I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated the last few weeks about my current plateau. Not my weight loss targets since that is going great, but the other half of the training program – the strength training program. I’ve made little progress on this front since mid-summer, and in some areas I feel like I am regressing, especially on the upper body workouts.
- Chest Press is down a few pounds and struggling to maintain that even
- Shoulder Press has been out of rotation since the neck pain a few weeks ago that hasn’t fully healed either and was stuck before that.
- Pull-up/Chin-Up – continue to reduce assistance but more or less in-line with weight loss, so effective weight is still around 190-195.
- Rear row – minor progress
- Leg Press – only area with good progress, I presume since cardio helps too
- Calf Extension – similar to leg press.
- 100 Push Up Challenge – not feeling the progress week on week as I am with the crunches – exactly opposite as I thought I would feel on Day 1.
- A laundry list of odd little things that make me feel like I’m pushing it close to injury (elbow sometimes, shoulders are often quite stiff in the morning all the time now, etc).
Initially I tied this to my cardio craze during the job transition, but since then, the issues remain. I always knew that strong weight loss and strength training are difficult to achieve at the same time (strength training is difficult on a reduced calorie diet since building muscle requires energy). I am deeply aware that my current fitness program is chock full of many compromises that make it far from ideal. I had no illusions that I had hit upon a secret formula that would evade these truths.
But … I thought I would get further before getting stuck. I also am concerned the weights and the push-ups are counter-productive and part of the problem – muscle needs rest time to grow. Between weight nights and push-up nights and interim progress tests, the chest is lucky to get 1 day a week off. (Crunches aren’t a problem – the current fitness program skips the abs). Making it all seem pointless on some nights like Week 4, Day 2 last week where I considered chucking the whole thing and just going cardio til I get down in weight.
On the other hand, I’m also afraid to muck with the overall program – it has worked amazingly well on the weight loss front, so much better than I thought possible and so easily in some ways and I want that to continue. The deep muscle energy depletion I get from the workouts makes the cardio that much more effective I think.
Rock, hard place, frustration! Maybe a little primal screaming will help.