push-up

Decisions and Dilemmas

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”
-Sydney J. Harris 
(Ain’t that the truth!!!)

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Ladies and Gentleman,

I have a dilemma!  I couple months ago I was in a training slum.  I was getting bored with Insanity and P90X (GASP!), and was really looking to try something new.

About the same time, I FINALLY managed to pay off the last my student loans.  To celebrate this momentous occasion and as a gift to myself for doing it over a decade ahead of schedule, I signed up with a personal trainer.  With my loans paid off, I had the extra income to afford it.  Plus, I figured that if I was ever going to try it, this would be the time- before I got used to the added cash each month.  I spoke to the owner of my gym, and he suggested I try the TRX workouts with one of his newer staff.

I can’t say that it was love (or even like) at first sight.  My trainer looked like he was about twelve, and had the maturity level of someone even younger.  After I went home and read his bio I discovered he was pretty much just out of diapers college.  He had me do a relatively simple workout, but the addition of the straps made it significantly harder.  It was a rude awakening to just how deconditioned I was, but within a few weeks I made HUGE strides and my trainer and I were just about getting along.

Almost immediately, however, there were some issues with professionalism.  He would drunk text me late at night, talk smack about his other clients, ask to reschedule last minute, and play on his phone during our sessions.  I had pointed out to him on numerous occasions that I didn’t find these behaviors very professional, and specifically that the smack talking and drunk texts made me uncomfortable.  This seemed to curb the behavior some, but didn’t entirely eliminate it.

Overall, I was (for the most part) happy.  I was trying something different and getting back in shape.   The TRX workouts were super challenging and I enjoyed them.  I thought working out with a trainer would give me an opportunity to maximize the efficacy of my workouts and help me avoid over-doing it and getting injured.  That’s the part I got wrong.  For starters, the TRX workouts are great, but we don’t do them every session… or even every week. The rest of the workouts are sort of hit or miss.  The days when my trainer is on and feels like being there, they are super tough and I enjoy them.  The days when he doesn’t feel like being there (or is annoyed that I ran beforehand) they are less than challenging- which is just a little disappointing at $40 per session.

However, the thing that really has been bugging me (haha I know, but honestly the other stuff I can deal with) is dilemmathat I have TWICE now gotten injured-  Not once, TWICE!  The first time I strained my quad doing squats and one legged lunges with a weight that was too heavy for 30 reps (I pointed this out, but clearly should have just refused outright).  I spent a couple weeks having to modify my workouts before we came upon injury #2.

After running the Fairfield Half, I really should have taken some time off to rest;  I guess I didn’t realize how badly I had beaten up my body.  I went to workout with the trainer 2 days later after having run a brisk 5 miles on the treadmill. (I almost always run before my session to make sure my body is warm and I can get a good stretch…it also puts me a good mood which I think is a perk for the trainer)  I was feeling good during the run, but almost as soon as I started doing the upper body workout with the TRX, my shoulder was giving me trouble.  I mentioned this to the trainer, and he accused me of just complaining.  As the workout went on, my shoulder became more and more painful.  My trainer watched me struggle, but instead of listening to me criticized the form on my push-ups.  He never modified the workout to make it easier, and continued to have me do push-ups in the straps with bad form.

I am normally I pretty bubbly person when I’m working out.  Even when I’m miserable, I’m smiling because I’m happy to be there.  I will admit that I get frustrated when I am not at my optimal performance AND that I tend to be tough on myself.  However, I AM NOT a WHINER or COMPLAINER.  I am the type of person who if you tell me to do something, I will do it to the best of my ability.  I don’t cheat, miss reps, or try to negotiate for an easier workout.  If I am paying $40 for a workout, I want to get my ass kicked and get every pennies worth.

