Sunday, August 5, 2012

Level 6

Okay, I realize I'm horrible at this blogging thing. It is either feast or famine. But I had a pretty good day on Friday and wanted to write about it.

 First off, we are having a biggest loser contest at the gym, and so far I'm ahead. In the past seven weeks I've dropped 26 pounds (most of it occurring in five weeks time.) That's great. It puts me down 74 pounds overall.

 Second, we had level testing at Fire House Fitness. Our trainer, Jason Muir, has six levels of fitness he would like to get everyone through. Just because you hit these levels doesn't mean you are done, but he gives you a special deal when you pass the last level and show you are committed to working out. I took my level six test on Friday.

 All levels start with a static squat. For level one it is 60 seconds. It goes up in 30 second intervals for each level until level five, then you jump up to a four minute squat. Level six it jumps another minute to five minutes. Sometime during the past few weeks I had kind of pulled one of my gluteus minor muscles and it has put a bit of a strain on my lower back. I haven't been able to do a five minute squat since then. I really just had to go to my happy place and power through it, but mission accomplished.

I was the only person going for level six at 5:30 a.m. so everyone else had started their run by the time I was done. For the lower levels you run around the block, which is around .5 miles. You then move up to a run down the street that is about .8 miles. Then one to two of those runs for level five. Finally you do a combination of the other two and run 1.5-1.75 (I'm not sure of the exact length, I just know it is over 1.5 miles.) Running has never been my strong point, but in the past two weeks it has gotten much easier. I'm not sure if it the extra 10 pounds coming off, or what. I ran about 1.25 miles without taking a break, and finished up with only one 30 second walk. My runs in earlier tests (the .8 mile run) usually took me just over eight minutes. This one that was twice the length took me 14:23 seconds. I was quite proud of that.

 We then moved into the thing I dreaded the most, the "3 minute drill". This is one of those things that doesn't seem like a big deal until you try it, and are told you have two chances to get through it without stopping or you fail. This entire drill is done in the push up position with your hands on a medicine ball. You start out with 30 seconds of mountain climbers, then 30 seconds of V hops (jumping both feet up to one side of the ball, back to the starting point, then up to the other side of the ball.) You then do 30 seconds of straight hops, just jumping both feet forward and apart, to both feet back at the starting position and together. By this time my "hops" felt like they were only moving about four-five inches at a time, very small. You then go back to 30 seconds of mountain climbers, and finish with a one minute plank, 30 seconds with your left leg in the air, and 30 seconds with your right foot in the air. The plank almost finished me because I was so unstable I almost fell over (which would have meant starting over.)

 I finished that and was told not to stop, but to run over to the TRX system for the final test. For those unfamiliar with the TRX, it looks like truck tie downs, but hangs from a bolt in the wall, and has two handles. For the final test we do a TRX 3 ab combo. This was the first exercise I ever did at FHF, and it almost convinced me not to come back! You shorten the handles so they hang between six and ten inches off the ground, and put your feet into the handles. You get in push up position, and start off with 15 pikes (basically raising your butt straight up into the air), then without stopping you switch to 15 pendulums (keeping your upper body straight and moving your legs side to side using your obliques.) Then without stopping you move into 15 peddles (you bring your knees up to your chest one at a time, this is almost like a small one legged pike with a bent knee.) Then you move into the collapsing on the floor in exhaustion exercise, which technically isn't an exercise, but nice none the less.

 At this time I realized that everyone I had thought had left the gym had really been hanging around in the front area out of site, and come back in to cheer me on after the trainers started yelling at me not to wuss out. I got a big hug from the trainers, well the ones who aren't averse to immense amounts of sweat, and will eventually get to sign the wall as a graduate. I'm pretty proud of this accomplishment, but have to keep going. I've got about another 45 pounds to lose to get back to what I weighed when I got married 16 years ago. Wish me luck!

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