Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lessons in Training

So it has been a full year since I began my adventures in the weight room.  There were times that I honestly didn’t think that I would continue.  There were days early on when there were tears and frustrations.  One thing that I like about me is that I refuse to quit.  I will not allow a dumbbell to be the boss of me.  I will not allow a cupcake to bring me down.  I’m stronger than that.  So I pushed my way through and I’m so grateful that I did.   Everyone should manage to fit some kind of exercise into their weekly routine.  Whether it is walking, running, weights, pilates, yoga, zumba – whatever it is, we should make a habit of moving in order to keep our bodies strong.  You owe it to yourself.  We all have our preferences.  In the beginning, I though running would be “my thing”.  It’s cheap, it’s simple and it keeps me from gaining weight.  However, I realized “not gaining weight” wasn’t really my goal.   Holding steady at 135 pounds and eating whatever crap I wanted didn’t really seem to be such a smart idea.  My goal was really to change my body composition which requires a change in diet and strength training.  Once I figured that out, I needed the determination to implement the plan.  As you know, I hired a trainer to help me do just that.  That was the beginning of a journey that I will never regret taking.
There is a huge difference between exercising to be fit and exercising to compete on a stage.  I like the process of preparing for a competition.  It’s highly structured and the results are almost immediate.  It’s challenging and some days I just want to scream but the rewards are wonderful.  The downside is the aftermath.  After the contest, depression instantly sets is.  Think about it, on the day of the competition you are looking your absolute best – you have never looked better!  Everyone is telling you how good you look, people are smiling and applauding, all the hard work has finally paid off and if you’re lucky you go home with a trophy.  Then the next day – nothing.  It’s all over, no more applause, you feel fat because you’ve eaten everything in sight and you’re retaining water.  It’s a huge let down.  (Sidenote:  It’s comparable to how I felt right after my kids were born.  While I was pregnant I got all the attention and then after delivery, the attention shifted to the baby and I became invisible -- I had no idea I was such an attention hog.  Is there such thing as an introverted attention hog?)  It took me a solid two weeks to get back to “normal”. And honestly, I’m still getting used to my “post-show” body.   It’s weird because my weight today is still less than 135 but I look at the scale and scowl because it’s so much higher than my “contest weight” of 123.  In my opinion, competing takes more of a toll on your mind than it does your body.

But that’s just me.  Even with all this information I will step on stage again.  I’ll continue to do it until it stops making sense to do it.  The original plan was to compete in February but I’m going to hold off and give myself time to really amp up my training.  My legs need work and so does my back.

The past year has given me the opportunity to really get to know myself. I enjoy discipline and structure.  I love taking care of myself in this way.  Not everyone can make the decision to be at the gym every morning at 6:00 am, do cardio 4 times a week, and commit to clean eating.  It’s not for everyone and that’s okay.  I never knew it was for me until I got into it.  My life prior to this consisted of a lot of unhealthy food choices, sporadic cardio sessions and more unhealthy food choices.  I’m different now and I like that.  Not perfect but better than I was.  And when the day comes that I stop competing I’ll still be committed to strength training on a daily basis.  We only get one body and I don’t want to be frail as I get closer to old age.   Aging doesn’t really bother me, we’re all getting older but I can do something about how I choose to age.   And so can you.

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