Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On Medicine Balls and TWENTY Counts...What The????



This post is about BEAST Mode Day 14

Last week I left you hanging. Sorry for that. I remember writing about my adventures at The Training Zone with Joe, and I stopped short of writing about my experience with the new and not-so-easy-on-me Sean. It has been five days…I think I have recovered enough to write about it.

It was the second day in a row that I found myself walking into The Training Zone. This time I brought my own towel, my own water, and a backpack with my protein bar and carb boosters (you can’t be a super hero without the right tools, right?). It was a quiet hour, as it was just me, Joe, Sean, and a very pretty client who was scheduled at that time. Wait, I haven’t even mentioned how excited I was to see Sean back in the gym.

The treadmill is my best friend. I have decided since the very first session here that my favorite thing to do is get on the treadmill and work up a bit of a sweat. I wish I could put a computer on the treadmill and do my work from there. But alas, I was not allowed to stay on the treadmill because next on the list were my lunges and those crazy exercises where I pull one leg up and balance my weight on the other foot. I must admit that these have progressively gotten better since the first time I tried them. The first day I was in there, I could not keep my balance and kept falling over like a baby taking her first steps. I was bad! But this time my feet had an easier time keeping my body balanced; I wasn’t as shaky or afraid of falling over. Talk about a confidence booster!

What happens next is going to take you by surprise. Heck, it took me by surprise to hear him say it. “Ok, I need you right here to do your sit-ups. Give me a set of 20.” Let’s rewind back to the first session I had done with Sean—which was only one week previous to this. The sets consisted of repetitions of 5 (FIVE), not 20. My mind was doing somersaults and my stomach began to freak out, or was it the other way around? I have no idea. All I know is that I was given a directive and I complied.

“Three, four, five….eighteen, nineteen, twenty,” I counted out.

“Ok, take a minute and relax. You’re going to give me another 20.” I looked around. I honestly thought he was talking to someone else. Me, 20 more? I still had proof of the workout he sent me home with that specified reps of FIVE, and now he was giving me TWENTY?!?! Where was my benevolent trainer? Who took the kind, gentle trainer and replaced him with Mr. TWENTY?

“Good job, Lori. You got this,” I heard from across the gym. That was Joe. Doing his routine. Listening to Eminem while I was listening to my heart beat out of my chest. I couldn’t get distracted or show weakness because I didn’t want to start over.

“Eleven, twelve, thirteen…eighteen, nineteen, twenty,” I counted out.

“Yeah! Go ahead and get some water.” I felt dead. My legs moved because my head willed them to, and this exercise didn’t even have anything to do with legs! What was going on with my body? I couldn’t keep thinking about it because I was going to either throw up or cry. Or both, because if I threw up I would probably cry from embarrassment and I couldn’t throw up because Sean is putting up this new studio in the gym and how would that look? Really, think about it? New wood. A new window. New vibe. Nope, somehow I don’t think that getting sick in the gym would enhance the clients’ experience. And so I continued my workout.

Have you ever held a medicine ball? No? Me neither. Have you ever thrown a medicine ball against a wall? No? Me neither. Disclaimer: throwing a medicine ball against a wall shall not be compared with playing handball in a racquetball court with a tiny blue ball that weighs mere ounces. Nor should it be compared with throwing a soccer ball to your fullback when you’re too tired to kick it to the power forward. For some reason, a soccer reference that Joe and I had spoken about while I was on the treadmill made its way into Sean’s ear.

“Ah hah! I hear you used to play soccer. You remember this, don’t you?” as he gives me an example of how he wants me to throw the medicine ball against the black wall in front of us. “Go ahead and give me TWENTY.” What the? Where did this twenty figure come from? I wanted to remind him that FIVE was my lucky number but he beat me to the punch by reminding me to hold my posture or I would hurt myself.

“Seven, eight, nine…eleven, twelve, (breathe) thirteen…nineteen, twenty,” I said out loud for fear that nobody heard me and thought I was playing around. Because, you know, I make things look so easy and complete all my tasks with finesse (this is obvious sarcasm). My arms are Jello. My hair is sticking to my head and I could feel the sweat roll down my face. At this point my brain reminds my body that my keys are in my backpack by the door and I left my truck unlocked—always looking for that quick getaway!

“Ok, so now what you are going to do is stand sideways and throw it back at the wall, like this,” and he shows me an example again of what I should look like while doing these medicine ball exercises. “Do TWENTY on each side.”

