Month 7: Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride. Not even me.

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges, compass lunges

Every day when I wake up and I feel all the aches and pains in my body, one of the first thoughts in my mind is I can’t go It doesn’t matter which day it is, whether I am meant to head to yoga or strength training, my brain offers the same default reaction before I even get out of bed: skip it, take a break, rest, go back another day.

I now expect this train of thought as part of my normal morning routine and I have learned to counter these messages with a blank mind and well-marked steps to get me to training.  I shove aside indecision and program myself to do the same thing every morning.

I listen to the same fast-paced playlist right away to stop me from thinking. I splash cold water on my face. I drink the same energizing apple cider vinegar with honey elixir, followed by the same cup of coffee, then take the same cold shower (good morning, Granada!). I have learned not to vary or pause between any of the steps to ponder my options, the key is to keep moving and get out of the comfort zone.

Right away I get into training clothes and yes, do my hair and my make-up (my friend likens this to Napoleon’s strategy of having his soldiers wear the finest uniforms to intimidate the enemy! I love it, H-!) By the time I am dressed, it seems absurd to me that I would do anything but head to yoga or Junior’s.

My mind feels alert and ready, even if my body doesn’t yet necessarily. For better or for worse, I know exactly where I am going. All roads lead to giving my best to the physical tasks at hand. I don’t want any regrets at the end of the day.

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges, work for dem curves

So it seems quite fitting that yesterday Bertina had me doing compass lunges, a directional exercise that pushes me out of my perpendicular comfort zone to work all the hard to reach angles and creates those lower body curves that are hot on my fitness priority list.

Most of the time we make movements in life and at the gym that focus on moving up and down, forward and back. But one of the keys to building greater strength and a better-looking body is to move out of those zones to utilize the lesser visited muscles. Both my trainers focus on working smaller muscles groups that greatly add to strength capability without creating unattractive bulk on women or men. Sweet! I love being strong and looking like I go to the gym (but I still want to score a 10 in an evening gown!).

Compass lunges are a perfect move for including smaller muscle groups around the thighs. This exercise has me lunging forward to the North, then another lunge angled out to the Northeast (feel the groin muscles open up!), then laterally out East for a traditional side lunge, now going Southeast (ooh! another opening angle for the groin!), then dipping deeply backward to the South. Whew, wow! Would you believe that this feels really good?

(Now change legs! Start to the North, then Northwest……)

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges til you can lunge no mo

Next Bertina moved me back and forth across the floor doing prison walk lunges until there was not another lunge left in me. But seriously it felt so good.

There is something about going deep down to hover just above the floor and then pushing back up again against gravity that is fun and therapeutic. And when you give yourself a sneaky side glance in the mirror, you gotta love all those muscles that are flexing and looking beautiful. What’s not to like about lunges?

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges, leg lifts on the bench

Now because Bertina is super-talented and the best trainer in Granada, she loves to use all the accessories in the gym to put me into new training positions that require me to balance and concentrate on my form.

Using the bench today, we work the glutes by turning over into an inverted tabletop position with the neck and shoulders supported by the bench. I raise one leg up and lower my waist down until I am just above the floor and then squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the glutes to come back up to tabletop position. (Repeat this movement ten time and then switch legs to work the other side.)

As you can imagine, it is an extremely awkward move (I think that all inverted positions are really) but it’s super fun because it is so different from any posture that I normally assume throughout the day.

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges, superwoman lifts on bench
How about this one on the bench to work the backs of your legs? This looks like Superwoman on a surfboard to me.

Every session with Bertina is going to include a good amount of planking. We do a traditional forearm plank for two minutes which now feels standard to me (I am getting ready to gun soon for another 30 seconds).

However, I never know how many other planking exercises Bertina has planned into the session. Today, she has also built in full-flexed side planks for 45 seconds on each side which I love! Balancing on one arm with my hips off the ground feels so empowering.

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges, side Planks

If I can do that, I then I guess I can…plank upside down for a minute! Yes, all the blood rushes to my head and I can feel it pulsing hotly near my temples.

This is a super planking exercise that has 100% of your body weight on your hands with no supporting help from your feet. Make sure that you stretch and warm up your hands and wrists before putting that much weight on them.

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges, Planks upside down

If you have trouble kicking up into a handstand, try starting with your back to the wall and get into a push-up position on the ground. Now brace the soles of your feet up on the wall and begin walking up the wall with your feet and stepping your hands backwards. You will end up in a handstand with your face facing the the wall.

It will look like this:

Thursday! Junior's Gym, Strength Training, Granada, Nicaragua, Lunges, Planks, backward handstand

It matters not how you get there! The important thing is to arrive. Don’t miss out on all the fun, the sweat and the glory of being alive in your amazing body! It’s all waiting for you.

When I woke up yesterday (like on all days), the first thing my brain said was “I can’t go”.

What if I had listened?