Training #65 – All that jazz (part 1)

So this has evolved as I was writing the recap into a 2-part post – while this part 1 is all about leg day, part 2 has a fair amount of epiphany-based venting sparked from conversation with trainer J this morning, an email from friend J last night, and general interaction with M all the time. What has been gradually building about my ongoing better health and wellness quest has come to another state of fruition today. It deserves its own stand-alone post, and many will find that type of navel gazing a big huge yawn. It’s coming later today. 

Monday morning, training with J. So nice to be back in the groove of a normal week, normal cycle. Plus I got to hear more about his vacation adventures, and it’s gratifying to know he had a great, rewarding, relaxing time away.

Today was leg day. We did a new variation of legs with the following:

A1. 1-legged Leg Press (140 lbs., 4 sets, 4
A2. 3 Point Toe Touch Reaches or  Mini-band Triplets (kickback, lateral, knee raise) (10-20 each)

B1. Hip Extension (glute pushback machine) (3 sets, 12-20/side)

C1. Abductor (130 lbs., 3 sets, 12-20 reps)
C2. Adductor (110 lbs., 3 sets, 12-20 reps)
C3. Anterior Reach (3 sets, 8-10/side)

D1. Seated Hamstring Curl (3 sets, 12-20 reps)
D2. Alt. Reverse Lunges (DBs = progression) (3 sets, 8-12/side)

E1. Leg Extension (3 sets, 12-20)
E2. BW Squat or Squat Pop/Jump (3 sets, 8-15 reps)

Note to self: Never, ever underestimate the effectiveness of new variations of Lists, especially leg day Lists. We did not do everything on the List because of time (skipped the alternating reverse lunges and bodyweight squat or squat pop/jump) and I walked out of the gym feeling really good and happy with my effort, yet I did not feel especially fatigued or overworked once we were finished. However, 90 minutes later … holy moly, I am feeling each and every muscle touched by this morning’s routine. In really good, satisfying ways. Muscle soreness to me anymore means “oh, I worked that today” and is neither alarming nor especially gratifying; it just is the way my day progresses that day. While it is absolutely fabulous to be back to normal week of training on Mondays and Thursdays – especially since I renewed today for another 40 sessions (yay me!) and do not have to think about it again for another 5 months – it has been an odd summer on so many other levels. A few of my long friendships with other women have experienced some lumpy-bumpy patches, M has made new running friends (yay M!) with non-running spouses that require some assimilation and getting-to-know meetings and such, and a couple of couples we know have experience nuclear explosion and slow-motion fallout raining down upon everyone who knows them. Into this we have G and K’s wedding in a few weeks and its built-in bridesmaid and family drama that does not impact me directly, but I love that the family ties are such that we talk openly about trials and tribulations.

So first, let’s talk legs.

I typically love leg day. Most of the exercises and machines are at least familiar enough to me that I feel competent and confident that going through them on my own will not be big drama for me. There are different versions of machines – downstairs machines are different manufacturers than upstairs machines – and I have my own strong preferences. But for the most part, I can go through my Lists with minimal anxiety at worst. Today was no exception.

Single leg leg presses have not been in the rotation for a few weeks or Lists. Not precisely sure why; perhaps I have been skipping them, or they did not make the cut for recent Lists J has been writing for me. Irregardless, they were back today. It could be familiarity, but the machine we used today is the one I like best. I know how to set it, I know what it’s going to feel like once I get myself situated in the sled chair thing, and I know precisely how I like my foot to be situated against the plate. Plus I can keep an eye on the mirror and watch the weights descending and know whether or not I’m getting to the right place with my knee bend. All too often I believe I am not getting every last bit of work out of that leg, and if I keep an eye on the weight plates I get a much better sense of what I should be doing.

A genuine first for me – I broke one of J’s minibands on the miniband triplets. I have always imagined what that might be like, and I must say the reality was not nearly as traumatic or dramatic as in my imagination. Yep, it snapped against my calf and kind of smarted, but it was not session-ending or even yelp worthy. I was more startled and apologetic – so sorry, I did not mean to break your miniband! But it didn’t hurt or leave some sort of big red welt on my leg or even fly across the gym floor. While J ran off to get a replacement band, I switched legs and to the 3 point toe touch reaches. Had we done things differently, had I not been acclimated to doing something other than rest pausing between sets of exercises, I occasionally wonder how the time between sets would pass. Moot point, though; I am habituated to doing something between sets so I just get busy doing it.

The hip extension (glute pushback machine) has potential for being a new favorite. I did not note the weight used, but it made me feel good, sweaty and gross, and primarily very powerful. This is a new machine for me. The majority of members I have observed using it were doing calf raises off the platform. But from what J showed me today and described as options for this machine, I can see it being quite useful in the longer haul.

