Monday morning and training with J. And it was a very good session, which I say pretty much every Monday and Thursday.

Much of the time I leave the gym feeling super pumped and excited and feeling like wonder woman’s much more common, very distant cousin. Today, not so much. Still good, still happy, still loose and relaxed, but on the heels of both my first Pilates class and a long hike with M yesterday, my whole front core and legs were not feeling the love for training as they typically do. So rather than Katy Perry’s “Roar” today, I feel more like the meow mix song. And that’s okay; that kitty is awfully cute and reminds me of my own Pumpkin kitty.

What we did today:

A1 – Bent over DB row / band alternating archer rows
A2 – DB walking lunge
A3 – DB incline chest press / dual band chest fly or band step and press
A4 – DB walking lunges
A5 – DB shoulder fly series

B1 – Seated DB shoulder press
B2 – KB sumo squat / squat-pops
B3 – Seated DB bicep curls / band reverse grip curl
B4 – DB Romanian deadlift / Glute kickbacks with mini band or Swiss ball hamstring curls to long bridges on the ball
B5 – DB tricep extensions / band kickback

C1 – TRX fallout
C2 – Band hip rotation

It was another superset day. While J did not emphasize speed as much today with the new band exercises and movements, I know the bands are to be run at band speed 20 to 30 reps each set. In my experience it kicks up the heart rate something fierce.

After my first Pilates yesterday and then hiking with M, my legs and core were sore. Muscle soreness happens less and less as we have moved along, so after walking lunges and other stuff in the first block, the squat pops J added in the second set were brief. My legs decided they were done. Actually, I would feel as if I had bailed early except we actually started early, so I actually went over my hour but not to the complete 75 minutes I was allotted this morning.

With the supersets and such there is this new and intriguing high of fatigue. Is it the dolphins swimming in my head, as B used to say (at 9 or 10 not truly understanding the concept of endorphins)? Perhaps. I have not understood them myself, and feels as if I have never pushed myself to the region where they occur. It’s sort of like orgasms – until I actually experienced one, it was impossible to imagine what it was really like.

And maybe that’s what is truly reeling me back in and has me feeling more energized and excited and empowered today – the intriguing high of fatigue. I am going to have to give this more thought and study, because honestly, it will be good to know.

Plus the weeks have been long and I perhaps needed the break from the gym more than I realized. Either way, I feel more in tune with the exercise and looking forward to tomorrow’s List. In the last 7 months, I have gotten myself hooked on exercise. It’s now normal and natural as brushing my teeth.

I also think I am growing more sophisticated and kinder toward myself in that I do not feel guilty about bailing a little early on extended time. J and I did have a few minutes to just chat about stuff afterwards, which is always nice.

The evolution of training and exercise continues for me. While I think my gym practice and trainings with J will be the bread-and-butter of my better health quest and experiences for … well, FOREVER … I  have penciled in Pilates classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings after work this week. If the holiday weekend does not intrude, I will follow-up with another Pilates class on Sunday. That sounds like a lot, I know. But there is a particular method to my madness.

Pilates in this case seems more like one of the gym’s group exercise ab-focused classes, and depending upon how crowded it is during the week will depend a lot on my willingness to allot time and energy to this class. The core work – well, let’s face it, this aspect of any and all Lists is far from my favorite and will be the first thing thrown under the bus in favor of an extra set of something else. My present thinking is simply that if I have to do core work for a balanced exercise existence (and I think I do, to some greater or lesser degree), I may as well enjoy the novelty of getting sweat soaked in an overheated room working on it. Besides, summer is practically here; maybe this working in a 95 degree room will provide a better base of heat training for the summer days outside that lie ahead. I may recognize my folly tomorrow night.

I want to add a weekly yoga class, too, but not sure when or if I can make it happen. I have mostly decided to forego Sunday practice in favor of the Pilates, and I am loathe to give up another day or practice for yoga. If I want to make it happen, I am going to have to choose another day to double up.

And this ambitious schedule is unlikely to last forever, should it achieve actual lift-off. This is a sign of my growing maturity (for lack of a better word) about the exercise component of my better health quest. I find myself able to sketch out a tentative plan of action and I may have to set it aside as unrealistic, unworkable, unsustainable and can now do so without negative girl shredding me from the inside out with her venomous epitaphs.

I call that progress I needed to revisit today. Which is the next, separate post after this one.

Because I do love the resistance training. While I am begrudgingly planning to give up my Sunday practice in favor of the Pilates class, I think 2 days of training, 4 days of practice, and the Pilates class is not an unreasonable or arduous schedule of regular exercise. More and more, week after week, I find hefting even the tiniest 5 lb. dumbbell makes me feel like this better version of myself. I feel calmer, more centered, more zen in the rest of my life because I trained with J or started my day with a fully executed List practice. After nearly a week off after last week’s kitchen tumble, this morning both my shoulders worked perfectly without any rice crispy popping performing with the shoulder suite using the lighter weights. By Wednesday, my next planned visit for today’s List, I may be ready to test a little heavier. Or not. In truth, I like that I can utilize heavier weights, but my ego is just fine going lighter and longer reps per set or pursuing a fourth set if time allows.

My days of straight cardio only are long behind me, but as noted above J has been adding some pep into my Lists to elevate the heart rate. I am liking it for the particular brand and layer of challenge it adds to the practice. I still feel like the slowest member of the tribe with regard to cadence, but it’s my race and if I am the tortoise so be it. No plans to join the games where members from each club compete against others from other clubs; the mere idea of it sends the bad kind of chills down my spine.

At lunch we were discussing my Pilates experience over the weekend and my tentative plans for doubling up Tuesday and Thursday this week. One of my associates asked what M thinks about all this exercise, and I replied that M is out running probably 3 hours every day, at least twice that on Saturdays, so my wanting to get more exercise is not going to bother him at all. If anything, M would be the first to encourage doubling up a few days per week, provided I do not go so late that I short myself on sleep.

From the expression on his face apparently M and I have some sort of weird marriage in that we do not spend all our free time and/or exercise together. M would also be the first one to say that a key component to his “happy wife, happy life” is that we do NOT exercise together. Our personalities and interests are far too divergent in this area to allow it work successfully.

It was a great Monday session. I learned some new things, and I am kind of eager to get back to the gym tomorrow and get back to normal week, normal levels of exercise work.

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