A more settled week for my general wellbeing, reflected in a steadier set of HRV readings. Also a week of slight over-eating (well, over-eating on one day anyway when we celebrated Christmas with my parents) which has really picked up my metabolism for the whole week. I feel warm again.
I’ve also done some brain-storming with Chris on my workouts and have a few fixes for the ongoing problems with my heavy pulls, back squat and seated band abductions.
Heart rate variability (‘HRV’) this week was a little more controlled and, over the week, showed an average increase of 1. It notably improves if I have a quiet evening without working and, even more improvement happens if I combine that with a long 2-hour local walk with my headtorch just before bed.
This wasn’t quite such a good week for healthy eating. It was my Mum’s 70th birthday, so we travelled down to see them and celebrated her birthday and then Christmas on consecutive days. By going out for dinner on the birthday I was able to keep myself reasonably under control. I had 1 glass of white wine, small portions of calamari (shame about the breading, but it was the best thing on offer), steamed cod in a white wine cream sauce with spinach and no starch item (miracle) and then a tiny little chocolate pot which, while probably not all that good for me was both tiny and delicious. A taster portion really.
Of course going home to a couple of small glasses of madeira, a little cheese and some chocolates wasn’t such a good plan, but we all felt suitably celebratory by the end of it all.
The next day should have been ok but I totally lost control under the influence of alcohol. Seconds of roast ham and then going crazy by trying Mum’s homemade gluten-free Christmas pudding, then the leftovers of her gluten free chocolate torte that had been made for her birthday party at the weekend (delicious but having since seen the recipe there was definitely a lot of sugar in it) and some leftover lemon torte too. And the remains of the brie. By this point I was fully in the Christmas spirit and had also drunk 1.5 glasses of Prosecco, 1 glass white wine, 1.5 glasses red wine and 2 small glasses of madeira.
Ah well. I always knew that Christmas would challenge me and next week’s Christmas is far more under my control since I’m cooking it and there just isn’t going to be that much pudding in the house to start with.
To compensate for all the over-indulging I was glad to find that my hormones appear to be back in check so that I just didn’t eat when I wasn’t hungry. I missed breakfast after the birthday dinner and missed lunch after Christmas dinner (replacing it with my workout).
Lunch each day while we were away was a small bowl of root vegetable soup followed by a piece of rump steak with some mushrooms and quarter of a tomato. That was a delicious treat!
The rest of the week was very much normal food with dinners mostly sourced out of freezer leftovers. With the exception of Christmas Day our dinners are going to be focussed on British Indian Restaurant curries for the next week and a half. I can’t wait!
- 2-3 walks to the village when home
- 3-4 30-minute walks in/across town while away
- 2 hour local walk: Thursday
- 1.5 hour local walk from parent’s house: Monday
Daily morning exercises continued but following discussion with Chris about problems and weaknesses I’ve had both in my main workout and with persistent knots during massage, I have increased the exercises I do.
I’m also now using a green physio band for all of them, since the blue one perished until it ripped midweek.
The list of exercises (on which I still do 20 reps of each exercise and on each side if they are unilateral) is as follows:
- Side-lying leg raises
- Seated band abductions
- Quadruped hip extensors
- Unilateral dorsiflexion
- Unilateral plantar flexion
- Facepulls – to low chest for lower traps/rhomboids
- Facepulls – to chin for upper and mid traps
It takes a while to get through. Especially when I then do thoracic spine extensions and follow it up with rolling my pecs, lats, traps, rhomboids, glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads. The whole routine now takes me about 45-50 minutes each morning.
After suffering in my lower back again this week, this time with the rack pulls I took some time to think about why. I realised that my hamstrings have been tight both during that and during my back squat (although not as much in the latter). The linking factor seems to be my glute bridges, which flare up my hamstrings. By the time I get to my back squat day I am much further removed from glute bridges so my hamstrings have had time to stretch out again.
To establish if this is the case, Chris has tasked me with replacing rack pulls with glute-ham raises for the next couple of weeks. If the tight hamstrings are the cause then this should stretch out and also build some additional strength in them. If it works I should hopefully find my back squat improving again and may even be able to rack pull or RDL again too.
Workout 1: (Sunday)
- Rack pulls: 102kg – 8×3
- Hip Thrusts: 100kg – 6×6 – 85kg felt so easy as a warm up weight that I jumped up 15kg on this and it still felt achievable
- Band resisted hip thrusts: Green and blue bands – 27 reps
- Seated band abductions: Third of skinny band and green physio band – 20 reps
- Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 22 reps, Left: 22 reps
Workout 3: (Wednesday)
- Back squat: 81kg – 8×3 – I think I may just have been suffering from doing this too early in the morning last time
- Single leg hip thrusts: 20kg – 6×6
- Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 20 reps
- Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 23 reps, Left: 23 reps
Workout 4: (Friday)
- Front squat: 63kg – 8×3 – Finally this is starting to feel really hard while I do it.
- Glute bridge: 110kg – 6×6 – I still wept after this, but not for as long as last week and I was more able to do other things afterwards too
- Band resisted hip thrusts: 2x Green bands – 21 reps
- Clams with band resistance: Third of skinny band – Right: 20 reps, Left: 20 reps – I think stepping up my morning clam resistance, putting in full range of motion seated band abductions then too and also the heavy glute bridges all impacted on my performance in this.