January 12, 2012

I’m a work in progress – and proud of it

Remember how I said I might make one of my fitness goals for the year going back to doing 100 pushups? Emphasis on “might” right there, because that hasn’t happened yet. I’m definitely still a work in progress.

But yesterday, while getting ready in the morning, I decided to kind-of-sort-of give it a go. I got about 2 (full body) pushups into my first set of 10 and realized there was no way I was going to make it all the way to the end of the set. So I adjusted – now I would do 20 sets of 5 instead of 10 sets of 10. Then I got tired of counting and opted to do 10 sets of 5 full body pushups in the morning, and then 5 sets of 10 pushups from my knees in the evening (those were supposed to be full body pushups too, but I was tired and sore so I went easy).

Totally fine.

My chest is still sore today from the workout I did do (and way more sore than it would have been had I skipped the pushups entirely since I couldn’t do them up to my very high standard). I am proud because I know that I’m working on getting stronger – and strength gains don’t come overnight. Sure, it’s disappointing to find that I can’t knock out the 100 pushups in a few minutes like I could when I ended the Insanity program last summer… but it’s also to be expected, since I haven’t been doing many pushups lately. In fact, I haven’t been doing much strength training at all since Christmas, since most of my friend-and-fitness activities have focused on cardio. Oops. (All right, everyone, who’s up for a weight lifting meetup? Laura, those kettlebells beckon!)

Point is, we’re now 11 days into the New Year, and I’m betting that at least a few people may be starting to get discouraged with their New Year’s resolutions. But you don’t have to be perfect! It’s nearly impossible to change something big (you did make challenging resolutions, right?) in just 11 days! While I think a lot of diet books write a lot of nonsense, I really love one thing I learned from the Beck Diet Solution when I read it a few years ago: that you have to train your “resistance muscles.” When referring to eating, it meant that you have to train yourself to turn down food when you weren’t hungry, and that every time you said “no” it got a little easier for the next time. It was the challenges and the mistakes that made you stronger – not being able to do it perfectly right from the beginning.

For a perfectionist like me, this idea of baby steps toward a goal was very helpful – and exactly what I’m striving toward with my nowhere-near-perfect pushup routine as it currently stands. If you’ve gone after something like my “work back up to 100 pushups a day,” remember that it doesn’t mean do 100 pushups on the very first day. I am going to be thrilled if I can fire off 100 pushups on a whim by the time fall comes around (and keep that strength till the end of the year), and I will count that as an absolute success – even if it wasn’t really my MO in January, or even the springtime in general.

And as for my “do a marathon a month” resolution (which was an actual resolution and not a kind-of-sort-of-maybe resolution), I’m sticking to that… but I’m assuming that my first month’s marathon (Bermuda, this weekend!) is pretty much going to suck. That’s okay – I’m expecting to not have a fast time, and it’s totally my own fault for not really training before January kicked in. But hey, that means I can only get faster from there – and you’d better believe I’m going to be putting in some serious miles as the year goes on. Long run to a mac and cheese takedown? Here we come!


2 thoughts on “I’m a work in progress – and proud of it”

  1. We both posted about almost the exact same thing yesterday/today- exercise guilt! It is important to do your best now, not your best from when you were more or less in shape! Good job modifying your workout and still getting it in!

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