Sunday, January 15, 2012

Training while traveling

I am visiting my father; my sister, Karen, and brother, Derek are with me. Friday I went into work, left at 11:30 to meet Roy to train shoulders, then off we go on a three and a half hour drive south. It would only take three hours but we stopped in King City for taco's.

The top was down, and poor sis got the back seat, although she was a trooper and didn't ask to put up the top for quite some time. She missed all the music and the conversation. (Email readers will need to navigate directly to the blog to view the video below).

Before heading off to bed Friday my dad says "Are you training in the morning?" and I think this is significant, I mean how many people use the word "training" besides people like me? Ha ha! dad knows me well, he doesn't say "working out" cause that's not what I do.

"Yes indeed I am!" Off I go to sleep on the floor in the office. There are two couches in the living room and I can have one, but I go to bed much earlier than everyone else so this seems like the best idea.

I sleep fine but wake up with a headache, very unusual for me, but I have set my alarm and am up at 6:00, the gym there opens at 7:00 and is 13 miles away.

It's quad day, it will be tough since I have a headache but I am hoping I will forget about it soon.

I walk in, the guy at the desk greets me like he knows me and says "Hey how's it going? Have a good workout!" so I walk past and don't bother to pay or fill out a waiver. Either he recognizes me or I just look like I belong here.

I warm up on the treadmill and think about what I shall do. They have some equipment here that my gym does not so I want to use it. I like this gym, I imagine that this is what a prison gym would be like. 

I have actually been in the yard of San Quentin before, this is a high security prison in California. I was subpoenaed to show and testify against an inmate and since he was so dangerous they made me come to him instead of letting him come to me.  They told me "don't wear blue and don't run under any circumstances." I remember, after I was told to take off my shoes, and received a full body pat down that I had to walk across the prison yard, unescorted while the men walked all around me. Now I know why I couldn't wear blue, they all had on faded blue shirts. I was frightened and just looked straight ahead, walking slowly, looking at the door across the yard which only seemed to get farther away even though I walked closer and closer.

This gym reminds me of that, although I am not frightened or uncomfortable, because it's all men and they all wear wife beaters, white or black. Many wear hoodies, it's cold in here and big, there is no heat as it would cost way too much to heat the place. The men move slowly through the huge gym, almost in a trance. Most only train upper body, they are concerned with how they look in their tank tops, they have big puffed out chests, muscular arms, and thin, skinny legs.

I started with front squats, every quad day will have squats. The headache made it difficult, I couldn't go real heavy. I warmed up then did 5 sets of 10 with 95 pounds. I then used the hack squat, I love this and wish we had one but we don't. Since I have only used a hack squat a few times I have no basis for comparison, but I threw 2 big plates on each side and went as low as I could. 5 sets of 10. Then the leg press, again, I knew I could do more but the head got in the way. I had only 3 plates on each side, let's see...that is only 270 pounds, but add the actual machine and it's a bit more. Finally a leg extension machine with weight stacks for each leg, this is hard to master and I like it. I had 50 pounds on each side, so it's like uni-lateral raises with 50 pounds I suppose.

One hour, 15 minutes and the headache has prevented me from going as heavy as I would like, but it was still good. There was no space for me to do my conditioning as a "body pump" class was starting, and now in were coming the women. I used the step mill for my cardio. 

I showered, dressed and drove back in search of coffee. 

When I got home at about 9:15, everyone was up waiting for me, they were hungry. They all offered their solutions for my headache. K.K. (Karen) offered Advil, Dude (Derek) showed me an acupressure technique to relieve the pain. He took my left hand and gently squeezed the fleshy area between my thumb and first finger, I yelped in pain. "Yes he says, you have a bad headache." And we start laughing, "Um, that's my hand, not my head you squeezed." 

He explains that if you have a headache, you squeeze this area and gently massage until the headache goes away. I start massaging.

Dad tells me to sit back and relax and tell him about the headache, where is it, what color is it, how does it feel. I describe it as a pomello, red and encompassing the entire back of my head. 

More coffee, breakfast and soon my headache is gone. I don't know what made it go away though, time; Advil; massage; or imagery.

Keep this in mind when embarking on a training program. If you do too much, or switch programs too soon or often, you may never know what exactly was effective. Stick to a program long enough to be able to determine if it is successful.