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Hitting the Wall

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:05 PM filed under Exercise & Fitness postings
Fitness bootcamp week three: or, hitting the wall and how to deal with it.

This has been by far the most physically intense time I've had since two-a-days in high school. Working a million doubles at the restaurant, moving stuff up and down three flights of stairs, nothing I can think of in recent memory has left me as exhausted as this four-day-a-week bootcamp. I definitely feel like I'm getting stronger, and I've noticeably lost weight. (Side note: I haven't been weighing myself, and I didn't want to start right before the bootcamp. The scale is depressing, and I want to look and feel better without necessarily weighing it in pounds, though I might bite the bullet after I'm done with next week. I find it to be very anti-motivational to see how much weight I've gained. When I can tell that I'm healthier, I think I probably should know and track with pounds to a certain extent, but I want to rely on other factors to understand my fitness level as well. I'm not fighting the scale; I'm improving myself.)

The last few days have been brutal. I don't think the bootcamp is actually any more strenuous than it was at the beginning. We've been building on time, reps, and all that. I feel like I *should* be able to do it. Dig deep, and all that. But when I do 'dig deep', it's like there's nothing there. My body is like a car doing the last few sputters before it runs out of gas. Not a good feeling in a car, and not a good feeling for a body.

I think a few things are contributing to this. 1. I have a hard time maintaining a consistent schedule. Some days I work early. Some days I work late. Some days I work early AND late. Not getting enough and/or consistent sleep must definitely be part of it. 2. I get discouraged fairly easily. All this work, all this effort, and I start to wonder, is it really worth it? Am I getting any stronger, leaner, faster, healthier? Is this going to last beyond the four weeks that I do now? How long until I just backslide again? All these questions seem to crop up right at the hardest points, and pushing any further just seems impossible or useless or something. Motivation from the instructor helps, but there are a lot of people in the group who also need motivation, and I don't want to be a baby about things. Being last and watching everyone able to do it doesn't make it better for me. 3. Eating. I'm guessing nutrition has something to do with it. I've been drinking a lot of water, but I'm not exactly sure how to feed my body to get through this. I've been trying to make sure I get in complex carbs in the evening since it's an early workout, and I've been trying to finish the workout and day with plenty of protein for recovery. Before the workout, I try to get in a small something like a banana, yogurt, or nutrigrain bar to get a little sugar going, but I don't want to eat too much because I know I'll throw up. No bueno. This definitely helps; one day I woke up late and had to run out without eating. That day was impossibly difficult. Something is better than nothing. I just don't know what the best something is.

Apparently, this is not just me or in my head. I've talked to a few of the repeat campers, and they say the third week is always the toughest. After that, they say it's still tough but much better. We'll see. Do you have any suggestions for getting over the hump?

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