Wednesday, 28 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 28.

Cardio session again. Thirty minutes of hamster wheel peddling in order to go nowhere fast.

All I can say, is I'm so glad I've got Netflix. Alas, tonight I have very little to say at all. You're all familiar with cardio and its aims, so I'm not going to bore you with redundant information.

I will then leave you with Talking Heads, and 'We're On The Road To Nowhere'. Have a great evening, or day, depending where you are when you read this.

Until tomorrow, enjoy.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 27.

 Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads and Lower Back - that was tonight's session, finished off with 20 minutes on the Renpho. And guess what? It didn't kill my butt - I'm either getting used to it, or the seat is beginning to soften.

I've had my post-session smoothie: hemp protein, egg white protein, turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, cinnamon, MCT oil, collagen powder, creatine, organic bio yogurt, semi-skimmed milk, blue berries, strawberries, banana and a drizzle of organic honey. Oh, almost forgot, a new addition, half a teaspoon of Muringa powder.
Asides from the smoothie's rather dull, dark green appearance, it really does taste quite nice, but then I've also drank other types of 'green' smoothies containing Kale, Spinach and other such wonderful ingredients, less palatable, but chugged down nonetheless. So my own concoction is nectar by comparison.

The one thing I'm becoming very aware of during this challenge is my training times. I seem to have adapted to 2100hrs+ time slots, and my body responds quite nicely? So very curious. I think it might have something to do with my hospital work schedule, where I'm home by 1730hrs+, feeling peckish, need to unwind, sometimes need to take the dog for a walk, and just potch (part of my unwind process, so it would seem).
But once I'm at it, I'm away and full into the session. My only drawback is deciding what music to listen to via Spotify.

Talking of music, for tonight I give you The Four Tops, and their brilliant song, 'Reach Out (I'll Be There)' from 1967.

Enjoy, until next time.

Monday, 26 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 26.

Getting, oh so, very close now. Earlier finish tonight at 2126hrs. Time enough for a light salad, bath, and bed - once this is taken care of, naturally.

Tonight's session focused primarily on triceps and upper back, with a smidge of biceps and delts by default. No 'Hell Set', tonight, but the 4 x 20 Incline Dumbbell Press came close, as it was last-but-one exercise out of the complete seven. Several times my shoulders, biceps and triceps wobbled like jelly from fatigued and threatened to drop the weights.

Five sessions left until the end of this challenge. They can't come quick enough, if I'm honest. I have zero clue as to how I made the 2015 June Challenge. Obviously I was younger, fewer injuries, but still, I'm quietly envious of the 2015 me. Smug bastard.

Today's song is by one of my all time favourite bands, Queen, and 'Don't Stop Me Now'.

Enjoy, until next time.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 25.

Cardio day. Yay.

Yeah, I find it rather difficult to get excited, enthusiastic, eager or revved up to hop on to my nut-crusher of an exercise bike seat and crank out 30 minutes of fat burning hell. But I have, and now it's done and my legs are quietly tingling with blood gorged veins and capilliaries, and my butt is breathing a sigh of relief - and no, that's not a euphemism for farting. Shame on you!

So, today's 'Hell Set' was the entire 30 minutes of fat burning - on an empty stomach! Although I'm glad I've done it, as always. It's just the actual process I'm not so much in love with. Running I could cope with, as you had a cooling breeze, changing scenery, sometimes rain, varying terrain, sometimes seeing folks you knew and that lovely, calming settling of your heart, lungs and body into that rhythmic, almost hypnotic cadence of foot hitting ground.

Yup, I really do miss running.

So, before I wail into my computer screen about the injustice of this cruel, cruel world and 'woe is me!' (joking, obviously), I'll move on to the music for today.

I love The Stranglers, 'Golden Brown', so fitting for a Sunday summer afternoon. 

Enjoy, until next time.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 24.

 Keeping this one very short and sweet as I'm really in need of sleep. Apologies, but today was a heavy one at the clinic, and being up since 0430hrs courtesy of our old, deaf, partially-sighted and slightly senile dog, Darcy, I'm now running on fumes.

Hell Set - YES! We have a winner! In this evening's session, it was all about the arms. About two thirds through the session was a bicep curl into shoulder press (3 x 20). This one drained the strength out of arms and shoulders combined, almost to the point of wanting to drop my dumbbells. Not recommended. Seriously. Especially when barefoot.

And the musical offering for this evening? I give you David Bowie's brilliant theme song to the 1982 remake of the classic 1942 film, 'Cat People' - the remake starred a young and very beautiful Natassja Kinski. I recall taking an equally beautiful French exchange student by the name of Nadia, to watch this film at one of Cardiff city centre's cinemas. An amazing film for an amazing period in my life.

Enjoy, until next time.

Friday, 23 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 23.

Muscle strain. It really is a pain. But one you cannot afford to ignore and leave untreated. I should know, I've had several during the course of my life to date - note how I say 'to date'. I can't be sure I won't suffer another at some point in the future. No one can. Not unless they are genetically blessed, of course.

