Spots, Squats and Smiles by Dani Needham
Dani here reporting on week 4 and it's been so exciting to be fully back in the gym, not only to be lifting weights again but also to see my members again! Taking a couple of weeks out of work meant I hadn’t had the usual ‘face-time’ in the Fitness Club I manage for ages. I used to train in the middle of the day when the gym was quietest, but I’ve changed that now to training in peak periods in the evening so that I can have a good old chat with our members and friends, answer any questions and even provide a spot if needed! I feel incredibly grateful to be in a position where going to work actually adds to my health and my happiness, as well as my bank account!
In the past two weeks I have gently increased my workouts to three weightlifting sessions a week plus boxing on a weekend. I have rewritten my strength training programme to accommodate this settling in period, as it would be mad to expect to be able to pick up where I left off! I must admit though, it is hard not to get disheartened when I’m sweating hard and lifting weights that are only half as heavy as my previous warm up weights. But it is often said that it’s far easier to rebuild muscle that you once had than to build it for the first time, so I’m looking forward to seeing if there’s any truth in this. For reference, it took me roughly two years to take my squats from 60kg to 120kg. In my last workout, I gradually increased weight to reach a final set of 8 squats at 60kg. My legs were on fire! I don’t expect to be hauling 120kg next week, but to be able to squat 120kg for a couple of reps sometime early next year would make me happy!
I’m currently running at a pace that is keeping me hungry; I’m itching to be back in the gym five times a week again, and lifting serious weights with the vision of competing once more. I’m also aware of the importance of recovery and making sure I don’t over-do it this time. I can feel a real push-pull effect of wanting to ‘up my game’ and also needing to chill out a bit! I’m incredibly competitive, mostly with myself. The beauty of that is knowing my opponent’s weaknesses so well! I know where previous Dani went wrong – she was hard on herself and had no time for failure. This Dani is a few weeks older and wiser, and is learning to love herself with all her flaws and shortcomings! So whether I squat 120kg or 20kg next year, I’ll be doing it with a smile on my face.
Ethan here fitfam! It's become a bit of a fitness cliche but "abs really are made in the kitchen". What does this mean? It means that no matter how many crunches or sit-ups you do, in order for your abdominal muscles to show through, you need to reduce the layer of fat that covers them up. To do this, you need to think carefully about your nutrition to ensure you are eating to your goals. Not everyone prioritises abs of course. If you want to bulk up (gain weight and muscle), then you'll need a different meal plan.
I've decided to write about Nutrition at length in next week's update because there's lots to cover and we wanted to share Dani's update this week. Here's a photo below though, of the type of thing I've been eating. This week I've been loving paprika infused chicken, cous-cous and broccoli. All organic of course! We also recently wrote a blog specifically about FAT which you might be interested to read.
Thanks for tuning in and reading about Dani and Ethan's week 4! More to come next week as they approach the home-straight!