Monday, 22 October 2012

I'm blaming the weather...

Since my last post, I've done back and leg sessions; both went okay, but I'm feeling really flat and weak at the moment.

I don't like to make excuses for any shortcomings or shit sessions, but I truly do think being ill has affected my performance in the gym. It doesn't matter massively as I'm not training to compete or anything. But it's frustrating feeling like you're going backwards rather than forwards. Shit happens I suppose. Happens to everyone at some point, I just have to get my head round it and not let it piss me off too much.

I still haven't managed to get my support belt back from the place I left it; this is also a bit of a hindrance as I felt a bit wonky when I was deadlifting. I went up to 45kg (for reps) which is down 7.5kg from my best, for reps. Not the end of the world really; the weight felt fine on the first couple, I just fatigued really quickly and was struggling to breathe due to being full to the brim with mucus. Urggggh I fucking hate winter! I've struggled to sleep because I've been coughing every night, so I really can believe now that being well rested makes a huge difference to your performance.

Another thing I've been trying to do is cut down on my caffeine & sugar intake; this would probably have an impact (albeit small) on how I feel throughout a gym session. Amazing how things that are bad for you, really do make you feel good! Always the way...

After deadlifting, I went on to lat pull downs & nearly ripped my thumb off adjusting the height on the machine. Luckily I moved quickly enough and just ripped the skin off - I say luckily, it hurt like a bitch; but at least I still have my thumb attached to my hand. Always a winner! After having my bleeding thumb tended to by the lovely Clayton, I walked back over to Terry & said "well that's totally fucked everything. I can't do anything now", to which he replied "yes you can. Just don't use your thumb". Sympathetic as always. It's amazing how much you use your thumb without realising - I've been practically disabled (more than normal) since doing it. Even taking the handbrake off in my car requires a little extra thought now.

My leg day didn't go much better than the back session; as before, I felt flat and fatigued. I'm not as snotty/phlegmy as I was, so I'm assuming I'm on the mend. My squatting did not substantiate that fact. I have previously squatted 50kg for 5 reps with ease. There was definitely more to give on that occasion. Based on this, I expected to be around the same level this week, rather than declining. I worked up to 40kg and just felt flat. I even borrowed Emmy's super strong lifting belt, wore my knee supports and still felt like a sack of shit. My legs were burning, I felt wobbly and I was out of breath within 2 reps...?! Wtf! My fitness has severely decreased; I really need to work on this to be able to get through a gym session without feeling like I'm going to keel over. I know I've been really unwell literally the whole of October, but that's just taking the piss.

Moaning done (for now), I then went on to do some more leg work on machines and still felt pretty lame. Same weights as usual, same number of reps - I just struggled to get through it far more than normal. Terry also made me do some step ups onto a box while holding dumbbells. I did not fucking enjoy this one bit. The box was higher than my knees, too fucking high if you ask me! I was muttering and swearing the whole time, for all the good that did - he just told me to 'shut the fuck up and get on with it', which I ignored and carried on swearing anyway. I did some extra squats using the monolift as I felt my earlier ones were crap - I did 10 reps just to feel like I'd done something; the bar in the monolift weighs 5kg more than a regular bar, so I just did extra reps rather than adding extra weight. I followed this with complaining about having to do planks; they're so painful and boring. I did them anyway - regular and both sides. Unfortunately, a necessary evil.

Since commencing my training, things have definitely improved within my physical being. I can get myself out of bed EVERY day with no help, my pain has decreased massively and I no longer have to take as many painkillers to get through the day. In fact, I will be coming off of them entirely within the next couple of weeks. This is primarily because of my work situation, but it's best to not have to rely on narcotics in an attempt to have a normal life; ideally I'd like to make that happen by myself through training, stretching and supplements/vitamins/diet.

Considering I've done absolutely fuck all exercise most of my life, I'm surprised by how little my body has changed since starting out. My arms, shoulders & back are much more defined than they were - great; they were never problem areas to begin with. My 'ab' (note the lack of 's' on the end - I only have 1 ab) looks the same as always, as do my thighs & arse. The older I get, the more pear shaped I become. This is something that I think can only be rectified by doing fat burning exercise and changing my diet. Boo :( I can honestly say, my body is (currently) built by:

Greasy fry ups

It's my own fault for following a strongman diet on top of my already horrific eating habits. I do blame myself, no one forces me to eat like a pig. Time to change...

You can do loads of sit-ups & have amazing abs, but what's the point if they're covered in a layer of fat? You can't even see what's built up underneath. This is something that has stuck with me since first reading Bruce Lee's book about the art of the human body. Time to listen!

Anyhoo, time for bed soon as I'm ill and knackered. I'll update again soon... Promise...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

My first post in a while... A recap

I haven't posted in a while due to unforeseen circumstances. I say unforeseen, but actually I should have seen the bollocks coming due to my previous record of misfortune...

