Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Working That Shit Out

On Saturday I went to an aerial conditioning workshop where we were given a six-week workout plan to improve our strength, endurance, and flexibility in time for our performance on April 21st. Our coach firmly insisted that we train two days, and then take a day off. "Your muscles actually grow on that day of rest. It's crucial to take that day off."

"No problem!" I thought to myself. "After a grueling interval run, and a fierce attack of push-ups and sit-ups, I'll be thanking God[dess] for a day off!"

Didn't exactly work out that way. My husband and I went on our run on Sunday, and spent the next two days waddling about in terrible pain from muscle groups just not used to such use.

Do I strike you as a sunny, cheerful person? Chipper, even? Don't go on a run with me. It will spoil your positive mental image. Early on in a run, when everything hurts, but mostly my lungs, and I can't imagine who invented this form of medieval torture, there's nothing I enjoy like a good bitch. Every person who runs (or walks as the case may be) or rides by, and God[dess] forbid he or she is on a recumbent bike! Will feel my wrath! If they're sensitive to negative energy directed at the back of their heads they will, anyway. I'm just not a happy or friendly person for the first fifteen minutes or so of run. Somewhere around that mark, I hit my stride. My body realized this activity will be continuing for a while and stops fighting it, and I start to enjoy the effort. Oh, I still swear at strangers under my breath, but with a sense of comradery.

You had better believe I was looking forward to that day off post-run on Sunday. On Monday, we shelved the tougher strength workout of the week for the (slightly) easier one, and kicked some core and shoulder-stabilizer ass. I woke up on Tuesday barely able to get out of bed. And remembered I was work-studying that night, and was annoyed as shit that today was my day off, and I couldn't jump into the yoga class that evening.

Are you noticing an inconvenient pattern? Why can't I be happy to be working hard when I am, and happy to be resting when I'm not? Plunking my cheek onto my fist as I stare out the picture window at the sky deepening to indigo, I'm trying to remember the searing pain that first Warrior I would bring, instead of the peace and release of the Savasana at the end. Tomorrow I have a yoga class, plus our tougher strength workout, and Thursday is aerial class. Maybe I'll be more appreciative of that muscle-building rest come Friday, when I know I have to get out there and run again the next day.

It's slowly dawning on me that a two days on, one day off, training schedule doesn't really allow for three work-out, two aerial classes, and three yoga classes a week, even with some doubling up. Thankfully, it's still the 28-Day meditation challenge, so I'm working hard at three other limbs of yoga while consciously neglecting another.

What I find most empowering and beautiful about this work-out regimen is that it's the first time in my twenty-five years that not only am I not undertaking this effort with the motivation of 'losing weight', or 'having a better body', but I really couldn't care less if my appearance changes as a result of my efforts. The goal is purely to have a more finely-tuned machine, to be better able to do what I want to be able to do. I don't even know if 'healthier' is a word I would use, as I'm quite healthy now: I eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods, and don't overindulge in junk foods, I drink lots of water, get lots of quality sleep, and lead an active lifestyle. Being stronger, or having greater endurance, or a greater range of motion certainly wouldn't make me less healthy, but I don't need to improve those measures in order to be healthy. As someone who has despaired she would ever have a truly healthy relationship with her body, and with food, this is huge. It IS possible. You CAN take good care of yourself. You CAN make choices that are motivated by self-love, and not by a desire to look a certain way, be a certain size, or fit into a certain mold.

And you should.

Live Omily,
~em

1 comment:

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