It's waaaaay too easy to go to the gym, do your workout mindlessly, check it off the list, and go about your day, but what are you really accomplishing then? Progressions have given me another data point in which to measure my successes in the gym. Far too often we get hung up on what the scale says and forget to check several other indicators of success. Lately I've gone back to good old pen/paper to track my weights/reps. It gives me that internal drive to increase my weights or reps, to grind out a little harder than last time, to challenge my body instead of going through the motions of a workout and being done. Progressions can take several forms too. Maybe you're used to walking 20mins a night for 3 days a week. That's great, but next time you're out, see how far you're getting in 20mins and try to beat it the next day out. Push your body (within reason) and find out how capable you ACTUALLY are. It might help unstick you from that plateau you hit a couple weeks back, maybe it'll just give you that extra "thatta boy/girl" you need inside your own head. You have to create challenges and wins for yourself. Don't become stagnant. Progress.
If you know anything about me, you might know I abhor cardio.
And well...I still kinda do, but in an effort to test my body and try new things, I've recently added HIIT to my weeks. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can make the most dedicated gym goer feel like a newbie. Or maybe I'm just that cardiovascularly out of shape...lol...possible. HIIT is a form of training that alternates short bouts of anaerobic exercise (think jumping jacks, mountain climbers, etc) with shorter rest periods. For example, a workout might consist of a round of: 40 seconds of jump squats, 20 seconds of rest, 40 seconds of reverse lunges, 20 seconds of rest, 40 seconds of mountain climbers, 20 seconds of rest, other various torture methods, rest, and so on, rest for 1 minute & start the next round over until you've completed 3 rounds or have died. Sometimes I just pray for death during that 1 minute.
These additions to my workouts may prove fruitful to my overall conditioning or I might decide I hate it and never want to revisit it again, but I am enjoying the changeup to my current plan. If COVID has (hopefully) taught any of us this year, it's if you're huffing and puffing doing normal activities (going up stairs, walking across a parking lot) it's time to whip that heart & lungs into shape.
I struggle BIG time with making sure I hit my protein macros each day, but I have put in a concerted effort these last few weeks to monitor it more closely. My ability to workout took a bit of a dip during my home renovations, but I wanted to make sure that I gave myself enough muscle building protein to keep what muscle I had and help build what little I could during the workouts I was able to squeeze into the day/week. If you disregard anything else I say, please listen to this...you need protein. You probably need more than you're currently consuming. (No, this isn't a keto promo...gross. I love carbs & will discuss them during another blog post in the future). I'm gonna speak to you as if you're my age...you know...OLD. You need to build muscle, which means you need protein and lots of it. Aim for .8-1g of protein per pound of body weight (current or even goal weight), but start checking packages. Look at protein grams. Make it a habit to get 20-30 grams each meal and build from there. Don't worry about meal timing and all that other crazy shit that can have you spiraling. Start small. But get it in. Be better than me & you can be my inspiration.
Lastly, but certainly not leastly (don't question it...all words are made up) I've really been trying to put more effort into getting to bed on time. Weight loss, muscle building, sanity...it really can all hinge on getting good sleep...consistently. It's not just for weekends anymore, people! You need to be averaging on the good side more than the shit side. It has been proven that those who get at least 7hrs a sleep see more improvements in muscle growth, muscle recovery, and weight loss. It is nature's charge cord. Let your body heal from the daily grind.