These abductor and adductor machines are tricky. I have known since we started with them that today’s downstairs abductor and adductor machines are different than the pair upstairs. J explained to me about the difference in the hip angles (and we all know how much I love talking geometry and angles when it comes to training and exercise). Tomorrow I will probably go upstairs and try those again, then come back downstairs and do a quick set on today’s set, just so I can feel the difference myself. I like knowing these things.

The between exercise was the anterior reach, always a toss between challenging and exhilarating because balance has improved over the course of a year. I know we were running out of time for these, so I think we only did 2 sets, and even then I am pretty sure I might have been light on counts. I lose track so easily when I am actually working with J on training days; it is simpler to keep track when I am by myself and only distracted by whatever is going on inside my own head.

Before today, the only things I have not especially enjoyed about leg Lists are the hamstring curl and leg extension machines; both upstairs and downstairs models have tended to intimidate me and I have not actually used them on my own. Ever. I have tried, but the couple of occasions when I felt brave and bolstered to give it a whirl at least one of the moving parts had not been set correctly for me and I could not figure out how to make the necessary adjustments. With my own crazy brain broadcasting messages of fear and anxiety, it was just simpler to go back to skip these machines in favor of hamstring curls on the instability ball or anterior reaches or Romanian dead lifts rather than trying to get over myself.

But today I watched carefully and figured out how to make the necessary adjustments. Wednesday I’ll make myself do it again so I burn it into mind and do not forget it into the future. I also learned the lying down hamstring machine is not for me. With my body height and proportion it simply does not seem to work all that well … or so pronounced J in steering me toward the sitting version instead. If I should feel poorly about that outcome I am apparently missing a memo, because I do not. I am not invested at all in the lying down versus sitting machines, feel no desperation to make it work out better for me, and happily release it forever from my thinking. The sitting down hamstring curl machine is plenty tough, especially those last couple of inches of the movement.

So this was a decent amount of leg work today. I walked away thinking it was another fun session and that I am/was looking forward to trying it out on my own. Then I got to work and realized that I had been working my legs. Yowza! Good things, good feelings, good yowza.

I have (well, technically had by the time this post goes up) a couple of appointments this afternoon about diet and healthy eating. But before I could get to those appointments, I had a brush with intermittent fasting, so it plopped into my mind like this big chunk of brain real estate that has had me thinking about it off and on throughout the day.

Anything with the word “fasting” in the title immediately has me thinking fad diet and unlikely for me. But conversation with my walking buddies this afternoon has us all doing our own research on the subject. I haven’t had opportunity to talk with RD about it – his head is likely to spin completely around when I ask – and after I do a little cursory reading I’ll get trainer J’s thoughts on the topic, probably friend J and a couple of others as well. I always feel way behind the curve on diets and eating patterns, so there are a wealth of resources to consult.

The last 6 months or so have been kind of an adventure with food experimentation. I have given up dairy (other than my whey protein) for the most part. This weekend I had ice cream, and while it tasted amazing, I felt like absolute shit the next day. Maybe it was the sugar, but I have had sugar off and on and it’s not hit me like that ice cream did. On the other hand, lack of dairy for the most part has not made me feel as if I were missing anything. When I gave up cereal it was pretty easy to give up milk. Other than my meat and cheese sandwiches, I rarely eat cheese. Not a big fan of yogurt and cannot stand cottage cheese, and we have already discussed the downfall of ice cream, so not a lot of dairy that I am consuming.

Things are not bad on the eating front, but being the knowledge junkie that I am, Dr. Spencer has experience with other diabetics pursuing this method of eating and stated it is something we could implement and try, but it would require us to be very careful. My plan is to do some reading about intermittent fasting, talk to RD, talk to trainer J about his experiences in more detail, pick friend J’s brain about what he knows, and then decide if this is something workable for me and worthy of another experiment.

In the meantime, my most adventurous food plan for this week is salad in a jar, assuming I can find an appropriately sized jar.

3 thoughts on “Training #65 – All that jazz (part 1)

  1. Ahh..leg day! Mine was yesterday. It takes the longest to recover from for me. Feels great while doing (sorta – not a fan of the walking lunges – I’m sure in another year or 10 I will master the form! Love hearing about your nutrition/eating issues and what you try. I’m trying “my fit food” for a couple of weeks. Made/portion controlled meals. We’ll see if that helps cut down the eating out! Can’t wait to read part 2 !

    • Walking lunges – UGH! J has me doing them with 20 lb. dumbbells now, so it feels like the room has been extended 20 feet. Part 2 is not posted – one of the venting posts about short-sighted friends and their snarky, sabotaging ways. It been a trying summer, with comments getting sharper, whining getting louder, patience getting shorter. I may simply have to limit my interaction with these few long-time friends who really rain on all parades.

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