Fall Fitness 2015 #15 – Elephants

Monday and Thursday combined to make 15 of 20 personal training appointments, because I currently have sessions scheduled with J twice weekly. On Monday I also re-upped my training commitment with a 40 hour package, which is a relief to get that off my worry to-do list. I mean, what if J were secretly plotting my firing after this this first 20 weeks of working with me? He is graciously reassuring that I’m a good client, but crazy brain is alive and well, only mostly muted right now. While things could change, I’m happy to not have to think about this again until spring. M is probably even happier, because I’m no longer obsessing over what happens after 20 weeks. In my online website account these first 20 sessions were referred to as “Intro Results,” and I started to wonder what happens after intro results is concluded. Is there a test? Is there possibility of flunking? Am I supposed to show some progress? After being with me almost a quarter century, M recognizes the signs of crazy brain in control of my thinking and chose to ignore my mindless fretting about something so insignificant. M was his usual encouraging self, observing this is the most consistent health and exercise-related thing I have done perhaps ever, with my recent streak of getting to the gym every morning. I have become kind of obsessed.

Once this 20 week fall fitness series is concluded, I will continue writing updates about my weekly sessions and progress (or lack thereof). It will likely be more informal and without specific goals attached, although I am still thinking about that component of it. In general, I am expecting the blog to take a different shape and direction next year, but again, I am still thinking about what sort of changes I want to make and how best to launch them.

Monday was review and technical critiquing:

  • Mini band glute bridges, single leg glute bridges
  • Mini band clamshells
  • Mini band deadbugs
  • Goblet squat with kettlebell, split squat with 10 lb. dumbbell
  • TRX rows, high band row 10/10/10 (both arms, individual arms)
  • Kettlebell sumo deadlift
  • TRX pushup, band press
  • Band resist rotation press
  • Band straight arm pull down

Thursday was mini band day and a couple of new goodies for my rotation:

  • Superset of elevated glute bridges and single leg hip thrusts
  • TRX shoulder safe fallouts
  • Mini band square walk (forward, backward, sideways both sides)
  • Mini band side and back kickouts
  • Mini band squat
  • Mini band glute bridge
  • Mini band scissors without crossovers
  • Mini band deadbug
  • Mini band clamshells

I was a little taken aback by the TRX “fallout” description. When J said it, my eyes immediately dropped to the floor, wondering what it would look like rushing toward me should I lose my grip or control of my arms and fall face-first on it. (My optimistic nature tends to be MIA when it comes to new exercises.) This was far preferable to the dreaded, hated, despised planks. But it’s still challenging. Maybe I will like it better after a couple of days of practice.

J had texted me before I left for the gym to ensure I had my mini bands. Of course I have my mini bands; they live in my gym bag, no matter which one I’m schlepping around this week. Thursday’s mini band workout was definitely sweat-inducing, but I actually enjoyed it, which gives me pause. Did I like it because it was easy? (oh HELL no!) Because it was a different sort of challenging? (possibly, probably) Because it made my ass feel kind of light and flexible and not quite big enough to suffocate the entirety of the weight room we walked through afterwards? (we may have a winner!) Yes, my brand of crazy is very similar to a dog chasing her tail. Either way, it was a routine worth exploring further, before I depart for a future vacation or break my gym attendance record.

On my goals update:

  1. Weight – Drop 20 lbs. TOO TERRIFIED TO LOOK
    Week 15 finds me without a scale. My fancy wifi digital model has decided to go on strike, and no pair of fresh batteries could breathe life back into it. Had this not been a bad week of eating and drinking debauchery, I might have ventured into M’s bathroom and his scale. I’ll get this sorted out by next week’s update.
  2. Strength training – 3 times per week on my own. ON TRACK
    Since my prior training session (11/5), I have continued with my early morning gym visits and was at the gym and practicing my routines for another 7 straight days. Go me! I like this sort of repetitive and boring reporting.
  3. Stretching/Flexibility – 3 to 4 yoga practices per week. FAIL THIS WEEK
    No practice this week. Again. I am a yoga studio drop out.
  4. Cardio/HIIT – 3 days per week. FAIL, FAIL, FAIL
    No rowing. No arc training. Barely any treadmill desk walking. I think the only cardio performed this week was the warm up I do at the gym each morning, and even that is not very vigorous or hearty.
  5. Post updates each week. ON TRACK
    Here we are – update from session 15 of 20. Despite my head-hanging guilt over lack of progress on my goals this week, I am not particularly upset or feeling badly about it. The gazelle-intense focus – gym and J’s training plans – is getting done daily and the practice does have me showing improvement.

In an earlier post I referenced a work-related “how do you eat an elephant?” cliché/comment and how irritating I found it at the time. Thinking about my forward progress with exercise and training it comes back to mind, even though I banned metaphorical elephant eating from any and all menus.

I get that this process is a step-by-step (one bite at a time) situation – building blocks, as it were. But there are moments when I really want to use the Vitamix, pulverize the elephant, and drink it with a straw. So not happening. What’s worse – I have no particular goal on my horizon that I am moving forward towards with great impatience. So if I feel like there is no tangible goal line out there, why feel pressured or rushed?

No, my most perplexing issue at this moment relates to a statement J made on Thursday, about letting him know how things are going with the programs he has devised, when they are easier to too easy. Today this has become the elephant in the room with us, whether we end up consuming it or not.  I wonder how I know for sure? I can navel-gaze with the best of them, my ability to overthink everything is practically legendary.

But maybe it is time to think about whatever is next in his mind?

Lately we have been doing form checks, J letting loose with his OCD technical eye on what I am doing right and correcting what still needs adjusting (he never actually classifies anything as wrong). And it’s been good and great on so many levels. The soundtracks in my head are updated and I am improving on the baseline stuff we have been doing. I am making progress. I am getting better, more proficient, even stronger. Most importantly, my mental fitness is steadier. I feel like I belong in the gym, no longer a poser or a pretender, but someone who actually is there to practice and gain additional proficiency. Does this mean it’s time to move on to the next big thing?

Left to my own devices, I loathe admitting I might be ready to step outside my present comfort zone. The unknown can be intimidating and frightening. What if I fail in splendid fashion? While I have yet to face-plant or land squarely on my ass doing anything, the thought always lingers in the back of my mind.

But hey, what if I do not actually fail or fall down? What if I struggle mightily, go back to 50 corrections in 50 minutes on some new things? J and I are still contractually obligated to spend the same amount of time together on Monday and Thursday mornings. Does it matter to him if he spends it tweaking my glute bridges and squats or teaching me something new? Probably not. Possibly he’s simply waiting for me to speak up. After all, Wednesday was a no questions day; maybe it’s a sign for me to move on to something new and return to blowing up his text daily?

Something more for me to ponder through the weekend.

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