There’s a saying/belief/feeling out there that some people hold on to… it’s the idea that people need to already BE fit to go to the gym…. It’s not so much that OTHER people think this as the demons in our mind tell us this is true. Funny thing is that everyone I’ve encountered actually AT the gym tends to be supportive and understanding of beginners and encouraging to everyone else… Know what REALLY causes this silly belief? All the damn mirrors… I keep telling myself that someday I won’t have to be reminded to watch myself in the mirror – not out of vanity but to ensure my form is accurate. As it is now, I have to either be reminded or remind myself not to avert my gaze.
The other thing I’ve heard more than a time or two is something along the lines of “Wow – you’re doing great at the gym… I should do something too” and while I appreciate – no, THRIVE – on the accolades (no seriously – keep telling me) I don’t know how to respond. Because the long and short of it is… if you feel like you need to change something in your life – whether physically, emotionally, financially, (you get the idea) then you really are the only person who can take steps to make those changes. Oh sure, I’ll gladly help if I’m able and I’ll be your biggest cheerleader, but the fact remains that no one can change anything FOR you… and change? It’s NOT easy…
There are a few phrases I utter at the gym to keep myself going (aside from the obscene ones on that last set of the heaviest weight of whatever exercise we are doing at any given moment) and one of them is to remind myself that “if it were easy, everyone would do it.” And that’s true in life, isn’t it? We (I?) tend to appreciate the things we work for more than that which is handed to us with little effort.
Am I standing here telling you that you too should spend 3-4 hours in the gym 5-6 days a week? Nope. Not even close. In fact, I’ve been massaging my gym schedule to make it more accommodating to my “life” schedule because I know that if I keep going at this pace, I WILL burn out… I’m tired, my sleep schedule is wonky, I’ve had no time for my friends who I love and adore, and I’m sore. Sore I can handle and it’s kinda my reward for a job well done but we were a bit extreme last week and Saturday and Sunday my back muscles were so sore and tight that I could barely move and could NOT get comfortable… it was bad. And, I’m better now but only after calling an audible and forcing an extra rest day. (ok, it was offered and I gladly took it)
I WANT to go to the gym… I want to transform my body so that I look on the outside the way I feel on the inside… but I also want to not be exhausted when I see my kids… and I want to have girls nights with my friends… and I want to have some alone time periodically… and some of y’all know just how crazy my schedule has been lately. The thing is, I don’t want to give anything up… I just need to find a better balance.
So, I adjusted… Cardio needs to happen every day and yes, that’s for fat loss but also so I don’t kill people. Something about them endorphins make me less homicidal and it makes me feel more balanced. I can absolutely tell the days when I don’t do cardio… AND… I need to do it first thing in the morning… for many reasons… (1) Cooler temps in the morning for outside cardio (2) Boost my metabolism all day long (3) gets it out of the way (4) and I’m more likely to make better choices all day long when I start with some form of exercise.
As for the strength training, I’ve got a tentative schedule that puts me in the gym for weight lifting type workouts 3 days a week. Much more manageable. Ab work I can do at home on those scheduled days… It will likely throw me off the schedule of my workout buddy, but we’ll have to make do somehow.
This week, the scale was kind and I’m down another 2 lbs. More than that, I’m down another 5 inches. I’m extremely happy with those results and know that consistency is really the reason for the results… Going to the gym even when episodes of Dexter are calling my name… Pushing myself when my brain says “you can’t do that” and then doing it anyway… Andplusalso, the never tiring encouragement of my workout buddy who accepts my looks of disbelief when he tells me to do something… mostly because we have an agreement that I can bitch all I want as long as I get it done.
For those keeping score, in 5 weeks, that’s 10 lbs and 20 inches. Not bad. Not bad at all.
As for the non-scale victories… ’cause those are important too!
When we first hit the gym and started to lift, I’m embarrassed to mention that even an empty bar was too much for me to lift… I mean it’s like 45 lbs all on it’s own! but this week? This week I not only lifted the bar but there were actual weights on it too. It’s awesome to see that kind of result.
The other thing we noticed (because of our mutual adoration for copious amounts of data) is that my cardio health is improving. ellipticalling at the same levels for longer periods of time with a much lower heart rate proves it… and it was kind of scary just how bad my heart rate was in the beginning…
How about you? What are you working towards? What are you measuring to determine how successful you are? How can I support you?