Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Dynamic Body

Yesterday was the last day of our Dartfit class, the HIIT training class I took this term.  Of the 20 or so people who signed up for the class, only 6 showed up.  Another one took an earlier session, but nonetheless the class just felt so empty on the last day.

We did our usual warm up and gathered around the white board, which normally would spell out our end-of-class workout, that yesterday listed our entire class plan.  Instead of our usual 6-7 stations we would rotate in 2X blocks with cardio and water breaks in between, we had 3 large stations with 6 sub-station each.  We would do each sub-station for 35 seconds with 10-second breaks, and complete all 6 sub-stations 3 times before taking a water break and move on to the next big station.  Each station was themed: TRX straps, heavy ropes, and dumb bells.  All the sub-stations within each themed stations follow a similar flow: there was always a lunge, a sit-up, and a push up type of activity, and the other three were sort of unique to the instrument we were using.

So by the end of the class, I did these activities for 105 seconds of each:
Heavy rope jumping jacks
Heavy rope waves
Heavy rope side swipes
Dumb-bell squat lifts
Dumb-bell renegades
Dumb-bell sit-ups
Dumb-bell back lifts
Dumb-bell side lunges
Dumb-bell bear crawls
TRX rows
Medicine ball slams
TRX push-ups
Medicine ball forward and backward lunges
TRX pikes (we switched to fitness balls after the first round)
TRX skaters

It all seemed so daunting at the beginning.  We had done all of these activities before, some were fun, others were absolutely miserable to do.  I think it was the 3X part that scared me the most.  My friends joked that last day of class is like finals, you basically do everything you did and then some.  I joked that maybe that's why nobody showed up to class.

By the end of class all I realized was that, it just wasn't so bad.  It turned out that because there wasn't that much cardio involved (there was the burpee sub-station that was exhausting), so although by the end my arms were feeling like lead, overall I felt strong.  That afternoon, as one of 5 people who showed up to ride it to the end, I realized how much I had improved over the course of the term.  In less than 3 months I had improved on my muscle building and speed.  Not so sure about endurance since I still haven't managed to run a 5K in one shot on the treadmill.  And now I truly regret not signing up for the class for next term.

Registration for next term's class started earlier this week.  At the time I was so determined to not take this class again so I could recuperate and take everything slower and easier.  I thought about taking a morning yoga class with my friends to increase my flexibility, toyed with the idea of taking a fun dance class like hip hop so I could learn some cool routines, and ultimately chose beginners pilates thinking that it would be a milder form of exercise that still focused on muscle building and strength training.  I plan to continue indoor running and I thought pilates would be a nice anaerobic compliment.

The school offers three different pilates: beginners, intermediate, and advanced.  My main concern was whether beginner's class would be too easy, since although I've not taken a pilates class before, I'm not completely useless.  But time wise the beginners class was the only one I could comfortably fit into my schedule, and after watching a few beginners pilates videos online I thought maybe it will be a good challenge for me.

After I registered for my class a friend of mine decided to also take it with me.

Which makes the thought of backing out a bit more awkward to execute.

My current plan is to shop around for morning yoga, Dartfit, and pilates during the first week of class, and in the end decide which one(s) to take.  I don't think I will be doing Dartfit and pilates simultaneously, but if the morning yoga class is pleasant I might do that too.

If I don't like pilates it would be a better excuse to use to quit that class, and if I get injured again during Dartfit it might make me feel less bad about taking a break from it.  I am planning to take it again in the Spring regardless of how this upcoming Winter terms pans out.

On the running front, I did about half an hour on Thursday on the treadmill and managed to do about 2.5 miles, at speeds between 5.0-5.5 with slower speed during walking breaks.  The bottom of my right foot started to feel a bit stressed at 5.5 speed but overall I was quite comfortable running at this newer, faster pace.  Given my weight and prior injuries I'm pushing myself to achieve any certain unrealistic speed goals, but after taking Dartfit I could sustainably run at a speed I couldn't do before, and felt this rush I never had before that was a combination of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment.  It just made me so happy that I had decided to take this Dartfit class after realizing how much I needed to build some muscle and strength, so  proud of myself that I didn't quit the class after that horrific first day (it did get easier, just like everyone had promised), so thrilled that the class worked, and that I was even injury free now.

All in all it has been a great 3 months.  In retrospect it's such a short period of time, but I think it has been the most dynamic, active, and empowering 3 months in a long time and I'm thankful for all the changes that my body went through.  My weight still has not changed, but that doesn't even bother me at this moment.  I know that if I keep doing what I learned I could push myself to do, I will achieve my health and exercise goals in a few more 3-month cycles.

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