Training #16 – Just give me a reason

Thursday – really this time – and training with J. Today we ventured outside the little room where we typically work and into the main floor of the gym and a cable machine. We have used similar machines in the past, and I have been preparing myself for this new step in training. Honestly, it has been a transformative journey with J, and possibly I am among his the more neurotic in his stable of clients. From getting myself through the front doors of the gym for our sessions to becoming consistent about practice in body fit training room and now today out onto the main floor, it has been a bit of a weird journey. Previous outings with the cable machines have been okay, but not really my favorites. Today I was ready to move ahead and step outside my comfortable box, and I will be testing my resolve with practicing out there on my own tomorrow and maybe this weekend. I can do this.

And it is a good transition for me. We did nothing especially new today – just about everything is stuff done previously with bands or dumbbells or TRX or some combination of all that equipment. The people coming to and fro, using the other half of the cable machine or the machines around me did not bother me in the slightest. Because I did not have to actually move machine to machine to machine and could stay rooted using the same half, I felt a lot more secure in not displacing or inconveniencing anyone else. Progress.

What we did today (there are likely better names for them):

Straight arm pulldown
Row
Single arm chest press
Tricep pushdown
Facepull
Side-to-side shoulder thing
Curl

Overall, a really good session on upper body stuff. As I said, I will test drive this program again tomorrow and add the lower body sequence to make a complete program. Part of that will also be doing a gut-check on my nervous system and ability to work in the larger areas of the gym with the bigger pieces of equipment. While I feel pretty confident, I am unlikely to know for sure until I actually get out there and try it on my own.

I really don’t measure my progress with the exercise and eating except when it comes to health markers like medications and blood tests. However, I know my progress from training with J is evident in a myriad of unexpected ways since we began last summer. As the sessions and weeks have passed I have emerged from my cocoon of insecurity and fear into a stronger, more confident place. I am less likely to freak out about new stuff, although the clanging of weight plates still tends to startle me and perhaps always will. And at first I wondered if it was because we review and practice and reorder and review, and of course that is part of it. However, I am reluctant not going to minimize the amount of simple growth as a person I have achieved in these months of training and practicing on my own.

Looking back on prior cable experiences, I was coming off my first ever plantar fascia event and the cable machines alleviated the foot loading. Then we went to sleep on cable machines for several months until we explored the FreeMotion machine upstairs for the first time. Sometimes I fear J is actually reading my mind, because earlier this week I was contemplating taking a run through that routine again. I sort of cooled on that machine because there is only one in the gym and every time I happened to be upstairs it was in use, but that was also right after the first of the year and the influx of new memberships. And then last night he asks me how I would feel about revisiting cable machines. Why I feel SWELL about the idea (said without the slightest trace of sarcasm).

So I recognize, again, that my experiences are different as the weeks pass. I still find the heavier equipment room a lot intimidating, but less so than when I first started. Doing time in the gym itself has worn a comfortable groove in my nervous system and I feel more and more personally productive on my better health quest.

There is that, the physical getting stronger and more confident of moving weights to and frot. It’s real and I am very pleased to have stuck with it and kept my eye on a future of doing more with my daily practices. Doing tricep presses this morning J pointed out that I have this little crease in my upper arm. When did that happen? Like M’s comment about my hamstrings starting to pop, I was surprised. There is definitely a little crease there and significantly less jiggly batwing stuff going on with my arms. I am not yet ready to declare victory over batwing fat, because I can still feel some when I press my fingers against the inside of my arm, but I am closer and closer every day to eliminating that.

But more than the shape shifting of my muscles and growing more comfortable being in the gym, the impacts of working on quieting negative girl and rebuilding myself with TM is beginning to take shape as well.

Mentally, emotionally, I am not sure I would have been ready to broach the self-esteem topic with TM at this time if I had not done some ground preparation with the exercise. I do not know that I would have had the wherewithal or the ability to cope. For me, it has always been an exercise in not taking the work so personally, to not dive down the rabbit hole and cower at the bottom with the voices in my head playing at highest volume possible. I would start out feeling personally attacked and criticized before we even got started trying to unearth and heal the ick that makes me feel lower than toxic waste about myself.

