Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Planks Alot

Today was my first session with my new personal trainer.

I have to stop a moment and admire that sentence.

See, I never thought I'd have a personal trainer.

I couldn't really imagine it.

Me. Having a personal trainer. Me. Working out enough to think I needed a personal trainer. Caring enough about the quality of my workout. To invest the money into a personal trainer.

I'm often reluctant to spend money on myself. I'm much more apt to push Thomas into getting the new pair of shoes he needs than I am to be willing to spend money on myself. I always feel somewhat guilty about it; because I don't directly bring money into the household, it always seems that spending money on me is... frivolous. A waste. Selfish.

Convincing myself to hire a personal trainer... it's been a bit of a debate. I mean, I'm still not to my goal weight, so I'm already spending $10 a week on Weight Watcher meetings. Adding a personal trainer to that... (and admittedly, this particular trainer is rather inexpensive, for the service; she only charges $20 an hour) more than doubled my "health and wellness spending."

On the one hand, it's an expense we really don't need. Our budget is crunched pretty bad; Thomas's place of employment has yet to approve this year's pay raises, so we don't even know what the raises are, or when they're coming out... food prices are still on the rise and while gas prices did go down for a while, they're creeping up again now...

On the other hand, I have pretty much killed my soda habit. I still have a diet coke once a week when we go for an afternoon walk, and if we're at restaurants, but we are trying to cut down on eating out, to twice a month, at most. I've started clipping some coupons and trying to learn to budget our food better, which has dropped our grocery bills (between that and giving up the soda) from $220 a week to $160-$180 a week. Not nearly as frugal as some internet moms I know (I have yet to understand how the HELL a single person could eat on $40 a week, much less a family of four. I personally think they're LYING, but that's ok...) but still, $40 a week in savings is $40 a week in savings. And we're no longer paying for Thomas's Weight Watchers (as he's something like 13 pounds below his goal weight...) And since I'm done with my dental work and I no longer need $90 worth of prescriptions every month... that's another $32 a week that we're not spending...

So, it's not like the money isn't there, if we need it. It was convincing myself that I was worth spending an extra $20 a week...

So, allow me to say it again;

Today was my first session with my new personal trainer.

On Saturday we had a "free consultation" session, in which we talked about my weight and fitness goals... the excercising and workouts that I was currently doing, and what I wanted out of a personal trainer.

One of the big things that's on my mind is that, honestly, I don't know what I'm doing.

I walk. I ride the recumbant bike. I do some stretches, crunches, pushups. But I don't know if my form is good. I'm fairly certain that I don't even know if I'm working all my muscle groups, much less what excercises are good for what areas.

I'm afraid of the weight machine. I know how to do a basic bicep curl and I can read enough to do some of the other excericises laid out on the weight machine, but I wasn't sure which ones I should do, or how many, or anything like that.

I wouldn't know what to do with a medicine ball if my life was on the line.

So, I headed down to the fitness center to work with my personal trainer.

First, she threw me at the elliptical for some warm up; five minutes at a low resistance. Because, she says, I need to get out of my comfort zone. (Funny, I didn't think the bike was in my comfort zone. I certainly don't feel comfortable on it...) I hate hate hate the elliptical. I feel all off balance, like I'm going to smash my face into the control panel, or slip off the back, or do any number of embarrassing and painful things to myself.

After that, we did upper body sculpting with the weight machine; bicep curls, tricep extensions, and rows. I have a great problem with locking my knees; I just don't feel steady with my knees slightly bent, which seemed to throw a kink into everything I did.

We did some squats, both with and without weights. I had a great deal of trouble with a medicine ball squat that was supposed to work my obliques (whatever that is...) because I can't seem to figure out how to pivot on my foot. We had to try several different excercises until we figured out something that I could do that worked that area... she eventually found that I could do a side crunch with weights, so long as she was standing behind me to make sure I didn't fall.

Not that I was that unbalanced, but more, I'm scared I will fall, and if I feel like she's there to catch me, I'm more apt to do the exercise correctly than if she's not there.

She had me do some leg lifts and then we did planks.

A lot of planks. I did plank dips, then a straight plank and hold, then rest, then plank again... we did these on and off for about seven minutes, by which point my lower back and stomach ached rather impressively.

She rather accurately assessed my physical condition (better than I think it is, but not as good as it could be) and then stated that my biggest problem was that I'm afraid. I'm afraid of hurting myself, I'm afraid of not knowing what I'm doing, I'm afraid of being clumsy. I'm not shocked by this revelation; generally speaking, yes. Of course I'm afraid, it seems only natural. My bone density is screwed up from years of being on steroids. I fell in the street one time and broke my arm in three places. And that was just falling down, not falling OFF something, or falling with a weight in my hand.

She gave me some homework assignments; 10 of these, 15 of those, as many of these others... that I'm supposed to do at least four times this week, whenever I can work them in, even if I just do a set of the leg lifts between wipes in a Sarth Raid, and then go the side crunches before bed.

So... I'll be seeing her again next week.


Kyle and Darci said...

How exciting that you got a personal trainer! Sounds like she showed you some great things!

Oh and sweet potato fries are AWESOME!!! You've got to try them!!

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

Me, with PT envy! I miss my trainer so much.

I'm thrilled for you, though, and I completely understand the fear of falling. I still have it sometimes. I just remember I'm on a padded mat and keep going.

I hope you'll enjoy the experience as much as I did!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all this!! neat insights for me having once been the trainer and (waitforit) pondering now hiring a trainer.

I get the fear thing entirely. I joke about 40 and being afraid Ill break a hip but more truth (for me) is said in jest...

Summer said...

This is fantastic. I think this is exactly what you need to get you off of the mental plateau you wrote about in your last entry.

And she's got you working on your balance... that makes a lot of sense to me. What I've been taught is that any movement that challenges your balance (especially if you're wobbling all over the place) forces you to use deep layers of your core muscles. It also winds up being an exercise not just for the body, but for the brain.

I'm so glad you've decided to make this investment in yourself!

Jen, a priorfatgirl said...

ooohhhh...a brand new shiny trainer! I agree, I never though I would hire a trainer. I mean, I'm a priorfatgirl who would have previously much rather spend money on TGIFriday's & bar tabs. Now? I'm paying the mortgage on my trainers house? I cannot believe it. :) We are so good!

ptg said...

Good for you on taking that step forward and investing in yourself and your time and making sure that you are being the best you can be (cue Army music).


Mary said...

I think it's a GREAT idea to get a personal trainer! Personally I can't afford to train with one regularly, but I have a few trainer friends that I can ask for opinions once in a while, and even ask them to check my form (in squats, back exercises etc). When they demonstrate, everything looks so easy.

I recently had one of them design a two-week workout program for me too, and I'm trying to keep up with it and am looking forward to seeing results :)

The trainer is definitely a big step in your weight loss challenge, like you said. And I think homework is great too! You can do the same exercises in your own time, and review what she said about your form. Will certainly show promising results I thinK!

Anonymous said...

I envy you. I wish I could afford a PT, but they are so expensive here. I do plan on getting one once I get closer to my goal weight to help me tone and work one strength.

But you do deserve to spend the money on yourself. Keeping your body and mind healthy can only help you in the longer run.

Manuela said...

Have fun with the trainer!

It's funny because I remember when I lost my 70+ pounds I was freezing all the time and didn't even think about it! Know what? I'd rather be cold!!!!

Anonymous said...

whens the next appointment?