I just went to get a coffee – my second for the day. I haven’t had breakfast, and I’m hungry. I strongly considered a muffin, then a pastry, then a piece of slice, and then I said no. No muffin.
So I ate a whole lot of chocolate over the Easter weekend, and I also ate a bunch of other stuff I shouldn’t (hello McDonald’s dinner while driving on Saturday night), but today I’ve had a victory. No muffin.
I missed blogging about Tuesday’s workout this week – it was a bunch of exercises that I wasn’t sure how to describe, using weights that I forgot to check. Oh well!!
On to yesterday’s leg day. This should have been a standard one – instead I found myself struggling with some sets, and my legs are really feeling it today. Unusual!! My PT did get me started doing lunges from a raised surface (negative lunges? Step-off lunges?), but since we hiked Bogong I’ve had a slight twitch on the sole of my foot that’s triggered by weight being placed on the ball of my foot. The lunges weren’t really suiting it, so we switched to Bulgarian Split Squats with a pretty low raised foot to ensure a deep squat.
- 20 x horizontal leg press (80 kg)
- 20 x raised heel squats
- 20 x step-off lunges (1 set)
- 10 x Bulgarian split squats each leg (2 sets)
- 10 x hamstring curls (25 kg)
Yesterday I compared doing squats with Opera singing. When I first finished high school, I jumped straight into a Bachelor of Classical Music (opera singing). Ultimately I never finished it, and this story probably indicates why.
I wasn’t (still aren’t) a fan of opera. I didn’t (still don’t!) know what good opera technique sounded like, and I certainly didn’t know what it felt like. When I was singing in a way that felt comfortable and ‘right’, I was told I was doing it wrong. When I sung in a way that felt physically odd and sounded (to me) bad, I was told I was doing it right. But only sometimes. I could feel odd and sound bad in many ways, and sometimes I was told I was wrong and others I was right – but I couldn’t tell the difference.
To me, squats provide a really similar experience. I’ll do 10 reps and none of them will ‘feel right’, but at the end of the set my PT will tell me that reps 6, 7 and 8 were good. But to me they all felt different, and certainly none of them felt right. I explained this to my PT yesterday (including the classical singing anecdote) and he looked at me kind of confused, but also like he kind of got it. We talked about my absolute discomfort with back squats, but how my (rarely practiced) front squats felt better. We did squats san-the barbell, which my arms in back and front squat position, and ascertained that even without the barbell I couldn’t do a squat with my arms in back squat position to a decent depth or with decent technique. Holding my arms in a front squat position was better though, so we went down some weight and played around with that.
My PT realised that if he verbally cues me at the right time I push my weight back where it needs to be, and I did some really decent low squatting reps like this. Unfortunately I couldn’t do very many, and (luckily my PT was spotting me closely!) I ultimately ended up losing power and falling over backwards. But that’s ok – I felt like it was my best squat session in a really long time. I had a technique breakthrough, and although I’m a long way off being able to confidently do them on my own with good technique, yesterday’s session took me a step forward.
- 10 x back squats (40 kg, 50 kg)
- 10 x high jump squats with arm thrust
- 9 x front squats (30 kg) – failure and rest at rep 5, failure and stop at rep 9
- 10 x high jump squats with arm thrust
- 10 x horizontal leg press (80kg) with wide-legged stance, and angled toes
Arm/upper body day today. But because the scale have gone up instead of down over the long weekend, my PT threw in some whole body/fat burner stuff just for funsies (his funsies, not mine). I totally hadn’t mentally prepared for it after Sunday’s humungo hike (I’ll write about that later in the week when I’ve got some time), and my legs weren’t too happy, but I found some ways to mentally push myself and be reasonably happy with the workout.
- 8 x pull-ups on the pull-up machine (50kg, 45 kg x 2)
- 8 x dips on machine (50 kg, 45 kg x 2)
- 8 x raised push-ups on lowest pull-up machine step
- 30 seconds x battlerope slams (31 – 35 slams each round)
- 30 seconds x wall ball squat throws (12 – 16 throws each round)
Oh no! I forgot to write up Monday’s workout! Out of order. Bugger. Oh well! Arm/back/upper body workout, and my PT told me he thought I was having a strong day. When he says that I’m normally thinking to myself ‘hey, these weights are actually manageable and I’m keeping good form’ so that’s good.
