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Saturday, August 2, 2008

1 HPC (D1W3): A Very Humbling Workout


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OK, it's been 5 days now since my last pushups workout. I was going to do them yesterday after I got home from work, but once again, fell asleep really early instead. Arrgh, I have to stop falling asleep on the couch! I start watching TV for a few minutes, & before I know it, the eyes are at half mast & then it's all over! ;-)

It's now 6:25 am on a Saturday, & I'm fully awake. So, what better time to do pushups?! Hahahaha. OK, I'm fully resolved to do the next pushups workout this morning! Here goes..... I'll do them nice & quick, before I can fall asleep again. ;-)

Will report back in a bit.

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OK, I'm back now. And the pushups have been completed.

Today's pushups workout called for intervals of 25, 17, 17, 15, & a max of atleast 25 pushups. Here's what I did: 25, 17, 17, 15, 30. OK, so I'm no superhero today, but boy, am I glad today's workout is over! ;-)

OK, so here's what transpired: I started my pushups workout at around 6:30 am. Wow, was today's workout challenging! I started getting a headache after the first 25 pushups, & my arms started to tire half-way through the second set. Uh-oh, not a very promising sign of what was to come! ;-)

And then I did the next two sets of 17, but then stopped for about a minute & a half, trying to recover, because my headache was growing with each pushup! ;-) Ouch, my head hurt almost worse than my arms! I then drank about a half bottle of water, thinking that perhaps I was a bit dehydrated. Of course, the water didn't do a drop of good to alleviate the headache, but atleast it was refreshing.

Then did the last two sets. The next 15 pushups weren't easy, but they weren't impossible either. However, by the final set, I was definitely struggling. It wasn't going to be a double or nothing day for today's max set; that was definitely clear by this point. ;-)

For the final round, I got to about the twentieth pushup, & then paused for about a second, & then did 5 more pushups, paused again for another second, & then very painfully pushed out the last 5 pushups.

This is exactly why one shouldn't wait 5 days in between pushups workouts. ;-) I'm certainly not going to do THAT again! If ever you need ample motivation to keep going & just knock out those pushups every other day, just look at my recent example, & then do the exact opposite. ;-) That'll surely provide you with ample reasons to not procrastinate. Ahem, I just love being a reverse example. ;-) OK, so it doesn't matter that I kept falling asleep on the couch, or whatever the reason was for delaying my pushups workouts, but my point is that the end result was the same. Today was a way-too-hard pushups workout, & all because I waited too long in between workouts.

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I think that today's big challenge was a chiefly mental one. I began thinking about (OK, it was more like dreading!) that final max set right out of the starting gate. My initial thoughts were, "Uh-oh, I have to do even more pushups today, plus really exceed that final max set. Just the other day, I did 25 pushups for my max set. How am I possibly going to top that, plus do all of those additional pushups?!"

And plus, the headaches didn't help much. Also, I didn't do another pushups assessment like I was supposed to do, before starting with Week 3. I just hopped onto the hardest workout, assuming that I could do it because "Oh yeah, I've got bionic arms." Hahahaha. (I think that maybe I'll take the assessment test before proceeding with my next workout. We just might need to reassess. You think?! ;-) )

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OK, so maybe my arm strength is something I shouldn't take for granted. And even maybe, just maybe, ("Ouch, this hurts to admit this!"), I'm not the embodiment of super-human arm strength that I originally thought I was. On this note, to my ego, I'd just like to say,"Down, boy, down!" ;-)

I don't normally have an inflated sense of self, but when it comes to arm strength, I do pride myself on having above-average strength. In fact, all of the women in my immediate family are really strong, in more than one sense of the word. And it's not like we're built like Hercules either. ;-) If you were to look at us, you wouldn't necessarily think, "Whoa, she looks like she could lift a 4-door sedan above her head with her little pinky." ;-)

We have "normal-sized," slender-looking bodies & arms, but we are still very strong, & if I might say, fiercely proud about that fact too. ;-) And a good bit of that stems from a shared family bond surrounding physical fitness & strength, a shared personal investment in its importance. It's part & parcel of our family identity to a large extent, & the shared personal history extends not just to the immediate family, but also to the extended family as well, & also even stems back a few generations too. ;-)

I'd have to say that almost everyone in my family is focused on fitness. Even when we've fallen off the bandwagon here & there, we always hop back on & get moving again. It's just something we do.

As kids, my parents certainly encouraged us to be fit & strong, & they were certainly early "fitness role models" for us. In fact, they are still very active & continue to workout to this day: Both of my parents regularly go to the gym, & also do a whole host of other activities as well. For example, my mother plays tennis on a regular basis, & my dad plays racquetball & runs.

