Holiday Workouts (or Making Myself Enjoy The Bike)

This past week was my last full week of workouts for 2018, and I have to say I think they went pretty well! I had some random issues, but I also had some victories over issues that I have been dealing with for a while. And as always, I enjoyed having a bit of holiday fun during my workouts too.

Monday’s workout was the traditional Christmas Eve workout with the Present and Coal cards. We drew cards out of a Santa hat that had different workout assignments. Some were easy (the Presents) and some were hard (the Coal). I’ve had a mixed bag with what workouts I’ve gotten in the past and I figured I’d have the same this time.

I started on cardio with the bike. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with enjoying the bike more often, but I was glad I used it for this workout.  I did 3 different cards and they were all Presents. The first and third cards that I drew were 3 rounds of .15 miles (which was .6 on the bike) with 30 seconds of recovery in between each round. Each round took me about 90 seconds to complete so it was a 90 second push pace for me. I forgot what the second card said exactly, but it was shorter than the other card. I think it might have been 3 rounds of .1 miles (.4 on the bike) but I’m not totally sure. But again, I did it as a push pace and I was using my new push pace resistance level on the bike.

I was on the rower next and I only drew one card, and it was a Coal card. I had 2 rounds of an 800 meter row with 50 squats using a medicine ball between the rows. The first row wasn’t too bad and I was able to do it in a decent time without stopping. But the 50 squats were a killer! I thought I could do them with only 1 break in the middle, but I had to rest every 5-10 squats. I was so happy to be back on the rower for my second 800 meter row even though I did it slowly and needed breaks. I was just finishing it when that block was done and I went to the floor.

I’m not sure if I was just normal tired or tired from the workout, but I got really confused when reading the card. We had 6 different exercises on the floor (low rows on the straps, sumo squats to presses, crunches, burpees, squats, and plank work) and the first card I drew said Exercise 4 x 25. I thought that meant 4 rounds of 25 reps of everything and started working on them. But after the second exercise, I realized that had to be wrong and I checked with my coach. The card meant I only had to do the 4th exercise (which was the burpees) for 25 reps. All the cards I got on the floor only had been doing some of the exercises, but by the end of the block I had done all 6 of them pretty equally.

I have a tradition of getting a photo with my coach Bruce before Christmas with him wearing a Santa hat, but I knew this year it might not happen. I don’t take his class anymore and I rarely see him. So I had to do some creative photo editing to make it happen this year.

Wednesday’s workout was a strength day, and I was on the bike again. We had 3 blocks with cardio and 3 blocks on the floor, but the cardio work seemed extra tough to me that morning.

The cardio was a similar pattern with a regular push pace, a hill, and ending with an all out with base paces in between everything. The push pace and hill work were 2 minutes each for the first block, 90 seconds each for the second block, and 1 minute each for the last block. And the hill work was 2 different inclines/resistance levels each time so we went higher and harder halfway through each hill. I was using my new base and push resistance levels and kept my hill work around what my all out resistance level is at now. I had Chinese food the night before and I think having that the night before an early workout did affect me because it felt so much harder than it had felt in a long time. I struggled a bit with the hill work, but I tried to not think about keeping my cadence the same and just focused on moving. The one really good thing was that my new base pace resistance level is feeling much easier and such a relief when I get to come back to it after higher resistance levels.

On the floor, we got to pick our own work for each block. We had 3 different row distances and 6 different exercises. For each block we picked 1 row distance and 2 exercises and by the end of 3 blocks we did them all. The rows were 200, 300, and 400 meters and the exercises were hip hinge low rows, double crunches, shoulder presses, single arm fly, pullovers, and toe reaches. I decided to do the longest row first and go down with each block. And I didn’t have a plan with the exercises more than I was going to do 1 and 3 for the first block, 2 and 4 for the second, and 5 and 6 for the last. We were told not to do the double crunches and pullovers in the same block since they were the same movement, and for some reason the way I split things up made the most sense to me. I wasn’t using the heaviest weights I could because there is a small chance I have a pinched nerve in my right arm (I’ve got some recurring pain and weakness in my hand) so I wanted to be careful. But using light weights really did help me see my progress since those weights were ones I would have used for those exercises toward the beginning of the year and they felt very easy to me in this workout.

Friday’s workout was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and it was a workout that made me happy to be on the bike. For cardio, we had a mix of progressive pushes and incline work. And neither of those are things that are easy to do on the treadmill. So being on the bike really was the best option and it made me appreciate knowing I can do some good work on there.

We had 2 blocks and each block started with a 4 minute progressive push and ended with 4 all outs using different inclines. For the progressive pushes, I increased my bike resistance by 1 level each time starting at the resistance level between my base and push. And for the incline work I did high resistance levels starting at my all out level and going higher from there. As it’s been since I increased my base, push, and all out resistance levels; it was really tough but felt really great. The base resistance level is feeling so much more normal even if the other levels are feeling much tougher than I’m used to.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks as well and they all had rowing plus regular floor work. The first block started with a 100 meter row and then we had 1 round of lateral raises, single arm snatches, and bench hop overs. Then we had a 200 meter row and 2 rounds of the exercises. The block ended with a 400 meter row and doing the exercises again. The second block was a similar pattern but started with the highest row and moved down. And the exercises were Y raises on the straps, plank rows, and sit-ups.

Saturday’s workout was a power day and it would have been a perfect day for me to work on my running. But I’m working on being happier with the bike so I tried to reframe my thinking and look at it as the perfect day to work on being faster on the bike.

There were 5 blocks for cardio and 5 blocks for the floor. The first and last blocks were 2 minutes, the second and fourth blocks were 3.5 minutes, and the third block was 5.5 minutes. For cardio, it was a run/row format. The first and last blocks were a .1 mile run (.4 on the bike) and then row until time was done. The second and fourth blocks were .2 miles (.8 on the bike) and then row until time was done. And the third block was .3 miles (1.2 on the bike) and then row until the block was done. I was able to get through the bike work pretty quickly and had a decent amount of time on the rower each block. But I was never on the rower more than 2.5 minutes which was nice. I felt pretty great about my biking speed and my rowing for all of the blocks and also felt like I had worked harder on the bike than I would have on the treadmill.

The floor blocks were the same amount of time as the cardio blocks. The first and fifth blocks had push-ups and sit-ups, the second and fourth blocks had tricep extensions with weights and chest presses with weights, and the third block had tricep extensions on the straps, plank shoulder touches, and toe touch sit-ups. I tried to not go too quickly with the exercises so I could keep my form the best I could, so I didn’t do too many rounds each block. But that’s ok.

Overall, I’m happy with how my feelings about the bike were at the end of this past week. I was looking at it more positively and started to think of ideas of challenges for 2019 for the bike (more on that soon). I’ve got just today’s workout left for 2018 and then it’s time to start working on my 2019 fitness goals!

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