It’s raining here. While we desperately need the water, it’s irritating. Because my hair is emulating Puff the Magic Dragon in hair form, standing on end and simply hopeless.

I just needed to get that whine about my first world problems out before it further poisoned my system.

Training with J happened on Friday this week rather than our usual Thursday. It was a perfect storm of circumstances – another trainer being ill all week and J stepping up to help to cover some of her classes. My wilder-than-usual Tuesday resulting in client meetings and therapy for me rescheduled to Thursday AND my former full-time job owners finally understanding that yes, I am easing out and away from them and that they need to make some choices about replacing me and the chaos that has ensued.

It feels as if I gained an extra day. I practiced Thursday night and crossed paths with J between his training appointments, and he asked me what I wanted to cover today – did I feel like review or should he press forward with writing a new routine, adding difficulty or new exercises. In the moment I did not have a clear answer, which he understood, and we agreed that I’d text and let him know after I got home. The question did force me to think about and face what I have kind of been feeling: I need more time with the latest Lists and I wanted/needed a refresher/review on a warm-up he had adapted for me.

So today was a very chill session of reviewing the warm-up and then going through some massage with a tennis ball and a foam roller. I have seen people using both – there is a class on Thursday mornings that overlaps my sessions that has it as a regular thing – but this was my first experience with it. Handy dandy little gizmo, that tennis ball; it does work well on loosening up tight shoulders. The foam roller is also intriguing for massaging/stretching the upper back and shoulders, and this was my first time out with it. Will I continue with either of these devices? Perhaps on occasion. I am not a massage person, so it would be unlikely to be my first step if I am feeling tightness in my shoulders or neck. But now I have been exposed to it and felt what a difference it could make for me, so I may wander back toward it again. Time will tell. It was a great way to spend part of our session time today and have new tools for my exercise toolkit introduced.

Today’s substance was actually review of the lower body warm-up routine that debuted on December 31, 2015. To refresh:

A1. Goblet squat
A2. Hip side to side
A3. Bulgarian split squat OR reverse lunge
A4. Hip airplane
A5. Goblet squat

While it has only been a few weeks and this is a relatively simple warm-up routine, I have been hesitant about it, specifically the airplanes. Anything where standing on one foot is part of the exercise tends to give pause, and on this one, I was struggling to remember how far I was supposed to bend forward and what it was supposed to feel like. Combined with my just-enough-to-be-dangerously-destructive-to-myself knowledge of yoga, I was nervous. When I’m nervous I need to walk through it again slowly. So we did and it was fine. The routine is solidified in my mind and I will be adding it to my practice rotations.

The further we move along with this exercise, training, practice stuff, the more of the subtle nuances I am acquiring. From Monday using the cable machine I acquired new food for thought on doing squats and sumo deadlifts, so every day this week that I have been performing either I have been thinking about what my  knees and legs and feet are doing, are my hips lowering adequately and knees expanding as hoped. I can definitely feel the difference between pressing off from my heels NOW versus what I thought was pressing off with my heels just a few weeks ago. So I am thinking about it, all the time, and I feel like when it’s better it’s a lot better. And when it’s not I can typically pinpoint where I went wrong and will try for better the next one or the next set.


While I frequently refer to training with J as a partnership, I have to remember that he is steering according to my desires about our next waypoint on our journey. When we got started I was so uninformed about resistance training type exercise we had to start at the very basic basics of how to move. I do not exactly cringe looking back, but I do feel like it was a bland gray blur. And it’s fine; we all start somewhere. My goal then was to learn how to do this safely so as to not harm myself or others in the process, and that has not changed. Now I know how to do a lot more things competently, though, and that opens new doors and new opportunities to learn and move in other directions.

But I cannot run until I know for sure how to walk and lots of other things, like how to get back up when I fall down. From life with runners, I know there are zillions of subtle nuances and different ways to improve upon training and performance. Only now is it dawning on me that the same is true of me and my own exercise journey. While I am functionally able to perform the exercises on my Lists, from experience I now know there is a point where everything just clicks and I suddenly get it and feel far more confident in my overall competency. These newest Lists – I am not quite there yet. The exercises are the same or similar, the order is different, and the cadence we are striving to meet is definitely different. What surprises me the most about the new direction of my thoughts – it’s not freaking me out. I need more time and practice with the 2016 library as it stands right now, and J’s review feedback only helps to make it stick. Realizing it is okay for me to be requesting more time to review and to practice is not a failing, and oh my, what a refreshing place this perspective is for me. Perhaps it is even a step forward for me to recognize and acknowledge that I do not feel 100% sure of myself with these routines yet. More time, more mastery before moving on to the next big (or even little) thing can only be better for my headspace if nothing else. But there is so much “else” in this stuff that taking a little time-out from something new is like the best idea ever.

Okay, maybe not the best idea ever, but what a strange epiphany it is for me. It was not that long ago that I would be feeling guilty or stupid or like the special needs client because I am still making discoveries and refinement on the squats, something we have been working at since about week 2 of training. But who cares? I am the only one keeping score, for lack of a more accurate description, and I promised myself this year I would lighten up on me and the “shoulds” in my life. I embarked on this journey with J because I wanted to learn how to do something other than very basic cardio for exercise and I am succeeding. I am learning, I am practicing, I am becoming more and more proficient. In truth I am the only one pressuring myself or presenting expectations to have perfectly mastered everything on each List last week. To my credit, I can competently perform a basic squat, BUT I can also see, hear, and feel the cues that say I could do it a little differently, and maybe the nuanced differences are even better than before.

Being a new fan-girl of Scott Abel, in his Anti-Diet book he refers to weight management as “the process is the goal and the goal is the process.” My takeaway from that is another way of stating a cycle of continuous improvement and challenge, something that directly applies to my exercise adventures and that J has been saying to me in one form or another since the day we first met. Seeing it that way, I don’t have to feel like I am faltering or failing because my quest for the end of the circle is not going anywhere fast. Acceptance that my exercise journey IS a circle and therefore has no end is probably the best place my head has landed in the months I have been actively moving along in this journey.

Maybe I am the one getting a little woo woo as we proceed. Maybe those endorphins (“dolphins swimming in your head” … thank you, B, for making me smile every time I hear or have occasion to use that that term) are reshaping my brain and my thinking. It’s good, all good.

Last night J introduced me to the client he was working with and made reference to the fact that “his people” come to the gym and practice. It was a casual comment, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m part of the TRIBE now! The good feeling was reinforced this morning when J reiterated that seeing me, his client last night, and 2 others regularly in the gym and practicing routines he has designed for us makes him puff up with a little bit of pride. I cannot even describe how pleased I am to be associated with such a group, if only in my trainer’s mind and observances.

My life is changing and enhancing in so many ways that cannot be measured by a scale or a dress size or even a weight I am picking up and moving to and fro. There is no measure for how much my spirit has lifted, expanded, grown, blossomed. So I’ll keep training, keep practicing, keep writing. Maybe the words to describe and to measure this part of the process are out there waiting to be discovered. I will continue the quest.

Happy Friday everyone!




2 thoughts on “Training #6 – Review, relax, part of the tribe

  1. I love that you have a tribe! And the break on new. As you say this is a circle (love that too) and these are building blocks – you want them strong and sturdy.. And you have mastered what I think is the most important one – you have learned to listen to your body and understand when you have to adjust for it be right. A hugely important thing!

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