That is why it irritates me so tremendously that by the time I got home I couldn’t even turn my neck.  My neck and shoulder were in full on spasm again, and I ended up missing almost a full day of work because of it. I also had to take the rest of the week off from training.  I told my trainer right away that I would be unable to make the rest of our scheduled sessions for the week, and he tried to pressure me into doing legs and core instead!  After inquiring how he expected me to do core with a messed up shoulder, I told him I wasn’t coming; and  that I definitely wasn’t risking injuring anything else when my body was clearly fatigued.  Instead of feeling badly about it, he tried to make me feel guilty that he had just bought a truck and needed clients.

tryharderAdam, understandably, thinks I should talk to the gym owner about switching trainers.  While I am aware that my current trainer is unprofessional, doesn’t listen to his clients… and possibly doesn’t even know what he’s even doing... I am still extremely conflicted about firing him.  For one thing, despite his short comings as a trainer, I still like him as a person.  I also genuinely feel sorry for him because he has no idea why his clients are leaving him or why people don’t like him (granted that is really not a good reason to train with someone!).  I also feel like on some level that I am a grown up, and I know my body.  While I realize he should have listened to me when I first brought my injuries up, I also should have gotten more vocal when he didn’t.  Not to mention, that I shouldn’t have showed up to work out with him when I had already beaten up my body 2 days prior…  I guess I am not really sure of how much I am supposed to expect of a trainer, however I think professionalism and not getting clients injured  should be on the list…

My other issue is he is the only trainer at the gym who does the TRX workouts, so if I go with a different trainer it will be a completely different program… this could be good or bad.  I suppose I know enough of the TRX to do those workouts on my own at this point anyway.  Which brings me to my last thought, which is whether it is worth paying a trainer at all… $40 a session is A LOT of money, and right now I don’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth- especially now that I am on my second injury!  I got into great shape on my own training for the Ultra Beast, and did much better at avoiding hurting myself.

My plan is to talk to the gym owner on Monday, but I don’t think it will be an easy decision regardless of which route I choose.  Right now, I’m just trying to figure out what is best for me.

 

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From Bad Day to Bad Week

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” 
-Reggie Leach

Borrowed from Marathon Sweetheart. Love her blog! Also love this pic (because this is what I fantasize I look like when I'm lifting)

Not to indulge too much in the drama (it’s not my style… no pity parties here peeps), but I have pretty much had a week from hell (not that couldn’t have been worse, but it was pretty bad).  I got totally run into the ground all week at work so I was REALLY looking forward to a RELAXING four day weekend.  Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way- as they say “people make plans and God laughs).

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may have caught on by now that my mom is one of (if not THE) most important people in my life.  She understands me better than anyone on the planet and is probably the most kind, caring, selfless, and compassionate person on this planet.  She spends her entire life taking care of everyone around her- which is no small task with my dad being 100% disabled and my grandmother completely needy (and mean and spiteful…you get the idea- just not a nice person).

Go ahead and try not to fall in love with that face!

A couple years ago my siblings and I got my mom a french bulldog for her birthday to help her cope with empty nest syndrome.  She had totally fallen in love with my bulldog Lucy (the skateboarding one who she used to kidnap on a regular basis while I was at work) and wanted one of her own, just smaller.  We new a frenchie would be perfect for her, and the puppy she got could not have been a better match.

In fact, my mother and her little Maggie bonded so closely that even the vet commented on how in tune Mags was to any change in my mom’s mood.  We even got my her a second frenchie the following year because my she was concerned that Maggie was too attached to her, but then only ended up completely spoiling both of them.  Those dogs are her life now that all of us kids have lives of our own, and they are with her almost 24/7.  She literally plans her life around them.

So when I talked to my mom Thursday night and she said something was wrong with Mag Pie, I went straight to her house after work.  Poor Maggie had lost use of her back legs and was clearly incredibly stressed and tense.  My mom had rushed her to the vet and they started her on steroids thinking Maggie had gotten stressed because my mother was at her wits end dealing with my grandmother (who just broke her wrist and demanded my mother shuttle her to every doctor appointment and do EVERYTHING for her).  She had a similar previous episode the last time my mom was stressed out of her mind that had resolved on its own, so they were hoping this would get better too.

