Fall Fitness 2015 #5 – Get me back on track, please

Thursday was my fifth of 20 personal training appointments. Because of our vacation the time between appointments stretched out this time, but J was ready with a whole new set of exercises. There are probably more technically correct names for these things, but I didn’t get my instructions paper with them specifically listed so I’m winging it.

  • Elevated heel glute bridges
  • Bear planks
  • Single leg squats
  • Bench rows with dumbbells
  • Chest press with dumbbells
  • Hinges with dumbbells

The first sets of glute bridges and bear planks had me thinking I am NEVER going to be strong or capable. But just as quickly as the thoughts formed in my head I banished them and instead focused on J’s coaching for proper form and technique. And breathing – I am still figuring out how to breathe and exercise. Learning this stuff requires practice and discipline. The learning how to breathe seems almost more challenging than developing the strength in my lazy muscles. Really, I cannot believe how difficult it is to simply BREATHE while trying to perform these movements correctly, and since J is reminding me 50 times in 50 minutes (not really, but sometimes it sure feels like I am in the special needs breathing class) I know I have a long way to go to make that part come more naturally. But by the time session concluded I was moving 20 lb. dumbbells up and down (bench rows) and feeling pretty good about my balance with the one-legged squats. In my future there might even be a day where I think “oh goody! I get to do bear planks today!” Until then I will make myself make it work for me. Patience and practice, practice and patience.

On my goals update:

  1. Weight – Drop 20 lbs. ON TRACK
    Week five finds me neither up nor down. With exception of coffee I was very disciplined about eating while away on vacation. Once home and faced with the overwhelming workload requests and my type A personality quirks flaring badly, I nuked the discipline and resolve completely. Today is not a lot better, in that I have hardly eaten anything much of the day, but I exercised this morning and will eat a healthy dinner tonight before yoga. By this time next week I hope to be reporting that I am back on track with 3 healthy meals each day and maybe even having the scale go down.
  2. Strength training – 3 times per week on my own. ON TRACK
    From my prior training session (8/24), I worked out for 5 days straight with the stretchy loops J loaned me and the bands I had. The last day of that streak was Sunday, though, and until yesterday I did not so much as look at a weight or stretchy band much less lift or utilize them. No cardio either; even worse than not strength training. Back on the wagon today, though, and have renewed my resolve to get back into my normal routines.
  3. Stretching/Flexibility – 3 to 4 yoga practices per week. VACAY DERAILED
    I was at yoga Tuesday before our vacation for a total of 1 practice in almost the almost 2 weeks between reports. I went last night and have classes on my outlook calendar with their annoying alarms to me get back on track this week.
  4. Cardio/HIIT – 3 days per weekKINDA ON TRACK
    We walked/hiked a lot while we were away, but again, I was a slug when I returned and only started back on my cardio activities yesterday. Maybe I will have something new to say about this after we return from trip later this month.
  5. Post updates each week. ON TRACK
    Here we are – update from session 5 of 20. Despite my post-vacation transgressions, I do feel things are going well overall.

This week I thought 20 times daily about cancelling my session, because I am busy and stressed, have not done my exercises as I should, and I felt under pressure and failing. But routine and consistency are important, and I am glad I did not allow my perfectionism to generate pointless excuses for cancelling on J.

I have given up all thoughts of an end-game with fitness and am instead adding a semi-permanent “training” line item that ensures I continue working with J through 2016. Something could change – he could change jobs or fire me as a client – but at least I will be financially prepared to pay to continue this service. Strength training is starting to get harder, and more interesting. I was very impressed with myself being able to use 20 lb. dumbells, and I suddenly have this powerful desire to improve upon that. First set he put the 15 lb. weights on the bench I had real doubts about being able to do much with them, so it was quite a shock that I was able to perform the exercise with minimal difficulty. On my second set he moved up to 20 lbs., and I was delighted to find I could actually use them as intended. The bench press I’m still on measly little 12 lbs., but for a first time I am happy with anything heavier than the tiny single digit dumbbells. J had an interesting observation – men walk into the gym believing the are stronger than they are and women believe they are not as strong as they are. I am so happy is true of me.

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