Thursday, April 21, 2011

Plateau's and Life...And FUN STUFF! :)

Plateau's suck. They really really suck :)

A few weeks ago, I hit a plateau on my fitness goals...not losing anymore weight, workouts were going well, and I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong :( I was working out everyday, and according to what info I had, I should have still been losing weight...

Day 105: Enter Plateau...
I had hit a plateau...doing the same thing, getting comfortable with the routine and my body said "I am GOOD with this regime, thanks!"...everything was great, nothing hurt anymore after my workouts, I feel good, could power through them with no issues. But my body was getting efficient with what I was doing...burning less to accomplish the same thing. Thus not burning as many calories...I needed to change things up.

So, I did, just started doing some HIIT sessions (stands for High Intensity Interval Training)...where you basically enter the 7th Circle of Hell for a prescribed amount of time, going totally anaerobic (instead of aerobic) which your body cannot use oxygen to fuel itself. Then you get a rest period where you just keep moving and your heart rate is SUPPOSED to return to normal...HA! Funny...whatever. Then, after you return to normal, you enter that 7th circle of hell again, over, and over and over. It's HARD, it SUCKS, I am sweating so much it's just legs are noodles, I can't breath and I will admit, I dropped the F bomb a few times...ok, maybe like 45 times. BUT...I am off that plateau.

Sure, I can't get up from sitting without every single muscle in my body crying out, or grab a glass out of the kitchen cabinets, laughing is a chore as is tugging with my dogs...BUT, I am back to losing weight and getting more fit. I don't have to do it everyday (in fact you shouldn't as your body can't repair itself fast enough)...but just adding it a few times a week is enough to get things moving again.

I think with everything you learn you hit a plateau...if you stay at that level of learning/fitness/understanding, without pushing yourself a bit, you will never make gains.

Another example, the guitar...BTW I am in love with her...
Practice, practice, practice...getting better, then BAM, hit a brick frustrated, decided to just learn some new chords instead of trying to perfect the songs and chords I knew...switched it up a little.
Then BAM! The change made things happen, my brain needed that little change and now I am playing songs, strumming well and really REALLY enjoying the guitar...
Sure...I could have stopped, or kept on the path I was going...but the bottom line was, a change needed to happen to facilitate a higher level of understanding.

The husband is going through this as well in agility. With all the European stuff I am throwing at him, he is for sure having to step up his game. I would say with his handling, he had hit a plateau...and now he broke through it, or is in the process I should say :)

This is why I attend seminars, I think if an instructor stops attending seminars, they eventually will hit a plateau in their teaching. Nothing new is learned, nothing is changed in regards to training, therefore, their students will also reach plateau's in their training as well.
One of the main reasons I did running contacts, they ARE scary, they are UNKNOWN, but they are making me a better trainer, handler etc.

The point I am trying to make is, plateau's can be something you WANT to overcome, OR, they can be a place you are comfortable. Your safe handling, your workouts. You are happy with what you are doing, you are good at that particular level that you are performing the task, and to step outside of the box is scary, unknown and it's easy to want to stay in that little box and be in your happy place. BUT, we never grow, we never excel, by just being content where we are in our endeavors. By constantly challenging yourself, you get better, faster, stronger. By being happy with your plateau, you are selling yourself short. So, my challenge to all of you this week, think of a situation where you are comfortable, and going past your comfort zone could make you better at what you are currently doing. Then do it. I don't care what it is, but try.
I'm not sure there IS a plateau in training dogs on stock though...if there IS, I haven't reached it...I am always looking for improvement :)
Gator thinks I have a LOT more to learn too...
Gator's grandfather's name was "Black" :) Imagine that...

Now, onto FUN STUFF!!!!! THE GIVEAWAY!!!!!

I have compiled a little gift thingie to a random blog follower :)
It's a bunch of toys and treats my dogs LOVE :)

A Ruffy Flappy Dog toy
SQUEAKY Tennis ball
2 bags of Zukes training treats in Salmon and Chicken Flavored
3 Bully Sticks
And an adorable Spiffy Dog Collar (love these, they don't stink if you swim your dogs a lot)
NO Zip, you cannot send the Hydrogen Peroxide to someone. Because of YOU we need gallons of the crap here in case you devour something toxic.

Sorry folks...
So there you go! Minus the Hydrogen Peroxide...unless for some reason you want it, then I guess I can include it in there...

So, the question to answer in the comments section IS:

"What will you do this week to break through a plateau you are experiencing?"

A winner will be picked at random, from the comments posted ON THE BLOG, not on Facebook please comment on the actual blog site. The contest ends on Thursday April 28th at 12:00 pm. I will announce the winner on April 29th and ship out your loot :) Thanks in advance to everyone that is playing! And of course, thank you to ALL of you for reading the blog!


