A day of rest

My weighted vest arrived yesterday. I went to bed last night, considering that I actually might not be going to the workout this morning, but still leaning more towards going. When I awoke this morning, around two hours before my alarm, I was almost certain I would not be going to the workout. I felt terrible, utterly exhausted. When my alarm later sounded, it was confirmed: I was going back to bed, because I needed some serious rest. I slept an extra three and a half hours before waking for real. I didn’t actually get up until another half hour later, listening to an audiobook as I lay curled on my side under the comforter, eyes closed.

I eventually got up and made breakfast, though. After eating, I went and unpacked the vest with delight. I was super excited. As soon as I unpacked it, I put it on and wore it around the house for a while. It was certainly heavy, and would take some major adjusting, if ever I were intending to run two miles with this thing. I’m still not sure that I’ll ever do it, but I’m not giving up the idea so easily. Slow and steady, were my thoughts. We still have time.

By 10:00, I was barely staying awake, however, and so I lay down comfortably on the floor… and passed out… hard. I woke only once, and fell right back asleep, adding yet another additional three hours to my sleep tank for the day. I really was wiped, I thought. I had needed this day of rest, for more than just resting my muscles – so much of me was tired. Last week and the weekend and start of this week had been, well, a lot. And being behind on sleep with all of that only made things harder, both then and now.

And so I truly rested today, swapping between a new book on the kindle – got the notification this morning that it was now available from the library! – and the audiobook on my phone (also from the library, of course), and even spent close to an hour just stretching while reading, and half an hour swinging on the front porch, despite the heat and humidity (once the mosquitos arrived, however, I was done sitting out there).

Around 5:00pm, I was unsure as to what to do. I had rested much today, but didn’t want to rest too much. I also didn’t want to exert myself when I actually just needed rest. But I could feel it within myself that I needed to move. Not intensely or hard, but truly to move. So, I donned the weighted vest, though only with 10lbs now, instead fo 20, and went on a long walk. Two and a half miles in the heat, I walked at a mostly brisk pace, experiencing moving with the vest on me. It was simultaneously rough and easy.

Now, it is 9:00pm, and I can hardly stand up, I am so sleepy and tired. Therefore, I bid you all a wonderful night. 😉

P.S. Tomorrow is my anniversary of first beginning as a member at the gym. I had reached 55 workouts so far this calendar year yesterday, and so was comfortable not going today. Last year, at this point, I had done only 51 workouts. I still considered going at noon or in the afternoon today, just to round out the year’s total, but my body went into sleep mode for the noon class, and was too exhausted to fathom doing such work by late afternoon.

Post-a-day 2021

Gym

Remember how I mentioned that Katy Perry song last night, “Teenage Dream”? Well, guess what song played at the gym this morning! It was so fun to have that happen, especially considering how that song does not usually play at the gym – nothing of its genre, even. So, that was a delightful start to the day for me.

However, speaking of the gym, I totally cried during the workout today. We were doing these deltoid press-downs with stretchy bands looped over the pull-up bars. I had attempted my left arm first. I always ask which muscles are managing movements (if I am not already sure), so that I can do the movement correctly and at all. (I’ve definitely been unable to do something simply because I was using, say, my arm muscles, when it should have been shoulder and back muscles, and then it totally worked when I got the right muscle group going.)

But something just didn’t click for me this morning – I couldn’t make the band go down. As soon as I hit the point of the band’s genuine resistance, I just could not make it go any farther. And yet, that was hardly half the distance to my body. I looked around, and saw everyone else doing it with somewhat ease. I took a step closer to the bar, to lessen the tension on the band. And then another. And I still couldn’t get my arm all the way down to my body, as we were supposed to be doing – as everyone else was doing. I was bordering on tears… from embarrassment, perhaps? I was also quite low on my sleep from the past couple nights – nightmares had plagued Sunday night, giving me minimal rest then, and last night hadn’t been much more restful, though the nightmares had mostly all gone.

The coach saw me and told me to move away from the bar. I moved a bit, and he said with more emphasis and volume for me to move, suggesting that I needed to take a huge step away. And I did, but I was beginning to panic. It is not a comfortable feeling when the body does not do as we wish it to do for something that it, by all means, ought to be able to do. Nor is it comfortable to feel oneself beginning to cry over such a simple little movement in a gym workout.

