Diary of a Gym Monkey #2

Well, it’s been a while since my last gym-related post, and as I’ve been cracking on with it for just over a month now, I though an update was in order!

It’s still working really well, and I’m getting into the swing of the exercises much more now. Also, I’ve hit upon the right weights, and am getting to the stage where I’m considering upping them for certain exercises, which is fantastic. This can be seen in my weight gain- I’ve put on about 4lbs since starting the programme, increasing my weight from 11st 1lb, to 11st 5lbs. That’s about 72kg or 159lbs. This is the heaviest I have been in a while, and I’m really pleased to be seeing results. Previously, I had been hitting a barrier at about 11st 3lbs, and not being able to go beyond it. Breaking this plateau is a real achievement for me, and I’m very pleased with the progress. I’m not yet sure how much more weight I want to gain… depends if I can keep the gains lean. If I start losing definition, I’ll probably stop trying to gain the weight.

The only other major news in my exercise regime is that I have been much better with my cardio than in the early weeks of the progamme. I am much more committed to getting one cardio session for every three workouts (using the ratio of 2 ab sessions: 1 cardio session after each workout). I have been doing interval sprints on the treadmill, for 25 minutes per cardio session. this breaks down into 3 minutes 30 seconds of slow jogging/walking uphill on a steep incline, followed by 1 minute 30 of sprinting, on a flat incline. The advantages of this cardio approach are:

  1. it doesn’t take up too much time
  2. it compliments the intense nature of the workouts that precedes them
  3. it is well-suited to me if I wanted to get back into football, as it keeps my sprint speed up (if not my endurance…)
  4. it’s awesome for trimming any excess fat!

I have noticed the difference, feeling fitter and getting leaner too. Moreover, I have recently acquired a secondhand road bike, which will encourage me to get out and about even more, improving my cardio further.

I have used it a couple of times, and am keen to persist with it as I am still getting used to the drop-handles. It’s much lighter than my other bike, which is still a very decent mountain bike, but this is more suitable for the road and longer distances. The only problems I’ve had, due to my inexperience on road bikes, is that I’m not yet used to the way you lean forwards more, and tilt your head upwards. Currently it’s causing me a bit of neck pain, but as I become more accustomed to the different riding style, I’m sure that will go away. I cycled to the gym this morning, and did the 5 minutes drive in about 10-12 minutes, which I was pretty chuffed with! That’s probably faster than my Nan would drive it…!

So, all in all, things are still going strong! If you’re reading this and starting a new exercise regime, or have decided to bring fitness into your life too, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how your project is going too!

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2 thoughts on “Diary of a Gym Monkey #2

  1. Just a note on your bad neck: I had this the first time I rode road too(graduating from MTB). That was a good three hour journey though. If you’ve been riding for that long at a time, then ignore this cos it’s natural to experience some discomfort over long rides. If you’re riding regularly and it occurs often, the following stuff could be useful.

    Two things strike me:
    1. If you’re not used to drops, where are you holding them? Around the drop itself is good as one position, but you should also be using the full width of the bars. Sitting on the ‘hoods’, as they’re known can be more comfortable for an ex-MTBer. This entails putting your hands on top of the handlebars, wrapping your fingers round the brake levers.
    2. If you know all about that, then it might be that your bike is not set up for you quite right. Looking at the picture, your saddle looks good, but you could stand to lower it slightly if you’re struggling. Alternatively, handlebars should be sitting parallel with the road, so that the bars are straight, when lined up with the road. In that picture the handlebars are angled towards the road slightly.

    Just some thoughts, may be no good. Road biking is definitely good cardio, and great for burning through to lean muscle.

    • Hi Harry!
      Thanks for the hints and tips, it has been a bit of an adaptive process going from a relatively heavy MTB, but with nice front suspension, to a road bike. The pain/discomfort has decreased a little bit, and I think I’m relaxing a bit more (when I first rode out on it, I tensed up something terrible because I just wasn’t used to it!)
      However, I took your advice today when I cycled to and from work (about a 25 minute ride each way), and used the hoods- the difference was very noticeable! My back still gave me a little grief, but I’m attributing that to the gym session before the ride (which had some deadlifts in it, so my lower back was in a weakened state anyway). Despite this though, it was much more comfortable, thanks a lot!

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