Category Archives: Training

I Wrote a Thing About Carb Loading…

A friend of mine recently did Coast to Coast – that’s a 140 mile (225km) bike ride.  He asked me to put something together for what he could take with him to eat over the 2 day ride – I put together a little thing for him – from 8 days prior to his event.

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This is what I wrote:

Carb loading to help performance

Carbs, broken down to the most simplistic are simple & complex.  Simple are sugars & complex are starches & fibre. Simple carbs are from milk, table sugar, fruit sugar & honey.  Complex carbs are from whole grains, vegetables, seeds, cereals & potatoes.

Complex carbs are better to eat than fats, as storing fat doesn’t require energy, whereas converting carbs to fat does.  Eg:  300 cal of carb, converted to fat equals 270 carbs, whereas 300cal of fat is still 300cal

Blood sugar & insulin levels spike when you eat carbs, how fast depends on what you’ve eaten. There’s stuff about eating low GI foods, to help aid athletes.  Anything lower that 55 on the GI index is low GI, above 70 is high GI & everything else is middle GI.

Low GI examples: grains, pasta, noodles, low-fat dairy & nuts.

High GI: White bread, white rice, instant mash, biscuits, cake etc.

Low GI, ideally should be consumed 2-4 hours before endurance exercise.  High GI will give you a boost, but it’s short lived & could produce temporary hypoglycemia.

Lower GI improves satisfaction feelings after eating & can help control weight too.

 

I guess, you really wanna know how much you should eat as well though?  Ha.  So, basically the more you weigh, the more glycogen stores you have (this is stuff that is stored in your muscles & is released during exercise – so storing it is goooooood for endurance)

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1-3 hours a day of cycling equates to 7-12g per KG of bodyweight

Over 4 hours a day equates to 12g per KG of bodyweight.

So, if you weigh 80kg for example & are doing 2 hours a day, you need around 10g per kilo, or around 800g of carb per day (800g in calories is 3200)

My info suggests carb loading 7 days prior to an event, there are three different options for this (& it involves tapering off your training for that week)

YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT – but if you carb load correctly, it’s glycogen being stored in your muscles ready for your epic cycle.

Carb loading, combined with rest & sleep has been proved to decrease fatigue by 20% & improve performance by 3%

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Classic carb loading:

Day 1:

Normal Training

Normal Diet

 

Day 2:

Prolonged/exhaustive exercise

LOW carb diet

 

Day 3:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 4:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 5:

Tapered Training

High carb

 

Day 6:

As day 5

 

Day 7:

As day 5

 

Day 8: EVENT.

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Modified carb loading:

Day 1:

Endurance Training

Normal Diet

 

Day 2:

Tapered Training

Moderate carb diet

 

Day 3:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 4:

As day 3

 

Day 5:

Tapered Training

High carb

 

Day 6:

As day 5

 

Day 7:

As day 5

 

Day 8: EVENT.

******************************

Modern Carb Loading:

 

Day 1:

Tapered Training

Normal Diet

 

Day 2:

Tapered Training

LOW carb diet

 

Day 3:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 4:

Tapered Training

Low Carb

 

Day 5:

Tapered Training

High carb

 

Day 6:

As day 5

 

Day 7:

Warm up & 3 minute high intensity

High carb – 10g per KG of BW
Day 8: EVENT.

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So yeah, that was what I wrote for him.

I’ve never attempted carb loading myself (I’ve done carb cycling in the past) but perhaps at some point in the future what I wrote for him, may come in handy for myself!

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Bootyful Beginnings….

Well now, it’s been a long time since I even felt the need to blog.  So much has happened since I decided a break away from the gym was needed.  I’m pretty sure I’ve lost all my gains, but whatever.  I got them once,  I can get them again.

Which is the reason for this latest blog instalment.

I’m gonna go back to the gym, cycle to my new work place & keep an eye on my food again.  I’m going intuitive eating this time round, and will macro track from time to time to make sure I’m not on too large a deficit.

Before I left my previous gym (yeah, I’ve moved gyms too!) I was starting New Rules of Lifting for Women,  stage 2 but it wasn’t as enjoyable as stage 1 & I don’t want to be doing something that I don’t enjoy.  I’ve followed Bret Contreras on Instagram for quite some time now & have always been in awe of how much he lifts & how amazing his clients looked, so I’ve signed up to STRONG by Bret; which is a rolling subscription to a programme he makes & sends out once a month along with optional supplemental workouts as well as a powerlifting programme.

