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Monday, 22 June 2009

The Gap in the Middle

I haven't been feeling very well this past week. I thought I was getting the flu, but all I got was an annoying dry cough that only starts when I lie down. Result = not a lot of sleep. Last night I had extra pillows to keep me more upright and it seemed to help. I have also acquired my second coldsore - one on my top lip last Saturday and another on my bottom lip yesterday.

I suspect that I may be suffering burn-out from over training. I have been going to the gym for over an hour 5-6 days a week for at least 7 months straight. The dilemma is I don't know what is the right amount of work required to stay in shape.

Search the interweb and you will find a bazillion programs for fat loss - from simple upper/lower splits with cardio/intervals to metabolic circuits and bodyweight programs like Turbulence Training and Afterburn. All very well, but I don't want to burn fat because I don't have much and I suspect I would start burning muscle on that type of program.

There are also another bazillion programs to build muscle - from whole body workouts 3 days a week to focusing on one body part a day. The program I have been doing (New Rules of Lifting for Women) is a muscle building program. In order to fuel these heavy workouts and have adequate nutrients for muscle growth and recovery, you need to eat surplus calories to your requirements. If you get it wrong - fat arrives along with whatever muscle you might or might not add.

Neither of those approaches is what I want. I don't want to lose fat and end up losing muscle, or try to gain muscle and end up adding fat.

And we all know that nutrition counts much more than exercise in creating the body you want (the old abs are made in the kitchen thing!) so how much training is necessary to keep what you already have without going backwards? I just want to stay fit and lean with visible muscle definition without flexing.

There is a gap in the middle that there is no plan for. Maybe most people want to 'improve' things but surely you don't have to go through the whole on season/off season thing if you don't want to. All I can think of is to do what the experts say will result in no progress at all. Do the same exercises with the same weights week after week ... but that just sounds boring.

Any ideas?

6 comments:

  1. Hi Katie,
    I probably don't know much about body building or weights but I do know as long as you keep your muscles guessing they will always get stronger and repair themselves. I think you will stay fit you are so dedicated and focused on your training and food log! I'm not worried and you shouldn't either! :)) Rest up so you can hit the gym..I know you want too!

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  2. Train for enjoyment :)
    If you enjoy the turbulence training then do that, or work on strength, or whatever. If you EAT like your not trying to loose weight then muscles won't get eaten up by heavy training. Post-comp your body is in recovery-mode which is also growth mode. It's a great time to focus on an area you'd like to see more developement in. Also, you don't NEED to train often as you were. So if you're feeling over-trained then maybe spend the week doing some strength testing (find your 1RM and 5RMs) just for fun. Maybe you've always wanted to be able to do a chinup... or 10. Why not focus on that?

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  3. I wish I had an answer... when I told my trainer I just wanted to maintain, he said... your either moving forward or backward! So... thats all I got lol. Last time I tried the maintain thing I put on 35 lbs :( Sorry I am not much help.

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  4. Thanks Katie for your guidance on the calorie intake.

    I think I will try and up the calories tomorrow to 1700 calories and see how I feel. Riding home starving tonight was a sure way for me to come home and overeat.

    Thank you

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  5. Hi Katie, cold sores for me are a sign that all is not well, tired, stress, getting/had a cold or flu. Unfortuntely it's not overtraining for me, more like get off your arse and train.

    I have had periods of taking Lycine regularly and it seems to work, but takes a few months to build up in the system. So you still may get a few in the beginning. I've had about 5 in the past 6 weeks. Time to go back to it I think for me. Essie

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  6. @Cathy - keeping my muscles guessing is a good thought.

    @Michelle - I love the idea of just doing what I enjoy - I may even pull out the ballet shoes!

    @Tearose - I am hoping that maintenance is a bit kinder to me LOL!

    @Kristy - good woman!

    @Top End Girl - I used to take Lycine but I haven't had a coldsore this huge for years. I think I am just generally run down. 5 in 6 weeks sounds like a nightmare :(

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