Day 7- Limits, Expectations and Goals

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Limits, Expectations and Goals

Let’s talk for a moment about limits. I know that I am getting older, I get it, I don’t like it but I know that there is nothing that I can do about it.  I take that back, I can’t stop getting older but I can change the definition of aging as it pertains to me.  ‘Old people can’t’, ‘People your age shouldn’t’, these are artificial restraints that may apply to some, but do not necessarily define me.  I don’t view life and a continuous, inexorable crawl towards the grave.  Life is for living and for the living.  I don’t view limits as absolutes, I see them as challenges.

My expectations likewise are constantly changing.  As I grow I see new opportunities every day. Things around me change and I try to change with them.  To resist change is to be left behind.  I like to think of change as adaptation, of better fitting in with new surroundings.

I try to set realistic goals.  Goals that can be reached maybe not today or tomorrow but within reasonable times.  Time is on our side if we learn how to use it as a tool instead of an impediment.  When we were younger we thought, “I can’t wait to be older,” because age was a limiting factor in the way we viewed what could make us happy.  Now we wish we were younger, I wish I would just make up my mind.

Back when I started going to the gym there was a sign posted on one of the walls titled, “Benchmark Movements.”  There were things listed there that most of the people in the gym could do some if not all of.  I could not do any of them. I was too fat or too out of shape or too inflexible.  Always some reason and that bothered me.  It still does.  These things are some of my goals.  Pistol squats, pull-ups, double unders, hand stand pushups, all of these things that fit people should be able to do.  These things are going to be addressed in upcoming installments, they are achievable goals.

Using What We Learn About Ourselves

My workout today involved two concepts, moving explosively and moving with strength.  The first part of the work is a variation of a CrossFit ‘girl’ workout called Grace.  A classic rX Grace is a 135# barbell floor to locked out overhead, 30 times for time.  My best PR is 9:10.  I haven’t done Grace or any Oly lifting in a while so to get the benefit without potential for injury I’m doing 1/2 Grace, rX weight, 15 reps for time.  That is the explosive movement portion.

Overall strength is expressed in the squat.  It uses the most amount of muscle you can recruit in a single, compound movement.  One of the first ‘programs’ I followed when I started training myself is called 5×5.  5 Basic lifts, 3 per day, 3 times a week using a linear progression.  Each time you do an exercise you add 5 pounds more than you lifted the last time, easy.  If you are 25.  My squat stalled out at 175# and I stopped for a time rather than risk injury.  This is smart.

I am starting this series of lifts again but this time I am going to allow for a longer period of recovery by altering the progression.  Instead adding 5 pounds each time I squat I am going to a weekly progression.  Starting today at 20# off of my last weight of 175#, Monday will be 155#, Wednesday will be 160# and Friday 162#.  The following week, Monday will go down to 160#, Wednesday 165# and Friday 167#.  This will allow me to progress at 5# a week and really modify the recovery process.  My thinking is this, by allowing the recovery to catch up to increased stress more adaptation or growth of new tissue can occur as body resources that were used for recovery are freed up.

Do not attempt anything like this yourself, yet. The workouts I post are ones that I have personally done, I only record them here to document my progress.  There is a substantial learning curve both physically and mentally involved in doing this sort of workout.  I have been doing CrossFit for four years on a daily basis, I have done several versions of Grace at least 8 times and have been coached in the specific movement many hours by professionals, thanks John.  The weight that I am using in the squat was worked up to over a seven week period by squatting three times a week, you simply cannot jump into a weight like that without getting hurt.  I personally have hurt myself weightlifting, using too much weight while doing a movement that I did not understand.  It took three weeks to recover from that injury and I was very lucky.  I would not wish that amount of pain on anyone, please be careful.

WORKOUT
1/2 Grace

135# Barbell Floor to Overhead 15 Reps for time 4:36

Back Squat

155# 5 sets of 5 reps

FOOD
Eggs and Chorizo with Cheese
3 eggs(216 cal.)
4 oz. chorizo(285 cal.)
2 oz. queso fresca(160 cal.)
16 oz. 2% milk(244 cal.)
total=905 cal.

Post Workout Recovery drink
2 granny smith apples(206 cal.)
1/2 cantaloupe(75 cal.)
1 cup water
total=281 cal.
Recovery Protein
1 can tuna, drained(90 cal.)

