Sunday thoughts

One thing I try to do with my training log is pick out a few things that went well in every session, and a few things that went badly. So many times I feel like I have a bad session, and leave in a bad mood to stew in my grumpiness all evening, trying to find ways to “punish” myself – no chocolate, no this or no that – only to sit down and record the session and realise that actually, I managed to pull off a move I’ve never done before, or I managed not to make a particular mistake I had kept making.

It’s the little things that count, yes, but it’s also the little things that are so easy to forget.

So as per yesterday’s post, here is my roundup of this week’s highlights.

New things I learnt this week

  1. There is a type of muscle fibre known as Type IIc. Traditionally you get taught about Type I (slow contraction, use oxidative metabolism, fairly resistant to fatigue – so the ones used in endurance exercise), Type IIa (fast contraction, use oxidative metabolism, less resistant to fatigue than Type I fibres) and Type IIx (very fast contraction, use phosphagen metabolism, very easily fatigued – mainly used for sprinting). To be honest, the fact that there is a Type IIc muscle fibre is interesting enough. However, Ben suggested that they may be a type of muscle fibre that builds up during rest phases in response to repetitive strenuous training. They are incredibly powerful, and when returning to exercise, they enable the athlete to achieve results above and beyond what they have achieved before. However, using them produces such force that the fibres destroy themselves after one use, and so lead to intense delayed-onset muscle soreness and a return to previous performances.  Unfortunately, Ben heard about this from Anthony Blazevich in the early days of the research, and I haven’t been able to find any more information online. Either way, recovery is necessary and usually totally underrated so until we find out more about these Type IIc fibres best to be resting appropriately anyway!
  2. I learnt about the amazing performance and life of Fiona Oakes
  3. My friend Greg (who, it must be said, was my first training buddy – he and his brother taught me my first squats, deadlifts, and basic hypertrophy routine) told me his girlfriend is looking into doing a PhD on emotional management through dog ownership. Apparently as dogs mirror your state of mind, having a canine companion encourages you to learn to manage your feelings and moods appropriately.

New things I have eaten this week

  1. Last night Ben made us fajitas using the Old El Paso Roasted Tomato & Pepper Fajita Kit. For mine he used Taifun Smoked Tofu which went really well with the smoky rich tomato flavour of the whole thing. I was impressed with these which made a fairly simple, not too unhealthy, and flavourful meal. As I stay away from convenience foods (mainly because I’m too stubborn to pay for added value, but the health benefits of making everything from scratch are a nice bonus) I had never tried these before, but I definitely see their use now!
  2. Liquid smoke! I have heard so much about this in various recipes, and unsurprisingly had never stumbled upon it in Luxembourg or in my years of overly productive and undistracted supermarket shopping. Ben picked this up as we were exploring (pretty much every section of) Wholefoods and didn’t like it, so I have stolen it. Doused my dinner in it tonight – I have to say, it’s very weird to spray something all over your food… but the smell was gorgeous! It tasted pretty good, but there was a slightly bitter aftertaste which I’m pretty sure was from the liquid smoke. It was fine in my dinner which was also loaded with Tabasco, smoked Tabasco, salt, cracked black pepper, and tahini, but I’m not sure I would trust it on naked grilled vegetables. Still, a nice addition to the kitchen cupboard!

Other highlights this week

  1. A new PB! A mile in 6 minutes and 48 seconds on the cross-trainer… without even destroying myself. I feel the machine may have been having a bad day as it felt way too easy, but as this has been disputed and I have no other reason to dismiss this PB, I shall keep it!
  2. A double session on a Friday afternoon – thought I was coming in for a normally pretty laid-back class, turned into over an hour of drilling followed by about 45 minutes of grappling. Feels good to do a really long session every once in a while, especially if you don’t know it’s coming! More importantly, I managed to pull off a move I had been taught a couple of weeks ago and hadn’t yet used.
  3. Ben’s delicious dinner last night of fajitas with smoked tofu, followed by pear-apple-raspberry phyllo pastry parcels served with raspberry coulis and soy whipped cream.
  4. Found a leftover unwanted banana up for grabs at work, and a colleague gave me a box of mixed seeds from her Graze package. It’s the little things with me, remember?

I think that’s probably about enough, so while I get myself into bed with a hot chocolate and a TED talk, may I suggest you visit the Great Vegan Athletes website to vote for the Vegan Athlete of 2012? Even if you don’t vote, these amazing athletes definitely deserve to be known!

Hope you’ve all had a good week and are looking forward to the next one ahead!

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