Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Getting Strong: Base Phase

About a month ago (3.5 months post baby) it became clear to me that those last 7 lbs and my long-lost muscle tone weren't going to take care of themselves... at least not with running alone. So, when Charlotte of Great Fitness Experiment wrote of her group's results weight training w/ Rachel Cosgrove's Female Body Breakthrough* routines, I decided to give it a go.

I got myself the PC Kindle version of Cosgrove's book (yikes, I've crossed into the forbidden e-book realm. Somewhere, a library quietly weeps) and had a look.
It's an actual book, too!

At first glance, the routines seemed very doable. More importantly, they are all full body workouts and only take about one hour (3x a week)... very manageable. Upon closer inspection, I realized that I would have trouble meeting all of her "unbreakable" rules. Here's a summary:
Cosgrove's Rules

Unbreakable Rule #1. You do not miss a weight-lifting workout (3 days a week). - I can handle this one.

Unbreakable Rule #2: You must drink a post-workout shake within 15 minutes of finishing your weight-lifting workout. - Not my favorite but, again, I can make this work. When I don't have time to make a protein shake right after getting home (hungry baby calls, etc) I found a pre-made protein shake at Trader Joe's that I like.

Other Suggestions
Rule #1: Lift as heavy as good form will allow. Okay by me, I liked lifting heavy back in my sprinting days. Though, I could do without the massive quads again, it was hard to find pants that fit! Fortunately, Cosgrove's routines call for enough repetitions that massive muscle building isn't in the cards.

Rule #2: Eat 5-6 small meals a day, each containing a fat and a protein. I tried this the last month, I really did. I even kept a detailed food journal of each meal. It The most difficult part was the 'eat breakfast withing 15 min of waking up'. With the demands of taking care of baby girl this was almost impossible and stressed me out. Also, I prefer to feel full after eating, and 5-6 smaller meals never got me there. So, while I'll stick to her recommended meal composition, I'm going back to fewer, larger meals this month.

Rule #3: Eat clean 90% of the time, a few 'cheat' meals are allowed. This one I like. Dietary guidelines with the flexibility to indulge guilt-free every so often.

Rule #4: No running (or other cardio)! Instead, she allows for some metabolic circuits on non-lifting days and 1 cardio workout in the final phases of her plan. There is NO WAY I could handle this one. I don't run simply to get fit; running is my therapy. I recognize, however, Cosgrove's point that too much cardio forces your body to want to conserve its fat stores as reserves; counterproductive to the goal of changing body composition. So, this last month, I reduced the frequency and duration of my runs - only going 3 times a week and only for 3 or 4 miles. However, I miss the semi-long runs, and will be re-introducing 6-10 mile runs this month.

Base Phase Results: I'm not big on before/after pictures and body measurements, they stress me out. However, I can report that after this first month I've lost about 5 lbs and more-or-less look to be back in my pre-pregnancy condition (4.5 months post baby). My middle isn't quite there yet, but my arms and legs look better then pre-pregnancy. More importantly, I feel great and am really enjoying her varied routines. The first time I did her warm up (it's goofy, but works!) I felt exhausted, and I had not even gotten to the workout! Now, I finished my last base phase routine feeling great and ready for more. We'll see what next month, the 'Define Yourself' phase brings.

* I have no affiliation with Cosgrove and have not received anything for this review.

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