I should be (so) committed …

I had to laugh tonight. 

I woke up this morning with a sore throat and feeling grotty. I briefly entertained the idea of calling in sick before I remembered that I had a meeting this afternoon that I was running and tons to get done for it beforehand. Calling in sick was out of the question. And I had a personal training session after work that my trainer had specifically changed to suit my schedule. I couldn’t exactly cancel on him (again).

So I packed my gym clothes, my lunch, some snacks and rugged up in scarf and coat to head out to the tram stop. I somehow left the house in sneakers and forgot to pack my proper work shoes so I told everyone that it was totally intentional. Yeah, that’s it. Totally intentional to wear sneakers at work all day.

But onwards. I worked through lunch getting material ready for my meeting and dosed myself up on cold and flu meds (sidenote: I totally typed ‘cold and fun meds’ just then and I reckon they should change the name. Or not. Maybe not.) to get through the day. I knew though that what I was feeling (strike that, what I AM feeling) was a head cold and I really had no excuse for not going to the gym. 

Knowing that I’m all about looking the part (it fools my brain into thinking I work out more than I actually do), I changed into my gym gear at the office and trudged to the tram stop. On the way, I ran into a colleague who takes the same tram so we chatted the whole way. Which brings to what made me laugh.

She kept telling me that I was so committed to be working out straight from work and being so healthy and strong etc etc. Maybe three years ago that would have been true – you remember, when I actually went to the gym more than once a fortnight, when I had strength and could do regular pushups? – but now? Now I’m a wuss. Yes, I go to the gym and yes, I go to Pilates (sometimes) and yes, I try get my 10,000 steps every day, but I’m hardly a gym junkie.

But, as they say, it’s all about perception. And to her, I’m committed. Which made me feel good, actually. Not so good that I’d get up to fit a workout in tomorrow or anything, but good nonetheless. 

Seeing is believing (when it comes to progress)

I may have been quiet about it, but I’ve been getting to the gym really regularly for the past 3 weeks, determined to spend more time getting my body in shape and dropping the stealth almost-20lbs I’ve gained over the past few months.

I’ve been focused on weights again after a long time away from the lifting and I’ve also been determined not to get frustrated by slow weight loss. It’s funny how you can know that slow weight loss is normal and that week 2 weight loss never matches week 1. You can know but still want to see the immediate results. As much as I tell The Boy not to get frustrated, I find myself getting frustrated and then get annoyed at getting frustrated. Luckily, I’ve managed to stay pretty much on track for almost a month, so bonus!

I know that I’ve been feeling better and stronger again but I haven’t wanted to shout it from the rooftops yet, since I figured I haven’t lost much yet and it’s not that noticeable. But I was wrong! I had a session with my trainer today and he hasn’t seen me in a month since he’s been away. He immediately noticed that I was stronger and got super excited, pulling over the 12kg kettlebells and 10kg weights instead of the lighter weights he’s used to needing. He kept asking if things were too heavy and I think he was expecting me to complain but I was on fire. Plus he noticed I’d dropped weight and he was massively impressed. I walked out of the session feeling awesomely strong, massively fatigued and tempted to lie down on the side of the road and just sleep.

I didn’t, don’t worry. Instead, I walked/shuffled the 15 minute distance home, munched on a muesli bar and basked in the glow of feeling stronger everyday. Yes, I’m sore and tired and really want to nap but I’ve picked up some freelance work so that’s not on the cards. But I feel awesome and motivated, even if the scale is only moving slowly. Muscles, it’s nice to meet you again!

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Body in shock

This week has been my get-back-on-the-wagon week. So I’ve filled it with tons of water-drinking (punctuated with one beer on Friday that left me bloated for 24 hours), lots of veggies (punctuated with some fries to accompany the afore-mentioned beer) and some exercise.