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Bret  is known for his incredible devotion to the glutes…maintain eye contact, establish dominance with hip thrusters!  (side note, I can’t do thrusters, I get the most insane hamstring cramp as soon as I try, but he has fixes and suggestions for that)

This post shows one of the workouts from the Strong programme, my new gym is pretty high up with their health & safety, so the hanging leg curls are out – I’ll have to do normal versions. However, I have no qualms in doing normal versions, I’m rather clumsy & hanging versions scream accident to me. Ha!

So yeah, I’ve spent a while reading through various training programmes & Bret was always the clear winner, no matter how many times I read through others.  NROLfW is good, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just not for me.  It’s taught me things, mostly that I can do more than I’d previously thought.  Ice Cream Fitness is a spin off of Starting Strength & the less people sign up to the Misogynist that is Mark Rippetoe  of Starting Strength, the happier I’ll be.  There’s satire & then there’s being an utter prick; he is the latter.

I’m not excited about this programme. I’m not dreading it either, I *know* I have to go back to the gym, it’s gonna help my mental state, my strength & hopefully keep me away from spinal surgery.  I’m glad I took the time off that I did.  I needed to.  People who I’d previously enjoyed talking “gym” to had begun to irritate me, I wanted to smack so many people – preferably with a baseball bat, I was losing my inner filter & got so close to being downright horrible to people, who a few weeks prior, I’d have been proud to call my friend.  I no longer feel this way & I’m glad I didn’t burn any bridges, people still irritate me, but that’s just the way I am & no matter what, it’ll always be the way I am.

Expect future posts about how I’m doing with Strong!

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Let’s do this, Yolandie!


Serotonin, Dopamine & Endorphins

Serotonin is a mood booster

Dopamine is a pleasure hormone

Endorphins block pain

Mine are broken.  My mood is apathetic & my dopamine and endorphins have gone on holiday I think, or my remaining serotonin killed them before killing itself.

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I’ve spent days trying to convince myself that talking about mental health is ok, and not a  glorified excuse for attention (thanks, brain!) It feels almost wrong to discuss it freely, like it’s still a taboo & when people ask how you are, they don’t actually want to know; they’re just being polite – this is my current perception of people in general at the minute.

I have depression – a chemical imbalance in my brain that has essentially switched me off.  You seen Inside Out? Where her core memories switch off?  It’s kind like that….sort of. but not really.  Everyone’s experience will vary & this is probably why I put off seeking help for as long as I did – if you read old posts on here, there’s definitely a few that have underlying tones of something not being *quite right* for me.

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Sadness is too sad to walk

However, my blog is not a mental health blog – it’s about my journey through fitness/strength.  I’m aware that you mindset has a lot to do with how you progress, which is the main point of this post……here comes the part that some may not agree with, however the perk of one’s own perceptions; amirite?

A while ago I wrote about how fitness quotes/memes for the most part irritate the living daylights out of me, I thought I’d gotten past that but I now know that I haven’t.  They seem to trigger something in my brain that makes me irrationally anti-motivation.  The buzz words that surround those whose lives are engulfed by the process of becoming stronger and leaner fill me with something that I cannot coherently explain.  I want to scream and shout that not all people think that way & just by saying something doesn’t mean it’ll happen – regardless on what some “fitspo” instagrammer has told you, it simply isn’t the case.

  • The difference between where you are & where you want to be is you!
  • You can be it, if you believe it- you can achieve it
  • Tell yourself you can & you will
  • Focus on being positive

When I started my blog a little over a year ago I hated the above sentiments. However, my personal drive to improve myself meant I chose to ignore them, or sometimes I might have even possibly believed a few – there’s plenty of motivational posts on my blog. That doesn’t mean I’ve aimed them at anyone in particular, that’s just how I felt at that specific time….all the while there was a belligerent part of my brain screaming, silently into a pillow. NO. NO. NO.

No one ever seems to want to talk about what happens when the above sentiments are interpreted as hostile. I’ve been to the gym three times in three weeks.  Do I care? No.  Do I feel bad about it? No. Will reading positivity garbage on line help me get back into my gym routine? No.

I believe that I should be able to teleport to wherever I want to go…..Does that mean I can? No.  What if I focus that I positively believe that it should be achievable, will that make it happen? No.  SO WHY SPOUT THIS STUFF ONLINE?!

That seems a little extreme doesn’t it? Well, what about those who want to do something fitness related, who have tried in the past but given up for whatever reason.  Is reading the positivity going to help someone who is in a dark place go back? I don’t think so.

I have a huge, huge vexation with telling people to be positive – you’re essentially forcing your discomfort of someone else’s unhappiness/numbness/apathy away & life doesn’t work like that.  Ever told a boy that he shouldn’t cry? You’re forcing them to hide their emotions, to block the negativity that they feel instead of talking about it, or allowing them that moment to be vulnerable & at one with how they feel.

