Friday, February 7, 2014

Improvements, Big and Small

So, for the last few weeks, I've been almost regularly going to the gym.  Mainly jogging and fast walking on the treadmill, but also using the machines to strengthen my arms, legs, and core.  Of course, when I first began, I realized just how out of shape I was - barely able to keep up with the 'mill set to 3.0 speed, let alone 4.0 or 5.  Barely able to do on set one the abdominal, not even really able to do a sit up or push up.  Wanting to cry after two seconds of a plank.

Uneven ground?!  Eventually.
Now, only a few weeks in, I can sustain a 5.0 for a minute, 4.0 for several, 3.0 for the entirety if I wanted to.  Rather then my measly 5 to 10 second planks, with a lot of effort and a whole lot of discomfort I can get to 25 seconds.  I can do several sets on all of the machines, as long as I don't go too high on the weight.  I can do 7 sit ups in a few seconds, and while my push ups still need work - I can at least do a few half done ones now.
 Which is still a far cry from where I need to be, and fast, but so much better then where I was.

It's hard not looking at a scale, or lamenting being so far from my goals, whatever they may be.  But I'm getting there.  It isn't easy, but there are still things that I have and will continue to do to make it easier - maybe listing them here, they can help someone else, should they "stumbleupon" (lol) this post.

1) Working on one thing at a time.  Of all the times I've tried to change my physical habits, this is the first time I didn't try to change everything.  Multiple times over, I tried to start working out, made extreme changes to my diet, tried to do it all - and failed.  In a short period of time, I'd get burnt out, and revert back to what I did previously - eat frosting while I sat on the couch.

I'll miss you,
my horribly carbonated friend.
This time, I set out to just work out.  Sure, I've made mild dietary changes - such as cutting out soda, which I've done successfully for two weeks by now - but overall, my focus is on keeping up on my running/walking, working my arms and legs.  My other goals can wait until I get this habit established.

2) NOT comparing myself to other people.  There have been times that I would kick myself.  I would feel jealousy, then guilt, because there were moments when I would look at people - both strangers, and those I know and love - and wonder why I wasn't like them.  Thinner, stronger, faster, stronger willed.  Rather then fix it, I would spiral into a pit of despair,which would lead me back to that couch with the frosting.

No more.  I am "behind," and that's ok.  "Better late then never" is a phrase for a reason - and just because my numbers on a scale may be higher, while my numbers on the machines are lower, does not make me a lesser person, or an uglier person.  All it means is that I'm a work in progress- which gives me something to strive for.  And my goal may still be "behind" a lot of other people - but it works for me.  And if I'm happy when I reach it, isn't that all that matters?

3) Music fixes everything.  Or, at least, makes it easier.  Sometimes running blows, especially when I'm doing so alone.  Listening to music, or videos on youtube, can make what would feel like hours of effort into the short period of time it actually is.

These are why I can't have nice things.  Among other reasons.
4) Use EVERYTHING.  Sometimes I just don't feel like going to the gym, but that doesn't mean I can just slack off and eat Cheetos.  Instead, I use Ron's X-Box One - it has fitness videos!  So in the relative comfort of our own home, I can dance, stretch, and break vases to my heart's content.

Likewise, even when I am busy at school, I can use it to work on my training as well.  I wear ankle weights when I'm there now - that way when I'm walking, it causes just a little bit more strain.  When I go upstairs to my classes, I take the actual stairs -which serves the purpose of not only getting me to my classes, but helps me work out on the way.  Everything can be utilized in a way to help meet my goal - it's just a matter of using my grey matter to figure out how.

There are still other tricks I've yet to find.  Other means of making this rough journey easier, but I'll find them.  And even if I don't - the end result will make whatever hardship I feel worth it.  It always is.

Images from Stockvault.

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