I say some exercise because as much as I’d would have liked to have hit the gym 5 times this week, I didn’t for the following reasons:

  1. I didn’t really want to.
  2. I had uni on Monday and Tuesday nights so I only got home at 8pm.
  3. I visited my lovely friend Kate in hospital on Wednesday night.
  4. I didn’t think it was that smart to go hell for leather in the first week in case I would’t be able to move for weeks afterwards.
All those excuses, I mean, reasons didn’t stop me from actually exercising though. In the past, they would have. I would have gotten to Thursday and thought, well, this week is a loss, I’ll start again next week and then next week would have been exactly the same. This is why I’m carrying around an extra 15 pounds.
So on Thursday, I went to the gym and had a 45 minute session with my trainer, who left me with very tight quads. On Saturday morning, I walked for 30 minutes to pilates and had an hour pilates class and then walked home. This left me with very tight abs and a body that craved sleep all day.
Today, I’m sore and I’m still tired. But it’s a good tired, or least that’s what I’m telling myself. I’m not going to try do more next week because my obligations are the same and my time is finite. But I’ll get to the gym on Thursday and I’ve already booked into a pilates class on Saturday so my body may not be as much in shock next time.
And despite everything I tell you and all the whinging I do about my sore muscles, I like this feeling. I like feeling as if I’ve done something, as if I’ve shocked my body out of complacency and I’m actually moving forward. Sore muscles are great (but don’t tell The Boy, since I need to keep whinging to someone :))

Body singing

I figured out what I didn’t like about the pilates studio I went to last week.

They struck me as “playing” at being pilates instructors. There was no compulsory assessment by an instructor and perhaps this was based on me saying that I’ve been doing pilates for 4 months. Perhaps they felt that obviously someone else had assessed me and I’d be fine.

I also felt like yes, their studio looked funky and cool and it was cheaper and easier to get to, but I’d end up feeling unsure of myself and probably giving up in a few months. Plus they sent me an email the next day congratulating me on my anniversary with them – all of one day. Me thinks their email system is a little wonky.

Last night I went to a completely different studio. They’re more expensive by far – $90 more per 10 classes – and before you can do anything, you have to attend an initial assessment which is a one-on-one class for $85. Ouch.

On first impressions, I wasn’t sure. The studio was not well-signposted so I walked past it a couple of times, despite arriving early! Inside, it’s not flash and the ceiling tiles could definitely be replaced. It’s a bit tired really.

But the instructor was awesome. She listened and watched and took notes the whole time. She pointed out my strengths and weaknesses and gave me tips on how to work on them. We did some matt work, some reformer work, used some weights and did some stretches. My body was singing at the end. And I signed up for 10 classes on the spot.

I thought the cost would be the thing I worried about and I’m still trying to work out how this is going to hurt our budget. But I couldn’t sign up at the cheaper place. I just couldn’t do that to my body. My gut wasn’t happy and had I signed up simply because of the costs, I would have been hurting myself really. I’d rather spend money on something good for me and have to scrimp on other things.

So my credit card is hurting but I have 11 classes (I got one free!) on my card and something to add to my routine. And my body is singing and happy again.

Falling down and getting right back up

I just had a LOVELY 5 days in Wanaka with my bestest BFFs, The Boy, and one of said BFF’s boyfriend. The five of us stayed in a very nice townhouse that made our little shoebox look even more shoeboxy and I was tempted to pick up the entire place and move it back here. Luckily for it, the water pressure was TERRIBLE so I left it there and returned to our little shoebox that has a great shower. Good showers are very important people. Very Very important.

I took my laptop with me and I intended to do some work while I was there. I really did.

I also took my running shoes and I tended to exercise like the devil while I was there. I really did.

Instead. we stocked up on junk food and drove for hours from Christchurch with me in the middle seat and I ate like the devil while I was there. I really did. :(

And strangely enough, one day of snowboarding did not burn all the calories from the above mentioned junk food. I didn’t drink nearly enough water for the first few days until I suddenly clicked and started chugging like there was no tomorrow. I ate way too many carbs. I’m not all low-carb normally but bread at every single meal is way too much for me. I snacked on chips and cheeses (brie is heavenly) and did not move nearly enough to combat it all.

I weighed myself this morning and I’m up. Let’s not advertise by how much (okay FINE, I’m up by about 2lbs which is nothing but still, that’s on top of the 2lbs I’ve gained in the last 2 weeks) but more importantly, I’ve been missing healthy food. Food cooked without lashings of oil, which tastes yummy but sits so badly. I’ve missed fresh fruit over chips and chocolates. I’ve missed water over wine.

While normally I’d promise to be back at it immediately, I’m off to Melbourne tomorrow for 3 days so I really only have today at home, which is filled with work and laundry and packing and returning library books. But I can start with the food. I can start from the start and get back to where I want to be, which is healthy and not bloated.

