Muscle Confusion

I am wonderfully sore this morning, and I’m LOVING it.

When I was in Australia this summer, my friends and I made lists of our type 5 favorite feelings.
I’ll share the appropriate ones 😉
-Being sore after a good workout!!
-Eating and being full, burping, and realizing you have more room to continue eating. (If this isn’t one of your favorite feelings, you’re not human)
– Free falling

There’s two more, but I’ll leave those for your imagination. haha =)

The adaptability of the body is amazing to me.
The body will do what you ask it to do.. all in good time.
You want to run a mile for the first time ever? Get out and run. Run for 1 minute. The next day? Run for 2. Etc, etc, etc.
You want to become stronger? Start lifting weights.
You want to finish a triathlon? Start swimming, biking, running.
Your body will be able to do whatever you want it to do, you just need to ask it nicely, and take your time and train.

I started getting really serious about lifting weights back in August.
After being in Australia all summer, and only lifting a few times (at the gym when we were in Sydney), it was what I craved. So when I got back on campus for a new school year, I was refreshed and refocused and had a brand new weight lifting plan.

We're cute, I know 😉

I was doing a mixture of the Body for Life Routine & the New Rules of Lifting for Women routine.

The Body for Life lifting routine worked on one muscle group at a time.
Each set had less repetitions but increased in weight.
So it looked like this:
Biceps:
Set 1: 12 reps @ 10 pounds
Set 2: 10 reps @ 12.5 pounds
Set 3: 8 reps @ 15 pounds
Set 4: 6 reps @ 17.5 pounds
Set 5: 12 reps @ 10 pounds.
Between each set was a 1 minute rest.

The New Rule of Lifting routine was a bit more complicated and had different stages every few weeks.
They didn’t focus on isolating one muscle group at time, which kind of made me nervous.
It had stuff like pushups, rows, and lat pulldowns, all of which incorporate more than one muscle.
It’s good in the sense that it’s an efficient way to lift weights, but I’m not all too sure how effective it would be on it’s own.
Like I said before, training is specific. If I want my biceps to become stronger, I need to work out my biceps. By not isolating certain muscle groups, they are not being pushed to their limit of fatigue.
The book was interesting to read, and a lot of the information was interesting and somewhat useful, but having my own education in Kinesiology, I knew was what fluff and what was not. With that being said, the training plan intrigued me, but didn’t sound fool-proof enough for me to do it on it’s own.
So I combined it with the Body for Life routine.

At first, it was the most exciting and challenging workouts I had in a long time.
I left the gym feeling empowered, sore, and accomplished. (and exhausted!)
I couldn’t wait to get more.
I started writing down how much I was lifting each time and was able to push myself to lift more when the weights were getting too easy.

The past few weeks, between my awkward relationship with running and everything else that life brings, I wasn’t feeling my strength training. I was feeling less empowered, accomplished, less exhausted, and even worse- less sore! (Read: one of my favorite feelings.) I’m in that weird stage of my lifting where I have increased weights where I can, but cannot increase it anymore. So my body is adapting. It’s too used to doing 20lb bicep curls, but I can’t curl 22.5 more than a few times, so it’s doing nothing.

[The soreness that your muscles feel are micro-tears in your muscle fibers. Lifting weights is literally damaging your muscles. You become stronger as your body repairs those tears. Although you can still get results and get a good workout without having to feel sore, I personally love the feeling of being sore, knowing that I have pushed my muscles to fatigue and damage, so that it can heal and become stronger.]

My body had adapted to the routines.
Not only had my body adapted, but I think my mind became bored.
So, I switched things up.
Wednesday I did a Jillian Michael’s DVD. I’m not as sore as I’d like to have been, but my legs are tired. The DVD had me doing lots of lower body plyometrics (jumping, jump squats, etc) and my legs were definitely tired. Also, it made me drip sweat<– a plus!
Yesterday, I did an upper body workout. I nixed the cardio for the day because I really wanted to work on making sure my upper body was exhausted.

This is what I did:
Pushups- 3 sets of 12
Dumbbell Bench Press- 3 sets of 12 @ 15lbs
Standing tricep extension- 3 sets of 12 @ 10 lbs
Tricep pushdown- 3 sets of 12 @ 15 lbs
Lat pulldown- 3 sets of 12 @ 40, 50, 60 lbs
Bicep curls- 3 sets of 12 @ 15 pounds
Bicep Cable curl, reverse: 3 sets of 12 @ 20 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder press: 3 sets of 12 @ 15 lbs
Front deltoid raise: 3 sets of 12 @ 7.5 lbs(my shoulders were so tired!)
-abs

Seeing it written on here, it doesn’t look like I did that much.
But, by incorporating multiple sets @ high repetitions, my muscles were confused- so they were pooped!
By arms were so tired by the time I got to my shoulder workout that I had to lower my weight down to 7.5!
I haven’t touched 7.5 pounds in such a long time, but I was so glad to be that tired again!

This morning when I woke up, I was so happy when I realized how sore my upper body is!

I just need to do my body a favor and change things up every few weeks.
Recommended is every 2-4 weeks so your body doesn’t adjust.
I think I’m going to continue with something similar to that routine until Thanksgiving break,
and then switch back to what I was doing before for the 1.5 weeks or so before I leave for Christmas break.
I’m hoping for the weeks that I’m home for breaks I can run again and focus on that until I get back to school
and can start lifting again.

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