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It’s ok to break.

It’s ok to not be happy.

It’s ok to not smile.

It’s ok.

I’ve been hiding my mental state for probably longer than I’d like to admit. I’ve put my woes to a backburner & chose to forget about them, I’ve not acknowledged the spiral in my head & how lost I have felt at times & how I felt like I was drowning in a swathe of emotions that no one wanted to talk about.

I know the gym* & personal trainers are not a place for therapy or qualified to help you in dire times of distress – that’s what counsellors & shrinks are for.  I’m also not saying that you should expect this kind of service from your fitness professionals, what I am saying is that “sucking it up” helps no one.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again expecting different results – so even if you train enough to keep your dopamine & serotonin levels high, don’t neglect your feelings on an intimate, almost subconscious level.  Showing the world you feel ok & actually being ok are two completely different things.

Also, if you ever tell someone that you feel sad/empty/upset and they tell you to smile, be positive & to get over it, take a hint from Bronson:

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*The gym is a great place to destress & exercising can increase your dopamine levels but it’s not going to fix the issues inside your mind

 


The Goal Posts Have Changed….

No, no.  This is not a post about football or anything else that uses goals to punt a ball through.  This is a reflection of goals from this year & moving to 2016 (Dubbed “lean ’16” by Gem)

Back in January I decided to start this blog – not to gain followers or likes or whatever; I started it to keep a progress log for myself.  It was re-reading back through my posts that I noticed a trend in my energy levels & food – had I not had this blog would I have noticed? Probably however I do believe it’d have taken me longer.

This blog was started so that I didn’t “hound” my facebook friends with my gym pursuits, this way people can read it if they want to & don’t have to hide me (Side note – facebook gym updates irritate me…ironic, right?)

So, let’s reflect on what this year has brought me, I was gonna bullet point it but decided to just write it & see what happens…it may still end up as bullet points but we’ll see how this goes.63

So, the blog is a little less than a year old.  In that year I’ve had nearly 4,000 views (or 330 views per month) & 185 likes on various posts.  My most popular blog post has been my documenting of Intermittent Fasting, followed by my Dear You post.

That’s interesting.  Like I said, I started this as a place to keep my fitness pursuits as separate as possible from my facebook feed.  It’s nice to know how many people have viewed my posts & are hopefully finding answers to the questions they searched on Google via my blog.

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giddy as a kid with lots of tiaras.

So, down to brass tax now I’ve written 300 words as an introduction.  Hahaha.  Whoops.

Continue reading


I Don’t Like It…

I don’t like when something isn’t right

I don’t like when it feels out of sorts

I don’t like not having a “hold” on things

I don’t like the swell of frustration in my head

I don’t like it.

My head is awash with so much running through it at the minute, it’s hard to string a concise sentence together. Even now, I’ve been sat staring at this page for longer than I care to admit; trying to find the words & not just FFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  When I’m occupied to a level that I can only think on what it is I’m doing at that very minute; I am fine.  It’s when I have a moment, I used to enjoy the peace, the solitude, the “alone time” and now it feels like a constant buzzing of white noise whirling around.

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I used to be of the belief that if you can change something, to change it & if you can’t; to forget it & move on. You’ll waste too much energy dwelling on things that you have no control over.  I probably still think that way, but at the minute I am stuck & I hate it more than I’ve hated anything for a very long time.  My previous post was about frustration & I guess this is a follow-up (after a conversation with Andy on Friday) as I kinda have a clearer idea; a new perspective on how to look at it.

You can either let the frustration take over you & allow it to consume you or you can look at it as a driving force to become greater than you thought you could be.

So, in a nutshell.  I’m pissed off.  There’s so much that annoys me at the minute it’s hard to see the light, however being as annoyed as I am with many aspect of my life, shows that I’m not happy with my current situation -which is a GOOD thing.  It means I don’t want to settle, I don’t want to just “be”

It’s given me the vigour I’ve desperately missed for the last few weeks, if not months.  I got complacent, then got irritated.  The irritation is my driving force.  Not happy?  Use it! Channel it into something that will make you happy.

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Phillipe wants to go down the safer looking route

Since Friday, I’ve had some of the best training sessions I’ve had for a long time.  I deadlifted more on my own than I’ve done since about February, I gave myself some of the most heinous DOMS that the cycle to the gym today felt like I was cycling through thick glue & it was never going to end.

