Start with a warm room?

"When I said 'get your heart rate down,' I meant it, and now. Don't make me haul you off this machine and beat you." - Laura-the-trainer

In the week I've been working out, I've learned about as much about Laura-the-trainer as she has learned about me. Although I cannot definitively say what her waist size is (knowledge that she has about me), I can say one thing for her: she appreciates mornings almost as much as I do.

Which is to say, not at all.If I come in for an early workout, our exchanges are often more grunted than spoken. But she's there, and I'm there, and that's apparently what counts. However, when awake, she is fearsome.

I'd just finished curling my biceps into entertaining little squiggles and moved on to the triceps machine when Laura materialized to my left. She was grinning, in that particular I-have-an-evil-secret way that I've learned to recognize after less than a week.

"You'll never believe what I did last night."

(Eyebrow quirk.)

"I made a room of grown men cry last night!" She beamed.

"And how did you manage this, exactly?"

"Ab work. Give 'em enough ab work, and even the manliest of men will bawl." At this point I realized that the only thing protecting me from my trainer was a triceps machine that seemed far more interested in preening in the nearest mirror than actually protecting me. This could be bad.

"And you're divorced..."

"Yes, well. Has absolutely nothing to do with it. Don't know why you'd say that."

We get along. Some people apparently do best with trainers that coddle and fuss over them. I've come to appreciate Laura's approach: "You'll hate me. That's ok. You won't be the first, and you won't be the last, but I won't lead you wrong, either."

Works for me.

"Humans can adapt to a lot more than they realize. I suppose we could live in fire eventually, but I wouldn't advocate jumping in one just yet."

"Start with a warm room?"

"Something like that."

I'm beginning to see some progress, although in this case, "progress" is defined in miniscule, almost microscopic, amounts. I've reached my first mini-goal for exercise work, which is to get to 45 minutes of cardio work. Over the past week I've been increasing my cardio time in increments of two to five minutes, depending on how I felt that day, until I reached the magic forty-five.

The understanding being, of course, that once I reach forty-five minutes, we'll start increasing the intensity of my cardio workouts in order to keep them, well, workouts.

What was difficult a week ago isn't an issue now. Today, I found myself not quite entertained enough by the randomly spewed house/techno/disco mp3 CD, which was, of course, being beamed into my headphones at levels that would make most sane audiologists wince with pain. It was either that or interminable dronings-on about the Iowa Sacrificial Caucus ("who do we want to throw to the wolves in November?").

I started mucking with the controls of the elliptical machine, partly because I was needing some challenge and partly because it was a lovely geeky electronic toy and partly because it was just there. I was rather gratified to realize that the level changes wouldn't make that much of a difference.

In other words, I was ready to advance another level, whether I realized it or not.

The weightlifting work is another story. I'll be on my current program for a total of three weeks. The first week, I'd do one set of each exercise. Week two, two sets. Week three, three sets. At the end of week three, Laura and I will meet again, we'll assess my progress, and she'll hand me my worksheet for the next three weeks, complete with an almost entirely new set of exercises.

I finished Week One today. On Wednesday I'll repeat what I did today, except that I'll do two sets of everything I did today, instead of just one. As I went through the motions at each machine today, I kept asking myself, "Am I ready to do two sets of this exercise, instead of just one?" I was pleased to realize that I was answering 'yes', although some of the affirmations were a bit more shaky than others.

Nevertheless, it's progress. What was painful and difficult last Wednesday was much easier on Friday, and was easier yet today. While I trust that improvements will continue at the same rate, I have chosen to make a Wednesday night reservation with our jacuzzi tub and my shiny new $2.99 inflatable bath pillow.

Just in case.

As Jeff has noted, there are very few things that Laura-the-trainer can come up with to do to me in the name of exercise that can't be mostly erased by a tub soak, a quick boil in the shower, a quick rubdown from the spouse, and a bit of cat-cuddling. However, anyone who wishes to reach me on the phone that night should be aware that it is likely that actually conversing with me will require Jeff to strap the cordless phone onto the back of the nearest cat. After that, marching orders must be applied to said cat ("Take the phone to the bathroom or it's a bikini wax for you, furball"). Eventually, the phone will likely wander into the master bathroom, and eventually, I'll answer.

Not exactly the fastest mode of communication, but if you really had to speak to me quickly, you could always just drive over and bang on the front door.

Tenzing isn't very happy about that bikini-wax threat. Apparently apology scritchies are in order...

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You will surprise yourself with how quickly your body adapts to the increasing load that you are putting on it. Remember also ... your metabolism is going to it does your caloric intake needs to go along with it. You know that if you EVER need a swift kick in the motivational ass all you need to do is call.

And don't forget that if you need carbs in your diet, beer is an excellent source. And yeah, what Oompa said. =)

What sort of cardio work are you doing? It sounds like you're moving along quite well. Don't expect the progress to be purely linear. You'll hit plateaus occasionally. Just remind yourself in those times that when it seems like you're making no progress at all is just before you'll have a major breakthrough. (((hugs))) and good luck!

Right now, my cardio work consists of the elliptical machine, which I really, really like. I had several options - treadmills, a couple of different kinds of bikes, StairClimberHells, etc. The elliptical I just kinda get, and I don't even understand why. Eventually - a long, long-term goal - is to get back into swimming, which I was once very, very good at, despite my vision issues (aka, blind as a bat). It probably won't happen this summer - probably next summer.

I hit a plateau awhile ago, but the bout of puking in Colorado took care of that. I'm slowly getting back into working out. Thankfully, there is a good gym at work, which I plan on using to get a bit of cardio done in the morning, then head to the gym by the house after work. I'm looking forward to spring, when Andy and I can do some major weekend hiking. We've got some great parks around here with great trails, and it'll give me a chance to see the sun. Mmmm, daystar!