The Challenge Continues
In my last post, I detailed the fitness challenge that I would undertake to work out like Chris Hemsworth for 30 days. If you have not already, I would recommend reading the original post.
The original post lays the foundation for this challenge. It details the inspiration that led to this challenge. It provides the research that took place. Finally, it sets down the rules for the challenge.
This challenge is an attempt to duplicate the results that were seen in the original video. It is an experiment to see just how effective this training is... and if the end results can be consistently repeated.
Getting into the swing of things
Part of this challenge is to essentially do two workouts a day on most days. This means one workout in the morning through the Centr app and one in the evening that focuses on weight/strength training that Chris Hemsworth did in order to get in shape to play Thor. Some mornings include a bonus workout too which is performed along with the regular morning workout.
As can be imagined, this leads to workouts going to my breaking point and often leaving me feeling sore later in the day or evening. The good kind of sore, not the "Oh crap, I think I pulled something" kind of sore.
A mix of workout types
The thing that I have been enjoying about these workouts so far is the variety they provide. So far, I have not had any duplicated workouts showing up in my planner with one exception. That exception is the technique training which, as far as I can tell, is the same every Sunday. This session reminds me of yoga or tai chi and is more about poses and deliberate movements combined with breathing to open up your body. I have coordination issues at times so some of the poses were a little challenging for me still in my first attempt at them.
The scheduled strength training workouts have been the easiest for me so far. This is probably due to my weight training over the past year and a half. The functional training (HIIT, HIIRT) sessions, however, continue to kick my butt. They are proving to be some of the most difficult workouts I have ever done, often leaving me gasping for air and drenched in sweat by the end. Over time I would imagine they are going to get easier.
There are also shadow boxing workouts. It seems those get scheduled for Saturdays. As mentioned, my coordination isn't always the best so these have proven to be entertaining to follow. The sessions are fun, I just have difficulty performing the combo movements without looking like an elephant on a tightrope at this point.
Eating to fuel my workouts
Workout out is only half the battle. As part of this challenge, I have also been preparing meals every day. I am no stranger to the kitchen, but cooking all the meals has definitely proven to be just as challenging as the workouts. I have not done enough cooking in the past to make prep go quickly so the listed times for prep are often way lower than it actually takes me. I am trying to streamline this process so that cooking takes up less of my day still. At one point during this week, I told my wife that it felt like any time I wasn't working I was spending cooking (and to a lesser extent working out).
While the meal preparation has proven more time consuming than expected, it has mostly been a very satisfying experience. There have been recipes that were way outside of the normal foods I would consider eating. They turned out to be way more delicious than I could have imagined. Most of the meals turned out well and both my wife and I enjoyed them thoroughly.
There was one exception during this week when I attempted to make eggplant parmesan. It seemed like an easy enough recipe but due to my inexperience with cooking eggplant, it ended up just a pile of tasteless mush. The rest of the meals were very impressive and turned out like the ones below. This one was a very tasty greek meatball salad.
I finished off the week with a lemon and garlic tilapia dish that was up on my meal planner.
These dinners were the perfect way to round out each day which also consisted of a smoothie after my morning workout, a smoothie or parfait for breakfast, and a protein-packed lunch.
The Results of the First Week
All this hard work and meal planning is all well and good but is it having any results? Over the past week, I have been monitoring a lot of different factors. I have been paying attention to how difficult my workouts have been to complete. I have been logging weights used for various exercises to measure progress. I have been taking note of how I have been feeling in general.
As this was the first week and the workouts were very different than my previous ones, it is difficult to compare to previous numbers before starting this challenge. For that reason, I am considering this week to be a baseline for many of the weighted exercises.
The same can be said for the more functional exercises. Many of the exercises included in the HIIT/HIIRT sessions I had never even heard of before. This week quickly became an exercise in figuring out exactly what I was doing.
I can say that as the week progressed, I felt more capable of keeping up with the workouts. I have also found that the soreness after each day lessened as the week progressed. That said, we are our own worst critics and I caught myself at many times during the week feeling like I was going backward instead of forward. I had switched from cutting calories (for over a year) to essentially eating a small surplus of calories.
Overall I did feel that I was getting some more muscle definition. I did not discover and could not imagine just how much progress was made in just one week until shortly before starting to write this. That was the point when I started putting together comparison photos for the week. There was definite visible progress made. You can judge for yourself from these photos.
Not only have I already started to notice physical changes but I have also been feeling a little more mental clarity as well. I have overall been feeling better than ever even with pushing myself as far as I can go.
At this point, I am getting more excited to see what will happen as I progress through the rest of this challenge. The transformation has already begun. I am looking forward to the workouts to come. Apparently, in the coming weeks, there will be bonus workouts with Chris Hemsworth himself which should prove interesting and challenging. I am looking forward to trying these workouts out.
A New Approach to Meals
I have made a decision to cut down the number of dinners I am preparing for the next week to only 4. I will be increasing the number of servings on those meals. This should help out in a number of ways. It will mean less time preparing meals at night as there will be more leftovers that can be used throughout the week. It will also cut down some of the costs involved.
We have 3 kids to feed as well and our kids are not likely to enjoy a good portion of the meals being prepared. That means having to buy separate food just for the kids which makes the grocery bill go up fast. This is a good compromise to be able to continue eating according to the meal plans without breaking the bank.
Weekly Wrap Up
I am more than happy with the results so far. There are adjustments to be made both from a budget and time standpoint and those are being taken into account. Next week, I will have another update on my progress on this 30 day challenge. I would definitely say that so far this next step in my fitness journey is proving to be worthwhile and can't wait to see what challenges the rest of this part of the journey holds.