Thursday morning, training with J. We were back and working on lower body with the hip-heavy emphasis. And today, today THIS happened:
It does not happen to me very often, but I snapped my heavy mini band. And I’m THRILLED! Once upon a time this felt like way too much for me, and today, it finally broke after months of regular use. It had gotten stretched out during the process of transitioning to the extra heavy band that I use more and more frequently, and knowing we would be mini banding today, I prefer to use my own rather than have to dig through the toy box and try to find something suitable.
Honestly, this feels a bit like one of the early colored belts in martial arts, as if I have advanced to some new level in the exercise realm.
Kitchen Sink Thoughts
When I arrived at work today, my receptionist trailed me into my office as he does most mornings. This is usually his time to tell me about what is on his agenda for the day, what he is having issues with, where he feels like his workload may be suffering and getting my approval to either fall a little behind on some routine tasks or my blessing to work some extra hours to stay caught up. One of the best hires I have made in years, he learned his first day that telling me about things with even remotest potential of blossoming into a problem up front is always going to benefit both of us when the perfect storm of circumstances hits. On top of which, I enjoy the interaction first thing in the morning. It gives us a chance to chat and stay connected before the craziness and demands of our days truly begins.
Anyway, with yesterday’s staffing drama and some time away from the office to absorb and process the impact and meaning of it all, I was not surprised he was a little on edge this morning. While it’s not nothing, it is also not enough of something to impact the remaining staff. We have plenty of work ahead, and had the “fit” of those released be better, they would still be with us. It’s the whole story.
But on the tail of that reassurance, my receptionist said he was glad it was Thursday, becasue I am always in an extra good mood on training days. I was kind of surprised by the comment, as I do not perceive it as being a thing. He says I look happier and more relaxed, the way everyone looks, feels, acts when we win or settle a case in a way that feels like a win. He hastily added that I am not angry or sad or depressed when I come in, but I’m extra sparked on Mondays and Thursdays. That makes me smile.
Because while I do have so much fun in training, I had no real idea there was any sort of noteable carryover into the rest of my day. To me it seems there is a happy life baseline that I hover around, and while I have my bad days – Monday morning was actually one of them after an early morning argument with M (over storage location of a kitchen gadget, which obviously has more to do with forces outside our relationship to trigger that level of snarky meltdowns on both sides) escalated into an anger ball on the inside sort of day – my ability to cope with my emotional imbalances has improved dramatically. Exercise has become my go-to outlet that lets me focus on something tangible and within my control, and I can steadily increase weights or reps or set ranges until I feel the burn of the emotional outburst released via burn in my muscles. It has become a genuine game changer for me.
Yet I came into the office in my mostly normal “tone” of demeanor and attitude. While I had flashes of rage about the angry exchange with M, in my heart and mind I recognized it for what it was – stressure from work and work-related problems following me home. I cannot get really angry with clients or staff for their demands and incompetence (okay, maybe a little on that with the staff), but I could freak out on M over being mildly critical about placement of a food chopper. Training with J certainly helps a great deal, because he teaches me to focus on form and shape and let go of the rest of the crap inside my head, as did the yoga class with my work pal, and writing my recap. By the time I actually got home, M and I were both our calmer, normal versions of ourselves.
So there was that today. I had come home from the gym feeling fantastic and carrying my prized broken mini band trophy. M was duly impressed with my triumph of
breaking my toy wearing out a piece of fitness equipment. Having watched me numerous times walking up and down hallways in hotels and our home with mini bands around my legs he was not at all surprised I finally wore it out.
More than just that, though, today felt uber huffy-puffy without actually being huffy-puffy-focused. Shirt soaked, sweaty and gross – I worked really hard and was completely immersed in it today. So much that when J said something about being at the midpoint of the journey, I could feel my heart actually start breaking with what I thought he meant.
