PT-22.2: Snap! (but no crackle or pop)

I am sort of torn about splitting recaps into multiple posts. It is mostly working, yet I apparently have so much to say it takes awhile to sort out my thoughts and get them committed to screen. In my mind both parts of this equation are important to me for different reasons, and if it takes an extra day to get the second part written, so be it. There is a little overachiever inside my head that things I should be capable of thinking, typing, writing faster. Reality is that I’m rarely satisfied with my effort when I rush through it.

Key Takeaways

The snapping of a mini band while it’s wrapped around the ankles kind of stings, but the actual reality of the momentary pain is actually less significant than what my imagination produces. I was completely unprepared for how ridiculously excited I was about it actually happening. The session and the day have both been so good the mini band event has direct, head-to-head competition for the best thing that occurred to me today.

I like the peppier pacing with the mini band walking to and fro. Other than trusting no one is going to plop themselves down in my path while my back is quite literally turned and I am engrossed in the walking backward process, I feel pretty confident about my abilities in this regard. After all, it’s been months since I actually toppled and fell down with mini bands wrapped around my ankles.

Overall, I think today easily qualified as a huffy puffy session, even if the List is part of the upper/lower splits series. I hesitate to ever label a session as best or even better, because then it feels like something spectacular must happen to top it. Yet the trend continues. I get so much out of training. I learn something new, he presents a new challenge and it is either possible with practice or not quite there yet. How odd that I feel no sense of failure if I am not quite there. Yet. My new favorite word when it comes to exercise and Lists – yet.

What We Did

Mini band lateral/forward/backward walks and straight leg glute kickbacks
1-legged Romanian deadlift with dumbbells

Bulgarian split squat
Goblet squats

Step-ups
Curtsey lunges

Sumo squats
Lateral lunges

How It Felt

While J has the mini band exercises on the List as one big tangled ball of exercise, and since he is very wise about this stuff, I think of it in terms of one big exercise of 15 yars of walking per series of walking back and forth and then another 20 per leg of glute kickbacks. The crazy/sexy/cool love affair with mini bands has begun anew, and while I impatiently await my new set to be delivered, I shall nurse along my final extra heavy band. I love the way the walking and the kickbacks make me feel powerful, like I can snap one of them in half. Sort of, anyway. After any number of months pass. But hey, it happens.

Today we dropped from a pair of 15 lb. dumbbells down to a pair of 10 lb. dumbbells and it made all the difference – I had a far easier time with the 1-legged Romanian deadlift with dumbbells. I still have the weeble-wobbles and am not lifting rear foot that far off the ground when I am not using it as the kickstand that keeps me from toppling.

Still hating on Bulgarian split squats, but doing okay with them. We do these in the 1.5 version, which seems even more difficult and sweat-fest inducing. But for the most part I have the shape down and remembering to stay rib-tucked all the way through. Now if I could just figure out a way to make the easier to execute.

While we have been doing goblet squats forever, I am sure today was the first time we have used a 25 lb. dumbbell for the weight – kind of a big deal when we graduate upward to a weightier weight. I think most recently I have been using the 15 lb. kettlebell, so it’s a bit of a jump. No issues, just feeling it in my legs and glutes. Happy feels, though, and like discovering some old, beloved toy in the deepest, darkest corner of the toybox and remembering all its fun qualities.

One of the biggies for the day was the step-ups. J had commented that part of his job is to challenge me, and today he wanted to see how I would do with the tallest box, which I THINK is 30″ tall (up from the 18″ box I have been using). Now, I do not ever jump on these things; I step up or climb up on them. Took me awhile to get to the point of competency stepping up and down, much less hip hinging at the top, but I got there. Adding another foot to what I am accustomed to stepping up on and balance is not there. Yet. So we positioned the box right next to the big giant suspension frame so I had a handhold to step/climb up onto this tallest box. Legs – either of them – are not quite strong enough to pull myself up to that height without handhold for balance, but I will get there. I was just so amazed to be able to make it work for me even with the handhold.

In my version of Hell, I try valiantly to get the shape of curtsey lunges correctly executed as well as trying for more than 9 consecutive push-ups. I know this because of a vivid nightmare on Thursday night where I am surrounded by flames that only get worse the harder I struggle with these exercises. And that pretty much illustrates my experience with the curtsey lunges. Hate. Them. Bobbing near the top of my nemesis stable with all the version of chest flyes I do battle with every week. Obviously A LOT more practice is in order. Monday there was a change in the depth of the backward sidestep. This time I worked on the depth of the backward step and ensuring the weight is on the front foot, not the rear foot. Ugh. I’ll get these. Eventually.

