Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Avoiding Muscle Soreness: Three Common Supplements

With all the strength training I've been doing and using heavier weights, I expected to have more muscle soreness than I have been (not that I'm complaining). Don't get the wrong idea, my muscles definitely FEEL like they've been through a workout. It's just that in the past, my soreness would be seriously intense. Like hard to walk and move intense.

Do I stretch after every workout? For the most part, yes. Do I foam roll? Not as often as I should. I have a lot of faith in my recovery sandals, but since I just received a new pair from Amazon I don't think they can take all the credit.

So what's going on?

My answer...supplements. I have started using a couple of new supplements that have super powers.


BCAAs

I started taking BCAAs after getting the flu in February as an energy aid. BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) also play a major role in muscle recovery. Basically, by taking one serving before my workout I get an energy boost to my muscles that helps me get through the workout. That same serving helps me bounce back quicker with less delayed onset muscle soreness occurring.

Magnesium

Every night before I go to bed I take a magnesium pill. Magnesium is calming and helps muscles relax which can help with sleep issues (which I have sometimes), but it also aids in the muscle recovery process. Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory which can help with post-workout inflammation and it relieves tight muscles which are a common result of lactic acid build up.

Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM)

Natural Eggshell Membrane was recommended to me by my chiropractor because it is known to help repair cartilage and because Glucosamine makes me nauseous ---> which I learned before having my meniscectomy. NEM contains naturally occurring glucosamine (so no side effects) which in some research is said to also help repair damaged tissue and reduce inflammation aiding muscle recovery.


While I started taking these supplements for other reasons, I will happily enjoy the extra benefit of less muscle soreness.

What I use (affiliate links):

BPI Sports Best BCAA Powder - arctic ice flavor

Life Extension Magnesium - 160mg

Healthy Origins Natural Eggshell Membrane


Do your supplements have super powers?


Today I'm doing the link-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! 




Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Week of Supersets and Aha! Moments

After a busy holiday week, last week went the other direction and things were mostly quiet on the home front. Not that I feel like doing much when the weather is either hot or rainy with a large side of humidity to go with both. I did get out and enjoy my brand new Oofos one afternoon when the sun was out (affiliate).


I also enjoyed my workouts this week. One thing I love about carb cycling (and I probably sound like a broken record) is the variety in the workouts. Even the strength training workouts vary day to day and week to week.

By the way - if you are interested, you can learn more about the Faster Way to Fat Loss® carb cycling program I did here (affiliate). The next round starts July 16!!

Interval Workouts:
I did elliptical sprints on Monday, which I bumped up to 25 this week. I think it might be time to increase the interval and recovery times instead of number to complete. I just haven't been feeling the same intensity as I used to. On Tuesday I grabbed an old yoga mat and headed to the park for another HIIT workout. Full-body workouts are always intense and this one was no different. My low intensity sustained state cool down walk literally cooled me off when it started raining.


Strength Training:
This week all of the strength workouts featured supersets ---> A superset is performed when two exercises are performed in a row without stopping. The exercises can work opposing muscles or similar muscle groups. Because there is no stopping between exercises each rep is more effective and more calories are burned than with a typical workout. Supersets are also good for boosting metabolism because your heart rate is up and your body works harder to recover.

I loved doing a week of supersets! It reminded me of how we did the exercises in Bodypump class with the break coming between tracks. It feels like you are pushing each muscle group to the max and then you move on to the next superset. 

It was also fun to have some exercises on the plan that were new to me or different from the usual, like face pulls. I had actually never done them before. They're tough!



Active Rest Days: 
Friday morning instead of yoga, I volunteered in the soup kitchen of a homeless shelter. Chopping, washing, rinsing, and serving sounds easy enough, but my arms and back muscles were tired after only two hours. Sunday I did Balancing Flow - a 30 minute Yoga with Adriene vinyasa video and then squeezed in a nice 2 mile walk with mrC. There is a strong monsoon warning and the winds are sooo nice, but too strong for us to get out on our SUP boards this weekend (affiliate).


I had a couple of aha! moments this week ---> non scale victories that gave me little boost in confidence.

1. During my leg day workout (which had a circuit warmup, 5 supersets, PLUS a treadmill hill repeat workout) I realized that two weeks ago I couldn't lift that weight or do that many reps and what seemed hard is now a warmup.

2. After seeing a number on the scale that discouraged me, I put on a pair of shorts that I hadn't worn because they were uncomfortably snug and they felt great.

Do you use supersets in your training?
What was your last aha! moment?

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!





Monday, July 2, 2018

4th of July Week: Holidays and Working Out

Let me start this post by saying (because I haven't blogged since last week's Weekly Wrap), Happy Independence Day America!!


I think we would all agree that staying on track with fitness and food choices can be extra challenging during a holiday. My week was busy. I allowed myself some grace and that took the pressure off. In the end, I enjoyed myself and my choices didn't throw my nutrition off by much.

