I’m pretty much back into a steady gym-going routine after struggling for a while. At the moment, that means three times to the gym and twice to Pilates each week. Motivation-wise I am doing okay, so I’m happy about that. I still want to get bigger and more defined, though I am pretty sure that that will require a level of Herculean effort that I am not willing to put in.
I’m still eating pretty clean, though the cold weather makes me crave hot, gluggy comfort food. I’ve cooked a few protein-rich dishes (chorizo and chickpea soup, chicken and two bean chilli, lentil and bacon soup), and put them in the freezer (domestic goddess that I am!) to try and address that.
Gym-wise, I’m not all that happy with the lack of structure in my workout routine.
What I mean by that is that rather than an ‘established’ program that is ‘proven’ to give results, I’ve taken to randomly choosing a workout to do each week from a selection of ‘all the workouts I have done so far’, and given there was a different one for each of the five weeks that I was seeing TFB (That Fucking Bastard, my personal trainer), there are 7 or 8 to choose from.
It feels unstructured (which it is) and a bit random (which it also is). I’m vaguely worried that I’m just flailing about and not actually making progress, and that makes me anxious. I’m working hard, sure, but I don’t really have any sense of confidence that I am doing the right things in the right order and in the right way to move forward.
Honestly, I never really have much of an idea what’s changing in my body, so I sometimes send update photos to my workout crew and rely on their positive feedback to keep me going (they are really good at that, thank you folks!). I’m muscle-sore on occasion, which I consider a good thing, and I am consciously increasing the weights/activity with each workout if I can and I’m seeing some improvements there, so I know there is *something* good going on. As always, though, I just can’t *see* it.
I’m adding this second bicep shot because the light in the top one is really flat, and the shadow in this one shows the shape of my muscle better (shut up, there is too some muscle there!!). Also it tickles me that I look like I’m gearing up to punch someone.
that is a good liking bicep. good luck with the return to the gym and keep your eyes on the prize youll have earned in the final end.
“keep your eyes on the prize youll have earned in the final end.”
I don’t believe that – I think it’s a trick that keeps us at it forever (‘stick at it’ everyone says, like it’s magic!)!
After all the work I have been doing for over 12 months, I should have peaked (as I define it: all lean muscle and awesomeness) and be in maintenance mode by now.
Most visible gains were in the first 6 months (you can check my comparison photos in the sidebar here). Since then I have tried different things to change it up without seeing big results.
when I first came back and seen your body project was going on I said that I couldn’t imagine why you need to work out since you already exude sexiness. This still is true because your intelligence, your humor, the way you carry yourself as a person and don’t try to be sexy you are completely sexy.
However, your workout has definitely had its benefits for me..oops I mean you. *giggles* You will get there give it time. You had a period that you couldn’t concentrate on it remember. You will get there!
Of course, as always, you look more stunning every day Ferns!
*smile* Thank you for the lovely compliments – I really appreciate it.
“You will get there give it time.”
Again with this ‘time’ thing. I know it’s meant to be encouraging, but I think it’s bollocks!
I’m obviously just not hitting the right combination/intensity/balance with all of the various things that I have been trying.
You’re working the same muscles 3 times a week. Not going to argue with your personal trainer, but that’s no good for muscle growth. Needs more intensity, less frequency, possibly more volume.
*makes a face* I think that this is part of what’s so frustrating.
Everyone has advice and everyone says something different.
I started with pyramid sets with different muscle groups on alternating days + cardio, went through sloooow sets and then drop sets to strengthen and bulk up, started eating clean because diet is 70% of it, and now I’m doing complex full-body workouts focussing on intensity with a different workout each week. And through it all, I work HARD, I’m not just phoning it in.
Maybe this is as good as it gets without doing a full ‘body-builder-level’ of effort where my life is about nothing but this.
I remember when you first started, and you described yourself as ‘soft and buttery”. No longer! You now have a lithe, athletic look that is just so lovely.
The definition definitely shows in your shoulders, arms, and abbs, and although I’ve only seen on picture of your back, I’m sure there has been substantial improvement there as well.
I wish I could be more helpful in getting you to the next level, but I’m no expert and seem to have reached a bit of a plateau myself.
In any case, you should be proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish up to this point. I think you’re beautiful, and I’m vary happy to be a part of the workout team.
“I remember when you first started, and you described yourself as ‘soft and buttery”. No longer! You now have a lithe, athletic look that is just so lovely.”
Thank you! And yes, you are absolutely right: My goal to get ‘harder’ has certainly been achieved.
I don’t mean to sound like I think that I’ve made no progress at all… That would be crazy-talk!
“I wish I could be more helpful in getting you to the next level, but I’m no expert and seem to have reached a bit of a plateau myself.”
*nod* It’s like I said to Frankie Blue: there is SO much information out there, and everyone says this or that and no-one agrees, and I’ve tried several recommended things already. I wish I could just find the magic combination that would switch it up.
“I think you’re beautiful, and I’m vary happy to be a part of the workout team.”
*smile* And THAT’s why I have a workout crew! For the awesome! Thank you!
You want to get “bigger”, Miss Ferns? What do you mean? Why?
I mean more defined, bigger muscles – some popping biceps, some rippling back muscle, some ab definition. I don’t mean huge, but something like this would be just amazing.
Why? Because I want(ed) to see if I could do it, and because I think it looks strong and awesome and beautiful.
That looks good, sure. But, if you were to adopt that kind of pose, taken in the same light, you might well look like that already.
I shall make a grand attempt to take a photo to prove that indeed, I do look exactly like that *smile*.
I mean, I have a new tripod, you know. Or maybe a new sequinned velour tracksuit… It’s hard to say…
Are you reading Neghar Fonooni? She’s at http://www.negharfonooni.com/ . Neghar is one of the most lucid voices on women and lifting that I know.
Compound barbell exercises, combined with plenty of protein (and maybe some creatin if you feel ambitious) are one of the best ways of building strength. And it doesn’t take a “bodybuilder type effort” – 3 times a week is plenty. Initially it’ll take a half hour, and after a while, an hour. You’d be doing squats, lots of them, because squats are awesome; deadlifts, bench press, usually alternating days; and assistance exercises as you see fit. Power cleans can be added for the sheer animal joy of them. They also help with deadlifts.
All that said, and regardless of what you do in the gym: It’s awesome that you care about strength and blog about that. More female voices with a clear-eyed view of fitness are needed.
There’s still way too much toxic waste in the “fitness industry” about women not being able to work out “like men”, fear about “bulking up” (can’t happen, not enough testosterone), and the whole gaggle of “targeted fat burning” snake oil peddlers that live on magazines and supplements.
I’ve not heard of her, thanks for the tip.
I totally agree with you about all the bad information out there. “Ladieeezzz, go and do mega-cardio for an hour (or more)…”
Of the workout routines I have on my books, the ones from TFB (That Fucking Bastard, my personal trainer) are all compound exercises, and I AM doing the protein thing.
I know that I don’t push myself as hard as I *could* (I am terrified of injury also, so that impacts what I feel safe doing). Maybe a bit more of TFB would be useful.