Today, my session was incredible. I felt so content leaving the gym, there’s something to be said about hormone releases during exercise.  It’d have been interesting to see my dopamine levels as I was cycling home – interesting fact, there’s a blog post about dopamine & it’s effect on your motivation levels, not just it being the “reward hormone” It made a lot of sense to me, this feeling I have now is one that a few years ago was with me permanently, I was driven to be better, I strived to become greater than I was, I wasn’t going to be beaten or have someone be more recognised than I was (this was in a work environment where I excelled)

It was an eye opener.  That time in my life is gone, I miss it everyday & the void it left inside me was getting bigger.  I *think* I’ve finally found the solution.  Training has taught me so much about myself.  This last year has seen me do so much more than I ever thought possible, it’s given back to me more than I could have ever imagined.  I’m not the physically strongest, but fuck me; I’ve had some pretty epic hurdles to jump over since I started this blog.  My self doubt, my struggles with food, overcoming the desire to quit – more than once.

How I feel now, was the feeling I had when the year started – before everything started to go wrong.  I still wonder where I’d be now if everything had gone smoothly this year, but what would I have learned?

Side note:  Having an AMAZING support structure has helped me overcome the darkness that was trying to swallow me.  Thank you, Burton.  Thank you Gem & everyone else that has messaged me recently.  you’ll never know how much your kindness has helped me.  ❤

I leave you with an image of the cheesecake I made when I got home from the gym:

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All Aboard The Frustration Train!!

Urgh.  It feels like it wasn’t that long ago I wrote a post similar to this.  Like a perpetual cycle of highs and lows; the highs are amazing & the lows are, frankly, more annoying than an itch on the sole of your foot when you’re wearing boots that have 12 feet of shoe lace & you’re wearing a corset.

A few weeks ago my training programme changed, this one has taken weeks to get used to & I’ve been sticking to weights that I *know* I can handle, not necessarily seeing if I can go higher than before (I like round numbers, doing 5 or 7 of something doesn’t sit right with me & if I can do 8 then I may as well try to do 10)

I had a few days away from the gym last week (for the past few weeks I’ve not had a proper rest day, I’ve always been doing something) so on those days away I spent a fair amount of time reading & trying to find out where I was going wrong.  I’m still a novice with lifting & my PT was away on business so I couldn’t pick his brains.  Anyway, in those days I realised that most of my heavier lifts haven’t changed for MONTHS; I know that training isn’t about consistently getting those PR’s but my thinking was how can I continue to progress & get out of the constant plateau that I’ve been floating on for the last few months (weight loss isn’t a goal, so IDGAF what the scale says)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last year is that when a plateau hits, you need to figure out why & it’s not a simple task (or it isn’t for me) The easiest way to go through it, is – ironically enough, via my weight.  I lost weight when I started cycling to & from the gym, I lost weight when I changed my eating habits, I lost weight when I switched to intermittent fasting. The scale hasn’t changed since er, July I think.

In my reading mission, I read a great post from Chris Mullen about bulking (something I’ve heard about, but never gave it much thought) towards the end of the post he said:

Remember though, TRACK YOUR MACROS, ok you’re bulking so it’s never going to be perfect but you have to have some idea, how else are you going to grow muscle?! You need to eat in a surplus to build muscle.

The severity of this surplus will determine the ratio of muscle mass to fat mass you gain.
You can only build muscle at a certain rate, so a big surplus will inevitably lead to lots of unwanted fat gain. Conversely, too small a surplus and you might stay lean, but your muscle building will be compromised.

Unfortunately, building muscle just isn’t possible naturally when you aren’t eating enough.

You need to spend time consciously building muscle if you wish to look muscular in any way (hence ‘bodybuilding’).

I’ve underlined the part that resonated through my head.

Andy told me I need to watch my eating when I first started cycling & I’ve been eating to maintenance for a long, long time. Maybe I haven’t.  Maybe I’ve thought I was & in actuality I’ve been under-eating….it’s a possibility. It’s a possibility that I’m now exploring, I’ve changed my macros to suit & am hoping that the extra calories gives me that boost to be able to lift more.

I’ll report back after a few weeks & let you know how it’s going!

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“Does My Butt Look Big In This?”

It’s not so much as does it look big, more of a “Can I see your pants through it?” If the answer ever is yes, then wear a longer shirt, better still; change!

When I first started going to the gym, I bought “sweat pants”, none of this marl grey, elasticated at the bottom – but nevertheless, *shudder* tracksuit bottoms.  (anyone that has known me for a while knows how much I loathe sports gear, or sports gear worn as day-to-day gear, wearing this stuff made me feel dirty – I shit you not) However, needs must & I couldn’t go to the gym wearing jeans & an All Saints Top! Well, I could have but no.  Just. No.

