Routine

Lately I have been writing down all the tiny details happening in the gym. All the interaction, all the pain, all the progress. I don’t feel the need to share everything anymore. Which is a good thing, it means I’m getting used to the new pace and I don’t find things so out of ordinary.

I’m still training like crazy every day. Form and strength are improving. The fat is still stubborn. I know it’s slowly going away, but sometimes I feel hopeless. Especially after another week passes by and the weekend is approaching. I feel that sitting on my ass during the two recovery days is making me lose all the progress I’ve made during the week. Tomorrow we’re going on a bike trip, that should help. Oh boy, I’m going to be soooo hungry.

What else? I’ve watched a stupid guy in the gym today. Nothing new here. Everybody was watching, actually. I was so scared for his life, I mumbled something like “That’s not very smart!” hoping he would hear. I’m not sure how the exercise is called. He was standing on his toes on the edge of the small plyo box, with his heels outside the box and pushing with his back against the bar of the Smith machine. How does that help? Is it good for glutes, calves? There were steppers all over the place, why did he take the box? OK, it wasn’t THAT dangerous. The problem was the box was too light and would flip under his weight. It took him a while to figure out he could pile some heavy plates on the other side. I think somebody suggested that, I’m not sure it was his idea. I decided to ignore him instead of saying something like “If you’re really going to do that stupid exercise, you might want to add some weight to the box…” That sounds offensive, doesn’t it? I think I’m becoming too mean. I do stupid things in the gym too, like constructing unsafe boxes for split squats and planking in the most unusual places. I’m glad nobody dropped weights on me yet. I’ve optimised my routine and my use of boxes, though, so things go smoother now.

I did Tabata front squats at the end of my workout. I was already quite tired and miserable, so I used only 32.5kg, but focused on increasing the number of reps. I managed to do 7 reps for the first two sets and 6 reps for the others. There was a lot of panting, grunting and  even some mild screaming involved. After I finished my sets I noticed people were staring. A lot…

Girls in the power room

I’ve had a weird day so far. I promised a friend I will take her around the city centre this morning. I hesitated about having breakfast, then I realised nobody counted me in during cooking. I felt relieved, no temptation to skip my morning protein shake!

Our short morning walk turned into a couple of hours of circling the main sights and, eventually, I dropped her at the train station and went to the gym. It was already lunch time, I was starving and tired.

The power room was full and I was feeling dizzy. I did my squat jumps and my single-leg hops on the small box. Next to me, a guy was jumping on the big plyo box. I was so jealous. I hope I’ll able to do that soon. Meanwhile, my left leg kept embarrassing me and refused to jump properly. I kept pushing until I managed to complete a rather decent set.

Then I went on to front squats. I asked the guy if anybody was using the squat rack and he replied panting. I felt bad for interrupting his break. So I started unloading the bar in the rack and forgot that the weight is so heavy it could tilt it. As I was taking the last plate, the guy ran desperately towards the other end of the bar. I stopped and apologised. I felt really ashamed and I thought I didn’t deserve to be in the gym and I’d better wake up if I wanted to continue my session.

As I was struggling with 55kg on the front squat another girl was easily squatting 60 kg. She did a few sets and disappeared. I’ve noticed this. Girls come in, squat some rather heavy weights smiling and leave in 5 min. What’s this?? Why aren’t girls having a proper training session in the power room if they’re so good?

Anyway, I went on with deadlift. It was getting quite crowded at this point and some other dudes were setting up a bar in front of me. They seemed to be taking turns, I wasn’t paying much attention to them. I did some warm up sets and decided to lift 75kg for my main sets. The first didn’t go well. I did one rep and felt like I was doing something wrong. So I took a short break and attacked again. I managed to lift the weight two more times, but I wasn’t sure my form was correct.

It was time for the YTWL holds and I had to ask a guy to move his ass off the bench. I always feel bad when I have to ask people to move so I could do some silly looking exercise, but this guy wasn’t even resting. He was staring at the dudes deadlifting and, it turned out, he was waiting for me to finish so he can take the bar. I did the holds and he moved next to my bar and leaned against the squat rack.

So it was time for my final set. I wasn’t sure I could do it. The guy in front of me started his set and his form was terrible. The weight was obviously too much for him. He wasn’t arching his back, he struggled to lock the bar…I’m not sure he even did it, I stopped watching the ordeal at some point. And it was my turn. The guy I moved off the bench was standing behind me, the other guys were mumbling something about adding more weight to their bar and I felt watched. And I wasn’t worried about people staring at my butt, I was worried I would do a crappy deadlift, with my back rounded and my knees wobbling around. So I did my best to finish my set and let the guy start his.

