Death by Barlow

Death by Barlow

This week marks my second week of training back at the gym after a family holiday in Portugal, where I took the opportunity to relax and enjoy the sun rather than worrying too much about my programme.

Whilst the hotel had a fully equipped gym, I resisted the urge to use it – figuring that a break wouldn’t do me massive harm given how hard I’d been pushing myself before hand – and there was plenty of food and beer to be enjoyed. Isn’t that what an All Inclusive holiday is for?

At the back of mind however was the thought that I didn’t want to undo all the hard work I’d put in since kicking off my new regime back in September, so whilst I made sure I enjoyed myself, I also didn’t go over the top as I would probably have done in the past.

Returning home to the news that I’d been a nominated finalist in one of the categories in the latest awards night only gave me further incentive to get right back into my training, which is exactly what I did last week. Usually I’ll try and get in seven sessions a week, but other commitments meant easing myself back in with four instead.

I could certainly feel the fact I’d not trained for a week but headed into week two after the break focused on really pushing myself to start getting back into the shape I was in before going away.

Monday provides a hard start to the week with Jaide’s Spartan session – the toughest class at the gym and one where there is no room for slackers.

On paper, the workout this week appeared to be quite a simple and straightforward one. Working with a partner, complete 10 band rows, 10 band curls and 10 press-ups to score a point whilst your partner holds a 10kg weight above their head. Then swap places and continue for 35 minutes.

The reality however is that what seems to be easy when you push out the first few sets gets steadily harder as fatigue kicks in. Your arms ache more with every press-up and the 10kg weight seems to get that little bit heavier – but you know that you have to keep pushing to really feel the benefit.

Breaking the 50 barrier was a job well done and sets a decent target to aim for next time around. The only frustration came from the fact that a combination of sweaty forearms (nice I know) and the fake grass surface in the gym meant I found myself sliding forwards when completing the plank finisher and didn’t hit the three minute target; a figure I know I can beat.

Tuesday is set aside for boxing with Tom, and a session that provides one of the best indicators for me personally of how far I’ve come. It was boxing that was the first of the group sessions I did, and I know that I can push myself a lot more now than I could do back then. On that first session, I felt like I could die after the warm-up whereas now, I know that I can really push myself all the way to the finisher at the end.

Again working with a partner, Tom’s workout really pushes you to work as hard as you can with a mixture of combination work, circuits and bag work to consider. Bearing in mind the work-out that the arms had taken on Monday night, it was hard work from the very start but you just have to keep pushing even when you feel like giving up.

No pain, no gain as the saying goes.

It was perhaps with a feeling of dread then that Ste’s ‘Wicked Wednesday’ workout was sitting on the board when we turned up for MAST – or Modified Athletic Strength Training.

The two 16 minute long workouts were once again focused on the upper body and having completed the circuit – with a minute on each exercise before moving on the next – I genuinely felt like my arms had nothing left to give.

However, you have to keep pushing so – teaming up with a partner – there were then 15 rounds completed of the Magic 100 that again pushed the arms to breaking point.

It’s weeks like this where you know you’ve got the gym bug because tonight, I’ll be back there again for Calisthenics – which will once again be focused on the upper body. It would be easy to decide to sack it off and just not bother but that attitude isn’t what will give me the end results.

There’s a break from the routine on Friday because of a Beavers awards night so I know there is a rest coming but it’s safe to say that from this week onwards, I’m right back into the training routine.

Even if I feel like the Barlow family have tried to kill me in the process…