Friday Fitness Fulminations.

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This week has been challenging. We both managed to get sick: we fell out of ketosis and felt far worse. My mobiility is decreasing, and I know I won’t be able to get back to the gym until early next year due to the need (for both of us) to let things heal. Last year I ripped by rotator cuff, and I’m 90% recovered now, but that last ten percent is the bit I need for back squats, let alone overhead squats or olympic lifting.

What I have found is that low profile barefoot shoes allow me to walk and run with much less pain and more freedom than the previous shoes. What I’m missing is consistency, and this is what Adam noted this week.

But that’s hard. You can easily get discouraged with a drop in strength like this. And all too often discouragement leads to avoidance. And avoidance means that one day you realise that you haven’t stepped foot in the gym in six months.

Thankfully I am not at that point, but I have caught myself a few times trying to talk myself out of going on days when going to the gym is perfectly doable. This is the big danger area and it is extremely useful to be well aware of it. The monkey chatter in your head that tries to convince you that today you should just head home, relax, put your feet up and have a beer. It’s been a tough week, you’ve been working really hard. Hell, man; you deserve it.

We don’t deserve shit. All we deserve is the pain that we get when we lift. The pain is the sign that this is what you need. The pain is what must be welcomed so as to stay strong and healthy. In the last couple of months the vast majority of my colleagues have been sick at one point or another. I am one of the very few that hasn’t gone down with something and I put that down to my personal strength from lifting.

Adam Piggott

While we are on weight lifting, there is a lot of complications. I like things simple. Consider how Rippletoe describes the deadlift.

The deadlift is the most basic, obvious movement in barbell training, the one with the most carryover to everyday tasks and the easiest to learn of all the basic exercises. I can teach you how to perform a perfect deadlift in one (admittedly long) sentence:

You just step up to the bar with a vertical-jump stance width, with toes out and your shins about an inch from the bar, grab it just outside your stance with your knees still straight, then bend your knees forward and out a little bit until your shins touch the bar, squeeze your chest up until your back is flat, take a big breath, and drag the bar up your legs until you’re standing up straight.

Simple? No. Anything that simple is hard. One of the big reasons to belong to a gym that does free weights — a crossfit box is the most common type — is so the coach checks your form while lifting.

Run in lightweight, uncushioned shoes and you will become efficient (something I did when young. I had an old, thin pair of trainers I used for racing and long runs — and was less injured in them than the “improved” nike air trainers I got after that. i should have, in retrospect, stuck with the shoes with less “protection”). But for weight training, use free weights and get a coach.

Can’t get to the gym? Use kettleballs — after a period of learning how to do so. The magazine articles are useful for ideas but no substitution for a decent coach.

This is week 11, and given that we ended up eating “normal kiwi food” for a few days, we have not done well. In the longer term, not a great issue, as we will reset. And add weights.

Weka Kea
Change this week +0.8 kg +1.6 kg
Change since baseline (12 August:11 weeks) –7.3 kg -6.0 kg