Hi, I’m Matt. Welcome to Steady Beats: a newsletter about chasing the good life at midlife: be healthy, keep growing, and listen to 80s music.
Experiment: Reducing weekly strength training sessions (Week 3 of 12)
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote I wasn’t sure 3 upper-body strength training sessions were optimal anymore. I was feeling fatigued, and making no strength progress.
Thus a 12-week experiment was born. Instead of working upper body Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, I shifted to Tuesdays and Fridays only.
Couple of things I’m watching for:
Do I feel better — less soreness and fatigue?
Can I make some gains with just two (hard) sessions per week?
In Week Two, something interesting happened during the Tuesday morning session:
See all the green?
That’s additional reps performed over prior week. Now, that’s not Gainz (muscle growth) but a sign my muscles were fatigued and the rest helped. In theory, the ability to perform more reps (and increase weight) should lead to strength gains over time.
In Week Three, it was time to bump up the weight on some Tuesday exercises:
Also saw some rep increases during my Friday workout in Week Three:
Encouraging results so far.
Will the ability to work harder across two sessions per week lead to strength gains? That’s the next question to answer.
Running far and slow
I had to call out some of my own BS.
I’m considering signing up for a half-marathon later this year. I assumed I could simply show up and run it without any change to my normal routine (running 5-6 miles 3X per week, and 6-8 miles 1X per week).
Saturday morning was beautiful, so I laced up my shoes and tested my assumption—to call out my own BS.
Except it wasn’t BS.
The last couple of miles were rough, and I certainly didn’t break any land speed records.
Yes, I run slow. But I finished.
Some lessons learned from this experiment:
Test your own BS. Recognizing and challenging our own BS is a little scary, but mostly empowering.
Break big projects down into small milestones. Rather than thinking “13.1 miles” non-stop, I created small wins by saying to myself, “Get to that stoplight,” “get to that school,” etc. Creating mini-wins within the longer journey created small energy boosts.
Pain is often temporary. The first 1.5 miles, my right ankle was stiff and aching. I didn’t think I’d finish. By the third mile it was loose and pain-free. Disclaimer: there’s a big difference between soreness and sharp pain. Know the difference.
Rest, recharge, keep going. In the late stages, I allowed myself to take a couple of short breathers upon reaching one of those mini-milestones. They helped a lot.
Run fasted. Fasted cardio may have other benefits, but on this day the main benefit was when I felt nauseous, I had nothing to offer the Gods of the Technicolor Yawn. The feeling passed without incident.
Run your own race. I ran slow. But it was my race. And I finished it.
Listening to 80s music makes hard things easier. Huey Lewis & The News, Steve Perry, Glenn Frey and others kept things moving.
As always, fitness is paradoxically about both consistency and trying new things. We never have it all figured out. That’s part of the fun.
PS: Today, Sunday, was a rest day. I’m in this for longevity and health span, not to destroy my body by overworking it. Rest.
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
Can the blues be fun?
The first single off “Too Low for Zero,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” peaked at #4 in the US in 1983, showing Elton John had no plans to let up on his 1970s hits parade.
This is my favorite Elton John song.
Part of the reason is the song’s simple premise and lyrics, centered around the bummer feeling of being separated from someone you love.
But more than ever, I simply love you
More than I love life itself
Another reason is Elton’s rolling piano presence throughout. And a third reason is the harmonica, played by some guy named Stevie Wonder, who also wrote the harmony for the chorus.
All of that together results in a fun song about the blues.
Oh, and the song’s title? Lifted from a Marilyn Monroe quote.
Thank you for reading.
Let’s keep the Steady Beats going. 💚
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Well done on the spontaneous half marathon! Not bad at all for no dedicated running prep 💪🏼
Your detailed workout tracking reminds me of Tim Ferriss. I need to get back on that!