Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You Can Do Things Better By Accident

When I did personal training, I learned that the ideal way to lift weights is to push each muscle to exhaustion. There’s a point where you feel like you can’t do any more repetitions, but the trainer encourages you to do a couple more, and you’re able to push yourself and your muscles to those last ones that end up mattering the most. Basically they know what you’re capable of more than you do. Usually the correct weight for a person is one at which they can do 10-15 challenging reps. During these sessions, I learned how to push myself more while working out and to actually use more than just the cardio machines.

Disclaimer: I’m repeating things I learned and that I think work for me personally, I’m not a personal trainer.

At our current gym, I started each weight machine on the lightest setting. There was one on which I could barely do one rep (overhead press), but for the most part I was doing pretty well on all the machines. I’ve even increased the weights on most of them over the last months.

This show is awful.

However, since I’m a moron, I didn’t realize until last week that I hadn’t actually started on the lightest setting. To “set” the lift amount for most weight machines, you insert a metal rod horizontally into the desired weight. So that’s what I did for each machine when I started out, putting it on the lowest number (usually 50 pounds for most arm machines) and assuming it was the lightest setting. It turns out that you can put the machine on an even lighter setting, down to 30 pounds, by inserting the metal rod vertically through another weight on the side.

I laughed when I realized, and wondered: if I had not made this mistake, and therefore had started the machines on their actual lightest settings, would I have noticed? Would I have realized that I could lift much more (at least comparatively)? How much have I been holding myself back because I assume I’m not able to do it, when really I just need to learn how to push myself?

In other news, we are headed out this weekend for my brother's college graduation. I still think of him as being fourteen, but apparently he's graduating from college. While it's going to be an exciting weekend, I'm anticipating a lot of food challenges. 

I'm still so, so far from where I want to be. Sometimes it feels like, yay, you're going to the gym, now lose some damn weight, and nothing rationalizes away the frustration. Tomorrow is the next weigh-in, and I hope to at least have maintained last week's great loss, if not more. I worked hard this week. I'm tracking, I'm trying. Gah.

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