Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Tuesday, January 06, 2004  

Uff. Today I can tell that I had a long workout with the TthePT. This is the very first time I've felt anything you might call soreness since we began 3 weeks ago. Part of that is probably due to the time and effort we spent yesterday but I believe part is because I got cold towards the end. I'll know better, next time, and take a sweatshirt with me, to stay warm while we discuss what she's trying to get me to understand. Nevertheless, it's the most interesting thing to feel muscles I didn't realize I had.

I am, perhaps, the only person I know who preferred the calisthenics portion of gym to the sports portion. Whenever I say this I get the most bewildered, and slightly pitying, looks. I usually only shrug in response, but inside I am thinking “and that was the best part anyway, nya.” The competitor in everyone else is markedly absent in me. Oh - I liked to play field hockey and a bit of tennis, but not only could I never get a darn ball through a basket, or connected to a bat, I didn't care if you did! I love to win, but not at other people's expense. I am certainly competitive with myself and now and then, against a single opponent, but my preferred opponent is some set of standards, some idea of perfection, rather than a flesh and blood one.

I wouldn't say this is because I am essentially kind or altruistic. It's probably because I am so utterly absorbed in myself. If I am working on something for me, I don’t care about the other guy. A true naval-gazer, I am constantly pondering the question What is my next best step? If I have some darned opponent barging in on my consciousness I'm as likely to walk away as to try to defeat him. It is why I preferred gymnastics or track events to team sports and preferred calisthenics most of all.

There is such a Zen effect to moving one's body, yet there is so much sensuality involved as well. I love it when I'm working some muscle set and I suddenly feel a rhomboid contract or a triceps curl. But there is a contemplative aspect here as well. In fact, my meditative skills come into play with each new effort, because it helps me isolate what I am working on, identifying some long dormant secondary muscle and making it get up off its duff and contribute. What a thought! Mind control on the quest for sensual joy!

I have particularly loose and long tendons - which is why I sprain my ankles all the time. Shoulder injuries are another real possibility and I have to be careful not to let myself get into awkward positions. TthePT is constantly amazed at how far I can move my joints. She confirmed something I had long suspected - that it is even more important for my muscles to be strong than for a more tightly knit person's. They will be what stabilizes my floppy joints. An orthopedic dr. advised the same, years ago, but not in a holistic sense. He merely gave me exercises to help with my badly injured ankles. Duh, Bess - if it is good for one joint, it is probably going to be good for them all.

Trying to workout without lessons always bothered me. The original PT at the gym got me started on weights way back in ‘99 and I've picked at it off and on over the years. But I never felt like I was doing it right and I never finished up a workout wanting to turn cartwheels on my way out. Besides, it's so easy to practice physical movements just slightly wrong and end up with a habit you can't break and a stress injury to boot. That happened to me with my violin playing and I still can't uncurl that darned little finger. In fact, I never developed any habits with weights because it never really felt good.

What no one ever told me, though, was how fabulous I was going to feel after every weight lifting workout - when I'm using correct form!! How light I was going to feel, how much energy would stream out of the muscles and through the bloodstream. I really feel like dancing out of the gym after each session. Even one exercise aimed at a single muscle can set off this tremendous feeling of vigor. Immediately, I stand up straighter, the muscles in my face relax, everything seems longer. Be sure - if I'm not using correct form, I don't get that sensation. Instead, the exercise is hard or at best, feels worthless and tiring.

When I start doing something I enjoy, I tend to get really curious and investigative about it. BD calls these forays into the depths of a subject, Bess’ Passions. I've got a copy of Women’s Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier, picked up so I can learn the names of all the muscles I'm discovering. So - here I am, the Jocknitter. Who, btw, didn't knit a stitch yesterday although she did choose the cable to use on the next version of Flidas. (scroll down a bit) That’s the project I think I'll do after the red Stars sweater. Yes, yes. I promise I will have the instructions on those shoulders written out sometime in '04.

posted by Bess | 6:58 AM