Monday Workouts with Adam (aka: Glutes, Guns, and Guts)

Even though I go to the gym four to six times a week, I am no gym rat.  I check-in and go straight up the stairs to the group fitness class area, take a class and run away. Occasionally, I will watch those fit people who seem to know what to do with various weights and equipment from what I like to think is the invisibility of the elliptical machines and imagine the day that I feel strong and confident enough to try some of those things.

Elliptical with a view

Group fitness classes are my sweet spot – I like someone telling me what to do without the overwhelming amount of attention that a personal trainer offers. And I like being able to participate in a variety of activities without any pressure to actually be good at any of them.  My current routine includes two yoga classes, two indoor cycling classes, and one barre class each week, which is respectable, but I needed to settle on something to do on Mondays.

Monday workouts are super important to me. I feel like a good Monday workout sets the tone for the whole week. It’s the same sort of reason that I work out first thing in the morning: no matter what the rest of the day or the rest of the week has to throw at you, you’ve already accomplished one important thing. I find that I’m better able to be present in and patient with whatever situation that I find myself in after I have taken care of that piece of business.

So, back to the gym. Finding my Monday morning exercise jam was a challenge. But then an instructor who I really liked at a different exercise studio joined my gym and I found the courage to try something completely different!

Adam teaches a set of three thirty-minute classes on Monday mornings that I like to call Glutes, Guns, and Guts.  Thirty minutes lower body, thirty minutes arms, thirty minutes abs.  I’m not much of a strength workout girl, so anything involving weights (um, how do you put this barbell thing together?) and “functional” exercises is super intimidating to me.  But since I knew Adam from before, I was slightly less intimidated to show up and give it a try.

Anabel uses 5lb weights

Holy smokes this workout is hard for me! My “heavy” dumbbells are 7.5 pounds (the gal next to me is crushing 20s and I’m wishing I had grabbed 5s). There is this thing that I think is called a reverse step-down, that just clobbers me.  I don’t know why stepping down onto my knees and then back up to my feet is so hard!  You would think that my thighs have never experienced that range of motion before.  But that’s ok, I’m just there to do what I can. Every week I feel a little stronger in ways that are different from my comfort zone workouts. And that’s cool. Maybe eventually I will feel like I’m strong enough to find the confidence to venture out there onto the gym floor (because I will know how to put that barbell together and what to do with it once I have).

Was there a time that you tried something new at the gym?

Its official, we’ve begun!

The plan is that Mondays will be dedicated to health and wellness topics – exercising, eating right, inner peace, moisturizing…that kind of thing. So today’s post will be a sort-of intro to this topic.  Here is where I’m coming from when it comes to health and wellness – I like to exercise but I am in terrible shape; I love to eat vegetables and do a good job at drinking a lot of water but I also love cheese, tortilla chips, and adult beverages; I try to take good care of my skin but I love to spend time in the sun.  I’m trying to do all those things that are supposed to be good for you but maybe not all the way.

When I was growing up, I loved to move and be active. There was soccer practice and ballet lessons along with the general running/climbing/bicycle riding around the neighborhood – all the kid things. When I couldn’t get outside, I would roller-skate in the house or put on Leo Sayer and dance it out.

I studied dance in college and earned a bachelor’s degree in it. I supported myself through college by teaching ballet to children. Throughout this entire time, I also spent 8-10 hours a week rehearsing and performing with a local dance group (we called it “modern” dance, but these days I think it would be considered “contemporary”). I was spending up to 8 hours in a dance studio on any given day.

After I left the dance world, I joined a gym and stayed fairly active.  Those were the days of Stairmasters, when step aerobics was still a thing and indoor cycling was just getting going. It was always a fun time to take my rollerblades down to the beach and cruise the bike path from Sunset to Huntington Beach. I discovered yoga around that time as well.

At some point several years ago I noticed that I wasn’t moving anymore.  All I did was go to work and sleep. My clothes didn’t fit, I couldn’t lift anything over shoulder height and I couldn’t actually turn my neck when I was driving.  Even though I’ve realized that I have to prioritize taking care of myself, I’m still trying to come back from how far I let myself go.

I’ll be writing about the ways that I like to try to keep active (here’s a hint, not running), my fitness goals and milestones, and the other things that I do to try to take care of myself.  I might use this forum as an opportunity to experiment with new things (I’d love to try rock climbing and wouldn’t it be nice to have a regular meditation practice). I hope this will serve as some sort of inspiration for you to try some new good-for-you thing. At the least, I will feel accountable to keep striving for a healthy lifestyle because I’ll have to tell you about what I’m up to!