Monday again – it appears so quickly!
The marathon training is going, er, poorly. I’m only just able to return to light training and as I’m away for 3 days next week, I can’t even hit the gym every day to do something. Frustrating doesn’t even come close to covering how I feel at the moment.
On the positive side, I have been able to resume the Body Pump class at the gym, and I’ve been going to Body Balance too, which has been blissful.
Before all this injury drama, however, and before Christmas, as was my original goal, I did hit a target I’m incredibly proud of.
Yep. On my own, in the ‘boys’ weights section, three sets of six squats.
I’d like to claim the above is the bar, but that in total would only be about 70kg. I admit, I did take a picture and send it to my trainer and nearly cried. It was one of my big challenges for 2014 and whilst the squats weren’t all the way down, I bloody well did them.
Really tempted to aim for 200kg this year. But that would be crazy, right?
Anyway, none of these weights would be possible without protein. During heavy exercise your muscles stretch and often tear on a microscopic level. Now, don’t panic, this kind of tear is good – not the big kind of tear that leaves you in pain and injured. In simplistic terms, this is how your body builds itself. You exercise and create the stretch and microtears, the tears tell your body that it needs to be stronger and repair, it uses protein to repair. It’s what causes those aches and pains, or even the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) that can kick in the next day.
So protein is vital. Good sources of protein can be found in fish, dairy, meat and soy for example, but these can take a little longer to digest than a protein shake. These liquid sources of protein are quick and easy to prepare, easy to digest and hit the sweet spot – for optimum benefit it should be consumed within 35 minutes of exercise.
Decibel offer a number of supplements – and some of these are available in sachets to try. I selected the Pre-Workout, the Water Whey, and the Whey Isolate.
My normal routine when it comes to supplements is often a protein shake once I’m up and awake, then a second after my training session. I don’t normally take a pre-workout, but was curious to try it, as I see so many others use them in the gym.
The Pre-workout is intended to give you a boost – a good kick to get you going and to help you push yourself that little bit further. It has a whopping 400mg of caffeine (a can of Diet Coke has 42mg) so is not for the faint hearted (or those sensitive to caffeine). In addition there are a selection of vitamins, and minerals, as well as a whole array of additional trademarked additions to boost your performance, muscle gain, fat loss and strength.
Now, I can’t give you a medical breakdown of it’s prowess, only anecdotally what it was like to use it. My (rather) limited medical knowledge would suggest that there are elements there to boost your concentration, your body temperature, muscle repair and stamina.
Taste wise? In truth, you’re not drinking it for taste, but I found a whole sachet difficult to finish both taste wise and strength wise. I love my caffeine but would agree with the instructions that building up is a good idea. 400mg was a level my body would have struggled with, especially trying to consume it 45 minutes before my workout. I managed half, then switched back to water.
Physically, the difference was marked. My reps were stronger, I could do more, go that little bit heavier. I was also impressed that it’s not full of sugar. A lot of those I’ve looked into previously would spike my sugar levels and the drop afterwards would be uncomfortable and certainly isn’t good for you.
Once my sets were finished, I hit the Protein Water. 97% whey, one of the highest I’ve come across, but light, easily digestible and, like the Pre-Workout, my sachet came in cola flavour.
I was very impressed. This is light, it doesn’t clump like a lot of heavier whey proteins and goes down easy. No sign of lumps in the shaker, no gagging over undissolved claggy bits and no stomach cramps because it’s too heavy to digest.
Finally, and on a separate occasion, I tried the Whey Isolate. Again, this is 97% pure whey and yes, I was seduced by the flavour. Dark chocolate.
Again, this blended beautifully, but was a bit sweeter and not quite as light as it’s Protein Water counterpart, but has less carbohydrate (less than 2%, as opposed to just over 5% in the Protein Water).
All in all, the Pre-Workout was fantastic, but I’m not sure it’s for me. Maybe I’ll just stick with a coffee, and consider it for race days. However, I’m impressed with both the Protein Water and the Whey Isolate. Both blend beautifully compared to those I have at home at the moment, though they’re a fair bit pricer too. Still, if it means no lumps, or digestive problems (and the flavours are less sweet), I may invest.
And for those of you curious, this is what 100kg looks like.
Now, I wonder just how much heavier I can go….