After two weeks of not working out, I walked into Harlem HIIT with all types of naive enthusiasm last Monday morning. I was beginning my 90-day transformation with Jah and eager to get to work, which we did immediately.
Our first day of training focused on assessment, which is what any good trainer should do, and lifting. I did three sets of 15 deadlifts (85 lbs), weighted squats (25 lb), bent over rows (45 lbs), and chest presses mixed in with kettlebell swings (35 lb) and medicine ball slams (20 lb) for more of a fat-burning cardio element.
I left class feeling good about the process and perhaps a bit too enthusiastic about getting back into things as I returned for a circuit training class 11 hours later and it completely kicked my butt. Because there were more squats and swings, and slams, my legs were pretty much a wash by the end of class -- but I made it through.
Incapacitated. My quads were on.fire. The only thing I managed to do in terms of physical activity was walk about 40 minutes -- had I not needed a new mouse for my computer or been afraid if I didn't bend my legs in some way I might not be able to walk again, I wouldn't have done anything.
After giving Jah the heads up on my quad situation and asking whether we could have an upper body day, he scrapped squats from the menu and hit all the other muscle groups that had been functioning at the time. My hamstrings got an extensive workout between deadlifts and bridges and my arms were pretty much obliterated between shoulder presses, ropes, chest presses, and bicep curls. Ab work was the icing on the cake.
Relief finally started to come to my thighs thanks to Jah foam rolling my quads and extensively stretching my leg muscles the day before. I hit up the Heavy Hitters Boxing class taught by JTW Fit co-founder Thomas Boatswain Thursday which was a great conditioning workout that still tones muscles via various punching combos, rope work, and other drills, but doesn't put the same strain on your muscles as lifting.
On Friday, it got real. If you're not familiar, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a workout method in which you alternate between periods of intense activity and short periods of low-intensity exercises one might describe as active rest because that's pretty much all the "rest" you'll get.
This is the routine I did, executing each exercise in 40 seconds and having 20 seconds of "rest" in between. I put rest in parentheses because I basically spent the whole time getting in position for the next exercise, all of which altered between lowered body work and upper body work. I needed rest in between the sets of three, but ideally I'll be able to push through the workout with no breaks and knock it out in 30 minutes straight one day. This is when I realized my trainer's idea of "find 30 minutes" to workout is far different from mine.
Saturday I hit a wall. I woke up bright and early for Total Body Conditioning class which involved several Tabata Drills --20 seconds of intense workouts with 10 seconds of rest in four-minute rounds -- and though I was physically fatigued quite early on, it was around the 35-minute mark in class that I mentally shut down.
I felt confronted by everything I wrote in my previous post about Things You Have To Get Over To Lose Weight. I was frustrated by my lack of endurance, I was mad I was even in this position again, I was questioning whether I could actually do this again, I was scolding myself for not eating clean like I should've been. There was a lot going on in my mind while trying to do jump squats, hurdle drills, burpees, medicine ball slams, kettlebell swings, shoulder press, and a handful of other moves. I made it through but I wasn't happy with my performance.
Like God, I rested. I managed to get in a 30-minute walk, but I was advised to take the day off and let my body recoup so I'd be ready to get back at it the next week.
When I started training again, I was most concerned about not being up to the challenge physically, but I quickly learned I was more physically prepared than mentally. True to form, I let some personal circumstances detour my discipline regarding my diet and if I'm going to do that, I might as well not train at all. So my goal this week is to keep my head in the game, focus on the bigger picture rather than the small disappointments, and decide over and over again to be more committed to weight loss than tempted by temporary things that make me feel good in the moment and disappointed in myself the next morning.