Saturday, April 12, 2014

So I lost my mind in the gym today.

There's a well-documented set of guidelines for ordering exercises in a workout. NSCA guidelines here, BreakingMuscle here, and so on. The idea is that mental focus and available energy stores are in highest demand for speed and technical work, then for maximal strength, and least for low-intensity endurance work. My kettlebell seessions are all planned along these terms.
  • general warmup, then warmup from single bells to double and light bells to heavy
  • n minutes with heavy bells, 2 sets at competition pace. 1.5n minutes with medium bells at faster pace. 2n minutes with light bells at faster pace still.
  • single limbed work: swings, military presses, overhead holds.
  • physical therapy: 2-bell "first dips", mobility work as needed, stretching.
That's where this weekend comes in. This was a frustrating and expensive week for me, in terms of sleep, money, and peace. Saturday morning, I had been 5 days without handling bells or clearing my head properly. The only thing that worked well was Friday's run, which ironically left my calves tight. In my second set (the first one actually being good work), I launched a jerk that only made it as high as my nose. It was as if I dropped into my first dip, then completely lost my train of thought. Resuming with the heavy bells, then substituting with medium bells, proved to be fruitless. I had lost my mind in the gym.

I recorded my reps and time and comments in my training log, then breathed it all out. I took a short walk, then repeated my chalk ritual. I picked up my light-weight bells and did a 6:00 set at a relaxed pace. I had planned 6:00 at a fast pace, but it wasn't realistic. I wanted to set them down at 4:00, but I needed to prove something. I needed to finish some sort of quality work, so I finished a light set with only a time requirement. Then came single-limbed work and physical therapy to finish.

In the big scheme of things, one bad session does not mean the world. One bad week can set a competition prep significantly back, and I do have a meet in 5 weeks. Eventually, a day like this comes down to finishing a block of quality work, creating and meeting a single goal. It's not a personal best or a full ten minutes or even the heaviest weight on the schedule. It's about showing up, setting a realistic goal, and achieving a goal. I got that done today. I can find my mind next week.

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