Monday, May 4, 2009

Working the Negative

Today at the gym was all about working the negative. It was chest, biceps, and shoulders day and as a result, my eyeliner is a little wobbly. Ahhh....you know it was a good workout when you have not yet regained total use of your arms by the time you have to leave for work.

But before I did my first BOSU ball push-up, I had already spent a full 60 minutes working the psychological negative. After a weekend of nutritional choices that were, hmmmm, less than ideal, and facing a week dotted with lunchtime obligations that would keep me from my running game, I couldn't wait to hit the gym and work my cares away. I needed a good sweat, some warm worn-out muscles, and a swift kick in the pants to snap out of the negative zone I had been in for the past three days.

Unfortunately, the negative stayed with me for my hurdle training. I got to the gym early and set up in the parking lot, grumbling about how it could already be 73 degrees and 250% humidity at 4:30 in the morning. As I set up my hurdle and started on my drills under the curious eyes of other early-morning exercisers jogging past, the little voice in my head asked who I was kidding. My high-knees were pathetic. My trail leg drill was amateurish. I watched my reflection in the gym's dark window and wondered if I would ever become good at this. And I did 15 more.

The negative nagged at me during my first round of cardio, too. Doing bike intervals is usually a fun, high-energy way to start the day. But this morning, all I could think about was how my quads looked a lot more defined last week than today. I knew I needed to get positive soon, so I bumped up the resistance and pedaled harder.

Finally climbing off the bike to hit the weights, Captain Awesome set up a little circuit and informed me that we would be working the negative. "Whatever," I thought. "Like it will make a difference." I grimaced at myself. Was this really me? Why couldn't I snap out of it?

I finally felt the stress and negativity start to melt away as I concentrated on slowing down the negative effort of each exercise, really focusing on the movement and resistance of the weight. As I dedicated my attention to visualizing my muscles at work, I began to feel more like myself. And finally, when Awesome and I high-fived and congratulated each other on our hard work, I was awake.

I went in for my second round of cardio with somewhat renewed vigor. I was still angry at myself for losing focus over the weekend, but somewhere between doing karaokes in the parking lot and incline hammer curls in the weight room, I had made amends. I realized that working the negative was going to have to be part of the rest of my day. Meaning, that I was going to have to find a way to make the negative energy that is inevitable in life work for me. By harnessing the frustration I have in a goal not met and using it instead as energy to try "try again," I can more easily forgive, forget, and ultimately get over myself and move on.

Get over myself and move on. Now that's what I call resistance training. :)

1 comment:

EDP said...

I always think about what you told me: A workout plan and healthy eating regimen are a few of the things we get to control on any given day. So even on a day when the stove breaks and the kid(s) won't eat anything but yogurt and bread crusts, we get to rise above it by taking control of our health. And you did that, so you deserve a pat on the back. Now, go do it again! ;-)