I had a couple of really positive training sessions at the gym, gaining PB's on pretty much everything I did. Terry was really pleased with my progress even more so than usual. No complaining, good form, good consistency, bigger weights & generally better/quicker recovery on my rest days. I did a 52.5kg deadlift for 2 sets of 3 reps in my last session which was impressive (for my standard) compared to my previous best of 50kg for 1 rep or 45kg for sets of 5 reps. So all was looking great in my stupid crippled world of hypermobility.

As anyone who follows my blog will remember, my car broke so I had a bit of an enforced break from the gym due to no transport. I was given a car to use by a friend; another extremely reliable German car in fact. So once again we had transport... Until the ignition barrel of reliable German car no.2 fucking broke & we couldn't turn the bastard car off; even taking the key out of the ignition did nothing, the engine just continued to run... So once again I was trapped at home with no way of getting anywhere. Luckily my best friend leant me his Toyota for a week so that I could get to work at 4am every day. That car is the ultimate in reliability; it's old as fuck, has no air con, but always gets you from A to B with no issues. Unfortunately I can't keep it forever so had to hand it back before me & Terry headed off to Los Angeles for this year's Worlds Strongest Man. Talk about shitty timing huh?? As if life wasn't already stressful enough without having to worry about that situation!

Luckily the hotel we were staying in had a gym, so I was hoping to get back on track with my training to stop myself seizing up the whole trip. I wasn't expecting a fully kitted out amazing gym, but what equipment they actually had was fantastic... For losing weight. Cross trainers & treadmills. Awesome. Both of absolutely no use to me other than for a bit of fat burning or cardio. There was also a vintage piece of equipment with some weights on it - so vintage, that we had to look at the instructions on how to use it. So basically I did some lat pull downs, some rows, chest press & some leg extensions. It was shit & I didn't bother entering the 'fitness studio' again on my trip. I contracted tonsillitis & a stomach bug too, so it was best I just let the heat do its job on my body. I've put some pictures on so you can see the crapness of the 'gym'. All I needed was a medicine ball or a couple of dumbbells. Even a bar with a few weights. It's hard to improvise around total uselessness!

I went back to Bulks yesterday for the first time in a while - car is running (touch wood) & although I'm really unwell with kidney & chest infections, I really couldn't wait to get a workout done. Seeing as I left my support belt in the pub (haha, yes! This is true) I had to do upper body until I can go & collect it. Terry trained with me which was a bit of an annoyance for him. Seeing as we take our lifts in turns, it's quite inconvenient for him to keep removing lots of 20kg plates for my go! We got through it anyway, and although I felt like a useless sack of crap, apparently I hadn't lost any strength and was still doing the same weights I was pre-broken car(s) & LA. All was not lost.

One thing I'd like to mention about post workout protein... Jay convinced me to have a protein shot as they're a lot quicker to drink, have 0g fat & sugars & have good amounts of what my body needs. I think I'll fuck that idea off in future & do some extra fat burning to be able to have a protein shake instead. It tasted foul. Like rancid, fruity, sour, coffee poop. I need to learn. Why do I keep drinking these disgusting things?? Never again.

I've learnt some very interesting things from a sports masseuse I saw prior to my trip to America. He tested my joints & said as expected, they are extremely lax because of my hypermobility. An unexpected finding, was my muscles being the exact opposite of my joints; extremely stiff & hard. A well looked after muscle should feel soft when it's not being tensed. Mine constantly feel hard & this is why I struggle to move sometimes. Another interesting point he brought up was about my working day. I sit in a train for the majority of the day. What does a train do? It shudders & vibrates when it's moving. What also does this? The power plate! Obviously a power plate is a lot more intense, but you only use them for short periods of time. 9+ hours is a very long time. For those of you who aren't sure about what a power plate is, here's a brief description: you do regular exercises while standing on or leaning on the power plate - it causes your muscles to work extra hard, thus shortening the length of your workout, but with the same results of a much longer one. By sitting in a vibrating machine all day, and quite often in a position of stress on certain joints or muscles, I'm actually exacerbating the problems that I have. I need to really take note of this and in future, sit with a more appropriate posture. Easier said than done right? But now that I'm aware of it, I can do my best to try and minimise the stress on my body.

I recently started randomly chatting with someone on a game I play on my phone, only to find he's a professor of musculoskeletal problems. Of all the people in the world, I make friends with someone who knows everything there is to know about my condition. On describing my various symptoms to him, he's said that I should be tested by a genetic specialist as he is sure that I have the vascular type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. That type is the least common and the most dangerous as it involves the internal organs. Very frightening stuff. Armed with this information, I will be seeing my doctor this week & demanding to be sent to a specialist (again), and this time not taking no for an answer. When there's a possibility of serious health complications that could lead to my death, I think it's definitely worth pursuing further! Let's hope my doctor agrees & I don't have to force the matter by crying/complaining/having a mega tantrum.

Watch this space...

As always, I've added some pictures of me looking a total spaz in the gym. If there's anything in particular anyone would like me to add to my blogs, please do get in touch.

Adios for now :)

PS - my super cool grey t-shirt in the crappy LA gym is by 'Strong Stuff' - Phil Pfister's own brand of clothing. You can get them with keg toss, truck pull, atlas stones, dumbbell & other strongman designs on the back :)