PT-21.1: Maturity rising

Monday morning, training with J. More review days, but with new twists. Today we worked on lower body, sort of hip-heavy emphasis. What old is new and fresh once more, especially since some of these things have not been on the review table in awhile.

Kitchen Sink Thoughts

Emailing with friend J this morning enroute to his own workout with his gym buddies, a group of much older folks he refers to as “maturity rising.” I have co-opted it for the blog post title today, because it fits. He will be so thrilled.

I always wonder how people get good at things I either do not understand or cannot fathom myself doing. Professional athletes come to mind. Rocket scientists, engineers, architects. People who knit, sew, crochet. The list of things I have no to limited interest in or time to learn how to do seems infinite, whereas what I know how to do and am good at – much shorter, briefer, more concise lists.

When it comes to exercise and my own Lists, review days are priceless. Does not matter to me if I know something cold, I still enjoy the J stamp of approval that all in well in my execution of exercises world. Majority of the time, I am on the right track with a few tweaks or adjustments. Review days, I live for the tweaks and adjustments. Because more information and education help me improve and increases my confidence as I adopt and adapt to the freshly reviewed Lists.

Like others who become good at their chosen discipline, practice seems so imperative. I rarely perform the same List 2 days in a row, but I do focus on getting through the various active List rotation every couple of weeks. There is plenty of overlap and if I am having issues with a specific exercise, I will add it to another day as a standalone practice to work out the kinks or try to replicate the shape that I remember J demonstrating.

In my own way, this is my own maturity rising. I still count on trainer J to set me straight on the bazillions of small tweaks and ways I may be going awry, or simply show me a better, more efficient, more productive ways to wring every last ounce of work out of any given movement. While his ultimate goal may be client independence, not happening with me anytime soon. But if he leaves for some tropical paradise for a month on the beach or running naked through the jungle with spears or something (he has no plans of that nature that I know of, but at the same time, trying to think of someplace where he would be completely out of touch via text or email), I would be fine on my own in the gym. I might even have a few new questions or questionable to downright bad habits to break upon his return.

Yet despite all that, I know my willingness to experiment and test and experience limited success or even unexpected stabs of ouch have their benefits. My sudden recall of old cues or directions from long-ago sessions or conversations has increased. While I have the occasional gym tweak or pain from something I am doing (or wearing – heels of late are killing me), I am careful and conservative in the weights I choose and have suffered no lingering injury (thankfully my desk is wood so it is nearby to superstitiously knock upon it). A big part of session recapping is to cement the cues, comments, instructions into my head, so I have a better than average chance of recalling. And I have been known to scroll back through old posts during practice to see what I said about a particular List.

This is a very long way from my start and bursting into tears of frustration over the TRX exercise gone wrong. It has been quite awhile as well since I was blowing up J’s text almost daily with questions about something List-related. Part of that is time, experience, and now depth within my exercise library. I occasionally feel like a rebel without a clue in my trial and error events. Sunday, my fun day in the gym on the days I go, I veer off List and do things that sound fun, whether it’s an older version of something or just pieces and parts of my favorite exercises from various Lists. It’s lighter weights and longer rep series. Or seeing what happens if I go a little off script or sideways in pursuit of improvement or enhancement and how all that feels. Because I view this as a bonus day, I am less concerned with formal practice of a pre-defined List. It is typically very educational for me.

I meet with J twice a week, and there is plenty of room for questions that have occurred in the days inbetween. Anymore, rarely is there anything so very pressing that I need to interrupt his personal time to answer some burning question about the degree of angle on cable donkey kongs kicks. If I am that confused about it, I would simply choose another List or substitute something else.

Musing today about my slowly increasing levels of experience, not to be confused with expertise. Sometimes the fatigue sneaks up on me, and I feel myself faltering way before what I feel like is a reasonable amount of time. Frustrating to be faltering in the first block, though. At the same time, it makes me want to redouble my efforts to overcome the fatigue and keep going, maintaining my discipline to push through despite my muscles being ready to do something else.

This determination feels like new behavior, and truthfully, I am not sure how brave and committed I am to following through and making it happen. Then again, a lot of time and practices have passed between the beginning of this quest and now.

It is a curious thing – I feel very little cellular level personality trait difference between when I started in 2015 and where I stand today. Yet, here I am, at the gym at least 6 days per week and putting forth genuine effort to be all I can be with regard to exercise. I know my habits have changed. I know I have improved. The glimmer of lingering doubt despite my increasing confidence in my abilities persists. Not a terrible thing, that. It keeps me honest and striving for the next plateau of better, and probably prevents my ego from expanding and suffocating other unsuspecting members using the gym in the same time periods with me.