This combination supplies 74.3 g. carbohydrates and 20 g. protein to aid in recovery.  Recovery drinks/foods need to be consumed within 1/2 hour of the end of the workout for maximum effectiveness.  Do not forget to hydrate before, during and after your workout.  This particular smoothie has a lot of fiber in it.  Metabolizing this amount of fiber may take additional fluid, keep this in mind during the day and drink some extra water to compensate.

Lunch Salad
4 oz. spinach(28 cal.)
5 oz. cucumber(16 cal.)
1 avocado(180 cal.)
1 oz. sunflower seeds(165 cal.)
2 Tsb. thousand island dressing(90 cal.)
total=479 cal.

Dinner
Chicken and peppers(447 cal.)

For those of us just starting out, today’s workout is:
1/2 mile walk, this is the warm up, then
Burpees-Stand up straight with hands at your side. Get down into the pushup position and then get back up and clap your hands over head, that’s one.
3 sets of 10 Burpees

Links:
Grace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydeCu7W1VRc
Burpee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhJ3nQH-y9M
5×5 System in all it’s glory: http://stronglifts.com/5×5/

If you have any questions please ask, I would be happy to answer them if I can, or suggest someone who is smarter and better looking than I am to give you the answer you are looking for.

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Day 6- Recovery: The Real Workout

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Recovery: The Real Workout

When we work out to achieve our fitness goals we push ourselves mentally and physically. We are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and a general feeling of well-being that lasts well after the workout. If we push ourselves hard enough physically, stress adaptations will occur in our bodies. Muscles will be worked harder and longer than they are used to and this will cause some minor tearing of the muscle fibers and also some localized inflammation in the muscle. This is both natural and necessary for us to get stronger and more fit. Discomfort during a workout is normal as well as some post workout discomfort related to the stresses we expose our bodies to.

Lactic acid is formed in the muscles when they reach their aerobic threshold and the body can no longer supply enough oxygen to produce the needed energy. At this point glycogen is recruited to supply this greater energy need and lactic acid is produced as a result. The ‘burn’ that you feel when working at this intensity level is a combination of oxygen deprivation and lactic acid accumulation. As the stresses are removed the oxygen levels return to normal and within a half an hour to an hour lactic acid is dispersed into the rest of the body. Lactic acid is extremely soluble in water so adequate hydration before, during and after a workout aids the natural removal process.

Rule of thumb: Always hydrate ahead of thirst, once you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated and you’ll never catch up.

DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is often blamed on lactic acid buildup in the muscles but is nearly always caused by microtears and related inflammation in the muscle fibers due to the stress of working out.  Proper nutrition pre and post workout will help keep this to a minimum and allow healthy muscle growth during recovery.  Sufficient amounts of essential fatty acids in your diet will help reduce inflammation post workout.  B-vitamins and magnesium are also necessary for effective recovery.  Whey isolate protein shakes taken immediately after a workout are a good idea, a 0.8g carbs/0.2 g. protein per kg. body wt. formula is said to be most effective in replenishing the body’s glycogen stores.(150# person=55 g. carbs/14 g. protein)

The single most effective part of a successful recovery strategy is sleep. Plan 7 or more hours of sleep as religiously as you would program your next workout. Some things cannot be rushed and a goodly portion of muscle recovery is one of them. You simply cannot soar with the eagles if you are out all night with a bunch of turkeys.

Eggs and Chorizo with Cheese
3 eggs(216 cal.)
4 oz. chorizo(285 cal.)
1.5 oz. queso fresca(120 cal.)
16 oz. 2% milk(244 cal.)
total=865 cal.

Rare Lunch Out
6 Wing Stop Boneless wings(504 cal.)
1 sm. fries(400 cal.)
total=904 cal.

Cheat snack
Chocolate shake(800 cal.)

Random link about the benefits of coconut oil, of course do your own research:
http://eatlocalgrown.com/2-coconut-oil.html?c=JER&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=postplanner&utm_source=facebook.com

Active recovery day: Don’t sit around, go to the mall, play with the dog, do sometime fun.

