Too much of one thing is never good….

In the last few weeks, I’ve taken my workout routine to an all new high.

I’ve started playing football in my university, and finally I’ve started doing something that has a social aspect to it as well. All this while, I would be cooped up in my room reading, or watching movies, or working out in the gym (alone). It’s really important that you socialize, especially when you are in a new place. Humans require other humans (no matter how much of a loner you say you are). Ever since football, my moods have significantly improved, I’m getting much deeper sleep and I have had more energy in my days. And, of course, more acquaintances.

But, there has been a real downside to this. More specifically, let’s take about Friday, Sept 2nd.

Guilty of eating a lot of junk during the week (yep! I had pizzas, lots of dessert and 3 helpings of a very tasty chocolate cake), I decided to go all out on Friday. This was my plan-

  1. 12 km of cycling.
  2. Strength training in the form of pull ups.
  3. 1 hour of football.

I did it all. I came back to my room, and crashed. Next day (yesterday) we had a friendly football match against a local team and I was in the starting 11. I was really confidant that if anything, with all this running and cycling my stamina is up and I’ll be able to run. My body, disagreed.

tired के लिए चित्र परिणाम

Part of it was my fault. I didn’t warm up. I didn’t stretch. I reached the ground late and I went straight into the match. It was a jolt that my body refused to accept after the gruesome training I put it through on Friday. I was struggling to breath, struggling to keep the ball in possession and struggling to even kick it 10 meters. I was benched in the 2nd half and my mood has been lousy since then.

All of this could have been avoided, first, if I hadn’t eaten so much junk during the week. That would have stopped me from feeling guilty and over training (but come on, hostel food sucks now). And, I should have had my wits about even when I was overtraining. I should have stopped myself, because deep down I know that I know better.

Just goes to show, that too much of anything is never, ever good. Stay sharp, stay centered.

Changes and Progress

With major changes in life, also comes major disruptions.

This is especially true for me in my workout routine. With all the work we are supposed to do here, and the huge change in my diet, the first three weeks in this place (apart from all the scenic beauty) was hard. I didn’t know what to do to make sure I stick to my fitness goals.

I wasn’t getting enough time to work out, I hardly had the energy to workout in the evenings after all my classes, and I really wasn’t eating the kind of diet I should be.

If you are a college student living in a dorm/hostel, I’m sure you can empathize.

But, where there is a will, there is a way.

I decided, enough is enough, let’s just try and figure out what I can do with what I have.

First off, I was getting major cardio workouts while going back and forth from my hostel to college. They are close to 3 km apart, and I was cycling 12 km a day. So I figured, let this be part of my workout routine, and I pushed out all of my other cardio sessions including sports and running.

To compensate for all the cardio, I decided it’s finally time to take my strength training up a notch (I don’t want to end up with a cyclist physique) and also, add weights into my routine. Thankfully, there is a pretty well-equipped gym here, and you can find me there quite often.

The diet was the major issue. This hostel (like all hostels) leaves quality food wanting. If not for the taste, at least for the nutrition. There is potato cooked EVERYDAY, along with dal (which is mostly water) and oil floating in every curry there is. The only time we get a respectable quantity of protein is when chicken is cooked, and that’s only for dinner. Breakfast literally doesn’t have any protein content at all.

I now eat a lot of my food from outside, so that I get at least 3 eggs into my system every day and I target 70 grams of protein on my strength training days. I have upped my calorie intake and I am so glad it’s not reflecting on my body in a bad way.

All in all, I’m the fittest and strongest I’ve been all year. I’m able to cycle more, I’m seeing definite improvements in strength, and guess what? I finally did my first muscle up!

Target 1 of 7 achieved. The year of fitness is moving well 🙂

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May 2016 (left) to August 2016 (right). Man, I wish I had a better camera!

How can you be disciplined in fitness?

As I mentioned in A strong body follows a strong mind, it is extremely important that you don’t just rely on motivation, you need to cultivate discipline. Because when motivation fails, when it’s raining outside and you are tired and lazy and would rather stay in your bed and watch a movie, discipline will kick your backside off the bed, drag you to your shoes and make you go out and sweat it out. And that’s really, really important.

So how can you reach that level of discipline?

  • When you have the motivation, and it’s running high, squeeze every bit of work you can out of it. Develop a routine, a habit. Because your body will then begin to expect you to work out, your mind will want you to. That’s called discipline.

 

  • To develop a habit, you need a plan. It’s best that you set the same time to work out everyday, and definitely plan out your entire week, so you are mentally prepared. You don’t have to write them down. You don’t have to limit yourself by penning down which exercises to do and how many reps/sets you are going to do. Trust yourself to just, do the workout. During the workout, you can gauge your energy levels and accordingly be flexible with your workouts.

Go in front of a mirror. Look at yourself. See how much you have changed. Realize how much more you have to go.

