This week, we are totally talking about doing new things and leaving our comfort zones.
I have been doing a lot of both.
Last Wednedsay, I had the opportunity for a complimentary one-on-0ne person training session at a new cross-fit box in our area. I got a phone call over the weekend from one of the trainers, and we discussed some of my goals before setting a time for 5:30AM on Wednesday.
I may grumble at the alarm, but I really do like getting my workouts in early and over with for the day.
M introduced herself and we sat down for a chat. She explained, via graphs and diagrams, what their training was all about and how they structured their training. The goal is to achieve optimal physical performance by virtue of High Intensity Interval Training. According to M (and probably most fitness gurus), the general idea is to keep changing things up to keep the body from adapting to the workouts thrown at it. The trainers also focused on ten elements, including strength, flexibility and balance, in order to gauge success and improvement.
We also talked about what I was hoping to gain through training. I explained that I really wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole idea of cross-fit. That I wanted to introduce a little bit of cross training into my life so that I could build strength and overall fitness, and hopefully hit my 30:00 5K goal for the year, while staying healthy and injury-free. Weight loss and aesthetics were not on my priority list.
M told me that the typical MO is for clients to take 10 session of personal training. During that time, they work on building strength and endurance. Trainers watch clients for proper form and technique and help them make adjustments. After that time, clients can “graduate” into the cross-fit class. For optimal results, they recommend about four classes per week.
It was time to get started. I got to take a 400m jog for a warmup and then we did a few exercises with a piece of PVC pipe to check my balance and center of gravity.
Or maybe it was just to see if I could squat while holding a PVC pipe over my head. Sometimes, you just never know.
There were some other exercises to get my heart rate up and those all went well. And then I had to go back outside and run another 400m.
Carrying a medicine ball.
While being timed.
So that wasn’t fun.
I was actually pretty impressed with myself that I managed the feat in 2:38 without hurting myself and without falling down. Surely, that would count for something going forward. But no. All I got was a “well done” and then we moved on to timed sit-ups.
It was the Presidential Fitness Exam all over again.
Sixty seconds of situps later, M wanted me to take on pushups. I laughed. My upper arms and shoulders were kind of wrecked from boot camp two days before, and I was pretty sure pushups were not in my future. She was accepting none of that, and told me I could do it from my knees, but I had to keep my elbows in and go all the way to the floor. As many as I could in a minute.
Spoiler alert: I couldn’t do very many.
There were some other activities, some that gave my arms a break and some that didn’t. I did what I could.
The grand finale involved four, 20 second sets of squats, getting my butt all the way down to a medicine ball, with 10 second intervals of rest in between. Apparently, we were going to make a game out of it. My score would be the lowest number of squats I could manage in a set. You know. Incentive.
Have I mentioned that I am tall, with long legs? And medicine balls are not high?
I was actually pretty happy with my performance. I did exactly nine squats, each time. I missed the ball a few times, by millimeters, but M didn’t nitpick, so we’ll go with it.
When the session was over, I was sweating and out of breath. Intense was not the word.
What I loved:
- The philosophy, the structure and the plan. I like the focus on form and technique, and I like the idea of mixing up routines to keep the body on its toes.
- M. She was great. Enthusiastic and personable. I really did enjoy the hour with her.
- The setup of the gym. It was a little fancier than where boot camp is held, and it seemed like there was a better variety of equipment.
What I didn’t love:
- The individual attention. With one person, completely focused on me, I found myself pushing maybe a little too hard. My quads were a mess for days after that last round of squats, and I don’t think I would have let it go that far in boot camp or yoga, when I can modify and cut back as needed. I’m also very self-conscious, and it was hard feeling like all eyes were on me (please note – this is my problem and not the trainer’s. She didn’t do anything to pressure me or make me feel uncomfortable).
- The level of commitment. I don’t want to feel like I need to take classes four times a week. That’s just too much to squeeze in, especially when my focus is on running. I want something just a little less time-consuming.
- The price. Personal training aside, a month’s worth of unlimited classes is almost four times the cost of unlimited classes at the no-frills gym.
Where I go from here:
I don’t think this is the right move from me. I enjoyed the experience immensely, but it was just a little much. I wouldn’t rule it out for the future, when my goals change again, but for the time being, I don’t want to be that committed. My endgame is better quality running, but I still need to maintain balance in my life, and this might tip the scales a bit too much in another direction.
Do you work with a personal trainer?
How many days a week do you cross train?