Back in the Driver’s Seat

1260855_610414205667947_1675142853_nThere are a lot of things that I would love to share, but the act of committing them to paper in a way that is interesting, meaningful, and not extraordinarily lengthy is too daunting an endeavor at the moment.

This week was the first week that I trained solo in a long time.  When I moved to Charlotte last summer, one of the first things I did was join a gym, and a few weeks later, I signed up for a year’s worth of personal training.  During my final couple of months in Phoenix, working out had turned into a sporadic activity that had been preempted by a lot of going out to eat and boozing with friends and family before I departed for the east coast.  Which also meant sporting a fluffier physique than I was comfortable with.  At the time, I had gone through one competition prep and then a couple of false starts for a second competition, so although the notion of signing up for personal training for a year was overwhelming, I wanted to commit to something longer term, not just a 12 or 14 week stint for the sake of a competition followed by a month-long hiatus from the gym because I was too busy binge eating and drinking.  I needed some structure and accountability to get back into the swing of things with the goal of ultimately achieving some kind of long term consistency (aka, lifestyle).  In the past, I had either been really dedicated (training 6 or 7 days per week) or really lazy (skipping the gym for a week or two at a time or only making it in once or twice a week) and would swing between both extremes every couple of months or so.

Over the past year, I have gained strength and confidence.  I’ve lost body fat and added muscle.  I’ve gone back to basics in some respects (bench press, squat, deadlift, overhead press, pull-ups), but also added a lot of new exercises to my fitness repertoire (kettlebells, Olympic lifts, TRX exercises, Prowler work).  CrossFit has been instrumental in expanding my knowledge base as well.  It really has revolutionized my perspective on cardio vs. conditioning, and has utterly schooled me in understanding intensity in training.

So, financially, I am not in a place where I can do another year of training.  But more than that, I realized that I am perfectly capable of programming my own training and executing it myself.  I have a proficiency in training now that I didn’t have when I first started.  So, when my final prepaid session ran out last Saturday, I said goodbye to my trainer.  It was sad.  I have come to respect and care about him a lot in the time we’ve worked together, and although I will still see him at the gym, it won’t be the same.

There are two sides to the coin when it comes to training on my own:

No set appointment time to work out. 

  • Con – I don’t have a commitment to someone else to hold me accountable for showing up – it’s completely up to me.
  • Pro – I don’t have to work out according to my trainer’s availability.  If I want to wake up early to train at the crack of dawn, I can.  If I want to do a late night workout, I can.  I can train at a time that is optimal for me, not whenever my trainer has an open slot.

No one dictating my programming.

  • Con – I tend to program according to what I enjoy doing and what I am good at.  When someone else is responsible for my programming, I am more likely to do exercises I dislike or am bad at, which is good for my overall progress.
  • Pro – I can program based on the exercises that are effective for me and based on how I feel that day.  If I am feeling fresh and energetic, I can program something really challenging (see Sunday’s workout below), but if I am feeling tired, sore, and lethargic, I can ease up a bit (see Monday’s workout below).

No one to encourage/spot me.

  • Con – The plain truth is I lift less.  I don’t have assistance getting the weight up to even start the movement on things like bench press or overhead press.  I don’t have someone to spot me if I am going really heavy and trying to push myself.  I don’t have someone to help me force a final rep or two when I’m at or near failure.  I don’t have someone to make me push past the burn, keep trying when I just want to give up, or to tell me I am capable of more than I think I can do.
  • Pro – I can’t go through life relying on other people to help me all of the time.  It’s great to have cheerleaders and supporters, but there are some things I am just going to have to do alone.  Learning to be my own motivator and believing in my ability to accomplish difficult things, things I have never done before, is a really important skill in all areas of life, not just training.  And, I can listen to my body and back off if I feel something is off.  If my shoulder starts to get that “uh-oh” twinge or I can feel my lower back straining to get the bar off of the floor, I won’t feel compelled to just keep pushing through because my trainer is telling me to.  It is easier to stop and either back off on the weight or choose an alternate exercises.

So, with my first week of training on my own behind me, I am pretty happy with how I did.  My week of WOD’s is below!

Sunday – Track Workout

4 mile run, then –

10 burpees

20 squats

30 pushups

40 lunges

50 sit-ups

40 lunges

30 pushups

20 squats

10 burpees

Finished in 56:53

Monday – Chest/Tris

3 sets of dynamic push-ups to failure (I used aerobics steps instead of plates)

Dumbbell bench press (30’s, which should be somewhat light for me, but felt heavy – maybe doing those push-ups first was a bad idea!)

Dips (bodyweight)

Cable flies

Rope presses

Metcon: 5 rnds (not for time – tempo)

10 box jumps

10 kettlebell swings (16 kg)

Metcon: 2000 m easy row (11:30)

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Back/Bis

A1: Max chin-ups – 4, 3, 2 (last time I got 6, 4, 3, so kinda disappointing)

A2: Wall walks 3 sets of 3

B1: Barbell rows (85)

B2: Incline hammer curls (15)

Lat pull-downs

Preacher curls

Seated cable rows

C1: TRX curls

C2: T2B (toes to bar) – 10, 8, 6

Metcon (For Time)

500 m row

400 m row

300 m row

200 m row

100 m row

Rest 30-60 seconds between each

Thursday – Rest

Friday – Legs

Squats – 8 x 95, 6 x 115, 5 x 135 x 3

A1: Sumo deadlifts 10 x 135, 10 x 135, 8 x 135, 7 x 135

A2: TRX pistols

B1: Lying hamstring curls

B2: Leg extensions

Back extensions (holding 45 lb dumbbell)

1 set walking lunges with 55 lb barbell (was annihilated and decided to only do one set – plus I had a hard time pushing the weight up and over from behind my head)

20 mins on the elliptical doing lateral intervals

Saturday – Shoulders/Core

A1: Wall Walks 3×3

A2: Body saws 3 x 10

B1: Seated dumbbell press (25’s)

B2: Incline reverse crunches – 12, 10, 10, 8

C1: Kettlebell snatches (12 kg)

C2: TRX face pulls

D1: Lateral dumbbell raises (15’s)

D2: Medicine ball twists (12 lb)

Metcon – 5 rounds for reps

Do 60 seconds of work for each exercise – rest 60 seconds between each round

Box jumps (24″)

Kettlebell swings (16 kg)

Wallballs (12 lb)


(Total time = 25:00 mins including rest between rounds…I forgot to count my reps!)



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