Jumpsquat Girl gets her tri on

My fitness goal is to finish in a sprint triathlon in October.  This is going to require convincing myself I’m disciplined.  It’s going to mean getting outside to run and bike and hours spent in a chlorine-filled locker called the indoor pool.  Soon, the outdoor pool near work will open for the summer, and I’ll be able to feel less confined.

Right now, I’m in the heady, everything-is-full-of-wonder-and-possibility phase.  I bought a new bathing suit and goggles.  A new heart rate monitor/cadence sensor/pool watch is on its way.  I have indulged in a couple of new workout tops and shorts.  I know none of this will magically make me perform better (though the heart rate monitor certainly can’t hurt), but all this prep makes me feel more confident. When I feel more confident, I perform better.

The other day, I ran for the first time in about two years.  When I was in college, I ran four miles four days a week, on a treadmill.  Now, I can barely handle a five-minute jog.  But you know what?  I did made it through those five minutes.  

At one point, I actually thought I was going to throw up, and that was the worst part mentally.  “Why is this happening?!  Why is my body against me?”

You know what, though?  My trainer just said, “So we’ll power walk.  We’ll run more next time.”

After that run/walk session, I was empowered.  I told everyone I knew and plastered it all over social networks’ walls.

Tomorrow, I’ll hit the pool for the first time in maybe a year (not sure).  I remember loving swimming more than running or even cycling.  I know my heart rate will be high, but that’s okay.  I’m going to do what I can, and I’m going to enjoy it.

A couple of words about trainers:

1. Find one who challenges you.  After all, you’re paying good money to be challenged, not to chill over coffee.

2. Find one who respects you and your limits.  A good trainer should look you in the eye.  A good trainer needs to listen and communicate with you so that you don’t get hurt but still meet your goals.

3. Find one who knows what they’re doing.  This should go without saying, but there are trainers out there who stick with the books more than others.  It’s important to trust them because they’re going to be working with your form and helping keep you from injuring yourself.

4. Find a trainer who will work for you.  What I mean by this is that the trainer should be coming up with plans when you’re not around.  He or she should be taking notes as you work out.  

You are worth the trainer’s time and attention.

Let me repeat that: you are worth the trainer’s time and attention.

Don’t be that proverbial doormat.  Respect yourself.  Ask about qualifications, go to classes the trainer teaches at the gym, and, if possible, talk to others who have worked with this trainer.

I’ve worked with (now) four trainers in the past few years.  I can tell you that it can be expensive, but with the right trainer, the experience can be totally worth it, especially if the training keeps you from getting hurt, which I am prone to do.

Jumpsquat Girl is back!

It’s been a while, folks. It’s been a long, long while. Injury and apathy have kept me from exercise, honestly. Why not be honest, right?

I had back issues about a year and a half ago that really set me back, leading to three MRIs that showed three slipped disks. I went to rehab for it for a month or so, and then I started working out again, slowly, one machine at a time. I hired a personal trainer so that I could build strength in a safe way.

At the same time, though, I felt rough. I’d gained weight due to lack of exercise and the side-effects of medication. Until very recently, when my doctor said it would be possible to lose weight while on the meds, I was apathetic. If exercise wasn’t going to help, why do it? I got sad because I had enjoyed training for triathlons and taking boxing classes so much. I missed my athletic friends with whom I’d enjoyed biking early in the morning on paths that cut through woods, just this side of a highway.

In the time since my last post, I have developed tremors. I am figuring out what to do about that, medically. Meanwhile, I’m self-conscious of running, walking, and even standing.

My new trainer (the other one changed jobs), a sprightly young woman, really is empowering. She didn’t second-guess my goal of finishing a sprint tri by October at all. In fact, she said, “Let’s get outside,” and she had me running in bursts. I hadn’t run in about two years.

Afterward, my knees were incredibly sore. However, some ibuprofen and ice cured that. Endorphins raced through my brain. Synapses fired. Though I felt a bit defeated by my own mind and body, thinking, “This is embarrassing–I used to do so much better!”

However, that kind of thinking kept me away from the gym. I want to be in the gym again. I want to have goals, and I need the social aspect that I miss so much.

Now, I’ll write again. I’ll tell you about my journey as I deal with my disorder while working toward the triathlon goal. I will have to listen to my trainer and my body so that I don’t get hurt again.

It’s totally cliche, but the right attitude can make a big difference in quality of life. Sometimes it’s really hard when my hands and legs are shaking. It’s hard when kids ask what’s wrong with me.

This isn’t a pity party. That’s not what this blog’s about. My goal is to archive my journey and maybe provoke some smiles.

See you next time!