But I reminded myself that I was behind on sleep, which always seems to affect my ability to remain calm and not crying in situations. And so, I struggled and mostly failed, and then switched to the right arm, just to see if it would be any different. The band went right down. It was easy like how I had seen everyone else doing it… So something is wrong with my left side, I thought. Even more stress.

I moved on to the other activity for that round, and aimed to take a mental breather from the fact that I was supposed to do that four more rounds, and yet I hadn’t even been able to do it one time out of the 20 repetitions with my left side.

When I returned for the start of my second round, I tried again, aiming truly to figure out if there were a way that I could do it, despite my body’s not being able to do it fully as intended. A modification would be fine, if I could find one. The coach saw me again, standing too close to the bar as I attempting the modification. The earlier process had repeated, and the taunting tears from before no longer taunted, but fell forth. He was immediately in front of me, standing very close, talking calmly and gently to me, asking me what was going on, what was happening in that moment. I told him that – after a solid ten seconds of being unable to speak, for my tears – I was frustrated because I couldn’t do it. He evaluated, looking to the bar where I was, and the bar I had used the first round. This one was higher, which increased the tension, he pointed out. And I said I hadn’t been able to do it before either. The bands, too, were new, and so were harder to use than the ones we had had until recently. I told him that it was just my left side that I just couldn’t seem to make do the movement. He aligned everything for me, adjusting exactly the angle of my arm and elbow, and altering my handhold to decrease resistance.

And then I did it. I was still crying and, even, shaking, somewhat, but now there was relief in my tears, not merely stress and embarrassment. And I did it again. And I kept going. I nodded, making it clear that I was okay to continue on my own now. Before he walked away, he said to me, “You don’t need to be frustrated. You’re doing f***ing pull-ups,” and it made me laugh through my tears. He was right, after all. I was crying from stress at a tiny movement that I hadn’t been able to do, thinking I was too weak – I could do it, now that he had helped me figure it out, so it hadn’t been that I was too weak at all. And yet, after the workout today, I did three pull-ups, and attempted a fourth five or so times (making it about 90-95% of the way up each time on that fourth), wanting to get in one more than I had done after yesterday’s workout. I most certainly was not too weak.

I took one deep breathe, let it go, and I was breathing fully and easily again. I’m sure my face and eyes were still rather cry-looking for a while after that, but everyone was busy working, so I doubt anyone else even noticed. By the time I started the next round, which I was able to do with ease – relative ease, that it, as it was still hard work, but I could do that hard work now – I was fully calm and focused. While doing my left side, the coach caught my eye from across the room and gave me a visual clapping with his hands (because it was meant to be seen and not heard – there was loud music playing, after all).

I smiled sheepishly, but with immense gratitude. He is always there to encourage us to push ourselves beyond mental barriers (But he is extremely careful to keep us always safe, especially regarding physical abilities. Once, he told me, after I had cried at some back squats, never to do something that actually scared me or made me uncomfortable, where I didn’t feel safe doing it. He wants us safe, but not lazy cowards. That’s why he pushes us.), but, if ever his push of encouragement does not land as intended, he is at our side to help us how specifically we need in that moment. There was no hesitation when I started crying this morning – he saw that something was not okay for me, and his full focus was on helping me clear up whatever it was. And he did exactly that. And today was just one of the many reasons that I love this gym and its owner (today’s coach). Both because of the ridiculous song choices for the morning and for his clear love and care for me when I hit a roadblock.

Post-a-day 2021

Saturday morning shows?

Saturday morning. Sleep in. Relax. Restore.

And then go to the gym, right? 😛

When I first joined the gym, I rarely made it to the Saturday workout, because it was at 9am. I was not a morning person. Period. Even as a child, I missed all the best Saturday morning cartoons, because I was, as my sister said, “a sleeper”. When I joined the gym, I was also deemed by the owner to be “a nooner”. And, when I walked into that noon class each day, I had only just woken up to an alarm maybe an hour earlier. For most of my life, the opportunity to sleep in usually meant I would sleep until close to noon, if not later. And that’s even if I went to bed at ten-ish the night before. At some point last year, all that shifted, my body determined that 4:00 was a good time to awaken – and that is AM – and I went ahead and adjusted my life to fit it. Now, I usually wake up before my 4:20am alarm, I go easily and gladly to the 5:15am workout, and I go to bed around 8:30-9:00pm each night. Sure, there are days that go longer than others, but I usually end up waking up at the same time, anyway, the next morning.

