At gym practice this morning, I went through the lower body routine J designed and presented on Monday. This was the third time this week, and it is not getting much easier with practice. The “lively” pace (as J describes it) is difficult to maintain. There was some new stuff as well as things I already know well and do/have done all the time, but between the grouping and the pacing, no chance of me getting overconfident with this one anytime soon.

Damn, it is so hard. I was dripping sweat through much of it and was thinking with genuine longing of going home and crashing on the couch for a nice long nap. In the notes on this routine J wrote “As a stand-alone lower body workout, perform at least 2 sets of each quad-ilex before moving onto the next, but no more than 4 sets.” I still laugh every time I read that, because right now I feel like a strength-depleted Wonder Woman to get through 2 sets. And I did not make recommended rep minimums on the block #3, because I was both aware of dwindling time available before a class began at 9 and experiencing muscle fatigue that said this far, no farther, or you will be crawling to the car to drive home.

I barely recognize myself anymore on mornings like this, and that is a Very Good Thing. I have this sense of determination to finish every List to the best of my ability, but this one has me in its thrall. I cannot see myself doing this List as a stand-alone practice more than once a week going forward, but has become this addictive drug that challenges me and inspires the desire to keep working at it until I get better at it. This sounds really, Really, REALLY vain, but my ability has grown a lot since I got started, so much so that I really do barely recognize myself with this growing exercise resolve and actual tecnique when I have to watch my movements in the mirrors. I still feeble-wobble with balance, fall over, fall out of form, get frustrated. But today in particular I just didn’t care. At all. I got up, got back into it, and kept going with where I left off counting reps.

That feels amazing. Discouraged? Not anymore. That in itself feels miraculous.

Gym discouragement and anxiety is in my rearview and getting so tiny as the days pass. When I realize that, have the thought flitter through my head, it still surprises me every time.

When I started this post I was thinking and feeling a myriad of emotions. The oddest part to me is that none of those disquieting thoughts or emotions relate to the practice. I am acutely aware of having worked my legs and hips and lower body. The whole of those pieces and parts are squeaking and protesting standing, sitting, walking to and fro. But oh well. Suck it up, buttercups; I am undeterred by the whining. (Yes, my body parts speak to me.)

Is J writing more challenging routines? Honestly I don’t have a clue, nor do I give it much thought or worry about it in the bigger picture. It feels like it, even without lots of new exercises every single week. When we started J had said while there are a finite number of directions to move the body with exercise, it seems there are infinite ways to perform those push/pull, up/down, forward/backward motions. Then there is higher reps or different weights or different ordering that emphasizes and works muscle groups in different ways. I like that I know a lot more now, and I really like how capable I feel. Yet knowing there is still so much out that I do not know anything at all about no longer wigs me the way it once did; my belief that I can and will learn stuff is evolving and improving with time. Periodically I will return to 2015 vintage Lists and be surprised and delighted about how confident and competent I feel with them now.

I have come a long way, baby.

I wrote parts of this post from the nail salon where I was getting a pedicure.  The ladies in this shop are like old friends after 4 years and lots and lots of hours in the pedicure chairs. The woman today is the shop owner’s aunt and has worked my feet and massaged my lower legs many times before. She asked me if I have been working out, because my calves feel firmer and “look very nice.” When I, most delightedly, told her that yes, I had been exercising for several months, she was curious what I was doing, how long and how frequently I exercise when I do. Her english is not the best, her accent very heavy, but it was still a gratifying compliment that made my whole week.

It has been a marvelous Saturday for me, and I am hopefully all of you are enjoying your weekends as well.

2 thoughts on “Gym discouragement? Not anymore

  1. A new list that is a challenge you are embracing – love it!

    BTW – this:
    “This sounds really, Really, REALLY vain, but my ability has grown a lot since I got started, so much so that I really do barely recognize myself with this growing exercise resolve and actual tecnique when I have to watch my movements in the mirrors.”

    Not vain at all. You have put a ton of time, effort and dedication into this – you should recognize that your ability and resolve has grown! If it hadn’t it would be time for a chat with J!

    I love it when D gives something new and I *finally* master it. First with low weights and eventually I’m doing it on the what I think of the “boys” toys. I have been deadlifts for a long time now (once I finally nailed the form – took ages). And if the equipment is free now he has me do it standing on this little raised platform around all these free weight machines – where everyone can see what you are doing. No pressure huh? heck 6 months ago I wouldn’t have been comfortable doing that – now I have the confidence I can nail the exercise and have just as much right to be there. And yes when the young guys come behind me and do the same exercise but can’t complete the reps at the weight I use (forget D’s!) – it makes me smile. And I only put 20 lbs on the bar – D puts 110!

    We’ve both come a long way!

    1. This whole confidence thing is so new it feels like I have undergone a personality transplant. I usually hate watching myself do anything in the mirrors, but Saturday my usual spaces were occupied so I was stuck in a corner with a big giant morror in front of me. I was doing asymmetrical split squats and I could hardly believe that was really ME in the mirror going through my counts and making them and making them look easy and effortless (so far from reality!). I felt a little narcissistic and focused looking elsewhere, anywhere elsewhere, but kept sneaking glances and admiring my form. I told M later than I felt like some vain glory hound, but it was a little thrilling to see that I was doing them right … even if they still feel so challenging in the moments.

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