Monday last week of heavier sets and with some lovely budding lean muscle time to cut back and see what I have gained. Today core and yoga to set the body up well for the week

Tuesday Big session tonight feeling particularly challenged, I am very excited about taking the journey to the next level when I meet with and start working with IFBB judge Nathan Page tomorrow, I am nervous about what he may have to say, sure I am fit and getting fantastic results and it’s not until we received external analysis from another professional can we have a truer measure, hey we all look amazing and achieve fantastic things in our own minds right!

I have been experiencing a lot of nervous energy and one of the most important skills is to be able to harness and channel our energy into the most effective pursuits.

Wednesday today is the day, I finish uni and come home for a sort break and my new bed has arrived, I haven’t been sleeping very well and that just doesn’t work very well with my output a night without sleep is not a good outcome as the body doesn’t repair itself well, the mind isn’t able to reset and the nervous system remains a little frayed all adding up to stress in the body and we know what that means right!

No strength gain and a tendency to retain weight, cortisol is a sneaky little bugger that way

Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:

Proper glucose metabolism

Regulation of blood pressure

Insulin release for blood sugar maintanence

Immune function

Inflammatory response

Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night. Although stress isn’t the only reason that cortisol is secreted into the bloodstream, it has been termed “the stress hormone” because it’s also secreted in higher levels during the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, and is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body. Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects:

A quick burst of energy for survival reasons

Heightened memory functions

A burst of increased immunity

Lower sensitivity to pain

Helps maintain homeostasis in the body

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response to be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal following a stressful event. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that the body doesn’t always have a chance to return to normal, resulting in a state of chronic stress.

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

Impaired cognitive performance

Suppressed thyroid function

Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia

Decreased bone density

Decrease in muscle tissue

Higher blood pressure

Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences:

Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems!

To keep cortisol levels healthy and under control, the body’s relaxation response should be activated after the fight or flight response occurs. You can learn to relax your body with various stress management techniques, and you can make lifestyle changes in order to keep your body from reacting to stress in the first place. The following have been found by many to be very helpful in relaxing the body and mind, aiding the body in maintaining healthy cortisol levels:

Back to my session with Nathan, I arrive ready to be put through my paces and be assessed and he is a treasure, a very humble knowledgeable man who is very open and easy to work with, he like most of us in this profession love people and the  process of reaching our goals, we talk about the plan which competition and initially I was planning on going with ANB which is in May and I decide it’s better to delay comp date and do IFBB in October it will give me more time to get where I want to be which is front and Centre with the 1st place trophy in my hands :).

Nathan suggests that I not get any bigger than I currently am and we focus on getting tighter and with greater condition and that suits me fine, we discuss my body type, my predominant muscle fibres and the right training to really harness my genetics. I am naturally designed for this sport so again I am a happy camper.

The session is 45 mins of non stop giant sets and I feel the different energy systems kick in and I am working hard, I feel every rep, wow tough session and I train hard at the best of times, I wonder how I will fare later?

Thursday Holy moley my legs are dead weights, I can’t believe the DOMS I have as I show up to training with G tonight I am a shadow of myself I am tired and hurting, I feel emotional and my mind is reeling as I realize this is the next phase of my training and it doesn’t feel pretty right now, I will adjust I know and right now it hurts!

Friday More DOMS walking up my stairs at the Centre are slow and I feel every single step, I am tired and looking forward to yoga tonight and a well deserved rest and that’s all she wrote folks, dinner and an early night looking forward to a nice sleep in.

Saturday Circuit today and a tough session it’s harder to switch the pace after three weeks of strength and size sessions as there is less rest time and a greater experience of  time under tension, increase in temp & blood shunting, although I must say for me it has certainly relieved the muscle soreness from the week as a whole I am leaner and don’t feel as tired and I would expect my recovery to be greater after these sessions and I am never disappointed.

Long story short figure out your body type and train to that, which means to accept and work with what you have and maximize the results, it’s simpler , more efficient and easier to reach your goals and that’s always the best path to follow one of least resistance.

Many perceive exercise and change as hard and that may simply be that you don’t know what you need and are looking in the wrong places and / or doing the wrong type of training for your individual needs. Take the time to explore and question as always train don’t drain and keep the balance.

Sunday Last heavy session for this round and I am relieved, I woke feeling amazing after a long couple of weeks and time to switch it up and work with a different set & rep range to get leaner, tighter and with greater condition as advised and my body just loves it.

Chin ups one of the best exercises for back.

I love this sport to be able to at 43 be this fit, healthy, lean and happy is a blessing, I love the feel, the look and the motivation it gives me to live my absolute best life.

What is also great is that I am able to inspire others to do the same and that is probably the best bit.

Ok have a great week all and I look forward to sharing my journey again next week, take care 🙂 Vanessa xx

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