Thank you sososo much for all the congratulatory comments on my last post ! Y’all are too sweet :) Passing my personal trainer theory exam definitely feels like a small victory in this long journey I’m on. Also feels like an affirmation I’m on the right path!
Speaking of paths (segue alert!), I hit the trail this morning. I’ve essentially had the same gym routine since January, and I’m desperate to change it up! Even though it was supposed to be cold and rainy this morning, I couldn’t bring myself to slog out a run on the treadmill, so I took it outside anyways.
I would like to say it was freeing and glorious, but Susan-land is not la-la-land. It may not have been dark at 6:30 am, but it was cold. 4 degrees celsius, which Google tells me is 39.2 F. I have a high-quality shirt and jacket for cold weather, but just cheap cotton leggings for my legs. No good. As Caitlin would say, my thighs felt like frozen chicken thighs. When I took my leggings off, they were bright red from the cold!
Ended up running 4 tough miles. It felt like I was running through cement at times as my legs are still sore from my last weight workout. But I did it. It was fun-ish. And it gave me something different to say when my coworkers asked me what I did at the gym this morning ;)
No time for a fancy breakfast.
That’s my excuse anyways, but we all know I just wanted waffles again ;) Nature’s Path Pomegranate with peanut butter and blueberry jam.
Was going to put protein powder goo on top until I remembered I have an excess of egg whites in the fridge. The best protein comes from real food :)
An egg white pillow with some laughing cow cheese sandwiched in the middle.
Got my carbs, fat, protein and sugary goodness. The perfect breakfast :)
Then after work today, I went to the campus gym with two co-workers to show them around the weight area. Both are getting married this summer and want to look good in their wedding dresses! Both have been going to the gym for a while, but felt a little lost. It was so fun to see how excited they got over the new moves! One of the girls was so cute. She asked me what to do to get rid of belly pudge, I told her it was diet-related, and her face immediately dropped. Ahhhh… This is something I’m going to have to get used to I think…
Took the dog on his second walk of the day (I can’t say no to him!) then came in for a late supper.
A tofu faux alfredo
Block extra-firm tofu
1 small spaghetti squash
1/4 bag frozen broccoli
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 pint mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
I cooked the squash in the microwave, then added it to the pan with everything else. For the sauce I mixed up 4 laughing cow cheese wedges with soy milk until it was at a consistency I liked, then added a dash of pepper, nutmeg and parmesan cheese.
Ever notice I eat a lot of things out of bowls? I find bowls comforting for some reason. Plus, they’re better for portion control. I can pile a lot more on a plate than I can in one of these bowls.
Fun fact: I didn’t eat any meat today! I bet that happens more often than I notice. I was a veggie for 8 years after all!
The Non-Training Training Program
I’ve spoken a lot about training programs and how I like to sort of fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to working out. But, one thing I have learned, is that it is sometimes beneficial to look at the larger picture when choosing workouts.
During the program design section of my personal training course, we learned about periodization and the three different training cycles:
Macrocycle: A period lasting several months to a year
Mesocycle: A period lasting several weeks/a few months
Microcycle: A period lasting around a week.
If you’re not training for a big race, you are probably wondering why the hell you have to care about periodization and training cycles.
Well that’s why I’m here, duh!
Even if you’re not training for something in particular, it is still beneficial to follow training cycles if you want to see an improvement in general fitness. It doesn’t have to be grand. Hell, most people would just like to be able to carry their groceries indoors with greater ease.
The cycle typically starts with low intensity workouts and increases into higher intensity workouts.Eventually, you reach a peak intensity, where you are at your best performance. After reaching this peak, you recover. This is a REST PERIOD of a few days. After this rest period, you slowly begin the cycle over again with the lower-intensity workouts. Each "peak" stage will be a little higher, meaning you are getting more fit, yay!
This is my fancy graph. I made it all by myself :)
This is where a little something called "progressive overload" comes in. This is one of the key training principles, and just one of many which I’ll be sure to talk about over the next little bit.
Progressive overload is just that – you progressively add to your workouts, be it time, speed, intensity, load, etc, to see improvement. If you go to the gym and do the same 30 minute elliptical workout every freakin’ day, then it is going to be hard to improve upon that. You need to challenge yourself to get better. And with each challenge, the same amount of work will feel easier!
It’s fun to say we just show up at the gym and do what we want. But in reality, a little more forethought should go into it.
Don’t progress too quickly (the 10% mileage rule for running for example)
Always err on the side of caution and rest when you need it.
Decide what you want to improve on, and work on challenging it
When you feel you’ve reached a “peak,” rest. Recover. Then start all over again.
For me, I take a few days off every 3-4 months. Usually to coincide with life events or just when my body says "whoa." I also tend to train with the seasons. I’ve probably already peaked in terms of strength training for this year, but I’ll be working towards a running peak early in the fall.
It’s also worth noting that you can’t just keep getting better and better without taking that rest period. Fitness doesn’t grow exponentially. But rather grows in little bumps!
And with that, I’m off! To make protein cookies :) Tomorrow is Flashback Friday. Trying to stir up a good one, see ya then!