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From September to September

It was a crazy summer, filled with heat, humidity, a wedding and a surgery-in other words, stress, stress, stress. And before summer there was training and recovery of an ankle injury. But before the ankle injury there was growth and change and a whole lot of learning and success. If I never bothered to look back to see where I was a year ago, I could not truly appreciate the growth and change that occurred.

When I made the decision to join a new gym and work with a new coach over a year ago, I first started with personal training sessions because that was what I needed to do. Things were the same, but also very different at the same time. Moving to a new training environment with new equipment, new coaching philosophies, personalities and cues is a lot to get adjusted to. After a few months of 1:1 sessions I decided to transition to a small group environment, with less 1:1 attention, and more people. I have to admit I didn’t love it. I am easily distracted by noise and pick up on everyone’s conversations no matter where I am. My husband cannot understand this, but it is my learning style. It is a blessing and a curse. In a sometimes busy gym environment with multiple people being instructed within an hour it can sometimes be very challenging to stay focused. At those times I do not feel comfortable in my own skin. At least once a week I fight the urge to A. walk away without ever entering the gym or B. walk out of the gym in the middle of my session. And I convince myself most times nobody would notice.

Once I got used to the schedule and learned how to plan my sessions avoiding extremely hectic times, I got into a nice groove and learned a ton. I had never really used a barbell beyond deadlifting, and now I can press 75 lbs overhead! I learned to benchpress-something I had just started working on- and I learned to front squat. I learned to run more efficiently, changing my stride completely. I learned the importance of breathing and the difference between energy systems used during physical activity. And I learned to take care of my joints and muscles and the importance of proper movement patterns. I try to learn something new every time I walk into the gym-it is why I  am there. When I stop learning it will be time to move on.

There are a lot of changes that happen in a year-the gym has changed and so have I. For awhile I felt as if I was fighting against change until I relaized change is inevitable and part of growing and learning. I feel as if my first year was filled with some life stress, including the stress assoicated with change. I now realize I do not have to change everything about how I like to train in order to learn and benefit from highly skilled and knowledgeable coaches. It is important for me to acknowledge and honor how I learn best and what works for me. Going into this next year I am happy to continue learning new things but I am also happy to return to some things I enjoy and making them part of my fitness life~ namely, yoga, running and racing. When I first joined Gain more than a year ago I shared I had no desire to go to a gym just to work out and exercise. For me, it is important that I be training for a specific goal or maintaining fitness in between training for events. Some people may choose only to work with a coach during those active training periods, but I really like working with a coach who can make sure I can be the best I can be once training starts up again.  As soon as I feel like I am just going to the gym to exercise, I will move on. I can exercise at home.

Last Septemebr I had little conifdence and was unsure about my new training environment. I was skeptical and questioned everything. For most of the year I felt like I had to try to fit into an environment that did not really suit my learning style. I now realize I don’t need to try so hard and I really do not need to fit in.The environement may not suit me perfectly, but there is no perfect environment out there. My goals remain the same- to get stronger, faster and more powerful and to maintain my fitness and avoid injury. I feel comfortable and confident that I can continue to make progress in a place I have learned to accept. Now that my stress is behind me, I am looking forward to getting out of my own way and continuing learning and working hard.

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