Another ridiculously exciting development with the sumo squats – graduating to a 55 lb. kettlebell. Not ever going to say it was easy, because it was insanely exhausting. But maybe a little (okay, a LOT) of fatigue is the cost of improvement. I now find myself looking at my feet – are they wide enough, maybe too wide, foot turned out the just right angle? Still, stepping up to this weightier weight and being successful with the rep range is a huge triumph for me.

We actually skipped the lateral lunges today in favor of extra time and energy spent pursuing improvement on the curtsey lunges. As you can tell from my write-up about progress with those, I obviously need the additional session time and practice.

Practices Between Now and Monday

Friday morning, I did a quick run through upper body. I slacked just a bit because of a late start. Plus my focus was just not in it today, which also happens from time to time. Not quite a bad day, or a worse day, or anything else. Sometimes life happens.

Tomorrow I will be back at this, I think. Depends on timing of my arrival and how much traffic upstairs. Still, it will be lower body something. Whatever I do this weekend, I have to add the push-ups. Otherwise I may find myself haunting the Hell of my dreams too frequently for my own comfort.

Kitchen Sink Thoughts

Find them here. My final thought from the day:

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#diet, #exercise, #fitness, #food, #gym, #happy, #health, #healthy-eating, #inspiration, #mental-health, #nutrition, #positivity, #progress, #weight-loss

PT-22.1: Snap! (but no crackle or pop)

Thursday morning, training with J. We were back and working on lower body with the hip-heavy emphasis. And today, today THIS happened:

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3/16/2017 – Heavy mini band snapped from several months of regular use.

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.

#diet, #exercise, #fitness, #food, #gym, #happy, #health, #healthy-eating, #inspiration, #mental-health, #nutrition, #positivity, #progress, #weight-loss

PT-21.2: 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.

Key Takeaways

No matter how far I may drift with machines and dumbbells and weighty weights, I love, Love, LOVE my mini bands. Along with them, the 15 yard blue grass carpet is starting to grow on me as well. Like a fungus. Seriously, no idea why they chose blue fake grass; I googled just to be sure, but it seems to occur nowhere in nature.

I try to remember what body felt like before I began regular exercise. Every now and again I completely fall apart and eat or drink crappy food that used to be part of my normal before I began the long, slow slog to organizing my life into the better health quest. Junk food Tuesday was moved to Monday (yesterday now), and while that In-n-Out cheeseburger tasted really good, my first french fry (all 5 of them) in months was a mistake. Under the very best circumstances, In-n-Out fries are a mistake for me and food to be avoided. But sometimes it is good to feel the consequences of our choices to remember why things are a bad idea.

Yoga last night with a couple of pals from the office. Really glad I went, yet find I do not miss it all that much now that I go only occasionally. While I periodically think I could potentially be more bendy and flexible if I spent about half as much time in the studio as I do in the gym, it is so far away from my priority it is an impossible thought to seriously consider. Truth is I am not a good candidate for classes on a long-term basis, and I vastly prefer the one-on-one of training with J so I can actually ask the questions that are pertinent to me, no matter how inane they may seem in the moment. Yoga seems to talk about the impact on internal organs and that is so far removed from where my understanding and way of thinking thrives. After the gluts-focused training session and sitting through meetings and such much of the day, the stretching made a difference.

The build a better project continues. This was not really a lower body day so much as a hips and glutes intensive kind of day.

When writing these recaps, there is no rule that I have to write them in the order of sections I have selected. Periodically I find myself stumped about what it was I meant to say, and I will sit here staring at the screen trying to force my mind to pony up the goods. Mind is a stubborn beast; it tells me in effect to go pound sand, it will reveal what I want when it is damn good and ready. Moving on to something else and circling back would probably be a lot more productive.

