Bad Milk & Niagara Falls

I’ve worked out a lot in my life, and that means sweat. But as I stood there today, hunched over, sweat pouring off me I thought to myself  “I’ve never been this sweaty. I think maybe this is how I die.”

Hyperbole of course, SFF would never completely kill me, though she’d be lax in her duties if she didn’t bring me to the brink once in a while. Unfortunately she had help today. For whatever reason, my stomach was seriously unhappy. It might be the milk I put in my coffee that was 8 days past the “sell by” date. Or the questionable cottage cheese I ate last night. Whatever it was, I spent most of the workout being quite queasy, which certainly didn’t make it any easier on me. I told SFF not to go easy, but I think she held off a little bit, at no point were there explosions or hungry tigers in my workout.

Speaking of which, we started with the standard. Mile at about an 8.5 pace, followed by 15 minutes of intervals. I ran them at about a 7 pace, which was actually somewhat too fast for me, but hey challenge right? 30 seconds on, 15 seconds of rest (by which I mean trying not to heave and catching my breath). That got things sorted and I was warm.

SFF decided, in deference to my stomach, that she would not have me doing crazy full body bouncing things. Instead we hit the TRX straps. Evil things, those. If you think you’re in shape, try a TRX strap. A push up becomes a full body balance and control exercise. But a push up would be too pedestrian, no we had to get fancy.

We began with half-crosses, a push up on the left arm, and an iron cross on the right, pressed. So essentially arms start straight out in front, push up position. Right arm presses out to the right, left arm pulls into the body, then reverse to start. Then you do the other side. That’s a rep. Only 6 of those because holy crap if it wasn’t obvious from the description, those are HARD.

We then dropped back into a table position, facing up with feet on the ground, knees at a 90 degree angle, arms out in front. You then do a curl with both arms, pulling yourself up, but your hands come into your chin. These are not muscles that get worked frequently and they complained quite vociferously. 12 reps of complaining, then back to the iron cross push ups and then once more through the curls.

Yay, back to legs. This part was comedy gold, I wish I had video. Seriously I looked like a drunk chimpanzee trying to do Zumba. You interlace and lock the TRX straps and put one foot in them, then step away, with the strap to one side. You swing the leg way back (while still straight) then swing forward, bending the knee, into your chest. Those with undestroyed knees can do a 1 legged squat as the leg goes back. For me this was enough. 12 times per side. I fell off twice. Hilarity ensued.

We were not done with legs though, no. As SFF said “I want that leg BURNED”. I failed to mention that it already felt like someone had beaten them with hammers, and also the two comic dismounts. But never mind, onward! We placed one foot in the TRX straps and faced away from them. You squat down, place hands on the ground, then push the squatting leg back so you are in a high suspended pushup position. Bring it back, squat up to upright and reach for the ceiling.

This was the “easy” option, as before she had me, in the same position, hopping forward like a coke-addled bunny rabbit, which didn’t work because OMFG KNEES OUCH. So we did this, 12 times per side. You would think that the quad would be the thing under duress here but it turned out to be the top of the calf, that was my weak point. I’m terrible about working the calves out and it showed today, they went to failure as I tried to squat back up and I had my third “dismount” of the day. Except I was still in the straps. I think they like me at the gym to entertain the fighters, Jerry Lewis has nothing on me when I’m in the TRX. HEY LADY! Anyhow, a couple times through that and we went on to the final exercise (since we had five minutes left!).

The “superman” is a fairly standard TRX exercise. You hold the straps, one in each hand, and face away from the apparatus. You lean forward, keeping abs tight and extend your arms until you are fully extended at a shallow angle. Usually you would then bring the arms back down (or in then down if your delts can’t take it). We added a twist, at max extension we did a tricep curl). Now I’m no bio-mechanics wiz but let me tell you, that was not easy. First of all I was in a very unstable position, trying to keep my core tight. Dropping the hands back to do the curl felt like jumping off a cliff, if I slipped the next thing I’d know I’d be kissing the mat. And trying to curl back up, well I’m not sure of the actual weight I was lifting but I could only really do it correctly about 4 times. I tried 12 times. According to SFF what I was doing was actually trying to “drop and catch” by bending my back, very bad and dangerous. She fixed that right off. But the arm strength just wasn’t there. I even moved forward a bit and that helped, a little, but by this time I was toast.

It was at that point that I looked down and realized that I looked like someone had thrown me in a pool. Even SFF commented that it was obvious that the stuff we’d been working on was pushing me to the max based on the sweat.  Kind of gross? Sure I guess, but also cool. The body doesn’t just sweat to look good in photo shoots, work was done.

The lesson here is that to get better, to get stronger, to become more than what you are today, sometimes you have to fail today. You have to give everything, take yourself to the edge, try as hard as you can and not have it be enough. It can be disheartening but in the end all of the dismounts, all of the pushes to failure, all of the “holy crap I got nothing left” means that my body will be forced to adapt, to fix those places in which it is weak. A good trainer takes you to the edge without letting you go over the injury cliff. I would never have pushed this hard without knowing my trainer was there as a safety net. So thank you Sac Fitness Fairy, next time maybe I’ll only fall off the damn straps twice.

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