Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Strength training observations

Ever do a new strength workout for the first time? You know the kind - you do it for the first time and are sharply reminded that you are NOT STRONG.

I did the Wednesday circuit class for the second time tonight. It left me all weak, sweaty, and trembling. Not the attractive, come-hither kind of weak, sweaty trembling. The smelly, dizzy kind of woman.

Anyhoo, I've discovered several things about my fitness, particularly when it comes to strength:

1) I'm hoping I looked just like this -->

2) My upper body strength is for $hit. I am the original 160-pound weakling. I started out doing things with 8 pound hand weights, and promptly switched to 5 pound weights after nearly hitting myself in the head with one. At one point, I switched to nothing. That's right, I was pumping some serious air, y'all.

3) I cannot do a pushup. Not that I didn't try: I assumed the plank position, and did one pushup.
Then I had to hit the mat with my knees to do two more. I had to stuck my big butt WAYYYYY up in the air in what I'm sure was a very attractive series of pushups, pausing between each one long enough to catch my breath, okay, pant deeply--OH and for future reference, do not ever look back to see what you look like in the mirrors that line the wall of the studio when you're in this position.
Just. Don't.

4) I respond very well to group pressure, even imagined group pressure. This particular teacher, when we didn't call out the number of whatever-we-were-doing-at-the-time reps loudly enough, would threaten to give us more to do, and we/I would hastily comply by yelling out as loudly as I/we could, even while the small, still, rational voice in my head was saying, "I'm a grownup. She can't make me do them."
No matter. I was taking no chances.

5) I probably look more like this -->

6) Oh, and here's a weird observation: whenever I see someone who's as heavy as I used to be in the locker room, changing off in the corner or the shower, hoping nobody will see her changing, I want to go and give her a big hug.
Is that weird? I want to tell her how great it is that she's here and that is she keeps at it, she'll feel better about herself. I want to, but I don't.
I'm afraid that I'll come off as condescending.

So I guess my goals are to do a real pushup and maybe use the medium weights in class. And maybe get up the courage to say something encouraging to those girls I see hiding in the corner in the locker room.


  1. you have functional strength. It's there - even if you can't do pushups. I promise.

    after all, you were strong enough to swim 2.4 miles that one time in that race, remember?

  2. The chick in the bottom photo is lifting a lot more than Marilyn.

  3. I reckon don't worry about sounding condescending, just say what you want to say.

  4. Streangth training is great for humbling triathletes:)

    Say, I didn't know Rosie Odonnel was a power lifter.

  5. I'm guessing you couldn't ride for 5 hours or run for three hours right out of the gate.

    With some time and conistency, I think you'll be amazed at how quickly your body will "get it" and you'll be doing pushups in no time.

    Happy holidays


    PS - condescension be damned - you may make there week by saying something positive

  6. Anonymous7:23 AM

    I want to be able to do push-ups, too. Great job on the strength training!

  7. Push-ups - I can do the up, the down not so much..... I get about halfway down and crash.
    I'm with ya on the hugathon. Just make sure you are wearing clothes. Naked girls only hug in the locker room in porn movies.

  8. Push ups are HARD.

  9. You find the BEST pictures!!!

    The lady in red looks quite powerful and lovely to me. Not that you in any way implied this, but I highly doubt she's one of the locker room corner-dwellers that you described. I bet she's one of the ones who prances around snappin butts with towels!

  10. funny how many different kinds of strength there are (and I"m only talking physical, not emotional!) I can do lots of reps with heavier weights - 12, 15, etc. and even do a pushup or maybe two. But I can't run more than 2.5 miles (at the moment) nor swim more than 1/2 mile! (I have nice-looking shoulders, though!)

  11. Just look at strength training as another way to get to your running/tri goals-you will just that much faster and fitter.
    Once you master a set of ten pushups...I bet you will go for 30, and then 50, 'cause I think I know how you roll...keep up the good work (and I hope I am not sounding condescending...!)

  12. I was in the gym this morning and there was an overweight woman on the treadmill. She was struggling but at least she was really trying and not just faking it. I wanted to say something encouraging but I didn't for the same reason.... Maybe if I was on the treadmill right next to hers I could have started a conversation.

  13. I always wonder about that too. How would you have felt? There's a woman at my gym who has lost alot of weight over the year. I think next time I'm just going over to tell her how great she looks.

  14. From personal experience:

    One encouraging comment is probably fine.

    Any more than that may get you a black eye or a sobbing mess.


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