Friday, February 20, 2015

my fitness journey - part three

it's been exactly one year since i joined a gym.

in may i wrote that my motivation for joining planet fitness was the thirteen pounds i gained over the course of the holiday season (thank you very much reese's peanut butter cups). moving for just ten minutes on the treadmill made me feel like puking. 

in july i updated you, boasting about how i had built up to jogging. after five months of consistent exercise i could finally run a mile, something i had not done since middle school. 

fast forward to november.

all the walking and jogging was killing my left knee!

i started seeing a physical therapist for my jaw (tmj disfunction). he was successful in quickly healing that problem so i asked him to work on my knee too. he assessed me and determined that my left hip was shaky, my hamstrings were weak and my glutes needed bolstering. because of those instabilities my knee joint had been seriously over-worked.  his solution: strengthen the weaknesses. he referred me to a personal trainer who concentrated on conditioning the specific muscle groups that would take pressure off my knee.

my first session with brandon the personal trainer was in mid-december. he told me to do pushups. i did four. yes, four. he told me to do squats. both he and the physical therapist said i have a funny looking squat. everyone stood around and ogled the oddness of my squat. he told me to do sit-ups. i did twelve. he had to hold my feet. he told me to do iso rdl's. i said what the heck are iso rdl's. he showed me (they're a hamstring/glute exercise) and i did three sets of eight with no weight.

fast forward to now.

pushups: i can do four sets of ten (count em up, people! that's forty!!)
squats: i can do five sets of twelve strong, balanced squats with 30# weight.
sit-ups: i can do three sets of twenty unassisted sit-ups with 4# weight.
iso rdl's: i can do three sets of ten with 50# weight.

finally, after 8+ weeks of strength training my knee is feeling better. it's not perfect; if i walk or jog too much i get pain afterward. interestingly, though, my knee feels great after a strength workout. more than decreased pain in my knee, i'm happy with my overall improvement in strength. i can see a slight difference in body definition. i can feel muscles under the flab. i can carry my sixty-pound sons up the stairs without trouble. i've noticed a change in my mood and energy level. i'm thrilled to say i made it through this holiday season without gaining any weight!

i very much like utlizing a personal trainer. brandon is encouraging, supportive, informative. he knows what my specific body needs. it's nice not thinking about workouts - i simply do what he tells me to do - and he includes enough variety so i don't get bored and so my progress doesn't stagnate. most things he has me doing could be done at home. now that i've built up to weighted exercises i require gym equipment but that's not how i started out. here's an example of one of my very first workouts, which i did at home using a 5lb dumbbell:

active warm up (i do a shortened, modified version of this warm up. this is not my physical therapist talking in the video but this is the physical therapy clinic i go to. they have a patented way of doing PT and he talks a little bit about why)
body squats 4x12
walking lunges 3x8 each leg
reverse crunches 3x12
push ups 3x6
dumbbell rows 3x12
bicep curls 3x10
planks 3x30seconds
active cool down

brandon is accepting clients. he works with me on a semi-remote basis. i visit him twice/month at push performance in highlands ranch, colorado and the rest of the time he texts me workouts to do on my own. i'm sure he'd be willing to help you too. if you're interested in connecting with him feel free to email me at rwhite143 at gmail dot com and i'll pass along his contact info.

so it's been one year since i started getting physically fit. i've lost twenty pounds. i've gained a bunch of muscle. best of all, i can hang with the big boys at the gym.

the next step for me is to decrease my percentage of body fat, which is still too high even though i'm arguably in the best shape of my life. brandon says this will involve workouts that will totally suck, make me hate him and cause me to be dripping with sweat.

yeah....i'll let cha know how it goes.


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