Fall Fitness #9 – Commitment

Thursday was my ninth of 18 personal training appointments. Since my foot is significantly better but my mind’s response to this boo-boo is still in the fearful anxiety place, J thought it would be best to go over some work-around exercises to avoid loading the lame foot this week. Sometimes I think extra hand-holding for the neurotic nut-ball clients like me when we get our crazy on is the fine print in his job description.

This week was primarily weight machine based:

  • Lying leg press with just the left (un-boo-booed) foot/leg
  • Treadmill or stability ball hamstring curl
  • Leg extensions
  • Seated rows from 3 heights on the tower cable machine
  • Seated chest press
  • Lat pulldown

This was actually kind of different and fun than what we have done to date. The machines have a completely different feel to them than the dumbbells and mat exercises. Plus J is not shy about pushing the envelope of what I can do in the second and third sets, so I was rowing with 100 lbs. and chest pressing 60 and 70 lbs. and pulling down 80 lbs. Every time we add weight is kind of an eye-opening experience for me. As I said, I like the machines just fine; it is just feels different than our progress and exercises to date.

Every week we have conversations while I am performing the sets of movements and J is supervising/correcting/reminding me to breathe, tighten my abs, protect my lower back, unshrug my shoulders, etc. There are the same half-dozen phrases spoken 45 times in 50 minutes, which is an improvement over the 50 times in 50 minutes from when we started. The cues he uses are different for every client, but since I am a pretty relaxed and open person who is not not offended easily by questionable or graphic descriptions, he uses things that he has heard the lady trainers use in their group training classes (just about every one I have personally observed is all ladies attending) or with other clients. This week, instead of chest up and/or collarbones up, he used one he got from a lady trainer: “think of your chest bursting out.” Which is actually pretty effective; it made me laugh so I remember it during exercises requiring chest up, shoulders back set-ups.

On my goals update:

  1. Weight – Drop 20 lbs. ON TRACK
    Week 9 finds me down 1 pound since my last report. I do need to step up my efforts on healthier, cleaner eating, as I have been consuming a lot of crap food.
  2. Strength training – 3 times per week on my own. FAIL THIS WEEK
    Since my prior training session (9/24), I did not return to the gym until yesterday and my session with J AND I did absolutely nothing at home. No rowing. No arc training. No floor exercises. I would be a gold medal champion if sitting and fretting about a boo-boo (aka my plantar facia pull) was an olympic sport. It is definitely better now, and I am continuing to ice it twice daily to keep the inflammation in check. I was back rowing this morning, although at a bit slower pace than usual. I will be back on track by next week.
  3. Stretching/Flexibility – 3 to 4 yoga practices per week. FAIL THIS WEEK
    Again, none this week. I will be back in the studio on Sunday and have plans for at least 3 next week.
  4. Cardio/HIIT – 3 days per week. FAILING
    I have not put forth much effort into this, and I should. Since I essentially did no cardio this reporting period, I really am failing at this goal. I need to set my rower to an interval program and just do it.
  5. Post updates each week. ON TRACK
    Here we are – update from session 9 of 18. This reporting period was a bust as far as goals go, but we all have setbacks, failures, lazy, feel-sorry-for-myself moments that stretch into an entire week. But I am owning up to it and committed to getting back on track.

I did acquire the sturdier pair of running shoes for the gym last Saturday. Other than strolls around the house to try and ensure they are the right fit and feel, they have not been on my feet for actual exercise. Even yesterday while working out with J I was back to my minimalist shoes, mostly out of habit. While at the running store I acquired a toe-less plantar facia support compression sleeve to wear on the boo-booed foot. At first it was uncomfortably tight, but as the days have passed and the foot has felt better it has become more and more comfortable, particularly while standing up and walking on my treadmill desk or at the gym doing my strength/toning routine with J. If the only thing it is doing is healing the breach in my brain, the way it is lessening my fear of another hard pull is worth the money invested.

J frequently speaks of power lifters he admires or has read about in our sessions. Yesterday he told me the story of Louie Simmons, a power lifter who apparently once broke his back lifting 800 or 900 lbs. THAT is an injury. To those guys, my foot pull is a little boo-boo, which is how I have taken to referring to it. J was not telling me the story to shame me in my little pity party or because I am being such a baby (although I openly admit I to being a baby about this), but to inspire me to keep trying in spite of the fear attempting to fester in my mind and derail my progress and efforts to date. We did rest it this week; everything we did utilized other parts of the body and put no strain on my foot. He gave me exercises that could be accomplished even if it begins acting up again in the future.

The significant change for me, though, was I have been worried about working out. In past lives I would have been secretly celebrating a valid excuse to bail on training and exercise. This time, my concern was not wanting to cancel our weekly appointment and break my learning streak. Yes, I feel like the girl who has not done her homework and was sure to get called on in class, so of course this week J texted me a “how’s it going?” inquiry along with confirming our appointment. He rarely does that, because I am typically blowing up his phone daily with a question or a comment about how it’s going. Not a single peep was heard from me at all last week, so I suspect he figured there was an issue with the foot or the mind or both.

I have been attending our sessions faithfully each week for 9 weeks now (longer if I count my initial introductory sessions), and I look forward to whatever we do every Thursday now. It’s part of my routine – Thursdays at 8:30 equals training with J. Period. Blocked off, must be something significant to change. As we were finishing up yesterday J remarked that he felt like I had a solid 90% grasp of the foundational basics for strength and toning training, along with the caveat that no one really has 100% of it, including him. We will continue working on these things, building my strength and endurance, but I believe we are about to embark upon a new phase of learning with some different and more challenging tasks. Later in the day I texted him to be sure I understood the 90% comment, that it was the foundational basics and he was not about to abandon me in the wild and expect me to figure the rest of it out all on my own. I mean, there is way too much equipment all over the gym that remains shrouded in mystery to me. He confirmed we were have just barely uncovered the tip of the strength training iceberg, and in my mind it is a huge, Godzilla sized, fire-breathing iceberg. I have so much yet to discover. And the oddest part of that realization? I am actually very excited about conquering the Godzilla. Never in my wildest dreams have I imagined myself saying such a thing and actually meaning it.

It is truly a change of heart and mind. My confidence in my ability to learn and become some kind of athlete is increasing.

So it is in this spirit that I recognize a significant step forward in my exercise and fitness journey. It is something I do to live a longer, healthier life. I do it for me, so I have more quality time with M and those I love most. My selfish streak says I want to be here to watch our life stories unfold and to have the ability to step-up and participate and not be helpless on the sidelines. But more and more I am realizing I want to be strong, I want to feel powerful, and I want that rush of joyous energy that comes from picking up a 30 lb. dumbbell and being able to move it up and down without harm to myself or others. For a woman who once thought 8 lbs. was a lot, this is kind of a big deal. And I am beginning to recognize and accept that in the timeline of possibility, I am an infant just discovering there is a whole world around me.

I expect to be reporting better results next Friday. Until then, happy weekending everyone.

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