Day 5- The Low Down On Low Impact

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Let’s talk about buzzwords, specifically these two words, low impact, as they relate to exercise and fitness in general. Low impact refers to an activity that will not sever your spine, liquify a kidney or cause one or both legs to fall off. I’m kidding there, a little, but seriously there are really 3 low impact exercises: walking, swimming and cycling. Without the interference of an outside force it is almost impossible to hurt yourself doing any of these activities. As long as you start slow and work up gradually to the level you wish to achieve. Let’s say on day one you walked 100 yards and every day after that you walked an additional 100 yards. You would literally run out of daylight before you reached the limit of your endurance. It would take you two and a half weeks to get to a mile a day, which would take you about 20 minutes. At the one year mark you would be walking about five hours at a time, probably less because you will be walking faster now. I don’t know how slow you would have to start out swimming to do the same, maybe 20 or 25 yards but it is interesting still.
I know for a fact that cycling endurance has one limiting factor above all others, that is how long you can stay in the saddle, that can only be trained so much. Cycling uses fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, fast twitch for slow, out of the saddle climbing and slow twitch muscles for the continuous quick pedal turnover of long, flat stretches and down hill portions of the ride. Early on I thought that it was peculiar that fast twitch muscles were used in the slower uphill parts of the ride but it was explained to me that out of the saddle stomping on the pedals was similar to weightlifting in the method of muscle recruitment. Rapid pedal turnover is accomplished by simultaneously pushing one leg down while pulling up with the other, neither one a maximum effort, just quick and repetitive, therefore the recruitment of only slow twitch muscle tissue. Here is the key to longer(more fun) bike rides: if you have to climb a hill, stay in the saddle and get a slower gear, more pedaling less rolling, rather than coming out of the saddle. When you stay in the saddle you force your body to use slow twitch muscles which recover quickly, when you use your fast twitch muscles, they only recover with sleep, once they are gone, they will stay gone until morning. As long as you keep the blood flowing through them by pedaling, the slow twitch muscles will recover with a minute or two of reduced effort or coasting. I don’t like to stay on a bike more than 10 miles at a time, I take frequent breaks, and then I can enjoy the ride. In my favorite ride of the year, the HH100, there are 14 rest stops in the 100 mile course and I stop at every one. It is a major rush to finish this ride but there is no prize for ‘died trying’.

Temperature during this ride was 95F/35C. This is training for the epic HHH century ride at the end of August.

Can-appl-oupe smoothie

2 granny smith apples(206 cal.)
1/2 cantaloupe(75 cal.)
1 cup water
total=281 cal.

Put water in blender. Core apples and blend on medium until you have an applesauce consistency. Halve the cantaloupe, scoop out seeds, cut in slices and then peel, make chunks and add to blender. Another 20 seconds on medium speed and you should be ready to go. This will fairly fill the blender jar. I usually drink one large glass of smoothie right then. I keep 2 quart plastic cups in the freezer with about 3 inches of ice in the bottom for ice water during the day, filling one of these up with the rest of the smoothie mixture makes a brilliant agua fresca!!

Tasty Salad

4 oz. fresh spinach(28 cal.)
4 oz. avocado(180 cal.)
5 oz. cucumber(16 cal.)
1 oz. sunflower seeds, finely chopped(165 cal.)
4 Tbs. Italian dressing(120 cal.)
total=509 cal.

I am here to tell you, this is yummy!  I split the avocado and then scored the inside, turned the skin inside out and viola! Repeat for other side and you’ve peeled and sliced an avocado and not made a big, green mess. I have a cutter for shoestring potatoes, I used the smallest blade and made spiral spaghetti out of the cucumber, it looks really cool. 4 tablespoons is too much italian, maybe half that next time.

Dinner-bad example

8 oz. cooked chicken thighs(472 cal.)
2 Tbs. Sweet Chili Sauce(200 cal.)
total=672 cal.

Had to cook off chicken thighs for coming week, too lazy to actually put together a meal. On the up side, the chili sauce is amazing, it really tastes good on lots of stuff. A note on chicken thighs: the place I shop has chicken thighs for $1.27 a lb. in 5# plus trays. The yield on skinning and boning your own thighs is right around 3:2, for every 3 pounds you bone, you get 2 pounds of boneless which works out to just less than $2 a pound, much better than the price if the store does it, $3.68/lb.

A quick tutorial on deboning chicken thighs. Pull the skin off one side. With a thin, sharp blade follow the attached skin and cut away the extra fat on both sides of the thigh. Next, there is a small piece of joint and tendon left behind when they separate the joint on one end, that end is usually flat. Looking down at the flat end place the point of the knife to one side of the small piece next to the bone and with the blade facing away from you cut under the piece at an angle outwards. Do the same on the other side of the joint and you will have cut out a triangular bit with the small bone and most of the tendon, pick it free and discard. Run the knife blade down the thigh from one joint to the other and with the tip of the knife, start scraping the meat off of the bone until it all comes free. You may have to cut around one of the joints to free the thigh entirely.

Late night snack
chicken, peppers and rice(leftovers)(447 cal.)

Take that dog for a walk, do about a mile and relax, you’ve earned it.