Day 3, 60 squats, feeling great! I was very surprised at how little my legs hurt overall since starting the challenge, but I’m glad for it. That’s not to say I think it will stay that way as the days go by though.
As usual I put off the squats until the end of my workout. I started out with a 1 mile warm up run and then went through my normal arm day routine. It was a good day as I was able to bump up my arm and chest weights by 5 – 10 pounds from what I had been doing for the last month or so. It’s not my max, but I’m looking more to build strength than size so I don’t really see a good reason to go all out except on occasion. After that was finished it was time for the squats!
My quads were burning by the 5th one, but it was different than before. In the past when I’d overworked my quads that stabbing pain I mentioned on Day 1 would return, however this time it was what the fancy-pants medical chart below calls the “vastus lateralis”, or the muscle on outside of the thigh.
Just like yesterday I pushed through to the end. By around number 45 it started hurting significantly more, but it was so close to the end that I kept going. Afterward I stretched out again. Stretching is never something I did much of in the past whether working out or not. As a result, for a long time, my muscles (especially in my legs) were extremely tight. I would get cramps every few weeks or so and I was generally uncomfortable most of the time. My back was sore almost all of the time, and I would have shortness of breath doing anything that required any real level of physical exertion. While not directly related to the challenge, I did want to mention that I’ve noticed a few things since starting my weight loss/fitness journey:
- My lower back pain went away and hasn’t returned in weeks. Upon further investigation it seems that strengthening your legs can often improve your posture and reduce the stress on your back. Imagine that… it’s like our muscles are interconnected or something.
- Since starting the challenge, not only have my legs not hurt as I expected, but because I’ve been stretching more to help with the soreness, I’ve also seen my overall flexibility increase. Whereas I’ve always struggled to reach my toes with my leg outstretched – a limitation I assumed was due to my belly being in the way – I can now easily reach them and hold it pretty comfortably (aside from the obvious pulling that is part of stretching).
- It seems that the more I do these, the quicker I’m recovering and the further I can push myself. This isn’t something that I just learned; I’ve understood the concept from my upper body workouts in the past. It’s just that this is the first time I’ve been able to really work my lower body without a lot of pain afterward.
That’s all for now, but overall I’m feeling great. Tomorrow is a rest day so I probably won’t write much about the challenge, but I’ll probably check in with how I’m feeling after not working my legs the same as I have been.