The key to my success is everything in moderation. I don't try to be perfect, just the best that I can while enjoying life. Plus, it's bloody hot in Hong Kong and a strawberry daiquiri is quite cooling ;)

Monday & Tuesday:  I stuck to HIIT workouts. I always do my workouts fasted, but Monday's elliptical sprints kicked my butt! On Tuesday I took my Tabata workout to the park. It was hot, humid and the total body session was tough! I like the way a tough workout feels when it's over though. I guess that's why I keep doing them.


Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday: Strength training days. This week's arm workout included 10 to 1s. This looks like an innocent workout, but it's haaarrrd. My arms felt like they would fall off and I was only using 3 pounds by the end. Leg Day took place in my old fitness center in Shenzhen. It was fun and a little weird to be back in my old workout space.


We celebrated the 4th of July twice this week. On Wednesday we went to a friend's cookout. It was fun showing off our patriotism. I was so excited to have a cheeseburger off the grill. We don't have one here and we miss it a lot.


On Thursday we attended the Celebration of the US Consulate General's 175th year in Hong Kong as guests of the US Consulate through my work with the American Women's Association Hong Kong Hosts program. It was probably one of the fanciest and highest security parties I will ever attend. US Consul General Kurt Tong was obviously there, but so was Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR Carrie Lam (she's the top political official in HK). It was an impressive event.



Friday & Sunday:  I did my normal active rest day yoga which I am really enjoying again. Then on Sunday the weather stayed dry long enough for a morning paddle. It was picture perfect right until we were literally pulling the boards out of the water. Then it rained.


As I mentioned earlier, we went to our old neighborhood in China to have dinner with friends on Friday and see what has changed (because things are always changing in China!).


So after a fun filled, super busy week I still managed to get in every workout and not go too crazy with my eating and drinking.

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Staying On Track

This post has affiliate links.

It was another good week of carb cycling. mrC and I have been faithfully following the eating schedule and matching workouts. Already we are seeing changes and feeling better. And we are having fun!


Monday and Tuesday were low carb days. I did one sprint swimming workout and one HIIT workout at home. My swimming sprints (25 meter freestyle sprint, 25 meter breaststroke recovery x10) were good. I was able to push myself on the sprints because I was the first one in the only lap lane. My HIIT workout was ok, but I didn't push myself as hard as I could have --> cue goal for next time.


Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday I did strength training. I have to admit that I am really enjoying using weights again. I've been going to the fitness center for these workouts because I need the variety of weights equipment and I'm trying to go heavy on leg day. It's still a learning process to figure what is too light versus too heavy. At the end of each session I add in a plank workout and on Thursday I swam 300 meters.


Friday and Sunday were active recovery. I did some yoga both days because my body needs that extra stretch session, but we also took our inflatable SUP boards out on Sunday. It was really windy so I got more of a workout than I anticipated, but it was still fun being on the boards.


We lost faith in the scale at the fitness center after getting vastly different readings one week apart. Instead, we decided to purchase a smart scale for home use and found this Mifit for a reasonable price. This smart scale shows more than just our weight. We now also know our body score which includes assessment of body fat, BMI, muscle, water, bone mass and more.

In terms of personal results, I focus mostly on how I feel in my clothes, but I am also a data junkie and like seeing the numbers confirm my progress. It also gives me another challenge to increase my muscle over fat percentage.

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June: The Month I Didn't Run

After having more than a few good runs while in the US in April and May, I came up with a brand new running plan and then totally didn't follow it. I couldn't resist flat routes and beautiful Colorado, so I ran more than I said I would.


My knee wasn't happy about that.

For a couple of weeks while littleC was visiting, I gave my knee a break from running and focused on low impact workouts like swimming, easy hiking and walking.


My knee was super happy with that.

So, June became the month I didn't run. It's not the first time I stopped running, but it is the first time that I have admitted that I like it more that my knee is happy than that I went for a run ---> major change in mindset happening here.

Instead I continued to log time in the swimming pool ---> 2950 meters to date. Swimming is going to become my "new" running. It's not the same but swimming does not aggravate my knee and I get a great cardio workout. Bonus, it's perfect for this hot and humid climate I live in!

I found my motivation to get back in the gym after completing a video workout challenge. The goal is to keep strength training in my weekly routine again. My body definitely responds when I pick up the weights.

Lastly, I added more walking into my daily routine and logged 14.26 miles so far. I would like to get into the habit of walking every morning, but it takes awhile for this creature-of-habit girl to get a new habit going.


It kind of feels like my fitness has been a little all over the place. My motivation over the last couple of months has been up and down and up and down. I think it's because I was putting off the inevitable decision to stop running and take care of what is left of my knee. It's scary to give up something that you spent years doing and focusing on it so much that you actually started a blog about it. I mean, what would I do without it? It kind of feels like a fitness identity crisis, ha!

June might have been the month I didn't run, but it is also the month that I realized I'm still a fitness junkie and I'm going to keep running through life one fitness adventure at a time!


Today I'm doing the link-up with Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run! 

How well do you follow your own fitness plans?
Are you a creature of habit or are you more impulsive?



SaveSave

*