It’s Tuesday morning and I am back at Junior’s Gym in beautiful Granada, Nicaragua for a surprise arm workout with Bertina. She’s organized a jam-packed exercise agenda this morning that takes us to each corner of the gym and even out onto the sidewalk.
Wobbling around on round free weights outside takes some concentration. This combo has us planking and bringing each weight into the chest for a rowing movement. Then we go into a burpee, a motion that is kind of strenuous on my pinched nerve (which is getting a lot better following my painful but effective therapy massage with Maria Isabel).
When I watched this video, I could see myself tensing up each time I had to come out of the plank, expecting something to go wrong, but thankfully it didn’t. Injuries are super challenging to navigate mentally and physically. The fear is real, the setbacks are devastating and it hard to know when you can return to giving your 100% to the tasks at hand.
Back inside we do more warm-ups with side planks that without a doubt strengthen not only my supporting arm but all the way around my core without even moving. Bertina is really great at avoiding cardio exercises that will burn body fat (which I am trying to add as well as muscle) but that still get my heart rate up from the sheer effort of the challenge.
Then we swing around to head deep into the heart of my favorite part of the gym. I love the back area of Junior’s Gym for many reasons. First of all, it is the men’s area and crossing over their boundary line is good for me and it’s good for them, too.
Why should the men have all the fun toys to themselves? Anyway, we both stay on our toes when we are in the same space and it ups the level of play on each side. Nature at its best.
Bertina programs in some basic arm curl exercises, but there is no coasting through these sets. Her eyes are sharp, looking for broken wrist lines, too much speed and resting at the top and bottom of each curl. By now I should have mastered most of this form, but there is always something more that I can fix.
If you can’t tell from my face, I love working with the weights. I feel really alive working through the resistance that they present and it gives me a rush of happiness to know that I am building real strength and muscle that I can see and feel in my day to day life.
Bertina and I are still working on achieving pull-ups one step at a time. I haven’t yet accomplished doing continuous reps, but I can get up and down by myself. Come to think of it, I haven’t even tried to do two pull-ups in a row. Maybe, I can do it!
It is totally possible that this might be one of those areas where I am underestimating myself from lack of experience. (I kind of want to rush back to Junior’s to try right now.)
Finally, we finish up with three sets of dips to work the triceps on the bench. Bertina has me start with my wrists at shoulder width apart and then move them closer together on each set until they meet in the center of my back. I have a natural tendency to let my back stray forward from touching the bench (Why? Because it’s easier!), but Bertina is there reminding me to come back in when I’ve cruised off too far.
Funny, I am finishing this post on Thursday morning when I have already come back from another arm and leg workout with B that makes Tuesday look like cake walk!