Saturday, August 30, 2008

End of the Week Follow-Up

Why am I surprised that I actually followed through with my goal plan (to figure out a time to exercise every weekday)? I did it! It’s Saturday and I already exercised 5 times this week! Hmm, when was the last time I actually did that?! (beyond saying I’m going to). Huh!

Here’s the breakdown:

  • · Monday: 35 min. cardio at the gym after my shift at 9 p.m., plus 15 min. of abs & stretching.
  • Tuesday: 30 min. of toning exercises from a magazine after a stretch class
  • Wednesday: same as Monday
  • Thursday: 30 min. of toning exercises from a magazine first thing in the morning
  • Friday: swam 50 laps (30 laps freestyle, 20 laps kicking) after teaching Aqua Aerobics

The swimming was easier than I had anticipated. I don’t swim laps often, and the last time I did (last month?) I had a hard time swimming 10 laps non-stop. This time I did it more easily, so that’s good.

So how do I feel? Well, not any stronger or slimmer or more fit. In the last two weeks, when I’ve exercised 5x/wk., I’ve gained 2 lb., feel the same, and my clothes fit the same. L Not encouraging. But I have to keep up the faith that things will change in the long run. Two weeks isn’t long enough to achieve any fitness goal; I need to give it at least a month. I only feel a small sense of accomplishment at achieving my weekly goal. Beyond that, I have to know that I have had “invisible” improvements.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

“Invisible” Achievement

I realized that I saw more improvement in my ESL (English as a Second Language) students, in 16 years of teaching, than I do in Personal Training clients, in the last 3 years. Huh! Is English easier to learn than physical fitness? Certainly English can be studied more hours per day than the average person can work out, which would lead to more improvement. But, say, each were done 5 hours/week; then how would the progression compare? In that case, I think the development would be about equal.

A big difference between the two is the “visibility” or lack thereof. I can “see” ESL students’ improvements in writing and speaking. I can ask comprehension questions to “see” whether they understand what they hear or read. However, fitness improvement is often “invisible.” The first progress my clients always notice is improved energy and sleep, which are imperceptible to me. That’s usually followed by increased strength and functional ability (i.e., climbing stairs, getting up from a chair or the floor, lifting groceries, etc.), which are indistinguishable to me. A doctor’s visit might inform them that their heart and bones are stronger, their cholesterol is better, their metabolism and immunities have increased, and their blood pressure, stress, and risk of injury have decreased; all of which are unseen. Consequently, their doctor might have them decrease their medications, which is also invisible to me. Lastly, their clothes might fit better, even if their weight doesn’t change.

So, rather than thinking that my clients aren’t improving, I need to think of them like advanced ESL students: They don’t advance by leaps and bounds, like beginning ESL students do, but their English becomes refined, fluent, comfortable. Even if I don’t “see” my Personal Training clients’ progress, their workouts result in a wide range of “invisible” improvements.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New, One-Month Goal: Exercise 5 days/wk

I’m having all my Personal Training clients set one-month goals, so I am too. My problem is that my goal since May -- to fit into all my clothes again – has become stale, so I set a new goal: to exercise 5 times a week, including abs. I’ve been good at 3-4 times a week, but that 5th day is a really tough one. That used to be a habit; now it’s a goal!

Steps to achieving my goal: Figure out a 30-60 min. time each day to do it!

1. Monday, 30-45 min. of cardio + abs after my shift at HBC: 9:00 p.m.

2. Tuesday & Thursday, 30-40 min. of toning exercises at either 6:30 a.m. (if I sleep well) or at 11:00 a.m. (before I take a stretch class at noon).

3. Wednesday, 30-40 min. of running at 6:30 a.m. If not, 9:00 p.m. cardio, after my shift.

4. Friday, 30 min. of cardio either before or after I teach Aqua Aerobics at 10:30

5. If I skip a weekday, this weekend I’ll make-up that damn 5th day.

Obstacles to achieving my goal are:

1. Lack of a regular exercise schedule

2. Chaotic sleep pattern (depending on whether my kids wake up during the night)

3. Toddlers to raise alone 11 hr/day

Ways to work around the Obstacles:

1. Plan when the best time will be each day, being flexible

2. Either push through the fatigue or have alternate exercise times planned

3. Tu, Th, F put the girls in the HBC Childcare Center while exercising there