Monday morning, training with J. It was a weirdly productive session, with both of us arriving with some sort of low-level, low-energy malaise. J at least has a reasonable explanation; an entire week of suffering with and struggling through a head cold/sinus infection and zero opportunity/ability to work out himself. Me, I trained or practiced daily, enough to develop a gym tweak in my right knee, but other than a running nose, I’m perfectly healthy. It’s possible I might want/need to cut back on the caffeine intake, because I was stress slamming black tea last week to keep myself focused and pushing with work. I already know I am going to regret this with the weaning off headaches, but at the time it seemed so necessary.
Despite all that, we had a fantastic teaching day session. I am already looking forward to review day Thursday because life outside the gym will be quieter and calmer for me, and I am starting my wean-off the caffeine today so I will hopefully be sleeping more restfully as well.
Kitchen Sink Thoughts
Today was a measure of a lot of little things. Some things I have taken for granted, some things I obsess about with inertia, some things that I forget in the day-to-day business of living my life and some things that were once a flashing neon sign are now not even the faintest blip on my radar. For the most part I see this as yet another notch on my progress belt.
We go session after session, week after week, and it’s a hugely positive and makes me incredibly happy to feel successful at a process (exercise) that has eluded me the majority of my life. Being a realist, I have idly wondered what would happen when the training day happened where I am just not feeling it, or J is not at his 100% professional best. Because even people who have one-on-one clients are not 100% on their best professional services game 100% of the time. We are both extremely conscientious people, and it’s unfair of me to expect that J will be bring the high-level great game every single week into infinity. That I am so extraordinarily spoiled and his average so-so game is 1000 times better than every other trainer at my club – yeah, it is noticeable to me when he’s not feeling it.
BUT, I expected that long before J brought just his A-game (versus the typical A+) teaching to our sessions, I would have a low energy, low enthusiasm day and it would be less fun, rewarding, enjoyable for either of us. Today was one of those days. I felt unusually fatigued and kind of blah. My boring was shining through.
Despite my deep-seated fears that I’d lose every inch of ground gained in the last 2 years (almost), the session was excellent, as always. Was I high-energy go-go-go? No, but in truth I rarely feel like I am the high-energy go-go-go client in the tribe. I try my best, and occasionally my best feels like it’s falling flat, falling short, not good enough. Such thoughts flitter through my mind on occasion every now and again, but so rarely these days that their flittering makes me stop and take notice. What was I doing that made me think THAT?
For the most part, nothing unusual. In my somewhat weakened, fatigued state negative girl made a random no-guts-no-glory run for the roses. It happens, the world doesn’t end, I barely missed a step in whatever it was I happened to be doing at the time. Most significant detail that stuck with me today? That my overhead presses felt so heavy and challenging. Far from the end of the world as I know it. If anything, it’s just a small reminder that review day is Thursday and I sure better be better rested and have my head back in the game. Heck, I have scheduled a mostly personal day tomorrow to kick-start return to normalacy after a crazy April.
Because I was so low energy this morning, I had no idea what to expect. In the end, it was fantastic and fun. It was a slow-mo teaching day, yet another branch on my PHA (peripheral heart action) (aka huffy-puffy) tree. I learned some new movements. I gained some insight and refinements on things I already know. And while I was not blazing new trails with my pepped-up pacing or blinding other gym members with my super speedy sets, I got my sweaty-and-gross on and was breathing in a more labored manner. It was all very good. I also came away with fresh perspective on new things, the way we do things, and the larger blocks of exercises. As is my habit, it gives me a lot of little things to chew on in practices on Tuesday and Wednesday in advance of Thursday’s review day. Because in addition to writing these recaps, I am thinking about Lists my while going about my days. Sometimes I even stop and run through them in my mind and within the confines of my office.
Exercise geekery at its finest.
Pondering this morning off and on throughout a pretty busy day, I recognize that I have a positivity expectation and bias attached to training. This is a Very Good Thing and probably doesn’t matter a whit to me if J is in a cranky mood (hey, it could happen). When I don’t feel like showing up, I do it anyway because hyper-responsible self says I better REALLY be sick to last-minute cancel. After the oversleeping event a few weeks ago, I wake up every hour for several hours before the alarm goes off to ensure I get to the gym on time. So there’s that. But as more time passes, and as I sort out my Wednesday morning practices that seem have not been happening for about the last month, I will overcome and figure it out. My mind has settled down into a place of acceptance that maybe this is what I need to do right now. It does not make me some super slacker or worse.
