Friday, March 8, 2013

Relaxing in to the routine...

I had a pretty stressful beginning of the week... went through some significant life changes with a new job and a change in personal relationships and as a result I haven't come up with a brilliant blog topic this week... (not that they are ever THAT brilliant!) Now as the week is progressing and the dust is settling I am getting settled in to the new changes in my life and relying on my established routine of the last 4 months to keep me stable and succeeding in my goals. My diet and frequent gym schedule feel normal and comforting and give me something to focus my energy on when other things are rocky. I have been kinda thinking about my new relationship with food this week because whenever I am under a lot of emotional stress I tend to get nauseas and am unable to eat. Last time I had a big life change I lost about 10lbs, and not in a healthy way...
During this brief but intense bout of stress I forced myself to continue eating even though it was hard and I didn't want to. Let's just say it wasn't any more enjoyable going out than it was going in... but I am beginning to view my food as fuel and not as entertainment or emotional comfort or reward. Now this is probably not a permanent change since, as many of you know, I make my living as a chef/cooking instructor... but for now it is a really interesting experience and I think a really healthy mindset for me to have. I miss having food creation as my creative outlet but it isn't really possible for me right now. There are only so many combinations of beans and vegetables I have interest in making. Not to mention that food prep time and eating take up so much of my life as is just doing the basic meal plan. I enjoy everything I eat even if it is a little boring to have the same thing day in and day out sometimes. I have been getting really routine about preparing my meals a few days ahead and that makes it much easier to eat on time and as planned when I have lots of stuff going on in my day. I can grab 6 hours worth of food from the refrigerator in the morning then come home from work and eat my next meal before heading to the gym. Advance preparation really simplifies things.

My current workout routine is pretty awesome. It is more focused on the big compound lifts and doesn't involve circuits! So basically I get to just camp out at the squat rack or bench and check my instagram between sets... well that and like stretch, drink water, and prepare for my next set. It is for sure a different experience then racing around the gym trying to get to the weights I need before someone else has them as I go from exercise to exercise. It is a lot volume because I am doing 8-10 sets of the big lift, but I feel like I am really getting to focus on what I am doing and go big on it. I have made a few PR's in the last few weeks including benching over my weight for reps  for the first time. This week also marked the end of my creatine cycle. I don't know how much it affected my lifting, I haven't had a full week of routine without it and it takes a little bit to leave your system but I will be interested to see if I notice any strength changes now that I am not on it. I did pretty immediately loose about two pounds of water... I feel like I am continuing to slowly drop body fat and gain mass. It is really hard to gauge the little changes in my body since I see it daily but I have the occasional instance where I am doing something routine like washing my hands, and look up in to the bathroom mirror and it's like "hey! I've never seen THAT muscle before!"
Just continuing to work and follow my plan for diet and exercise and wait for the changes to happen. The EOW this week is Military Shoulder Press. I went into the gym alone with no workout buddy and was really worried that I would have to use the smith machine to do my lift because I can't even get the bar off the rack behind my head without a spot let alone feel safe lifting my max overhead. I went out of my comfort zone and asked another regular at the gym to spot me and he was really cool and asked about my breaks and just reappeared or worked out next to the rack so he could spot my entire 8 sets. It was really reaffirming that even if I don't always have a workout buddy I CAN have a great workout and I don't need to be afraid to ask people for help with a spot. I think that is something that stops a lot of women from lifting heavy and it shouldn't... I was reminded of that.
I also wanted to share a good article my friend Coleen shared with me this week about women and heavy lifting. Women: Be more, not less. Hope you enjoy it!!

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