Tag Archives: bodyweight

Yoga Challenge Day 24

It’s been quite a couple of days. I had a strength workout planned for yesterday, but didn’t get to it until late in the evening. Big mistake. Afterwards, I was too exhausted to even bother posting about it, but more importantly, I was too hyped to fall asleep easily. It was the most intense workout I’ve done so far, not to mention the longest, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it left me floored.

So far, my strength workouts have been manageable. Even when the exercises were too much, the workouts were short, and that balanced things out. Now that I’ve advanced past the introductory phase of the Body By You program, though, the duration of the workout is doubled: warm-up sets are added, and more main sets are performed. In addition, new exercises are introduced, and my muscles have to work in ways they’re not used to. I used to take breaks only after completing a full circuit of exercises, but now I need to pause after each and every set to catch my breath. In a way, this is great, because I get to do strength and cardio training in a single workout. I’m not sure if this is the “proper” way to go about it, but for the moment, it works for me.

Anyway, after that grueling workout, I really needed Yoga. I like to use Sage Rountree’s podcast for post-workout recovery, and generally appreciate her Yoga for Athletes approach when it comes to complementing my strength training. Although each podcast is self-contained, some are focused on specific areas of the body, which makes them great for working kinks out. Also, I love the fact that each podcast is on average 10 minutes long, so I can string several segments together for a well-rounded practice. Here’s what I chose:

  • Wall Stretches – This was a great little segment to start my cool-down and loosen up both upper and lower body before moving into deeper stretches.
  • Shoulder Stretches – With my right shoulder still not up to par (I’ve noticed it tends to buckle slightly under pressure compared to the left one), this routine is as essential to me as my physio.
  • IT Band Express – Despite the title, this podcast stretches the entire lower body.

Gomukhasana is featured in the last two podcasts, but I approach it differently in each, doing only the arms in the first, then doing only the legs (Square instead of Shoelace for me) in the second.

After finishing the strength part of the workout, I ached everywhere. The above Yoga routine helped deal with all that, but I still felt hyped – that exhausted-but-can’t-seem-to-relax feeling that kept me up half the night. In retrospect, I think spending a few minutes in restorative poses might have helped.


Yoga Challenge Week 3 Wrap-Up

This day has been quite a personal landmark. First of all. I’ve now been consistent in a fitness regime for 3 weeks without getting bored, which is a really big deal for me. Secondly, with today’s bodyweight training session, I’ve completed the introductory part of Cycle 1 in Mark Laurens’ Body By You program, i.e. playtime’s over. And thirdly, I came upon my first obstacle as far as strength is concerned.

I really like how BBY is structured: you only do 5 exercises at a time, one per category, each of which contain 25 progressively harder exercises. It’s not that there are 25 different exercises, but rather variations of maybe 10 exercises in each category, adding difficulty either by holding the “hard” part of the exercise, or modifying the center of gravity. It’s set up in a really clever and systematic way.

In Cycle 1, if you get stuck in an exercise, you repeat that exercise in the next workout until you can complete all the reps and sets required. Today, I couldn’t complete the pulling exercise (a one-arm let me in, with legs bent at a 45-degree angle and added pauses at the end) and had to catch my breath for a few seconds to finish the sets. Even so, I did notice an improvement compared to my last workout (same exercise, without the pauses) as my wrists didn’t complain this time. So, there’s definite, though subtle, progress going on.

This may seem like a minor thing, but I can’t stress enough how important it is for me to see my body getting stronger in this way. I’ve only ever worked out with dumbbells and gym machines in the past, working with very low weights and getting injured and disappointed in the process, so being able to “handle my body” like this feels incredibly empowering. I’d only got an inkling of this feeling in Yoga (e.g. being able to hold Down Dog or Low Chaturanga), but when I do this kind of training, where the very purpose of the session is to build muscular strength, it’s even more intense.

At the moment, I’m experiencing the so-called newbie-effect, where my body is making progress in some, if not all, areas in every single workout. I’m sure this is bound to peter out eventually, especially considering the size of my body, but for now I’m willing to allow myself to bask in hard-earned endorphins 🙂

Yoga Challenge Days 17-18

Had Internet trouble yesterday and couldn’t post, so here’s my update on the last two days.
I did a strength training session yesterday morning. This is my fifth workout and somehow it seemed easier, even though I’m steadily progressing to more difficult exercises. No DOMS, except for just a little bit around the wrists – did my very first one-arm let me ins 🙂
In the afternoon, I did Yin Yoga following Erin Fleming’s Yin Yoga: The Essential Practice CD. Overall, it was a balanced sequence putting emphasis on spinal work without overlooking the hips. Counter-poses were subtle to non-existent but that didn’t detract from the practice. Another peculiarity, which I’ve noticed only in a handful of classes before, was the placement of Shavasana after meditation at the end. I can’t say I liked that as I was feeling detached and groggy afterwards, when going through Shavasana first, then sitting in meditation usually leaves me relaxed but centered.
As for today, my monthly started early and put me out of commission for just about everything. I decided to revisit the mWODs I’ve done so far and add a new one to my repertoire.
So, in the morning I worked on squatting, and hip extension, while in the afternoon I worked on the calves and psoas (mWOD day 4). Not as relaxing as a Yoga practice might have been, but I’m not really clear on what poses are appropriate for that time of the month and which ones I should avoid.