Challenging Myself

by Abby on October 17, 2011

I don’t know what possessed me. It might have been bumping into a mom friend at school pickup and finding out she was running a half-marathon this weekend. It might have been one of the kids coming up behind me and pinching my butt. (Hey! Just because I do that to YOU doesn’t mean it’s OK to do it to ME!) It might have been seeing yet another picture of Pippa Middleton in all her sporty glory. But for whatever reason, I decided to try the super-intense TRX class at the gym the other day.

TRXIn case you’ve never heard of it, TRX Suspension Training is a workout you do with straps, using your own body weight as resistance. So, for example, you put your feet in the straps and do pushups, and you pull on the straps while you lower down into a squat and then back up.

It didn’t hurt that the instructor was super buff. She told me that TRX challenges you by forcing you to use every muscle in your body since you’re stabilizing yourself as you do each exercise. “I see some people come to the gym all the time and do the same thing day after day, and then they wonder why their body never changes,” she said. Ummm… like me? Doing the exact same amount of time at the exact same incline on the exact same treadmill?

The thing is, I can convince myself that I’m in pretty good shape. After all, I do go to the gym regularly. But if I’m really honest, I’ll admit that mine are not exactly the most strenuous workouts. Half the time I’m reading the latest tabloid to see “Who Wore it Best” (answer: Pippa) or looking over my shoulder to see if the childcare staffers are trying to flag me down to come change my toddler’s diaper.

So when the trainer was doing her spiel about how you’ll keep getting the same results if you do the same thing, it kind of hit home. That’s true in life as well as at the gym, isn’t it? Plus, there was a 60-ish woman in the class. How hard could it be?

Answer: HARD. Very, very hard. The 60yo woman kicked my BUTT. She was on pushup number 12 while I was lying flat on my face, praying I wouldn’t throw up. But the dozen or so women cheered me on, insisting they had been just as exhausted and uncoordinated as me when they started. I gotta say, it felt pretty good to push myself that hard. In the beginning, I planned to bail out if it got to be too much. But I didn’t; I stayed through the whole hour. (There’s something to be said for peer pressure.)

After I showered and left the gym, I felt wrung out, but in a good way. While my days are filled with challenges – or more specifically, CHALLENGING little people – I don’t always feel strong and capable, like I can make it through anything if I just grit my teeth and push a little harder. It’s a good feeling. I mean, after a couple of Advil and an Epsom salt bath, that is.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello October 17, 2011 at 8:11 am

I am also one of those folks who do pretty much the same thing everyday at the gym. Fifteen minutes of weights followed by 40 minutes on the exact same treadmill. It’s not like I don’t have a choice, I am the only one there at 4 am and could pretty much jump from treadmill to treadmill like the gym fairy if I chose to.

I did the Charleston Komen Race Saturday and I usually walk it with the lovely Miss TK, however, she had to stay home with a migraine so I decided to run it this year. Perhaps I should have mentioned that I normally walk the treadmill at the gym, hardly ever run due to the rigors of 25 years of running on pavement seven days a week.

Any waaaay…. I figured I was in decent enough shape to run the 5 K…boy, was that stoooopid! I ran fairly quickly for about half a mile and had to slow down to a fast walk or find myself keeled over on the side of the road. So, the rest of the way, I would run 2 minutes, walk two minutes etc. What a disappointment.

So, at the gym this am I decided to get my lazy butt back in gear and commenced to run a minute and walk 4 minutes, I will build it up in the next month until I am back in running shape. Or, I will simply destroy what’s left of my knees and that’s fine, too.

AAARRRGGGGHHHHH, getting old really is no fun.


Abby October 17, 2011 at 10:33 am

I still can’t believe you go to the gym at 4am, Lou. Actually, your walk/run technique isn’t bad at all — when my husband trained for a marathon his coach suggested doing exactly that. So you’re on the right track! Let me know when you work up to a 5k. Maybe you’ll inspire me to run one as well. 🙂


Lou Mello October 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Will do, hope I can work up to it without the old bod falling apart. 🙂


Shannon @ AnchorMommy October 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Wow! I’ve never heard of that workout before. I have to say, I’m impressed. Well done!! I hope you’ll let us know if you do start to see changes as a result.


Malia Jacobson October 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Good for you! I love intense workouts, but only when they’re really short. Like 20 minutes short. 🙂 I don’t think I’d enjoy being trapped in a class getting my butt kicked–I’d be ready to leave about 15 minutes in.


Abby October 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Thanks, ladies. I hope I didn’t get too ambitious. It’s 3 days later & I’m still hurting!


Jennifer October 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I am hurting, just thinking about your workout! Wow!

I felt similarly when I tried Zumba for the first time last year. I took dance for years as a kid, and I thought that surely I could handle a 50-minute dance-based exercise class. Particularly with so many older women in it. HA. Ha ha ha ha ha ha HA! It kicked my rear end, and not in a good way. I did it again and once again limped out of the gym.

Then I broke my leg, falling over the open dishwasher while holding my infant son, but that’s another story. At any rate, it was awhile before I tried Zumba again. But when I finally made it back and tried it again, it was, yes, still, er, challenging. But I kept going back and eventually, it started to feel really GOOD.

And now I’m hooked. And I feel like a dork admitting it. But I love it. It doesn’t hurt that the variety in a Zumba class has helped me lose more weight than a standard treadmill/elliptical trainer workout regimen does, too.


Marina October 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm

How do you find (or make) time to go to the gym regularly? I stay home with my 10 month old (only one child), and I can never motivate myself. I can always find something else to do that is “more important”. Like catch up on the latest episode of The Real Housewives of …. 🙂


Abby October 18, 2011 at 10:23 am

Jennifer, Zumba looks like so much fun! But I fear I’m too uncoordinated.

Marina, I take my kid(s) with me. My gym has a nice, clean, inexpensive childcare room where I leave them for an hour while I work out. Or I go on the weekend to get out of the house. It’s a nice break, and sometimes the only chance I get to shower without an audience!


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