Now, the guy said my weight was perfect for him and I was expecting he would do some warmup reps and increase the weight for deadlifts. I knew it would be impressive because he was a tall African dude with lean muscles – not a lot of volume, still strong. But then he just grabbed the 75kg bar, did a super fast power clean, followed by an overhead press and a squat. It all happened so fast, the weight seemed to float around him like it was a light wooden stick. And he went on like that for a while. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t even follow all his movement, my brain was incapable of recording it.

After I finished my accessory exercises, I was still bothered by my deadlift and, since the guy was resting, I approached him and asked him to watch my form. I did an extra rep and he told me my back was arched properly, but I could stick out my chest more. I didn’t realise that, I always focused on arching my back, not on keeping it as vertical as possible. I know I sometimes tend to lift my butt and then pull the weight, so I need to focus on this more. I was relieved it still looked decent, though.

Overall, not a bad day. Tired as hell, yet, I managed to push my deadlift a little bit more.

Grumpy

Today I was feeling a bit stressed out because we have some guests over this weekend and the house is still an epic mess. I rushed this morning, took 2 pills of Thermopure instead of fish oil and, although I was eager to train, I wasn’t in a good mood.

To make things worse, the gym was already packed when I got there and the girls were warming-up in the stretching area, so it was bound to become worse. 

I set up my power clean+plyo exercises trying not to bother anybody. The sheet said 27.5kg and I remember struggling with this weight at some point in the past. I knew it wouldn’t be much of a problem this time, but I did a warm-up set anyway, just to focus on my technique better. Yeah right! The first set was a mess, I couldn’t coordinate anything, I was simply all over the place. Then my brain refused to jump on the box while I was holding 6kg dumbbells. I can do it, I know. It’s just my brain that’s fucked up. So I went back to 4kg. I did an extra set to make up for the joke of power cleans in the beginning and on the final plyo set I managed to jump holding the heavier dumbbells. But only 4 times because my brain decided it was going too well. I couldn’t do the waiter carry because some dude piled up all the dumbbells around him and was doing…God knows what, I don’t even know  what it’s called. 

So I was already annoyed and it was time for dumbbell bench press. The dude was still holding all the dumbbells around him so I skipped to single-leg RDLs. That went peacefully. But I had to bench press. The only available bench had been dragged across the room under a Smith machine. The guy was still very possessive with all the dumbbells I needed. I didn’t feel like carrying the bench next to him so I shyly started setting up my stuff around the Smith machine. Then the girls showed up and after bumping into each other a few times I’ve decided I needed to move. So I grabbed the bench while all the dudes in the gym were sitting on their asses and staring at me. I didn’t really need help, but it was annoying because they generally help each other, not just sit and stare. The most difficult bit was to align the bench next to the other ones because the wheels were broken, actually, missing altogether. Then I waited for the guy to finish his angry set and asked him if I could borrow the 10kg dumbbells. I asked, he didn’t say anything, so I took them and just when I was about to start my set he took his headphones out of his ears and asked me with a panicked face what I was doing and if we can take turns. Of course, chill! He didn’t really need them that very instant, actually, he didn’t even touch them afterwards. 

The weird guy went on to bicep curls, no, it was some other monkey business, something I’ve never seen before, and abandoned all the dumbbells on the floor. Another huge guy was doing bicep curls next to him and I was getting ready to start my last set – 12 kg, my record so far. Suddenly, this dude shows up out of nowhere, stands between the huge guy and my bench and starts piling weight on a small bar. Probably for bicep curls. Damned mirror, we were all crammed in a squared metre and, although I told him there’s definitely not enough room for everybody, he couldn’t care less. I let him finish his goddamn set, then started mine. I was barely holding the dumbbells above my chest when he decided to change his weights. I was lying on the bench, staring at the ceiling, and I could see his head!! I told him I don’t trust myself with those weights and he didn’t get the hint. I finished my set, three painful reps, and got the hell outta there.

I put all the dumbbells back, except the 14 kg ones because I was too angry, and looked for an empty squat rack. Some guy said he had one more set to go and he actually approached me and told me when he finished. How sweet! Just that he left the bar loaded with 20kg and 25kg plates, hanging somewhere above my head. Thanks, but no thanks! I’m not unloading 90kg for you. Luckily the rack next to it was empty so I didn’t have to yell at him. 

Last exercise –  front squat Tabata. I was hoping to increase my speed, but I had to increase the weight. So overall, 6 reps in the first two sets and only 5 for the rest. Quite lame, but 35kg and better form, for sure. I’m happy about it. After 6 sets, I was enjoying my 10s break when this guy showed up asking if he could take something. I assumed he wouldn’t start unloading my bar, but I had no idea what he was saying so, barely breathing and desperate that he was wasting my time, I just replied “Take whatever you want!”. He seemed puzzled, said “Cheers!”, grabbed a barbell pad off the floor and ran as quickly as possible away from the crazy little person. 

So yeah, I was grumpy today. 

Reconsidering?