That being said, nowadays, when I am considering attending the Saturday workout, I just sleep on in, and then decide when I get up if I want to go. And I can do that, because sleeping in means sleeping until roughly 6:00 or so most Saturdays. If I stay up late Friday night, and I’ve been up late other nights in the given week, too, I might even sleep until around 8:00am. But that one is more rare.

In addition, there is now a 10:00am weightlifting class, which is specifically focused on building strength and on improving aesthetics. I have been purposely aiming to increase my strength…, and my physical aesthetic lately, so… I dare say that it is a class I could appreciate greatly.

Basically, that means I love my Saturday mornings now, more than ever. But not a lot of people attend the lift class. They prefer the cardio-strong class at 9am still. I don’t mind that class, but it isn’t a good idea to do both – not at this point in my body’s path, anyway – so I have to pick one. Of course, I pick the lift one. Strength is my current weakness, after all. Who else tends to do the lift class? Take the stereotype on this one, folks: men.

And so, how did I spend my Saturday morning today? I slept in (which felt amazing), and then I went to the gym for an awesome workout, which I did while being surrounded by five ridiculously fit guys who also were workout out. And most of us were shirtless…. talk about glorious, gleaming abs and muscles... Whew!

So, can a Saturday morning get much better than that? 😛

Post-a-day 2021

^Man! I hesitated.

Body Image

I intentionally look at myself in the mirror, nude – or almost entirely – every single day.  I look and I see all that there is to my body.  I fill myself with the experience of all that my body is, standing before that mirror.  And I love myself.  Through and through, from the tiniest hair to the German skin to the inherited bowels that are all too sensitive – I love my body for all that it is and for all that it is not.  This is my vessel, my space, my temple, my power, my source in this life.  And I am ever grateful for and in love with it.

That does not mean that I do not want to improve upon it.  One can love something and still want better for it.  Indeed, I believe part of loving something means always wanting better for it.  Such is the case with my body.  Every day, as I see the improvements from only a week ago or days ago, I am grateful that I have blessed it with such love… such love as it takes to get out of bed when I want to snuggle in deeper to the cozy covers, to get myself ready for bed early enough to have enough sleep, to choose these foods over those, to deny the casual pressure of those who do not have the same intentions with their food and drink and schedule, not to take the easy route, and just to accept the current and temporary convenience of eating this standard meal that I find before me, possibly even for free.

They mean no harm to me, I am sure, but such a meal is not free for me.  It has its costs.  Yes, it is utterly convenient, and significantly less socially odd and, sometimes, less embarrassing.  But, it is not blessing my body when I consume it.  Often, it causes my body actual pain, in some small way or other.  And, occasionally, it causes pain in some not-so-small ways… things I never noticed until I began to pay close attention.  I always thought eating meant one would feel ever so slightly ill afterward.  But that is only with certain foods, with the ones that do not serve my body, that I feel that way.  I have learned.

My food is my medicine – I take no other – and it is my daily blessing that gives me the energy for tomorrow.  It gives me my strength to exercise at 5:15 most mornings, as though it were a normal hour of the day.  It gives me the nutrition I need for my deep slumbers at night to restore and improve my strength and energy.

And it is not always easy.  Indeed, it often is difficult to manage getting myself the food I need, whenever I am doing things away from home, with others or alone.  Even at home, it takes effort.  And yet, after all this time, the effort seems like almost nothing.  Why?  Because it is so incredibly worth it.  I don’t even have to think about giving myself the right foods to serve me best, let alone thinking twice about it.  All because I love and want to take loving care of my body.

My body is merely the starting place.  If I am comfortable in my body, and it is ready and able for anything, then my spirit, too, with my body’s support, can take on whatever comes my way, and with a ready heart.  So, as I gaze at myself in the mirror each day, easily noticing the room for improvement, I also marvel at the beauty of all that I am, of all that I have become, and of all that I see I can become… all because I love myself for exactly who and how I am. I once was afraid to see myself naked – I couldn’t stand it.  Now, I look forward to that time of intimacy and being attuned to and connected in all ways with my physical self.  It is one of the most beloved times of my day, and it fills me always with love, joy, and gratitude for this life and for this current step within it.