What We Did

Names may not be quite right because J had not updated the List as of this recap writing, but what we did today:

Mini band lateral walk
Mini band forward walk
Mini band backward walk
Mini band straight leg glute kickbacks
1-legged Romanian deadlift with dumbbells

Bulgarian split squat
Goblet squats

Step-ups
Curtsey lunges

Sumo squats
Lateral lunges

How It Felt

As noted, I love my mini bands. From the introduction over a year ago, I find my concern about tripping over my own feet doing the mini band lateral walk has all but disappeared. Now my biggest concern is keeping upper body still – no swaying back and forth, please – and keeping the band stretched around the ankles hip width apart while taking tiny steps sideways. Looks kind of strange, but who cares? Plenty of weird looking activities going on all around me.

For the mini band forward walk, I feel like that Stay Puff monster from Ghostbusters. I mean, seriously, the boy had some major thighs on him, and he had to sort of step out sideways to walk forward. Such is the case with the mini band forward walk – you sort of step out wide and forward down the blue astroturf. I believe it is the pressing outward against the restriction of the band wrapped around the ankles that causes the effect, it works. My legs and hips feel the impact.

Walking backwards under any circumstances is a challenge for me. I mean, it’s seriously unnatural. The mini band backward walk seems only slightly more challenging than the whole leap of faith that you’re walking backwards and not going to trip over something or someone you cannot see in your path. Once I got the slight lean forward and the pretensioning hips with each step into place, everything seemed to work better.

We closed out the mini band series with the mini band straight leg glute kickbacks. Love these things, and they are extremely effective. An essential exercise in the build a better butt project. After the walking sideways, forward, and backward, it sort of layers neatly on top of this series and my glutes are lit up like the national Christmas tree.

The struggle with the 1-legged Romanian deadlift with dumbbells continues. Whether the 15 lb. dumbbells were too heavy for my balance or if I am simply going to have to work harder at getting gazelle intense on my focus remains to be seen, but I am back to using rear foot as a kickstand and slowly elevating it off the ground as I find my balance point. What seems like it should be a setback is merely another step in an ongoing journey. I find it gratifying that I am not at all freaked out about this ongoing nemesis symptom. This is another version of the same 1-legged RDL; I will learn and adjust to doing these with weights in my hands. After all, if everyone was good at everything right out the gate, J would be out of a job. Cannot have that.

I wonder if there is anyone anywhere who likes Bulgarian split squats. They are effective – huffy puffy personified. Not doing badly with them, although it is the sure fire way to get me to break out in visible, dripping-down-my-shirt kind of sweat. I just need to remember to stay rib tucked and maintain that on the up and continue trying to break my pop-tart status at the end of the repetition and my tendency to stand upright. We also went through how far away from the bench the forward leg – way far, where the shin bone is perpendicular over the ankle versus closer, where the knee is pressed forward out over the foot. The impact seems to be on where you feel in the lead leg, although it has an interesting effect on the back leg as well in the way it folds and bends under and makes me understand the range of motion that entails. Left to my own devices, I am sort of between the close and far positions, probably leaning more toward the far. Not incorrect, just another lesson in the various ways to get this done.

Back to basics with the goblet squat. Before this session, the various foot position differences between the power squat, goblet squat, and sumo squat had never really occurred to me. This was the first squat I learned, and while it is not difficult, it gets confusing to remember all the tiny fine details when they have not appeared on a List for awhile. I like them. I am competent with them. I am mostly trying to stay aware of the butt back, upper body still portions of it. And not shrugging. It is amazing to me how many occasions I want to shrug up when shoulders should be mostly relaxed or pushed back.

Step-ups have been step-ups with hip hinge at the top, which is always fun and kind of flashy. This time we did them sans hip hinge but with dumbbells. What I recall from the last time we did these, I have been working on the lean forward prior to stepping up. This time, J said to continue the lean forward but to try to incorporate it into one smooth step-up motion. So something new, another element to focus and work on.

Which brings us to curtsey lunges. Ugh. Dislike these only slightly less than the lateral lunges yet to come. But this was the biggest refresh of the day. Last review, we worked on the upper body and its shape and placement. This time, it was about the backward step portion and it seems my reach was a bit long. J demonstrated and I have a much better feel for these, even if my execution remains in need of more practice. At least I have a clearer understanding of what to do now to get the greater depth of contraction in the muscle. Icepicks in the sides of my ass.

The sumo squats – had a strange new problem with these yesterday. Got the wide stance down, had the right weight of kettle bell, focusing on form with butt back and pressing knees as widely apart as possible. However, all of a sudden I let my upper body relax and was dropping a shoulder with the weight of the kettle bell and going sideways like Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills. J caught it immediately after my concentration fell apart and I knew immediately what went wrong. Shoulders back, keep upper body tight. All this cuing running through my head and if I lose focus for even a second, it all falls apart. Seems regrettable when it happens, but in truth I learn and have lessons reinforced when I make mistakes.

