Yes, I’m having a moment of awakening after my Monday morning ass kicking. Allow me to share…
I’ve always thought of myself as an athlete. At three years old I began taking ballet where I developed flexibility and a core strength that permits me to walk in high heels in a fairly poised manner. Thank you Mrs. Pettigrew! Once basketball season began in middle school, I jumped ship, diving head first into the sport that is played and loved by Hoosiers of all ages. There is no basketball season in Indiana. Between playing for the school team, summer league, open gym & AAU, a kid really only gets a month or two off in total, if they’re serious about the sport and I certainly was.
Aside from having knee surgery senior year of high school, and the years at IU lifting red solo cups for exercise, I’ve been active in some way for most of my life, including the adult years.
So this morning, when I went to the free training session that I “won” out of the drawing at my gym, I was feeling fairly confident that Halle the athlete could dominate, or at least let her athletic prowess shine through for the 30 minutes we would be together. I prepped with a breakfast of two clementines, my normal pre-workout preference of a little fruit to get some natural sugar in my blood stream. Arrived early and got on the stationary bike to warm up and do a little stretching before meeting up with Logan. He saw me & asked cheerfully, “Are you feeling good this morning?” To which I confidently replied, “Yep!” Then I began to question myself. Was I feeling good this morning? Hmmmm, feel good compared to what?
I tell Logan about my exercise history, what I’m looking to learn and any modifications that might be necessary due to years of knee problems and being in Physical Therapy earlier this year. I speak confidently, use the lingo and am prepared to be a good student. Dude, you’re going to be impressed.
We begin with him demonstrating one of the two moves I’ll be doing, a modified squat routine. With a background in PT, he is a stickler for form and alignment and I’m appreciative of his caution and approach. I pass the flexibility test with flying colors and am feeling great about myself. I’m learning the first exercise. He tests me with 2 pound dumbbells and I’m like “pluh-ease, only 2 pounds?” Having clearly not been challenged by that weight, he moves me up to the 5 pound weights and again, no big deal. On the third go around, we move up to the next option which is 7.5 pound. And now we’re getting somewhere, I like how this feels. He asks me to do this move five times with these more challenging weights and I perform flawlessly, at least by my own standards.
Nailed exercise one, so Logan and I move onto exercise two, burpees. Yes, these sound lovely, but as he shows me the jump at the end, I ask if we can remove that step? You know, for my 40 year old, early arthritic knees. No problem. I do five of these and am feeling a little drip of sweat, but let’s get serious this is a pretty simple exercise. And I get glowing remarks from my trainer on my form and strength…at least that’s how it played out in my head.
It’s now time to put the two exercises together and he announces we only have eight minutes before the session ends, but it will be a good little workout. This sounds like an oxymoron. What am I in for?
Five squats then five burpees, repeat for eight minutes. Ready go! I’m eager and enthusiastically begin. This might have been a mistake. Forty eight seconds he yells out. That’s how long it took me to complete the first cycle. Ok, great! I begin set two, still feeling good, wondering when I’m going to start feeling the burn in my muscles. Set two, done! Bring on set three! CRAAAAAPPPPPP, am I slowing down? The burning I’m hoping to feel in my muscles is showing up in my lungs and my throat. Air…I need air, let me slow down…just a smidge.
Set three done and Logan says “Two minutes and forty nine seconds”, to which I wheeze, “left? or completed?” I’m hoping for the first but soon find out I’m wrong.
I’ve stopped. Hands are on my hips. Let me pause and process this, oh and breathe in some glorious oxygen to avoid the fogginess I’m suddenly feeling. Two minutes and forty nine seconds of exercise, and I feel like I’m going to faint? My ego is not taking this well. I feel it necessary to explain to Logan about my visit with a cardiologist earlier this year, about how I’m easing my way back into exercise with more low intensity options so I don’t overdo it. Yes, a moment like this calls for plenty of justification! But is it for Logan’s benefit or mine?
Our session is over, I’m out of time. I spent five minutes warming up, five minutes getting acquainted, 10 minutes learning the exercises with proper form, two minutes and forty nine seconds actually doing the exercise and the last seven minutes and nine seconds sucking air!?!?! Stellar performance Halle. Guess the thirty minutes I had planned on the elliptical after this training appointment has quickly gone out the window. I’m not proud. On my way to the locker room a man in his 70s consoles me with a word of advice. Thanks for caring, but I’m licking my wounds and not ready to receive what you’re sharing, sir. I grab my gym bag & purse and it hits me, “IT ONLY TOOK TWO MINUTES AND FORTY NINE SECONDS TO GET MY ASS KICKED?”
I guess I just got a little dose of reality. All I can hear is my friend and mentor’s words, “It’s hard to read the label from the inside of a jar.” And today, Logan helped me read the dang label and I didn’t like what I read. I thought the label read, “Strong, healthy, in shape, a little out of practice but can spring back at a moment’s notice, athlete, competitive and impressive.” But this morning, I got to see that instead the label currently reads, “has great stories about when she was in shape, played basketball competitively 25 years ago, works out but doesn’t push herself, some strength and flexibility to work with, but cardiovascularly is out of shape.” That sucks.
The gift is that I can now do something about it. Sometimes we need a little awareness to reveal choices that are available so we can make changes happen. And that is my take-away from my two minute and forty nine second Monday morning ass kicking.
Need some help reading your label from the inside of your jar? Reach out, I’m here for you!