Posts Tagged ‘workout’

I have a story

April 3, 2012

I was thinking the other day that I haven’t updated where I am in the whole working out process. If I were you, I’d think that I’d fallen off the wagon and given up for good! (Believe me, I’ve considered it!) The fact that I don’t blog about my workouts would lead you to believe that I’m just hoping you forgot that I used to! Thankfully that isn’t the case. My life, my health and mental well-being depend on working out. (darn-it-all)

You see, I floundered around for a few months after my trainer, Nick, died. Then my brother died of a heart attack. Then my other brother was hospitalized with heart problems eventuating with open-heart surgery. Started me thinking about my own heart health.

Christmas was right around the corner and I continued half-heartedly working out…until I had surgery requiring six weeks off. I loved the excuse to not work out! But, I lost much of the progress I’d made.

I was discouraged with my lack of discipline and with my body, but my husband wasn’t going to let me slip into an emotional abyss! He knows all the signs. We’ve been married nearly 30 years! He found me a new trainer pronto and I started back up in January. It’s amazing how a good workout can change one’s mindset! (It’s supposed to change your body too, but mine is particularly stubborn!)

I made the huge transition from private training to a much more public venue – Lifetime Fitness. I had to hoist my big-girl panties and just decide I wanted it bad enough to deal with the possibility of being watched. I can’t let myself look in the mirror at the gym as it’s too rudely honest. My imagination sees me as 30 pounds lighter and 20 years younger! I’ll keep my eyes averted and let my imagination run with it!

I just go where my trainer takes me and do what my trainer says to do and give it my all and hope that a middle aged, not-stick-thin mother of two, two-time breast cancer survivor can somehow inspire someone to hang in there just like me! I know I’m probably a sight to see!

So, here I am, three months along in the process with my new trainer. He’s excellent, by the way. I know I’d see more progress if I could get all my cardio in each week, but I have these pesky little nuisances called injuries to deal with! (And what is up with that?! I turn 50 and start falling apart?!)

A shoulder that snaps and clicks loudly and with searing pain. (It’s improving finally, in case you’re wondering.)  A foot that has such bad bunions that just walking without a limp is a feat. (pun) Can you hear the violins playing as I waaaaaaaaah?! And yes, the doc wants me to have surgery . . . not if I can help it for as long as I can manage!

I told my trainer the other day, if this is as good as it gets, being half a century old and needing a 50,000 mile overhaul, by golly, I’m keeping at it! The only alternative is quitting and that won’t help me one bit! In three months’ time, I’ve lost only 3 pounds! I can guarantee that if I didn’t work out, I’d gain a lot more than three! He’s still young. He just grins a confused grin. Someday perhaps he’ll listen with enlightened understanding. =)

The deal is this. Every time I go to the gym I need a reality check. I need to remind myself that I work out because I feel better emotionally; I feel stronger physically and I usually sleep better.I work out to become healthier, not because it will make me something I am not – young and svelte!  It’s always good to remind myself of this lest I get discouraged!

You’d think that by the time any person turned 50, they’d know themselves well enough to not be pestered by the same trivialities that pestered them their whole life? Well, apparently not. The temptation is still there to judge myself harshly and compete with and compare to others and come out the loser. At least I’ve learned not to give in to it. The temptation is always there, but I throw it aside.

Something I have come to grips with is that these things will still dog me, but my value isn’t based on my appearance. Maybe to some people, but not anyone who loves me.

I have a story. There’s history hidden beneath this skin! I have purpose. I have people in my life who love me and count on me. They’d miss me if I were gone. They’re just glad to have me around, and don’t care if I’m buff or tan or young or svelte.

If someone only sees me and makes a value judgement based on what they see, they’ve missed the biggest and best part of who I am! Besides, I don’t really think all that many people are even looking! They’re all too worried that someone is looking at them!

What’s your story?

expand your limits

March 8, 2011

Today I had my third “test” at Fitness Together. Pretty painless if you don’t count stepping on the scale and getting calipered to see my fat percentage!

The first time I had these things done was at the very beginning to get a ‘base line’ so it would be easy to track my improvement. I was mortified! The second time I wasn’t horrified because I knew I’d made significant strides. Well, this time I wasn’t mortified or horrified, but I wasn’t exactly ecstatic. I felt disappointment when I stepped on the scale and when he pulled out those calipers, felt fear of finding out the fat facts!