Ok, where’s Trevor. Surely there must be someone in here who has not lost his mind. The day before, Joe worked me out like I had never worked out in my life. Sean was working me out like I was being punished for considering shoving a Reese’s peanut butter cup in my mouth prior to driving down there. Yes, Trevor, where was he? Every time I see him he is smiling and that must mean that at least he would see the benefit of letting me off easy. The seconds kept ticking away and I was still standing there with a medicine ball in my hands and a wall waiting to get beaten.

I remember when I did Toastmasters a few years back and I cried during my first speech. I absolutely hated speaking in public. I had this fear that I felt was insurmountable. The only tactic that worked was the old grade school, overused, over-prescribed tactic that teaches you to picture everyone in the room naked. Within two months of joining Toastmasters I was winning regional contests in public speaking. I know, I know, what does this have to with the workout session with Sean? Here it goes:

Using the same tactic of replacing one object with another (a clothed, intimidated audience member with a naked, unassuming audience member), the power is stripped of that which is holding you back from achieving the task at hand. For me, in that moment, throwing that medicine ball FOURTY more times seemed more difficult than singing the National Anthem, naked, in sweltering heat, while wearing a transparent trash bag. But what came next was genius; when I had to throw the medicine ball leading with my left arm, I replaced the medicine ball with Sean’s head…yes, Sean’s head was a medicine ball!

“Fourteen, fifteen, (I’m still smiling), sixteen…nineteen, twenty,” I counted. I walked over to get some water and came back read to go again. Only this time, I led the medicine ball against the wall with my right arm. It was Joe’s turn.

“Six, seven (that one was for challenging me in public to enter this 10k), eight, nine…twelve (I don’t feel my arms any more), thirteen, fourteen (that was for making me jump the day before while wearing pants that kept falling), fifteen, sixteen…eighteen, nineteen (just one more…this one for making me listen to Eminem while I work out), TWENTY!” I felt like Rocky Balboa reaching the top of the stairs. Fireworks were going off in my head. The ticker tape was falling from the sky because I had won the game and there were witnesses!

There was only one thing wrong: I wasn’t Rocky Balboa. I hadn’t climbed up any stairs, and the fireworks that I thought were going off in my head were really going off all over my body. How could I go on? Do people really do this voluntarily? If so, why? I found myself in a trance-like state walking towards my water bottle and towel. Butterlegs. That is what you could have called me in that moment and I would have answered to it like a dog responding to its owner’s whistle.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Sean adjusting the orange band that we use for stretching and resistance. You remember last week when I wrote about the band the thickness of an elephant’s tail? It was still there. In the same place. Mocking me. “Ok, one last thing. Watch what I do and watch my posture,” as he showed me how he wanted me to pull the band towards my left hip with both hands…TWENTY to each side. I died. I secretly began wondering if I had brought any sharp objects in my backpack that could be used to “accidentally” cut all of the resistance bands in the gym. But there was not time for that. The longer I thought about ways to sabotage the last five minutes of my session, the longer it would stall just getting it done.

And so I got it done. And done. And done. And there I was again with that feeling of accomplishment that can only be achieved by completing a task that I would have never imagined completing before. I have no idea where the strength came from. I have no idea why my body kept going even though my mind was giving it excuses on why it should just collapse and give in to the fatigue.

Was it the chocolate protein bar that was waiting for me in my backpack?

Was it my desire to tell everyone that I made it through another workout session that pushed my mind to the point of explosion?

Or simply, was it just another day on this very public journey that taught me if I put my mind to something my body will comply?

Whatever it was, from wherever the motivation originated, I knew I was one day closer to achieving my goal. But there was one lingering question that I needed to ask. I walked over to Sean and Joe after drinking some water and reminded him that he sent me home with a workout that included only reps of FIVE and here he was having me do reps of TWENTY. I didn’t so much ask him a question but really stated a fact and followed it up with the requisite huffing and puffing. His response was quick and concise.

“Yes. It’s because I know that you will be able to do five at home, but I have no idea how your body will react to reps of TWENTY. That is why I have you do TWENTY here so I can make sure that you can do it and do it in a controlled environment.” There it was: simple, sweet, and kind. His response served as an affirmation that I am on the right path with the right people.

The road while on this journey may not always be straight: there may be a moment or two where I will find myself stray…and that is ok. As long as I remember that the straight road has people like Sean & Trevor, Joe, Ray, my sissy (Claudia), Maria, Vix, Linda, Juanito and the kids, and the rest of team L@s Muert@s to keep me motivated. We have a long, long way to go, but we trek together one day/one step at a time!

Life is good…especially when you are surrounded by good (magnificent!) people.


1 comment:

  1. Love you and I love you blog!!!! Loved how you secretly replaced the medicine ball with visualization! I don;t want to spoil it for anyone just reading the comments.