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More gym ponderings - sustainability

This week, I went to the gym three times. Monday, I had to rush, so I could go see Dracula (post today over at the pro blog). Intervals on the elliptical are my go-to for when I'm in a hurry, for instance on nights when I have choir rehearsal. I set the elliptical on level one, warm up for a minute or two, then do four intervals, one minute fast followed by two minutes slow. Usually by the last one my "fast" isn't nearly as fast! Then I cool down for a minute or two. Monday I also managed to use the machines for Seated Row and Lat Pulldown. I tried the new machines that are dual-pulley, so each side of your body is independent (it's a little harder than the regular machine). Then I walked to the play, some of it uphill (low grade).

Tuesday, my calves were actually sore from the intervals. I did 30 minutes of elliptical anyway, at level 15, which involves some muscle. This was more exhausting than usual.

I took Wednesday off, though I did walk over to visit the Adorable Tots after work, which takes maybe 20 minutes? Less? Some of it is a long slope uphill.

Thursday, I lifted weights in my current usual routine, with less weight but more reps. I think I can up at least one of the weights soon. Then I did twenty minutes of elliptical, at level 15.

I am wondering if that might be enough, for a regular schedule. I've started a new novel, and four nights a week for gym is a lot of time, plus I lose time by being exhausted and brain-empty afterwards. I can't write a whole novel solely on weekends. Well, I can, but I don't want to, because it would take a really long time. I've been trying to get a little more general exercise on the weekends, walking and such. Last weekend, I did a little lifting with my 15 pound dumbbells.

What do you think?

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
livia_llewellyn
Feb. 3rd, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
Three times a week should be enough, especially since you seem to use your time there very efficiently. And I think a walk or some basic at-home weight work is sufficient enough to call that your "fourth" day.
squirrel_monkey
Feb. 3rd, 2012 05:35 pm (UTC)
I would be concerned about exhausted and brain-empty part. I mean, sure, muscle fatigue is fine, but brain-emptiness after the gym is a bit worrying. So I would say yes, keep it to three days and see if the exhaustion lifts.
(Deleted comment)
fiveandfour
Feb. 3rd, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
I think there may be a few things you can try if you are thinking that perhaps some of the tiredness is due to this particular exercise routine:
1. Look at some of the obvious things like your diet, vitamins, sleep schedule, stress levels, etc. to see if there may be some adjustments needed there to help build up your energy stores. I generally find that consuming protein as soon after lifting weights as possible (usually in a smoothie with fruit so there’s instant energy from the sugar, and with caffeine if my exercise was in the morning) helps a lot with reducing tiredness both right after and for the next several hours.
2. Try a cycle of 6 weeks of exercise on, 1 week off. The “off” doesn’t necessarily have to mean doing absolutely nothing – just keep it light and don’t lift weights. When the next “on” week comes, bump up the weights by as much as 10% over your previous record and decrease the reps.
3. Try a cycle of exercising 3 days one week, 4 days the next and randomly going back and forth depending on your time and schedule needs. When I am feeling a bit tired and/or sore*, I’ll sometimes use that 4th work out to just do cardio and stretching – it seems to help with smoothing out lactic acid build up from lifting weights and leave me feeling looser in general.
4. Try working out in the morning once in awhile, if at all possible, and see what that does for your energy level throughout the day.

Sort of related to exercise and sort of not…another thing I learned in a business seminar a long time ago is to pay special attention to your personal energy cycle both within each day and as you work through the week. It made for an amazing change when I realized that I had more energy and ability to concentrate during certain times of the day and re-arranged my work and exercise around that cycle. For example, I had never noticed before that although I’m “awake” for at least a couple of hours before I start work, it takes at least 30 minutes after sitting down at my desk for me to be at a level where I can take on complex tasks or really be able to think through details. I had been making the mistake of coming in gung ho and grabbing the most difficult task to take on the second I sat down and never realized I was just staring at it and not making headway with it for 30-60 minutes. Anyway, try journaling your energy ups and downs for a couple of weeks and work things so that you are doing easy stuff during the low energy times and see what that does for you.

Good luck! I’m also at a stage of taking stock with all of this stuff and trying to decide how best to kick start things to a new level, so I can completely relate to your frame of mind right now. This likely explains the length of my comment – I’m working through my own issues, too. :-)


*I’ve also observed for myself that when I’m sore, I’m also more tired. If you feel sore after every work out, maybe also try making adjustments to your routine so that you are sore after every other work out (or for two out of three workouts, etc.) and tinker with the schedule until the sore/tired ratio is more tolerable.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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