But today something noteworthy happened. I’ve been working out approximately a month. I just spent ten wasted minutes trying to triangulate when I started. That seems silly to have lost time on my life but I was curious how long I’d been doing bootcamp at Arizona Training Lab. My chiro gave me a promo of two free weeks to check the place out. So it’s possible I’ve been there six weeks. I’m not sure. My brother was here early August and things are all jumbled. I know I rang Ben (one of the owners) and the next day I was there. I’ll ask on Monday when I get measured.
At the beginning I shot for 3 days a week. That was hard for me. I was a big ball of jello. I still am but my body doesn’t cry for the foam roller the same way. I just fall flat on my face during exercises. That’s a different blog post. I’m comfortable going 4-5 days a week. I’m nowhere close to completing a single circuit, or any exercise, the way it is intended to be. I have the memory of a gnat. (“What’s this exercise again?”) I am frustrated. I hate everyone.
I blamed myself for letting my poor decision making get myself into this jello state. So what if the tall dude relationship upset me? I didn’t need to let my emotions eat and comfort myself. But I did. Studiously ignoring the gym was a big mistake during the relationship and after. (He said it was dumb, afterwards I was embarrassed to go.)
Seriously pissed at myself and angry at how disjointed everything felt I visited a series of doctors. Of course my ligaments hurt. I have hypermobility. But when you let the infrastructure (muscles) fall to the wayside there’s little to hold the ligaments together. I was miserable. Enough with that. This post is not about that. It’s about a triumph. One that I did not realize was upon me. I’m so far from the finish line it’s not even funny. But a really freaking amazing thing happened today.
So I’ve been going to this bootcamp and been beyond confused. I didn’t understand how progress could possibly be measured. Every day the drills are different. The tempo varies and, like I said, I fail. No joke, I cannot complete a single damn thing. I quiver, I shake. I am tired.
Let me give you an example. There may be a round of push-ups where I can do eleven in the time allowed. That is IF I do that exercise first. Paired with another drill (perhaps some level of hell involving a freakishly small tension band around my thighs, where I attempt to shuffle left and right) I default to girl push ups. By the third round I laugh that the girl push-ups are hard. COME ON IRENE. Let’s face it, I’m happy I can do ONE regular push-up.
In my old world of gym things I had a book. I carried it with me to the gym. I had two leg days, and some other upper body, blah blah days. I vividly remember squat and dead lift days. It takes a lot of time to get free weights. And it’s kind of annoying.
“Are you using this? Are you almost done? No?” Let me stalk from over here. That will be awesome.) I’d return week after week, flip thru the book and consult. “Well, let’s see. What did you do the last time? Ok. Let’s start around there.”
So the first set would be a test. I’d try my body to confirm I’d been nourishingly it appropriately. (Sleep too.) “Alright, fine. You picked that up ok. Let’s do that again for another set. And perhaps add more weight the next set.” And that’s what my little gym log book looked like. A marker of progress. I never thought of it as boring. I had my music. I fought for my space and I logged what I was doing. I felt empowered.
A month into my bootcamp I hear LA Fitness fired my favorite trainer. I was annoyed. BEYOND annoyed. Given I hadn’t set foot in there in almost six months I called to cancel. It turned out I had one more training session. One million words later I’m ready to type this blog post.
On my last day of LA Fitness I figured, “Eh. Maybe I can get a spotter so I can do some squats. I’ve been using all of this rubber band stuff and body weight. Weighted squats could be interesting.” Booked it with some guy and showed up. I was irked watching the dudes watch themselves in the mirror (who managed to not actually use the racks BUT talk to each other. I think they were flirting.). Fiiine. But the timing worked out and I scored a squat rack with my training session.
So this personal trainer. Erin.
He tested me before I was allowed to even pick up the bar. Good for him! Good for me! Air squats with my arms straight to the ceiling. (I’ve got poop for balance so I was kind of worried he wasn’t going to let me squat weights. But I passed.) I demonstrate I know how to squat the bar without weight on it. He critiques form. (He’s right. I like his voice.)
So then Erin adds something like 5lbs on each side. REALLY? (Yes, my ego got in the way. My big fat ego.)
But, alright. Weenie weights. Fifteen reps. Then I think he added five more. At this point I asked to do 6 reps with more weight. (I got the look.) And this is when I knew Erin was a great trainer. He said, “It’s not just what you’re comfortable with. It’s what the trainer is comfortable with.”
So we added the plates on and that guy was my shadow. Like finger tips away. I don’t entirely think I’m a fan of being spotted that close. However, Erin had never met me and wasn’t clear on my abilities.
“Stop it. I’m not going to drop anything.” Dude didn’t didn’t laugh or back off. He did what he thought his job was. He was being safe.
So I ask, “How much is that?” set. 105lbs
Erin plops on more teeny weights and cautions me. “This time ONLY four reps.” I roll my eyes at him and promise. “Yes. Ok”
So while I’m making funny expressions at myself and wondering why my bra doesn’t match I realize I’m done.
Seriously, Erin’s fingertips are centimeters away from my barbell. I’m not shaking. I’m not dying. I’m just there. Slightly sweating. And wishing I could afford a spotter on a regular basis. I lifted 115 lbs which is exactly what I was lifting before I stopped exercising. AND it wasn’t hard. I want to do that again.
That’s phenomenal to me. I have hope. I can do this.