Enter Villain: Nemesis, AKA The Stairs

Today I conquered that which I’ve avoided since June: My Nemesis, The Stairs.

I did 21 floors, with 22 steps each, in under 20 minutes. It’s a great start back! Remember: Pneumonia recovery — my first full week with actual cardio!

While not a specifically-prescribed exercise in my new fitness routine, the stairs are a necessary evil, and will likely figure prominently for me in the coming months. The stairs do some amazing things for my body, but it’s imperative that I use exact technique, or Bad Things can happen — and fast!

But good things can happen, and fast, too!

For example, I’ve noticed a terrific change in my body already, from less than a week with my trainer, Nik from Le Physique, in that my legs are already balancing their strength out. By that I mean how my outer thighs are ridiculously developed from cycling so much, so long, and they get so tight it screws up my lower back and right hip.

Knowing this about me, Nik’s assigned two particular exercises that are crazy-good to do for my knees, glutes, and thighs, now I’m already seeing new tone on my inner thighs, and feeling less pressure on my tailbone! It’s been five days! (The exercises: Ball-leg curls with a balance ball, and wall-sits.)

I’ve been foolishly stubborn and proud of having achieved so much fitness-wise since 2007 on my own, without training and guidance, but I’m realizing how much my body needs the minor corrections in technique and new routines targeting specific muscles.

Fact is, every time I become competent in one muscle group, my body overcompensates in another, in a bad way. Aches, pains, et cetera, it seems might be more avoidable than I realized.

Another thing that’s quickly resonated with me is the food/activity journal that Nik assigned me.

I’ve tracked calories before, but never the emotional fallout of my choices and actions/lack of action, and it’s illuminating.

I thought I’d be more wowed by how certain dietary choices physically felt in my body, but instead I’m noticing all the emotional comments. The biggest one: Shame.

Every time I don’t do what I know I can, or know I should, I find myself recording feedback laced with guilt and shame.

I’m a recovering Catholic, of course I feel shame for everything — but the question is, why keep doing the behaviour that creates the guilt and shame in the first place? Why perpetuate the cycle?

I know, it’s not rocket science that I should feel badly after eating badly, but there’s something about seeing it on paper —  CAUSE = EFFECT — when it comes to recording three glasses of wine or my choice to eat slider burgers with a fried egg for breakfast.

It’s that original “WTF” moment where you just can’t fathom the logic behind those choices. Why? Why? Why?

Somehow “but it tastes good” isn’t swallowed so easily when one realizes the rest of the day is spent with a faint whiff of failure lingering around.

Fortunately, this is part of the process. It’s part of the accountability factor that leads to success. Obviously the accountability isn’t there at the beginning; that’s why change is happening in the first place, right?

I know, in a couple weeks, I’m gonna love the way the new strength is feeling, I’ll love the power I feel I have, and I’ll have something I didn’t have two weeks ago — the pride of really accomplishing life change through serious, deliberate effort.

Then, the price becomes too high to screw my accomplishment up with wrong choices or not accommodating those choices through additional workouts or juggling my day’s food.

Then, the body becomes its own reminder that eating well is imperative — how you feel already is the motivation for keeping the feeling alive. It’s a self-sustaining experience, if you’re doing fitness right, I’ve found.

The process has begun. It’s kind of awesome.

Tomorrow, I get a day pass to get the hell out of the city and rediscover nature in the Valley. I’m really glad I’m feeling healthier already, because I’ve earned the day away.

On tap? Hiking. More fitness, but also more reward for me, on every level.

Le Physique is in Leg-And-Boot Square, in Vancouver’s False Creek. Nik Yamanaka is co-owner, and was the BCRPA Personal Trainer of the Year for 2008. Le Physique tailors a program to meet your abilities, goals, and lifestyle. They can’t do the work for you, but they can tell you the tweaks that will help you meet your best performance and give you the mental tools and simple practices that might help you attain the success you need. You can listen to Nik talking about training in this radio interview here. You can follow her/them on Twitter, too, by clicking here.