Feeling stronger, feeling sore! Join me in my discomfort zone

Andy Wight personal trainer for Diane AtwoodAndy cheering me on

The other day I didn’t want to go to the gym. No particular reason, I just didn’t look forward to 45 minutes of working out. Left to my own devices, I might have come up with a dozen plausible (to me) excuses and never lifted a finger, never mind a five-pound weight.

That’s why I’m glad I have a personal trainer and that I’m blogging about the experience. It’s like working out with a friend — it makes you accountable.

I’ve been working with Andy Wight from AW Strength & Conditioning twice a week for the past four weeks. I feel great! I have more energy and already feel stronger. When I confessed my lack of enthusiasm that one day, he said it was normal in the first four to six weeks.

“It’s more of a psychological hurdle that you have to get over,” he told me. “There will always be days where you just don’t feel like doing it, but you know that once you do it you’re going to feel better about it.”

He’s so right. I’ve gone in feeling sluggish and left feeling lighter, happier and more energetic.

And sometimes sore. For several days. A good sore because it means I woke up a few muscles.

Squats are the biggest culprit. I don’t like squats. Not because they left the tops of my thighs sore and tight for an entire weekend, but because I think they’re hard to do.

Andy’s words of wisdom:

When you find an exercise you hate, generally it’s the one you need the most work with.

All he has me to do is sit down on a bench and stand up again. Several times. At first, they were easy, but that’s because I was doing them wrong.

Diane doing a squat the wrong way

The wrong way to do a squat

You’re not supposed to lean forward like I’m doing in the picture because it’s like pushing off with your hands. You’re using momentum instead of muscles to get back up.

Diane doing a squat the right way

The right way to do a squat

Here’s the right way — or at least, my attempt to do it right. Use the muscles in your lower body. I’m working on it!

Last week I got to play with a really big rope — a battle rope. Because it’s heavy, it adds resistance. It reminds me of jumping rope as a kid, so it’s fun. Fun with a purpose, which is to strengthen my arms, abs, shoulders and legs. Total body conditioning. What this short video to see me and the rope in action.

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My favorite part of the workout is the end. Don’t take it personally, Andy. It’s just that by then, my muscles are tingling, my heart is pounding, I’m sweating and I’m raring to take on the rest of the day.

We usually end each session with one of my favorite exercises. Slamming down a medicine ball. I hold it high above my head and then slam it down on the floor. Ooooh, doesn’t that feel good! A good stretch and a little bit of explosive power in my upper body. It doesn’t put a lot of strain on your joints and it builds extra muscle. Added bonus — it helps get rid of stress.

Slamming down a medicine ball

Thanks for hanging out with me in my discomfort zone. You help keep me motivated. So does how good I’ve been feeling. I’ll be back in two weeks with another update.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.