But before all that, Nick and I discussed how things have been going and I shared with him I feel like I’ve kind of stalled. I fessed up about how I’ve been buying my favorite (one of many) Easter treats, the candy coated malted milk eggs! I ‘only eat a serving’ but then maybe another one later in the day! It’s fine and dandy to eat candy, if you aren’t trying to lose weight! Duh! My calories need to count for nutrition and satiety. If my stomach doesn’t fill up, I’ll eat more, and that’s what’s been happening! I’ve been hungry hungry! Did I mention I’ve been hungry?!

So, Nick helped me decide on a few goals. It’s easy to flounder around aimlessly if you don’t keep goals in front of your face constantly. (When Nick pulled out my goals from before Thanksgiving, I’d forgotten I had made any! Shoot!) Goals are vital to success, I’m learning! If I don’t have any, (or forget I do) I show up, do the work, but don’t make time for a cardio session. I eat on the run and forget to keep track. I fudge a little here and there. Life is full, time slips by and whatdya know, oops, another week has gone by and very little progress was made. (This is too expensive a commitment to behave in such a nonchalant way!)

I told Nick it’s time to get tough with me. He’s such a good sport! That’s why I pay him the big bucks! He helps me show up, do the work, and keeps me accountable! He reminds me to write the times on the calendar in advance so that I’ve planned it in my day and it has a better chance of actually happening! (Another duh!)

Here’s where we landed. I will continue to do my two training sessions a week. But I will schedule them before 9 am. Then, I will come in to do my cardio three times a week and will come in by 7 am. (The early time is to help me not wishy-wash my way out of making it happen. I don’t like to get sweaty! Once I’m cleaned up for the day, I certainly don’t want to sweat because I’ll have to get all cleaned up again! So I’ll go in early so I won’t have an excuse to escape a workout!)

I also made a commitment to do a complete job of filling in my food chart every day instead of petering out after lunch and winging it the rest of the day/night.

And, here’s my reward! Every week that I do the work, (taking my baby steps toward grown up athletic discipline!) I get to eat 4 of those amazing chocolate eggs! 4! I told Nick a serving is 5 eggs. He said, “I know, you told me.” I was like, well then, why not 5? He asked me if I always eat an entire serving of everything, for instance, a meal at a restaurant. I said of course I didn’t. Well then, point made! Why do I need to eat 5 when 4 will do?

I want to lose another 20 pounds by the end of July. It’s possible, if I follow the plan and stick to it! So there are my goals: showing up early to do 2 training sessions, 3 additional cardio sessions, keeping a complete and accurate food chart, and then I’ll see the changes I long for.

I read recently in a book, “Don’t let anything you can change limit your life.” This is powerful. As I look back over the years of feeling inferior because of many things, but mostly my appearance due to weight issues, I realize that I allowed something that I could change limit my activities and relationships! No more! I’m on the road to health and that includes emotional and spiritual health as well as physical well-being. They are all interwoven. There’s no separating them.

Please allow me to encourage you to take those words to heart and make some decisions to change what you can change so that you don’t limit your living!

It just so happens that this weekend, March 12th, there is a Wellness Seminar at Lifegate Church from 9-4:30. There will be some excellent speakers, and topics that should interest you. Also, there will be professionals there to screen your blood pressure, spine and vision, all for free! Check out the link and try to come. The sessions I’m particularly interested in are: Creating a Personalized Fitness Plan (taught by real trainers), Overcoming Obstacles to Exercise (taught by Sara Garcia, a Wellness Advocate and motivational speaker), and The ABC’s of Managing Stress (taught by a Dr. of Psychology)! There are many more topics, all taught by professionals with plenty of experience. So, come check it out! It’s free!

Come and take your first step at making a change to expand your limits! See you there!

week 14

April 13, 2010

Okay, so please don’t judge me! I know I started the personal trainer thing thinking I’d only be able to make it happen for two months, three max. That’s all we had saved up. I’ve been praying, literally, for about 8 weeks that God would provide the money for me to continue. I take it a day at a time and God has been kind and generous and somehow, even though it comes down to the wire more times than not, I’ve been able to keep going twice a week! Praise God! I’d really like to ‘have it in the bag’ though and know well in advance! But, as long as I can keep going I won’t whine!

I have to tell you that I never dreamt it was possible to feel as good as I do! Apparently, it’s been way too long since I’ve felt good! Way too long!

