Monday, August 12, 2013

I don't know why I keep drinking water at the gym, it just seems to pour right out of me as soon as it's in.

When will I ever learn?

The last few training sessions with the ninja have been fairly exhausting.  My first 3 months on programme when I had a Jonathan day, I would wait until 15 minutes before it started to warm up on the treadmill or the elliptical and then enter the training full of energy...and butterflies.  The following 3 months, I switched things up by getting to the gym a couple of hours early and attacking the treadmill and then possibly hopping on a spin bike after.  The training session would then kill me, though my anxiety disappeared.  So, in the last month I have been getting to the gym a little early and then warming up by walking on the treadmill for an hour or so, having a little something to eat, a bit of a rest, before hopping on a machine for 5-10 minutes and then going into our sessions.  Here's the thing about ninjas - they are pretty tricky, so even if you have a date at 11AM, it can quickly turn into 10AM.  Bye-bye eating, bye-bye rest!

Last week just such skulduggery occurred.  After a brisk walk from home to the gym, and then an hour of hiking up an imaginary hill and then running down it (on a treadmill, obviously), the ninja came over to collect me an hour early:
"Feel like running?" he says, through a smirk. 
"I've already been running," I reply, aware that he is about to test me. 
"I was thinking a timed 800M."  His streak of evil ninjaness suddenly becomes very apparent.  His clean-cut appearance is simple subterfuge, he has always looked like the star quarterback in a made-for-TV-movie where the teenagers are all played by Hollywood actors in their late 20s.
"Um...okay," I say.  In my mind, I'm thinking he is doing this because he wants to see if I'm going to fight him, the strongest thing I can do is welcome the challenge...and beat my fastest time. 
"How many laps is it?  17?"
"No, 18."  This is the 2nd time I've had to correct him on this matter.  As a rule, I tell him when he's forgotten to get me to do a set of exercises or miscounted reps.  Perhaps I'm a masochist, perhaps it's my integrity...all I know is that when he says jump, I will always ask, "How high?" because he knows what he's doing and he gets results.   
"Why do I always think it's 17?" 
"I don't know, Jonathan, maybe it's cuz you're pretty?" I say grinning, searching his eyes for approval.  Nothing.
"Ready to go?  Go."
And so I ran, I ran back and forth focusing on my breath, trying to increase the length of my stride, and my cadence.  Pushing myself harder every lap when he called out my time, and racing against my old self.  The first time I attempted the 800M, I walked the entire thing in something like 13 minutes.  The second time I ran the course in 5 minutes and 45 seconds, that is quite an improvement, don't you think?  So how will I fair with another 50 pounds gone?  Well, I think my time was 4 minutes and 52 seconds, the ninja assured me that if I hadn't had that slip at the beginning, I would have beaten my previous recorded time by at least a minute.  I agree, and if I hadn't already done an hour and a half of walking/running before I entered the race, that would have been a great advantage too!  
His unpredictable training methods, keep me on my toes.  A ninja is always prepared, like every good Girl Guide, and I've been told on multiple occasions to be ready for that means wraps 'n' gloves, spinning shoes, towel, healthy lunch, snacks, water bottle full of Quench tea from Silk Road, and 2 changes of clothing in my gym bag at all times.  When I throw in my laptop and charger, that makes my bag 22 pounds or so - so not only is my walk to the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre good cardio, it's weight bearing exercise!  The changes in clothing factor into this particular workout because after a good session on the treadmill, I will be dripping with sweat, and I will change into something less pruney-skin inducing.  After being plucked off the 'mill, and thrown into a timed run...I was a sweaty mess with no chance for a quick change. 

Earlier in the week, J-Carp asked if it would be okay with me if Aaron, the lifeguard and aquafit instructor extraordinaire, could shadow one of our training sessions - of course!  He met us by the staircase on the other side of the pool.  Well, this is ominous, generally when we hang out by the staircase I am asked to run stairs as a warm-up, but that's not going to happen because I've already walked to the gym, walked and run on the treadmill, and then done a back and forth thing in the hallway, right?  Wrong.  The ninja thinks it would be a good idea to do a timed stair run.  Seriously? not let him see you sweat.  No wait, I'm already sweating, do not let him see that you don't want to do something, or think that you can't do something.
"Think you can do that?" he says, narrowing his eyes and tightening his jaw. 
"Of course.  How many times up and down?"  Challenge accepted. 
"Let's make it 18, same as the run."  
 I have a thing for odd numbers, so 18 doesn't sit right with me, "How about 19?"
"Then you'll end up at the bottom of the stairs."
"I don't care, 19 is better than 18," I will live to regret saying that. 
"Do 18.  Go."  
Off I go down the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs, and so on and so forth.  I try to be as efficient as possible, but I know I'm taking a couple of extra steps at the top and the bottom of the staircase.  I place my whole foot on each riser as I power up so as not to hurt my calf (again), and I treat the way down as my reprieve.  I try to regulate my breathing, but I am getting tired.
"How many have I done?"  I call out as I near the top, after what seems to be an infinite amount of stairs.
The ninja smiles and says, "16.  You know what?  Let's do 30 not 18, you're doing this pretty fast." 
"Huh?" is about all I could get out at that point...and I seem to use this expression far too often when I'm with the ninja.  Apparently, when I work out, I become a caveman.  Articulate speech, syntax, and vocabulary are reduced to a lexicon of grunts and monosyllabic drivel.  Not exactly the way I want to present myself in general, but then I wouldn't wear clothing this tight in real life either, so at least my neanderthal-self is contained within the gym.  
"Keep going, do 30." 
"Kay" I say doubting my ability to continue, but trusting that the ninja knows that I will push myself to go on because, 1.  He asked me to do it...and 2.  There is a witness, and I do not want to disappoint.
He counts me down all the way to zero, and then I get to rest.  Sweat, sweat, huff, puff...same old story.  When I first started running stairs 7 months ago, I did 10 ups and downs in a couple I'm doing 30.  And apparently, I'm going to do it again, to see if I can beat that time.  Time to take out the extra steps, time to change the down from rest to the quick part.  While I feel like I'm running out of energy, I overhear the ninja telling Aaron why he includes exercises such as this in my training and it makes me soldier on.  And I do so, to the tune of under two minutes.  Yay me!  And yay ninja, because nothing makes me feel prouder than beating my previous time, especially when the challenges are back to back.  
Floor to ceilings with the ninja

