It’s been ten days since I injured myself gravely and I have been scanning my body daily for signs of improvement. I can see definitive advancement from the first eventful day when I implored Bertina that it was okay to leave me lying on my back on the garage floor and go home. I am not sure how long I ended up staying there, but I do remembering not knowing how I was going to get up. This was a dark day of pain and unknowing. Continue reading “The pleasure of living through the pain.”
I am staring up into the brightness of a single, exposed light bulb that hangs from the ceiling amongst beads of sunshine piercing through holes in the zinc roof like stars in a night sky. What does Miguel do when it rains?, I wonder. Continue reading “Oh, Miguel! What am I going to do? “Reposo, reposo, reposo … y ANIMO!””
Bertina kept the challenges flowing this week with lots of surprises in our fitness itinerary. While wall sits are nothing new, I wasn’t expecting a 35 lbs barbell on my lap to accompany this week’s sit at Junior’s Gym.
The thrill of the moment was when I realized that I could push past the minute and a half that she asked me to complete because I was loving the challenge and felt that I was in a strong position to keep it going. There is something about those weights that sparks a happy chemical reaction, upping the excitement level and my desire to draw out the task for more time. Continue reading “Dear Journal, sometimes I feel like there is this extra weight pressing down on me…”
Happiness matters to me. My health matters to me. I want to feel energized and strong. It’s not youth that I want. It’s more mature than that. My youthful emotions were mercurial. My adult emotions are goals and choices. I choose to feel amazing.
It’s what I want for myself, it’s what in the end, only I can give myself.
My fitness journey began with a physical goal of achieving strength and the figure that I felt better represented who I wanted to be. When I thought about all that I wanted out of my new body and what I supposed it would bring to my life, I didn’t factor in the emotional joy. Continue reading “The happiest days are these.”
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. Continue reading “Gotta make it hurt so good! Tuesday’s arm workout in pictures…”
By now you might have noticed that I spend about half of the first hour of any given morning on my hands wrestling with the pure gravity of my own body weight (that is if Bertina hasn’t devised to add on an accessorizing barbell or two).
Sometimes those exercises can be pretty straightforward, but most of the time Bertina will plan something like what is pictured above: perched feet up on a retaining wall for pressure, a leg crunching into my chest, then lifted back up in the air and finally for the coup de grace, a military style push-up (a super Sunday Early Bird Combo Special, not to be confused with a greasy breakfast plate at Denny’s Diner). Continue reading “Serving up the Early Bird Combo Special: my Sunday morning with Bertina!”
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. Continue reading “Month 7: Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride. Not even me.”
In case you were wondering what I was doing today, Bertina told me it was definitely not girly. Meaning, my favorite trainer was going to up the level of challenge today during strength training until I called uncle. So be it.
She innocently started the day with ‘just a traditional forearm plank’. And then when the clock started ticking, she advised me that she was laying barbells on my back. Sweet! Continue reading “And she looked at me, and smiled and said,”Today, is not a girly workout.” (Oh! And I wore my skirt!)”
Sir Roger Bannister, the first man recorded to have run a mile in less than four minutes passed away yesterday in England. Up until the year that he broke through the four minute barrier in 1954, the athletic and scientific world hotly debated whether a four minute mile could ever be broken. Most people concurred that it couldn’t be done.
But when Sir Roger succeeded in shaving less than a second off of the four minute mile in 1954, additional athletes immediately followed his example in achieving the same feat. Their training had not changed so much from earlier in the year, however their personal dream immediately became more tangible.
I am starting to think that we stare at our own four minute miles every day. Continue reading “Four minute miles all over my body and you asked for it: my training week in pictures.”
Am I going to stay up? Or, give up?
Today, I held a two minute plank in a full-flexed, push-up position. I didn’t hold two minutes because I set out to push my own limits of what I could do. I was tricked into staying up by my yogi, Ronn who is the official timekeeper of everything we do in class.
Of course, there were signs that things were not right. My arms were excessively shaking and I had to deliberately contract my abs to support my frame. I theorized that I had miscounted on the number of diverting Happy Birthday songs that I normally compose to people that motivate me, but everyone had all been sung to and we were still up in the hold.
I looked back over my shoulder at Ronn to see what was up and saw him focused on his breathing, totally concentrating in the effort. I was right at the edge of my ability. I felt that I could choose to collapse on a whim. There was nothing left in me to stay with him.
Oh my gosh, I thought, am I going to stay up or give up?
Continue reading “Remember When We Were Lions”
7:15 am, Sunday, February 25, 2018.
The Garage, Granada, Nicaragua
With the early morning minutes ticking away, I quickly pull the car out of the garage, lay out my weights, exercise mat, water, and jump rope, and then begin to prep my phone to set up the day’s first video of the garage workout. My fitness trainer, Bertina will also film the next 60 minutes of exercises from various angles on her phone and between the two of us we can cover for most of the technological challenges that occur when filming while training.
I shyly learned the practice of recording our workouts from Bertina six months ago when I was new to strength training and unaccustomed to reviewing myself from unflattering angles. Bertina understood why I didn’t want to eye my untrained body full of flaws and weaknesses, but she reminded me of the bigger picture. She advised me to use the imagery to see my body in balance, to not only look for areas that need improvement, but also to where I was winning in my efforts to become stronger.
My body gradually, then drastically improving on film
Continue reading “It’s not (just) about vanity or finding your inner hottie. Filming yourself working out is just smart.”