I have been enjoying my Wednesday evenings in the gym, preferably when I see tribe sister K and have time to catch up. But even on nights when I’m there by myself doing whatever, it’s a nice change from the morning crowd that I enjoy seeing every day. J’s Wednesday class of ladies are always warmly welcoming as well, so it just feels like my time as well. It makes my lollygagging and sleeping in later on Wednesday mornings not quite so bad or a reason to beat myself up for phantom sin.
Low energy today – not the end of my exercise career. I will sleep better tonight and have a mostly personal stuff day scheduled tomorrow, so it will be a nice break from work. I am actually very excited about starting my solo practice with last week’s List, including those nemesis-worthy stability ball toe raises. This new calf work is going to take a little adjustment.
I am very pleased with how my exercise odyssey is evolving. Of late my interest in some extra allotment of time for dedicated cardio outside my daily gym List of the day practice has been elevated. If nothing else, 30 minutes on my arc trainer would give me 30 minutes of productive reading time. In truth that’s what I miss about doing time on a dreadmll at the gym – an uninterrupted block of time to read. But, not sure I want to do another 30 day challenge. Professional life will calm considerably after tomorrow’s tax deadline, so perhaps it’s something to consider. Or not. Maybe it will just be a novelty item I add to my rotation just in case I need to lace up some yet-to-be-purchased hiking shoes or boots and hit the great outdoors. Heck, maybe I’ll even learn to like the great outdoors – it could happen.
Something else to think about after what seems like a very long April thus far.
My most important impression and thought from today: I’m very lucky to be capable of doing all I am doing in the gym right now. I’m fortunate to be able to still learn how to do things, and to grasp the why as well as the how of it all. There is so much where I instinctively know that more practice and technique improvement are needed, yet there is no anxiety or fear anymore that I might ultimately fail or be unable to make myself try hard enough. Even if I am going slo-mo on my own for an extended period, sometimes that’s what it takes to make it sink in for me. This is also why I love our recent methodology – teaching or introduction of new or revised or revived List on Monday, review of Monday’s List on Thursday.
I don’t want to get to the point where I take my fitness progress for granted. I don’t want to get complacent and lazy and start believing I know enough now. The way Lists are created remains this big giant mystery to me, but I don’t care if J utilizes other fitness professional resources and adapts them for me. I feel challenged by the Lists, not so much the exercises themselves as the higher rep ranges or the weightier weights. I have falling hard for the mixing it up process, because I had no idea the rhymes or reasons behind the strategies of good fitness habits. Now I could possibly, probably puzzle it out on my own, but the feedback loop I have established with J is invaluable for me and is most definitely the fast forward to progress while bypassing the early frustration.
In fact, we were talking this morning about a blog post I’d read about the people just started t exercise and folks who have been at it awhile and are well trained. Thankfully, I finally identify with the latter group. This does not mean I know more or am more skilled so much as I just have been working at it consistently for awhile and have decent work capacity. While I wish I had read this article 2 years ago before I started, reality is I would have had no context for understanding what the Coach Patrick is describing. So much of this applies to me 2 years ago or even a year ago. I could probably go back through my archives and pinpoint when I became more comfortable and more confident in the gym and my exercise pursuits, but my scaling new plateaus has been so slow and steady it is as if I am suddenly 1000 feet up and wondering how I climbed that far without noticing the change in altitude.
There are moments when I think I have started taking that for granted, that I will always be meandering upward and forward and not suffering a setback that knocks me on my ass. Maybe a low-energy session is warranted every now and again, to remind me that while no one is perfect, some things are so amazing and make me feel so accomplished and good that it feels as close to it as an experience and journey can get. Same with the occasional gym tweak. Even though it is hugely annoying to have something hurt (this weekend, it was my right knee) and have to stop my usual rounds of activities, it is a good reminder that I am far from invincible and need to continually be mindful of my form and technique no matter what else is going on around me or how confident I might feel.
Silver linings? Absolutely. I have worked hard to earn my Pollyanna nickname for seeing them everywhere.