From Fun to Focused: an Update on the Gym
It’s been two months since I shook up my gym routine with a more focused workout plan. Since that time I’ve been trying (mostly successfully) to go to the gym twice a week to do my customized workouts.
Outside of the gym, I’ve stayed active on the bike and somewhat active with running. I logged 500 bike miles and ran 40 miles on my two feet for the month of February. In March, my bike mileage coasted up to just over 600, and my running stayed consistent at 40 miles.
I’m happy with my progress, particularly in the gym. While my planned workouts do require more focus than what I was doing before, they have grown easier over time.
I’ve memorized most of the exercises through regularly doing them, although I will pull out my written plan every so often, just to keep myself focused and to make sure I’m not skipping anything.
Over the past two months, I’ve also seen and felt progress. While the routines still proove challenging, they don’t leave me feeling as beaten up and humbled compared to my initial weeks doing them. I can do activities that I could not before and over time I have been able to either add weight or do more repetitions of many of them. That “practice makes perfect” adage has some truth to it after all.
I now feel more at home in the gym among the boys. I stopped paying attention to them for the most part, and instead think about what I need to do while I’m there.
My recovery has improved as well. The day after a hard workout I am not as stiff the next day or two after, and (I don’t want to speak too soon, but) I’m feeling this difference in the riding as well.
I realized that I don’t always have to choose between a fun versus a focused workout. I can commit to long rides on the weekends and two prescribed workouts per week, and I can throw in additional workouts that are less structured. This has helped keep the gym and my time outside interesting and enjoyable.
I still have areas where I need to be more dedicated. For example, I’m loathe to work on my flexibility and stretching, and much prefer cardio activities and weights. I need to do a better job of incorporating this into my regular workout routine. Future me will thank me.
In addition, I am still figuring out the ideal recipe of weekday workouts when I have an intense activity coming up on the weekend. Generally, I’ve tended to back off on my intensity the Wednesday prior to the weekend event and focus more on my upper body and abdominals. I just don’t want to wear out the legs! So far, that approach seems to be working.
My trainer has helped me throughout. Not only did he create two great customized workout plans, but he’s corrected any form issues I’ve had, guided me in the balance of fun versus focused workouts, and taken time to answer my questions. He has never been judgemental or patronizing. Not all trainers are that way so I feel quite fortunate.
Overall, the past two months have been incredibly motivational. I have not lost much weight, maybe three pounds or so, but this time has shown me that weight is not always the best indicator of progress. My pants fit looser, and I am stronger and healthier. I have more energy and I look forward to being active and challenging myself in a way that I did not when the new year started.