After three cancelled flights out of Ohio, I decided to make the best of my gifted extra time and do what fit crashers do best: head to the gym. Nothing like a sweaty workout to release some of that pent up airport frustration, right?
I kicked things off with a warm up on one of my favorite pieces of equipment: the rowing machine. I was never a rower, and I don’t pretend to be one, but something about that machine always calls my name when I step into a gym. Maybe it’s the awesome full-body workout it delivers, or the fact that it’s a sure fire way to get my heart rate up in just a few minutes. But if there’s a rowing machine around, you can bet I’ll find my way to it. For my warm up today, I began with five minutes of steady state rowing followed by two rounds of tabata. Funny how just a few minutes of pushing and pulling can really take it out of you. Gasping for air, sweat pouring into my eyeballs, I was now ready for the main event.
I don’t go to the gym to make the rounds on the weight machines. To me, that’s about as boring as watching paint dry. So you’ll typically find me with a note card in hand, surrounded by a few equipment odds and ends, working my way through a HIIT series. There’s nothing better than fitting gut-busting cardio, weights, and a few coordination exercises into one 20 minute burst of activity. Today’s was inspired by something I saw on The Daily HIIT. Here’s the breakdown:
After each element, complete 100 rounds with a jump rope.
- 30 burpees with calf raises instead of jumps
- 30 elevated push ups, alternating leg
- 30 switch jump lunges
- 30 V push ups
- 30 squats with alternating single-leg front kick
- 30 tricep dips
- 30 side to side lunges
- 30 V abs each side
- 30 mountain climbers (one set = two steps)
- 30 toe touches each side
This sequence killed me – after a few stretches I was absolutely ready to go home. The original workout called for 60 reps of each exercise, but that was taking way too long. So I estimated what one minute of effort would be and it came out to around 30 reps. Not a very scientific process, but hey, it worked for today.
My favorite part of this workout, though, was when someone at the gym stopped me half way through and asked me, “So, what are you training for?” Training for? I had to pause for a minute and think of any upcoming races or events that might suffice for an answer. While I have the March Rock ‘n Roll half marathon on my schedule, I haven’t technically started training for it yet. But I couldn’t answer with “nothing,” could I? Wouldn’t that make all of this huffing and puffing and sweating and groaning and gritting-of-teeth seem silly?
“I’m just training for…life,” I replied with an awkward smile and a shrug of my shoulders, standing in a pool of my own sweat. It sounded absolutely ludicrous, but it was absolutely true. Fitness for me isn’t always about an event, or a goal, or getting my body over a finish line. Sometimes, it’s just fun to push my limits and see what kinds of things I can do from day to day. The giddy astonishment of finishing 30 reps of elevated push ups, for example, was enough to make me feel like I had accomplished great things, even without a finisher’s medal to prove it. So, whether someone asks you that same question or not, remember to stand up for the simple joy of training for fun, of training for yourself, and of training for…life.