Post-a-day 2021

Pluses and minuses

Okay, I exercised again today. I was very aware of my bottom throughout several parts of the workout, wondering if my rash was doing okay, or if it was worsening. So, I was a bit stressed about that, off and on. Plus, ditto regarding my arm/elbow muscle situation. Depending on how everything looks and feels tomorrow, that will determine my next steps with each. I am really, really hoping that they both clear up by tomorrow night.

Ugh… speaking of tomorrow night, I have to work at that part-time job. And it is for a very long time. And it is until very late. I go to bed by nine pm usually. My body wakes me up before five am each morning. It is already dreadful whenI have to work until eight pm once a week. Tomorrow, I have to work until eleven pm. I won’t be in bed until midnight, best case scenario, which means I won’t even get five hours of sleep. What’s extra annoying is that I am given a mandatory 30-minute “meal break”, because I am scheduled to work for so long tomorrow night. I don’t even eat after five pm, even on my latest of days eating. Usually, it is three pm.

Ugh. The lack of sleep is definitely not going to help my current physical state. Really, it just makes me so frustrated that I want to cry.

Post-a-day 2021

Ouch?

So… it turns out that I very, very likely am not ill. The inside of my throat doesn’t hurt in the least. But it is difficult to talk and to swallow. Both have improved throughout the day, though… after applying a heating pad to my neck for a long while.

So, what is going on with my throat/neck?

Well, I 98% believe that it is muscle soreness due to my workout Friday morning. There were lots of heavy hang cleans involved, along with over a hundred calories on the ski machine and many pull-ups (with a band) and push-ups and up-downs (think burpees without the push-up or jump). So, the cleans and the ski kind of got me good, and the cleans especially. My trapezius on the right side has been quite sore all day, along with some general soreness in my shoulders, the back of my neck, and my left trapezius. Shocking that it has been the right side of my neck/throat that have been sore since last night, hmm??

So, yeah… it’s not as bad as my dad going to the doctor with chest pains, only to recall that he had done weightlifting using his chest muscles the day before, but still… At least I accomplished a lot staying home today and not talking (no phone calls almost at all, because it was hard to talk). That was actually a really cool part of it all, everything I got done today. So, really, I am grateful for this odd day off work (from my recent part-time job), because I accomplished loads more of my home tasks than the measly pay offered me for my efforts at the official job would have been worth. Therefore, thank you very much for such an opportunity, Life. I am grateful.

Post-a-day 2021

^Almost missed it

Yess!

I have made it back to an approximate 20% body fat measurement. That is a huge celebration of satisfaction for me. I have been without a gym, essentially, for half a year now. Going from an average of four or five days a week of intense workouts and weight training at the gym to home workouts with almost no weights, and then to no gym to give workouts and support at all has been a lot this year for me. I definitely did not maintain my same fitness level from before the changes, and I had still been in a sort of recovery period from the adventures of traveling in culture and foods and not-much-exercise in Japan and The Philippines. So, I wasn’t even in my best condition when everything started closing. I was probably around 18% or 19% body fat then.

I have always struggled with doing things on my own – thus the gym membership, and the workout buddy who signed up with me, at my behest. So, the workout situation has been nowhere near where I have wanted it to be in the past six months, during which time I have had to manage it all on my own, alone. I have been slowly working toward following the diet I truly want to follow and being as active and as fit as I truly want to be. Part of those have been working toward being autonomous in, well, all of them. Interesting how I hadn’t quite ever put words and solid thoughts to that idea until just now, but those words ring as true. So, I have been focusing on a very slow process of adjusting my daily life to be closer and closer to that life I want to be leading. I have no one other than myself for leaning, so balance and thought and true consideration and evaluation are all key in this.

I had worked my way down to an approximate 16% body fat, back a year ago in October/November. Keep in mind that, though this is a rather low number for the average woman, for my body’s makeup, it is actually still an entirely safe and healthy percentage. Much lower would be unnecessary, though. However, even at that 16% body fat, I still had areas of gathered fat on which I was working to release, mostly in my hips and legs. Also, to get myself even to that point was a very, very intense yet extremely gratifying journey, for which I am entirely grateful. I had never really believed that I could be at that level of fitness in my life, and definitely not at this age. Now that I have been there, I have experienced the real ness of such a possibility for me. And I want to have myself back in that space and living. However, this time will be through the breakthrough of autonomy for my own exercise and fitness. That way, I am ready and able to maintain it going forward, no matter if a gym closes or I move houses or towns or countries – I can always be at the level of fitness that I and my body want me to be, such that I can best serve the world while I am in it in this body and life.

