Many months ago I saw an Instagram photo of a yoga class at Alamo 180 in Olmos Park, 'across from the HEB'. Because I was curious about this secret grocery store, I drove by one day and saw the studio and it was indeed across the street from an HEB and only about a 7 minute drive from home. Checking out their website, an eight week fitness challenge was advertised - $250 for 5 iron (Crossfit-esque, I supposed*) and 1 yoga class per week x 8 weeks. I decided that once newborn baby stuff wrapped up I would do this challenge!
*never done Crossfit but I do like those tall socks.
My challenge ran from Nov 1 to Dec 24. Each of these marked off weekdays I rose at 4:30 am to be at the gym at 5. A couple of times when my clinical duties permitted I went at 6, but that put me in even worse rush hour traffic after dropping off C at school. Because my evenings are always at home, I wasn't able to do the yoga class part of the challenge. Saturday's class begins at a luxurious 7:30 am.
Every workout has a the same layout: dynamic stretching and cardio warm up (skipping, grapevines); barbell lifting; the cardio portion; run. The barbell workout consists of things I've never done before - front squats! back squats! chest press! front squat to an overhead press! etc. The cardio portion is always different - kettlebell, dumbbell moves, jumping rope, push ups, [fifty+ different exercises] for 8 to 50 minutes depending on the week. The workouts follow a four week crescendo decrescendo cycle - more and more intensity through week 3 (peak load) and a de-load week 4 to reset. The workout ends with a run, from 100 meter sprints to 2000 meter jog.
Here I want to talk about Jeff, gym owner and coach and fellow NPR listener and Central Market enthusiast, who made the impossible happen: I like the gym now! Jeff, you're a miracle worker. And a poet.
In eight weeks I lost four percent body fat (unchanged BMI grrr), upped my push ups/minute from 3 to 12, inverted rows from 20 to 34, added 23 seconds to my plank time. My run improved by only 5 seconds which would be awesome if it were 100 meters, but it was the 600 meter run. (Built for comfort, not for speed).
What I really gained: the deep satisfaction of making a resolution and sticking with it. 4:30 is early. That rise time made me restructure my evenings - setting out my workout and work clothes, packing my lunch - to make the morning run more smoothly. And that made the entire day run more smoothly. I noticed marked mood improvement (endorphins?) - whether that's due to exercise itself, starting the day with laughter and camaraderie, or the feeling of making a plan and sticking to it, who cares, I'll take it. The best part of all are the new acquaintances and friends I've made. Sometimes I feel marooned on an island consisting only of 1) a desk with a microscope and a computer and 2) a house with three cute people in it. I saw my friend Michele at the library and it was HELLO FRIEND! HELLO SOMEONE I KNOW FROM OUTSIDE OF WORK AND MY KIDS! HELLOOOOOOOO!
NOW FOR A VERY SPECIAL THIS AMERICAN WIFE SHOUT OUT TO THE BEST HUSBAND OF ANY NATIONALITY
Thank you, Luke, for staying up with this Christmas ham
and getting up early with the girls when I was at gym, making this endeavor possible. I love you. You don't sleep and that's just one of your superpowers.
Going forward: I want to incorporate more cardio, especially Spinning, into my routine. I'm going to plan out, week by week, when I can spin at the Y (already a member) or Army post gym (free) and/or go to Alamo 180. A bit challenging as my workday is different day to day, week to week, month to month, with different meetings and conferences, AND taking into account Luke's travel and performance schedule but I'm about halfway through my fourth decade, folks. Everything* takes planning.
I have other resolutions for 2015 (forthcoming, writing them down keeps me accountable!) but fitness is the key one. I never thought organizing one part of my life would have such benefit in others.
Happy holidays, friends! What do you have planned for 2015?