Thursday morning, review day! It came up this morning how organically the training week has evolved this year – Monday we start a different List (i.e., not always brand new material), and Thursday we review what we did on Monday. For someone like me, for whom none of this stuff comes naturally, it works really well. For me personally, who started with this really negative, down-on-myself, not a kind word to think about myself, this schedule reinforces that getting it right, being perfectly adapted the first time out, matters less than trying hard to learn and pick up all I can from teaching and reviewing and practicing on my own. My successes are consistent as well, even if there is long lag time in between. Practice, practice, practice. Mastery in exercise and fitness is not like instant pudding – add milk and stir, voila! Dessert is served. And for as much time and energy as I have to put forth to get a good grasp on anything and everything, my finalizing products are so much richer and more satisfying.
Kitchen Sink Thoughts
Wednesday night I had the opportunity to work out with my friend and tribe sister, K, as we try to do most Wednesday evenings. Monday evening, when K trains with J, she had a bucket list moment doing a deadlift with the barbell. J had sent me pictures, and I dropped the phone in excitement when I opened and saw what she had done. My goodness – she looked so completely confident and happy and natural with that bar in her hand. Knowing how important this was for how, how it was something she looked forward to and dreamed about, I was beyond thrilled to see her succeed.
But what was even better – we were warming up last night and she was gesturing to the plates she had been using and expressing how happy it made her just looking at them. Her face just lit up talking about it, giving me the warm-fuzzy shivers as well. Honestly, now that I am making friends and associating with others who are as into the exercise learning process – it’s like a big new breakthrough for me. I have friends who exercise and who lift weights, but it’s not precisely the same. They are either pursuing a different type or style of fitness – M with his running, my friends who do Crossfit, my friends who have trained and lifted weights for several years – and while we have some overlap and commonality, there is little substitute for my fellow tribe members who are surfing the same sort of learning curve, even if their ultimate objectives are different.
At my core, I am a cheerleader. Not the stereotypical cute, perky, ponytailed cheerleader, more a supportive, motivational speaker-light, Pollyanna sort of cheerleader. You have goals? Yay you! What are you doing to make it happen? I actually love hearing about other people’s efforts with stuff – what works, what doesn’t, what vexes the living daylights out of them – and I really, really love it when things come together and success is achieved. Yay!
But – and there are lots of folks in my life who might smile indulgently in mild disagreement with this statement – I am realistic about life and ranges of possibility. For example, I might have a goal of being taller than my present 5’5″ height, but no amount of exercise is going to elongate my frame to make it happen and I will have to settle for wearing higher heels. (Thankfully I am perfectly happy at my present height and limit my heel-wearing to work and insist they must be comfortable high heels.) A pal who wants to be stronger and learn to use a barbell? Absolutely, it will happen. And I am delighted with and for her joy with this initial successful endeavor.
Thinking about this in relation to this week’s List, never going to lie on the blog – it has been tough. Everything about it feels difficult in one way or the other, yet I am not deterred, frustrated, unhappy, bored, ready to move on to something else. I find myself thinking about in idle moments, or when I need a break from the work in front of me. Those damn hamstrings – how dare they continue to defy me and not work the way I think they should be working? Or my idle ponderings about squat pops and the up and down motion and maybe I need more cardio? And I can barely bring myself to think about the TRX leaning resist rotation press because they seem so ridiculously out of reach difficult for me right now.
But even thinking all these less than positive thoughts about this week’s List, I am happy and satisfied overall. Because I’m not naturally gifted and I will have to work hard, practice more, and from that turn my present floundering effort into something far more gratifying from a success/not so much standpoint. I can and will improve. Hamstrings will gain strength and increase flexibility, but it will take time. Patience, while not my virtue, is easier to endure when I am not obsessively focused on one List.
My exercise library is quite flush; I suddenly realize I actually know more than I realize I know. This week’s challenge is not that big of a deal anymore, just the next big thing on my personal challenges. I am not on the verge of washing out of the tribe because my skill with the toe bridge falls a lot flat. Sunday I will be back to pursuing a full-on three set practice with this List, because I can use as much time as it takes to get through three sets and still self-correct as needed.
Being able to look at today, this week with its pluses and minuses and take it all in stride – big progress. I do not cry in frustration anymore. I do not get especially flustered or frustrated or even embarrassed. In this quiet time after the training session I plot my next steps. I do body weight movements of what crosses my mind and that I want to remember. I write my blog entries and tell my associates all about my successes and my no so muches (“failure” has been exorcised from my vocabulary and the blog with regard to training and practice). I think about what I want to do tomorrow and imagine how good it will feel to conquer another List of the day.
I don’t dwell at all on what I have not learned yet. If J has not bothered to write it in to a List as yet, it does not really exist in my universe. There are lots of things I see on Facebook from pro coaches and fitness experts I follow; there are lots of things I see other members in the gym performing. My mind process that as “that looks hard” or “wow, look at them go” and I move along to wherever it was I am headed next. I am in absolutely no rush to get somewhere else or attempt something that looks really cool; my library is full of things where I can do competent right now but know in my heart I want to be better. I am always, Always, ALWAYS scaling a new plateau even if it does not look like it from another nearby perch.
I believe the same thing is true of others as well. And I love that. I love that everyone I see in the gym every single day is chasing something only they see in their private view. My own Pollyanna hope is that they feel good about their efforts and that however they measure their progress it feels successful to them.
Most days, I cruise into the office with a smile on my face. I’ve been at training with J, or at the gym practicing on my own. Except Wednesday mornings; for whatever reason, last few Wednesdays have found me sleeping in until 6 or even 7 without any guilty for needing extra sleep. I feel fortunate and lucky to have the jobs I have and genuinely enjoy my coworkers – all of them. Where I have been happy in my non-exercising years, the sense of satisfaction I feel right now adds a new color and texture to my days.
On the days/weeks where I struggle or have to work really hard to struggle and still be perplexed to some degree with a List, this is kind of new height of normal for me.
Hopping onto Facebook, I find this little beauty from Coach Scott Abel:
My life is extraordinarily ordinary. M and I live pretty simply and are just an average couple striving to enjoy the life we have as individuals and as a couple. Do I have an extraordinary attitude? About things that are important to me, the things in my life I prioritize – I certainly hope so. Every day I learn more about myself, the people I love, the people I interact with routinely, even the strangers that cross my path. Maybe it is our personal pursuits of what matters most to each of us that inspires an extraordinary attitude and adds so much zest to an ordinary life.
Life is long, even if it last only another few hours or quite a few decades. With what I know now, with how I feel now, with how open my heart and my eyes. I want to use my remaining days trying to figure it out for sure.
The adventure continues.