so much stronger than it was. I can see that this exercise is going to be so good for my overall lifestyle.

I didn't exercise on Wednesday or Thursday. Friday morning was my usual weights session with Krissi. I warmed up on the bike and told her about seeing Allan. She was really cool with it. We did the usual workout. I hadn't done this workout since before Christmas. It was good to get back into it. As ever, I really enjoyed the session.

Next week I have two sessions with both PT's and then I'm off to China. I'm hoping to do lots of walking there and we're planning to use the gyms in those hotels that have them. I'm not so sure about running while I'm there. I did notice that some hotels advertised jogging tracks. Not any of the ones we're staying at, but I did wonder why the hotels felt the need to advertise them. I guess I'll know in a few weeks. :-)