Exercise Log, August 15-31

Overall impressions of the second half of August: kinda just showed up at first, then started trying to fit in extra quickie workouts where I could, and wrapped up the month stretching my comfort zone into strength training on the weight machines. 

Monday 15 August 2016: Kickboxing
Totally phoned it in. I just couldn’t get into it. I fueled up with a normal breakfast, and got normal sleep, so I can only figure that it was a combination of the different warm-up and routine the instructor threw out there and tomorrow’s impending — ah, shall we say, Red Tide.

I feel like I got a workout, and I did break a good sweat, but I definitely took it easier than necessary, and didn’t give it anything close to my all.

Note to self: if you want to actually reduce your body fat percentage, try doing some strength training. I know you went for a walk on Thursday, and had a dentist appointment on Friday, but don’t go complaining about not getting the grade if you didn’t do your homework.

Monday 22 August 2016: Kickboxing
I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, since the class was kind of crowded in a weird way: my personal space was a little limited, and I had to keep adjusting my spot to see the instructor. I threw myself into it, though, and had a great workout. I did have a moment of back twinge urgency during a quick jab-and-slip drill which caused me to avoid quick pivots for the rest of the class, but I think I’m OK overall.

Wednesday 24 August 2016: Brief Bodyweight Workout
I took a page from Nia Shanks’ playbook and did a quick bodyweight workout while my son was having his bath.
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Finished out with crunches and bicycles.

Thursday 25 August 2016: Yoga Flow
Felt great, except for my lower back on the right side (from Monday’s kickboxing class). Only passed on the plank skaters, since I expected that my core and back wouldn’t be able to hack it with good form.

I also was admiring my shoulders — I’ve got some pretty kick-ass muscle definition in my shoulders, especially my deltoids. I expect that I have some equally nice-looking muscles elsewhere, too, except that they’re still hidden by a layer of fat…

Friday 26 August 2016: Chiropractor
Diagnosed with muscular tweakiness in my right lower back, which caused some alignment issues. Also alignment issues in my neck. Difficult adjustment. The chiropractor instructed me to be careful to protect my back during those fitness classes.

Sunday 28 August 2016: Another Brief Bodyweight Workout
This time, I made adjustments to the moves to protect my back.
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I should point out that the picnic table I reference is my son’s child-size one, so the squats were lower than one might otherwise think.

If I were really in the mood to get my workout on, I would turn this into a circuit instead of a one-time-through quickie.

(Noted soreness in my glutes on Tuesday morning — not sure if it’s just from gardening on Monday or a combination of that plus squats on Sunday.)

Wednesday 31 August 2016: Beginner Machine Workout A
This was the day to go outside my comfort zone. I could write an entire blog post about the lead-up, the research, the last-minute decision to do it TODAY, and the ultimate realization that (surprise!) all the weight machines have instructions to guide you through the motions.

No need to be all weird about it, after all — especially today, when there was only one other person in the weights side of the gym (even if it was my VP), and one person on the rowing machine. I had plenty of time to wander past all the machines between sets and familiarize myself without feeling conspicuously ignorant.

The workout (modified from www.bodybuilding.com/content/ultimate-beginners-machine-workout-for-women.html):

Warmup: 5 minutes elliptical
1. Leg Press: 1 set, 10 reps, 70 lbs
2. Seated Chest Press: 1 set, 10 reps, 50 lbs (pretty sure I had the handles set incorrectly for my wingspan)
3. Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: 2 sets, 10 reps, 55 lbs (the second set was hard to finish with correct form — I was inadvertently performing the behind-the-neck variant, and doing so incorrectly, so that could be part of it)
4. Standing Cable Rows: 2 sets, 40 lbs (using a bar with palms down, not handles with palms facing, only because I couldn’t find the handles I needed)
5. Dumbbell Shoulder Press superset with Standing Calf Raises: 2 sets, 10 reps (20 for calf raises), 15 lb dumbbells
6. Ab Crunch Machine: 2 sets, 10 reps, 50 lbs
Warmdown: 3 mins elliptical in reverse

I didn’t really break a sweat — I barely felt tacky when I was done — but today was more about getting familiar with the equipment and giving myself a starting point. Less than an hour afterward, my upper arms and shoulders are a little shaky, I can feel that the ab crunch machine activated my lower back muscles, and I can feel a little something in my quads. I didn’t overwork myself, though, and I’m actually excited to try Workout B on Friday.

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