I've had my muscle strain (which in reality are tears within the muscle fibre, to a lesser or greater degree) treated, which, incidentally, is how I ended up becoming a Sports Massage Therapist, and trust me, it is agony. Seriously. My first tear was a calf strain in the distal portion of my gastroc, otherwise described as the superficial two-headed muscle of the rear portion of the lower leg in humans.

The above image is almost identical to my first calf tear, though mine was slightly lower and on the outer aspect of my calf. This injury ended my running as I knew it, and also my time serving with the Territorial Army (now known as the Army Reserves). The tear happened on a six mile training run one summer evening on drill night. It occurred half way through a six mile course, but I finished the six miles, but hobbled for the remaining half back to barracks.

There are three grades of tear: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3. The last grade requires surgical intervention. You really don't want one of those.

My most recent tear happened two years ago whilst test riding a motorcycle, stalling it and trying to prevent it dropping as it pitched over to the right. I put out my right leg and tore the hamstring. 

Mine was a Grade 2 in the Biceps Femoris of the right leg. I instantly knew it was torn - as you will too, should it happen to you (which I hope it doesn't). You experience a white-hot searing pain and an inability to move your limb as normal without causing further searing pain. Any pressure on it is excruciatingly painful. The image below is of my hamstring several days after the tear.
*NOTE: the two black dots are marks placed there by the ultrasound operator when they scanned the area, revealing a 2cm x 4cm tear.

Copyright ©. 2021 Mark Kelly
All Rights Reserved.

So if you 'strain' any muscle, and bruising like that shown above appears, you have TORN the muscle fibres. People have a toned down impression of a 'strain' due to the wording, usually thinking they've just over-stretched a muscle and that it'll be fine the next day. Don't fool yourself. ANY sign of bruising is a tear. The one in my photo is a Grade 2.

My reason for mentioning all this? Well, after my session this evening, I thought I'd try a gentle jog. I must have gone 50 - 100 metres when the hamstring started pulling. It's not good. Going from my running days in the T.A. (Territorial Army) of anything from a three mile to a fourteen mile run, reduced to a quarter-of-a-mile at best post calf tear, and now, thanks to my hamstring tear, reduced even further to, at very best, 100 metres. Sad. 

Will try another jog first thing tomorrow AM, but gentler, just to test the leg out after being rested and less fatigued. Mind you, any slower and I might as well walk.

Take care of those muscles. Listen to your body. It will alert you to any problems. Ignore those warnings at your peril, for to do so is risking the end of your training for the remainder of your life. Trust me, I know. I miss running so very much.

Your music for tonight comes from Orange Juice, and their 1983 aptly named hit, 'Rip It Up'.

Enjoy, until next time.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 22.

I'm tired. Really tired. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. All due to a multitude of things cascading together in a steady waterfall of circumstance. My one relief is that the day is now over and tomorrow is my rota day off. Short lived, though, as I have people to see at the clinic in the afternoon, the upside - the weather is going to be dry, sunny and perfect for a motorbike ride into work.

This evening's session was a bit in reverse. A mix of legs, core and upper back, finishing off with a twenty minute fat burning ride on the exercise bike. I seriously felt like stopping within the first five minutes. Fatigue screamed at me from my legs, my brain was complaining about the humid temperature, and that bloody bike seat was a literal pain in the arse. So I put my head down, focused on my breathing, pictured my legs flowing with energy and pushed through, finishing with a strong 98.8% performance rating. Yes, the Renpho app does that, and compares your performance to other Renpho riders tackling the same riding mode as yourself.

No 'Hell Set' to speak of, but there is one honourable mention - Hip Raise with Knee Squeeze. The knee squeeze comes into play with a cushion, exercise pad or something equally squishy and bulky to grip between your knees. This one was a burner for lower erector muscles, hip flexors, glutes, hams and adductors. This one I did 4 x 10 reps.

My cold bath is running as I type, and I'm already gasping for another glass of water, so it's music time again. Tonight I give you John Hopkins and the beautifully relaxing, 'Abandon Window', taken from his album, 'Immunity' (oh, the irony).
I highly recommend listening to this track on a good set of headphones, relaxed, and in the dark. Thank me later.

Enjoy, until next time.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

July Challenge ~ Day 21.

Ten more days / sessions to go. Funny how a month can be both slow and quick at the same time? Hopefully you'll understand what I'm getting at.

So today was cardio day, spiced up with a little floor work prior in the form of a push up sequence. Chest and shoulders felt a little stiff, but quickly smoothed out after the first twenty push ups.

I now have to prepare for my late shift at the hospital, so a soak in a cool bath is next on my list of 'to do', so I'll make this a short posting and get to today's music.

I present to you Hiatus, and a track entitled, 'River' taken from the album: Parklands, and features the lovely vocals of Shura

Enjoy, until next time.