It didn’t.  I called my mom the next morning and she was hysterical.  Initially I thought Maggie had died, but then she was able to blurt out that Mags still wasn’t walking.  I immediately rolled out of bed and dragged myself over to her house.  We brought Maggie to the vet and they sent us right the the emergency facility in a neighboring town to get an MRI.  Poor Mag Pie had an MRI showing two herniated discs in her back and was rushed to emergency surgery.  My mother was completely beside herself, and the staff practically had to wrestle little Maggie out of her arms.  Luckily my sister was able to front the money for the surgery (it took my mom and I three different credit cards just to cover the deposit).  The good news is that Maggie pulled through the surgery like a champ, is already taking some steps on her own, and should be coming home tomorrow.  My mom has already gone out and bought her an orthopedic bed and new food dishes so she doesn’t have to jump or bed.

With all that going on, I having been working out like a nut to try unwind.  Wednesday night we had 1000 reps of abs plus sprints outside- in the goose poop. It was definitely hardcore with lots of profanity circulating in the ranks, but also super fun.  Saturday and Sunday I did some lifting with Adam and his friend G-dawg (no that’s not really his name. 😉 ) The first day we did chest, biceps, and abs. It was the first time I had benched since high school, so even though I wasn’t going super heavy I still feel like I did a respectable job.  I will definitely push it harder next time though!  We also did dragon flags again- I’m still not there yet, but definitely getting closer!

After all that benching, the following morning my shoulders were FRIED.  This became even more apparent when I tried to do Insanity almost fell on my face throughout the SEVERAL HUNDRED pushups scattered throughout the workout.  I told G-dawg that if Shaun T asked for one more pushup I would have thrown something at the TV (or kicked something, since my arms weren’t working AT ALL).

Sunday we did back and triceps which was not as bad as I expected, especially considering how fried my upper body was.  I was excited to get a few new PRs on dead lift (135 lbs, previous 95 lbs), seated row (80, previous 60 lbs), and triceps pull downs (60, previous 45 lbs).  I am even more excited to see what I can do when I’m not already fried (and exhausted from stress and sleep deprivation). 😉 This morning I started week 8 of Insanity.  It was torture, but at least there weren’t hundreds of pushups.  Of course, I still have boot camp tonight so we’ll see!!!!

Bad Ass Boot Camp and Weekend Recap

“Success is a marathon, not a sprint.”

~Unknown

(It’s a good thing too cause I suck at sprinting!)

Where to start!!! I’m a little behind in the blogging department, but it’s only because life has been crazy busy (with all good things!).  I am happy to report that I am finally operating at 100% capacity, and it’s lucky because it is 65 degrees out and sunny!

Looking so bad ass in my socks for boot camp!

Saturday we had an AWESOME boot camp session, which I have affectionately dubbed “Bad Ass Boot Camp”.  I had found these bad ass socks online (through some of my Facebook/blog buddies) and got a pair not only for myself, but also two of my favorite boot camp ladies.  We all decided to wear them to boot camp together and it was definitely beast mode on!

The workout consists of 5 min stations consisting of deadlift, clean and press, body saws, burpess, alternating toe touches, treadmill, and pushups.  I deadlifted 95 lbs over 60 times in the allotted time AND managed over 100 pushups on my last station. That was more than Adam, but he insists his form was better. I ran further than him and did more burpees too…just for the record!  I also pointed out to him that I was lifting a higher percentage of my body weight than him (mostly because he has been slacking off with the gym lately, and I was hoping to light a fire under his you-know-what… mission accomplished 😉 )

I was SO ECSTATIC about completing that workout- particularly the pushups (I made this clear to Mike by putting a big smiley face on my paper next to the total and drawing stars around it).  I used to really struggle with real pushups.  When I first started boot camp I could barely do one!  Now I hammer them out like it’s no big deal.  It’s exactly what I remind myself whenever I struggle with another exercise- LIKE PULL-UPS!

Conquering the handstand pushup!

