Saturday, 29 May 2010

A Week of Workouts - Trying to Escape the Orbit of the Dark Planet

Location: My house, Woodcock Sports Centre, Aston University
Date:29th April

Tuesday (my house)
Quick blaster to get the brain going:
36 Push Ups
20 Dumbbell Deadlifts
Total time: 5 Minutes
Food: fasted until lunch, then salmon, avocado & nuts.

Thursday (Aston gym)
Swimming Sprints - 8 x one-length front crawl @ 95%, 30 - 90 seconds rest between.
Total time:
15 minutes
Food: egg, fruit & coconut cream breakfast bonanza + walnuts

Saturday (my house)
Weights circuit - alternating the exercises with minimum rest:
Dumbbell bench press: 3 x 10 @ 25k
One-arm dumbbell bent-over row: 3 x 10 @ 35kg, 32.5kg, 32.5kg
Clean and press: 3 x 10 @ 35kg
Ab roll-outs: 3 x 10 from the knees (with dumbbell)
Total time: 20 minutes
egg, fruit & coconut cream breakfast bonanza

I am still battling the binge mentality that started to bed in on my 2-week trip to Asia which I only partly mitigated with efforts to workout on the trip.

At the moment I am still lapsing, usually after too much wine, then battling to keep physical well-being with short, intense workouts. It's amazing how powerful they can be in restoring a feeling of hormonal balance.... but amazing how quickly that can be sabotaged with a lapse.

This time I can feel the grip of the dark planet starting to loosen. I just need to escape its orbit entirely; a full week of good food and good workouts will free my mind of the nagging temptations trying to pull me back down. ... Read more

Saturday, 22 May 2010

2 Weeks of Hotel Workouts and Bad Living

Last Friday I returned from a 13-day business trip to Asia. It was a whirlwind of busy schedules, flights and unhealthy living (a post about the horrific diet I had is on PNLL.)

I drank a lot, ate a lot and tried to do a lot of working out to compensate. But as time went by, fears about burning the candle at both ends and a lack of motivation shortened my workouts. Here is a summary.


On day one, I did a round robin of weights in the gym - dumbbell chest, chin-ups, dumbell bent-over rows, upright rows. No rest in between, about 20 minutes. I had binged on the flight the night before so felt the need to work hard.

The gym in Singapore

The following day, an hour-long run around the botanical gardens. I didn't feel like it, but had eaten a stack of food the night before (again!) and lots of beer. This is breaking my own rules - fighting food and beer with cardio is not the answer.

On day 3 I did a Tabata burpees session to clear my head for a presentation I had to give. My legs were already shot from the run, not to mention that I had eaten bad food and drank beer the night before. But I did feel better after the burpees, if a little wobbly.

This had been three days of exercise in a row. Not like me.

I managed to have a rest on day 4; then on day 5, before the flight to China, another punishing round robin of weights in the gym, this time including Romanian deadlift with a slippery bar and no straps to help. Once again this was to combat a night of buffet food and beers.


In spite of consuming an impossible amount of buffet food on arrival, on the following day there was no time for working out because we had so much to do. The day after that, though, I got up early and jogged down to the river front where I did some much needed sprints following.... yes, you guessed it, after a night of too much food and beer.

The river front, ideal for sprinting

In case you were wondering, yes, coffee was an essential ingredient in the ill-advised balancing act I was performing.

The following day, before the flight to India, I did a standard bodybuilding workout in the gym, regretting the seated pulley row immediately because I had forgotten it inflames an old whiplash injury on my right trap. Those 3 x 10 workouts with rest between sets seemed easy compared to the stuff I normally do and it was welcome, given my increasingly poor state of health.

The gym in Shanghai, China

The inviting pool in Shanghai, which I didn't go in


I rested on the first day, then the next day did another round robin, this one only 10 minutes, as I was not feeling great. I also did, later in the day, a spontaneous BBS-style 90-second leg extension set in a vain effort to reduce the flight-induced swollen feet and ankles, made worse, I suspected, by bad living (more on that in the PNLL post.)

The gym in India. Small.

At this point you can assume that every night is buffet, cakes and beer. I was not feeling much like working out, which was just as well, because the gym was not good.

I had a couple of days without exercise, then a day before flying back to the UK, a perfunctory weights session consisting of a single set of about 30 Romanian deadlift. By now I was just trying to produce some beneficial hormones and keep my insulin under control.

Back in the UK

Once back, it was detox time. I was still not ill, and utterly baffled by that fact. Determined to keep it that way, I have have stuck to short, sharp, varied workouts and, naturally, pure eating (you can see that on the meals page of PNLL)

Thursday REST
Friday REST
Saturday Single round of Mixed Tabata Circuit Intervals (4 mins)
Sunday REST
Monday Swimming sprints - 10 mins total - 6 sprints 25 seconds each
Tuesday REST
Wednesday Weights circuit - 8 minutes - Press Ups, Chin Ups, Deadlift, Crunches, Box Jumps
Thursday REST
Friday (yesterday) Tabata rowing machine

So I didn't get ill, in spite of my wife having a cold and my UK office being full of coughing, sneezing people. I am feeling fit again. I am back in the game. But it was a struggle.
... Read more