Trigger warning for food/exercise stuff.
A little over month ago, I had my first personal training session. Whenever I do a Q&A I get a lot of questions about how it’s going, so today I thought I would share how it’s going.
A Month of Personal Training
Training isn’t something brand new to me. Five years ago I worked out with a trainer 2-3x a week. I really loved the experience, but when I moved to Brooklyn a) my rent went up quite a bit (ahhhh the delightful jump in rent from studio to having an actual bedroom door) so it was the first expense that I cut. That is right about when I got really into yoga (Sky Ting was right down the street from me. My former trainer remains a good friend and even did a (really informative) Q&A post for the blog a few years ago.
The past year has just left me out of shape, tired, cranky, short-fused… I could go on. I did go on, if you want to hear me whine, read this blog post. In fact, I did decently well during lockdown… I took a lot of stress walks and did Melissa Wood Health almost every day. It was the move that did me in… I pretty much quit all physical activity (besides walking) when I moved here. I’ve tried quite a few workout classes here in Charleston but haven’t found anything I really liked… and also have at-home workout fatigue.
I met Liz through my building and have been really happy working out with her. We use the gym in my building and do two workouts a week together and then she gives me two homework workouts (usually circuits; a mix of cardio and weights) plus suggested yoga flows.
I really need accountability!
For me, the fact that I am paying for these workouts and that someone is waiting for me is what keeps me consistent. Obviously there are a lot of perks to working out with a trainer (form is another big one… I don’t have the greatest form right now so having someone to adjust/correct me is really helpful). With the homework workouts, she’s reasonable – but if I miss one without any good reason, I have to do burpees (least favorite!) so I haven’t missed one yet!! The accountability is definitely the biggest thing for me. Of course there are other ways to get your accountability fix (having a workout buddy, meeting friends to take classes together, etc!) but right now, this is the best option for me.
I am a beginner again and that kinda sucks.
It’s been a little over a month and I’m not quite as sore as I was in the beginning. But in the beginning I would feel like I couldn’t walk properly!!!! Legs day is particularly brutal. My form also really sucks but that is improving. Muscle memory comes back but in the meantime I really like that Liz watches every move like a hawk and is constantly adjusting my movements. This is something I really need.
It’s frustrating at times. I have always been relatively fit. I was a life long runner, I ran marathons in my twenties, and before lockdown happened I had signed up for a half marathon with my girlfriends. So like, I know HOW to work out, I am just not good at it, and everything is SO much harder than it used to be. Sometimes I just want to lay on the floor when we finish a circuit and if it is a tough workout day, I have to go to bed early as I’m just exhausted!!!
I can be really critical of myself and get frustrated with myself for not being where I want to be. Years ago I ran a marathon at a 9:37 pace. Right now my mile pace is around twelve minutes. I try to just remind myself that it is a journey and I’ll get back there! (Well I don’t know that I’ll ever run another marathon, but running 3 or 4 miles at a faster pace will be doable!). Baby steps.
And then there is the food! Such a departure. I was always a pretty healthy eater but during the pandemic I just kinda stopped eating protein and subsisted on a diet of bread, cheese, and vegetables (still my favorite food groups TBH). I have no idea why or how this happened, it wasn’t overnight it just kind of happened over time. I’m not a vegetarian but don’t eat meat very often.
My fridge is now full of protein. Cottage cheese. Greek yogurt. Cottage cheese is a savior because it’s salty and almost tastes like cheese… I eat a LOT of it. (It’s really good on an english muffin with everything but the bagel spices!) I sometimes have to set timers to remember to eat (fibrous carbs, an hour before my workout, protein immediately after!). And I will tell you that changing how I eat has made the biggest difference in my energy levels and how I feel.
I realize this isn’t for everyone and that I am coming at this from the perspective of someone who’s always had a good relationship with food but keeping a food diary has been SO valuable. It’s mostly a tool to remember to eat more – there will be times where I work out and feel faint and then I realize I didn’t eat enough that day. I don’t think the food diary is a long term thing and I don’t always remember to log my meals every day (and when I travel I don’t write anything down) but (for me) it’s been super helpful… mostly so that if I am tired or have a stomach ache I can look back on the day’s food intake and usually pinpoint a reason.