Off Season: Finding Humility
The training program we're on is an 8-week program that contains 2 4-week blocks of training programming to be done in 4 days a week. The first 4-weeks are designed to create some base strength using solid, functional movements in what I would call stable positioning that isolate various muscle groups. For instance, a single leg press on a leg machine press where there isn't much going on other than focusing in that one movement. As mentioned in previous posts, I felt really sore that first week or two. As I ended the first month, I felt pretty good and was increasing weight. I had the hang of things.
The second 4-week plan started last week and ramps up in complexity. Most of the exercises began to combine muscle groups, which increased the challenge significantly. The stability ball makes its appearance quite a bit, which means your core is involved in almost all the workouts whether you're doing upper body or lower body that day. On the topic of stability balls, I think they were secretly designed as gym embarrassment tools because of how quickly you can loose control of it and land on your head. Let's just say that I'm glad the gym is empty when I go because I nearly lost it every day last week. Overall, it was good to see the workouts progress in complexity, challenge, and incorporate various muscle groups in each workout because riding your bike for 30-100 miles requires a lot more than just strong legs.
It was a challenging week mentally as I went through the workouts all week because they were hard and beyond my current ability to even do many of them well. So many of them exposed my weakness and inability to even execute the exercise correctly, let alone with any extra resistance. I have a very weak core, which made anything to do with the stability ball challenging, and I have terrible upper body strength if it involved pulling my body weight up. Nothing demotivates a person more when they really want to embrace the process by showing up and giving it your best effort and then being humbled by not even being able to do the movement. You can see why folks get to February after new year's resolutions or any other goals they set and give up.
I was laying on the floor after failing at an exercise late in the week and in a mix of laughing at myself and being frustrated, I saw the white board at the back of the gym with a message about mental toughness. You can read the thought in the image above. It did its job at reminding me that transformation is a mental game and ultimately the point of it all. That quote being on the white board is one of the things I love about Athletes With Purpose, the organization that runs the training program and the gym. They focus heavily on developing the character of their athletes at the same time they're training their bodies.
On the weight loss front, I made the shift from 1,500 to 1,900 calories a day based on the recommendation of the nutritionist and a desire to explore whether under eating is a possibility. It has been nice to get a little extra food, but I'm still simply maintaining weight as I've only fluctuated 3-4lbs up and down the past month. Started this journey at 212 and have been going up to 216 and back to 212. No real weight loss recorded yet, but I'm committed to the process and feel good about the dietary change and choices I'm making. I'm choosing to trust that in time that area will take off as I continue to commit to the training.
In addition to the four training sessions a week, I have been on the indoor trainer three days a week for a high intensity interval training ride that lasts 45-60 minutes. I'm getting a lot of enjoyment out of Zwift like so many others training indoors this winter. It provides the training session direction with some video game like environments that keep you engaged. I also jumped in on a couple of races and group rides this week, which had me going from 0-300 watts and sweating immediately. I can see why all the cyclists have been chatty about it and spending all their money on smart trainers. I might have to look into creating some Team NL group rides soon. I do not have a smart trainer or a power meter, so I'm left to use a speed/cadence sensor and my fluid trainer, which works just fine. I'm not sure how accurate the power/speed readings are within the system but if the numbers are right, I'm seeing improvements based on what I know of my abilities. It's motivating to have something driving my indoor training rather than just Netflixing and Spinning.
Let me know how your training is going or if you're loving Zwift.