 Sunday, we followed up our kick ass boot camp session with some indoor rock climbing.  Adam and I invited some of our boot camp buddies and his best friend to come too.  We had a pretty good turn out and everyone totally rocked it.  I was pretty impressed with how well everyone climbed, but not really surprised considering what kind of shape everyone is in.

While we were there I managed to knock out 3 (and a half) handstand pushups, which was a major achievement (at least in my mind) because I had done some serious upper body lifting earlier that morning to train for my pull-ups!

I was especially excited to see my girl Kelly kicking butt because she was a little nervous about it at first.  It wasn’t long before she was killing it though.  It was definitely a nice change to add some new people.  Plus, it will be fun to have more of a crowd in the future.  Going in a group added a whole new level of fun (and entertainment).  It also helped everyone push just a little bit harder. 😉

Tonight I’m looking forward to getting back to boot camp.  I already did my Insanity workout this morning, and am thinking about running to the gym to do my pull-up weight training.  I hope everyone is having a great day!

Why Boot camp and Decongestants Don’t Mix…

“If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises.

Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter

This is the only way to take life”

– Emily Post

Ok so this post is a little late.  Normally I don’t post twice in the same day, but this workout was entirely blog-post-worthy (and I found a bunch of great pics to use). lol

Wednesday night I went to boot camp (yes after my Insanity workout that morning-despite being sick).  I knew it would be a tough workout, but figured I could muddle through it.  I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS IN FOR!  I keep telling Mike that the Insanity workouts are not as hard as boot camp.  Apparently he got the signals crossed and decided boot camp was too easy.  He KILLED US.

unless you pass out, then you're screwed...

Now, let me tell you why boot camp and decongestants don’t mix.  I have been taking pseudoephed (possibly pharmacy’s greatest gift to mankind) for the past few days in an attempt to relieve the intense pressure in my sinuses and help fight this God-forsaken bug.  What I didn’t realize prior to heading to our session, was that Mike had beyond insane (because let’s face it, Insanity isn’t that hard) interval training in mind.  The problem: the point of interval training is to adequately recover in between.  That means getting your heart rate down.  Side effects of pseudoephedrine: tachycardia, palpitations, dizziness, and blurry vision (ie. boot camp and decongestants don’t mix).

I can’t tell you exactly what exercises we did (because it’s sort of a dizzy, fuzzy blur!).  The warm up was pretty much the same as Insanity.  As for the rest, all I can say is there was a lot of jumping, punching, and push-ups involved.  There was also a lot of yelling to “PUSH HARDER!!!“.  I kept my eyes closed for most of it in a desperate effort to stop the room from spinning.  Every time Mike told me to move faster and “run it out” and wanted you yell “Are you serious?! This IS as fast as I can go right now! I’m happy to still be upright!”  It was honestly the closest I’ve come to passing out since the first session.  Someone actually threw up (I think a first while I’ve been there), and a few people had to stop at various points.  I think there would have probably been a lot of swearing and complaining if any of us had breath to spare.

I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and it wasn’t in a good way.  When I did fleetingly open my eyes to glance around the room, it pretty much looked like a bunch of zombies.  Mike asked how I was liking the workout, and I told him I couldn’t wait to get back to my “easy Insanity workout”.  It was true.  His workout made Insanity look like kindergarten recess.  Every time I tried to move faster, I would get dizzy and have palpitations.  There were a couple points when I was really sorry I came (especially being sick), but by the time it was finally over I snapped out of it.  After all, I was happy to at least be suffering in good company. 🙂

 After that crazy workout, I took a day off from exercise and went to bed early last night instead.  I definitely needed that extra rest.  This morning I was back to my Insanity workout, and tonight I’m hoping to make a group session at the gym with Mike where I will be getting my sexy face on with some fabulous ladies- because there’s nothing sexier than a girl who knows her way around the weight room.

PS. Anyone looking for a little daily inspiration, here a a few of my new favorite Facebook sites.  They all have great inspirational photos and great tips on living a fit/healthy lifestyle.  If anyone has any other sites or blogs they recommend, I’d love to hear about them.