And of course, the "kids" follow in their footsteps. ;-)

On that note, I'd just like to say that my sister is a petite powerhouse. She is simply amazing, & has often been my "fitness" inspiration throughout the years. Not only is she a fantastic runner & all-around athlete, but she is seriously strong too. We often joke that she is like "an ant lifting a tree." ;-)

Her arm strength is just something she's had (as a natural gift) from the time she's been very small. And the idea of being strong -- and having strong arms -- is probably as fused to her identity as it is to mine. ;-)

In fact, when my sister was a wee little tot, she used to lift herself up (i.e., her entire body!) in her crib -- solely by the sheer strength of her arms, & often escape from her "holding cell." It was like "Escape from Alcatraz -- The Toddler Version." ;-) The babysitter had to constantly be on guard. I'm not sure if some levitation was involved ;-), but it was a certainly fairly impressive feat for a little baby girl. ;-)

Of course, the trend continued: When she was only about five or six years of age, she could lift her entire body up on those gymnastic rings, & do all sorts of formations. And in middle school gym class, I think she might've had her class record for the arm hang. And if I recall correctly, I believe she was also pretty darned good at chin-ups too. ;-)

Speaking of which, I remember we used to have these chin-up bars when we were young kids, which our parents installed at the entrance of our bedroom doors. They were these adjustable bars that were held up by the outward force of the bars themselves; the length of the bars were increased (& thus also secured) by simply rotating/swiveling the two parts outwards. I'm not sure if they were all the rage back then, (I honestly don't remember), but for whatever reason our parents thought they'd be a good idea. Of course, that only added to the whole arm-strength fixation thingey. ;-)

Well, anyhow, I seem to recall that my little sister could hang onto the chin-up bar until the cows came home. Er, I primarily used mine to hang clothes. ;-) (Those of you who know me, are probably thinking, "Big surprise!" LOL.)

The emphasis on arm-strength was also reinforced by our parents. As kids, we were used to seeing my dad "flex his arm muscles" & show off his biceps. We were often asked to "make a muscle," & it became a fun, harmless "contest" in our family to see who was the strongest or had the biggest biceps. ;-)



So, it probably wouldn't come as any surprise if I told you that arm wrestling matches -- usually between my dad & his daughters, or between my sister & me -- were, & are still (!), very common in our household. OK, they are more like "showdowns," because they are often accompanied by some seriously hilarious trash-talking. Of course, it's all in the spirit of good-natured fun, but let's make no mistake, we are all still highly competitive about it, & both of us daughters are still out to beat Dad & each other! ;-)

In fact, I recently challenged my sister to do the Hundred Pushups program, a challenge which, I'm happy to say, she's accepted. (Her name now appears on the "Hundred Pushups Queens" list on the left side bar, along with all of the others who are now doing this program!) Of course, it goes without saying that, along with this challenge, there'll be another arm-wrestling rematch scheduled at some point in the near future. That should provide ample incentive for her to start her program. ;-)

So Ab, you better get busy with those pushups! ;-) Hahahaha. After all, you don't want to lose face & be totally eviscerated by your big sis. LOL.

My sister's been very busy lately, but maybe, she'll start doing those pushup workouts under the looming threat of another arm-wrestling face-off. ;-)

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So, perhaps now, after recounting a bit of family lore, you can see why the whole arm strength thing is such a big deal. ;-)

I'm betting that there are some people out there who are probably more accustomed to the idea of boys or men doing these sorts of activities (i.e., chin-ups, arm-wrestling contests, etc.). And those people will just have to get over it. ;-)

Frankly, I think it's fantastic that my parents encouraged their daughters to be active & independent. Since it was just the two of us daughters in the household, we weeded & mowed the lawn, took out the trash, washed the car, lit the fireplace, tossed some steaks on the "barbie," etc., & did all the rest of those things that are often traditionally done by boys. (OK, when it comes to activities relating to fire -- i.e., the last two examples, please know that I certainly don't think that all men are cavemen: "Uga, uga, me man, me play with fire!" ;-) ) Of course, my dad did some of those activities too, but for the two of us daughters, there was simply no getting out of doing those sorts of chores. There were no allowances made, "just because we were girls." ;-) When it came to family chores, everyone did them. End of discussion. At the same time, we were also expected to iron & wash clothes, dust & vacuum the house, cook, make our beds, sew buttons on our garments, water the plants, etc., & do all the other traditional "girly" stuff too. And yes, my sister & I consider ourselves to be fairly "normal" kids in this respect -- Nowadays, of course, this sort of expectation is even more common than it was 20-30 years ago. Atleast in the States anyhow.

And just so you know, we did all the rest of the "normal" kid stuff too: We played hopscotch, jacks, & jump-rope as kids, but we also climbed trees, made buildings out legos & Lincoln logs, & played hide-&-go-seek with the other boys & girls in the neighborhood. ;-)

Anyhow, enough of my anecdotes for one day. Of course, most families have a ton of them, so feel free to share any funny "family fitness" stories of your own! I always love hearing people's stories about what it was like for them growing up, & hearing about their childhood experiences -- playing sports or just generally doing "kid stuff." ;-)

Have a great morning! I'll possibly check in a bit later, & will think about finishing up some more of those backdated posts...... No promises though, because today's my day off. ;-)

I plan to start my day off right -- by going back to bed, & seeing if I can catch up on a few hours of sleep! ;-) Zzzzzzz.

Later,
-C

1 comment:

kchealy said...

First, congratulations. You're doing great.

Second, re: your comment: "I think that today's big challenge was a chiefly mental one" - I feel exactly the same way. I was a bit tired Monday and feel way short on what I was supposed to do for that day (day 1, week 3), but I think it was really a mental breakdown as much as a physical one.

I'll be repeating week 3 this coming week - but at least I can take pride in the fact that I'm doing column 3!

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