Six Week Fitness Test
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I almost didn't meet with my trainer yesterday, as I was still feeling a little down (hint: see disembodied head post). Boy, am I glad I did. It was our six-week checkup and we did all my measurements and compared them side-by-side with the stats he took when I first started. While I've been improving steadily, I was actually as nervous as if I were taking an exam I hadn't studied for properly.
Here in no order of importance is a list of some of the day's highlights.
Blood pressure: You know how they tell you to relax, just as the elastic band starts cutting off your circulation? I tried deep breathing to calm myself, but no dice. Even sitting there doing nothing, I could feel my heart galloping wildly, the way it does after a good boxing workout. Despite my nerves, my numbers (presentation trumpet) showed I was (ta-ra) NORMAL!! Yes siree, folks. Me, of formerly abysmal blood pressure had a normal reading! I was as surprised as my trainer. Maybe I could attribute the reading to having skipped my morning coffee but I think it has more to do with 1. diet 2. exercise 3. yoga.
Body fat: I can't believe this number once meant nothing to me! I was really eager to get my BF tested, if only because the first time trainer told me my result, I almost choked on my tongue. Could it really be that half my body was made up of fat?? You will be happy to know I managed to reduce my numbers by almost 4%, which made my trainer all kinds of excited. I was pleased too, but between us, I wanted the percentage to be a lot higher. I know I still have a long way to go in the BF department, even though I am already starting to see newly emerging arm definition. This thrills me more than percentages.
Waist/hip ratio: This was pleasing to see as well, as the results just confirmed what my baggy jeans already know: my middle is shrinking, folks! From experts, I've learned that the waist/hip ratio is more useful than silly BMI, as it reflects metabolic health (or lack of). Almost as good, my apple body is now starting to resemble an apple with an ill-fitting corset. In case you are confused with my strange imagery, that's an improvement. :)
Fitness test: plank, pushups, curls, squats and cardio (running on treadmill for five minutes). I'm going to make this part short and sweet. I pushed myself like crazy to get as many pushups, squats/etc as I could in a minute and I planked like nobody's business. In part it was so I could ace my test, but really it was because I didn't want to let myself down. It's fine being nervous about things I can't do much about, such as scale readings, blood pressure and measurements. But I've done all the fitness stuff in the gym over the last month and a half, I wasn't going to fall apart during the show and tell portion of the test.
Best bits were running on treadmill at 7.0, when not so long ago I could not even keep up at 3.0. Doing plank for a full minute was another amazing discovery. I don't know if you remember reading one of my earlier posts about how I could not hold my body weight for a few seconds, much less a minute - ditto for pushups and the formerly despised squats, which are actually not that bad. Not when I know they are improving my physique (see: apple with corset).
Last but not least was the scale. Listen, no matter what people say, weight counts. If only because it is the number that determines your progress. I've said this before, but to me it is not the most important factor. It is certainly not the only thing I want to improve. Trust me, I have an extensive list that will take me right into 2015. Despite knowing my digits to the nearest ounce, I still felt embarassed weighing-in in front of my trainer. Well, part of me was embarrassed, the other part wanted to rip off all my clothes so that I'd weigh less naked. What is it about scales that makes us so crazy? Anyway, I'm happy to report that over the past 6 weeks, I've lost 1 stone, 3 (that's 17 pounds for US peeps).
So that's it. That was the test. Not the top scores in the world but certainly not the lowest. There was improvement everywhere, in measurements and in ability, which is wonderful because it showed me how much things are changing inside my body and out.
Before I left, trainer asked me to name an activity I couldn't do before, expecting me to say something like: I can now run a mile without falling over, or, I can last an entire boot camp class or do downward dog. I told him that a few months ago I had trouble tying my shoelaces. Because of my large stomach and overall inflexibility, not to mention knee pain, I could not bend down comfortably. I had to raise my shoes on the chair or a nearby surface. I even took to wearing velcro and slip-ons, as they were less cumbersome. Now that my flexibility has returned, I no longer have that problem. In fact, I can now fully touch the floor with my palms (thanks yoga!).
Of all the good results, my trainer looked the most astonished at that comment. But then he doesn't fully understand what it is like to be so overweight that even simple tasks seem daunting. For me, being able to tie my shoes again is my own personal measure of success.