Now what?  I feel like I could accomplish anything after that.  Floor to ceilings with 20 pounds in each hand,  15 of them, three sets.  No problem.  First, Jonathan spots me and explains what he's doing to Aaron.  Then Aaron takes over, and I start my last 15.  Oh, wow...this is getting heavy.  I attempt to lift the weights over my head on one of the last reps and my left arm gives out a bit and the weight comes crashing to a stop on my shoulder.  Aaron apologises for not being there, but truth be told I kinda like a "lifting bruise."  It makes me feel tough.  And, while I'm squatting then pressing those weights up and down again, I have a lifeguard right behind me and a ninja directly in front, so life is still pretty good....bruises or no.

Step-ups with weights and burpees followed, and somewhere in the middle of that Aaron looks at me taking a swig from my newly filled water bottle.
"Looks like that water is coming out of you as soon as it goes in." He smiles cheekily.
"Yes, but looking on the bright side, when I lie down on the mat to do a burpee, the cotton of my shirt wipes up the sweat that I left behind the time before," I retort.  I can be facetious too.     
This is what a push-up looked like in February
Then after my mopping up burpees it's time to stay in the prone position and do some push-ups.  These I have been practicing, unbeknownst to my ninja.  He says start with 10 full push-ups, I do 10.  He says go to 15, I go to 15.  Ha!  Practicing.  I think we all know that push-ups "exercise the pectoral muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids, with ancillary benefits to the rest of the deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis and the midsection as a whole."  But, what you may not know is that at 292 pounds it is very difficult to even accomplish 1 knees-down push up.  In January, my gut and boobs practically propped me up as they rested on the mat.  Push-ups were knees down, always.  As I began to lose weight, Jonathan got me to push-up first with my knees down and then lift my legs 1 at a time positioning myself into full push-up pose, then I would lower down to my belly and do it again.  He tells the lifeguard, that he has never modified push-ups in that manner but by splitting up the components, I was still able to reap the benefits.  And so I show off the benefits by doing another round of push-ups.  
The ninja smiles and says, "Remember, when you couldn't do these at all?"
"Yes.  And I'm glad you're laughing at that now and not then."  Then I attempt to go a little deeper into a push-up and promptly fall on my face.  "Woops, you spoke too soon." 
He shakes his head.
Sit-ups were also a challenge, it's hard to fold yourself in half when you have the equivalent of a pillow and two throw cushions figuratively strapped around your abdomen.  Now I'm doing a sit-up with one leg straight, one bent, and a weight in one hand that I'm shoulder pressing as I come up.  I'm still not very good at these, but I am no longer struggling to keep my legs together - do not read anything into that!  I've lost a significant amount of thigh fat.  That is all.  

Planks are next, I flip over and assume the position.  I really dislike planks, mostly because I suck at them.  Why can't I hold the pose for longer than 45 seconds?  Gahhh!  Seriously, my arms start shaking, my abs want to give out, and my thighs seize up.  It's not pretty.  And, I'm all fine and dandy if I do them with my arms straight...but as soon as I go on my forearms, everything changes.  The ninja and lifeguard are discussing what we at MAC would call "style-stepping" or how you adapt the way you teach things to suit the person to whom you are teaching.  

Aaron asks, "Do people fight you?"
"Yes.  Suzie's been pretty good.  The only thing she's fought me on are planks," says the ninja coyly.
Overhearing this in mid-plank has made it difficult for me to keep my knees up, especially because I have made it a point to never fight the ninja on anything and do exactly what I'm told...and now he's said what? 
"I have never fought you!" I breath out, sweat dripping off my forehead.  "Are you trying to start a fight?"  45 seconds are up...and I'm resting on my belly.  "I have never fought you...unless you count this, and I'm fighting you on the fact that I've never fought with you...over anything...except possibly it doesn't count!"
Back to planking, now I have to keep in form for another 45 seconds or I'll look like I'm fighting him.  For the record, I have never, ever disagreed with any of his training methods, I've always grinned and bearred it.  And, yes, sometimes I fall out of plank and he says get back in...and I do!  C'mon!  This is hard!  Haha...I am a model much as I can be.  Why fight him when it's working?  Perhaps that's my style-stepping?  It used to be if I didn't like something, I wouldn't do it...and now, if it's hard, but I know it's going to tone my arms or strengthen my back or do something that I want it to do...well, I practice it.  Like push-ups, and don't think that I haven't been practicing planks...I have been...but they still suck.

Practice makes perfect.  And, this is training after all.



a : to form by instruction, discipline, or drill

b : to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient

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