PT-19.1: Being (a little) kind of a big deal

Monday morning, training with J. So. Much. Fun. We are into the FreeMotion upper body List review right now, and this is a second version to the original. A couple of new things, but primarily reordering and reviewing things I mostly already know. We are still working the arch, because it is very different standing up versus lying down on a bench.

Key Takeaways

PT-19.2: Being (a little) kind of a big deal will be posted soon. 

What We Did

PT-19.2: Being (a little) kind of a big deal will be posted soon. 

How It Felt

PT-19.2: Being (a little) kind of a big deal will be posted soon. 

Practices Between Now and Monday

PT-19.2: Being (a little) kind of a big deal will be posted soon. 

Kitchen Sink Thoughts

If I didn’t know better, I might believe J was paying other members to say nice things. But I know better.

Happened twice this morning, both innocent, innocuous occurrences, yet tied in nicely with one slant on our training session conversation. First, a gent I see most mornings and wave to in passing or say good morning in greeting if we are within greeting distance (as in, I do not show hello! across the gym floor). We were coming down the stairs as he was turning the corner to head up. He greeted us with a casual “hello beautiful people” which seems sort of odd to hear in my conventional little gym and yet so appropriate – J is a very pretty specimen, you know. (*smile*) I like the way he said it, so perfect in timing and cadence. It was nice.

Mondays, J and I have idle chit-chat time after our session. We finish up our work and then talk about everything else going on in our lives. It’s a pleasant start to the week until a new tribe member joins the ranks and takes up the slot. So as we do most Mondays, we wind down next to the drinking fountain enroute to the locker rooms. Today yet another member I see most weekdays remarks to J that “whatever he’s doing is working, because she’s looking great” or something very kind and complimentary along those lines. Oh my! I am not going to put forth all my usual disclaimers and merely accept the nice comment graciously as the gent meant it and point many kudos to trainer J for all he does to keep me on the path.

The timing is curious and is yet another of those weird coincidences to me, because while going through the review day and updating the upper body version of the List, our conversation drifted to visible and measurable progress. Had we been other people – J more cookie-cutter traditional trainer and me more motivated by the scale – I could definitely be sporting a much sportier, shapelier shape long before this. Our training would have been a lot more hardcore. My eating would have been a lot stricter and more diet-like. I would very likely be completely miserable, M even more so (he of the “happy wife, happy life” philosophy), and my blog the corner of miserable bitchiness.

And I know none of that could last – I could not take it – and J would have lost a client within the first 3 months. I might still have some of the first 20 sessions on the books right now. It would be ugly.

So all good that my forward progress is on my defined and comfortable pacing.

I have begin a significantly more challenging eating program – 27 day fat loss prescription – and the first 7 days are hard with just a protein shake and piece of fruit for breakfast and the same for lunch, a lean protein meal for dinner. It has been messing with my blood sugar, in that I have had more crashes in the last 4 day that I have in several months, but a simple adjustment of adding more protein to the shakes and eating some carbohydrates with the dinner meal have evened things out. The exercise program provided is also a lot more intense and hardcore than what I do right now, so I skip that part and continue my pursuit of List of the day.

In my interactions with the rest of the group, I see a lot of worries about calorie counts and how much exercise. Many folks are just getting back into the exercise component, and I know it’s not easy. None of this is easy. But reading their entries and issues they are facing, I am glad to have been under the trainer J tutelage all this time and pressing and pulling (and only occasionally kicking and screaming) further along down my groove.

Am I liking the eating plan? Not really. It’s bearable, but I miss bread. I console myself this  hardest part is only a week, although I may try an extra few days to see if the sugar crashes resolve. I am already a bit of a rebel by not getting on the scale every day, but I like my peace of mind and not obsessing over such details.

I love my Monday mornings, too. Get up at my usual time, get to the gym, meet with J and learn new things, review other things, pick up the pacing and transform it into something huffy puffy. When something is important to you, it shows in a millions of small ways. You prioritize the time, you protect that sacred space in your schedule, you make sure you are there on time and ready to get to work. In another context, we were talking about tardiness, being late for appointments, and to me, hyper-responsible me, if it’s important you try very hard to be on time. And if you’re going to be late for some unforeseen reason, you call or you text to let the other party know. Because you value them and their time.

With the weather and tree blooming season in my neighborhood, I have been suffering my typical allergy response and taking appropriate relief medications. This weekend was particularly bad, though, and rather than carry an entire box of kleenex around with me through the gym, I opted to take Sunday off and work instead. My gym buddy texted me to see if I was going, and I had regrets for missing out on the fun of her company and practicing with her. But it was for the best; I was battling back from sinus congestion when she texted and was not sure how long it would be before the sudafed started working and let me breathe.