Musings from the weekend about weight loss and exercise – if body were a new car I was considering, exercise would be part of standard operating equipment and weight loss the super plush heated leather seat and fancy-smancy paint job – whatever bells, whistles, gizmos that come with a luxury upgrade. Whether that is a correct way of thinking or just where my mind is stuck on the topic, I find my acceptance of it extremely comfortable. Now, if I weighed significantly more or had ongoing chronic health problems I would see weight loss as a mandatory safety feature and newly mandated upgrade that must be implemented.

I am dutifully following the 27 day fat loss prescription – protein shake before gym, piece of fruit after gym, sensible lower carb lunch (most of the time – today was an exception) and dinner with lots of vegetables and a pieces of fruit. Not weighing myself daily, only on Friday for my check-in with my group. And since I have settled this in my own mind, I am most definitely back to my typical happy place in life and not stressing over food and depressing myself with thoughts of my failure and loser qualities.

Fitness marketing is so awful, evil, and hard on my psyche. I genuinely enjoy the good doctor and the trainer running the program, even if the drastic slash-and-burn technique is not really for me. Because trainer J is such a great resource for me, the workouts provided are an intriguing footnote. Everyone, every body is different. Blazing my own path within the parameters provided seems to be working out for me.

Reading about my companions in their beta program, we seem to fall into a couple of different groups – those with 100+ pounds to lose and sedentary, those with some undetermined amount of weight to lose and in the diet mindset and looking to kick-start with exercise, and those who are actively exercising and looking to carve off another 10 to 20 lbs. in the shortest amount of time possible. Then there is me and a couple of others just trying to figure out food to build upon better eating habits.

Bottom line for me: body does not do well on 1200 calories per day. Body sends blood sugar crashes, headaches, cranky-bitchy version of self out in to the world (obviously because of blood sugar crashes and headaches, not because I am starving body to crankiest-bitchiest base self). The fancy-smancy, judgmental Fitbit tells me I typically burn 400 to 600 calories in a practice, more if it’s leg day and there are lunges, squats, or both on the List. Not that I believe it, but if knowledge is power Fitbit is generous with its oversharing.

I also believe my genetics and physiology play a role, and an almost entire life of sedentary lifestyle is not easily overcome. I can afford to be patient; I like the clothes I am wearing right now, and a new season is about to start and I have a whole pile of things to try on and see what fits and if new or replacement pieces must be purchased. While I do not want to be too comfortable in my weight range, also want to be functional in my life while changing or altering or adjusting my eating habits and ratcheting up my activity levels. Sensible is being this comfortable in my own skin, not depressed and hating myself or body for its shape or size. Responsible is getting myself out of bed and to the gym each morning and doing my best to burn through a List with huffy-puffy pacing and good form.

Feeling particularly blessed and fortunate lately to have good and positive influences cross my path and share their wisdom. Love seeing my peers and tribe friends in the gym, doing what they do with their own Lists and pursuits. I love that it makes me feel inspired and determined to stay the course in pursuit of my own next plateau. No lunger deflated or like a failure or unmotivated and clumsy, I have a good place in the thick of our tribe.

Maturity rising? Yes, I suppose I am growing up and developed my own sense of assurance. But also confidence and a really foreign sense of grace, even if my balance is still imperfect and I weeble-wobble all over the place. I remember the starting line. I remember all the negative emotions that zinged through me and made me feel so small and so weak every balance-related exercise J would coach me through. Funny that that version of me seems so distant now, buried under my “oh well” shrug of shoulders and head-shake to clear my focus and try again.

The journey from here of having to work so hard at it to there and getting it has not definable distance; it is just a matter of practice and building the strength and endurance to conquer it. If the exercise journey is an iceberg as J initially described it, scaling it is not a linear line from beach to tip. There are ledges and snow caves and precipices that I may fall into and have to climb back out. And each time I reach a new waypoint, the next destination appears on the horizon and I start all over again from a new square 1. There is no middle and no end. I was brave; I took the first step. Now I just keep going with an occasional backward glance to admire the view from where I am right now.

I find my vision of the infinite iceberg ridiculously exciting and strangely comforting. It is hard to see myself as falling behind if there is no end or finish line in sight.


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