First Monday and training session with J of the new year. While I hesitate to use this word, it was actually kind of fun. Some new stuff, repurposing of things I already know, and repackaging and voila! A new or at least updated routine. Works perfectly swell for me. I am such a creature of habit I pull out a list and go through each until concluded, so rearranging makes it seem fresh and new and different to me.
I am working from memory on this recap, so there may be revisions once I receive a final list with proper names and the correct order (the middle section is kind of fuzzy right now) (updated with proper names):
A1. Bodyweight 1 leg hip thrust
A2. Gravity pullup
A3. 1-arm dumbbell triceps kickback
B1. Bodyweight Bulgarian split squat
B2. 1-arm dumbbell row
B3. Dumbbell biceps curl
C1. Glute bridged dumbbell floor press
C3. Seated 1-arm dumbbell overhead press
We are doing my Lists differently. Whereas up to this point J did these wonderful pictorials and cues and instructions, now we are going to simple lists – what is an A series, B series, C series, and the order in which each exercise is to be performed and recommended reps per set. I have evolved and advanced! I no longer require pictures and the cues written down, and if I do need that, I have a vast library of older sheets available for review. Or in case of emergency, I can text J for guidance.
What I am finding kind of fun about this is that I am actually making progress and retaining this exercise stuff. Yes, I am still learning and working toward mastery on foundational basics, but dang, from where I started it feels like I have actually begun to climb Mount Everest versus aimlessly circling the base and wondering if there is a path that somehow leads upward.
That said, there is still such a huge amount of thinking that goes into comporting myself into movement and doing these things. All of them. Even stuff I find comfortably familiar (I cannot bring myself to use the work “easier” in relation to exercise), I still have cues and instructions running through my head. I am also thinking very hard about the working muscles and if the movement feels correct in the appropriate body parts along with any/all pre-engagement/tightening of muscles possible. But best of all, I am starting to do my own self-correcting and J is not having to tell me 20 times in 20 minutes to put my shoulders back (aka shrugging) or collarbones up (okay, maybe 10 times in 20 minutes on that one). Running through my scripts is starting to trip alarms when I’m untightening my abs or glutes or my shoulders are rounding forward.
Progress. Gloriously, previously unimaginable progress.
Now I am starting to contemplate number of sets as well as number of reps. The technical terms J used earlier escape me right now (it’s been a long day and I did not have pen in hand to write it down at the time), but I was encouraged by the idea of stopping briefly for a rest before completing the set. Or if the weight is feeling too heavy to complete the set, stepping down and completing it with the next weight down. Digging deep … I remember that part … and it was kind of nice to know that other people think about (and do) just bail after 2 sets and the minimum recommended reps. Makes me feel like a regular person struggling with exercise versus what the voices in my head whisper so malevolently.
The recesses of my head still think I am lazy and a pretender when it comes to exercise, and every time I feel as if I quit too soon the voices pipe up and taunt me about being a loser. I give myself credit – through the months of regular practice they have quieted considerably. Unfortunately I can still hear it, and I have yet to completely break myself of the habit of listening and absorbing that negative noise. So the ongoing mission is to silence them further or get to the point where I can completely shrug it off. Yeah, silence is better in this case.
Today’s routine is 3 fairly short series with only 3 exercises each, and with the amount of time I allot each day I exercise I could conceivably do more than the usual 3 sets I strive to meet. Lately I have been working at some combination of Lists totaling 4 sets, and it is occurring to me that 2 sets of 2 lists works a lot better than 1 set of 4 lists. Maybe 3 of this new one since it is so new and 2 of something else? I will decide tomorrow.
Right now I’m loitering in mini-band land, apparently trying to reshape my butt in 5 days or less. I am joking about that expectation, but after 3 days of hip-intensive mini-band work my glutes were having a foot-stomping dance party all weekend. A couple of sets of that short and sweet routine gets combined with a couple of sets of another List until I either run out of time or reach a point that collapsing on the floor seems like a fantastically tempting idea. The variety is nice, but I may turn my attention to more sets of a single list per day and see how that feels.
I have options now. I am a real gym person now (versus the Velveteen gym person I was previously?) and can decide to try and do more than the guidance J provides. Assuming I can maintain good form through the extra stuff, of course.
Or not. I tend to keep track and try to rotate my lists so I do not get completely burned out doing the same things daily, so we shall see how the week ahead progresses. J may write yet another new workout for Thursday, or we may review. I have yet to completely find a pattern or the method to J’s planning madness.
Looking back at 2015 and forward into 2016, I am pleased that I went with my instincts and asked J if we could increase to twice weekly sessions. While I now have enough layers of things to do that I would survive and thrive stepping back to once per week, I like the pattern and consistency that comes with twice a week. I am also no longer blowing up his phone with my daily barrage of texts unless I lose my mind and have a meltdown. With Mondays and Thursdays it’s always only a day or two into the future when I can ask where I am going wrong this time or get him to demonstrate yet again what it is I should be doing. I also have a broad enough library right now to be in the wild on my own without skating toward the edge of disengagement.
This is the year of figuring out food as well. And with that, I am off to visit the dietician and see what he/she has to say about diet to accompany my exercise. Hopefully it’s a positive meeting and helps with getting me dialed in on healthier eating patterns. Fingers and toes crossed for good results.