It used to be (not so long ago, either!) that if I got a little pink in the face and had a thin film of sweat, I’d declare, “WOW that was a good workout!” But I wasn’t wild about big exertion. I only saw my trainer twice a week, and during the other days, I’d either walk (leisurely) or do nothing. I was fairly sweatophobic.
Now, I feel like a workout session just isn’t cutting it unless I have visible rivers of sweat running down my face and body, and unless I can see a color change in my clothing. THAT is different! And now, on my “days off” from my trainer I am either running with my penguin buddy (we call each other that because we used to run like penguins) or at the gym. If I take a walk, it’s “extra” and really for pleasure rather than considering it a workout.
Someone on Twitter recently mentioned that she didn’t want to intentionally sweat after sweating all day at work. I liked that phrase “intentional sweat.” I LOVE intentional sweat now!!!!! But I still really really hate “uninentional sweat” which comes from just standing around in hot, muggy weather. I grew up in NJ so I know about this. It’s MISERABLE.
ANyway, I read somewhere that once you start working out, you really have to keep upping the intensity level or your body just sort of stagnantes. As you get stronger, you just have to DO MORE. Back then, the idea absolutely terrified me (“I can barely do what I’m doing NOW, how can I do MORE? Aghh, get me off this train!”) but now it is exciting. It is making me believe that now that I’ve done a 5k, they will keep getting easier and faster, and that I WILL be able to get to a 10k or even a half marathon. RUNNING.
I had an incredible nonscale victory today. I’ve been going on and on about how I HATE spinning (stationary bike). It’s true, it’s the only exercise I’ve done that has made me want to puke. About 2 years ago, I worked up to a pretty high level but then we moved on to other things (trainer and me). I’ve never taken a group spinning class. I really don’t know how those things work, just how I do it with my trainer. Anyway, he had me doing these things that he calls “hops.” One hop basically = pedal 2x standing up, and on the 3rd pedal, sit down for a millisecond. Then up again.This is all done at very high resistance, so you have to push HARD to do one revolution. This is a lot harder than either perpetually standing or sitting, because it’s that up-down thing that is such an effort. I hated those freaking things. The first time I did them, I was heaving and gasping and really almost crying after I’d completed 25. I worked up to 4 sets of 25 for a total of 100.
I hadn’t done “hops” in YEARS when a few weeks ago he said, why don’t we try this. I immediately felt a sense of dread and anxiety. And it kicked my butt. I actually did cry then, because I felt like I’d come so far in my fitness, the running etc. and why could I not do these hops?? It nearly killed me to do 100, then a second 100, gasping out for mercy the last 30 or so.
So I was NOT HAPPY when I walked in and he said we were going to do the bike today. I thrashed around on the floor and whined and groaned (I can be quite dramatic when I feel like it). He was like, don’t worry, only 500. I was really upset. I dragged out the warmup for about 40 minutes. Then I got on the bike. He turned up the resistance. I started.
Um. It did not kick my butt. I kicked its butt. My trainer counts by going 1, 2, 3, 20, etc (going up) until the last ten, then he counts down when he reaches 90. 10, 9, 7… His plan was for me to do five sets of 100, with ample breathing and whining in between each set. But when he got to 90, I wasn’t even breathing hard. He was like, WOW, okay, keep going. I got to 150. I got to 200. I was still feeling pretty damn good. Happy little sweat rivers were coming down my neck. I got to 300. Then I stopped.
My trainer had tears in his eyes. He said, I have goosebumps, you crazy woman. I was so happy. I was not at all winded, but my feet hurt, so I thought I was a good time to stop. I said, “I don’t think you had the resistance high enough.” He looked at me funny. He cranked it up several turns. He said “OK, now go.” I cranked out the last 200 feeling like, I don’t know what. Chariots of Fire.
It. Was. Freaking. Awesome. And now I’ve been on an endorphin high all day.
I’m not afraid of anything anymore.
UPDATE ON 5/27/09: Did 700 straight without stopping. Heeeeeeeee!!!!!
May 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm
I bet you Maybelle Hill is nothin’ now! 🙂
May 22, 2009 at 6:06 pm
You go, girlfriend!!! And why is *every* post you write making me go, “Whoa! Me too!” Scary. (Today: before lunch, I was sitting outside for a few minutes, thinking, “Wow. This time last year I had *no* idea that being fit would feel this good and strong. If this keeps improving, well, look out, world!”)
