Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mesocyle 1 -- Report

I don't know if you recall that I'm in the midst of a periodization rotation for my workouts, but I just finished Mesocyle 1, which is the first phase of 3. This rotation is modeled after Cathe's upcoming STS (Shock Training System) with the first 4 weeks being muscle endurance workouts, followed by a rest week -- the next 4 weeks being muscle conditioning (heavier weights and less reps than the previous cycle), followed by another rest week, then finishing up with a final 4 weeks of muscle strengthening (even heavier weights and less reps that the 2nd mesocycle).........phew on that description, huh? Kind of wordy, but just wanted to refresh your memory or explain if you're unfamiliar with it.

I finished up Mesocycle 1 a week ago, which consisted of 3 muscle endurance weight workouts (all by Cathe) and 3 cardio workouts (varied) a week like this:

M - - Power Hour
T -- cardio of choice
W -- Legs & Glutes
Th -- cardio of choice
F -- Muscle Endurance
S -- cardio of choice

I usually did one Cathe step workout each week, one kickboxing workout, and either step or rebounding on the other day for cardio.

I was really challenged that first week, got a little muscle soreness, but overall, felt great. The second week, I continued on and felt great. The third week, I thought I'd never fill my hunger. I ate and ate and couldn't get full. It took me a few days to realize this might be related to my weight workouts (this has happened before when I've done Cathe's Slow & Heavy Series). I also found that part way through week 3, I had a horrible time getting out of bed and was extremely tired, needing extra sleep. I may have hit a bit of overtraining there, so I skipped a cardio day. The fourth week, I was back in business just fine -- normal appetite and normal ability to bounce out of bed early in the morning.

This past week was my rest week. Oh glory days! It was really fun to just change the pace a bit, do yoga all week, not have any equipment to get out, just wear my pajamas if desired, and feel that euphoria of stretching my body. Not to say the yoga wasn't a challenge -- it really was. I was sore in my arms and sides for the first few days. I wasn't used to doing updog or the wheel at ALL. Erich just about did me in with his Backbends dvd (but I loved it!) Getting back into yoga made me see that I don't want to spend another 4 weeks without it. So I'm going to do yoga on my cardio days and extended stretches (at least 20 minutes) on my weight days. I know this was my unwritten goal for the first mesocycle, but I really just wanted to make sure I stuck with my workouts for that round and mainly just did the extended stretches to some yoga music here and there (which was wonderful, but didn't keep my flexibility up like I would have liked).

Here's what I'm thinking for the Mesocyle 2:

Weeks 6 & 7
M -- Gym Style Chest & Triceps
T -- Cardio + Pyramid Upper Body ball work + Yoga
W -- Gym Style Legs
Th -- Cardio + longer Yoga
F -- Gym Style Back, Shoulders & Biceps
S -- Cardio + Pyramid Lower Body ball work + yoga

Weeks 8 & 9
M -- Pyramid Upper Body
T -- Cardio + Yoga
W -- Muscle Max
Th -- Cardio + Yoga
F -- Pyramid Lower Body
S -- Cardio + Yoga

I really debated about whether to do the Pyramids too or just stick with the Gym Styles, but I did find I was getting antsy the 4th week of Mesocycle 2 to get past those weight workouts. After 3 weeks of them, I was looking for a change. That's one reason why the rest week was so welcomed.

As for results in my body? I didn't really notice any change until the end of the 4th week and especially this one. My pants are fitting much more loosely and I feel like I look more toned over all. I did weigh myself at the beginning of the rotation, but I don't think I want to weigh myself again until the very end, which isn't till the end of June. I don't like how the scale makes me feel. So I'd rather not know until a lot of time has passed -- especially since I'll be adding muscle as I go.

I did go swimming today with my children and found that I didn't feel the need to wear the towel till the very last second of getting into the pool like I usually would. I even walked all the way around the pool (it's a pretty big community pool) to go talk to some friends without grabbing my towel first. It was great to feel that comfortable -- yay for that!

I've read so many accounts of people getting great results from Beachbody's P90X series with Tony Horton. I've felt like I missed that boat (or continue to miss it) not because I can't handle workouts that tough, but because I just don't like Tony's style (I'm sure he's a great guy and the Beachbody people are terrific, but he just isn't for me). So it's been fun to have the hope that Cathe's STS will do the same for me and that perhaps this STS-model rotation will do something similar. I read a post last week on Cathe's forum from a man (on a thread with mainly men bonding about ordering STS since it's primarily a women's forum) who said this:

"I am a P90X graduate, but saw more results doing Cathe's Gym Styles, Slow & Heavy, Pure Strength and Pyramid DVDs. So there was really no question as to whetheror not I would get STS! :-)"

Very exciting to hear! Especially since I'm headed into the mesocycle with the Gym Styles and Pyramids (and plan to do Slow & Heavy in the final weeks).


  1. Hi Renee,
    I heard about your website when I was up visiting a couple of weeks ago, and only now just took a look. You are so inspiring! I am so thrilled for you..and the kids look great. Say hi to them for me-

  2. Hi Renee,
    I heard about your website when I was up visiting a couple of weeks ago, and only now just took a look. You are so inspiring! I am so thrilled for you..and the kids look great. Say hi to them for me-

  3. Thanks Catherine! It's great to hear from you. I love to write and share, but I often wonder if anyone but my mom is reading this :). Nice to know you're out there. -- Renee