Before I began at Fitness Together, I never really understood the whole personal trainer thing. Now I get it! But I don’t ‘get’ why some people settle for ‘good enough’ when they could experience the ‘best’, which is the training I’m blessed to experience. When I go to the gym, I watch people with their trainers and there seems to be very little going on. The person is doing a particular exercise while the trainer is usually mildly interested, glancing around the gym, not tuned in to their client. Granted, I’m not following them around the gym to see their whole session, but I can tell that I’m getting a lot more input, accountability and ultimately more strength and endurance for the money I spend than they are getting.

My trainers watch me, my position, my execution of a particular press and give ready feedback. They lightly touch the muscles that are supposed to be contracting so they know and I know if I’m doing it right. They give me instruction and reminders. They encourage and motivate and press me to do more than I could on my own.

I keep a log of what I eat. It’s such a good practice. It’s too easy to get lazy and knowing that my food journal will be checked is a good motivator also! My trainers point out if I’m not eating enough vegetables or fruit or if I’m storing up calories and eating them all at the end of the day (which I tend to do often!) It’s so helpful to have that other pair of eyes looking and evaluating. It’s also great to have a particularly good week and be praised! I don’t care how old a person is, we always love being praised!

So, at week 14, I’ve gone down three notches on my belt, had to buy a new belt and am ready to shop for some new clothes! My pants are all too big for the first time in 5 years at least! I’m not complaining! My saggy arms are getting tight and you can see the muscles! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen arm muscles on myself before! It’s not just about that though. I’m not having to catch my breath when I go up the stairs. I have much more energy throughout the day. I’m run/walking almost even times (walk 5 minutes, run 5, walk 5 . . .) and can see huge improvements lifting weights, doing lunges, and all the other things they have me do. Today was the first day I was actually shocked at the improvements! It is so encouraging! I leave there smiling!

The other thing I’ve noticed is that when I first began, I’d come home wiped out; completely exhausted. I’d get showered and then have to take a nap! For real! Then the next day I’d be so fatigued that I wouldn’t do any cardio. I figured just walking around with those sore muscles was good enough. By the next day I’d do some cardio and the following day would go back to train. It’d be the same routine. It’d take days to recover.

Well, now I don’t take naps! (I’m such a big girl now! Ha!) Seriously, I can run, walk, workout, whatever and don’t have to break between days. That may not seem like much to some of you, but coming from where I’ve come, this is worth celebrating! In addition, my outlook on life is affected. I’m emotionally energized and ‘up’ and love life even more! (No, no one is paying me to say this ~ you cynics!)

I’ve dieted, I’ve exercised, I’ve run and biked and swam. But never in my life have I seen the results I’ve seen in the last 13 1/2 weeks. I’d have never believed it, but it happened to me! It’s my body that is changing in front of my eyes! It has been so totally worth all the effort and money. It’s the best money I’ve ever spent. (If I figured what I’ve spent on medical bills over the last 10 years, I shudder to think the number of training sessions I could have paid for! Yes, it was all to help save my life and that is a good thing!) Working out with a personal trainer is extending my life, and makes the quality of my life enormously better!

So, there is my week 14 update. I hope it doesn’t sound like bragging. (Cuz I’m not.) I hope it doesn’t make your heart fill with disdain! (That’ll only hurt you.) Please don’t be jealous. (There isn’t any benefit from that.) And please, please don’t judge me. Judging is yuck. Instead, rejoice with me that God is answering my prayers! Please be as delighted as I am that I’m getting stronger and healthier! Be happy with me! You’ll be healthier too!

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing.” Proverbs 17:22

week 8 adjourns

March 6, 2010

I’ve tried to keep from talking about my workouts too much, but since I’m finishing up my second month, figured I should mention my progress to anyone who’s interested.

I’m tremendously encouraged that in spite of several out-of-town trips and the ups and downs of schedules and health, I’m still at it! Weeks 7 and 8 have been more challenging physically for some reason, but I’m guessing that’s probably normal. I’ve had a sore hip-joint and recently I strained a hamstring, but nothing is stopping my progress and for that I’m grateful! It’s all part of it! (I’m realizing that if I’d tighten the muscles I’m supposed to during an exercise, I won’t strain something else! What a revelation! I eventually learn, and that’s good!)

Wednesday was so beautiful, I couldn’t help myself and ignored the treadmill, going out for a run up and down our street instead. It’s a two-mile course where I dodged snow piles, ice and puddles and carefully navigated the gravel as I jogged my way through the neighborhood. I felt vibrantly alive and invigorated! I wanted to keep running on and on, but made myself stop to get on with other tasks. Boy, it’s good I did!

