On the rebound from yesterdays bout with the coil of evil 2.0 I felt pretty good today. I did take it easy on the abdominal exercises due to a mix of low back pain and fear of noxious gas expulsions. I hit the other exercises pretty hard and feel I got a great workout on everything even the abs.
One thing that still bothers me is how difficult I find the lunge based exercises. It's not a matter of resistance, rather one of balance and coordination. Add to that I don't feel the burn in the right muscles all the time and I generally feel I'm doing something wrong on these. The step back lunge is supposed to be a hamstring exercise, and I feel it light up my quads and barely touch my hamstrings! I've been told to shift my weight to the balls of my foot and to drive my pelvis through.
The other lunge style exercises I find quite challenging based off the speed at which we are supposed to execute them. The slow reps are as fast as I can move on them, and the fast reps feel simply unachievable. I wobble greatly side to side and often find myself taking a step to stop myself from toppling over. In the end these may be issues that resolve on their own as my weight continues to drop and my center of balance moves back to a more natural place.
Several aspects joined to make today a bit harder than it should have been. As I suspected today was an all bag day, and I was doing battle with gastrointestinal distress. Add to that a poor decision on breakfast (I tried drinking just a glass of chocolate milk) making my stomach all full of gurgles and an upper body still wracked with the good pain of Saturday's upper body workout. The result was a brutal all bag day, but I made it through with only one emergency trip off the floor!
One thing that continues to surprise me is the wide variety of effort I see people give at Farrell's every day. As I work out I look around notice that most people are giving their all the entire time. A few others wax and wane between all out effort and mid-line effort (this may be an endurance issue, in which case they are giving their all.) But the ones that surprise me the most are those who don't seem to be putting any significant effort into the class at all! No one is making us go to Farrell's, we signed up and went on our own. Beyond that, we paid for the privilege to do so! It just blows my mind that someone would go through the effort of buying a membership and showing up at 6:15am to live life at level 7!
With that in mind, I do appreciate what these people contribute to class. Every time I see someone who appears to be just along for the ride, I really focus on pushing myself as hard as I can! I don't want to be that guy who's doing Farrell's for a year and still looks the same as he did when he started. I want to run into people I haven't seen in a few years and have them be amazed at how much weight I've lost, and I want to proudly say Farrell's eXtreme Body Shaping is how I lost it. When they ask how I keep it off, I'll be able to express that it's not just a 10 week course, rather it's a new way of life and I still eat right and work out six days a week.
Today was another upper body day, we had an instructor that I've never come across before and she chattered a lot about form. This wasn't a bad thing at all, even after 8 weeks I picked up a tip or two on how I can improve my form. Always good to keep an open mind with this sort of thing, and always good to keep evaluating how you are doing!
I'm not sure why but today was extra hard on me! My arms feel like gelatin and exercises I'm pretty sure I did with a higher band color earlier this week I had to step down on today. I still hit failure on every group but it just felt like I was weaker than normal for some reason. Add to that the fact that my low body is still aching from Thursdays class and I think I'm glad tomorrow is free day!
I stepped on the scale and I'm rocking 319lbs, I'd be disappointed if it wasn't for the obvious changes I've seen elsewhere in my body.
So people have complained now and then about the music choice at Farrell's, and today Shelly let someone else provide the CD we worked out to for part of the class. Thankfully Shelly said enough is enough and put in some good music (not that I particularly care for the music provided, but the tempo is vital for an effective workout!) The first half of shadow boxing was painfully off beat for me because the music was from a CD that I'm sure was labeled Lost hits of 80's Hip Hop featuring songs such as The Humpty Dance! While I thought this music was great fun when I was in high school, it did not have, nor has it somehow obtained in the next two decades, a beat you can kick box to.
I've done a great job with resistance days this week, as I feel it today not only in my legs & abs from yesterday, but in both arms, back and shoulders as well. We focused on stick-and-move type combo's today, and while it doesn't seem so hard to take a step to the right, I assure you it makes the workout much more intense to add this!
