I’m just at the end of almost a fortnight off heavy training. This has been down to a couple of factors but mainly fatigue and lack of motivation. The fatigue has taken me by surprise as I’d spent three months preparing for the start of The Bear Routine which was obviously not enough! Saying that however, I think that the fatigue I’ve felt has been as much about my mental approach to this and it may well be that I expected to deal with the excercise load more easily than I have as a result of having put the preparation in beforehand.
The strength building sessions, whilst demanding, haven’t caused me too many problems. I’ve been able to maintain a steady progression adding more weight to my Front Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press totals every week and I’ve seen a real improvement in my performance and I’ve started to see changes to my body shape as a result. It has been the Work Capacity Builders that have led to feelings of anxiety and dread as the workout time approaches!
The Work Capacity Builders in this routine are a set of 20 repetitions of a two hand kettlebell swing, thirty seconds of rest, 20 repetitions each arm of a kettlebell clean folllowed by another thirty seconds of rest and finishing with 20 repetitions each arm of kettlebell swing cleans followed by sixty seconds of rest. As you can probably see this is a demanding set and the aim is to complete sixteen of these sets, for me however it has been to complete to failure as I haven’t managed to get past twelve sets yet, at the end of which I have been a total wreck.
This is where I have to give every credit to Stan Pike who devised this routine, aged fifty in preparation for a John O’Groats to Lands End cycle. Just to be able top come up with such a demanding routine is one thing, to be able to maintain it is something else.
The situation arose a couple of weeks ago where I noticed that I was dreading the days that I’d planned to do the Work Capacity Builder sessions and on a couple of occasions I noted that I’d missed a session due to ‘work’ or ‘being tired’ or some other excuse. It was at this point that I realised that I was just tired and needed to rest and have a few days of recovery to get myself back to a point where I could approach the training with a refreshed and more positive outlook. This has taken just over a week during which I’ve just rested, completed a few weights sessions and done some cycling, running and swimming to keep moving and now I’m back to a frame of mind where I can get back to the Bear Routine proper.
Initially I was disappointed in having to step away from the routine for some rest but I’ve come to realise that I needed to spend some time to recover properly to avoid injury and to make the most of the training benefits. I’m not on any particular timescale with my training, nor am I training for any specific goal other than to improve my strength and fitness. Indeed, completing the fourteen week Bear Routine was goal enough and the fact that this will now be a sixteen week routine isn’t a major issue for me personally.
So I’m back to the Work Capacity Builders this afternoon and whilst I can’t say that I’m exactly looking forward to it I’m approaching it without any anxiety and with renewed and improved focus. I’ll keep the updates regular and I’m confident that the improvvement will continue.
All the best!