About my journey
Saturday, June 02, 2012
I started (ok, restarted) in the New Year of 2011. Modest efforts of going to the gym about twice a week, barely watching my food, mostly just getting a bit stronger and frankly, finding my way around the gym. I am fortunate to belong to a center that is part of a hospital system physical therapy center which makes for a very welcoming atmosphere, an eclectic group of members, from high school to seniors. I fiddled around for 6 months, honestly not focusing on anything, taking the guidance of a trainer (ok, totally fortunate that 12 hours of training is only $250 and can be done in whatever increment you want, I started with 30 minute sessions). At first I could do maybe 30 second planks, couldn't do side planks, chest press with 10 pound dumbells was a workout... But I went 2x a week while in town. Work puts me out of town regularly, so last spring, summer I was doing about 2 weeks on, 1 week off.
I didn't really have result oriented goals, I just knew I had to stop gaining weight and make sure my blood pressure stayed in the good range. So I guess my goal was to work out, and I met that goal through appointments. Some days were easier than others, but as my ability to do things improved, I gained a sense of pride in my gaining strength. My clothes fit a little better, but only minimal weight loss.
August 2011...my trainer moved away to go to graduate school and enter a new trainer. Rick V. Athletic appearance, an endurance athelete... How would that fit with my old lady workouts? But I had paid up sessions and we started working out with the same pattern that I had been working out with Katie. We got to know each other. He was not judgemental, asked questions about my goals, which forced me to actually think about goals. At first he just got a feel for my fitness level and strength so the workouts were challenging, but we needed to do some goal setting. So I thought about it and said yes, I'm ready to try to really lose some weight as well as improve strength.
He was frank that I needed to work on my DIET.
We started tracking workout volume per week, intensity and durations of workouts. I was surprised by his encouragement to do water aerobics, which is 45-55 minutes of pretty low intensity movement, but he said it is great for my goals. So I was getting 2-3 sessions of water aerobics, one strictly cardio day (elliptical) and two strength workouts a week. My biggest workout volume approached 400 minutes, but usually around 300. Travel weeks are always less.
My strength workouts were intense, calorie burners. He asked me to be sure to get some good protein shortly after my workouts. And we talked about getting recovery time. We made great use of travel weeks for recovery. I had weeks where I was tired, usually after having 2 high volume weeks, and so fortunately these would coincide with travel weeks. And after a recovery period my strength would show improvement.
I tracked my food. I hate tracking food, but it is the only way to be sure I'm getting the nutrition and staying true to calorie consumption goals. That includes eating enough. I dropped to 1200 calories per day and weight loss stopped, I got tired more easily and it just wasnt working. I printed my food logs for Rickmto review and he asked me to increase my calories. That worked. If I can stay in the 1400-1500 calorie range, keep my volume at 300 min per week for my 3 weeks on, one week recovery, I seem to lose weight. But that's a hard calorie intake so I managed it for maybe 10 weeks. I'm on a bit of a hiatus on diligent calorie counting and now it's showing on the scale. :(t
However, in April Rick and I had another goal setting session and one set of goals is purely related to strength and fitness. My test of reaching these goals starts June 18.
Oh, looking back to las spring and where I am now... I'm able to do a 2 minute plank when not tired and 1:45 plank during a full workout - goal is 2 when body already tired. I can bench press with 30# dumbells, 35 with Rick spotting. I am doing 45# clean and press, goal is 65#. I am working hard to get to being able to do 10 "real" push ups. Been doing pull ups with less assist, goal is 10 with 88# assist. I can feel my muscles under my skin. My shoulders are starting to look good. But don't mistake...I still need to shed more fat to really show off the great muscles I'm building.
So while my wonderful sister thinks I deserve better gains for my effort, I disagree. I am not working all that hard at it and having great results. I'm sure it helps that I love being in the gym.
My "lessons learned" is that starting slow with action goals ( not result goals) motivated me, increasing my activity volume made me feel good and now I get such satisfaction when a workout is better than the previous one. I am more aware of how my choices throughout the day impact how I feel in my clothes...both in my activity and food choices.
I am greatful for the resources I am able to take advantage of and for the people in my life that are positive influences.