Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Choose Your Hard

Many of my friends ask about my personal training sessions with Kevin Carlson at Accelerated Fitness in Cromwell. They want to know what sessions are like, what we do, how things work, but the most often asked question can be summed up in three words:

“Is it hard?”

I have mulled that question in my head over and over, because certainly the workouts are challenging. And, I want to answer it honestly, not making anyone think that my workouts are a breeze.

In the end, my response is simple, this is what I do to avoid hard

Hard to me is hating to see photographs of myself or panicking as a friend pulls out a camera; hard is catching my reflection in a mirror or shop window and flinching at the sight; hard is walking into a room and feeling like I’m being measured by my physical presentation as opposed to who I really am or my abilities; hard is changing my clothes several times before leaving the house because I’m trying to not “look” fat.

Hard is a word with negative connotations and I don’t use it to describe the work we do in the studio.

My sessions at Accelerated Fitness are challenging, but they are challenging at my level of ability. When I first started, I certainly didn’t do the kind of demanding workout program I do now. I couldn't do pushups on the floor. I did mine with my hands on a raised bench. I was wearing an ankle brace and devoid of muscle. But, I learned that if Kevin says “Go”, it’s because he knows I have the ability to handle a move and I am able to push through it. He makes me laugh while I do whatever the set happens to be and keeps me focused.

If this were a negative experience, a “hard” experience, I would do something else. Who wants to hate what they do or dread the experience? Not me.

Emily Woodward, of Images by Emily, was kind enough to stop at a recent training session to take photos. I see Kevin twice a week in private session. Each session is a different program. After several weeks, both programs change. During the weeks of the programs, the weights may or may not be increased, depending on how I am adapting to the challenges presented.

In my last blog, I commented that while I was smaller, my body is not perfect by any means. It is a work in process, but I have the confidence to show it, to wear form-fitting gym clothing and appreciate it for what it is in this place, at this time. I also mentioned my body is used to my current nutrition plan. The goal with Accelerated Fitness's FirstLine Therapy program is to shake things up a little and I can't wait. I'm looking forward to tightening, toning and dropping body fat.

So, here are a selection of photos from my workout, not my whole program, but glimpses into it and there is my body, a work in progress - it's here for everyone to see, warts and all. You can tell from my facial expressions, that I am indeed "challenged".

Try doing your situps with a weighted bar. And yes, those are 5 toed Vibrams on my feet. I look like a duck, but they provide an excellent balance platform for me. When recovering from my ankle injury, I had terrible problems with balance as my stabilizer muscle was, in effect, absent.

 That's Kevin, being kind enough to pass me the weight.

It's not a lot of weight, but you get tired after a few sets. I get loads of encouragement & lots of laughter to keep going.

Best advice ever? Don't hit yourself in the head with that. 

When he knows I am getting really tired, Kevin moves closer to keep me safe and make sure I can get the job done.


Baby deads, one legged with a lift - the balance is tricky

Pushups, Kevin style. Hands on medicine balls. 

Sets of weighted squats. Time to grab the bar! We vary the weight depending on how many he wants - higher weight with a few reps, lower weight with higher reps - here I need to get 10 so the weight is lower.

My nemesis. I love the battle ropes. Timed sets of rope slams, guaranteed to raise your heart rate and work your whole body. I've never experienced anything like it. He has baby ropes for beginners. I get the big ones. Loads of fun!


  1. Way to go! You're looking great, but more importantly, it sounds like you're "feeling" great! I'm sure your fitness instructor is very proud of you too!

  2. You are my utterly badass role model. :O)

    Last month, I posted a Facebook status saying that I was contemplating giving up sugar. It immediately drew a good number of comments ranging from those who freak at the mere hint that someone might be considering a 'diet' to my steady cheerleaders who are always behind me, no matter what.

    Your comment stood out. I can't quote it exactly (well, I suppose I could go dig for it, but that's not necessary because the core of it remains with me, still), but essentially, you said, "Choose your hard."

    Great advice. Perfect, really. And I've chosen.

  3. @beachlover Thank you, thank you. I am confident, that's for sure. It's a very different experience from who I was at the start of this adventure!

    @Word Nerd I appreciate your support in this - your blogs helped me make up my mind to do this. Thank you!

  4. WOW...if that is a body which is a work in progress, I can't imagine where you will end up! You look great to me. A good trainer is certainly key to success and it appears you have one. Good for you!

  5. BRAVA! What a great story, and a wonderfully inspiring journey to share!

  6. Man, I want to smack those ropes around.
    BTW, you're rockin that tank top and I'll bet you feel fab at the end of the day. Cheers!

  7. Thank you, ladies - I try to keep it clean in the kitchen and my trainer keeps me challenged and happy. New program started tonight, some killer moves and we ended with medicine balls slam burpees. I lost count of the rounds. I am hoping to start my new nutrition program in a few days. It's a great way to start my year!

  8. wow. awesome photos of you working hard. i like that... "hard is seeing photos..." you are right on. that is the hard part. kudos to you.

  9. Thank you so much - I grimace a lot, but I have the time of my life while working out. The nice part is that it is fairly private - when you have to stop, anyone else in the area totally gets what you're experiencing. It is a no judgment zone in the truest sense.

  10. Hell yeah it's hard!...but so worth it!...Emily did a great job with the pics...Wish you all the success in the world as you enter the next 12 weeks...(I promise to not post any pics of things I bake and will not mention the word bacon in my posts)...You go girl!! <3

  11. Post all the good food you bake. I don't crave anything really - with all the sugar out of my diet, it may look good but since I know it takes me away from where I want to go, it's not a draw (usually). If it really draws me, well, then we have what I like to term a deviation.

  12. You look amazing. I don't know how you looked before training, but you should be proud of yourself, no doubt, for the hard work you do. I have a deep dislike of hard exercise - walking fast on a treadmill is about as much as I'll do - and I am in awe of people who push themselves physically. Props to you!

  13. Sharon, thank you - I was a 20W trouser at the start of all of this, made radical nutrition changes and hired Kevin to fix it all - my first blog called "Do These Nachos Make My Hiney Look Fat?" details the saga (because you know, we all have a story).
    Thank you for reading and commenting. So appreciated!

  14. I'm so glad you are posting about your workouts, how far you've come and how much further you will go! You are an inspiration and I'm proud to be your friend!

  15. Awww, Trish, thank you. You have always been such a gentle reader of my ramblings.

  16. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Truest advice ever, and it applies to EVERY arena in life: Choose Your Hard. Wow! Keep up the great work, and THANK you for the crystal clear motivation.

    1. Thank you, Marie. It's been a fun journey so far and it really helps to have good teachers!


You comments are truly appreciated!