I spoke at MOPS the next morning and had a great time with them. After driving home and fixing a bite of lunch I decided to sit and do some work on my computer. It was as if a giant pillow pressed me into my chair and held me captive! I couldn’t get up! I couldn’t keep my head up or my eyes open. I kept resisting but continued being over-powered by the pushing pillow of post-exercise exhaustion! I think I sat in that stupor for a couple of hours – I’m not sure!

Thursday I longed for another outdoor run, but even though the temp was right, the wind made it feel colder and I realized once again, with disappointment, that I am only a fair-weather runner. The conditions all have to be right, or I’ll find a way out. That’s precisely why I’ve never succeeded at working out. There’s always a reason not to!

And that’s precisely why I need a trainer! With a trainer there are no excuses. Perhaps reasons, or challenges to be worked through, but one is never let off the hook (or weight cables for that matter!)

I haven’t weighed myself or measured or done any kind of comparison with myself, but I’m feeling strong and energetic (except when plastered to a chair after a run!) I fit in my clothes better and am cinching up my belt a few notches – but it’s really about feeling good, which I do.

So, there you have it. Week 8 is about finished. I’m hoping I can continue training with Nick and Ashely, but if not, I hope I’ve learned enough to continue the winning process of weight training, consistent cardio and eating right. They all go together. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

By the way, how are you doing?

week three

January 26, 2010

I figured maybe you were wondering how the whole physical trainer thing is working out! (I love it when I accidentally stumble into a pun!)

To stay accountable and be forthright with you, I thought I’d better write an update on my third week. (So you know I’m doing the work! Just like Bob, “I’m doin’ the work! I’m taking baby steps!”)

I’ve had 5 sessions with my trainer. I have to admit that I love going each time! I certainly didn’t anticipate that, so I’m pleasantly surprised!  I’m seeing changes already and feeling stronger and more energized and encouraged! (I also feel deeply sore and get very sleepy earlier at night, but I can deal with that! Yawn.)

The soreness is the main thing. My trainer switches things up each time, presumably so I don’t get bored, but it could also be that she wants me to work different muscles, which means I’m always sore someplace, or it could be that she just wants to hurt me!

The day I did all those lunges and squats I had no idea what was ahead! Now I do!

Today I did what felt like a billion squats. By the time we were done with the workout, I not only was feeling the burn, I was feeling the shakes, and my legs were wobbly like jello! That means that tomorrow morning when I get out of bed and go downstairs, my legs will be tempted to do whatever they feel like, not what my brain is pleading with them to do.

Do you remember those little wooden puppet toys with the button underneath? You push up on the button and the little toy crumples down to the base? The diminutive figure has something like fishing line holding all his pieces together, and when you push the button, it loosens the line and all the pieces fall. I had one that was Pinocchio when I was young and received endless satisfaction pressing the button and watching him fall to pieces and when I’d release the button, up he’d pop, standing taught and erect once again.

That’s the way I feel after a day of working my legs hard. (The falling down part.) Now as I descend the stairs, a slow fear creeps into my mind, like fog rolling into a gully,  that whatever little cords are holding me together could just give out and cause me to crumple to the floor! Or as I’m running on the treadmill, a wee question will waft into my head . . . “What if my legs just give out without any warning?”. . . and I continue pacing along, hoping that my legs will continue to carry me, ready to grasp the hand rails if necessary!

Other than that, I feel great! Really! Yawn. It helped that today was sunny and bright. That always makes such a significant difference in a day! Yawn…

Well, I’m starting to fade, and I need to make it up two flights of stairs to get to bed. I’m just so glad someone invented hand rails!

a bolstered spirit

January 18, 2010

I have this little piece of paper I cut out of a magazine ten years ago. I’m not sure if it was from Cooking Light or Real Simple, or another magazine all together. That small scrap of script has somehow survived an entire decade amidst the crazy comings and goings of my life! It has push-pin holes and a tape-repaired rip. A few corners are curled. I’m amazed that of all the things I still have after ten years’ time, this little slip of solace has survived! Kind of like me. It’s made it and so have I. A bit bedraggled, but we’re still around!

It displays a quote from a book by Fern Starr, entitled, How To Be Your Own Personal Trainer (Ten Speed Press, 2000). I’ve personally never read the book and am certain I never will. (If there was any chance I could be my own personal trainer, I wouldn’t be going to one now, would I?!)