Ellie said...

This past week, through lots of thought (and, ok, all-out bawling and mental breakdown-ish behavior) I broke through an emotional plateau that I've been stuck on for ages.

For months, I had been stuck in this insane guilt-cycle of feeling like I MUST complete this particular task (having to do with school), and my inability to do it wreaked havoc on me emotionally and physically. I was literally sick with stress and fatigue and completely overwhelmed to the point of not being able to function.

I was letting IT control ME. I couldn't move past it, couldn't make a decision what to do. It was a complete mess.

My breakthrough moment was last week. I figured out that to get off this plateau, I would have to try to accept the possibility of "failure" as something not life or death. No one will die if I don't do this one particular thing :-P, and furthermore, my future happiness and feelings of self-worth are not dependent on it. It's small beans in comparison to what the rest of my life holds.

As soon as I accepted these thoughts, it was like a 50000 lb weight was lifted off my shoulders. I could breathe again, and making the decision about what was right for ME was so easy. I definitely learned a lesson from this experience, that's for sure!

...and I didn't feel guilty entering Cedar in an agility trial this weekend, in spite of it being the end of the semester :D

Dawn said...

I will walk 3 times a week at least. I havent started working out, but I need to. I want to but I am lazy. So I WILL walk at least 3 times a week. Hold me to that OK? Plus it will be good for the corgis.

Freya's Studio said...

We hit a plateau in weaving in jumping. Freya had been missing jumps forever but when she started to refuse weaves too I panicked and thought it was my handling. I reviewed tapes and critiqued every move but when I watched her closely I knew what the issue was. She was breaking her gate and changing leads for no reason. It was time for the vet. After a week of crate rest and pain killers we're going to see the orthopedic vet in town. Hopefully between his diagnosis, rehab, and whatever else is needed we can get back on track in our agility career.

Thank you for your wonderful blog post a couple of days ago, it's great to know that worrying about injuries isn't paranoid it's good ownership. I'm glad I caught my Freya's slight change early enough rather than pushing her and causing more damage. Please keep your fingers and paws crossed for our outcome. If it's really bad it'll just be another plateau to conquer I guess!

livin life said...

I'm gonna put a real honest to God stomach on the ground lie down on my Gyp (when working sheep). The reason why will be in my new blog entry which is forthcoming as yet another plateau breaker...I have been lacking...but you'll have to read to find out why! I love your blog...and lust after a sock monkey!

Marcella said...

So, you know that feeling of asking a stupid question, or sounding really really REALLY loud in a quiet setting....enter the college lecture hall, my friends. I seem to always have that *burning* desire to ask a question, but what if I sound stupid or wrong? I used to not even ask questions at all, but now I'll gladly go up to my professors at the end of class and ask about something that's sparked my interest. I have yet to ask during class though. It doesn't matter how many times the professors sit there and say, "If you have questions, just interrupt me and ask" or "any questions before we move on?" What does Marcella do? Marcella sits and waits. So, the goal for terrified little college freshman this coming week, is to ask a question during class in Psychology on Tuesday. The way I see it, we all have things that are hard for us, but I definitely agree, stepping out of that comfort zone will be good to do. One step at a time, and you'll be surprised at how much things improve. Hopefully this is a valid plateau.

Regardless of my comment, Shimmy says that pictures with those things looks like lots of fun. She hasn't gotten mail once yet while we've been at sad is that? :( -wag-

Great blog post, as always, Loretta. I'm really enjoying reading everything! It keeps me so entertained. :)

Monique said...

Well, I did my plateau-breaker this morning, before I read this post. Great timing.

I have been staying in my comfort zone way too much regarding sheepdog trials, something more than one friend has pointed out to me. After some helpful feedback last weekend, I sat down and mapped out the whole summer including opening dates. I am going to enter 4 "big" trials this year to push myself to better handling and sucking it up to accept failure.

I am not going to become a star handler overnight, neither will my dog become perfect, but we both need the miles and perspective on that steep climb ahead of us. We've gotten too comfortable where we are.

Lilo & Elle said...

my "rut" is just simply that I don't get out enough. I work, clean house, cook dinner, walk the dogs, practice agility, and frisbee. By the end of the week im so so so very tired. my life revolves around my dogs. So i have dis sided that i need me time, friend time, family time. And so far so good, the dogs have even been able to join half the time =) it feels good to "take a break" in a sense. not only am i more active doing things with friends/family, im also helping a lot more with my agility group, i will be working a booth at the "Love Your Pet Expo" April 30th, and doing some Demos alwell. I am Very Excited! I love being involved!!! lol

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I'll try to remember what I said in the first comment...

