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Float On Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Posted by Grace in fit addiction.
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The theme of the gym lately seems to be muscle confusion, which keeps you from adapting to a certain way of working out, or from adapting to certain exercises, so that you are getting results at a constant rate instead of plateauing between workout changes.

After doing some reading, it seems interesting and perhaps plausible. For example, in running, because thats the area I know the most about: right when you make the decision to take up running and start, it is difficult stuff. You may only be going a short distance, you’re not fast, and you’re tired by the end of it. Your body gradually gets used to the process; you can go further, faster, and don’t get as winded and tired doing it. Doing the same thing repeatedly acclimatizes your body to the process of doing it, and it doesn’t feel as taxed in the process. Your muscles can languish in the knowledge that sufficient oxygen is coming, enough energy is present, and that lactic acid buildup (hello cramps) is unlikely to be a big factor. Just another beautiful day in the life.

Sure, it is still a good workout. It definitely beats being sedentary, and running has its Zen like mindset, but your body learns to not expend as much energy as it did before, because we are efficiency machines.

The Resident Italian has applied this to the gym. Mostly for himself, as it seems to be geared towards gain in size and strength, which is what he is looking for. Instead of reaching those plateaus where you don’t see the muscle you’re looking to, you get your slow but sure up and up. Now, I’m not looking to be the girl with the huge pipes, thats for sure, I’m just looking to get a little stronger, tone, and stay healthy. Obviously, though, having had The Resident Italian appoint himself as my training guru, some of the ideas are diffusing over.

Some of the really tight schedule rules have been made more malleable, as instinctive training is part of the idea. Maybe today was supposed to be a arms and back day, but that happy-gym-hurt is kinda lingering. So why not just do cardio? Yes, there are the good points to scheduled plans, making sure you don’t over strengthen certain groups while ignoring others which creates issues, but if sometimes your body is saying “no,” why not listen?

But what really is interesting me, is all of the new different ideas that have come about. On any occasion where cardio came up, I would immediately turn to running because it’s what I’m good at and I enjoy it. The issue there is that while it is still cardio, it isn’t optimizing the effects to be had, because I’m so used to doing it. Today we hit the pool on campus and went swimming.

I swam competitively for a while before knee injuries (from other sports) started to pile up. I’m not shabby at swimming. But it isn’t something I do nearly as often as I would like, and I was surprised just how tired I got and how quickly it came up on me. I didn’t go as long or as fast as I used to be able to easily, but this was harder because the muscles aren’t used to it anymore.

I think I’m going to have to spend more time in the pool. I was faster than The Resident Italian was though, but I suppose that would have to do with being a lot smaller, lighter, and not having to carry all of that muscle with me.

Song of the Day: Float On – Modest Mouse

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