I have spoken before about HIIT cardio vs steady-state (LISS).  I think sometimes people get itchy feet and they jump from routine to routine without giving it a chance to show its benefits.  On the other hand, people sometimes get too complacent.  The human body thrives on consistency complemented by variety.

For people new to lifting iron, like I am, I feel totally comfortable spending the first few years trying out different theories, different diets, different supplements, playing with the tempo, the volume, the rest periods, the rotations, the splits, the style.  Try dirty abandoned warehouse gyms, try big colorful plastic coated chains.  Go swimming, try a ballet class, do a hot yoga 30 day challenge, do a spinathon, lead your office team to victory in the company tug-of-war.  Try balanced meals, try low carb, try intermittent fasting.  GVT, FST-7, Barbell Complexes, Circuit Training, TRX straps, bodyweight training.  Glutamine, Test Boosters, pre-workouts, fat burners.  Experience the full buffet of exercises and approaches.  Don’t be afraid to look like a fool.  Figure out what you like, do it for a while try new stuff and come back to it often.  But above all, pay attention to how you respond to it.  Learn your own body.

I visited a naturopath recently, and she provided me with actual proof that I don’t handle starchy carbs well.  This surprises me, as I have always loved them.  Pizza, potato chips.  I digest protein fine, but starch?  I have proof I don’t.  This makes me feel bad, because I could not recognize what my body was telling me.  I already knew I felt better when I gave up artificial foods, junk food.  I know I feel better when I cycle off caffeine.  And somewhere inside, I knew I enjoyed low carb diets.  I have tried them, and once I got past the energy dip, I felt better.  But always when I got a cheat meal, I would eat a bunch of bread or potatoes or something.  And feel bad the next day.  But I could not put 2 and 2 together.  Now that I had someone throw the truth in my face, I need to rethink what a “cheat meal” is for me.

I heard someone say once that cats think antifreeze tastes delicious, until they go blind, all their hair falls out and they die.  This week I felt a bit like the housecat who finally learned to read the label.

 

On the weight training front, I thankfully have had a bit more luck listening to my body.  Wednesday morning, still getting over my cold bug, I went to the gym for some early morning spin!  Luckily, Leslie was there too to spin!  Unluckily, she sat with the cool kids instead of me 😦  fine!  I needed to sit alone next to the paper towel dispenser anyways, so I could blow my nose.

 

After spin, I had time before work to do some chest & triceps work.

 

Chest & Triceps (30 sec rest between all sets)

incline dumbbell press:  80 x 15, 15, 15

flat dumbbell press:  140 x 12; 100 x 12, 12, 8

incline dumbbell flyes:  60 x 12, 12, 8

pec deck:  90 x 12, 12, 12

dumbbell skullcrushers:  60 x 15, 8, 7 DROPSET 40 x 12

one hand seated DB extensions:  20 x 12/12, 9/12, 7/12

straight bar pushdown:  120 x 12, 12, 7

prone leg raises:  20, 20, 20

notes:  Because I know what my body responds to, I picked the exercises I did and the volume and the order for a reason.    I prefer chest presses with the dumbbells.  It lets me feel out how my left shoulder is doing, it helps me highlight the difference in strength from my left and right side (right side is stronger).  Sure enough, my left shoulder wore out first.

With only a 30 second rest, my gas was getting used up fast.  After the first set of flat presses, I decided to drop.  The first set in this routine is the easiest and should feel easy… because the second one is only 30 seconds away and will feel much harder.  So I grabbed the 50 lb DBs instead.  This worked out much better in the end, and I couldn’t really finish the flat presses even with the 50s.

For the flyes, I was actually doing just fine, slow and steady, but I had a coughing fit in the third set, and couldn’t finish.  So I didn’t count it as a win 🙂  I also prefer incline flyes over flat flyes, and I prefer dumbbells over a machine or cables, but I did the pec deck after anyways just to finish me off with an easy exercise.

With the skullcrushers and the extensions, my triceps were super tired, so I had no shame in dropping the weight.  With the last set of the skulls, I did a dropset and just kept going.  The actual weight does not matter… all that matters is properly recruiting and then taxing your muscle fibres.  Heavy weight is good for powerlifters, but I want to hit all my muscles with more precision than that, so I can learn how I respond on an isolated level.

For triceps, I knew a good set of incline and flat presses would warm the triceps up, then the flyes would give them a bit of a break.  I also know I find the skullcrushers and one arm extensions hard, and the pushdowns easier, so I chose to do the hard ones first and also feel out if the left shoulder had recovered, before I bang out as many pushdowns as I could with whatever I had left.  You can use whatever science you want to support my exercises of choice, but this is what felt right for me, for my shoulder, for my triceps.  This has been learned over the past few years by trying stuff out, taking notes, and thinking about how I felt.

Abs also went fairly well at the end, I was happy I could manage all 3 sets of 20, which is good for me.

I walked away from the workout feeling like that was just about perfect for me that day.  Like I got the mix just right.

 

And how about you?  Any good workouts today?