Someday I will have to figure out what it is about lateral lunges that has such an ick factor for me. Maybe it’s the non-bendy part of me? Either way, I feel like I should do a set of these per day along with the arch nemesis pushups to develop something akin to affection for this particular brand of lunge. But for now, I settle for the endurance test of getting through it. Not terrible, not horrible – just a grit my teeth and get them over with.

Practices Between Now and Thursday

Thursday (today) was an upper body day on the FreeMotion machine. All went pretty well until near the end, when I inadvertently attempted a high concentration curl with too heavy a weight and tweaked my weaker shoulder. No snap, crackle, or pop, so obviously not the end of the world. I am sure I have had worse tweaks over the course of this journey.

Tomorrow will likely be a full-body huffy-puffy List. Because maybe I have not had enough lunges of late.

Kitchen Sink Thoughts

Find them here. My final thought from the day:

IMG_0015

#diet, #exercise, #fitness, #food, #gym, #happy, #health, #healthy-eating, #inspiration, #mental-health, #nutrition, #positivity, #progress, #weight-loss

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.

 

#diet, #exercise, #fitness, #food, #gym, #happy, #health, #healthy-eating, #inspiration, #mental-health, #nutrition, #positivity, #progress, #weight-loss

Consequences

Over the last 24 hours, I have been thinking a lot about consequences. Good consequences (well controlled diabetes without medication) and less desirable consequences (eat junk food, struggle with gym practice). After this much time, I would think I would know better about good food, bad food, junk in, junk out. But nope. I still do kind of dumb things. After a few (dozen) trials and errors I typically learn my lesson, but all too frequently there is a largish span of time between making the mistake and be more aware and choosing more wisely.

My registered dietician friend recommended I test the Shopwell app. It’s a bit of a shortcut to see how nutritious my food choices are for me based on my profile. Because we have already been through the calorie counting (nope, unlikely to do it ever again), he thought I might find this particular app useful as a guide to help me have a more instantaneous understanding of my food choices.

Thus far, everything I eat routinely (that is not fresh fruits and vegetables) is either a so-so to weak choice (regular breakfast and lunch foods) or not in their database (protein powder). Who knew the reduced fat mayo with olive oil I favor had sugar? Which is helpful to know, but I’m unlikely to start using mustard on anything other than hotdogs (extremely rare indulgence), corndogs (even rarer than the hotdogs), or cheeseburgers. I am an extremely picky eater, and I have systematically excluded a bunch of junk food from my diet and now find body wants to rebel if I consume too much of it in one sitting or do not eat a more balanced meal.

Still, I can see why RD would steer me toward this particular app. It’s quick, convenient, and since I pretty much eat the same foods over and over again, it would be a fairly once-and-done thing to know how well or how terrible my regular foods are in my overall heathy eating strategy and why. Like anything related to tracking, I’m very wary of it. Too much and it will become too overwhelming and feel as if I am constantly being judged. Using it as an educational too for a little while, until the novelty wears off, should not harm me. If I find myself backing away from the smoked turkey I love because of too much something, then I will know I have gone too far with it and have to delete it before I am eating nothing but lettuce and water.

Like that would ever happen. I am far too fond of dressing to eat a dry salad.

What’s been most interesting about my food intake missteps of late is the boomerang effect from holiday overindulgences. I have been detoxing and eating pretty well in January, so maybe this is what normal people who have better eating habits and consume a wider variety of foods experience when they wander off the reservation.

I chalk them up to good learning experiences.

And speaking of learning experiences, tomorrow is training day – review day, too. Current trending is we do new stuff on Mondays, review on Thursdays, which is perfectly fine with me. I love training days, period. But J texted and dangled a new PHA (peripheral heart action) style List, but he wants to wait for Monday so we have adequate time. And if you are terribly impressed with my exercise terminology, I had to google it to ensure I was certain of correct phrasing. The term has come up, but that 6 or 7 training sessions ago. My reference – huffy-puffy – is much more direct and to the point. But I’m learning the lingo and will not have this bewildered expression when it comes up in conversation.

 

#diet, #exercise, #fitness, #food, #gym, #happy, #healthy-eating, #nutrition