New strain of gym crazy

It has been quite a week around here, and fortunately none of the noise and distraction has to do with my better health quest. Except for the stress I am generating, of course, and that is just part of how I seem to roll. I console myself that my stress vibe is significantly reduced from what it once was, if only because I am older, maybe a bit wiser, and care less about stuff well beyond my control. Unfortunately I seem incapable of scaling and crossing over into the caring not at all about the things I cannot control, but at this point my progress is good progress. The work-related stress disrupting my sleep – 2 more weeks and it should be mostly behind me. Always it is the unpredictable unknown that zaps my stress and pressure (stressure) levels. And this seems true for just about anyone, so no special snowflaking here.

I have 2 posts about 50% written recapping this week’s training. Probably they will be posted tonight, this weekend, when I have time to finish writing down all the details I like to capture. This week it’s been hard to block out time to just relax and write; I am either caught up on my hamster wheel thinking about work or actually working. I wonder how I did all this or if life were just less complex before I spent time at the gym.

But an unfortunate side effect of the outside world stress has me pondering work inside the gym as well.

Of late J has been working with me on push-pull routines with heavier (for me) weights and lower (for me) reps per set. All good! Except, I’m using my at-my-desk working time to listen to fitness podcasts and youtube videos. Learning a lot of new terms and gaining exposure to different ideas and opinions. It has me thinking about my own efforts. Finding less fault with me than has been usual and customary, yet still wondering if I could do better or be trying harder somehow.

My type A- personality disorder has been kicking in lately, it with the harshly self-judgmental aspect.

I like my daily gym practice. For me, it is for the best and it works. For me. Unlike M (who is almost a zealot in his passion for running and exercise), I do not ever suggest anyone follow my examples, yet I have been told all sorts of things about how bad or unsustainable going to the gym every day is for me. *shrug* I’m fine, thank you. Despite the doom, gloom, predictions of Very Bad Outcomes if I continue on my current path, I seem to be thriving. Those with the darker outlooks suggest I am some sort of outlier on the exercise and fitness path, but not really. I philosophically understand now that not only our fitness objectives differ but our process for getting from here to there parallels our differences. Perhaps it is as simple as managing our expectations and listening to body and it’s feedback.

With J and in our current training methodology with the push-pull, I am not learning new exercises as much I am learning how to lift heavier weights and maintain good form for fewer reps, typically a range of 6 to 8 (versus my normal 8 to 12, 12 to 15, 15 to 20, etc.). This is all good, of course; everything I do and learn in the gym is ultimately very good for me.

Until it’s not. Until I get injured (superstitiously knocking on wood). Or until some new strain of gym crazy starts to invade my consciousness.

As I said, I like my daily practice. I have zero intentions of giving it up, as tempting as it is to sleep past 4 a.m. during the week and 6 a.m. on weekends. But this morning, running along through my most time efficient huffy-puffy List of the day, I realize that there is some fear and anxiety associated with lifting weightier weights by myself. While in hindsight I recognize this is not that big of a deal – just do something else when on my own – but in my mind during practice it grew and grew and grew until the idea was some 200 foot tall and 300 foot wide elephant bursting through the roof in the gym. Full-on spin cycle in progress. By the time I got home I was practically breathing into a paperbag imagining my ultimate wash out of training and exercise and dying a 600 lb. blob of personhood because I am incapable of doing anything on my own.

Such bullshit. Negative girl must have blown up her cell and been set loose to run free.

Shower and actual food slowed my thinking down and brought me back to reality. The elephant shrunk to manageable beanie baby size, and I got back to the business of dealing with my reality-based thoughts.

I do have some anxiety about using the weightier weights on my own right now. Fair enough. Rational me (obviously not in the wheelhouse this morning) starts brainstorming ideas. Do push-pull only on training days for now, with extra heavy emphasis that for now is not the same as forever. Perhaps more review time with the push-pull we have done thus far? Possibly a fantastic idea! Means less prep work and planning/thinking for J (compiling new List of the day for the week) and boring times standing around hanging out with me while I work at overcoming this latest phase of crazy. But there are dividends. A less crazy client (that would be me) means less chance of phone spontaneously combusting in his hand with overload of freaked-out texts describing massively growing elephants.