I’m sitting here with a cup of hot water with lemon and I’ll have some oats for brekkie in a bit. And then I’m walking to the library to return my books. And my body will be a little happier and so will I.

Oh, and I love snowboarding!

Learning to trust

I am a terrible person to play trust games with. I hesitate before falling backwards into some waiting friend’s arms, even though I logically know they’re going to catch me. I peak through blindfolds. I second (and third) guess myself and everyone else. I trust no-one.

Not even myself.

I’ve bought into the years and years of self-bashing (and general confidence bashing) when it comes to my ability, or lack thereof, in sport. I loudly proclaim myself to be uncoordinated and useless in all sporting situations, so that nobody expects anything of me. It’s a self-protection scheme that seems to have become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This was really evident yesterday when I went snowboarding. I’ve never hit the snow before – no skiing, no sledding, nada – and when my friend asked what my snowboarding stance was, I had no freaking clue. Was I goofy or normal? Now just what are you asking C? *eye raise* I set the scene for hilarious laughter (at my own expense) and really doubted I get much out of it. Again, setting myself (and C) up for no expectations of any sort of ability whatsoever.

I had a FREAKING blast!

Sure, I fell a lot. My butt aches. My legs are slightly achy (I’m sure they’re be worse later) and I entertained the staff muchly. But you know what? I wasn’t THAT bad – for someone who’s never done this before, I held my own. I laughed at myself but still got up and did it all. I didn’t whimp out or find excuses for my inability to do much.

But every time I found myself aiming for the wall (we were at an indoor place, since technically the season has just started), I’d fall to stop myself, instead of trusting myself to actually steer away and, you know, not hit the wall (literally!). I have yet to master getting my board strapped on while standing up and trusting myself not to fall over. I had C in fits of laughter as I’d strap one foot in and then nervously lift the other foot up and quickly set it down before actually getting it strapped in. This went on for a few minutes before I gave up, sat down on the snow and strapped myself in. Then followed a few attempts at getting up before I mastered that and stuck to this technique for the rest of the morning.

So I have some trust issues to work out between me, myself and I. The three of us need a sit down (on something soft, since my ass hurts from all the falling) and some discussion.

But I’ll be back on the board soon enough. Perhaps next time I’ll actually go for lessons?

Week 2 of 5 in 5

I made it through my first week of my 5 in 5 challenge – I seem to have lost everyone else but I’m still plodding along because ultimately, this is my own challenge to get myself going.

So last week, even though I started a day late, I got my 5 workout in. I counted my hour of bellydancing because damn, my body ached all over the next day. It’s hard work – keeping your knees bent and moving your hips in ways you just don’t move them in everyday life. It’s fun, but hard. So yeah, I counted the hour as a workout.

This week has started well too. I got my class in on Monday, which turned into a personal training session, since the other girl didn’t show up. I love free personal training sessions – I really should pony up for more sessions. My only issue is that the trainer doesn’t ALWAYS push me to my limits and we only have 30 minutes. I’d love longer sessions.

Yesterday I decided to get off my ass and I went to a 30 minute “Tummy Trimmer” session, so 30 minutes of core work. It started off fairly easy as my core is pretty strong, but there were definitely some exercises that pushed me. My body was tired last night and I’m a little achy today, which is awesome.

I’ll be back at the gym tonight, probably just for some cardio, but we’ll see. My workload is annoyingly light at the moment, so I have plenty of time for working out! Plus we’re having people over on Sunday afternoon, so I have a ton of cleaning to do.

How are your workouts going?

Enabling or supporting?

Do you surround yourself with enablers or supporters?

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately and noticing the comments and “support” that a lot of people seem to want and give.

“Don’t worry about it, you’re doing your best”

“You’re completely right in not drinking any water to avoid going to the bathroom and passing by the donuts. Good choice!”

“I do the same thing – isn’t avoiding the couch HARD? You’re fit anyway, you don’t need it”

These are paraphrasing but basically the gist of the comments. And while a lot of the time, we do crave some validation of our choices and decisions, so often we need a kick in the tush instead of someone patting us on the head and giving us a gold star when we make excuses.

Because so often all they are are excuses.

I read a blog today where the main contention was that in order to avoid donuts that were on the way to the bathroom, she stopped drinking water all afternoon. And the comments were pretty much all supportive of this. the ONE comment that DARED to criticise it? Got pulled out and shamed. Seriously. Everyone gave the blogger a fricking GOLD STAR for swapping one unhealthy choice for another. They are all enabling her in the guise of support.

