Careful what you wish for

On Wednesday last week, I ended the Yellow Phase of my “face-to-face” training at the gym, and stood on the precipice of the Blue Phase—our training cards are colour-coded, as you might have guessed. I’ve been going regularly, lifting weights 2-3 times per week, depending on a variety of factors. The gym is closed Sunday. And only open 10am-4pm Saturday. So sometimes, I just wouldn’t make it on the weekend, and I had to have a day off between weight training sessions.

But still! I’ve been a star! At the gym increasingly often for the first 2 weeks, and then almost every day for the next 3 weeks! When I went back for my re-assessment, I was imagining centimetres falling off my measurements and maybe a kilo or two from my weight.


Ha ha.

I did *actually* laugh at my assessment, because everything was… exactly the same. (Actually, strangely, I was a centimetre taller and my sit-and-reach had shrunk 5 cm… but *expected-to-change* measurements hadn’t changed.) But this wasn’t actually a bad thing—realistically, I have to admit that for the first 2 weeks or so at the gym, until 27 July when I submitted my article, I was still not sleeping regularly, I was eating sugar *and* too much starch (especially when up late at night…), and just not fully committed yet. Not that my heart wasn’t in it, I just needed a transition period.

I can say this about myself—I know how I work, even if I don’t like it.


EVERY year after teaching: I’d envisage a return to fitness.

EVERY year: instead, I’d have a manic period of sleep, inactivity, and craving ONLY sugar and starch.

EVERY year: I’d gain before I’d start to get on track again… and if I didn’t have enough time to get on track, then that explains how my goal became a smaller and smaller point of light in the distance, year after year.

THIS year was no exception. After my first assessment, things got worse. I remember this well—one night, sitting in bed writing and feeling like my underwear were too tight… a new sensation. 😀 SO! My lack of improvement from assessment to assessment was actually a sign of improvement, if you factor in the interim gains!

My Yellow Phase workout had me do weights for my whole body, every other day. I was REALLY ready for a change at the end of it all, because my legs were *always* tired. I like to wail on the cardio interval training, but with tired legs it can be hard to sprint.


So when my trainer and I talked about what I wanted for my Blue Phase workout, I had some clear ideas in mind. So did she, as it turned out, and from our back-and-forth, we decided on this:

Day A of weights: legs and some abs
Day B of weights: upper body, including low back and obliques
Day C cardio and stretching
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Sunday: rest…

With the Blue Phase I’m doing my whole body twice, having two full cardio days for endurance, and a day for some pure recovery. I liked this. And I knew Carol would work me hard—she’s sweet, but she’s INTENSE in the weight room.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading in my retirement, and I’m going to start sharing some of the articles that are really staying with me. For example, I like this one that feels like weight-lifting redemption. I’m not likely to become a Power Lifter, mind you, but it’s a message that we *need* to start listening to…

So here’s the new plan—and it’s a doozie—all exercises are 3 sets, 10-12 reps:
Day A:

Legs & glutes:

Smith machine squats (12.5kg each side)
dumbbell lunges (2kg each side) (working toward Smith machine lunges, but I need to fix my form…)
prone hip flexion (3kg angle weight)
standing one-legged curl (4kg ankle weight)
prone one-legged abductor (2kg ankle weight)
prone one-legged adductor (3kg ankle weight)
kneeling (on bench) straight-legged raise (for glutes) (3kg ankle weight)
bridges (no weight yet)


Bosu ball crunches
planks (30 seconds each)

For cardio, I did a 15 minute-cycle of intervals on the elliptical: 30 seconds sprinting, level 10 / 1 minute recovery, level 6. This isn’t set in stone, but I’ll do elliptical intervals on Day A based on how I feel and how much time I have to give it.
Day B:


SUPERSET: dumbbell bench press (10kg) and dumbbell pec flies (5kg)

Mid- and Upper-Back:

SUPERSET: 1-arm bent-over row (10kg) and straight-armed (uh…) pushdown (? For lats, anyway) (10kg)


Military press (8kg)
Upright row (10kg)

Biceps & Triceps:

Skull crushers (10kg)
Overhead extension (8kg)
SUPERSET: 7 – 7 – 7 barbell curl (10kg)

Low Back & Obliques:

Extension (15 reps, no weight)
Oblique curl on extension machine (no weight)

For cardio, I did 30 minutes of various hill inclines (with 3 90-second sprints) on the treadmill, and 15 minutes on the bike, 100 RPM at 10 on the resistance.
Day C:

If I weren’t getting on a plane and heading to the Pacific coast of South America tomorrow morning (PERU!!!), I’d then do some kind of 45-60 minute steady-state cardio, and a nice, long streeeeetch…

So this is hard. And it looks long—but with short breaks between each set (30 seconds, max), it actually flies by. The cardio has a tendency to take the longest, really… which is why I love intervals. More on that soon…
How do you work your weight training in?