Saturday, October 4, 2008

How Chris Got His Groove Back....

Okay, so I had a funky two weeks... but I feel like I'm getting my groove back... and it didn't take a week-long romp on an island with Taye Diggs to do it... although, I wouldn't turn it down as a possibility.... !

Focus, Christopher, focus.

I feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things. Accepting the reality of how long all of this is going to take, and also the fact that any effort I put in is going to yield progress is an important first step. And I feel like I'm getting to that point.

Also, setting some smaller goals have helped. Today's goal was conquering my fear of the elliptical trainer. Sebastien has got me doing a cycle of three two-hour workouts once each per week -- a cardio warmup, some strength training on major muscle groups, 45 minutes of more intense cardio, and some core work. Oh, yeah and some stretching, rest periods and lots of water for good measure. So today, I did legs and shoulders today. Legs are fun. Because they're my strength. So I feel good when I do leg work. After a full leg workout, I was supposed to hop on the treadmill for 45 minutes of more intense cardio (walking and light jogging), but alas, all of the treadmills were taken. I have a particular treadmill I like to use, and someone had just hopped onto it, looking like he was there for the long haul.

Ironically, the elliptical machines were all free. My nemesis. I've tried it a few times in the past, but just feel unbalanced, uncoordinated, and like I'm not grounded -- especially because, well, I'm not on the ground. I know, the logic is baffling. So, I hopped on and set myself a 10-minute goal. I would try to find a resistance level, hand position (I don't like those handles that move back and forth -- I have short arms) and pace that I liked. I found it quite easily, in fact. Don't know what made this attempt different than the others, but it felt okay.... for the first few minutes.

After about 3 minutes, I started to hate it again. Felt uncoordinated. Felt awkward. Didn't feel grounded. So, I took a few deep breaths, found a spot out through the window to focus on, and talked myself through it. Before I knew it, I was at the five-minute mark, and was feeling like I was back on pace again. 5 minutes later, I hit the ten minute mark, and happily hopped off the machine to grab a sip of water. 10 minutes... goal achieved... gold star for me.

But the treadmills were still occupied, and it didn't seem like anyone was going to be done anytime soon.

So, I decided I'd try to do at least half of my 45-minute cardio session on the elliptical. That meant I'd need to do another 12 minutes or so. I did another 15 instead. 25 minutes down, 20 to go, and still no treadmill. Oy.

I went through a series of negotiations in my head, and debated about calling it quits and heading home for the day. But the goal of completing my whole workout was too important. Giving up was not an option. Treadmills were not available. Recumbent bikes are even more awkward than the elliptical. So back on I went for another 20 minutes.

Sebastien has been persistent in trying to convince me that the elliptical machine will help me see some good results. Many of his clients in the past have had some of their greatest success because of cardio work on those machines. I wasn't totally convinced. But now I kind of get it.

After 45 minutes on the elliptical, I kept a very consistent heart rate, and burned about 400 calories -- not a bad finish to a full 2-hour workout. Once I got into the groove of it all, it felt really good. Minimal leg strain, didn't have to stop half way and stretch out my calves (like I normally do after walking/jogging on the treadmill), and hopped off that machine feeling like I had one of the best cardio workouts I've had in a long time.

So, I conquered the beast. For now. The true test will be if I hop back on the elliptical tomorrow when I go back to the gym. But for now, I feel good about it, and am enjoying the afterglow of my accomplishment. And again, Taye Diggs had nothing to do with my afterglow. LOL!!!!!

Kia kaha.