So, do you surround yourself with enablers or supporters? Do you want your nearest and dearest to pat you on the head when you choose chocolate for dinner and ignore the gym or do you want them to encourage you to make better choices, to make you think about your choices and when, like me this morning, you really don’t feel like hitting the gym, push you out the door because they know you’ll feel better going?

I know what I want.

This morning I almost didn’t go to the gym. The Boy pushed me out the door (almost literally) and I hit the elliptical for 25 minutes, then did 20 minutes of weights before being pulled into a pilates class for an hour. So I went from wanting to sit on the couch doing nothing to working out fir almost 2 hours. Better option? Definitely. It would have been so easy to make excuses and not work out but The Boy supports me and encourages me. Better that than enabling me.

Sneaking suspicions

I fear I am not alone here.

I fear that someone from my gym may be reading this (if you are, hi and I’m sorry about the snark). You see, either someone’s reading this or the trainers at my gym are weirdly all-knowing and knew that I had been complaining about not feeling the burn in my workouts.

Because yesterday’s workout was a killer circuit. Burpees, pushups, lunges, squats, high knees, crunches, and more. 12 stations, a minute at each, rinse and repeat. I nearly died. Burpees, followed by crunches meant that when it came time to move onto the next station of push ups, we were crawling over to the station. I gave up on proper pushups and embraced the modified option. I was dripping with sweat.

I loved every minute of it. Even the ones I spent calling the trainer evil. Those rocked.

And today my triceps ache, my glutes ache and my body is tired.

And I love it.

And Mae, if you’re reading this, I’m stoked for boxing on Thursday but please don’t kill me too badly. I need to be able to laugh since we’re going to see Avenue Q straight after class.

I miss being allowed to be strong

I’ve been going to the gym here for a while, since I moved really. I knew that it was a women’s gym; that it was small without any barbells or many machines; I knew it was not my big shiny Toronto gym with the muscle men and awesome trainer. I knew this and yet I still signed up because it was within walking distance. That was pretty much the reason. I needed a gym within walking distance since I didn’t have a car and this was it. Oh, and it has classes.

I signed up for one of the programs they offer – an 8 week program of diet and exercise. You sign up for two classes a week and the classes are small – 2-5 people in each. They offer Toning (ie lunges and squats), Spinning, and Boxing. I mainly signed up for the program to do the boxing since it was only offered this way, but I figured that I needed motivation to get back into the gym and get my strength back, so this would be good.

The classes are 30 minutes but they warned us that they would be 30 INTENSE minutes.

Really? I’m still waiting on that.

The boxing was good. I ached after the first class and I loved it. The second class wasn’t as tough but it got me puffed, which was good. I just wanted more. 30 minutes wasn’t enough.

It’s the “toning” class I have issues with. I understand that there are different training techniques and some people use low weights and high reps to train. These people are mainly women who are scared of bulking up. I didn’t expect this at a gym. Even a women’s gym.

I expected to be pushed to my limits, to be fatigued and sore and proud.

Instead I feel bored. We worked out tonight using resistance bands and even though I was working with the hardest band, I didn’t feel much. Sure, my legs were a bit tired after 50 million lunges and I was dizzy at one point because there was no air flow, but when we were doing bicep curls with lunges using the bands? I felt nothing. I gripped the bands as low as I could to increase the resistance but possibly because we were going so quickly, I felt nada.

I was bored.

So I talked to my dad about it and he mentioned that he doesn’t think many women in Australia and New Zealand do heavy weights like I did. This is a major generalisation, I know. But when I think about it, I know most women go mental on the cardio machines, do a million lunges or use the weight machines on low weights so they don’t bulk up.

I trained with an AWESOME devil of a trainer for 2 years who pushed me to bench press 50 lbs, to leg press my weight, to do full pushups and almost got me to do 1 pull up. I was STRONG. I was PROUD.

I miss that. I will push myself because nobody else will. I know my limits have not been reached here and I know I’m capable of so much more than 2 lb weights. Seriously, I’m not joking. They pulled out 2 lb weights last week. True, 50 shoulder presses will ache after a while with those but 50 shoulder presses would ache sans weights too!

I will stick it out at my gym until my contract runs out in November and after the wedding, I will seek a better gym where I am encouraged to be STRONG.