Muscle confusion is a popular trend in training based on the principle that your body adapts very quickly to stress. If you do the same exercise over and over, your body learns to perform it more efficiently, and it has less and less of an effect on your growth. Eventually, you hit the dreaded "plateau" where you're doing everything right - eating clean, running long, sleeping deep, lifting heavy - but you don't lose weight, you don't get any faster, and you can't pull that new, heavier dead lift. You're stuck. How to get unstuck? Try cross training.
That's what they tell me, anyway.
|Chest Press machine|
|Dormont Pool, Dormont PA|
|Bemus Point on Lake Chautauqua, NY|
I got to the pool about an hour before class. I took my shiny new suit and goggles out of my bag and padded naked to the shower. Even though the pool is chlorinated enough to take coffee stains out of a white shirt, it just seems like common courtesy to me to rinse off before jumping in. I pulled my trunks on and tightened the drawstring, then put the black goggle thingies over my forehead like I'd seen them do in the Olympics. I realized that I had never worn these things in my life, and wondered how stupid and bug-eyed I looked. Then came the few steps to the door, and out onto the tile pool deck.
|Fat Man Swimming|
I tried out all the strokes I learned as a kid. The breast stroke was always my favorite. I swam it smoothly and slowly, pleased with the way my body slid through the water. The elementary backstroke was probably the second one that my dad taught me, and I always liked it because you could see the sky while you swam. The side-stroke and the front and back crawl strokes were not so successful. They all require a degree of shoulder rotation that I just don't have anymore. So I stuck with the wide, underwater arm strokes. Nobody is going to confuse me with a competitive swimmer, but I do go forward instead of downward, so that's a plus. As I grew more comfortable in the water, I made my strokes a little longer, pulled the water a little harder. I could feel my sides and back working to move me along. Before I knew it, I had been swimming for 20 minutes. My heart is strong, my breath was even, and my muscles felt energized. I popped into the sauna for a couple minutes, then went back to the locker room. After spinning the water out of my suit at the extractor, I rinsed some of the chlorine off in the shower and padded back to my locker. How about that? I just went swimming!
I think it's a great way to train between runs. Swimming is the lowest impact exercise I can imagine, and there's no question that it's a full body workout. You don't sweat. You don't get blisters. I won't say I enjoy it as much as a run in the woods, but I do like the sound of the water as I move along through it. It's good to be back in the water in a body that can actually move through it without gasping for air.
Tonight, I'm doing the Midsummer Night's Run 5K downtown. I'll be running with some friends, which will be a new experience for me. I'm usually a loner. The forecast is for fairly mild temperatures today, which means less than 100 degrees lately. It should be pretty pleasant by the time the gun fires at 8:30. Mrs P will be there, and Mum is going to see me run for the first time... first time ever, I think. I don't usually think about spectators when I run, but knowing she'll be there cheering me on makes this one kind of special. Not going for any PR tonight. Just a nice run with some nice folks.
|Click the poster for info and tickets|