  • Once you do this, it won’t be hard to stick to these habits. But it won’t be easy either. So how can you push yourself on a really low day? Go in front of a mirror. Look at yourself. See how much you have changed. Realize how much more you have to go. If your goals are not looks related but more strength and ability related, remember the last time you did push-ups. Remember how many you did. Just imagine what it would feel like to beat your best, to realize how much stronger you have grown.

If this doesn’t work, nothing will. But this is going to work I bet it will!

 

 

 

 

A strong body follows a strong mind

Yes, you are motivated.

Yes, you want to be fit.

Yes, you want to look super hot.

But sometimes….you just can’t get up.

Sometimes, you are tired.

Sometimes, you don’t want to go on.

Sometimes, you want to forget it all and just have that slice of pizza.

What is unaffected by time and energy levels is your discipline. Motivation comes and goes but what is always there is your discipline.

Today, as I was coming back home from a dentist’s appointment, my dad and my brother got hungry and decided to buy some peppered corn to eat. My dad, decided to enjoy a chilled Coke too. Sitting there, next to them in the car, I was fighting. There as a voice in my head that just kept saying, “It’s ok! Have a cup of corn! it’s not going to matter!” And I kept fighting it for a whole half an hour, trying to distract myself from the enticing aroma of that cup of hot, roasted, peppered corn…

The last few days, I’ve been working very hard. I’ve been doing a lot of conditioning, skipping and running and the usual bodyweight training. And lately it’s been taking me a lot of effort to keep myself going. My motivation was drained…

That’s right. I was out of motivation. I was really tempted to give up and just have a big cheat day.

What saved me was the discipline I had cultivated over the last 6 months. The discipline to say no to what I want but don’t need. And it was by sheer will power that I resisted the urges to break my routine and have a cheat day.

I just want to tell you that even though motivation is great, and motivation is what primarily drives us to do things, especially when it comes to fitness, it can be drained. It can get depleted. What is unaffected by time and energy levels is your discipline. Motivation comes and goes but what is always there is your discipline.

So cultivate that. Be rigid. Be strong. Make sure you develop routines and good habits and stick to it no matter what. Because even if motivation fails you at times, discipline never will.

Guilty: I overtrained

Despite all of the posts where I categorically mentioned that over training is bad, to be vigilant about it to you guys, I ended up over training over the past week.

Yes, there are signs that show that you have been over training. Muscle soreness, fatigue, reduced performance. But sometimes, the body gets so used to the constant stress that it gives these responses a little later.

In the last week, I trained for 6 out of the 7 days. It was a pretty good training overall. I had 2 days with just HIIT (sprinting), 2 ab days and 2 days for the chest and arms. I did not focus on the same body part two days in a row, and I made sure I rested the rest of the day. I even slept 10 hours a day.

Muscle soreness and fatigue, therefore, were quite nonexistant. I did not feel anything, and so I went ahead a continued working out in the same intensity. On Saturday, I decided to take a complete rest day and not do any physcial activity. And on that night (when I was planning what I should do on Sunday morning), the body responded.

Saturday rest day turned into a rest weekend, which turned into rest day for 4 days. I did not workout any specific body part. I only played cricket every evening for an hour, and did not strain myself at all during the process. And still, that fatigue did not go. So much so, that I began to get dreams where my whole body feels like lead and I’m not able to move any muscle at all. That was scary.

Over these 4 days I came to understand a few things about my body that I would like to share with you. It’s quite possible that you have faced/will face a situation like this, so this can be your warning bell.

  1. There is definitely a lag between my workout and my body’s response to it- It is quite possible that your muscles will not become sore immediately after a workout. This is especially true if you workout out regularly, like me. I workout 5-6 days a week and my body has begun to expect that intensity. So, it is likely that it will not show signs of fatigue till well after 2 days of working out.
  2. It’s a very very good idea to schedule 2-3 days of complete rest- Every month, go 2-3 (maybe even 4) days of complete rest, or just very light cardio. My body has responded brilliantly to the rest I had these 4 days. My stomach looks flatter, and my arms and chest definitely look bigger. I am yet to test my endurance, but I’m quite sure it’s gone up as well.
  3. Drink plenty of water on these rest days- I am used to drinking 3 litres of water a day, on days when I workout. In the first 2 days of this rest period, I did not drink more than 2 litres of water because I wasn’t feeling thirsty at all. Consequently, I got more tired. I upped my water intake back to 3 litres in the last 2 days and I began feeling fresh again. My body seemed to recover better.
  4. Sleep!– Seriously, even on rest days, sleep for at least 8.5 hours. I had exams on two of the four days, so I couldn’t get more than 7 hours of sleep on two of the four nights. On the fourth night, I slept 12 hours. I did not keep an alarm and let my body decide when it feels like getting up. Best decision I took in the last 4 days. I woke up fresh for the first time this week.

Now that I have understood this about my body, I will not be guilty of over training again for the whole of this year. That’s a promise I’m going to make.

Go ahead, work out like crazy. But also, please, rest! Your body will reward you for it.

Happy resting!

Sleep like a baby!