I've been in a solid routine through the weekdays, as far as working out. Personal training twice a week, Outdoor Fitness Challenge class twice a week, and a Tuesday evening back-to-back class schedule that fits beautifully into my work day. Those times are non-negotiable for me; I know I'm showing up, no matter what. I don't have to think about it. Weekends are far more hit-or-miss because of work and social obligations, but there are classes I can sometimes get myself to, or else those become my rest days.
In other words, it's been awhile since I've been on my own, trying to come up with my own workout.
That's the scenario I found myself in on Monday. I had a personal training hour booked for the evening (already a change in routine; I usually work Monday nights and train in the morning, but in June work demands a flexible schedule to accommodate school visits and outreach). Just as clients sometimes cancel on him at the last minute, Mat had a "life happens" situation and late afternoon I got the message that we were going to have to reschedule. Okay. Plan B.
Only, coming up with another plan can throw me off when I've been counting on Plan A. This has always been true for me, not dealing well with unexpected changes, and it's something I've had to work on to get much better with my reactions. As I saw it, I had a few options:
- Do nothing. "Oh well, Mat cancelled, guess I'm off the hook for the night."
- Find a friend to go back to the hill I tried on Sunday, to practice more hill runs.
- Check the Y's schedule to see what classes were offered in the evening.
- Go in and do my own workout. On my own. By myself.
I went back and forth for the rest of the day on which option to choose. I could have given myself any excuse to simply skip that day. I was tired. My throat hurt. I had a ton of work that could'a and should'a been done instead. It was raining (no hill runs). I didn't know who'd be around the Y or who taught the classes (no social impetus to motivate me). The classes which I'd have been interested in started too early for me to make it from work, or so late that I'd have to go home in between, losing momentum and making it exponentially less likely that I'd get my butt back out the door. Everything pointed to calling it a scrub day.
Except, there was a small voice in my head that said, "no." No. If you skip this planned workout just because Mat cancelled, then you are making this about him. You are relying too much on him. It's your body. It's your health. You can do this. Just go.
Without a plan, I showed up at the Y. Lesson number one: always keep your gym bag packed and ready in the car. I had done that in the morning, not fully knowing when I'd leave work or whether I'd go home in between. It made it possible to go directly to the gym; do not pass GO, do not collect $200. My mindset was to do SOMETHING, even if it was to just plug in the MP3 and jump on an elliptical. Second lesson: something is better than nothing.
It was about 20 minutes in to the sweaty elliptical routine when I started to think, "okay. You've done enough. We're bored and tired and there's still that mountain of chores to do. Let's go." And then I caught a glimpse in the mirror. I noticed who else was around. Two familiar faces, both clients of Mat's. I wasn't sure if they just happened to be there, or if he'd cancelled their sessions too. Either way, I noticed that we were all on machines (treadmills, for them; they can run).
An epic debate began in my head. Old me vs new me. Or, maybe it was lazy Barb vs competitive Barb. I don't know. The same little voice that said, "go. Do something" was saying "come on, how long have you been at this? You've learned nothing from Mat? Honestly. You are embarrassing yourself - and him - just hiding away on this machine." I needed a plan. It's a hangup I seem to have about doing anything other than easy cardio machines. There's an entire conditioning centre, and I've used just about everything in it, but it's always been with someone who's wearing a shirt that says "trainer." It's always been with a signal to everyone else that it's okay, I'm allowed to be here, someone is showing me what to do.
I felt like I didn't belong there otherwise.
I felt like I'd be judged.
I felt like everyone else knew what they were doing and I'd look like a fool.
Then, I felt like an idiot, because none of that is true.
Deep breath. Think. Watch the others and what they are doing. Calm yourself and THINK about what Mat would make you do. Form a plan.
Which is how I got off the elliptical and on to the Captain's Chair. I started with a few knee raises to do some core work, but mostly it was a mental game to remind me that I was the boss of myself. I am my own captain, steering my own ship. Sorry, Mat. My coach is awesome, but on this day I didn't need him.
Then I grabbed a medicine ball and a kettle bell. My hand hovered over the 15 lb. "Mat's not here, he won't know the difference." Wait. What? No way, Jose. I use the 25 lb in personal training, so I'm using it on my own. Start swinging. Do some pushups with the medicine ball. One hand on the ball, the other on the floor, push up, roll the ball to the other hand. 10 times each hand. Exactly as I've done countless times before. More swings. More pushups. A bit of stretching. Sprint for 3 minutes on the bike. Do a bit of rowing. Okay. Now. NOW you can say you've done a workout. Whether it was good or not, whether it was effective or well-planned, I finally got off the machines and used the conditioning centre like a big girl.
I can do this.
You know, I still need Mat. He watches my form when I'm using weights, which is why I haven't injured myself yet. He understands how to put together a program that makes sense. There are so many reasons to work with a personal trainer that I don't know how or when to say "it's enough, no more sessions." That's a blog post for another day. But I also think there's a danger in over-relying on someone else - anyone else - for your own health and fitness. This was a great reminder that I can be okay on my own. I just need to get smart and come in with a plan.
And I don't have to have an all-or-nothing reaction if those plans happen to change.