I need to work on my form.
I hear it every day, in some variation, in the deep baritone voice of my trainer:
"Watch the knees, Heather."
"Arch your back, Heather."
"Straighten those arms, Heather."
"Flat back, Heather."
I know what the problem is - I'm rushing. I do the same thing in my lunchtime Pilates class, always reminding myself to slow down, we're not in a race. I live my life in fast-forward, and so it shouldn't be much of a shock that I am also GO GO GO when it comes to my hobby. I don't know if you've gathered this in your reading of this blog, but patience is not a quality I possess.
So I am making a concerted effort to slow down, enjoy the process, and work on my form. I had my first opportunity last week when I shared some information I had read while googling fitness competitions on a Saturday afternoon: that in one event, the womens' bench press was done with 60% of her body weight. I pondered what 60% of my body weight would be and whether I could bench that much. My mathematics skills lacking, I left that task up to my trainer, who told me that it would be 81 lbs. I was currently doing an easy chest press with two 25 lb dumbells (full extension, Heather) and replied, "okay, something to work towards."
We moved on to a series of overhead shoulder presses (elbows in, Heather) and I watched out of the corner of my eye as said trainer set up the bar with some plates. As he rolled a bench over and centered it beneath the bar, my suspicions were confirmed. My training buddy and I grabbed our towels and tried to brace ourselves. I went first.
On my second set, I did better. On my third, my arms turned to cement and I felt frozen in time as I willed myself to push the bar higher and felt absolutely no response. Somehow it was re-racked and I cringed. As I wiped my sweat from the bench and resumed normal breathing, my trainer calmly announced, "that was 85."
And we went on to cable pulls.
I love that process. The process of identifying a goal, determining the likelihood of success, and then testing myself to see if I can pull it out. It's something I want to do every day, whether in the gym or at work or at home. But, I know that just going through the motions doesn't count. I don't want to get stuck in a routine of going to the gym, running my regular route, doing my usual elliptical intervals, and robotically going through a weight routine just so I can check it off of a list. That's what I've been doing lately. But, today I'm giving myself a jolt: time to wake up, focus on my form, and start pushing myself again.
I left the gym that day feeling stronger, but also wondering...if I could do 85 lbs...could I do 90? Someone hang up the carrot, please.