"Is there anything you don't like about exercise?
That was one of the questions from my young, bubbly, athletic personal trainer at our first meeting yesterday morning. I couldn't hide the snort, but then smiled.
I actually like to exercise, and I told her that. I enjoy physical activity and pushing myself and reaching goals and feeling fit. The problem is the pain that it takes to get from fat, flabby, out-of-shape me to svelte, toned, strong and healthy me. Yesterday was only my physical assessment - weight, body measurements, flexibility test ( sit on the floor with legs straight in front and reach for toes ), strength test ( lady push ups and crunches ), and cardio test ( resting heartrate, then 5 minutes climbing on and off the step platform, then heartrate again ) .
I. Am. Sore.
I have been going to the gym about twice a week for a few weeks now and doing about 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. That doesn't make me sore. Pushups, crunches, and step platform = another story. Which is the whole point of the personal trainer. Sessions with a trainer at the Y is actually a Christmas present from my oldest son - the Army captain who can deadlift 400 lbs and thinks CrossFit is fun. It is something I requested, because I knew I needed an additional push to both get my knee/leg strength back after surgery and to get this 51-yr-old body heading in the right direction, which is out of the chair and into the gym!
I really like my trainer - so far - after meeting her for just one hour. Her name is Carrie and she is a mom with 3 young children, and she had knee surgery when she was in college. So she can relate. Sort of. She is about as big around as my upper arm. But she is sweet and I think we'll work well together. Whatever that means.
She didn't tell me the results of the tests and measurements yesterday - thankfully. I think they have discovered that telling people the results right away sends them spiraling into the pit of depression and running away as fast as they can waddle! So she is saving those numbers for a later date, when hopefully I will have improved so much that I will be ecstatic at how far I have come! We are "starting" on Monday.
My first goal - which is very reasonable - is consistency. It is absolutely true that in order to get stronger and healthier you have to actually DO something on a regular basis, and not just think about it. So I have to make myself go to the gym or go for a walk or do Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii at least 4 times a week. And Carrie will be keeping track of whether I do it or not! Accountability is good.
A long time ago, when I was in my teens and twenties and even early thirties, I was in good shape! I was a size 10 when I got married. I played sports, swam, ran, went to dance aerobics class. If you are exercising somewhat regularly now and are in decent shape, DO NOT STOP. Make it a lifelong priority!!! Because I got busy with kids and life and money was tight and I stopped making exercise a priority and I gradually put on more and more weight until my wedding ring no longer fit and had to be cut off and I hardly recognized the woman in the dressing room mirror. I would start to walk or try to exercise with a video or go to the gym for short bursts, but I wouldn't stick with it. And the older I got, the harder it got. And then my left knee started to hurt, a lot, and I ended up having surgery to trim a torn miniscus last September. I am amazed at how long it takes to recover from what seemed like minor, arthroscopic surgery thru a couple of teeny tiny incisions. I still struggle with stairs and getting up off the floor, even after finishing 8 weeks of physical therapy.
So. Here I am at 51, about to start again to see if I can reclaim that lost person. The one who felt strong and energetic and looked halfway decent in a pair of jeans. Why? Because I miss being active and I hate feeling like a slug. Maybe recording my progress here for the world to see ( okay, maybe not the world, but Mom and the couple of other people who actually read this ) will motivate me to stick with it this time. I'm hoping that having a cheerleader/personal trainer to hold me accountable and also give me a routine to follow will keep me going as well. I watch The Biggest Loser on tv, and marvel at the intensity of those workouts and what those people accomplish physically week to week! Part of their success is having someone showing them how to exercise and standing there screaming at them to NOT GIVE UP! I can't imagine Carrie will be screaming at me - sure hope not! But she will be teaching me and encouraging me to push myself and do more than I would do on my own. So I have high hopes. Here we go.