Thursday 23 February 2017

Getting My Sweat On: From Losing Training Confidence to Discovering Coconut Porridge

Training confidence. Mine has taken some knocks in recent months (cue future post: Fitness Motivation, Why Comparing Yourself to Others Is Always Fatal). But there's one person who has always been there to get me through it - my personal trainer.

I’ve never refrained from sharing my doubts with my PT Jake, and he has reliably always got me back on track. Having someone look out for you, someone who understands your training brain, is one reason why I will always work with a PT – their job is as much about mental training of their clients as it is physical.

Here’s a good example. We returned to weighted glute bridges in January but it was a short-lived experiment. The weight of the bar aggravated my hip tendon.  Normally that would have sent my confidence levels plummeting, but instead Jake got me to see it as a positive, that we’d isolated an issue and managed it before it became a problem - "It’s just one exercise; there are plenty of others we can do," he said, reassuringly.

And he was right. The next session we were back working the legs and glutes, moving on to a new exercise based around the Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (SLRDL). And the irony is that I much prefer it (see fave exercise).

I’ve always loved doing SLRDLs. Essentially you lift one leg behind you whilst standing on the other and holding a weight in one hand (either hand). It looks awesome, a bit like a battement movement in ballet, only you do it very slowly.

This time around though we’re doing it on the cable machine, which adds a layer of difficulty as you are now having to manage two weights (free-weight in one hand, and weighted cable handle in the other).

Aside from the glute bridge hiccup, leg and glute work has really moved forward over the past month. We've stepped up the weights slightly for deadlifts, introduced single arm deadlifts, added touch-n-go deadlifts (you don’t rest between reps), plus we re-introduced lower back extensions.

New upper body and core work includes kneeling banded crunches (attach a resistance band to a high bar and pull down), Bosu ball crunches, and classic bench prone rows (check out my Face Up Fitness Instagram page for pics and more detailed explanations).

Overall the last month has been a big step forward in progress and confidence. I’m starting to feel much fitter and stronger, and with that comes a much happier gym experience.

Fave Exercise 

Cable machine Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts. I’m working on a bigger stretch back - it does look a tad feeble in this pic!

Disaster Moment 

Weighted glute bridges. I will resurrect them once my hips have completely recovered. Meantime, I’ve reverted back to bodyweight only single leg glute bridges, which are themselves no walk in the park.

One to Try 

Buy a couple of resistance bands (Amazon do a good selection) and give banded crunches a go.  I find they work my abs hard and using different resistance levels means you can switch things up (or down) as the mood takes – though obviously  the idea is to ramp up! The good thing about owning your own bands is that they are cheap to buy, weigh virtually nothing and take up no storage – plus few gyms have them around for members to use.

Fitness Find

Like porridge?  It’s a great fitness food as it contains complex carbs, keeping energy sustained throughout training. Pret a Manger recently launched a coconut version of its classic recipe, made with coconut milk, gluten-free oats, and red quinoa. Creamy and dairy-free, it contains 5.2g protein, 27.6g carbs and just shy of 200 cals per serving.

Cafes and fast food chains are really embracing the current fitness trend, with an ever increasing choice of fit food on offer. I’ll raise a peanut butter and almond milk smoothie to that!  
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