It was pouring outside early this morning and part of me was tempted to stay in bed for the rest of the day. I checked the weather forecast on my phone and figured it should clear a bit in an hour. So I rolled over and forgot all those thoughts about skipping sessions.

Between sets I had some time to ponder on the efficiency of my new routine. I’m tired and I  insanely push myself. I’m worried I’m not recovering fast enough. I’m worried my workouts are not the best for fat loss. This should be my main goal at the moment, and instead it’s more of a by-product. The scale is showing a small decrease and my jeans are slightly looser. And that’s about it. My lifts are getting better slowly. I’m almost at the end of the 2nd week and I’m not seeing any of the results I was hoping for. For a second, I thought it might be better to swap the Tabata sessions with the V-challenge. But then it crossed my mind that could possibly kill me. So I’ve decided to keep this going for another 2 weeks. By the end of it, it might be too late to achieve my fat loss goal in due time. But the 3rd week should bring some results if, indeed, I’m doing anything right.

Keep pushing!

No more, please!

I knew this dreaded moment would come. Last night I was lying in bed and I couldn’t sleep because my body was horribly tired and my muscles were still boiling from the Tabata sets. Every cell was screaming “Please, please, we don’t want to go training tomorrow!!!”

Obviously, that was not an option. Today was weights day and I wouldn’t want to miss that.  This time I made sure I train within a time frame. I managed to keep up the pace and I was out of the gym in 1h. Ok, plus the warm-up and 3×5 assisted pull-ups in the other room.

A lot of funny things happened today. The guy filming his squats probably got more videos of my feet. This time I stayed away from the camera while he was doing his sets.

At some point I helped a girl adjust the height of her bar in the squat rack. She had no idea how to do it and she was struggling to reach a bar that was at eye level!! I helped her put the bar down, adjusted the thing, then left. She called me to put the weight back. The bar was only 30kg so I assumed she can manage it. Oups! So I grabbed the end of the bar and pulled it up, then I realised she was seriously struggling with the other end. My bad, again! It turned out we should’ve set it a notch lower, but she said she’s fine  and started her squats with the bar high on her shoulders. I wanted to say something, then I stopped because I don’t want to baby-sit people in the gym and, in general, people in the gym don’t like baby-sitting. Two other girls showed up later on, but I didn’t notice what sort of exercises they were doing. One of them was training with a bunch of guys and looked really fit. Heh, good old days…

I’m definitely getting stronger, but I’m still far from the truth. So, in order to keep my balance, I’m doing all the single-leg exercises barefoot (actually, I wore socks with sheep if you must ask). I did my single-leg deadlifts, then spent some serious time setting up the rack for split squats. On my first set I managed to scrape my toe-nail against all the crevices on the plyo box. That didn’t feel good at all!! No blood was gushing through my socks, though, so I went on with the rest of my set. I wished I had my shoes on at that point and I noticed he guy next to me was wearing some that seemed more appropriate for weight training. I was a bit jealous, I admit.

While I was stretching between sets some fat dude that looked like a manager showed up with two other guys and started showing off all the stuff in the power room. I didn’t know what’s the policy of the gym regarding shoes, but I was pretty sure they shouldn’t see me struggling during split squats so I sat down quietly in a corner. Then I realised the guy next to me was supersetting deadlifts with pull-ups and wasn’t wearing his shoes anymore. Who knew I was a trend-setter?? 😀

I finished the day with my embarrassing inverted rows. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, but I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to the bar each time. Meanwhile, the rest of the gym is probably thinking “What the f is she doing??” Anyway, I think using the Smith machine for inverted rows is acceptable.

I should be cleaning up the house because we have guests this weekend, but all I want to do is sit on my ass.

Week no 2

Finally, I’m catching up. I’m still struggling, but the numbers are close to where I left them last November. I did a 55 kg front squat today and couldn’t get back up after two reps. Next to me, the nice instructor that I met during my induction was effortlessly squatting 80 kg. She’s awesome! I could barely deadlift 70 kg today.

I had a little chat with one of the guys in the gym. I walked into the room and left all my stuff in a corner while he was finishing his set. It turned out he was filming his squats and I stood in front of his camera the whole time. He now owns a video of my feet. Seriously, I’m a jerk.

On my way home I’ve decided it’s time to leave the earmuffs in my backpack.  Also, I’ve spent the entire afternoon cleaning up our garden. It must be summer now, British summer. I’m not ready for flip-flops, though.

Tabatas tomorrow!

One week!

I finished my sessions for this week. I was feeling brave this morning and even considered going for the 3rd cardio tomorrow. Soon I realised how tired my body was. For the next two days it’s all about recovering ligaments and cartilages. Probably not enough time, but my ankle is really annoying me and this is a sign to stop for a while.

Overall, I’ve lost an astonishing 600g or so. Yay, right? The goal for the rest of the week is not to gain them back.

Eggs and bacon, eggs and bacon!