I reached a plateau with Ricky this week. He has been struggling with jumps the past few months in trials and sometimes in classes - stutter stepping, refusing jumps, and occasionally knocking bars. I have been told that he has ETS but he has never been formally checked out. I finally decided to drop him down to 8" and train for fun and see how he does. If we never trial again I am ok with that. It is scary to move him to 8" because if he continues to struggle then there is no where else to go but to quit agility. I am willing to do that if it is necessary. Of course Ricky's well-being is my primary concern but it has been hard to come to terms with it all. If agility isn't fun for him and for me, I don't want to do it.

I really admire your commitment to weight loss and exercise! It is so difficult when you hit a plateau with that and you are not giving up! Congratulations!

K-Koira said...

My plateau breaker is in Flyball training. Koira had been improving a lot, finally doing full runs mostly clean, but I have been afraid to take it any farther with her for fear of setting her back.

Tonight at practice, we will be adding another dog to the lineup for her. She has always been great with dogs in the other lanes, but having another dog to pass will be a big marker of whether she will be ready for competition any time soon.

Jen said...

I'm breaking through my plateau with Scorch this week by trying barrier work for drop-on-recall. I've never used this method before, but Scorch tends to creep when asked to drop. So I'm working on dropping him behind a length of PVC. Of course, I accidentally rewarded him once while his front legs were draped OVER the barrier, and now he thinks that's what he's supposed to do. What you reward is what you get! So I'm shaping the appropriate behavior and upping my criteria.

Playing at agility has also been a BIG plateau breaker. Even if it's not something I ever seriously compete at, it has made all the difference in breaking up the rut Scorch and I found ourselves in.

Anonymous said...

So here's the thing about being on a plateau -- sometimes it's just a darn good resting spot. Think about climbing a mountain -- it's uphill all the way, and your legs and lungs are screaming. Then, flat land. Feels good and you think you'll just stay there. So you do. In the shadow of the mountaintop. Which is providing nice shade, by the way. After a while though, you realize the mountaintop is blocking out the sun and you start to think about why you're climbing that mountain in the first place. And then you're ready to leave the plateau. Because it's the only way to get to the top of the mountain.

As for me, this week I decided to stop entering Open JWW and move on to Excellent JWW. We've had our open title for a while now, but I've just stayed there, thinking I'm not ready for the challenges of excellent. And it's been nice getting more ribbons. I won't say it hasn't. But it's time. So having already entered Open JWW for this weekend, I've now got my move-up form all filled out and ready to go. The mountaintop is waiting.

Karissa said...

I am taking a day OFF on Sunday. I will not get called in to pick up a shift at the shelter, no matter what. I have not had a day off in.... Many weeks. I am completely unable to say no. I am saying NO. I am sleeping! :)

My agility goal for this year is to do more "international stuff" in practice because I feel it makes me a better all-around handler. I find I get pretty stuck in a rut and do similar exercises all the time.

I also *need* to commit to regular massage & stretching for the dogs. I get lazy until someone gets hurt. Maybe if I kept up the routine, those mild injuries wouldn't happen in the first place.

Catalina said...

My plateau involves my other blog (not the dog one), but it is also about doing something for me that doesn't involve Tibby.
I used to cook/bake/can like crazy. Now I make frozen meals :) I also was really into making things from scratch - grow my own plants from seed, harvest, cook and can them.
This weekend I promise to cook (or bake) at least one thing. I promise! Really this is good for me! I may or may not blog about it.....

PS Awesome stuff in your giveaway!

D said...

So many plateaus, so little time. My photography is one plateau, I haven't liked my new camera..keep wishing the old one would come back to life. Today at the photography seminar I realized that I need to work harder at making this one work. Practicing more with it is the only answer, I will keep trying, and stop complaining.

Training is another. There are many details in my obedience as well as agility that I "overlook" because they are something hard for me or hard for the dog. I am trying to ONLY work on what we have a problem with. No more perfectly straight dumbbell throws over the high jump, and LOTS of serpentines! The easy way doesn't let us be any more sucessful as we move up the levels.

Taryn said...

My plateau is with my camera. I have a nice dslr but I never push myself to learn it's less automatic setting. I usually just rely on the easy stuff. I want to get to where I am comfortable in manual mode! Additionally, about a year after getting the dslr, I bought a nice telephoto lens for it. The lens cost more than the whole camera setup and yet I have probably used it only 5 times in a year. It is big and heavy, so I let the inconvenience of carrying it win out, and I leave it home. I must break this bad habit as it really takes wonderful photos!

Steffi said...

I'm going to start trusting my dog more during a trial. She has great weave entries, distance and pretty good running contacts at practice but I tend to over-handle her and run slower at a trial because I worry too much about going off course. I guess I just need to stop thinking so much and just go out there and run!