Barbell complex x 3
15 kg x 8 reps, 15 kg x 10 reps, 20 kg x 8 reps
- Bicep curl
- Overhead press
- Normal grip clean
- Wide grip clean
- Upright row (note: final set was with 15 kg for 8 reps, not 20 kg)
- Bent over row
- Clean and press
- Lat pulldown x 10, 8 (25 kg) – 3 seconds down, 3 seconds up
Today was the last leg day before Bogong. Although I was tempted to make this even earlier in the week, I decided that Thursday, Friday and Saturday is enough time to recover fully. That, and I asked my PT not to absolutely kill my legs. The really nice thing is that while the workout didn’t kill my legs, if I’d done the same workout a few years ago it absolutely would have smashed me. And I wouldn’t have been able to do the weights I did today.
- 24 x walking lunges (no weights, 2 sets x 10 kg each hand)
- 1 min x jumping step ups (step up jumps?)
- 8 x hamstring curls (25 kg, 27 kg x 2 sets)
- 20 x raised heel squats (not coming to a full upright at the top of each rep – keeping the legs slightly bent)
This workout was actually a fitness test. I’m doing a 12 week challenge at the moment, which I’ll go into more details on next week post-Bogong, but for now here’s the results (I’ll re-do this again in four weeks or so)
The idea was to see how many reps of each I could do in the allotted 1 minute. I chose to focus on good form and not sacrifice technique for more reps, and I was pretty please with my results:
- 1 minute of burpees: 15 reps
- 1 minute of push-ups: 20 reps
- 1 minute of sit-ups: 22 (this was listed as crunches. I think they’re too subjective, so did sit ups instead)
- 1 minute of alternate lunges: 32 (I’m not really sure how I’d beat this, I was going at a decent pace. I think I’d be best to add weight and work to match this result)
- Plank for time: 1 minute 11 seconds
- Jump squats: 53 (low squats with good form)
Arm day! A five car pile up on the freeway meant I arrived 10 minutes late for my half hour training session today. I started my workout with my PT, then he gave me instructions for the rest of the session and left me to it. Normally in these situations I have a tendency to reduce either sets or reps, telling myself that I have to get to work and don’t have time to finish. Today I finished the full sets prescribed, with the right number of reps, without blowing out my rest time. It’s tiny, but I feel proud of myself for doing it.
- 20 x raised push-ups (on a bench)
- 20 x angled pull-ups
- 5 x jump pull-ups (jump, aim to pause at the top then have a controlled lower)
- 10 x barbell clean and press (20 kg x 1, 25 kg x 4)
Sunday’s workout/Mt Bogong preparation was a hike at the Cathedral Range National Park. About 2 hours drive from Melbourne, the Cathedrals are beautiful and full of excellent training hikes. Unfortunately the distance means I don’t get out there as often as I’d like to – 4 hours driving return plus a decent hike in the middle makes for a full day.
We started our loop at Ned’s Gully and traveled uphill to Ned’s Saddle. From there we headed up to Cathedral Peak (a rise of 560 metres from where we started) before heading across to Little Cathedral Peak, then back to Ned’s Saddle and down. The map makes this walk look quite small – it’s not. The hills are steep and the terrain is reasonably difficult, and this loop took us a total of just under 6 hours (with plenty of stops, rests, and breaks to look at the view. We were in no hurry).
In any case, it was a beautiful walk with many elements that were perfect for getting my legs and feet ready for the Bogong climb in a fortnight. I also trialed some new hydration methods (I just haven’t been getting this right recently), and alternated drinking straight water from my Camelbak while walking with drinking water with lemon juice from a bottle during my breaks. That combined with eating slightly saltier foods throughout the walk seemed to make a difference, so I’ll be carrying an extra bottle of lemon water on my bigger hikes from now on.