The alarm goes off at 4:30am. As I reach for it, I realize I am in pain. I then go to lift my body out of bed but decide the tuck-and-roll method is my only option because that part of my body is also in pain. Heading to the kitchen to make my egg whites with oatmeal, I grip the walls to guide me because, yes, my legs are also in pain. Needless to say, reaching for the gallon of milk made me cringe. Not because I don’t like milk, but the thought of lifting it was unbearable at the moment. (Thank goodness my husband pushed the trash bin to the curb and I was off the hook this week.)
If you haven’t guessed, I am on the countdown for the Mrs. International Pageant. As a certified fitness instructor, one may assume I am in great physical shape. I will share with you the reality is that for over 2 years, I have fallen into the realm of balancing my personal fitness and work by limiting my workouts – which explains why I am in so much pain. I have a great workout and nutrition plan from Body Design by Mike which is very helpful when I travel, however one day while at the gym the owner asked me about my fitness goals for the pageant and offered to “kick my butt” to help me be as competitive as possible. I took him up on his offer and signed up for an intense, 10-week program.
I am a competitive person, raised amongst family and friends who strive for excellence in all areas of life. So to push me, it takes a trainer with an amazing amount of skill and talent to get inside my head and really push me to train at the highest level possible – well, that and a little help from my diet and vitamins.
Jeff and Valerie Pettit are former professional and champion body builders. They’ve trained athletes and fitness models for years, but what I love most about them is their passion. They care about their clients ability to train hard, recover and see results.
So last Wednesday night, my 3rd day in a row training in the gym, Jeff noticed my muscles fatiguing rather quickly so we opted for a lighter workout. At the end of my training session, he says, “We have a short amount of time to work towards our goal, but we want to be smart and not injure anything because that will only set us back.” To which I said, “I should rebound by tomorrow. Not to worry, I’ll be there at 6am.” That brings me back to my painful stretch to shut off my alarm at 4:30am that next day.
Thursday morning, I text my trainer asking him if I can still take him up on his offer to give me a “free pass.” Of course, Jeff texted me back and said, “Absolutely.” Later that day, I was boarding the plane to Dover, Delaware and realized “lifting” my luggage into the overhead bin just wasn’t happening. Luckily, a very kind gentleman offered before I had a chance to ask. (I must have really looked weak and pathetic.)
Most everyone knows how much I love my Reebok EasyTone shoes, which is exactly what I wore all weekend at Dover Speedway helping The NASCAR Foundation. (They really did help my legs feel better walking all over the track.) Through the weekend, my trainer sent me text messages, checking in on me and encouraged me to try and do “something” to exercise my muscles and relieve the lactic acid. (I would have opted for a day at the spa, but there aren’t a whole lot of spa options in Dover, nor did I have time.)
By Monday morning, I definitely felt closer to 100%. I will say I really love my workouts. I’ve always enjoyed exercise because it makes me feel good and the perks of looking good aren’t too bad either. Being an indoor group cycling instructor, I admit that I neglected a balanced workout which is why my back muscles are very defined, but the strength in my chest muscles is so weak. They tell us all this in our certification and continuing education classes, so I make sure to share with my classes the struggles I am experiencing as a result of my own neglect. I do believe a good instructor is one who can relate and be humble enough to let their classes see the human side, instead of putting an instructor on a pedestal. We can always learn from one another.
As I look at the next 8 weeks, I am excited to chart my progress. If you are reading this, I want to encourage you to adopt a weight bearing exercise routine. We start to lose muscle mass around age 40 and then after age 50 it picks up speed, rapidly decreasing. Weight bearing exercises are also crucial to helping increase bone density, especially for women. Try to incorporate protein into every meal and see the advice of a registered dietician to learn about all the varieties of protein available. If you are looking to chart your progress, I also welcome you to visit presidentschallenge.org. I earned my PALA award last year and am encouraging everyone else to participate too.
Mrs. North Carolina International 2011
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