I had another moment of Gee, I couldn't do this 8 weeks ago today. We were doing exercises during one of the heavy bag breaks and tricep dips were the pain du jour. While my shoulder flexibility can still use a good bit of work, I'm able to suspend myself and actually do dips which at the start of this course I certainly couldn't handle! We also did the reverse plank which I had a lot of trouble with, but I was able to do for a few seconds at a time!
Someone mentioned that next week is fun week again, which perplexes me why we would do fun week on week 5 before testing, but on week 9 a week before testing. Either way fun week involves all bag days which I really enjoy!
After how I felt yesterday, today has started off to be a great day! I had some moments of clarity today doing lower body, specifically I realized that I'm doing several of the exercises with the purple band, this struck me (literally) when the purple o-ring pictured here snapped and left a nice welt on my foot! We were doing standing leg curls as a drop set, and what really struck me was that back on Week 2, Day 4 I was still suffering from hamstring cramps and working with a green band!
I can't quite handle purple for the lying leg curl, and the reason is amusing, I have trouble keeping the non-working foot down to the floor! The standing leg curl on the other hand I'm standing on the band, and have plenty of strength in my hamstrings to manage the purple bands!
The other moment of clarity I had this morning was when we were doing the inside of our legs, you lay on your hip with the upper leg bent and hold the band down with that foot, and then raise your lower leg up. What I noticed was that my calves are much more defined than they have been in decades! Back when I rode a bicycle everywhere I had very defined medial and lateral Gastrocnemius. As life moved on and I got a car, this definition went away, and as I gained weight it went even farther away, masked behind a layer of fat.
This morning I noticed that the definition was clearly back in my calves. Similar definition is found in my quads and hamstrings, and while I can't see my own glutes Kim assures me my butt is not suffering for the working out! Also when I first started I could barely finish the three sets of straight leg extensions working the glutes with a red band, today I used a purple and a red together for all three sets!
All that said, my weight may be staunchly sticking in the low 320's this week, but the gains are undeniable and I refuse to let the scale get me down!
Waking up this morning was an exercise in it's self. I was groggy and while I felt well rested I was quite listless and lacking in energy. Leaving the house reflected this as I made it to the car without my water bottle, and made it half way to Farrell's without my gloves and wraps. I ran back and got them since I don't imagine a cardio day would go well without them, and still made it to class with 5 minutes to spare.
Yesterdays upper body workout certainly reflected on today's cardio, my arms were dead weight and every punch was an inconceivable effort to throw! We did pushups and situps between each set of shadow boxing which I managed to keep up on for the most part, but the (good) pain was ever present! I was beginning to doubt if I was going to get a good cardio workout but by the time we hit the bags I was definitely feeling the cardio and was able to keep pushing myself all the way through.
Feeling this lethargic today along with extremely disappointing scale readings was simply making me feel down and out about this whole adventure. Looking back across the 7 previous weeks I don't believe I've felt this discouraged at all! I've analyzed my fuel intake and the only thing I'm lax on is my veggies, I've brought V8 to work with me today to help correct this. I'm not certain that missing veggies could stall the weight loss like I seem to be experiencing, but it certainly can't hurt having more.
Logically speaking I believe the issue is simply I'm getting much more from the band classes in the past two weeks than I have in the weeks prior. Starting out at Farrell's I was in pain nearly daily, and this pain backed off significantly after a few weeks. Starting with week six and the introduction of super and drop sets I've been really pushing myself on the resistance training days. As such I've been feeling that familiar (good) pain more often, and I believe I'm building substantial muscle gains. While this is great for my metabolism it isn't an obvious change and it's hard to quantify. I think it's noticeable specifically in my calves, thighs and upper arms, but I can't be sure, thus with the scale reading higher than I'd like, I'm doubting myself.
The answer here is stop stepping on the scale, this is something that I haven't been able to manage yet this week. Perhaps I'll move the scale elsewhere in the house.
