Third Time Lucky


I’m back to it.  And it’s third time lucky I hope.
It’s the StrongLifts 5 x 5 workout and this time I mean business (muscle arm emoji)!

Mat and I started this powerlifting plan last October, training religiously 3 times a week and getting progressing stronger with each session.
We also packed on the pounds as our muscles grew rapidly and within just 6 weeks my 1 rep max (1RM) became my 5 rep max (5RM) and I felt like I was becoming a lifting god.
Bigger and stronger muscles mean better rowing as well. We were absolutely killing it!

And then it got to Christmas.  Determined to stay in the training game, we stuck to it but sadly I got ill and it all turned to shit. Bed ridden for a couple of week and not exercising left me feeling even worse than I was already feeling.

With Christmas out the way and got back to it.  5 weeks out of practise and I was back to the weight I started at 12 weeks previous.  That never feels nice starting at the beginning but I took a deep breath and lifted and pulled those heavy weights again.  Progress was quite quick and I was up to speed (or power so to speak) within a few weeks.  And then once again it all turned to shit.

To say I lead an unconventional life could be putting it lightly.  I’ve never been one to do things like the majority.  I remember at secondary school in IT class when I told a friend I was going to visit primary schools fetes to do face painting in order to make extra cash, her reply was “why do you always do weird things? Why don’t you do something normal?”  That’s me and I’ve been like I can remember. I suppose that’s why I’m rowing across a friggin’ ocean – just for fun.  I’m not ‘normal’ but that’s the fun bit, right?

Back to the lifting…….

So, now I’m back on it and feeling good.  It’s been 5 months since I lifted, in which time I was being a nomad and free spirit finding my feet after stopping a career I’d done since I left school at 18. (FYI, I am now 33).

Since January, I have been practising a tonne of yoga, practising my GMB Fitness Integral Strength movements (finally I can do multiple shrimp squats! – try them, they are harder than they look) and becoming a MetaFit Coach.
I’m ashamed to say, there has been absolutely no rowing what so ever.  Not because I haven’t wanted to, I absolutely did, but my nomadic life didn’t allow me too. There was nowhere to put my rowing machine and train at ridiculous o’clock in the morning.

I’ve now made an executive decision that I can’t carry on winging it. Routine is the BEST way to make progress in training and in my career and if this means sticking to a strict training regime and work schedule then so be it.

I’ve now been doing my StrongLifts 5 x 5 workout religiously for the last 3 weeks and it feels good. My form is the best it’s ever been thanks to the bodyweight training I have been doing.
I alternate between 2 workouts every other day:

Squats, Overhead Press and Deadlift
Squats, Bench Press and Barbell Row

Each week the weight goes up by 2.5kg.

There is no deviation, it’s every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  And if I can’t do a day due to work or social events, I find another day in the week where I can do it.

When I explain to people what my training programme involves they say “that sounds boring, don’t you get bored?”  Blimey! Yes! Of course I get bored!  I am one of the most impatient and non-routine people you will ever meet. But now I need to think about my adventure seriously, the boat and my teammates.  I am committed and I will see this through. And if that means repeating the same 5 exercises for the next 17 months then so be it.  Rowing across the ocean is sure going to be beautiful, amazing, life-changing, exhilarating, scary, character building and breathtaking but most of the time it is going to be damn boring. Once we leave the harbour, we will see only 3 miles of ocean around us for 50+ days.  The same boat. The same people. The same food. The same everything!

You know what though? The more I do this lifting malarky, the less boring it gets. I have a StrongLifts app where I record all my results and with each week I build on the previous week’s weight. I feel the increase of strength and power in my muscles and that excites me. Plus the app has a little graph tracking the weight I lift which gradually increases every week which is pretty cool.

I’m very lucky to have a great gym to do my training in and a great instructor willing to put up with my shenanigans. Thanks Lewis at CrossFit Panic – your attention to detail and guidance is forever appreciated! (even if you do stamp on me like a cigarette – reference – Kelly Starrett Superfriend Calf Smash – You Tube it!)

I’m in my third stint of this programme.  Yes, I’m only 3 weeks in but it feels different now.  I finally have a place to call home, I am building a career in fitness, I have a strict routine (it’s written in a timetable and everything) and most of all I have made a commitment to myself to maintain performance and look after myself.

Stay tuned for when I share my somewhat manic but well-planned weekly work and training schedule with you.  If I look at it too long, I feel crazy but I take one day at a time and it all goes relatively smoothly. Once again, it’s all ocean training.