It’s funny about spin class. I did one, and felt *really* saddle-sore afterward. Then a friend told me that you get acclimated to those spin machine seats after a couple of sessions. So now I still dread it, because I think, “I’m not going to be able to make it.” (Why do I still have these thoughts??? Ridiculous!) But then I get in there, and I’m pounding away on the spin machine, and you’re right, it’s like a Chariots of Fire moment! (And I’m triathlon training, so I usually do a mile jog afterward, too. And I think I’m going to just lay down on that treadmill and die, but I don’t.) I love all that sweating now. (We don’t do much of the hops, though, and when you’re in a class, it’s probably not as intense as individual training.)
Well, it’s probably too late to switch to the 1/2 marathon for chocolate and champagne, but ya know, they do have this sprint triathlon thing in September….
May 22, 2009 at 6:10 pm
Wow! You’re hardcore! I want to be like you…
May 22, 2009 at 6:27 pm
Just finished reading and man I hope to get to that point one day. Now I am just starting my fit mission and just up my exercise from a walk to a walk jog and that feels good already. The “hops” are a long way for me. My friend and I are doing a fit mission website please feel free to come and check us out. Thanks for the motivation.
May 22, 2009 at 6:44 pm
Vanessa, welcome and thanks for stopping by!! I think it is great that you and Vicki are on your mission together- it makes a HUGE difference to have a buddy on this journey. Do you know Shannon and Angie, the Fab Fatties? (check out my blogroll to the right). I know that with each others’ (and our) support you can do this. Congrats!! Are you two on Twitter? If so, please tweet and say hi – there is a TON of support over there (no pun).
Hanlie, wow, long time since anybody has said that to me (maybe when my kids were like 3 years old?). 🙂
Pubsgal – A TRIATHLON? Well that is not going to be me, ever, because I am a terrible swimmer and I am terrified of bikes that are not firmly bolted to the floor. And no way about doing the half marathon NEXT WEEK (are you kidding????) but I’m toying with the idea of trying one, maybe… in December. (with Mizfit in Vegas!!!)
May 23, 2009 at 1:58 am
Wow, a half-marathon in December?
Cool! (Gotta watch that toying with ideas
business, you never know what that’ll get you
into…that’s sort of how I got bit by the
tri bug! 😉 )
May 22, 2009 at 6:44 pm
Oh, and JadePark, I haven’t done the Hill of Doom in a long while but I bet it IS better now.
May 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm
wow, so inspiring !!!! Today I went to the Dailey method for the first time. Your example is definitely making me feel like I, too, can do it!
May 22, 2009 at 7:41 pm
You went to Dailey Method? Our interior designer (Laura) teaches there! How did you like it? She encouraged me to go last year but I was so anti-fitness at that time, I thought NO WAY. Now I am intrigued.
May 23, 2009 at 12:20 am
I liked the way it made me feel…like my whole body got attention. The pace is fast, so just when my thighs couldn’t stand it we moved on to some other part. I didn’t feel in danger of injury. The exercises seem really well thought out… I wonder if I’ll get bored of it… Apparently it’s pretty much the same every time. There’s no body/mind component like yoga and I miss that but it’s really easy to get to for me so that helps. I have the deadline of my son’s bar mitzvah August 1st when photos will be taken and I’m thinking of doing it frequently at least till then and then I can decide if something else is better. I’ve researched gyms and exercise programs without doing any of them soooo many times!!! This time I think I’ll just go for it even though it may not be perfect. maybe I’ll see you there!!!
May 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm
Great post! Yes, intentional sweat is great!!! Hubby and I were just talking about how things that used to be very difficult a few years ago are so much easier now! It’s a great feeling! 🙂
May 25, 2009 at 10:50 am
Great post! I love the last line especially!!!
Woo – hoo! 😀
May 28, 2009 at 9:37 am
Look at you…kicking butt and loving it! I SO remember that feeling when I realized I would have to do more and more in order not to stagnate. Looking back, I see that when you get to a certain point, you WANT to do more. Funny how that works, eh?