Sunday thoughts: 14th September 2014

I am delighted to sit down to some Sunday thoughting (not to be confused with thinking) as it gives me another reason to delay responding to the emails which seem to have piled up again despite my frantic efforts to plough through them at any available moments, much to the annoyance of Ben and fellow pedestrians.

Wait, no. That’s not it.

I’m just happy to be able to have some time to sit and reflect, in what hasn’t been a busy week… which always results in me overcompensating by doing all the things and even some of the nothings. Ever find yourself getting up and marching to the fridge/bathroom/bedroom with so much purpose it takes you a few minutes of idle blinking to realise there wasn’t actually anything that urgently needed doing? No, me neither…

New things I have learnt this week

Oh I am back on the learning wagon and my appetite grows with every article (though this is partly due to it taking me several journal articles to brush up on my scientific journalspeak, before which each page may as well be a Rorschach test)!

  • I read about protein requirements for strength athletes. What was interesting about this article was not any of the information contained in it, as the few solid facts were ones I already knew:
    • 20-40g of rapidly digestible protein or amino acids are recommended during, before, or immediately following training;
    • there is no evidence of adverse effects of high levels of protein consumption in healthy individuals;
    • and consumption of high levels of protein is virtually meaningless without adequate calorie consumption.

No, the most striking element of the article was how little we actually know about protein requirements and their overall importance to athletes. So next time you pick up a lay magazine and see it commanding you to eat a certain quantity of protein of a certain source in conjunction with a certain ratio of carbohydrates or fats, at a very specific time, just ignore it. They don’t really know. Just eat enough, get some protein in before and after training, train hard, and recover smart.

  • Same goes for post-exercise muscle soreness – good old DOMS. That feeling that you’ve worked really hard and that yeah, your muscles are definitely growing and strengthening. That disappointment after a tough training session when you don’t ache. We don’t actually know any of that. We know that a certain amount of muscle damage encourages muscle growth; but it may not be essential, nor would it be of any benefit without adequate recovery, nor do we actually know how much is beneficial and at what point it becomes harmful. But we also know that muscle damage of a level that encourages muscle growth, doesn’t necessarily cause delayed-onset muscle soreness. So muscle soreness could be an indicator of having achieved some muscle damage that could encourage muscle growth… buuut… it might not. I find that comforting. It’s OK to train however feels right; nobody really knows any better.
  • I also read a thought-provoking article on training periodisation for mixed martial arts (MMA), but I was far more interested in the one I read on osteoporosis. More specifically, I was interested to read that the changes in the skeletal structure usually lead to increasingly slumped posture, which only serves to worsen the issue. There are vast amounts of literature on the benefits of weight-bearing exercise (jogging or weight-lifting, for instance) for the prevention and reversal of osteoporosis, but I never would have thought about addressing postural issues in relation to the condition. As I work on posture a lot with the majority of my clients, it was nice to know that it is a useful pursuit for even more reasons that I already knew of!
  • Lastly, and for a bit of fun, this light-hearted and grounding TED talk kept me entertained whilst hanging up the washing: How not to be ignorant about the world. Step One: watch more TED talks.

New things I have eaten this week

  • A friend of mine had the genius idea of hanging out around Brick Lane on Saturday – something I’ve been meaning to do for years; I’ve been once about four years ago, and skimmed past it on the way to a work meeting about a couple of years ago, but have never really basked in it all. After a walk up and down and around, we weaved our way into a little food market in which an Ethiopian stand immediately caught my eye – for once, there was no debate about what to get! I forgot my camera, my phone had died and I wasn’t in a photographing mood anyway, so I have no photos of the delicious and vibrant array of food – nor of my gigantic plate of mouthwatering salads, stews, and spongy injera – but check out this blog post by Peace, Love & Porridge on the Ethiopiques food stall; it’s like I had written it myself!
  • We obviously couldn’t be in Brick Lane and not buy a sweet treat from the Essential Vegan stall. I immediately knew I wanted to try the éclair which was filled with cashew cream and though I was surprised to find that it was made of puff pastry rather than choux pastry, it actually hit the spot perfectly after my giant Ethiopian feast. Ben bought the blueberry cake (just a chocolate cake with blueberries on top, which is fine by me) but was too full, so I finished it for dessert that evening – moist and rich and just how a chocolate cake should be!

Other highlights this week

  • I have loved, truly loved, being able to sit down and curl up with my laptop and some journal articles this week. I must resolve to do more of that whenever I can!
  • When I wasn’t guzzling up research, I got to write a couple of blog posts which truly flowed and reminded me why I love blogging. For one of those posts, which I will publish this week, I played around with my new camera (also known as my dad’s old camera) which was super fun!
  • Last night I met Ben’s 2-week-new nephew. Such a little bundle of peace and cuteness! We also had a lovely chilled out evening with Ben’s family around Chinese takeaway and super comfy couches.
  • Yesterday I got to catch up with a friend that I used to work with, eating ourselves silly in Brick Lane and ogling colourful vintage outfits we have no use for, and today I got to catch up with a couple of uni friends over a Le Pain Quotidien vegan brunch and a stroll along the canal. I couldn’t ask for more!
  • I was so up for cardio this week, so cardio I did! Lots of sweaty stationary bike and cross-trainer sessions, but also some surprisingly brutal weights sessions, which saw me drag out the compression tights… it felt good and it felt right.
  • I have to admit to being totally thrilled by the enthusiastic response generated by my post on the right training vs. the right now training. It really made me so happy to hear my thoughts and words had resonated with people!

Just one little thing before I go: Ben is running the Ealing Half Marathon in two weeks, and has chosen to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society. I will be donating 5% of any of my income between now and the event as the cause is close to my heart, but if you feel inclined to make a donation yourself, you can visit his JustGiving page here.

Thanks for dropping in and enjoy the rest of your Sunday!