Archive | December 2012

Crazy 8, Sane 90

Crazy work day that felt like 24 hours smooshed into 8.

90 minutes on the mat at the hombu.

My world is spinning upright again and my sanity is restored.

I love karate!

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Motivation – A Numbers Game?

I really didn’t feel like working out today, but class was cancelled last Thursday due to weather, and we don’t have classes this week either. I can go to the hombu, but not until Wednesday, which is too long between workouts for me.

After much procrastination (I could go pro if procrastination were a sport), I finally got my butt off the couch, put on some pink workout clothes and my “Suck it up, Cupcake” headband, and headed downstairs.

I alternate between leg and upper body workouts. Today was leg day and after 15 minutes of the elliptical and a little stretching, I got to work on my list. Regardless of the workout, there are always what The Pretty One calls Finishers – and those, not the upper body or leg exercises, are what kill me. Oh, those dreaded burpees, push ups, crunches, planks and leg lifts!

I do OK on things that have numbers — sets, reps, etc. I can do 3 sets of 15, try to exceed the number of burpees I did in my last workout, talk myself into doing a set number of push ups, or crunch my abs 100+ times in various ways. I think having a specific goal helps me here.

Suck it up, Cupcake headbandSometimes I have to push myself to meet or exceed my numbers and when that’s necessary I’ve noticed I use the encouragement / cajoling I’ve heard from my coaches and instructors. “Finish strong!” “Only a few more.” “Come on – you can do this!” It may sound silly but it works. I hear those words of encouragement, say them to myself, and I can do a few more reps or one more set. I even say them out loud, so maybe it’s a good thing I’m working out by myself!

I struggle most with exercises that are timed, the ones you hold until exhaustion like planks and wall sits. I have a terrible time with wall sits in particular because there’s nobody around to encourage me, and I give in to my shaking legs way too easily.

I do what I can to distract myself – watch TV, pet the dog (since he’s in my lap for wall sits anyway), or do kata in my head. I can only do kata that I know fairly well – new katas frustrate me and that’s not good when I’m struggling. This is when I could really use a coach. Not just the voices in my head, but a voice in front of my face telling me not to give up.

In the absence of constant coaching, which is impossible, I guess this Cupcake just needs to Suck it Up and figure out a way to go just a little bit longer than is comfortable. Maybe I can play the numbers game here, too – by setting small goals of adding 5-10 seconds each time until I work up to a decent interval. If the numbers work to motivate me with the sets and specific numbers, it should work with the wall sits and planks too, right?

How do you motivate yourself when you’re working out alone? To get through the parts of the workout that are toughest for you – especially when you just don’t feel like it? If you have any ideas or suggestions of what works for you, I’d appreciate hearing them!

Stairs!

On the way to our seats for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, I was being a good lemming and following the crowd to the Up escalator. Before I could get on, my personal trainer/son’s hand reached out, grabbed my muscular bicep, and pulled me a couple of feet to the right.

“Stairs!” I heard.
“Do you have a defibrillator?” I asked, not really wanting to walk up a bunch of steps in heels.
“No, but I’m certified in CPR!” said my trainer.

He said that with just a little too much glee – like maybe he was hoping to use his newly certified skills on me!

When the kata doesn’t come easily…

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.

~Abigail Adams

I’m learning a new bo kata and it’s not coming easily. For whatever reason, I had to have Renshi slow down and show me small chunks of the moves – and he’s had to show me several times. At one point I was so frustrated with myself that I stomped my feet like a child.

But after I rolled my eyes, threw my head back, and stomped my feet, I got back to work. With some focused instruction from Renshi and some additional coaching from another student (thanks, Alex!), I finally have a portion of the kata down. But just a portion.

As I was reminded, not everything is going to be easy. I know that and I’m OK with that. Part of the fun of learning is tackling challenges; in fact, if everything was easy, I’m sure I’d get bored quickly!

Over time I’ve learned those things which present the biggest challenges also have the potential for the biggest rewards. This is one of those things. So I’m working on my kata in class. I’m doing an extra run-through or two after class. And I’m mentally doing the kata while I’m walking the dog or holding myself in a plank position.

I’m looking forward to getting this kata down. To having all the pieces in place and being able to run through the whole thing without prompting. At that point, my reward will be the satisfaction of accomplishing something that didn’t come easy. Of knowing I worked hard, put in the extra time and effort, and worked through my frustration.

Now…back to work. I’ve got a kata to learn!