The Pursuit of Progress

Progress is an interesting word. I am sure this doesn’t only apply to training and learning to eat better,  (I am learning almost every lesson I encounter in my training can and does apply to all of life), but what I once thought meant to move forward now seem seems to be much more of an up-and-down thing. Like, one day I feel great and on fire and the next like a lump of coal. And to me, that doesn’t feel much like progress at all, but what I learned this week is that isn’t really the case. Sometimes what feels harder, looks like backward movement and leaves me down on my knees can actually be the greatest progress of all.

Last week I experienced what I would call my “first official leg day”. At least thats what my trainer and my trainer friends all told me after I crawled home and felt sick for a the first 3 hours after. All I kept thinking was “what did I do wrong?” but the answer I got back was- you were finally doing everything right. Ok, maybe Michelle told me I should eat a bigger breakfast now that we are training harder, make sure I get rest and drink lots of water, but essentially, I was hitting my stride and begin able to dig deeper and go harder and longer then I had up until that point. What started out as me feeling like I messed up somehow (I am always trying to make sure I take care of myself so I wondered where I fell short) really was me turning a major corner in my training.  I had felt like I had let myself down until others helped me hang my perspective. So, after that day we made some nutrition adjustments, and talked things over, and I came in more prepared for my next work out. Just because my preparation this time went beyond the physical- and into my mental state- it ended up seeming so much easier…and I know I hit that session like a beast cause I am still sore (I may be progressing quickly in some areas but my body is still taking its sweet ass time to recover. in some ways 5 weeks seems like I’ve been lifting forever, but in other ways I can tell I am still such a newbie).
Then my last work out of the week came and I was not looking forward to it. I had hit legs-hard-once already and then back and my body was dragging. I had another leg day to get through since Michelle loves to split it up into two (yea me!)… and it was saturday… and I was up way to late the night before (i still haven’t decided if I like training on saturdays or not yet- the extra sleeping in is nice unseated of getting up before work an extra day, but I alway seem to make that irrelevant by staying up later on friday). I tried my best to prepare- eat well, hydrate, but the constant enthusiasm I had been living off of for the last 5 weeks was starting to fade. I had thought with time this would get easier. With PROGRESS I would get stronger and that by the time my enthusiasm was loosing its hold, my strength and body changes would propel me towards my goals. This didn’t feel like the case. I was tired and although I was making major changes in my body, it wasn’t enough to keep me on my game that morning. This felt like my first real set back- my first “i don’t want to do this”
One thing I love about my trainer is I feel like she knows whats in my head before I even say it. Maybe all trainers are that way- she knows the look of fear, self doubt, excitement or just laziness so she knows when to push me and when not to. On this day, I think she saw the enthusiasm dwindling and instead of jumping into kicking my ass she started slow- and really just started teaching me about lifting. If you saw my IG post last week you saw I started learning Dead Lifts (I think I love these by the way). We had gone back and forth on some IG posts about good and bad Dead Lift form and so when I came in burnt, she just started teaching me about these. This was so cool, and it was great to have all the different styles of DLs broken down. I, of course, got to do all of them and was lifting, but it wasn’t the same intensity. It was a intellectual challenge I was facing. After that she DID make me do some stuff to get a bit of a burn in for the day, and it sucked, but I had a little more excitement to fuel me through it.  I kept thinking, though, and saying to her “I have to work on that”. MY form felt off, and I knew I wasn’t doing all I could, I didn’t feel strong and fatigue was heavy on my mind. But to all my self doubt, Michelle said to me “but your a beast today” and I wondered what she meant. Then she added  “because today you didn’t want to train and you were tired, and you still did, getting high reps or high weight is easy- its doing it when you feel crappy or sad or run down that isn’t, and you still showed up- thats real beast mode” Wow, progress- I thought. Progress is not always what we expect it to look like and it isn’t only in the shape of what those on the outside see. I made lots of progress this week I guess- it just wasn’t all abut lifting bigger things.

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