mental health · Workouts

Recovering from recovery days

Weightlifting is a crutch I cling to, for better and for worse. However recovery days are a necessary evil, and my serotonin level drops without daily exercise.

I had a hard work out regime last week which ended with me needing a recovery day. Normally I work on a three split program which means a recovery day is not necessary because each muscle group gets two days recovery while I work other parts of my body. However, in a length of time, even if I change-up the exercises, this regime gets repugnant and I hit a plateau. This is why I chose to do the 4000 reps in 4 days program even though I knew I would need at least one recovery day afterwards.

Thursday was my last day on this hellfire program and Friday was my recovery day. I planned to have one recovery day it turned into three, because I simply lost the motivation to go back to the gym.

My serotonin levels were not stimulated on Friday which meant an immediate drop i my mood and Saturday was even worse but I just could not bring myself to go back to the gym.

When you have bipolar disorder, routine is everything. I have learned this over the last couple of years, but I still mess up because I feel like I am better. Routine puts an order to everything, I go to work at the same time, I go to the gym after work and I go to sleep at the same time. I skip one of them and all three gets messed up.

This means that on Saturday since I had not been to the gym in two days, I struggled to get to sleep at a reasonable time, which meant that on the time I am usually at the gym on Sunday I was still sleeping. When I woke up on Sunday I just did not see any reason to go to the gym, because it was in mu obsessive mind “Too late.” Weekends are troublesome to me anyhow, because I only work some weekends, and I have a weekend schedule: I go to the gym by 12 pm at the very latest. This makes sure I get up in the morning, the earlier the better.

Luckily today was Monday and everything resets: I go to work in the morning, I bring my bag with me and I hit the gym. I am back on track. I wish it was as easy as it sounds, but I almost did not go to the gym today because I was still feeling a constantly low mood which comes with my persisting depressive episode.

Now after working out, I already feel better, and I will go to the gym again tomorrow taking it one lift at a time.

Workouts

4000 Lifts in 4 days – day 3 & 4

I am officially done, and tomorrow will be a well deserved rest day. 4000 lifts in 4 days is completely doable, and my body is 100% fatigued from this. Not a single joint is pain-free (soreness) and today was the hardest day of all with single joint movements at 50% of 10 rep max.

I have enjoyed these days at the gym, they have been hard and I have the weak point in all my lifts so I know how to work from here. My lower back and shoulders were the losers in this challenge. The important part is that I got through it and it felt like it gave my heart quite a pump as well (the beginning of each set felt more like cardio than anything).

Will I be doing this routine again?

At this point my answer is no, this was hell, but ask me again in four months or next time I hit a plateau and I am sure this routine would be helpful to kick my muscles into action again.

Tomorrow I will have a good rest and then I will keep going, one lift at a time.

Workouts

4000 Lifts in 4 days – day 2

It is my second day in following a hundreds program for four days and I must say I was surprisingly sore from yesterday. Today I focused mostly on single joint movements doing one giant set of 100 reps of each exercise.

Today’s workout consisted of:

  • Machine Flys
  • Seated leg curl
  • Diverging pulldown (I know I said single joint movements, but I wanted to)
  • Leg extension
  • Straight arm pulldown
  • Dumbbell shrug
  • Machine row
  • Rear Delt fly
  • Triceps press
  • Cable bicepcurl

Usually I am not a big fan of machines, but they were necessary to make today’s workout. Even though today was a “light day” with lighter weights than yesterday, I am already sore, every joint is sore and no matter how much foam-rolling I have done post-workout today the soreness stays put.

Hopefully the soreness will fade some by a good nights sleep. I am halfway in this program and I really want to complete it. But I will continue to take this one lift at a time.

Workouts

4000 lifts in 4 days

It is a new week and new blog and I have looked to mix up my traditional straight sets weightlifting program for a while.

The yesterday I was over at bodybuilding.com and came across two very interesting articles by Jim Stoppani in the workout section. He had made two posts about giant sets and “the Hundreds” routine.

I have previously done some crossfit and “the hundreds routine” is similar to crossfit. So I decided that for the next four days I will go along with this crazy 1000 reps(repetitions) a day concept.

The benefit of hundreds training is that by doing a (ridiculously) long set you recruit  the two major types of muscle fibers.  At the beginning of the set you will be working the slow-twitching fibers thoroughly before the fast-twitching fibers are taking over somewhere halfway through the set. In many ways this work out should help my muscles develop and grow.

I will be following Stoppani’s set up in terms of four days work out, going heavy, light, light, heavy, but I will prioritize working my back, which makes it sort of like a giant set.

So today’s set up looked like this:

100 reps of:

  1. Bench Press
  2. Deadlift
  3. Latpulldown
  4. Squats
  5. Dumbbell shoulder press
  6. Barbell shrugs
  7. Cable overhead triceps press
  8. Biceps Curl
  9. Seated Row (I know I know, it should have been placed earlier en the program)
  10. Lateral sidelifts.

The work out started out fine with the bench press, as a woman I normally hit the bench press a bit more than I should so lifting at 50% of my 10rep max did tire me out but judging the other exercises I should have felt the burn much earlier on.

What the hundres are good for, is to point out your weak points, and I experienced this during the deadlifts. My lower back was burning (not hurting) after 45 reps. To put it this way: I really needed the lateral pulldown after finishing a hundred deadlifts.

Putting a 100 squats and a 100 deadlifts in the same program at the same day was probably a bad idea,. I managed to do a 100 squats, but towards the end I was afraid my form was slipping as I got pain in my knee. The pain did go away once I put the bar away and got a brief rest though.

The rest of the exercises went by alright, the deadlifts and the squats were definitely the hardest. And I am also glad I put seated cable row that late in my program because it gave my lower back time to rest.

As of now I am fairly positive that I can make it through three more days of a 1000 reps a day. and I look forward to tomorrows work out, I will complete it one lift at a time.

If you want to check out Stoppani’s “the hundreds routine” you can -click here- and if you want to review his giant sets program -click- here-.

 

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An Introduction

So I figured I would start this blog off by having a short introduction.

I am starting this blog to follow my own journey through mental health issues, archiving fitness and hopefully help others along the way.

For the last few years I depression has helped me dig a hole so deep I could almost bury myself in it. I got a diagnosis of bipolar disorder II about a year ago, which gave me a name to call my struggle but no new means to fight it.

This January and February I found myself again far below rock bottom, trying to remember last time getting out of bed did not feel like an unreachable accomplishment. When was the last time turning off the light at bedtime didn’t make it impossible for me to get up before noon.

It took a couple of tries, and it took changing my medication, but I could vaguely remember a time a few years back when it did not seem like I was looking at the world through a foggy glass.  And I will not say that I have stumbled up on a magical cure for my condition, but I have found a way to cope with my illness.

In May I started to go back to the gym, doing something I know I am good at: lifting heavy things. Of course I had to start small, nowhere near I where I was back when. I started out feeling like a body weight squat would kill me, but slowly I got better and through perseverance I can now go through my day without a constant feeling of wanting to drop off the face of the earth.

Going to the gym is my crutch and for now I am clinging to it for my dear life. If I am having a bad day, I know that I can make it more tolerable, one lift at a time.