Between my last post and the time I am now writing this post, I have watched a couple of awesome powerlifting comps, had some really good training weeks (thanks to solid programming and coaching at my 2nd home, PTC South Melbourne) and now I’ve ‘successfully’ managed to make some bodily parts crankier than usual. Not happy Jan.
Cranky niggles may have been attributed to insufficient rest and stubbornness to keep lifting heavy despite the telltale signs. I’ve put my body through a fair bit of strain before, so initially I ignored the signs and just dosed up on the menthol topical creams (sorry gym friends for the deep heat scent).
For awhile I kept it all to myself, but this is possibly what has delayed my recovery. Definition of dum-dum must include not seeking answers sooner from those more learned. Because when you don’t know the answers, it’s generally a good idea (as I have now learnt) to ask folks who are learned in the area, are people you trust and have no hesitation in not sugar-coating their advice (very important). You heard it here from this reformed chicky – put the ego aside and ask when in doubt; and maybe follow the advice too. The latter often works.
After having a bit of sulk I’ve been told: “Your muscular strength is like a bank account V. You can’t keep making withdrawals and not expect a loss – it also needs sufficient time off to rest and grow”. (For simplicity’s sake, let’s not draw analogies as to whether this reference was to a savings account or a fixed term deposit. I mean, c’mon we’re supposed to be meatheads.)
So, I’m “breaking the rules” and not following all of my program (momentarily). No major injuries or niggles, but backing off the rigid structure and volume, so the body and mind can get time off. It’s supposed to “be good ”...
I feel guilty.
I feel weak.
Frustrated that my body can’t keep up with my heart’s desires to get stronger. I’ve been hitting lifts cautiously, seeing the right people, rolling/mobilising/doing all the weird stretchy things for my back so I can get back 100% on the program. I even had all the fish oil capsules (yech). Because from what I’ve heard, progress happens when you’re on the program, not when you’re grinding against the rumble roller.
It’s a hard presumption to shake off – that the “rules” are to follow the program from start to finish, as little divergence as possible. But after many self-pity filled tram rides from mobility dates at the gym, I’ve realised that maybe the reason I don’t feel altogether comfortable ‘breaking the rules’ is because I don’t know the rules back to front, inside out, off the top of my head, like the back of my hand. These rules include but are not limited to: How do you know when to back off the program? What are the telltale signs? When is something a mere niggle vs a fck-it injury? How should one program around little niggles without losing strength yet allowing recovery? Where are all these answers contained and can you look into your crystal ball and tell me how I can hit my next PBs? (Without breaking myself and my bank account, please and thank you).
And the reluctance to not follow all of the program? Because – as silly as it sounds – in my head, any time off programmed training = time where the body is getting weaker. Analogous to the assumption that if you miss your post-workout feeding window - that’s it, you’ve lost your chance to maximise on muscular gains and thou shalt remain small and weak. Yes, it’s a myth and it’s perhaps an example where not all “rules” are correct, and that there are layers upon layers of rules sometimes. Sometimes (as I’ve found out) you need to step back, shut out the noise, to understand those rules better. And yes, that has meant pulling myself away from the big girl squat weights. I’m starting to realise that a lot things fall into place after putting the much requisite time under the bar…but not literally.
So, if there are days where you see me in my corner, crouched with the lacrosse ball and resistance bands - instead of busting out big badass weights – I’m working on my new program. The Patience Hypertrophy Program. Where I’m learning to build the patience to not rush the #gainz and not break myself too much too soon.
Heads up - if you hear some noise in the background, please excuse me that’s just the grinding of my teeth. This patience thing does not come naturally to me.
*Psst excuse the hiatus between blog posts. Being a responsible adult got in the way. Let’s see if this kidult can pull off at minimum, fortnightly posts in between worky work and training!