Post-a-day 2020

Goodnight with Green lights

This evening, I did my first workout in what feels like quite a while. This Friday will make five weeks since I had that dreadful fall while on a workout run, and found myself tumbling through the street, and then lying in un-breathing shock and pain in the middle of a neighborhood road, while everyone around was too afraid to help me, for fear of catching COVID-19 from me… which, as it happens, I did not have at the time.

I was a total mess in a way I hadn’t been since last year, when I had fallen off the Vespa, going about 30-35 miles per hour one night… I guess I lacked all the padding and protection for falls this time, so such a fall, though at a significantly lower speed, left quite similar effects as a road accident, but with a lot more blood.

I tried jogging on Sunday or Monday, on a long walk with my mom, and it was fine at first, in a sort of lazy, easy, short-stepped jog. But, as soon as I increased to a regular stride for genuine but still easy running, the quivering feeling in my shin shook me to a quick stop.

Not ready yet.

Today, Wednesday, though, I was feeling very comfortable in my leg’s ability to function on low-ish-impact, smooth, easy activities. And my whole being wanted to exercise. So, I tested out a workout that didn’t involve much knee work at all…, and it was spectacular. I even was able to do walking lunges gently. And it felt really good to use my muscles in such a way again… gosh, it was lovely. One might think they were made for such things, even… 😉

Yeah, I’m going to bed tonight feeling both relieved and enlivened. Thank you for such a beautiful opportunity and result today, World. 🙂 As Matthew McConaughey might put it, thank you, World, for these red lights turned green lights.

P.S. I started listening to his audiobook during the workout. It is delightful so far, as is he, the author and reader.

Post-a-day 2020

Tonight

I’m not sure what to share tonight.  I’m sitting in bed, propped up poorly by a couple – actually, it’s three – pillows, my lower back aching something wicked for the third or fifth day in a row.  I mean, it’s loads better than it was a couple days ago, but it is still very uncomfortable, and I’m concerned I’ll have trouble sleeping again.  It’s kind of funny, the irony of physical aches and pains.  Oftentimes, what we need most in such situations, is rest.  Yet, the pain is such that we have a hard time resting or sleeping.  So, we don’t really end up recuperating very well or very quickly.

I started working on a song just a bit ago, because a friend asked  – well, not technically, but I know he intended to make the request – me to create something I found beautiful.  He said that there doesn’t seem to be enough of that in the world right now.  So, I’m working on a song of things I find beautiful in life.  I kind of hated it for a while, but I evaluated why I kind of hated it, saw that it was because I was trying to make it something that wasn’t true to who I really am and how I really feel about the matter, and switched into the proper gear for myself.  I think it is going to turn out spectacular now.  I’m even excited about it for myself, and not just for the friend to enjoy it.  😀

Anyway, I’m wiped, so I’m going to aim for intense, helpful, healing, deep, long sleep tonight, with a wake-up that is completely ready to take on the stormy day tomorrow.  😀

Post-a-day 2020

A different ouch

Well, my hamstrings started to grow sore last night… Today, they have been amazingly sore, but only when something comes into contact with them, or I have to go from sitting to standing. Otherwise, I guess I haven’t really noticed them much… But, boy… in those moments do they hurt(!!!)… whew…

I just hope testing will be helpful tonight instead of the opposite of what they actually need – action. Either way, I’ve got to exercise tomorrow, since it didn’t happen today – things ran too close to one another today for me to get in a workout. And that was totally okay for me, by the way. I have finally begun to embrace who and how I want to be around my own physical fitness and my food and such right now. I am exercising for myself, again, and eating for myself, and it has been feeling amazing – and so easy to do, too. And I didn’t get all stressed or angry with myself or my life when the workout didn’t happen today, or when I saw yesterday that it likely wouldn’t happen today. It genuinely has been okay. And I am grateful for that.

But I’d really like to relax these aching legs already. 😛

Post-a-day 2020