Sunday thoughts: 21st September 2014

You might have noticed that I don’t say this very often, but this week has flown by.

I know as a saying it’s a cliché, but frankly I don’t find that time flies away from me. Maybe it’s because I have gotten better at living “in the moment” since attending my meditation course, maybe it’s because my job won’t really allow me to live any other way, maybe it’s because I am not following a specific training schedule that forces me to think ahead and plan, or maybe it’s because I am lazy and constantly looking forward to the weekend which never comes fast enough.

Either way, neither view is inherently negative to me. I have enjoyed this week, but I have also enjoyed not pining for the weekend, and being able to take things pretty much as they came.

New things I have learnt this week

This week I’ve only been able to read two articles.

  • One was fairly straightforward article on the role of resistance training in the management of overweight and obesity, and discussed mostly aspects I already knew such as the increased metabolic effect of resistance exercise (i.e. the fact that it causes your body to keep burning more calories after training). It did, however, provide some interesting general exercise requirement guidelines which I hadn’t heard before – you normally hear a recommendation of 30mins per day of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week, and/or a total of 150mins per week, but according to the Strength and Conditioning Journal article I read, that’s only enough to prevent initial weight gain. To lose excess weight, they recommend over 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or up to 300 minutes to maintain weight loss. Back to the resistance exercise though, it was interesting to note that while coupling a reduced-calorie diet with aerobic exercise resulted in greater weight loss than with either strategy alone, adding resistance exercise to a reduced-calorie diet made no more impact than the diet alone would have. However, it is important to resistance train in order to preserve muscle mass, which keeps the metabolism ticking over (not to mention keeps you stronger and healthier, ideally with your bones in the right place and moving the right way).
  • The second article was a little more technical, and, frankly, more confusing to me. It was all about concentric muscle actions (e.g. flexing your bicep) and how to use them in training. Eccentric actions (e.g. lowering the bar to your chest before pressing it away for a bench press) create more force, but also result in more fatigue and more muscle soreness (which, as I touched on last week, can interfere with subsequent training sessions). Since concentric muscle actions can still stimulate adaptations in the muscle (i.e., make you bigger and stronger), but don’t result in as much soreness and inflammation, athletes with a high training volume could look at using more concentric-only motions to keep training efficiently and effectively. The article then goes on to dissect various actions, mainly based around pushing or pulling a weighted sled, and how to best use them for sports-specific purposes. All good food for thought, if not immediately relevant to my work.
  • I do love sharing TED talks. I only watched one this week, but it was a refreshing take on something most of us hate: being wrong.

New things I have eaten this week

Nothing interesting to see here I’m afraid! I have enjoyed going back to some basics; a couple of really tasty chilis, big plates of grilled vegetables and tofu with tahini dressing, lots of fruit and seeds, toast and dates, more toast (tahini and cherry-vanilla jam! what a revelation!), another lovely meal at Jamie’s Italian (the bread platter, a vegetable plank, the superfood salad, and sorbet), a surprisingly good value burrito at Wholefoods, a tasty and fresh salad at GBK… All good fun!

Other highlights this week

  • Two of my clients came back from holiday and it was great to see them again! I also started work with two new clients who are lovely, and had good times training everyone else. It feels great to look forward to going to work.
  • My parents were in town this week; they brought me my (electric) piano from home along with some framed photographs of mine that had been collecting dust in the attic, heaps of homemade jam, and the contents of the fridge which had had to be emptied out whilst they were in the UK. They took Ben and I out for dinner at the aforementioned Jamie’s Italian, which was bustling and familiar, and I think we all had a lovely evening!
  • Although we haven’t actually been able to set it up yet (new leak in flat = reluctant to settle in too comfortably here), it feels good to be reunited with my piano.
  • I went to hang out with some friends I hadn’t seen in six weeks or more yesterday. Totally low-key, involving couches and nibbles and coffee, and it was perfect.
  • Today we took Ben’s mum out for lunch before she left, and had a lovely relaxed Sunday-appropriate Sunday!
  • I posted about Ben’s charity fundraising efforts on my Great Expectations Fitness page this morning, and a few donations immediately came in from friends and family. You know who you are, so thank you so much – I can’t tell you how happy it made Ben!

I think that’s about it from me for today. I hope you too have been embracing life’s simple pleasures and are peaceful and refreshed this Sunday! Oh, and remember to enter my Nakd healthy snack bar giveaway!

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