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The 10 Week Itch

The 10 Week Itch


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Ever notice that when you begin a new competition season 14-16 weeks out, you seem to hit an energy rut 3-4 weeks in? Especially if your training begins in the gloom and gray of winter, it can be tough to muddle through.

So, first may I say congrats if you are choosing to compete for the first time. Don't let this article be a discouragement to you, let it be the light and the end of a rugged and long tunnel. You are going to experience highs and lows, both mental and physical. This will be my third season and I am still learning and probably will always be.

Much like any other workout plan you may strive to complete, there will be times it feels like you can climb no higher, push no further, and generally feel like you are stuck in the mud. This especially rings true for me in the drab months before spring. You are doing your best to stick to a clean regimen both of food and fitness and suddenly you are getting no where. You weight either goes up a tad or stays the same. You find yourself a little (or a lot) hungrier at odd times. You start thinking to yourself, "How much more training can be done in one day???". Try not to get frustrated, it happens to us all. Your body and your brain are trying to fill you in on a secret, you need to listen!

Go ahead and allow a few extra calories from the proper food sources. An extra egg in the morning, a few ounces more chicken, whatever it may be. Just make the smarter choice. It is a genetic fact that our bodies are predestined to crave more carbs during the winter months because we used to hunker down and ride out a desolate winter back in ye ole days. An extra here an there of the right stuff along with Vitamin D3 and B6 will help. Do the best you can to be around natural light. You can even get special light bulbs for just this reason. Every little bit helps. Go to bed at the same time and get proper rest and above all, if you begin to dread your workouts around your 9th-10th week out, listen to yourself!

Whether you have planned your lifting routines or a trainer has done it for you, be very aware when the body begins to revolt. Now, in saying this I do not mean if you are sore, quit! A little of the right pain is a necessary evil in the lifestyle and for the most part, there is no way around it. However, if soreness lasts for days, your sleep gets irregular, and even if your skin doesn't have the same glow, pay attention. You or your trainer needs to tweak something. I have found you may even be able to keep the same routine, but change the when or the how you do it. Time of day matters to your own personal equilibrium. I was always a morning workout junkie and would fit in the extra lifts at night. My schedule does not allow for such things this year. I have only after 5pm Monday-Saturday. This took some getting used to. After about a month, I got the opportunity to work out at my old 5:30am time. My heart rate was down, I couldn't pull out the same amount of reps, nor could I maintain anywhere near the same intensity. Funny how the human body can adapt!

The long and the short of it is this. Pay attention to those lows. You may feel restless but still overtired. Watch out for depression or bouts of anxiety. Don't let anything break you. Talk to those around you that support your choices and make small adjustments. Those incline flyes are much easier when you WANT to do them, huh? Everyone will take one or two steps back at some point, we are all human, after all. Just remember to take ten steps forward on the StairMaster to make up for it. Keep smiling, keep breathing, keep sweating and


Author: Jen Fleck

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