Friday, April 11, 2014

Continuing to be Tedious

As the title suggests, I will bang on about fitness stuff again. This is my second week of completed gym sessions and my last with my Personal Trainer (PT) for four weeks. Of all of the decisions I've made recently, this is the one I am exceptionally pleased about. Or should I say a doubly good one?

The gym is brilliant. I love it's shabbiness. It's functional only; with an emphasis on weights and strength training. There are nods to cardio and floor work in the back with a handful of machines, but that's pretty much it. You want shiny machines, tvs to watch, magazines to read? You're in the wrong place. 

My PT is fantastic. The programme he developed for me is perfect in that it's challenging, addresses my weakness and builds on my strengths. In the past two weeks I've seen some brilliant improvements. Mind you, I look on every extra rep, every added 0.25kg as a brilliant improvement. 

Working out at home to the DVDs did exactly what I hoped they'd do: they built my confidence and brought up my fitness level to the point where I felt comfortable taking it further. What they couldn't do was correct my form. I knew I wanted to increase the weights, but I wasn't happy doing so without a better idea of form. I am doing everything possible to avoid injury. I felt if I went out and bought heavier weights I would be at risk. Perhaps I was a bit overly-cautious, but I would rather take it more slowly and anchor in the fitness habit properly so I continue to feel excited and motivated about exercising.

What I wasn't prepared for was the increase in my appetite. I'd heard about the need for protein after a workout, but mostly dismissed that as just manly men hype....until at 10.30am on Monday I would have killed for a whole roasted chicken. On Wednesday, I had a funny turn and it was suggested I really need to eat before my workout. I have no wish to throw up on the gym floor. That would just be embarrassing. It was good advice because this morning I had my mid-morning smoothie first thing instead and no wobblies. Please don't laugh, but I'm looking into protein shakes to boost my mid-morning smoothie to deal with the sudden carnivorous urges. 

Next week, I start Gym/Run/Rest rotations. I'm really excited about getting back out there to pound the pavement. I've missed the running. Again, deciding not to run while I got to grips with the new strength routine was a good one. I am grudgingly following Dave's advice to start with this routine rather than go straight into running and gym on alternate days with a rest on Sundays.

Last blog post, I talked about the added extra of confidence I've gained by doing the strength training. During the weekend, I realised something else.

The last 6 months have been the most consistently stressful, and in parts, distressing period of time I've experienced pretty much since my dad died nearly four years ago. In this time, I have gone from working out irregularly to working out pretty much 3-4 times a week, if not 5-6 times some weeks. This year, I started running, then joined a gym and started lifting weights. My working hours have increased to the point where it's rare that I leave the office before 6pm; my workload has multiplied like bunny rabbits on viagra and I've gone to anyone who would listen and demanded more responsibility. I haven't taken many sick days at all, despite the winter bugs and more importantly, and this is the point of it all - I am not depressed

I am not dragging my arse behind me trying to get things done at home or at work. I am out of bed in the mornings and after an hour of Pink Fluffy Dressing Gown, coffee and Facebook, I am out of my chair doing stuff. On my days off, I don't nap in the afternoon any more as standard. When I come home in the evenings, I'm still doing what needs to be done. My housework is no longer a chore I have to work up to. Don't get me wrong, I'm still knackered, but gone are the days when I'd crawl through the door and have a microwave meal because it was the only thing I could manage to do.

This is quite a scary revelation for me. For the past 43 years, I thought I had problems with my energy levels, problems with mental health. It turns out there's nothing wrong with my energy levels or my mental health - I just wasn't fit enough to live

All this time wasted.

Well, not much can be done about the past and dwelling on that isn't going to help me continue to move forward well. For the next 43 years, I now know the key to feeling good and doing more is about focusing on keeping fit and being well in myself. The more I move, the better I feel, the more I do. I am the kind of person who totally digs on the concept of 'more', so I'm going to stick with this and see where it leads.

Friday, April 04, 2014

First Week of Personal Training at the Gym

I'm so knackered, I can't think of any witty titles. I finished my session with my dreadlocked Personal Trainer (PT), came home via a greasy spoon, and spent the afternoon in bed.

This week, Rummy decided I wasn't allowed to sleep. I've had him meowing all through the night and last night I had enough. I put him outside at about 1.30. At 5 am I felt guilty and went looking for him, eventually I found him wandering round warily. Of course, I couldn't go back to sleep and he was totally wound up by the whole experience. He's still asleep. 

My PT sessions have been pretty damned awesome. Even with the sleep deprivation. I've done the most amazing things, that I never dreamed I could do. I've also got a lot of work to do, as today's session made clear. But I'm starting with a damned good base nevertheless.

People I can do dead lifts, I can squat with a 20 kg bar, leg press, chest press. Lunges, body squats, all of these I can do. Still can't do bench presses or even a push-up. That's okay. Before long, I will be dropping and doing 20! I've worked really hard. I aim to do at least 3-5 more reps, especially if it's hard. I want to get stronger. I really want to see what I can do.

Boy will be coming home next weekend and he and I are going to hit the gym together. Dave says he wants to come too. It's going to be me and my posse! I'm not sure how they're going to like my routine of 7 am starts, but in all honesty, if I leave it to the end of the day, I'm not going to be able to workout. I work at work and when I get home I want dinner and to veg either in front of Facebook or the idiot box. 

I miss the running though. I'm looking forward to getting back to my Zombies and Chapelfield Park. It's going to be interesting to see how the strength training affects my running, if at all. I'm hoping my stronger muscles will help my endurance and enable me to go further with more comfort. Shin splints are not fun. 

I also recognise I am filled with Newbie enthusiasm! I must be very tedious company right now. It's also having another strange effect. Dave will back me up on this. I'm developing an attitude problem. Situations that would have had me backing down and crawling off into a little hole to have a quiet rock and drool - no longer. 

I can run a mile in 9 mins 44 secs, I am starting to dead lift with an Olympic bar and you want to come here with that BS and expect me to take it?! HAH! I'm so done with that. It's a proper confidence, not a state that I have to talk myself into or that I think I should aspire to. It's simply - yeah, we're done with that. This is how we're going to do it.

How do I feel apart from the tiredness and muscle soreness? Good. Really good. I'm enjoying this experience far more than I ever thought I could. I've joined the gym for 1 month. It's a great place, I can have completely flexible membership, so if my finances crash, I know I'm not tied into anything. 

The gym is kinda weird really. I mean, outside of the normal allergic reactions I have to gyms anyway. When I walked in at 6.55 am Monday morning, I was really pleased that I was there. I was immediately comfortable. It wasn't overly busy, the guys there ranged from huge man mountains to weedy little scrappers. It's got two rooms. The weight floor is at the front and is the largest room. The equipment looks sturdy and well-used. The cardio and floor work room is out the back. There are a couple of treadmills, spinning bikes, a rowing machine and a weird piece of equipment that looks like a cross between a bike and a skiing machine. 

I saw three other women there today, the most I've seen. We nodded at each other and then  focused on our respective workouts - or at least they did. I was focused on my PT. He's great. He's a bloody good laugh, very encouraging and took this week at my learner's pace. We used our time together to establish where I was starting from and my goals for the next 8 weeks.

After next week, I go back to my running! Yay! I can't wait!