In Lieu of a Coffee Break Brainstorm
September 23, 2013
Ever feel like you need a serious brainstorming coffee session with friends to get the positive, creative, motivation ideas flowing again? After a hell of a summer, you could even argue first half of 2013,that is definitely what I feel I need.
I’ve mentioned it before, but there have been ups and downs these past 9 months. Its been a roller coaster for sure, from finding, buying and moving into a house, securing a job, losing 3 people that I love to cancer this summer alone – so trying to reestablish a sense of identity and purpose at home and at work has been exhaustingly and frustratingly difficult. Whether its coming up with new ideas for work, or even finding a workout that resonates with me, its been all ebb and very little flow it feels like.
A few weeks ago I was dreading another week of treadmill workouts or outdoor runs and as a consequence I was looking around for different cardio workouts and settled on the Insanity DVD. I only just started it yesterday, because in addition to the Insanity DVD, I’m working my way back to a workout that I’ve always come back to since high school – weight training, heavy weight training. Like I’ve said before, I have no ambition to become the next female hulk, but I have a lot of admiration for the aesthetic muscle physique of figure competitors. So I’ve been working towards that as a new physical goal. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to the point of competing, but I’d like to see where heavy lifting can take me and my body personally. A few years back I got into what was arguably the best shape of my life running the half marathon, but I can’t deny the lack of enthusiasm I had for the majority of my runs, especially the longer ones. There are so many more options for cardio, that my first thought was why was I forcing myself to log miles that were miserable to me? There was no mental clarity and there was certainly no joy in it, save the few early morning easy does it runs. Even in high school, I opted for sprints rather than distance runs. I have nothing but the greatest respect for distance runners, but it just isn’t my thing. But once I made the decision to turn off the treadmill and pick up my dumbbells again, workouts have been enjoyable, I’m craving them at the end of the day and HATE HATE HATE rest days. I feel completely refreshed, I’m constantly reading up on different exercises and training techniques. I’ve revamped my nutrition to focus on maximum muscle gain, which is especially challenging when eating a mostly Vegan diet. A lot of body builders rely on high protein, low carb foods such as eggs, chicken and other lean meats, whereas the vegetarian and vegan alternatives, while still impressively high in protein, are still more carb heavy than lean meats. While this isn’t a major issue now, it does affect my macronutrient ratio (Carbs, proteins and fats) and if I’m ever in a contest prep mode, carb cycling will be especially difficult. But for now, I’m tracking my meals for the macro content mostly and to make sure I’m getting ENOUGH calories (another major mind shift from the all cardio all the time mentality I had been struggling with). Lately I’ve been relying on veggie tofu scrambles and protein powders and have gotten creative in the kitchen with some baking (hello protein breads and homemade protein bars) and even tried my hand at making some Seitan this weekend for a high protein alternative.
I’ve just finished week 2 of some heavy lifting and honestly , week one was a bit of a hodgepodge of workouts. I’m taking measurements and progress pictures and logging all workouts and weights in a workout journal as well as taking appropriate weight training supplements like protein powder and BCAAs to try and promote muscle recovery and growth. As for cardio? Long gone are the days of distance running, which can actually do less for muscle growth than HIIT and sprints. I’m trying to incorporate at least one day of sprints into my workouts during the week and slowly make my way through the Insanity DVDs. Its been strange, since a big part of gaining muscle mass is to gain mass overall, but the trick – is to do it in a smart way, with protein and complex carbs, rather than higher fat and sugar.
So far its been fun and I’m grateful for the resurgence of motivation when it comes to my workouts, which has filtered into other parts of life at home. I’m happier, feel far more accomplished in the evenings and enjoy sitting down on the couch for some Football and Baseball more than ever now. Now…if only I had the same aha moment at work…
Happy Monday ya’ll! Thanks for listening to this hodgepodge rambling so early in the week!