About three hours into the church breakfast, it dawned on me. I felt great. Normally by this time, my volunteer job of cooking and scrubbing pots and pans would leave me weary. Not today. I could have done the lunch and dinner service, too. With a knowing smile, I attributed my physical wellbeing to a strength training regiment I recently incorporated into my schedule. About six weeks ago, I employed an experienced fitness trainer to help me build lean muscle and lose undesirable body fat. (Is there such a thing as desirable body fat?) Now it became evident the discipline and determination were starting to pay off.
In the beginning, I was rather skeptical about the work-out sessions. There was nothing fun or sexy about pushing barbells up to my chin or spending time using dumbbells at multiple angles. In addition, I had to learn a whole new nomenclature. I pushed myself to focus on “two away from failure” while trying to remember from my college anatomy class where my deltoid muscles were located and how to fully engage my biceps and triceps. At the same time, I needed to count the reps and alternate the sets. Clearly, this was a whole new way to torture my mind and body, knowing the next morning I would experience aches in muscles I’d forgotten I owned.
I hung in there because the folks at the Mayo Clinic said strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age. Additionally, my friends at HomeGym101 created a comprehensive guide to help beginners, like me, with a strength training regiment.
Recently, I heard a doctor tout that weight lifting is beneficial for your brain. Knowing that as my body gains muscle it burns calories more efficiently, added another level of encouragement. It also helped that my trainer lavished praise on me when I “held my form,” or completed “a perfect set.” A little approval goes a long way with me.
The most difficult part of upholding my fitness regimen was going to the gym alone. I had to commit my workouts in writing on my calendar. Each day I spent at least 30 minutes convincing myself of the importance of working out when I preferred to do something, anything else.
Setting goals is easy. Doing the work is hard, especially when the payoff is not immediate. We can all get very creative when it comes to rationalizing why we should slack off. What do you do when you feel like quitting? Stop your head chatter and just start doing. The Champ, Muhammad Ali, once admitted he “hated every minute of training.”
I figure if “The Greatest” can hate training, I can detest those darn dumbbells. Now if anyone is looking for me, I’ll be in the gym.