Yet here I am, going in and talking, thinking about things and working it out, in as tiny little spoonfuls as it takes to get stuff done. Every week has been challenging in its own ways, but this week felt like the worst to date. Yet I feel fine, maybe better than fine. I feel like I am in a good headspace to absorb today’s new lessons and not be wigging about working somewhere new and less familiar within the gym. I enjoyed the session time, enjoyed the cable machine, and am really looking forward to trying again on my own tomorrow. I recognize my own habitual tendencies, of course, and may have to either move to another part of the gym or bide my time until that particular cable machine becomes available to me. Or not.

But I do not feel at all sad, depressed, angry, or even approaching a funk from the tougher day with TM this week. Work is still insanely busy. I am wrestling with a new eating plan, and I feel pretty calm and open-minded about the process. If I stick to just counting and tracking the protein and non-plant based carbs consumed, my tendency to become overwhelmed with minutia can stay unengaged. I prepared food last night, figured out a rough idea of what I would eat through Sunday, and barring any major process failures (i.e., new pork tenderloin recipe I tried last night is terrible and entire roast must be snuck out and fed to the neighbor’s dog), this should not be that bad. It just seems like A LOT of food to eat right now, but maybe it’s just the appearance spread out across the containers and when all mixed together it won’t look quite so voluminous. The food tracking app I used (myfitnesspal) to figure out the protein counts indicate it’s not bad for calories. For the record, it was not like this big gigantic salad once all the moving parts were assembled and I was able to comfortably finish it.

In other words, new things that typically freak me out are not raising much of a ripple. Maybe it’s because I have had a few months to get to this point about food. Maybe there is happy air still being piped into the gym. Or maybe I am just in an overall healthier state.

In our free-range conversation this morning J and I got onto the topic of depression, anxiety, and the medications prescribed to handle such situations. I have not taken antidepressants in a number of years, and I am glad to be fortunate enough to not have the type of serious anxiety and depression symptoms that require that kind of therapy. That said, I have had my share of funk throughout the course of any given year. My ups would be good, my downs would make me feel as if the world should truly be ending for me. Since I began sharpening my focus with daily exercise and getting adequate amounts of regular sleep, my funks have been fewer and less awful for me. The Very Bad Incident notwithstanding, emotional moodiness has improved dramatically. I just feel like a more balanced, happier, positive person. Previously, I was a pretty positive person about most everyone else but me; not I can usually include me in the equation of what I have to be happy and feeling good and positive about.

Work/life balance and stress is ongoing, and I am starting to recognize that I may have to moderate my give-a-shit settings about certain aspects to succeed in doing better in this area. Our contractor got back to me this morning about start dates for the deck, and some tension will leave once that project is concluded. Same with C’s courthouse wedding in April and the bbq at her future in-law’s home. Between now and then, I am quite sure my household reorganization and decluttering need not be first and foremost in my mind. I have prioritized my exercise and now my eating for non-working schedule, but the rest of my stuff on the lists in my head can wait and be ordered and reordered in priority as work and better health goals change.

Without really planning to think about it, I am lately contemplating a future with weights and cardio and all things fitness and exercise. Nothing concrete, no particular plans to pursue something more specific, but my core group of uber supportive cheerleader friends have some influence over my thinking and what else I might want to explore and they all have their own ideas and biases. For the purposes of at least the first half of 2016, though, I will likely confine my ponderings to  simply staying consistent with gym visits for exercise and figuring out how to eat more protein.

A good day, a good session. We stepped outside where I am most comfortable and until just now, when I realized I have not thought once about the “I did this and did not feel like I was going to die” I have not had a single anxious thought about any of it. Tiny little baby steps of progress, but I’ll take it. Happily.

2 thoughts on “Training #16 – Just give me a reason

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