Yeah, so your average supermarket tracksuit bottoms, usually found with the hoodies & things, a sports bra as well as a baggy shirt with a pocket for my phone.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to then fail & have to sell it all on eBay because the guilt of looking at all the tiny spandex items was slowly destroying my soul.

Then there was my shoes.  Oooh, my shoes.  I’ve already mentioned my loathing for all things sport related?  Yes? Good.  My shoes were Reebok Easytone – they were a birthday present a few years previous from my husband (remember, up until 6 months ago I was quite, quite lazy) I thought they’d be fine, they look the part, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?

Yeah, they probably do but they were very, very wrong!  Initially, cardio, resistance machines etc & these were fine; it was once I started lifting that they became a problem – the soles are set to be off balance; in theory you correct your posture & they’re supposed to help tone your legs. whatever. I liked em, which is why I got them.  More on footwear later.

That was all to begin with, however I do now have a penchant for gym gear.  The first thing I replaced was the bra, I didn’t need massive support as I wasn’t running, so didn’t require anything above a medium impact. The vests I wore had racer backs, so it made sense to get a racer back bra too – I have wired gym bras as well as non…..stick with non.  Even if you think you need them, you really, really don’t want a piece of metal digging in to your ribs whilst lifting some heavy shit.  If you’re unsure of your size, there’s a fantastic Subreddit that can help you! Everyone will be different though, this is just what’s worked for me.

Now, 6 months in my gym gear comprises of the following:

New Balance Minimus 3090 V3 Trainers

1 Pair Compression Gear Leggings*

1 Pair Altura Night Vision Leggings*

1 Pair Base Layer leggings – For when cycling required 2 pairs!

1 MuddyFox Cycling Skort*

2 Pairs Adidas Climalite Leggings – these were invaluable cycling in the winter!

3 pairs of Gym Leggings

5 Gym Vests

2 Baggy Cropped Gym Shirts

2 zipped top/hoodie things

A small arsenal of trainer socks

The stuff highlighted in bold is stuff for gym & cycling – the stuff with stars next to it is solely for cycling.  Have you seen cycling leggings?  They have their own seat! No one wants to see that in the gym!

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 I didn’t buy it all at once either!  After changing bras I looked at vests, moreso the ones with”wicking” – this is the ability to move sweat away from the body more quickly.  I was still at baggy pants stage though; it was only once my bottoms started to become an indecency risk that I ventured in to gym leggings.  I own sports brand ones as well as “TK Maxx’s Finest” and the TK Maxx ones outshine the branded ones – one day doing leg presses, I could see my thigh tattoo as clearly as I can through 80 denier tights, so they’re relegated to upper body days only now!

I don’t wear all of it regularly, I have clear favourites – something a few months ago I’d have laughed at!

I also own water resistant headphones as well recently upgrading my wearable to a FitBit Surge – they’re not for everyone but I’ve had a wearable for the past er, year (ish) and was waiting for the perfect combination of my needs in a watch, the Surge has all of that.  It’s still VERY early days with it though, so no more about it for now.

So, based on my limited knowledge/experience of gym stuffs here are my pointers:

  • Don’t buy expensive – unless they’re a specific item that you *know* you’re going to use; my Altura leggings for example cost me the same as about 10 pairs of non gym leggings, but they’re made specifically for cycling & you can tell when you’re wearing them.
  • Don’t buy a lot! Especially in the early days of gym going; I’ve lost about 14″ overall & I’ve thrown away some of my earlier gear because it got too big
  • Don’t be put off by it looking really small on the hanger – this stuff stretches, it’s designed to “hug” (That doesn’t mean you buy a small because, in a few months you will be that size, but then you wear it now)
  • Get the right shoes! Digging through your clothes & finding a pair of Nike Air Max from your school days might be ok to begin with, but you’ll need decent footwear – and it can all depend on what you’re doing in the gym as to what is right footwear & what isn’t.  (A little example – running shoes are not designed for squatting – there’s too much squish in the soles)
  • Clothes should fit, not be baggy everywhere – you need to be able to move freely & long flowly gear may be good for a Sunday stroll, it is not good for training. If you want to wear something loose, layer it.
  • NO GLOVES! Grip strength will not improve with gloves, just no.  If you’re gonna go heavy with weights, there’s wrist wraps & things, but no gloves.  My gloves are now relegated to my cycling.
  • Wicking!!  I cannot stress this enough, guys & gals! Wicking is your friend – Also labelled as Moisture wicking on garments, but its the same stuff
  • No matter what you’re wearing, keep going. You’re doing great!  But seriously, you’ll do a lot better with the right gear!

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First gym session next to most recent gym session.

As a side note, ladies; take the jewellery off, tie your hair back, & remove the make-up