minus column (regimen #3)

I hate writing about the bad days here, mostly because my natural urge is to keep them to myself. However, I cannot present this chronicle of workouts as an entirely positive process, because that is not the case. I don't bounce in to the gym every morning, happy and perky to be there. Some mornings find me in workout clothes and shoes more through habit than excitement, and the workout is not an exercise of joy but in, simply, endurance.

Some days you get on the machine and just grind it out, hoping the next song on the iPod is the one that will keep your feet going, because the elliptical machine says you've only got seventeen minutes left and you've already done the weight training and the majority of the cardio...

...if you can just...hang...on.

The past week has been more of an exercise in frustration than anything else. I am now on my second trainer, as Laura-the-trainer no longer works at my gym. I know that she did not get along with the owner of the gym, and my guess is that she either quit or was fired. I don't know which, and it really doesn't matter.

A new trainer has since been hired. Her name is Becky, and Jeff pegged her personality rightly when he first met her: a lifelong phys-ed teacher. She told us last Thursday that she is fifty-two.

So much of personal training isn't about the exercises you're asked to do. A lot of it is putting trust in your trainer, that (s)he is leading you in the right direction, is keeping an eye on your progress, and is making sure that your workout is truly beneficial for your body.

I trusted Laura. It's as simple as that: she earned my trust, and now I have to start over with someone new.

* * * * *

We met on Friday afternoon, and went over my previous training regimens. I told Becky that I preferred doing upper-body work with free weights whenever possible, since I've learned the hard way that most upper-body machines are not designed for someone who is 5'1½" and with shorter-than-average arms.

Free weights it was.

We went through everything, from the beginning. Eating disorder. How did it start? How long was it active? What was I eating now? (She'd asked me to keep a food diary, which I brought in.)

The worst part of it: she re-did my measurements.

It's not that I was dreading the measurements. In fact, the opposite was true. I'd known since Wednesday that I'd finally lost all the weight I'd gained in the fat-to-muscle conversion during the first couple of weeks of working out, and that I was finally in the minus column. (By half a pound, which meant I'd dropped two and a half pounds total.) I was certain - positive! sure! convinced! - that I had seen changes in my clothing's fit in the past three weeks, and wanted to see that conviction borne out in solid, irrefutable measurements.

I forgot that different people will take different measurements. We measured, and measured, and fiddled and poked, and Becky's measurements never matched Laura's. Some were larger; some were smaller. I'd been counting on those measurements to provide a talisman of progress. No such luck. I'll get another measurement in three weeks. Hopefully the changes will be so obvious by then that even having someone else measuring won't matter.

Weight regimen #2 is as follows. All exercises are to be done to 3 sets, gradually bringing all reps up to 15 per set unless they're marked as 20.

Exercise Weight Reps
Seated chest press 60 10
Military press 15 (each hand) 10
Bicep curls 30 12
Tricep nosebreakers 20 12
Seated leg press
(toes out,
toes straight,
feet together)
260 15
Calf raises 105 15
Inner thigh sweeps 60 15
Outer thigh sweeps 70 12
Glute/hamstring rolls 90 12
Frog kicks n/a 20
Side crunches n/a 20 (each)
Alternating back extensions n/a 8 (each)
Pushups n/a 20
Basic crunches n/a 20

I did the full regimen (this, plus forty-five minutes on the elliptical machine) for the first time today. I wasn't sore, but I was exhausted. Becky asked me to alternate pushups with crunches (ten of one, then ten of the other) and by the time I reached the last set of pushups, I knew that I had absolutely no energy left to give. Nothing.

I rested for a few minutes, then ground out a much-slower elliptical workout than usual, and went home. I spent the latter half of the workout asking myself if I'd just be better off getting off the damn machine and just going home, but I decided to tough it out. I didn't want to come home and, at the end of the day, write this entry and admit that, for the first time, I'd given up on a workout.

Not yet. Not today. There are plenty of months left in this plan for that to happen.

* * * * *

I have to believe that today was an anomaly. I have to trust in what I've already learned - that what is difficult and exhausting at first slowly becomes less exhausting, then, eventually, easier. If I just stick with it.

I have to trust the changes in my clothing's fit over the radical differences in measurements taken by two different people.

I have to trust that a half-pound net loss is not the end of things, but the beginning; that on Wednesday when I check my weight again it will still be headed in the right direction.

I have to, because I have no other option.

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Is it so much your weight headed in the right direction, or is it your general health, well-being, etc.? I am more inclined to believe the changes are total body and, in some respects, intangible. I know that you need to see concrete results, but you are seeing them, and they are good markers. Rome wasn't built in a day. Neither was Quarto. Elephants. You can fill in the rest of the comment from there. I've said this enough.

Well, the end goal is general health and well-being, but the sad blunt truth is that, aside from superficial changes, I don't see much change in myself. I'm having to rely on weight and tape measurements for signs of progress right now. The changes are small. I sleep more deeply now. My hair and nails are now growing noticeably faster. I can see changes in the strength of individual muscles. But waking up and saying, "Yes, I'm different now" - no, not yet. But hey, Misty said she can see changes, and I'm wearing jeans and shorts that weren't comfortable six weeks ago. Ack. The phone just rang. I guess that's all for now.

Your butt is definately smaller. I can say that with some confidince because that is how I manage my own progress, by looking at my butt. My butt sense is quite developed. You may ask, why am I looking at Amy's butt? That's a fair question. I've not been looking at your butt because I have some weird fondness for it but when people start losing weight, especially women, they usually lose some there first. So by "Misy's Butt Smallerization Guide", you are making progress. ;)

The changes to you are not tangible because you see yourself every day. To someone who doesn't see you every day the changes will be much more pronounced. You will see on Friday/Saturday. Just remember...it's how you FEEL not how you look and you ARE feeling better. So nyah nyah nyah :PppPpPPp

If Jeff going to freak out when we all look at your butt on Friday? Can I take pictures? :)

You can definitely blame the different measurements on the different people. I had a dress made at Christmas and I can attest to the transience of measuring tape results! Trust your clothes; they're pretty much always the same. You're moving in the right direction in all sorts of ways, hon. I especially like your line that you didn't want to admit here that you gave up on a workout. It's precisely the same thing that's keeping me to my vegan Lent resolution, despite all of the chocolate everyone seems to like to eat in front of me!

No kidding on the day-to-day changes. I noticed all sorts of improvements after Mom's stroke that Dad just did not see.