Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Feeling Great Headed Into Microcycle 3

Hello, Becca!

My very dear friend told me the other day that she liked my last blog post. I was like, "Whoa! How did you know I posted?" Nobody reads my blog, and I don't do shit to promote it. I just like to write here sometimes. My blogs pop into her RSS feed though! So I do know that I have one devoted reader. She has a really cool Etsy shop - HERE is a link.

So, I can't really express how insanely amazing I've been feeling lately. Things in every aspect of my life have been smooth sailing. My marriage has never been better. My husband told me the other day that since I went off of oral contraceptives a little over a month ago (no, we are not trying to conceive), my moods and demeanor have been so pleasant and easygoing. We were both terrified that the hormonal adjustments would wreak havoc on my moods and sanity. I have a history of, well, just being kind of crazy sometimes. As a teenager, I tried at least three different types of birth control before finding one that didn't worsen my PMS symptoms - particularly, making me batshit insane for at least two weeks out of every month. I mean, I was a teenage girl. Teenage girls are batshit insane half the time. Also, I had terrifyingly painful cramps before and during my period, diagnosed as dysmenorrhea. It was a struggle to find the right pill for this chick. Once I found one that didn't send me into a tornado of bitchy, screaming in agony, throwing chairs at my parents insanity - I stuck with it. For eighteen years. More than half my life. Thus, I was afraid that stopping would lead to some of the issues from my past. I can't say that some issues won't pop up, because it's only been a month and a half of adjustment so far, but holy hell this is great! The only negative effect I've noticed is that the first couple of weeks, my face went from dry to oilslicked, but it kind of evened itself out.

Mindfulness has been easier to come by lately, too! It's been a while since I've been meditating this regularly, about five days out of the week. The things in my life that are not going swimmingly right now, like issues at work, dealing with tenants when I really just want to be alone in the evenings, worries about the financial future, etc... these things are existing in the same manner that they were before, but I am relating to them differently. I'm doing really well with knowing what I can change and what I cannot - and how to respond with compassion to the things that I cannot help. I'm doing metta, or lovingkindness meditation at least once each week, and that seems to have helped reduce some of my general annoyances during work and my commute (such a feat! I even let people in my lane sometimes!).

And fitness - wow. I'm still continuing on with my lower intensity program design, which I thought would be torturous, but it's great! I'm actually meeting all my planned goals for strength, cardio, mind/body, and nutrition each week. I promised myself I'd buy some new sneakers if I met all my goals in April, and I freaking did it! So now I have to guy new sneakers which should be exciting, but I'm dreading it. My last pair of Asics was incredible and lasted half a year, but then I bought the same style, same size from Amazon - and they hurt my feet. I've dealt with it since November and worn the hell out of them, so it's time for new shoes regardless... but I don't want to choose a new brand. Brand loyalty is so comforting because, hey! no decisions to make. I need to just head to the outlets in Williamsburg on my own one day and try on several pairs from several stores. I have weird, smelly, ugly foot issues so other peoples' reviews on Amazon don't do much good. I gotta walk in 'em before I commit this time.

Moving into week 5 of my self-designed program, here are the general goals:
- Strength - complete 3 strength sessions per week (exercises listed below)
- Cardio - increase weekly Session RPE to 380 (from 350 last week) and weekly minutes to 100 total, coming from at least three different sessions
- Mind/Body - log at least two hours total per week (can be yoga or meditation) and finish Chapter One of a Yoga Anatomy book I've been "reading" for over a year haha.
- Nutrition - keep at least ONE freaking weekend day (Fri, Sat, or Sun) free of alcohol and sodas. I usually don't like restrictive goals (I prefer something like, "add a bowl of greens daily" because yay adding food), but I would like to see myself be a little more mindful on the weekends, and have my actions mirror my intentions for my self-care. At this point, I usually stop at The Office on my way home from work Friday for my Legend Brown, pick up a 12 pack before getting home, and sometimes pick up more beer or wine on Saturday because we've already killed the 12 pack. I freaking love beer.

Here are the strength exercises I've come up with for this third microcyle. I'm moving from the stability/mobility training into movement training, and aiming to really solidify my form on some basic movements before I add weight back to my routine. Focus has shifted from endurance to general fitness, so there are less sets and slightly longer rests, but still high reps.

The five basic movements that we make are bending/lifting, pushing, pulling, single leg movements (like walking - yeah, we shift from foot to foot... walking is so much more complex than we think about!), and rotational movements. I tried to include some exercises to address all categories.

Microcycle Three Strength Routine:
- Bodyweight squats 2x15
- Single leg kick extensions 2x15
- Forward lunge 1x15
- Triceps dips 2x15
- Band lat pulldowns 2x15
- Pushups 2x15
- Band side crunches 2x15
- Plank tucks 2x15

Some notes:
- I only included one set of lunges because I freaking hate lunges. However, after finishing up the moves on Monday, I felt great and threw in another set of ten lunges because I wanted to! I flippin' wanted to!
- I tried using one chair for my tricep dips on Monday but felt some shoulder discomfort, so I did a set of tricep extensions with the band instead. This afternoon, I plan to grab a second chair and do the dips between them. Such a tough exercise but so strengthening!
- I can still only do three perfect pushups, but I finish the set with incline pushups using our kitchen table.
- Plank tucks are what I call it when I hold plank and alternate slowly moving one knee towards the opposite elbow - kind of like really slow, focused mountain climbers.

I hope anyone reading has a phenomenal May!

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