Fall Fitness 2015 #16 – Dumbbell queen

Monday and Thursday combined to make 16 of 20 personal training appointments, because I currently have sessions scheduled with J twice weekly. This week also is a teaching week, in that we are ventured into new movements built upon the foundations I have already learned.

On Monday we began with introduction of these new exercises, and Thursday we refined, added more weight, and ensured I was getting the form done correctly. The list is as follows:

  • DB goblet crush squat
  • Tripod 1-arm DB row
  • Anterior reach lunge
  • DB curl to overhead press
  • DB rear shoulder fly
  • DB flat bench press
  • DB pullover
  • DB triceps extensions

As we were finishing up on Monday J remarked that I was the “dumbbell queen” except it sounded kind of bad. However, I rather like the term, because it’s good to be queen of something once in a while. It also served dual purpose this week – my forward step into weightlifting training and reminding me of all the stupid things I have done in the last month that inspired a variation of the “men are idiots and I married their king” axiom, only that seems so terribly insulting to the many brilliant and highly competent women I know and admire. My dumb stuff can wait for another post and not spoil my enjoyment of my dumbbell queen title this week.

On my goals update:

  1. Weight – Drop 20 lbs. ON TRACK THIS WEEK YET FAILING
    Week 16 finds me down 2 lbs. per the scale in M’s bathroom. Honestly, it feels like I am exchanging the same few pounds every week, or it could be this scale is different than the other fancy one that has failed me after a mere 5 years.
  2. Strength training – 3 times per week on my own. ON TRACK
    Since my prior training session (11/12), I have continued with my early morning gym visits and was at the gym training with J or practicing my routines for another 7 days. Today makes 35 days straight. Is it a habit yet?
  3. Stretching/Flexibility – 3 to 4 yoga practices per week. FAIL-ISH THIS WEEK
    Tuesday and Thursday nights were all I could muster. That 4:30 a.m. alarm requires a strict adherence to a 10 p.m. bedtime, and the class I usually attend ends at 9:15. The balance between going to yoga or staying on my sleep schedule … well, sleep is really important to me. I need to figure out how to incorporate a 6:30 p.m. weekday or sometime on the weekend class.
  4. Cardio/HIIT – 3 days per week. FAIL, FAIL, FAIL
    No rowing. No arc training. Treadmill desk walking and the daily warmup at the gym snagged me an impressive 10,000+ steps daily, so I suppose I am getting some general cardio work done. This has become something I barely think about, and I am surprisingly okay with that. I have only so much time and energy available daily for exercise and dedicated cardio is obviously not a priority.
  5. Post updates each week. ON TRACK
    Here we are – update from session 16 of 20. I actually feel pretty okay about the week, no complaints about where my focus currently resides (gym training) and I will sort out the yoga eventually.

Ahhh … goals. I do not feel particularly motivated by them, yet I do feel obligated to see them through. Right now it feels like getting up, going to the gym, doing my sets and NOT blowing up trainer J’s text with questions is the hallmark of a good day. Today is not going to be an especially good day.

It was a good week for training sessions and my practices. I still feel a little to a lot ridiculous working at the TRX 1-leg deadlift, but I am determined to become more proficient and keep trying. Other than that, I am becoming more efficient and able to get through my sets in the time I allot each morning with a few minutes leftover to try the troubling movements or personal favorites again. I continue to do battle with that whole sweat head and dry shampoo experimentation and now have the added complication of how high/low the daily ponytail should be based upon laying on the mat/bench. I know, I know – my life’s drama and daily whine are so silly. *smile*

With the focus and work on routines J has labeled Basics A and B, I felt pretty confident on the movements, even the things (looking at you TRX one-leg deadlift and step up/reverse lunge) I still struggle with. Learning new movements this week actually went really well and I seemed to have a good grasp for what I should be doing. For a woman who used to think an 8 lb. dumbbell was all I could muster, I am super impressed with my successful wielding of 25 lb. and 30 lb. dumbbells. There were a few seconds yesterday when I nearly panicked realizing I was raising and lowering 25 lbs. directly over my head, but J was standing right there watching, I was in control of it, and my genuine fear of dropping it on myself or breaking one of my shoulders faded. Mostly.

But that was yesterday. *sigh*

Today I went in feeling pretty good. Directions I left with yesterday was one set of Basics A or B or mini bands, one set of the new DB, and then another set of the other (depending on time) and I was fine with that. Except when I got started on the DB exercises, I started to doubt myself. Did I really mean to pick up that 20 lb. DB, or was it the 15? Thumbs turned in or turned out? Is this right … it doesn’t FEEL right? And on and on and on. I got through it, no one was injured, and I was careful about how I handled the weights, but the negative noise was on and the volume getting louder.