Anyway, the quote reminds me just why I need to work out. When I’m tempted to give up or just skip it til tomorrow, it brings me back to my senses. I need to memorize it. I have the concept – but I should still put it to memory.

I hope Fern doesn’t sue me for quoting her without her written permission – I did cite her info – but you never know! Maybe since I’m giving her publicity (albeit to a very limited audience) she’ll give me grace!

Here is what she wrote all those years ago:

“A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday. It strengthens your body, relaxes your mind, and bolsters your spirit.”

It’s true. Today I went for my 4th session. I could tell a difference immediately! My balance was better. My strength increased and my stamina also. Mentally I feel alert and encouraged and motivated. Physically I feel stronger than I have in a very long time. I know from past experience that it relaxes my mind, but today I was watching more news on Haiti, so that wasn’t the case.

I am better today than I was even yesterday. And tomorrow after my treadmill time at the gym I’ll be better than today! I’m so encouraged! It’s not about getting a svelte body. It’s about becoming stronger, healthier, more coordinated, gaining endurance and confidence, clearing my mind, and feeling just plain good about life!

If you need encouragement, copy that little quote down on your own scrap of paper and pin it someplace where it can remind you of the benefits of a good workout. You’re body will be better and your spirit will soar!

it hurts so good

January 11, 2010

In case you were wondering how it’s going in the workout world, I’ll update you! After thinking things through a bit more, I decided a hybrid of options would be my best bet.

You see, after going to meet with the trainer, I knew that was going to be what worked best for me. But the long-term factor made me think financially it would be impossible. Then I made a mental list of the reasons I don’t make it to the gym. I’ll try to remember and list it to slake your curiosity!

Reasons I avoid going to the gym:
*it’s intimidating (Translated, that means I don’t enjoy feeling like a chunky middle-aged woman in a world of sleek, finely tuned female physiques. I’d rather be chunky by myself!)
*there are so many people (I dislike crowds, can’t help it!)
*parking is a hassle (especially in this weather!)
*I’m not confident on the machines (why spend all that time and energy doing the exercises wrong?)
*I don’t want to be recognized (i.e. I’m there to ‘get it over with’ and get outta there! I don’t want to chit chat.)

That’s pretty good for starters! Then I listed the reasons I enjoyed my time at the personal trainer’s gym.

Reasons I won’t avoid going to the personal trainer:

*it’s private
*it’s private
*it’s private

*For real!

Other reasons:

*it’s not as intimidating (I’m usually the only client there which makes me happy!)

*parking is easy – just park in front of the door and walk in (gotta love it!)

*the routine changes each visit, they show me how it’s done and monitor me as I work out

*they don’t know me and they aren’t there to chat, they are there to see me sweat! (the trainer examines my food/exercise log each visit)

*and yes, the cost (there is something about that hefty price tag that motivates me to never miss a session!)

Knowing myself and the desire for one-on-one and for privacy, the personal trainer route is the way to go. But, since I can’t afford to go three times a week for 6-12 months, we met halfway. Twice a week for 3 months. The other days I will work out on my treadmill at home or when the weather gets nice outside walking, running or biking. And, when I’m really feeling adventurous (heh) I’ll head over to the gym to do an occasional workout with my friends. (How they tolerate the likes of me I’ll never know! LOL)

So, I went today and Ashley worked me over good! Lunges, squats, push-ups, lat pull-down, elliptical machine, and more. After I got home, I needed a nap! But I resisted. I had to go downstairs to get something. OHMYGOODNESS!!!!!! My legs were jello and I barely made it down! Coming back up was no easy feat either! I’m so thankful for stair rails!

My family has already heard moaning and groaning and whining, but they just grin, especially my husband who has felt this way after many workouts for 38 years. No sympathy. Empathy maybe, but no sympathy!

Especially after having had a radical mastectomy; relearning to use my arm and chest muscles; not being able to wring out a wash cloth, bathe myself; not being able to lift a dinner plate or a gallon of milk or my arms above my waist. That was hurting so bad. It took painful stretching several times a day for weeks just to get my arms to loosen up. That was pain that was no fun.That was pain that was undeserved.

But this, this is pain that I choose. I love knowing that my body can actually bend and stretch and lift and all the rest of it! When I groan, it’s really joyous groaning! It feels good to hurt in this way, and as I told my trainer, “Oh, it hurts so good!”