Getting stronger! (W3 of base building)

I’ve finished my third week of the Gale Bernhardt base-bulding workout plan I purchased through TrainingPeaks and I am starting to see the results. My muscles are ever so slightly more developed and my overall strength has increased. In general, I feel really great. Here’s how week three broke down.

Monday: warm-up run and strength

Now that I know the difference between a seated row and rowing on a machine, I was able to correctly complete a soreness-inducing lift session after my run. After my warming up on the ‘mill, I worked my way through the 6 required exercises of the plan – leg-presses, standing bent-arm lat pull downs, chest presses, seated rows, vacuums, back extensions – and then added a second round of hip extension exercise by doing step-ups followed by hamstring curls. Other than the back extensions, I did the max amount of sets and reps for each of the exercise. I left the gym feeling like I had accomplished a lot…and my forearms felt every bit of those seated-rows the following morning.

Tuesday: swim…and shovel

Bleh, winter.

Bleh, winter.

I attempted to leave my house in the morning to hit the pool before work, but due to the insane snow-storm throughout the night, my car got stuck at the end of my driveway. Luckily school was closed because it took me an hour to dig my way out. Ten hours later, the snow plow finally cleared my street and I was able to make my way to the rec. center, sore arms and all.

I’ve actually been pretty bored with the swim workouts, but that’s to be understood. I’m used to going to Master’s practice or creating my own workouts of varied drills and sets. I decided I would mix it up with a warm-up including pulling and kicking. After a 300-yard warm-up, I busted out the required 14 x 50s, and then did 14 more for a total of 1300 yards. The warm-up really helped to break up the monotony, so I planned to do that with the next scheduled swim.

Wednesday: bike warm-up and strength

After my spinning it out on the bike, I made my way through the strength exercises. I repeated the exact routine as Monday, but I decided to up my weight a little bit on all of the machines. I was proud of myself for completing 25 back extensions, the most I’ve done so far, but I struggled through the rest of the workout. It was probably not the best day to increase weight as I was slightly fatigued, and for no real reason at all: I just wasn’t feeling it. It also took me a little longer to get through everything since I had to break up sets in order to complete all of my reps. Still, when I left the gym, I felt accomplished. I made sure to record all of the jumps in weight to ensure that I do the same on Monday and Wednesday of next week.

Thursday: day off

Once again I bumped my day off. I was still feeling burnt out from the week’s prior workouts, so I decided to take the time off and push my swim to Friday.

Friday: swim

Now that the swim team is done for the season, I can go back to swimming after work instead of getting up early in the morning. I repeated the same workout from Tuesday, and I made my way home to chill out the rest of the evening. As I plugged my time and yardage into TrainingPeaks, my eyes slid over to Saturday’s plan. I was nervous and excited for what would be a huge accomplishment.

Saturday: RUN!

So happy to be outside!

So happy to be outside!

This was more than just a run. Not only was it finally warm enough in Cleveland to enjoy being outside, but I was able to do my run at my favorite park: the Rocky River Reservation. Mark came with me, and together we completed an hour-long, 5.62 mile run through the trees and along the river on the paved paths. It was perfect. This was my longest run since the summer of 2012, and though I was sore by the end of the evening, it was worth the creaking discomfort.


Sunday: bike

When I woke up this morning, I was still quite sore, which greatly affected my motivation. I put off doing my trainer ride until late in the day. I decided to take it a little easier than what the workout called for, and in honor of the 10th anniversary of the series finally of Sex and the City, I peddled to the SATC movie. Though I didn’t complete the rolling-hills workout prescribed by Bernhardt, I am still happy with myself for getting on the bike. If it wasn’t for the plan and the satisfaction of punching my numbers into the TrainingPeaks website, I would’ve used my achy legs as an excuse to do nothing.

W3 Planned Duration: 5:16

W3 Completed Duration: 5:31

photo-54Week three is complete and I feel outstanding. This was a tough 7 days between the time increase and the weight increase, but this was the most effort I’ve put into a week of training in a long time, and I couldn’t be happier about it. There’s something about actually seeing results that does a mind good. Even though I felt last week that I was slightly leaner and slightly stronger, my eyes wouldn’t allow my brain to be fully convinced. I can see a little more definition in my arms and legs this week, and though it isn’t much, it’s thrilling to know that in just 9 short weeks, I will be in the most fantastic shape of my life!

Food Review:

photo-52As I mentioned in the last blog, I was planning on cooking up some recipes from my new book Racing Weight Cookbook by Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear. I made the Mushroom & Pepper-Jack Egg Muffins for breakfast, the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Wrap for lunch, and the Greek Tortilla Pizza for dinner. All three recipes were easy to execute and I was very pleased with how all of them tasted. I will be trying three different recipes this week, one of them for tonight’s dinner. My husband is a pretty tough customer when it comes to food; he likes to rate meals based on whether or not his “socks have been knocked off.” Fingers crossed.

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