Tuesday, November 02, 2010

From strength to strength

It always amazes me how quickly the human body can return to its former levels of strength and fitness after a break. Even after a pretty long break.

I took the bull by the horns and joined my new gym in late September. I did my very first workout there on the 28th, so exactly five weeks ago today. Boy, that was a demoralising experience - but I sucked it up and just got on with it, even though what I felt like doing was hiding in a corner somewhere.

I could barely manage five pushups in total. My first battle with the elliptical saw me get off in disgust after five minutes - I thought I was going to die. I could just get through 30 seconds of backwards motion and oh, how my legs burned! I was lifting baby weights and could hold a standard plank for only about 40 seconds, and was mortified at my sad efforts.

Fast forward to now - five weeks later - and I've managed to do three sets of ten pushups. Not that impressive, sure, except when you consider that it's a 600% improvement on where I started from. I also fronted up for my leg session yesterday and decided I was bored with the program I'd been doing. So I rummaged through the myriad sheets of paper in the bottom of my gym bag, found one of Liz's old programs and decided to give it a go.

I warmed up with one-and-a-half barbell squats. I knew those were going to hurt so I refrained from adding any plates onto the Olympic bar and boy, was I right - Ouch! Next was a deadlift/rack pull complex and my weights weren't even embarrassing. Not quite my best, but not a long way from it. Then I moved onto step-ups with a plate held overhead - these don't need a heavy weight, but I decided not to be a wuss and stacked ALL of the risers under my step. I skipped the next exercise - hamstring raises from the floor - because: a) I'm pretty sure I can't do those yet; and b) I don't have a partner and there was nothing I could find to wedge my feet under.

The finisher was 30 jump squats. Hmm. I thought about giving them a miss, but told myself to shut up and just do as many as I could. I got to twelve... which is not terrible. I remember it took me a while to work up to thirty the first time I did this program, and I was pretty fit then. I added a couple of BOSU exercises and a couple of planks with arms on a stability ball and feet on a bench (yes!) and then moved onto cardio.

I eyed off the machines and saw my old nemesis, the elliptical, staring at me. I squared my shoulders and stepped up for a rematch. I think I muttered something like You're not beating me this time, Buster! I actually surprised myself. I did intervals of one minute forwards/one minute backwards/one minute forward and in spite of the soaring heart rate, it was almost easy. I interspersed those three minute sets with sets of mountain climbers, pop squats and iso-squats.

Man, that felt good. Well, good might be stretching it a bit - it was a killer workout and I was in some extreme pain, but mentally, it felt good. If there'd been someone nearby (even a total stranger) when I was done, I'd have high-fived them.

I finished with a long stretching session and some foam roller work for my upper back.

It just shows that if you start slowly and push yourself a bit more each session...and don't allow the negative voices to take control... you can achieve a lot of progress in a short time.

I feel bulletproof once more.


Kathleen said...

Yay! Good to hear.

Charlotte Orr said...

Great work Kek!

Kerry W said...

Top Stuff Kek! That's the great thing. Once you've accomplished something in the past, you know what's possible in the future, and it inspires and motivates you once again to reach the same heights! It's only a matter of time. :)

LizN said...

Gosh, well done - I'm scared of my old programs too :)

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