Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Making a comeback at the gym

Now that my travels have concluded and I'm back to the daily grind of work (well, not exactly daily, I mean, who works everyday in Tahoe?) it's time to get back to fitness and health blogging.

First topic of discussion: kicking my own ass.

I'll be honest, it's been a while since I've worked out intensely. Traveling around Southeast Asia, we did a lot of walking and hiking, and since returning home, I've been snowshoeing and snowboarding to stay in shape. But I haven't exactly been sweating it out at the gym and I figured what better way to reintroduce cardio and strength training than by working out with a trainer?

Aside from the variety of weight training equipment, cardio machines and group fitness classes, one of the great things A Sante Lakeside Fitness has to offer is an amazing selection of certified trainers. I decided to workout with Christina, one of my favorite group fitness instructors and hopefully a future trainer at A Sante.

Getting back into the gym can be a daunting task. There's so much equipment to re-familiarize yourself with, your routine may need a revamping and your muscles usually need a refresher course on how to function properly. Let's face it, Rome wasn't built in a day and your bikini body won't be either. So I turned to Christina to give me some fresh exercises and to vary my old routine, which was getting tiresome and was probably the reason I took some time off from the gym in the first place.

In preparation for my training date, I ate a healthy breakfast of granola, flax seeds, almonds and yogurt, which I washed down with some green tea. I headed to A Sante around noon, ready to do some easy, light-weight training.

Rule number one: Check your ego at the door. I admittedly was feeling way too confident about this training session and did not prepare myself mentally. I was picturing the old me that was in excellent shape over the summer and would have had no problem with the workout Christina had designed for me. I had failed to take into consideration the last 3 months I had not been working out....oops. In my mind, I thought Christina and I would compare notes on our Thailand trips, talk about ways to improve my workout and catch up on any other Tahoe gossip that came into conversation. In reality, from the moment we started, I didn't have time to say much between breaths accept "girl, you are kicking my butt!".

Rule number 2: combining total-body strength training with cardio bursts is ridiculously efficient! What I loved about Christina's regimen was that I wasn't on a treadmill or stairmaster for 30 minutes, staring out the window, trying to stay focused. We were circuit training, using lots of props and going from station to station, working every muscle in my body from my finger tips to my toes. Circuit training combines cardiovascular endurance and balance with resistance training, which keeps your heart rate up, makes you sweat and builds muscle all at the same time. It's an extremely effective way to get into shape, plus it's entertaining!

Rule number 3: Don't give up. I'm not ashamed to say there were moments in our workout when I looked at Christina with eyes of defeat. I wasn't sure I could do one last set of military squats with a 10-pound ball that I had to throw up as high as I could and catch before squatting back down. I didn't think it was possible to do 3 sets of 8 push ups on a Bosu Ball without cheating into a "girl" push up. But Christina had faith in me and with a the extra push from her, I began to have faith in myself too. Like I said, Rome wasn't built in a day and my body won't be back into excellent shape after one session either, but it was a great start and Christina's motivational words have me excited for my new routine!

At the end of our workout, I staggered behind Christina to the stretching room for a much needed breather and an attempt to relieve some of the soreness I was sure to feel the next day. I was exhausted, slightly nauseated and not proud of the endurance I had lost by taking time off from the gym, but referring back to rule number 3, I decided not to accept defeat. I immediately booked another training session for Saturday and promised Christina to do some strength training and cardio in the meantime!

Next healthy goal to tackle: eating vegan at least 1 day per week. Stay tuned!

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