For the most part, I do not see myself as rigidly inflexible. However, I like structure and routine. Every week, I have my basics of 2 days of training sessions and 4 days of practice, with freebies on the other day and the evenings I am there to hang out with friend K. For the most part, I rotate through my Lists doing at least a huffy-puffy, a plexes, and an upper/lower every week. The way J writes my Lists, whole body gets some work a few days every week.

Since I am not known for working at or pressed to work at the same sort of intensity J does in his own fitness pursuits, I have really good weeks with daily Lists. Anymore, I tend to be crankier when I fail to get some exercise in every day, even if it is only a meandering stroll with my work pals. When I have tried to take days off or what feels like too much time off, I find myself getting anxious about the break in my routine. Unless I am on vacation and away from home, at which time it equates to I am out of town, gym is out of mind.

This is not a big, life-altering issue. Mostly it is just me recognizing that I’m uncomfortable with The Plan (all in my mind – nothing J or anyone suggests I should be doing) for various reasons and trying my best to address it head-on. I like the weightier weight training, but I am now educated enough to understand that I cannot work like that every single day. Perhaps with enough training I can get there, but I feel somewhat doubtful. To put that kind of pressure on myself is to suck all the joy, peace, balance I have found in the gym to date, and that’s a sacrifice I’m unwilling to make.

However, there is simple compromise to be found. Doing weightier weights only on training days is probably best until I feel more capable in my ability to maintain good form. Confidence increases under the watchful trainer eye that sees all and tends to correct less desirable practices before they become ingrained as bad  habits. It also releases me from the feeling that I must practice or J will believe me to be some super slacker client. (Oh please – there must be some hidden switch in my mind that make clinging to that old thought pattern cease.) I understand that wishcraft is not going to get me from here to some point out there in my foggy forward view, but I also understand no matter how hard I try, how furiously I might push myself, getting there faster does not mean I cross the goal line and am done and can now go out for pizza like the game is over. Nope. The process is a continuous one, a choice I will make every day for the remainder of my life. Acceptance that doing whatever I can to stay active and pursue better health is does not end until illness or infirmity or death overwhelms me – sometimes it’s just hard to believe that I have been at this long enough to call it a habit.

My recent foray and immersion listening to fitness podcasts and youtube videos has more focus on weight training with the weight lifting emphasis. A lot of stuff on the heavy lifting, 3 rep maximums, training to fatigue, personal records. All that stuff does not interest me much, except as data gathering to understand what drives others. It’s fascinating – for someone else. For me, unlikely to be a pursuit. Since I am now around a lot more people who do this kind of stuff as a hobby, it feels good to be listening and acquiring the knowledge and understanding so I can be supportive and encouraging to others in my realm as they pursue their own, differing goals and objectives. And it gives me new batches of questions to ask J about while we’re working together.

But it sometimes leads to new strains of gym crazy. I thought myself mostly inoculated or immune anymore, yet I seem to be feeling the mildest inclination of anxiety. The shoulds are chasing me down today.

#balance, #better-health, #exercise, #goals, #gym, #happy, #health, #inspiration, #lifestyle, #work

Bad day, worse day, better day

I knew it would be a challenging day at the office. Laying off staff is uncomfortable and unpleasant and unfortunately sometimes must be done. Even while I knew it could be on the agenda today – there was still some debate raging Tuesday afternoon – by the time I got to the office this morning the decision to make cuts sooner rather than later had been made and it was actually more and therefore worse than I was expecting.

To add another layer to this, my morning at the gym was not especially productive, my mind distracted with the turmoil at the office. I went through my List, but it was a half-hearted effort at best. Yesterday’s minor gym tweak was also still haunting me in the form of a stiffer lat and shoulder on one side that made me think about it all through the practice.

These are things I mostly expect, because I want no one to have the genuinely bad day they had upon learning their job was no longer their job. It makes my poor showing at the gym into a realistic perspective.

I like to think former coworkers released into the wilds of unemployment will find a better job or at least a better fit somewhere else. And quickly, too. But I know it is the hopeful thinker in me trying to find the positive spin on a sad and stressful day.

When I left the office, the remaining staff had gone home for the day at the insistence of the bosses, who were ensconced in a conference room having an adult beverage before their evenings began. Knowing we are doing the right thing for the health of our firm does not make what in the moment feels like despicable actions. We remind ourselves that ours is a for-profit organization, not a charity organization to ensure unemployed lawyers and paralegals have salary and benefits and opportunities to disrupt a smooth-running organization. Somehow it seems so much easier to absorb and ignore a poor fit in a larger corporate environment.

