Stronger Day By Day . . .

. . . but not stronger every day.

I’ve been doing the Bob Harper Pure Burn: Super Strength DVD several times a week since I first got it in January. (You can read my detailed review here.)

I started off doing the 20 minute “beginner” program (yeah, right!) until I got used to his cuing, pace and exercises.  After I did that one a few times, I moved on to the full 65 minute program (it’s actually 67 minutes according to the countdown bar on the program, but who’s counting?). 

From the start, I found the program challenging, but do-able–up to the very last segment, which looks like this:

  • plank on elbows
  • plank on elbows with hip raises
  • plank on elbows with hip/waist twist
  • plank on elbows to straight-armed plank, to elbows, to straight-armed . . .
  • plank with knee to elbow (like a slow motion mountain climber) to full speed mountain climber

After a few weeks, I was able to make it through the planks (at least if I put my knees down for a few seconds) but I still couldn’t do the knee-to-elbow moves. I just stood there in a downward facing dog position thinking, “Are you kidding me?”

But then, yesterday, I finally was able to do a reasonable imitation of the last few minutes (or maybe it’s only one minute, but it seems like an eternity)! When it was over I collapsed with my arms burning, but I did it! 😀

I think one reason that I enjoy weight training so much is that I generally can see a relatively constant progression. Running isn’t like that for me. I don’t run faster every time (as much as I’d like to), and an interval workout that was easy one day can be nearly impossible the next time.  Maybe more factors go into an awesome run–not just how well I’ve been eating, hydrating, sleeping and managing my stress level, but also how rested my legs are, the status of any emerging or recovering injuries, even the weather!

Still, I don’t feel stronger with every weight workout either.  Even over the past few weeks, I’ve powered through the Super Strength workout on Monday only to suffer through it on Wednesday. On my old YogaFit tape (yes, it’s a VHS tape!), Beth Shaw reminds me that every day my body is different, and so I should approach each workout without expectations.

Beth Shaw's Yogafit [VHS]

Now, I’m never going to be that zen, but when I am having a hard time with a workout, I can cut myself some slack, chose lighter weights (or an easier run), and know that it’s a normal part of the process of getting fit. I can’t set a personal record every day, or even every race, but each workout builds on the foundation of previous ones and makes me stronger.

Do you set a challenging goal for every workout?

How do you cope with “crappy” workouts?

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5 Responses to Stronger Day By Day . . .

  1. Beth says:

    Am fortunate to work with a great personal trainer who pushes me…she loves planks (and so do I). Not sure I could self motivate like you do, but the DVDs are a great way to keep things moving/challenging and not have to think about each move, which is the same thing I love about my trainer. One thing about muscle training and strength is how quickly you can lose it, hence the importance of making it part of your fitness routine 🙂

    • Coco says:

      So true! Now that I have developed strength to do full push-ups I am afraid to stop doing them!

      Another good thing about weights, though, is that you can get your strength back pretty quickly too. You just have to be willing to suffer through some weaker workouts.

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. FindingMyHappyPace says:

    hehe, cool that you were able to get that move that was scary a month ago! I still think 67 minutes is too long. Strength training is important though, and somehow I lost sight of that last summer!

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