He was actually speaking of lifespan, because at 55 currently I am middle aged no matter what longevity calculation is used. When he first said it, I immediately thought he was talking about my fitness and exercise journey, that I was at midpoint of what I could or would learn about being more physically fit. Since it seems to me like I barely know much less am yet capable of doing even less than that, my disappointment felt palatable. Then I realized he was not talking fitness at all, but about lifespan. Which made me feel so much better, because if I am only at the midpoint of life, I have plenty of time left to learn how to do more on my better health and overall fitness journey. Even if there is stuff I have little interest in pursuing for myself, I have this expanding curiosity to know about all things exercise, fitness, and health related.
A big giant step forward is that when my mind processed what I thought I was hearing, it was more a “no, this can’t be all there is” rather than a “I am too old and too dumb to learn anything else” type thought and feeling. Anymore, I know this to be untrue. In fact, Wednesday night I got to observe one of J’s powerlifting ladies working out an issue that has cropped up, and it was not-so-secretly gratifying that others have similar types of issues with compound movements and occasionally have to break those exercises down into steps before they are capable of the smooth, fluid, all-in-one movements as intended.
I love that once explained, I could see the subtleties and the issue he was describing and working with her to correct. I love that I actually understood the objective. And mostly, I love that there are ladies in the club wielding 165 lbs. on a barbell with elegance and grace, something that I cannot fathom and do not see in my future at this time. Anymore I never say never and retain an open mind on better health topics, but I am perfectly delighted with my dumbbells and machines in my present moments.
J said to me this morning that part of his job is to challenge me. Which immediately made me wonder how much challenge there is in that? And right on the heels of that thought was the hopeful idea that it gets more challenging as time passes? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter that much in the big picture scheme of things. We have a lot of fun in our sessions; I am at least as lively as other clients in the tribe in my efforts. But it’s fun to try the new things, to listen to the cues and the corrections and enhancements. Improvement is gratifying and is its own reward.
So while review of today’s List is not technically classified as a huffy-puffy List, the impact was very heavy-breathing, take-a-moment (or 5)-to-catch-my-breath type session. I love that I am not kicking myself for being imperfect with it, and I confess to eagerly awaiting delivery of my new set of mini bands to take them out for a spin. In the meantime, I will work with my remaining extra heavy band.
While warming up this morning, I was contemplating my various friends and other tribe members currently having issues with strains and injuries. I want them to get better, and it definitely reminds me that I need to continue taking care and trying hard to avoid a similar fate. Which brought me to my warm-ups of late, where I have been woolgathering and doing things outside the List in my head. I like the TRX for squats, split squats, single-leg hinges, etc. Then I like the bands for a set of rows and chest presses, straight-arm pulldowns, tricep presses, etc. Basic stuff that has mostly been on the warm-up Lists for awhile.
But today I am contemplating the mini bands for warm-up. Maybe a set of sideways, forwards and backwards. Sometimes I fall madly in love all over again with things we have not done recently, and I realize how effective it was/is to my overall sense of well being. The fancy-smancy Fitbit tells me I had a 78% cardio day, whereas most lower body days are more like 60% cardio, 40% fat burn and flip-flopped for upper body days. Huffy-puffy are something in the 75% to 85% cardio range.
I mentioned it because I have some lingering old anxiety about about huffy-puffy pacing. Little portion of mind’s real estate that is still influenced by negative girl broadcasts fear impulses about failure to keep up. Such bullshit. Whether I keep up or not is irrelevant at this point. My fears are based on the idea that I am lazy about the exercise or worse. Growing stronger, becoming more capable is as simple as flipping a switch and voila! I am officially able to keep up with J or others who have been toiling at this craft for far longer than my 20+ months.
The newly remodeled space requires adjustment, learning to get along with the new equipment, placement of the older equipment, running up and down the stairs bands or boxes or something else, etc. Could be a lot worse. But like everyone else, I am adjusting and making it work for me. Someday soon I will forget all about the former body fit room, that I still kind of miss for the possibility of music on the speakers if nothing else, but for now, I still miss the way things were. Plus, it seems like every single day there is a new something in the room taking up more and more of the open space.
Many hours later, I am still a-bask in the glow of yet another successful and gratifying session. Tired, sweating buckets, lungs aching from the huffy-puffy breathing.
I love this. I have never felt more successful or been happier with any hobby or non-professional pursuit. I worked hard, I earned, and damn straight – I deserve to feel this kind of great.