Of course, the negative noise also drowned out my common sense and manners. When I got  home I realized I forgot to put away the box I had been using. I debated driving back to the gym and putting it away, because I am a responsible gym member, but that would be weird. Right? Probably no one else worries about whether or not they put equipment back after they were done using it.

But back to the new stuff. These new things build upon what I have already learned and are technical but not terribly complicated. There are things I do not especially like yet – the bicep curl to overhead press comes immediately to mind – because it just feels wrong somehow. I cannot put my finger on what I might be doing wrong, but it did not feel quite right. I am such a dork! I watched J do this multiple times yesterday and went through a few sets of it myself without too much correction or adjustment. Yet I still feel uncomfortable and out of sorts. I run the cues in my head – tighten abs, shoulders back, chest up, don’t shrug – plus I am thinking about how to turn my hands for the curl and the upward press. Yet for whatever reason I’m still feeling challenged and blowing up the little movements into Very Big Deals in my mind.

I often believe there must be at least one issue per week or I am going to be unhappy. I grasped most of this and will be running through it over the weekend, but it seemed almost too easy to me yesterday. (GASP! Did I actually put type that out in print?) Where is that other shoe, when is it going to drop, and will it land directly on my head?

I remarked to J yesterday that I do not always understand my own thinking or feelings while we are training, and it’s only after I am sitting here writing my recaps that it becomes clearer to me. It occurred to me yesterday that I am feeling less Oompa Loompa and/or weeble-ish and more physically stable and sturdy (and it’s perfectly okay if you do not have any clue by what I mean by those references). It’s kind of empowering to wake up one day and have your trainer hand you a 25 lb. dumbbell, think he’s being REALLY optimistic, and then turn out I am actually able to perform the exercise as designed. It was not the f-you moment that puts that f-you bright and shiney sparkle into J’s eyes, but it crosses my mind now for the second time this week that it must get boring for him to be right all the time.

And I did fine with the DB pullover and its 25 lb. weight again this morning. I was thinking about the differences in pressing with hands versus pressing with elbows and tried both individually once before going to back to pressing with hands and elbows simultaneously.

Am I getting edgy about being successful? I was not sore at all this morning and kind of expected to be, which is not a terrible thing … I don’t think, anyway. But who really knows? I come home and have a protein shake every day, and I take magnesium daily to ward off random muscle spasms. I am working plenty hard, getting quite sweaty and gross daily.

Me chasing my imaginary tail is about the perfect picture of my thoughts this morning.

Maybe this is my signal to just smile and say a gracious thank you. Ugh. I do have a couple few lot questions for J. I will restrain myself from the plaintive wailing  about how I cannot do weightlifting right (playing on endless loop at this moment inside my head) and stick to the questions of the day.

And on another topic, since this is my weekly missive about fitness ….

One thing that comes up a lot lately in real life is how often or how much time I spend at the gym. I go in the mornings, spend about 90 minutes start to finish, and then I am completely done until the following day. Is that a long time? It does not seem particularly excessive to me, and while I work hard at it, overtraining is not something that would ever occur to me about me. Yet pretty much every day in the last 3 weeks someone has brought it up to me. Whether it’s a coworker or a friend, someone says “you reall need to take a rest day” or “you should not exercise every single day” to the point that I broke down and asked M about it. M, who runs every single day from token 2 miles to 25 or 30 miles in the mountains and has strong opinions on the subject, tells me not to worry about it, that those are people who spend too much time reading glossy health and fitness magazines and not enough time actually exercising. Okay, he put it in much more colorful and vulgar terms, but that was gist of what he meant. Yesterday it came up again in a different context, so I asked J about it as well, similar response, but in much nicer, more diplomatic terms.

So there I have it – I’m fine to go forth and practice daily. Originally I planned the daily practice so I could hopefully show some progress at my next session, but now I find I like the way I feel and my overall outlook for the day. Yeah, getting up at 4:30 sucks eggs, but I am adjusting and it is becoming my new normal.

My diet, however, needs some work. I test my blood sugar 4 times daily and I have been staying within the normal range since ceasing the insulin. However, it’s higher than it was and I need to stop stress-eating way too much crap and not drinking enough water and reign it back in. Perhaps my focus for the next 35 days should be cleaner eatering, more vegetables and protein and less carbs. I think that 35 days would incorporate both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it’s a possibility. My new mission in life is one without injected insulin, and if I have to eat only lettuce, steamed broccoli, and chicken the rest of my days, I will just have to learn to like it.

A friend asked me to do a 3.5 hour yoga dextox class this weekend. I hate to say no, but geez … 3.5 hours of yoga in a room heated to at least 95 degrees? I think not. Such a buzz-killing party pooper I am.

Happy weekending everyone. I am off to blow up trainer J’s text with questions … he’ll be thrilled, I’m sure.

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