Fit Summer 4 Week Challenge: Introduction

Some thoughts on a Monday morning, before returning to the weight room after a 10+ year hiatus:

I am going to look like an idiot
I am not strong enough for these exercises
What if I can’t find the machines?
What if I can’t find the dumbbell?

There was a time in my life when I knew my way around a gym. I was a cheerleader at Ohio University. So I worked out with other Ohio University Varsity athletes. I was taught correct technique by great coaches and I was with other tiny girls. So there was no reason to be intimidated. Armed with this knowledge, confidence, and physical strength, I walked right into my local gym after graduating from Ohio U. I worked with a trainer- one of the football coaches at the high school where I taught music. He often reminded me of how strong and tough I was.

Then my yet-to-be-diagnosed depression started to get really bad.

Then I lost ten pounds from my already super-thin frame.

Then I moved it New York.

I can’t remember precisely the last time I worked out in a weight room. But I’m gonna place it somewhere in the 2001/ 2002 era. Since then, life has happened. I’ve moved and I’ve started my freelance career and I’ve become a mom. None of that would be conducive to sticking to an exercise regimen. And it certainly doesn’t lend itself towards starting a new routine.

Even though I’m now really comfortable at our YMCA, I haven’t yet ventured into the weight area. I just zoom past it on my way back to the treadmills.

But that all changed today.

My next challenge is the Fit Summer 4 week challenge from the Anytime Fitness blog.

I chose it because like the Dr Oz cleanse, it was popular on Pinterest. I liked the idea of getting geared up for summer. (I live near the beach. So unlike being in NYC, wanting to have a beach body is a genuine concern.) I liked how detailed it was, giving exact instructions for each day. And the plan starts with taking the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, which I already did. Boom.

But there were a lot of things about the plan that intimidate me. First, I have to use the weight room. (See self-talk above.) Second, it’s six workouts a week for four weeks. That is the most intense workout schedule I’ve had since I was in marching band and cheering in the same season. (I would go home each night and eat a whole pizza by myself.) And third, even if I had the courage to walk into the weight room and the commitment to do all those workouts, I was worried about being physically strong enough to do them.

If it wasn’t for this blog and Project 40, I very well may have bailed this morning. But. I was feeing so good after the cleanse- both physically and emotionally- that I knew I had to try.

I took Lily to the Childcare area and headed to my warm-up. I only had a few minutes, so just five minutes of walking and five of jogging for a total of 3/4 of a mile. I had to remind myself that this was just a warm-up. And it was time for the real work to begin.

It started with core stuff. Bicycle crunches and superman pose. While I have unwanted belly fat, my core muscles are freakishly strong. Three sets later I was fatigued for sure but feeling good.

On to the chest press. I had watched a few instructional videos to make sure I did it correctly. More because I didn’t want to look foolish than for want of proper technique.

Three sets. Boom.

Then Dumbbell Flies. Also studied ahead of time. I was the only female in the free weight area. But clearly we belong there because look! This bench has a cut-out for ponytails!


(It’s probably not for ponytails.)

But then. The lat pulls.

It’s not that I’m not strong enough for this. I absolutely am. But there is a problem.


That’s me standing under that bar, wondering how I’m going to reach it.

It occurred to me to stand on the bench, grab the bar, and jump down. Wheeeeeee!!!

I felt like that’s probably frowned upon.

I only had one choice. I would need to (dramatic chords) ask for help. There was someone sitting nearby. I couldn’t quite tell if he was a YMCA employee or just working out. But it was a mundane enough favor I figured it didn’t matter. So I asked if he could pull the bar down for me. He did.

And then he walked away.

Dude. I was totally gonna do more than one set.

So now my choices were to do only one set, go and ask him to stay nearby so I could do the other two sets, or rest-ish and power through a second set even though I really hadn’t rested because I had to hold the bar down between the two sets.

If we’ve ever met, you know I went with that last option.

Three sets of bent over rows, a quick cool down (because I know it’s important, but Childcare was closing) and some stretches, and I was done.


What had I been worried about?

The whole thing took under and hour and was absolutely within my fitness capabilities. Now it’s just the commitment I need to work on.

One workout down. Twenty-three to go.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Most Important Meal of the Day | Thoroughly Modern Mommy
  2. Trackback: Project 40 so far | Thoroughly Modern Mommy

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