Tuesday, June 29, 2010


In the early dawn, just before I woke up, I was thinking in my sleep. It wasn't really dreaming, it was more like thinking but not fully awake thought. I was thinking about the "Barbell" class I took at the gym last week. I wanted to take a barbell class but put it off for months before finding myself in that one. It was supposed to be a "Core" class, but it was changed without notice. So, barbell it was, with some core work too.

What I was thinking about this morning was the instruction given at the beginning of the class, on how to lift. I was reviewing in my mind the steps: bend knees, lift barbell (with a heavier set of weights than one would use say in dumbbells), up to knee level. Continue to life the barbell up, skimming close to the body with some speed and effort, make a quick pull of the arms- until the barbell is level with the collar bones. Stop, knees are still bent, hands and arms are over the bar having just pulled it up. Now, turn the wrists and hands from on top of the bar to under the bar, so that instead of lifting up the bar you will know push up the bar. Then with speed and exertion lift the bar over head while also straightening the knees. If you've ever watched weight lifting you'll be able to visualize these steps.

Admittedly I felt a little silly acting all tough and strong while at the same time only lifting a total of 15 pounds, 7.5 pounds of weight on each end of the barbell. Certainly I could have put more weight on, the instructor recommended two ten pound weights for starters. But I was not sure I could sustain that much weight and had no idea how many reps we were going to do. So I went a little light. Next time though I'll go up to 20 pounds.

I'm doing a number of things to try and strengthen my core - yoga, weight training, elliptical, swimming. I'm beginning to notice some changes in the tone of my muscles, arms, legs, torso. I feel like I have worked really hard but the change is minor. I feel like I was in a much worse shape than I thought. I mean I thought I was in OK shape! But now I realize I really wasn't. I'm getting there though.

For awhile, on my Facebook page, my caption in the profile said, "Getting into shape physically, spiritually, and emotionally." By that I mean that as hard as I am working physically to get into shape I am also doing the same spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes life asks us to work really hard in order to get into shape. It's like I've found myself in the middle of a triathlon, one that I thought I was prepared for, but I'm finding out that there is more work to do.

OK, wait, that sounds naive. Of course there is more work to do. There is always more work to do. We humans are always a work in progress. I guess I just thought I was in better shape to begin with but am finding out just how strong I need to be, can be, and will be, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It's core work. It's the work of life.

Bring it on! I'm ready for the work out.


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking there's a lot in my core that needs shaping up... I'm just trying to cut carbs (bread, etc) and being a good German, it's really hard. But... it's GOTTA happen.

Keep it up! And I will too!

Amy Sullivan said...

I love the pic in your header. I thought it was close to Bryce Canyon before I even saw the caption! I enjoyed reading your post.

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