My Trainer and I saw each other yesterday: normally I do it earlier in the week, but as I was in a forest, it seemed more sensible to rearrange. In this session, there was the beginning of a proper, adult pull up. Sure it was tiny, miniscule, but muscle memory is beginning to operate. There is the distinct possibility of pull ups. They are no longer on paper as prototypes. I AM VERY EXCITED.
However it wasn’t just that: my trainer instructs me in HIIT Class once a week. She’s been watching the bits I can’t do, and this week taught me two of them that she felt I was lacking in. I can perform squat thrusts (Superstars!) and split jumps. My knees this morning don’t ache from that though, the Zwifting last night is to blame. Left leg, especially, really struggled on my first FTP Tempo ride.
Oh, but it is so worth it this morning.
Effort’s a tricky thing: what someone else might consider a 3/10 workout another one will firmly believe is a 7/10. It takes both time and some hard honesty with yourself to find the road into hard, actual effort. Last night, for instance, was utterly in the Land of Lightweights in terms of the amount of power being forced into my legs. However, after an hour and a bit of sticking to a plan, everything hurt.
I’ve been reading some cracking discussion on the value of low intensity workouts. Any exercise is undoubtedly better than none at all, and if all you can easily manage initially is the low end of the scale, it makes perfect mental sense to start there. From personal experience, especially on days when motivation is low, to have something achieved well, but at a lower level than normal, is far more significant as progression.
91 watts average is, I know, well below what I was previously outputting. However, that was before all the issues with my left leg. It was in a mindset that’s a long way from where I am now, that rated performance as the only benchmark… and it isn’t. Doing something well matters far more now to me than the task of achievement. It’s why I won’t go balls out in HIIT class any more: I’d rather do things well than fast.
If that means taking the time to feel how feet sit on pedals, my arse on the bike seat then we’ll take the time. I’m also retraining my arm movement when I run for better oxygen consumption, and how shoulders sit when I’m typing this. In effect, decades of bad posture and ineffective muscle use is being readdressed, and the effects are significant. I don’t need to be maximising my heart rate while this happens. Form matters more.
Last night was, on reflection, a 6/10 perceived effort. Right now, as a result, how I feel about working and what that translates to are, in effect, roughly comparable. Somewhere in the 7/10 range is a spot that I can hit which makes 8/10 a largely academic progression, but it’s not happening very often and, to be honest, that’s perfectly fine. It would be impossible for me to run continuously at that level anyway.
What I’m looking for now, more and more, is the notion of learning and understanding what’s happening to my body. Becoming more self aware, being able to isolate and control muscle groups, to exploit strengths and improve weaknesses, this is the stuff of my exercise journey. Losing weight is now sorted. That means the next step has to be ensuring not only I stay lean, but continue to get stronger every day.
Right now, this is a pretty fantastic place to be.