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Just Checking In

Just Checking In

I've mostly been keeping up the same workout routine, but I've shifted one of my gym sessions to Sunday afternoons, which lets me do some deadlifts and some kettlebell stuff. The downside is that I can't do any pull-ups. That doesn't seem to have stopped my pull-ups progressing (plenty of pull in deadlifts, after all), but I'll keep an eye on things. If I'm not stronger in 3 weeks, I'll adjust.

And I've started checking my workout routines into git. It'll be interesting to see what jumps out when I can diff workouts.

But it's also having a side-effect of highlighting exactly what I'm changing, and making me more consious of ensuring that each change indicates forward progress.

This week, I swapped pull-downs for pull-ups, increased the weight on goblet squats and cable chops, and removed flutter kicks from my routine.

I skipped the flutter kicks because I wasn't getting stronger, and didn't want to waste time on something that wasn't helping, and had a lot of overlap with the cable chops.

But Convict Conditioning says the next progression is hanging knee raises. I'll add those next week.

Self-Coaching: Take-Aways

Self-Coaching: Take-Aways

What went well?

I think I've finally mentally adapted to the lack of cycling time. My rides are punch-the-clock workouts, and I'm measuring progress by how I'm doing in the gym, where training time is less restrictive. (Doing okay at an Over the Hump race certainly helped with this.)

My workout routine is consistent, and workouts now include basics I used to neglect, like running, chin-ups/pull-ups, loaded carries, and stretching.

My lunchtime rides are far higher-quality than they were eight weeks ago. I'm riding my trail bike more than my road bike, and my regular loop includes plenty of fire-road-style dirt, which is a massive upgrade that I'm not sure would have happened without a conscious decision to seek out better routes.

I raced, and even performed reasonably well. That was not a simple thing to put together, and I don't think it would have happened without really focusing on concrete next steps.

What went badly?

My weight is the same as it was 8 weeks ago. I can see in the mirror that I'm adding muscle, and I'm noticeably stronger in the gym, so I'm not too upset. But still, I know that the single best thing I can do for my fitness is to get my body fat down around 12%.

Bringing lunch to work will require me to make changes to my weekly routine. I can't just "try to find something" on weekday mornings. I've got to shop ahead of time, and do the prep over the weekend.


One pattern that emerged is that if I'm not making progress toward a goal, I need to break it down into smaller pieces that I can execute.

What's not obvious about this is that a single, all-day, high-priority task might be one item on the to-do list. "Clean garage," for instance, might be one item if I plan to start after breakfast on Saturday morning and continue until it's completely done. On the other hand, if I know that I'm only going to have one-hour chunks of time to work on the garage, then I'm going to break down "Clean Garage" into 30- to 60-minute tasks.

Doing okay in the Over the Hump race quieted my worries that my on-bike training isn't enough. It gave me the confidence to just keep my focus on general strength and conditioning work, and on losing fat. If anything, I know I need to turn up the intensity in the gym, and if I'm going to tweak any part of my bike training, it should be to add short, sharp climbs. (30-60 seconds, as steep as I can find.)

And, honestly, I think the notion of having one or two achievable weekly goals works really well for me. So I'll keep doing that. But not with the intensity I have been, and not directed at fitness or cycling.

For the next couple of weeks, my mental energy needs to be focused on executing at work. So that's my self-coaching "goal" for the time being.

Self-Coaching: Week 8

Self-Coaching: Week 8

It's Thursday, but honestly my "training week" is Monday through Friday, and I'm confident I'll get tomorrow's gym workout in the books. So how did this week go?

Maintain workout schedule.

Check, and then some. I did a kettlebell workout at home on Monday, and then did my usual training week at work, so I've managed a workout every day this week, and I did some exploring and found some new stuff to ride.

Bring lunch to work.

Check. Three days out of four. (Short week for Labor Day.)

Keep up the commitment to getting leaner.

Half credit. I've relaxed my standards and aimed for something I can consistently accomplished. I've taken to having a few chocolate-covered almonds at night.

Do two deadlift sessions.

Check. One today, and another over the weekend.

Overall: A-

Generally, this was a really productive training week. Three gym/kettlebell sessions, two rides, and I even did some exploring and found some new territory that will add a little variety to my lunchtime rides.

Self-Coaching: Week 7

Self-Coaching: Week 7

Maintain workout schedule.


Bring lunch to work.

Nope. Terrible. One day out of five.

Keep up the commitment to getting leaner.

Nope. Also terrible. I generally allow myself desserts on the weekend, but I let the "weekend" extend into Monday night, and then in one day at work had chocolate-covered almonds, ice cream, and apple pie.

Get more sleep.

Nope. Not nearly enough. My daughter got into a routine of staying up until 10:30 or 11:00 PM. By the time I finished my chores and took a few minutes to wind down, it was usually well after midnight. The little one is back on a more reasonable schedule the last few days, so here's hoping that last week was, as they say, just a phase.

Do some loaded carries.

Check. Did some farmer walks with 45# dumbbells in the gym. This week I'll do the same, and today (Monday) I did a workout on the patio, and turned carying my kettlebells outside into part of the workout. (So, KB farmer walk 2 x 40m @85#)

Overall: D

I think I've hit the limit on improvements I can make to my fitness routine without also making changes in the rest of my life. And there, other things take priority.

I think I'm going to give the self-coaching routing a break for a while after week 8. I've made a lot of progress in a short time, and now it's time to let that solidify for a while.

Goals for Week 8

  • Get back on track with the sweets. (Already making progress there.)
  • Do two deadlift sessions.

And that's it.

Self-Coaching: Loaded Carries

Self-Coaching: Loaded Carries

Just a quick reminder to myself that loaded carries should be a regular part of my diet.

(Image: this is the cover shot from Dan John's Never Let Go, which is awesome.)

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