Today was upper body and I really feel as if I pushed myself quite well everywhere except the back (which we didn't do any drop sets on for some reason?!) I've managed to step up the bands in many of the exercises and am getting better at identifying how hard I can go based on what other work we have done that day. The biggest challenge is that depending on the order we hit the groups greatly changes the color of band I can utilize.
We did start with pushups today, I was able to keep pace for the first two sets of 16 for a total of 32 pushups, about a ten second break and then I was able to do 12 of the remaining 16! That's a total of 44 pushups which is a huge jump up from where I was at the 5 week mark! I'm actually looking forward to the results of the final testing.
I have the distinct feeling tomorrow is going to be one of those days where my entire upper body hurts, as such we'll probably throw a bazillion (Note: Firefox's spell check doesn't like bajillion, but bazillion is OK?) punches tomorrow to exacerbate the pain!
Week 8... it sounds so surreal, considering it's only a 10 week course! I don't know if it was just that I had a great weekend, or that I had a lot of frustration to work out from a barrage of work e-mails I read Sunday night, or maybe I'm just pushing myself harder now, but today I pushed my level 10 a little farther and a little harder than I've ever done before.
We didn't do anything amazing or difficult or even all that different today, it was your standard cardio day with lots of combo's that were really simple and flowed from one to the next easily. I pushed very hard though, making sure to keep my torso engaged in the shadow boxing portion of class, and pushing through on every punch and kick. By the end of class my obliques were screaming in pain and I was feeling like I was about to pass out from breathing so hard! When all was finally done the endorphin rush kicked in and I knew I had really pushed it up a level today!
Once again, my butt hurts!
But first, I arrived at class today (5:55am) to find an all but empty parking lot, the lights off, and Farrell's locked... After two weeks in a row of forgetting that Saturdays are at 6:00am instead of 6:15am I was quite disappointed! There was one vehicle all the way at the end of the lot, and I wasn't sure if I saw anyone in it or not, but all signs pointed to me having missed an announcement. I went ahead and checked into Facebook and groused a little, and that was when the stunt-instructor showed up and let us in!
The class consisted of three of us, two students, one instructor! We did lower body as expected and with the tiny class size it was really pretty relaxing and still delivered an amazing workout. We started with glutes and I pushed just as hard as I did earlier this week and once again left myself with the familiar ache of a great workout. We did a super set on quads, I wasn't sure how this would work out but it was quite smooth. I can only imagine with a larger class it would have been pure chaos as we switched between exercises (and bands) in less than 5 seconds.
We followed the quads up with a super set of abdominal work which I impressed myself on. I wasn't able to keep up through it all, but I did the normal exercises instead and kept an eye on the alien baby the whole time. While I still have a slight bulge when I really push myself the separation is coming back together nicely and I'd wager by the time I'm below 300lbs it will be gone entirely.
Oh the pain! I mentioned yesterday that we really hammered the upper body workout and that I was certain I'd feel it today. I was right. My shoulders are the worst, pectorals are second. All through shadow boxing I was feeling the familiar burn of an amazing workout yesterday and my endurance was absolute crap as far as keeping my guard up!
In the good news department we seemed to focus on leg work on the heavy bag today, lots of round house kicks and only a few jabs. It was a really good workout and I realized about half way through that I was kicking significantly higher and stronger than I have in the past. The flexibility has snuck up on me and I'm actually able to land a very solid kick that would land on the ribcage of someone my size. When I started this I'd be lucky to not die trying to kick waste high!
We did a few other moves today as well, my least favorite among them being the side kick. I found myself making excuses when Shelly (the instructor) gave me some tips on form, and I really hate myself for doing that. I will not make excuses, I will improve. I will bring my knee up to my chest, I will aspire to raise my leg such that it's level with my hips when I strike. Excuses are for the weak and immutable, I am neither.
I stepped onto the scale this morning after class and saw something completely awesome, 319lbs...