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05 October 2012

5 Things I've Learned from Training

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As I write this, I am hunched over my laptop, shoving a Nakd bar in my mouth, and in my 4th week of training for my 40k Cycletta ride

It's been an interesting 4 weeks. This is basically the most, as well as the most consistently, I've ever worked out in my entire life. The weird part is that it feels pretty normal to be doing this. 

Before, going to the gym once or even twice seemed like a big ask. I was always too tired, too hungry, too lazy or there were too many drinks I needed to consume instead of going to the gym. 

However, having a goal and a training schedule  has completely changed the way I think about working out. But I think it's the pull my goal has on me that has made the difference.

Working out so I can "eat whatever I want" doesn't motivate me. Working out to burn a certain number of calories doesn't do it, and neither does thinking about losing a certain amount of weight, or getting into a smaller size.

None of that is going to force me to go to a spin class twice in a week, or plank in my livingroom, or sit on a boring exercise bike for 45 minutes.

For me, it's knowing that I have that ride, and if I don't work my ass off, it's going to be hard, and my time is going to suck, and then everyone will know that I clearly didn't train as hard as I could have because, hello, look at my time.

I want to feel good about my time when I finish, and I know by the way I've been training so far, I will.

I've learned a lot over the last 4 weeks, so I thought I should probably share my knowledge for those who are thinking of getting involved in a Cycletta ride or anything else that makes you sweat. (Not that!)

5 Things I've Learned from Training


1) Do Your Laundry!

If you don't do you laundry when you should, you will run out of kit. You will run out of work-out socks, underwear and sportsbras. Nothing puts me off training like having to wear gym kit that I don't like. 

2) Eat Some Damn Food!

If you don't eat, you're fucked. I'm not a nutritional expert, but I put stuff that I know is good for me in body before and after I train. I also put stuff I know isn't good for me in my body in between those times, but that's because I bloody want to. I'm much more conscious of what I put in myself, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give up pizza.

3) Drink Some Damn Water!

Buy some water bottles with sport tops and use them religiously. Bring them with you to the gym, bring them with you on your rides. Add those nifty electrolyte tablets to them. I even use recovery shakes now when I'm done with a big ride or a spin class as they help me recover quicker and I feel instantly better from drinking them. Yeah, there are calories in it, but they also have a bunch of other good stuff in there, too. 

4) Don't be a Psycho

It's really easy when you're training to go to The Dark Place. The Dark Place where you "can't see any results" or "aren't doing enough" or "don't weight any less". You know the thoughts I'm talking about - those unrealistic expectations, those negative thoughts - just shut them up. Shut them up anyway you can because they will ruin your training experience, which should be positive!

5) You can always do one more

The main thing I've learned from doing spin classes is that you need an instructor that pushes you. Just as when you have a training buddy to run with - what's the point of them unless they make you want to do better? What use would you be to them if you just said, "Yeah, I'm tired too. Let's stop."

The goal is to become your own training buddy when it's just you on, whether it's on a bike or just pounding the pavement. Virgin Active have these great hashtags on their mirrors at the moment that say "Be your best self: Do one more rep!"- and this is exactly what you need to do. 

Get to a place where you're listening to your body, not your mind. I now know the difference when my legs go, "Oh hell no, you're done!" verses when my head goes, "Fuck this." which is usually about 15 minutes into a spin class or 25 seconds into a plank. When my body says I'm done, I'm done. I'm not talking injury  here (BE SAFE! DON'T DIE!) but rather when you can feel your muscles scream at you in a way you've probably never felt before. That's when you can pack it up, stretch it out, and stop.

Don't let that lazy ass that lives in your mind stop you from being the best you can be.

See how wise I've become in the last 4 weeks? Is now a bad time to tell you I had McDonald's for dinner last night? Where are you going? COME BACK!

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I like every post in this blog. Really a nice work has done.

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