While trainer J is away …

clients tend to work harder? Or not – gym was looking and feeling pretty empty this morning, as if the rest of the tribe has already checked out for the holiday.

I was texting good travel wishes with J at 4:20 this morning, because he had an early-early flight and I was up anyway getting ready to go to the gym. Kind of surreal, actually; typically the only people I text with that early live in other, later time zones.

Ran through Monday’s upper body List again, and honestly, wanted to take a selfie of drooping arms and shoulders by the time I was all done. Today I was paying close attention to elbow and arm placement for the most part, and between playing cues in my head and actually turning my head a few times to see what my arms and elbows were doing I made some excellent progress on the new form techniques unearthed at the technical review.

I did better with the lawnmower rows by going very light with the first set to get adjusted to the squatty and wide split stance. Kind of felt like a frog all hunched over and pulling with elbow flaring outward, but I definitely felt the difference in how I started and where I finished on Monday.

But by the end of my sets, boy howdy I was feeling those shoulders and upper arms. Chest and back must be hardier than the shoulders and upper arms, because they seemed just fine. I will be happy to take a day, maybe 2, away from this part of the body and pursue legs and lower body.

It’s not the I feel hurt or overworked exactly, more that I just learned some new tips and tricks and am delving deeper in the smaller muscles and muscle groups and joints. I was at a restorative yoga class tonight, which is slower and even more controlled than most of the other classes I pursue, and it always reminds me how much sitting I do and how impactful the sedentary work I do is on my body. While my shoulders are less hamstrung than they were when I began, they are still pretty damn tight. I am sure a lot more yoga practice could potentially help me become looser and more flexible more quickly, but I don’t love yoga. I appreciate the practice and the classes, but it does not do the same thing for me mentally than the gym and training with J does for me. Finding my balance between the disciplines is an ongoing process. As long as I keep that I am the decider on the balance things should continue to progress without advanced mental or emotional complications.

So definitely picking up a lower body List tomorrow, and Friday we will see what feels like a plan. Thinking about the holidays and the week ahead, the time for J being away suddenly does not seem like very much time at all.

Driving to work this morning I was contemplating the measures of progress. I made the mistake of looking at the very judgmental heart rate monitoring watch this morning and noted I burned less than 400 calories for just over 90 minutes of work. And I felt my spirits droop every so slightly. Surely for the amount of sweating and huffy-puffy-ing I should have burned more than that?

This is the stuff that gets e into immediate negative girl territory. I stopped looking because it makes me feel poorly about my effort, which from experience I know leads very quickly to being both discouraged and disheartened. I like leaving the gym feeling deeply satisfied with my effort and its outcome. I like know that I tried very hard no matter how successful or how challenged I was with the List and the exercises. At yoga we were talking about how getting to class is 90% of the battle; once we are there, the class and the instructor can help us cross the finish line to getting it done. Same is true of the gym.

I would never say that my method of not having and tracking specific, measurable goals is the only or even the best way to get things done. I would simply say it is the only method that has worked for me. My shoulders, arms, legs, whole body looks a little different now. It has been subtle shading through the months, and as M can attest, it is not something even I notice all at once. It is as if I go to bed tonight and wake up in the morning with a new contour to my shoulder that was not there the night before, as if the muscle fairy came overnight and injected a new coating of muscle.

But I am unlikely to give up my fancy smancy Fitbit; I like the big face and using it to tell time. Plus it tells me interesting things about how much sleep I am getting every night.

So, despite my sort of achey-breakey shoulders, biceps, and triceps tonight, I remain pretty excited about the work I did this morning and what I will get up and do in the early hours of Thursday morning, whatever it turns out to be in addition to my dumbbell matrix.  When I think about yoga and pilates classes, there is no lasting “high” from them, not the same way I feel when I leave the gym in the morning. And that’s okay. I use the yoga in a different way, for other purposes. What those are is another post, once I can articulate it more intelligently.

Hopefully trainer J is busy having too much fun with his family to read along here, although I did commit to a little daily exercise recap while he is away. Part of my Christmas gift for he and other fitness-pursuing friends in my world.

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