How Much Progress Can You Lose?

How much progress can you lose in a few weeks. All right, okay, a month?

A lot, as it turns out.

Vacation, kids, just being lazy, and trying a couch to 5k program got in the way of strength training. I never did figure out how to merge a couch to 5k program into my strength training routine. So, as I started working on the 5k, I fell off the strength training wagon.

For a month.

Yeah, I didn’t realize it had been that long, but as I looked at my log that listed the last day I had trained, it was undeniable.

So, I knew I’d have to ease back from where I was. I just didn’t realize how far I’d have to ease back. Or how much I’d hurt the next day.

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I so thought I was over each step I took reminding me I’d overdone it the day before, like when I first started strength training.

See, I try hard not to overdo it in these sessions. I have a day job that requires concentration if not physical exertion, and pain makes it hard to concentrate. I also have two amazing but rambunctious kids that demand my attention. And, I hate asking my husband to run down to the basement to bring up the clothes because my legs have the consistency of jelly or my arms can barely lift a pencil.

Granted, I’m not that bad this time. Okay, I did ask him to bring up the laundry, but I could lift more than pencil.

As I revitalize the routine, I find myself going through another case of the “I’m so hungry I’ll even eat peas” phase. That says something as I can’t stand peas. They’re all wrinkly, and they smell like dirty feet while they cook. Snow peas or pea pods, those are a whole different food stuff. We eat those like they’re candy in our house.

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Not sure how long it’ll take me to get back to where I was a month ago. Hoping only a few weeks, but it’s so hard to tell. I’m getting older, and my body is letting me know. I finally broke down and bought compression socks to help with the ankle I broke last year. Probably going to need a compression sleeve for at least one knee. Not so much for the strength training, but practicing for a 5k has been murder on that ankle I broke, especially.

*sigh*  I can’t be a twenty-something forever. And while I’d love the body of my twenty-something self, not sure I’d be willing to trade my wisdom and self-esteem for that body.

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How about you? Do you find that a month away from something makes you worse at it? If so, how long does it take you recoup lost ground? If you don’t get worse at it, do you have a secret you can share as to how you manage it?

Six Things I’ve Learned from Strength Training

So, I’m a couple of weeks in on strength training. And, it reminds me that I’m not twenty-seven any more.

There are things I’ve struggled to do, things I’ve had to ease back on to avoid injury, and days where my body just aches.

I usually walk one-and-a-half miles a day with some pretty impressive hills, but strength training is very different. After being away from it for eight years, it’s reminding me of how very different. Here are some of the things it’s taught me so far.

1. The Hunger Eases – I was achingly hungry for a few days after my first session. But it eased, and it hasn’t really returned.

Now it’s like half a pizza.

2. Need for More Hydration Doesn’t – I never quite jumped on board the water-toting culture. Yes, I have a water bottle at my desk, but that’s more to keep me from spilling it all over. Still, after three weeks in, I am way more thirsty than I ever was before.

3. Sleep Hard – I put my head on the pillow these days, and I’m asleep in less than ten minutes. On an actual training day, usually less than two minutes. I also find myself waking up less at night, and even when I have horrifying dreams (the one the other night was about the onset of nuclear war being the diversion used for someone to abduct my children, and then me having to go through a nightmare fun house to get them back), I can get back to sleep.

4. Drawn to Healthier Foods –  I’ve actually found myself far more inclined to choose healthy foods. Like, it’s not an effort. And when DH mentioned going out to eat, I sort of shrugged. I’d rather a home-cooked meal I didn’t have to cook (let me know where you can find of those). I’ve wanted veggies and fruit. Meat cooked well without a lot of salt and sauces. We’ll see if this holds…

5. My Body Misses Exercising – I’ve seen this before with walking, so I wasn’t as surprised, but my body genuinely misses working out. I may not be much inclined some days, but when I don’t, I really feel it.

6. Not as Young as I Used to Be – This has really been brought home to me. Recovery time, at least at first, has been longer than it was eight years ago. I’ve also had to modify some exercises. I can’t apply weight to a bent wrist after an injury I sustained five years back. I have to be very careful of certain exercises like lunges on the foot I broke last year. My pride may feel a bit wounded, but better that than an injury.

 

How about you? Have you ever incorporated strength training into your exercise? Do you now? Do you like it? Hate it? Any thoughts for someone restarting it again?

 

My Legs Are Made Out of Jelly

I started strength training approximately ten years ago. Then, we decided to have children. Between issues with pregnancy and finally having a squalling if amazing baby, I quit lifting.

Yes, I know how important it is. For general wellness and doing things like spreading mulch, and but also to prevent osteoporosis. This disease is big deal in my family, made all the worse by where I’ve lived most of my life.

Per my endocrinologist, the closer to the equator you are, the less likely you are to develop it. Having lived in the north of the US most of my life has increased my likelihood of the disease quite a bit. Things like strength training can help decrease it.

Back before children, I went straight to the gym after work. Eventually, we put a home gym in, and I went to that as soon as I got home from work.

So, I tried that again. Simply coming home, throwing on my gear, and heading to the basement. But it was almost impossible to get there. My daughters wanted, needed, my attention. They hadn’t seen me all day and missed me. How could I possibly walk past my toddler holding her arms out to me with a grin on her face as she says, “Momma, momma, momma!”

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Don’t forget to add writing!

That leaves mornings before they get up and evenings after they go to bed. I am not much of a morning person, but I learned very quickly I don’t have enough energy left to start any kind of exercise after they are in bed.

Setting aside my lack of being a morning person, morning is doubly hard for strength training as you’re supposed to be awake for an hour before you start lifting to help prevent injury. I haven’t been in my indestructible twenties for a long time. Injury is most assuredly a thing that happens to people at my age.

So, I decided to tweak my work schedule and work on strength two days a week at lunch and one day on the weekend. I reviewed my old workout plan, modified a few things to take into account my current physical state, and implemented it.

After strength training for the first time in almost seven years, I’ve discovered just how hard stairs can be to climb.

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My legs feel like jelly and my arms don’t want to lift off the keyboard. I hadn’t thought I’d overdone the workout, but apparently even body-weight push-ups on an incline are hard after seven years. Really hard.

Beyond moving with the stiff gait of the walking dead, the other thing I noticed was how hungry I was.  I mean hungry. Not just in the it’s almost time for dinner hungry. But genuinely hungry. I had an apple in the afternoon and later a Kind bar. I was still hungry when I got home. I snacked on some fruit and a bit of beef jerky and devoured dinner. I was still hungry.

At this point, I was starting to feel like the very hungry caterpillar.

We normally don’t keep snacks in the house because if you don’t have them, it doesn’t take much willpower not to eat them. I was so hungry by eight o’clock that I had a headache.

I ended up finding my stash of frozen custard and plowed through it. I’d love to justify it by saying it was chocolate custard with raspberries in it, so clearly it couldn’t be so bad. But there’s no point. I knew how bad it was while I was eating it and didn’t care. I was hungry and this was finally helping me feel full.

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So, while strength training may help build some strength and some bones, I need to figure out a way to deal with this spike in hunger. I’m hoping it’s just temporary while my body gets used to the new demands being made on this desk jockey.

On the positive side, I had no trouble falling asleep. Literally, I don’t think my head was on the pillow for thirty seconds before I was sound asleep. I also slept the whole night, and when a nightmare woke me up, as they do, I rolled over and was back asleep in less than a minute.

 

How about you? Ever started a strength training routine? How’d it go? Any tips? Or maybe you over did some gardening or other work and paid for it the next morning? Any tips on how you coped?