Creating My Body, Saving My Life

Wow! It has been a LONG time since I last posted here. Way too long, really.

I started this blog because I wanted to show my creative side to the blogaverse. Last year, I spent more time creating work to share, and I really enjoyed doing that. Then, something changed.

Last January, I looked at myself, and decided that I was done with being overweight, out of shape, and low on energy all the time. I weighed 198 pounds, and I was not happy with the way I felt, or the way I looked. I decided to save my life.

So, I went to my local Gold’s Gym, and signed up for a membership. Then I signed up with a trainer (the same day, actually). Here’s what I looked like the day I started my program:

My Fitness Program: Day 1, 11 January 2014, 198 lbs, age: 53
My Fitness Program: Day 1, 11 January 2014, 198 lbs, age: 53

A few weeks ago, my trainer, Dave, gave me my old workout sheets. Here’s my first workout:

  • Warm-up: treadmill, 4 minutes; bows and bends, 10x; side stretches, 10x each side
  • Wall ball squats: 12 reps, 2 sets
  • Bench Press (machine): 20 lbs, 12 reps; 25 lbs, 12 reps
  • Seated Row: 40 lbs, 12 reps, 42.5 lbs, 12 reps

Yesterday, I completed my first Crossfit Workout Of the Day (WOD). Here’s what that looked like:

Crossfit Workout of the Day
Crossfit Workout of the Day

And just to make sure I am doing the “full disclosure” thing, I will admit: it took me 26:45 to complete. But I did manage to complete it! There were several people in the session who didn’t complete, so at least I made it without puking, passing out or dying.

Oh, yes, I will admit that I didn’t think I was going to be able to complete the WOD. I’ve never managed 90 situps in a single day, much less in a single session. Thanks to one of the trainers, Heather, I made it all the way through all 3 rounds. I honestly could NOT have made it through without her encouragement. In fact, I’m sure I mumbled something about “I’m going to die” several times during the workout. And today, my shoulders ache. A lot.

I’m hitting the gym almost every day, and I feel great! Last Thursday, I deadlifted 120 lbs, and did 80 lbs on back squats. On Tuesday, I benched 70 pounds. I can curl 55 pounds on the Preacher Curl, and I can plank for more than 60 seconds at a go. At 54, I’m stronger than ever before, and I weigh less than I have in 4 years. I can actually run now. Not fast, and not far, but I can run. I’m up to quarter-mile intervals (alternating walk 1/4 mile, run 1/4 mile), and I can do that for 2 miles on a treadmill. Outside on a walking trail, I managed quarter-mile intervals for a mile (then had to walk the last mile). Hills are a bitch! My personal best average time for 2 miles is 15:00 minutes per mile. If someone had told me a year ago I’d be doing this, I never would have believed it.

Oh, what’s that? You want to see what all this hard work has brought me? Well, hang onto your hats, because here it comes:

My Fitness Program: 6 months later, and 24 pounds gone!!
My Fitness Program: 6 months later, and 24 pounds gone!!

Those jeans I’m wearing? They used to be too tight for me to wear. Now they are my “comfy” jeans, with plenty of room. I have a lot of clothes I’m going to have to give away now, including my jeans with the elastic waistband. Goodwill will be happy with my donation, once I figure out what all I can get rid of.

There has been a down side to all this effort. If I want to keep making progress, I have to keep pushing myself, even when I don’t want to. I need to limit my “unhealthy” choices, including foods I really, really love (which sometimes makes me very sad). And I’ve been having trouble finding the time and energy to make art.

OK, if I’m really being honest, it’s mostly the energy. It’s hard work getting stronger and more fit, and at 54, I don’t bounce back like I used to. But I think it’s worth it, overall. There are times when I’m able to grab my camera (or my phone) and take some decent photos. One of these days, I’ll show off what I’ve got, and make more art. For today, my masterpiece-in-progress is my new body. It’s one work-in-progress that I’m really looking forward to continuing to work on. And there will never be an “end” to this work. But it is definitely work worth doing!

My Fitness Program: Six months of progress
My Fitness Program: Six months of progress
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