Ours is a small tribe, yet it never occurred to me that my buddy would be texting or crossing paths with J and mention that I was on the sick bubble. So mid afternoon when he texted me to see if I were okay, by then the OTC allergy relief had kicked in and I was fine and had no thoughts or plans of cancelling. I would have to be genuinely sick or injured to actually cancel an appointment.

But in truth, this is probably why ours is a successful training partnership. He’s very patient with teaching and reviewing and has a very broad understand of the more limited mindset and experience of the non-athlete. The blank slate or lump of clay analogy are true, at least in my case, and I still learn every session, every practice something new about what is possible, what I am capable of, where my limitations are right now. I say it that way because rarely anymore are my limitations as shallow as I believe, and time and repetitive practice push them outward somewhere new.

Of all the things I am most proud of in this journey thus far, it has to be my emerging and ongoing resilience. The aspect of character that it takes to develop the discipline and the drive to make something so hard a priority has never been well developed in me. I saw my failures littered out there so thickly any initial successes were buried under the carcasses of my real and imagined failures. By middle age, I felt the bar should be set very low as far as expectations for me to learn to perform well in the gym. When you feel as if you are falling short of even that very low notch, it is hard to persuade yourself to pick up and keep trying.

Some of the best things have been seeing other women my age and older doing amazing things with weights. They are strong, capable, powerful women, and they do not necessarily look like fitness models one sees in magazines and on the internet. I am pretty sure no one I ever see in the gym is the unnatural bronze tan color either. Then there are the groups of senior ladies swinging kettle bells or lifting dumbbells in classes or enjoyed the heck out of their aqua classes in the pool. It is really hard to feel sorry for myself when ladies 10, 15, even 20 years older than I am are pursuing their fitness with a vigor I could not even imagine at the start of this quest.

So yeah, it was kind of a big deal to have even an offhand compliment from other members I don’t really know. My invisibility cloak was abandoned long ago. While I dislike conflicts with the grumpy old men contingent or the men in the big boys room who think I am taking up their valuable space, my spine is a lot stronger and I can speak directly without rancor and make it clear that my fitness is just as important as theirs and they will not bully me into moving until I am done with my practice.

These days? It is good to be seen.

Addendum to Kitchen Sink Thoughts

So this first section of the training recap is late because I have a confession to state: I have cheated. I am a cheater. I went to another club chain and ran through a List on strange equipment and foreign soil and with non-tribe pals. I even texted a friend to say that I was about to step over this imaginary line, hoping  he might try to talk me out of my transgression and come to my senses. Instead, he just LOLed me and said it is good I am not Catholic, because the guilt would surely kill me.


Anyway, how this unlikely turn of event came about was that I had planned to attend a hot yoga class with one of the staff tonight, but she was not feeling well and ended up going home before noon. A couple of the guys – the rabble-rouser end of our crew – invited me to workout with them at their gym. The invitation has been floated before, and they have an open invitation to come join me at my club any time, but tonight was the first time it actually worked for me with gym bag, clothes, water bottle, etc. in the car.

I figured why not? What’s the worst that could happen? Famous last thoughts.

Surprisingly, it was relatively painless being in a strange club. I mean, I knew them, we were planning to work together, and we were going to work from one of my Lists, so I at least knew what I was doing.

We selected a huffy puffy List that used minimal machine weight equipment and was focused on bench, dumbbells, medicine ball, etc. There were a couple of substitutions: walking lunges for walking anterior lunges, cable machine horizontal chops instead of bands. Other than that, we did 3 sets of at least 15 per set.

And I totally kicked their asses.

Now, to be fair, these boys are in pretty good shape, and me, being older than their mothers, wanted to make a good showing, so I was motivated to stay with them. But still: I kicked their asses. Plenty of huffy puffy going on with me, but the way I tend to train made me realize that they may lift heavier and more intensely, but I train this way more consistently and more frequently. Plus this was my List, and while huffy puffy kicks my ass and makes my lungs hurt from breathing so hard by design, I was still standing at the end of it all. I may not be walking tomorrow, but I was still standing where they were collapsed in sitting, sweating heaps on the bench breathing hard.

Maybe next time they can show me what their regular routine is like, because the huffy puffy List was a lot harder than they expected. They even admitted it. So yeah, I have total bragging rights. They can try to say they were using heavier weights, but truth of the matter, for this stuff, I seem to be a bit better adapted. Several of their buddies stopped by to say hello and ask what the heck they were doing, and I gotta say the gasping responses and introductions were gratifying.

Now I get a brief glimmer of what it feels like to be trainer J. Way cooler than I ever expected.


#better-health, #diet, #emotional-health, #exercise, #fitness, #gym, #happy, #health, #healthy-eating, #mental-health, #positivity, #progress