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The Next Level

12 May

You always hear talk about going to “the next level” like it’s this big amazing goal we should all have and if you don’t at some point reach it well, then you suck lol. There is so much pressure when you say you are losing weight, pressure to be perfect everyday, pressure to have an amazing story super fast that can wow people, pressure to make it to that next level…whatever that level might be.

To be honest, I didn’t think I had a next level, I have my level, the level of H. πŸ˜‰ lol I didn’t see what was wrong with that. I’m not an athlete, I’m not training to compete in some huge iron man competition, I’m not trying to prove to others how strong I am or how skinny I can get (well, ok, except for my agent, I have to prove to her how skinny I can get since she’s ordered me to lose another 20lbs but that’s a whole different can of worms lol). I’m not trying to find some elusive next level, I like my level. *stomps foot*

The only problem with my level is that it wasn’t getting me anywhere, stupid level, grr! πŸ˜‰ I didn’t know it but I wasn’t exercising effectively so the time I spent in the gym was not as productive as it could have been, in some ways it was even counter productive! Lame! Also, the food I was eating wasn’t giving me the needed fuel to accomplish what I wanted *rolls eyes* Oy!

Well, once I learned the eating plan and exercise plan I am now on I was taught more about levels, ah geez, it’s like you can’t get away from them. On this exercise plan you can’t just coast on one level, every week you are pushing to get better, by better I mean stronger, faster, more flexible. My endurance should be increasing, my muscle strength should be increasing, the types of weight work I do should be getting changed…let’s just say there are a lot of freakin levels to keep track of!

Even though I hate cardio I have been preferring my cardio days because at least on those days I for sure know what I am doing and am not so worried about fucking something up…by something I mean me! lol πŸ˜› Β I know I’ve mentioned my cardio before but just as a recap here is what I do:

20 minutes of running on a treadmill, set the treadmill to an incline of 1 – 2 to stimulate being outside (I started at 1 and am now at 2), jog for 3 minutes (I start at a fast walk for 30 seconds, then go to a light jog for a minute then a slightly faster jog for the remainder of that 3 minutes), then you sprint like a crazy person for 30 seconds, then you jog for 1.5 minutes, then you sprint like a crazy person for 30 seconds, then you jog for 1.5 minutes…tell me you see the pattern here and I don’t have to keep writing those same two sentences over an over? You sprint a total of 8 times, after the 8th sprint you cool down, sooooooo back to a light jog and eventually down to a walk. Now, for pacing, my jogging started out at a speed of 4 (sorry, I’m blanking if the machine measures in miles or km…) and my sprints started out at 8, but! you don’t do all your sprints at just one speed, oh no no no no no, cause see, that would be not pushing to the next level! You do a couple sprints at 8, then do some at 8.5 then maybe your 8th sprint is a 9…something like that. Every cardio day you have to at least match the sprint speeds you did the last cardio day but what you are really supposed to do is get better, so maybe swap out an 8 for an 8.5 or an 8.5 for a 9, get the idea?

Now that you see where I started let me tell ya where I’ve been stuck at. And boy do I mean stuck! I now do my light jog at 5.5 or 6 and my sprints are divided into 4 sprints at a speed of 9 and 4 sprints at a speed of 9.5…and that is it. I’ve been there forever! Every time I have a cardio day I swear I am gonna increase one of those sprints, either do 5 at 9.5 or maybe swap out a 9.5 for a 10…10 is like an elusive goal for me. It’s so freakin close but juuuust far enough away I can’t do it yet, so annoying! Well, everytime I get on that treadmill and swear I am gonna up my sprints I just can’t do it, I don’t have the stamina, the endurance, the capability, the elusive whatever the hell it is you need to get you to that next level. I was barely making it through the sprints I was already at and I knew if I tried to go at a speed of 10 I’d fall off the treadmill, I also knew if I did 5 sprints at 9.5 I’d not make it through the last one and I personally think it’s better to make it through all the sprints then have to jump to the side rails before the end of the 30 second sprint time cause your legs can’t keep going or you’re gonna fall or ya know, just expire right there from sheer over exertion. lol

Now, having said all that, I actually made it to dun-dun-dun: The Next Level!!!! *ding!ding!ding!*

My last cardio day which was Wednesday I was soooo not in the mood to be dealing with any aspect of life, let alone the working out part of it. I didn’t want to be there, I couldn’t bring myself to care, I was tired and had eaten very poorly the day before so I felt icky, I was full of excuses and reasons to not go…and yet, somehow I found myself in the gym on the treadmill…I’m still not really sure how I managed to get my butt there but right now I don’t care, I’m just glad I went. πŸ™‚

I wasn’t even planning to attempt bettering my sprints, frankly, I was prepared to be impressed if I managed my run at all lol. Well, somewhere during the third sprint I thought “meh, fuck it, might as well try doing 5 at 9.5 instead of the normal 4 at 9.5” and that is what I did. My fourth sprint was at 9.5 and so were all the rest after that. I upped my sprints! wOOt! πŸ˜€ *happy dance* While I was doing it I was a mixture of “am I actually doing this??” and “meh, I don’t care, just get it done so you can go back home and get away from people”

I think what got me over that line to My Next Level was not caring, the apathy, the complete lack of fear regarding my possible failure to succeed. Normally I am so focused when running and my brain is calculating everything my body is doing and feeling to try to figure out if I can push to the next level of sprints that I don’t just let go and try. I don’t trust my body to be able to perform at the next level, I don’t trust it to not fail. I’ve had my knee collapse under me due to over training and it took a year to be able to walk without a cane or crutches or some sort of aid, it took even longer to be able to take stairs and jog and then run, hell, I still limp sometimes from that stupid injury. I am terrified to go back to that spot, to be so injured I can’t walk, to be that helpless again. Combine that fear with the more normal fear of just not accomplishing what I decide to attempt and without my even realizing it I had crippled my ability to get to My Next Level.

Fear…it is such a little word for such a strong, over powering emotion. I hate that I let fear have any control over my exercising and yet, it does, it has a strong crushing grasp on my exercising because anytime I do something that strains my knee and could cause me to reinjure myself I take a half step back mentally and try to find a way to minimize the risk, but maybe the risk doesn’t always need to be minimized. Maybe my knee is already stronger then I give it credit for? Hell, it was only last summer I started being able to jog again and look at me now? I run freakin sprints! I may not have kicked fear in the teeth and made it get out of my way, but I think getting to my next level of sprints has at least helped me nudge it to the side a bit… πŸ™‚

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