As this ‘experiment’ in exercising began, I looked ahead on the calendar to see when I would be finished with my self-inflicted torture and was pleased to see that a wedding I have been looking forward to would fall in the later weeks of the program (surely I’ll be looking damn fine by then!), and also disappointed to note that I would have an unavoidable two-week interruption when I would not be able to go to the gym AT ALL. Not once.
My first thought was to wait and start the program after the interruption, but then I said to myself, “Self, if you don’t get yourself to the gym and start this program tomorrow, you will most likely NEVER start this program.” And it’s true. I know myself pretty well; I don’t do the at-home video game or dvd workouts because If there is a couch in the room I will sit on it and not do the work out, I don’t go to the gym after work because I’m tired and hungry and will usually talk myself out of my sneakers and into my pajamas in under thirty minutes, and I don’t wait to start a project that I find unpleasant because if I put it off once, I will continue to make up reasons for putting it off indefinitely. So, I started the LiveFit program knowing that I would get through the first four weeks and then have to pause while my family visited for two weeks. Not an unpleasant interruption, but an interruption just the same.
As the program started to build, I began to feel more strong and confident. I could lift more weight (even the push-ups became almost easy!) and I understood the exercises better. It was like I had cracked some foreign code when I began to look around the gym and recognize what the various machines were for. My proudest moment was when I worked out with two of my FFFs and they admitted that the exercises were kind of tough. The program was helping me make progress, and that is one of the most important factors in an exercise program; if you don’t see or feel progress, its easy to get discouraged and give up.
By recording each day in a little notebook that I can take around the gym with me, I was able to see that I could lift ten pounds more in week four than I could during week one and that I could do ALL of my push-ups the ‘real’ way and not the ‘girl’ way. Progress is a fantastic feeling and by the end of week four, I was flying pretty high.
And then I took two weeks off……….
and the only exercise I got, was walking around in places like this…………
Thankfully, most of the sights worth seeing in and around Germany are situated on top of a hill and the walking I did could counteract the delicious beers and knödels I consumed. The break from the gym was worth the time I got to spend with my family, and I had a very fun vacation with them.
Knowing that I had a hiatus on the horizon, I was able to form a plan of action in advance. I stopped the program at week four, and week five was pivotal because that is when cardio is added into the daily workouts. Wanting to be fully prepared for week five, I decided to repeat weeks three and four to build my strength back up. It didn’t seem fair to ask my body to condition itself, then sit idle, and then work hard without any further conditioning. I have turned this into a fourteen week program, and after my first time back at the gym this morning, I am thanking myself for having such foresight.
Today was an unimpressive workout; my legs felt shaky and my core muscles weak. It is disappointing, but not surprising, and I’m not letting that bother me, because the real prize is that I WENT BACK TO THE GYM! It would have been so easy for me to blow it off (I’m busy catching up after my vacation, its too cold and dark to get up early to walk the dog before the gym, I missed two weeks so why bother finishing now…), but I didn’t. It might not have been pretty and it definitely wasn’t easy, but I hauled my ass to the gym and I did my thing.
So now, you try. Get out there and do your thing. Maybe you like to swim or maybe your thing is Prancercise? Whatever it is, do it!