I returned to the gym this evening to productively burn off some steam, and I feel infinitely better about my day and about things having done so. It’s not that I moved weightier weights and tired myself completely out with high reps and greater sets, because I actually went lighter and did normal rep and set ranges. Or less in some instances. Exercise is like my reward system, something good I do for myself, and it tends to blow out the cobwebs and negative impulses floating around in my mind. I don’t want to feel crappy about myself anymore, and the exercise, even the simplest things with the lightest weight, makes me feel so much better. About me, my life, my current circumstances. I can find a happy place where I am successful and conquering something, rather than just doing what has to be done no matter how distasteful I find it.

I marvel at how wonderful it is to have a healthy habit and lifestyle activity that will improve my mood and make my day better. And how new and ridiculously exciting it is for me to be this more empowered and confident version of me.

Maybe today is not so much a worse day or a bad day. It seems I work very hard every day, but sometimes the impacts of the work hits me harder than others. Good I have ways to cope and bounce back now.

And that is some damn fine progress I can quietly celebrate.

#emotional-health, #exercise, #fitness, #gym, #happy, #mental-health, #mood, #positivity, #work

Distraction pondering

I am frustrated. A minor blip on the frustration scale, but I recognize and understand the feeling and have to purge it from my system before it takes root and grows 20 feet tall.

Our gym is undergoing a facelift, and like all moves of this sort, a lot of things have changed and a lot of stuff is not where it has always been or anywhere else that seems logical to me. For the most part I can work with that, even think I am getting an extra dose of cardio with an extra trip up and down the stairs to get equipment I need or using a red band instead of my beloved green one. Not the end of my practice experience as I know it, and truly, not the source of my distraction.

The new space, though, is taking a bit of adjustment for everyone. I like the openness of the space, like that there seems to be more opportunities for people to pursue their own Lists and such. However, with the present state of disarray from the reorganization, it’s a process.

This morning, while working my List in one corner, a couple chooses to set their mat down and do their thing a bare 12 inches from the bench where I’m working. In the old space, would not have bothered me at all. Because it was familiar and I had acclimated to the layout and whatnot. New stuff – it seems fine as long as I have room to pursue my Lists until things get more familiar. Not even close to that point yet, and my psyche registered these people as crowding into my personal space. Unfortunately, there is only one bench up in the new area and I had no way to efficiently move it across the room. So I was suck with either sucking it up and dealing or moving downstairs. I pulled up my big girl capris and carried on.

So between these 2 people standing right in front of my bench and the bench being at the edge of a claustrophobic alcove, I spent half my mental energy fighting distraction instead of focusing on my work. I got it done, but the effort feels herculean for what seems like a minuscule gain.

It’s the addictive side of me talking here, writing this post. It’s the addictive side of me that thinks a do-over practice is in order tonight. It’s the addictive side of me broadcasting frustration, hate, and discontent when none of those emotions are necessary much less appropriate.

I rather hate the addictive side of my personality and am a bit disgusted with myself for being such a baby about the stressure.

But I also get it’s not just about the gym, the practice, or whether or not I burned enough calories in proportion to the volume of brain cells. It is something we are all feeling to a greater or lesser degree and trying to come to terms with in our own ways. At least I am not trainer J, who has to cope with this one some level with every single client as well as deal with his own irritation with management. Tough job right now.

My addict is screaming because the gym and exercise is usually my stress-relieving happier place, where I go to sort my shit out and feel better about things. Work is – OMG, work is INSANE the last few days and will be following me around all through the weekend. This is not lack of planning on my part so much a perfect storm of circumstances between my day job and own little business. And now my zen-inducing place is in disarray, so I am feeling a bit out of sorts.

The allure of retail therapy calls out to me. But I just did that yesterday and cannot allow that aspect of my addictive personality to come out to play yet again. I will regret it, especially as I am in the midst of major clothes and shoes and accessories purge. And this time I mean it.

Ah well. Me and my first world problems. Now time to stop my whining and get back to work.

#addictive, #exercise, #fitness, #gym, #obsessive, #work