A year ago I decided that I wanted to take my workouts more seriously. Previously, I had worked with 3 different personal trainers, raced bikes in 4 different disciplines and had on-again-off-again gym memberships for years.
Racing bikes was an exciting and accessible way to workout when I lived in Portland, OR, with categories fitting my size & skill as well as competitors who were as much about the fun of riding as the thrill of winning. The advocacy and organizations in Oregon are some of the best in the world for amateur cycling, and OBRA itself was so encouraging and inclusive. When I moved to SF, and later to NYC, I found bike racing to be very different with unfriendly races and much more serious competitors. The love of cycling quickly eroded as I moved into more insulated urban areas with more difficulty accessing bike adventures and races.
I wanted to keep my movement and fitness up. I tried working out in gyms, but I never knew what to do. I would jog for 10-15 minutes and then stare blankly at the machines and free weights, trying to muster up a "workout" in my head. My dad lifted a lot when I was a kid, so I knew the basics, I just couldn't put them together in a sequence that seemed meaningful - and I didn't really even know how much to do, or at what weight, for however many sets. For a while I found myself wandering around the gym a few times a week just sort of fooling around. This did little more than make me feel good about showing up to the gym, which is at least something I suppose.
After a while of this gym-dawdling when I lived in SF, I decided to work with a personal trainer. He was a hilarious dude and we got along great. But before we really made progress, I moved to NYC and reset the pattern all over. In NYC I started working with another trainer who really pushed me towards "olympic lifting." I put that in quotes as I still don't really know what that is. All I know is that he was stacking the plates on barbells and having me lift a huge amount of weight. It was fun at first, and challenging, but I quickly hurt myself after 5 sessions. He wanted to continue but it really wasn't worth it to me. After that I became pretty disenchanted with working out, lifting and the gym.
Then, early last year, 2016, the spark ignited again and I felt like I needed to really get myself moving and get those good feels from working out again. I had been reading about different lifting and workout plans and had decided that Stronglifts 5x5 was the one I wanted to try. Stronglifts 5x5 is composed of 5 lifts that you do at heavy weight for 5 sets of 5 reps. It was hard but fun, and I was able to lift some heavy weight pretty quickly. It felt great for a while, then it got very boring, very fast. And while I made some great lifting gains, my body didn't change much over 7 months.
That's when I met Vonn. One of my friends who was training in Muay Thai had recommended him to me, as he was training her to further develop her speed and fitness. After the first few sessions I was sold. Vonn had pushed me, even in those first session, to a new level of workout and my own ability that I hadn't really ever reached - something he has continued to do for the past 6 months. As we continued I was feeling stronger, faster, more stable and happier than I ever had working out. We traversed body weight workouts, boxing, Muay Thai, lifting and hard-hitting cardio sessions. At first I thought Vonn was just all over the place, having me do different things on different days to no end. But as we progressed I saw the method to it all as my fitness continued to increase steadily and my body changed composition quickly. These are things I continue to see every week to date.
For me, working out has never been about appearance or size - I will always be a giant. It has been overwhelming at times as I get caught in the superficial aspects of appearance and trying to conform my body to what I think others believe is beautiful. In the photo at the top, am I any more handsome on the right than I am on the left? No, I don't think so. One just shows the progress of my adventures into fitness.
Fitness is about adventure and pushing oneself to new levels and capabilities. That adventure can be lifting or running, boxing or grappling. For me it's about feeling good, feeling strong, and being able to do the things I want. Vonn has provided a plan and guidance for me to give this to myself, a way to follow my adventures. So figure out the things you want in fitness - whether it's just being able to walk where you want or finally crushing it at the Stand Up Paddle-boarding (I finally did a few weeks ago!)
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As an aside, I highly recommend a personal trainer - hell, I highly recommend Vonn. Seriously, you should call or email him. He didn't even ask me to post this, and doesn't even know I am.
Vonn - (917) 474 4307 - email@example.com