For the third night in a row I got less than 6 hours of sleep, the morning started sluggish. No amount of caffeine or stimulant was going to change how I felt, or provide me any additional push to do more than the bare minimum, in fact I was so tired if I could have I’m sure I would have carried my C-Pap machine with me like a respirator.
Other than a short 20 minute nap in the middle of the afternoon, I didn’t do anything to try and relieve my state of being. I didn’t drink coffee or take a cold shower. It all changed on its own when I got to the gym.
My 1:30 session with Liz at Crossfit was DOA because of a conflict that she had, and I couldn’t go at the time she wanted to change to, so we just canceled the session this week. Thus my first Wednesday workout didn’t happen until 6:00 PM with Ali.
I warmed up on the rowing machine, and went for a 1000 meters as fast I could, I finished it in 4:23. I like the fact the action of rowing is full body, and normally I break a sweat after about 5 minutes. The warm-up was kept short because I arrived 5 minutes before the session was supposed to start. I normally like to do 2500 meters as a warm up.
He started me out boxing. It felt great, every punch I made was crisp, and the pop of his mitts could be heard from inside the aerobics room above the music. Every once in a while I would see people in the body pump class look around or get startled. It was the first time I felt like I needed long wraps because my wrists and knuckles actually hurt underneath the gloves.
We went for a good 10 minutes boxing, at which point we moved right into Ali’s version of a Crossfit circuit. He first had me pull two heavy bags down a row of machines about 10 yards, at the end I turned around and brought it right back. I then transitioned into flipping a heavy bag down and back. The final leg was taking 35 lbs dumbbells and lunging down the same route. The first time we did I finished in just under 3:00 minutes, the second attempt which was done towards the end of the workout I completed the circuit in 2:40.
From the circuit routine, he had move into doing a set of 15 burpees, with a push up at the bottom. Immediately following the burpees I had to do 1 minute of mountain climbers. This was followed by a standing chest press which was done 1 handed and mimicked the motion of a right and left cross punch.
The action following the punches was one I wish we had recorded because it was new, and I know it would have been funny. I used a cable machine with the ropes the kind one would normally use for tricep extensions, but Ali had me take the ropes and pull them all the way down to the floor while I dropped into a squat. Think of a sumo wrestler with his arms extended in the ready position. For the entire minute I couldn’t get the thought of E-Honda from the Street Fighter video game out of my head.
Ali also had me do some work on the Reebok slide working my hip flexors, and quads. There was also a set of clean and jerks towards the end of the workout. My last go around of boxing with him was just what I needed, covered in sweat, and tired from a good workout, I motored through the punch combinations. I did so with power and speed. While punching I knew all the days of boxing with Ali had created a great deal of muscle memory which made the pop of the punches feel natural to me.
When the session finished I went to the locker-room, changed, ate an orange in about 5 seconds, refilled my water and headed to the small cardio room. My 7:00 PM Core class with Ali is tough. It’s supposed to be an introductory or basic core class, but it has turned into something more advanced. I think 3 of the 6 people in this class are clients of Ali’s so he pushes us harder than I think he normally would.
Today’s session was focused heavily on the abs and hamstrings. My two “favorites” which is code of agonizing pain to the point where you just want to cut the limb off, are flutter kicks, and one leg hamstring extensions on a resistance ball.
Flutter kicks are a simple motion; you lie on your back put your hands underneath your lower back, lift both your legs 6 inches off the ground, and start kicking as if you were swimming. It sucks, after about 10 seconds I had to rest. During the 1 minute he told us to kick I had to bring my legs down every 10 seconds rest for 2 and go again. It’s such a basic motion, but it sucks!
The hamstring extensions are awful. Lying on your back you place the bottom of your feet on the resistance ball and then go into a bridge raising your hips up. Then with one leg off the ball you have to extend the other leg out until it’s almost straight and then curl it back in. I would never, ever do this exercise on my own.
As each week of the class progresses he increases the level of difficulty, at one point we did planks were we had to only support ourselves with one leg, and then kick the other leg up and down.
At the end of my back to back workout, for the first time this week I felt alive. I could have gone for an hour of cardio, but this being a recovery week I just went home.
Is my body becoming addicted to the act of exercising, or is my mind craving that adrenaline rush? What is about this particular back to back workout session that was reinvigorating? I don’t know how I will feel tomorrow but I haven’t felt this alive since my first week back home from the ranch. Maybe the rest is what’s making me feel this good, but I almost needed the workout to shake the weeds out of my body.
In terms of my eating I had a good day. Breakfast, snacks and dinner went according to plan, with lunch not being what I had planned to eat but not necessarily foods that were bad for me. I am trying hard to create a daily meal plan then stick to it. All the years of undisciplined food choices are what got me to over 400 lbs, a number I don’t ever want to see again on a scale.
My relationship with food is changing with each new day. I don’t spend hours a day thinking about what I want to eat; I don’t particularly crave any types of food. The more often I eat smaller meals the better I feel, and the less I crash. I haven’t become a complete food fascist but I just don’t obese over it.
I am also recognizing that I am weakest when I am fatigued, the more tired I am the more I find myself looking for food. Several times this week I have had a Lora Bar in my hand, or bag of nuts and asked myself why do I want to eat this in almost every case I wasn’t hungry. This conditioned response was created over years, and it will take equally as long to change it.
All in all my recovery week is going ok, and the true outcome won’t be known until next week. I’m worried that even after this week that next week I will still feel like crap. Only time will tell.
I think it’s quite possible my body is now addicted to exercise, or the adrenaline that flows from an intense workout.