Kendrick Fitness

ShaBAM Fitness

Fit and Fiesty

The Optimism Revolution

Healthy Body Project

Oh and just in case anyone in my awesome family is still looking for a last minute birthday present (we’re getting down to the wire people) feel free to pick up any of the kick ass apparel on this site.

Have an amazing day everyone!!!!!

Oh my abs…

“Decide. Commit. Succeed.”

-Beach Body

These are clearly not my abs…

But they are very sore!  Not sure which workout did it, but I even have pain in my love handle region (yup, even skinny, workout-a-holic, marathon runners can have love handles).  I am taking it as a sign of their inevitable demise… like they are crying out in anguish as I diligently work to annihilate them. “We’re meelllttting….meeellllttting!”

Sorry. Having a Wizard of Oz moment. 😉

For a while now, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been that sore after working out.  Not even after boot camp (despite feeling like I’m going to die DURING the sessions).  It’s been really frustrating because I’ve been pushing so much harder in my cross training, and I feel like my muscles are refusing to acknowledge my efforts.  Originally I thought it was because I wasn’t logging all the crazy running mileage lately.  Then I thought it might be the extra protein I’ve been cramming in- but either way it still made me feel like a slacker.

That is until Monday night- when I rolled over and woke up from the familiar sensation of pain in every muscle in my body. LOL   I’m not sure whether it was the rock climbing on Sunday or the triple workouts earlier that day that finally pushed me over the edge.

BTW , why is it that the real soreness hits 2 days after the fact instead of immediately?…It’s like a con to keep you working out cause you feel fine and then all of a sudden you feel like you got hit by a truck. (Or you hurt everywhere immediately and think “S%^T…Can’t wait to see what tomorrow feels like!” )

Anyway, initially I was sort of puzzled as to why my abs were so much more sore than the rest of my body because I didn’t feel like we did a ton of ab exercises at boot camp.  Then I did Insanity today and realized that maybe we did as I found myself doing ski abs (BOOO!!!) and  in & outs all over again.  (We also did body saws… which I hate even more than ski abs- picture a plank involving moving men, enough said– which is why I practice them regularly at home and remind myself that I once hated push-ups too… ok so maybe this also could be contributing to my ab pain)

Overall, boot camp Monday night was awesome!  We did 8 different exercise stations of 8 reps 8 times.  In addition to the in & outs, body saws, and ski abs, the exercises included burpees, push-ups, one legged dips (8 each leg), sprints, and walking lunges (8 each leg).  I was already sore from my previous 2 workouts, but plowed through the whole thing anyway (and still finished ahead of Adam by a healthy margin…but who’s keeping track?)  I think part of my determination came from the fact that I had just done the Insanity Fit Test and beat both the people in the video on their reps (who had already been through the 6 wk program)- clearly proving boot camp has improved my endurance!  Truthfully, even the first cardio workout today was easier than the stuff Mike puts us through.  While I admit I was getting tired by the start of the last interval- it was the LAST interval.  Mike has me working to the point of almost passing out or throwing up by half way through his classes on a regular basis- and this was no where near that!  That being said, it was still an intense workout.  Oh, and I really enjoyed the stretching!

Here is my initial Fit Test result:

Number of reps in 1 minute (with some dog interference)

Switch Kicks 136

Power Jacks 60

Power Knees 78 *

Power Jumps 64

Globe Jumps 12

Suicide Jumps (Burpees) 28

Push-up Jacks 31

Low Plank Obliques 115 **

*(I didn’t beat them on these, but also missed the fact I was supposed to switch legs…)

**(possibly why my love handles are screaming)

Also not me, but something to aim for…

In other news, I signed up for the New England Tough Mudder May 6th 🙂  A bunch of people from boot camp are doing it so it should be a lot of fun.

I have also set a goal for myself to be able to do a pull up (unassisted) by the end of the year.  I figure if I can get from struggling to do one push-up to 300, then it’s a pretty reasonable goal… even if I can’t picture ever being able to.  lol