Little Things: glutes and abs

I’m grateful for glutes and abs.  Seriously.  I know they are important.  And right now, apparently, my glutes and abs are weak. KD, my personal trainer, met with me yesterday and did a fitness assessment.  This time, I chose a personal trainer who isn’t out for my money.  He isn’t out to make me a “hard body,” nor is he someone with no sympathy for me. He isn’t 20 years my junior to where he doesn’t understand aging aches and pains.  This time, I chose someone who is near my age, who is gentle, who believes me when I say  I have the pain levels of a 60-year-old instead of a 40-year-old, and who knows that my goal isn’t to be a skinny minny with no body fat and rock hard abs.  My goal is to be pain-free without prescriptions, to lose weight without gimmicks, and to feel healthier and better as I become not just forty, but a fortysomething.

We started out not by him weighing me or taking my measurements or checking my BMI.  We’ll do that eventually, but he wanted to check my range of motion and endurance instead for this first time.  Really?  Every other time I’ve ventured into this realm, my weight and being told that I’m overweight and getting a “you really need to lose weight” lecture has been the focus.  But with KD, he wanted to see what I was capable of.  First, he made me do squats.  He checked my knee-over-ankle alignment, my back alignment, and my shoulder alignment.  My alignment, folks!  Not my weight!  He didn’t even mention that “by BMI scales [you] are in the ‘overweight’ category.”  Nope.  He wanted to make sure that I could move properly and with the correct form.  He made me do squats with my arms raised to see if I lean forward when I move downward.  He made me do them on the carpet and again on the solid surface to check how my feet moved.  We did squats.

Then I showed him all of my toys.  I’m kind of an exercise-product junkie.  I have two exercise balls of different sizes, two sets of exercise bands, a kettle bell, a jump rope, and a mini-elliptical-walker-thingy, as well as a massage chair, a foam-roller, a medicine ball, and this stick doohickey that I can use on my IT bands and hamstrings that hurts like all git-out.  He was impressed.  Then I told him I didn’t know what to do with any of it.  He was less than impressed.  He made me put away most of it and took out just an exercise band and a blue band-like-thing that I didn’t even know I had that looks like a little-bitty tarp.  He made me lay down on my back and raise my leg and he put the blue thing on my foot and made me stretch it out and move my leg around with it attached to my foot.  Oh my gosh!  It was awesome!  It was exactly the kind of stretching for my hamstrings that I have been wishing I could do!  I had always had the means to do it but not the knowledge.  Then he took me in the back yard and put an exercise band around the fencepost.  He showed me how to pull the bands correctly so that he could see the range of motion in my shoulders and arms.  He made me squeeze my shoulder blades together while keeping the form.  I had to move really slowly in order to keep the alignment correct.  That seems counter-productive to me, especially after watching people in the gym, but KD told me that he really wanted me to concentrate on slow movements with correct form rather than weights and reps and all of that.  He wants me to build endurance.  Endurance people! Not pain and horror like my last trainer!

Next he checked my abs.  NOT a fun experience.  I’ve known my whole life that my abs are weak and are a major source of my back problems.  And I HATE HATE HATE the poochy tummy.  But he was understanding. He didn’t focus on the amount of weight I want to lose or the size of my pooch but on the strength in my core.  I held a low plank for 35 seconds, but after that, my arms wouldn’t hold me for very long on a high plank.  Not a big deal.  He is going to have me strengthen my glutes and abs.  Those are my weak points.  We found that I use my quads for just about everything – lifting, moving, probably even breathing – and that my glutes and abs are very weak.  And it wasn’t a big deal!  He didn’t lecture me or make me feel bad.  He didn’t make me do a million crunches or ab exercises so that I couldn’t stand up straight today (that’s what my last trainer did, as well as made me do 50 pull-ups to where I couldn’t straighten my arms for two days.  I couldn’t even drive).  He just assessed me gently.  That’s exactly what I needed.

Lastly, we talked about cardio and food.  He knows that I’m going to be doing Trim Healthy Mama as my eating plan.  It’s the best I’ve found for being natural and healthy without depriving me of anything.  Blogs about that to come later.  The biggest change right now is that he wants me to eat more often.  I normally eat breakfast at 6 am and have nothing besides my coffee until 11:30,when I have my 30 minute lunch.  So we’re adding in a snack.  Probably fruit since I don’t eat much of that.  As far as cardio goes, he now knows that I hate it and I now know that he’s making me do it and we both know that running isn’t an option.  So this morning, I got up at 5 am instead of 5:30 and I did it.  5 minutes of yoga to warm up (speaking of which, yoga is going to be a major part of this journey, but KD isn’t my trainer for that.  EH is), 5 minutes of tae-bo, and 15 minutes on the walking machine.  I worked up a sweat and my heart rate went up, but it wasn’t taxing or overexerting.  I’m waiting on a text from him now to let me know if he wants me to do more cardio at the gym tonight.  I will do this.  I will do whatever he tells me to do.

All this to say, I’ve started my journey.  I am on a journey to wellness.  To living pain-free without prescriptions.  To strength and agility.  KD is just the first step.  I must choose to do something good for myself (as EH says during each yoga session).

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