Conquering the Stairmaster
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I am the elliptical master. I'm rather proud that at my gym, I'm working out on the highest incline, with near highest resistance. Meanwhile, people 10 years younger than me are working with much lower resistance while reading a gossip magazine. I see them peeking over at my resistance level, try to increase theirs, and then give up and drop to an easier stride.
Last night, I decided I wanted to do something different. I went to the stair step machine. I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of the stair step machines. Last time I used them, it really kicked my butt. I avoided them in favor of the ellipticals and arc trainers.
It kicked my butt again. In the first 2 minutes, I thought to myself, "Maybe this was a mistake. This is too hard. Maybe I'll stop and go back to the elliptical."
I ignored myself. I stayed on it. It was hard. My leg muscles strained in protest. My knee complained. Everything was saying, "Give up, you can't do this".
At minute 5, something weird happened.
I felt fine. All the excuses about it being too hard disappeared. My muscles warmed up, got used to the exercise, and stopped complaining. I don't care about sweating or if my muscles were being challenged - I'll ignore my inner voice complaints about those. If my knee continued to bother me, though, I was going to stop. It felt fine after my muscles warmed up.
I thought to myself, "This is challenging, but I can do this."
The last five minutes, similar excuses started appearing in my head. "This is tough. I've done a good workout. Maybe this is long enough for this session. I'll work longer next time."
I've learned that when these voices start speaking to me, I need to do the opposite. I ignored them, and kept stepping. I completed my 30 minute workout as I originally intended, stepping the whole time. At the end, I completed climbing 90 floors according to the machine. Next time, I will do 100.
Right now, the voices are telling me that the stair step machine is hard, and it's not my favorite machine. Therefore, I'm going to be doing a lot more work on the stair climber because it's a challenge.
I will never progress if I continue to work only on the things I like to do, and that are easy for me. I like the elliptical, and using high intensity interval training makes it a great calorie burn, but I need to step out of my familiar. I need to step out of my comfort zone. I will never make my goal if I continue to walk the path I'm comfortable with.
A challenge is exactly that. Something that I can't do well. The first time I tried scuba diving, I freaked out when I tried to take a breath underwater. I never would have seen the vast and beautiful life in the oceans if I hadn't tried again.
The first time I tried skiing, I veered out of control, screaming and flailing all the way into a snow bank. It was embarrassing. I never would have seen the incredible beauty from the top of a snow covered mountain if I didn't stand up again.
This morning my buns and quads are sore, which means they are being worked in a different way than my normal routine. This is a good thing. It means progress. It is an exercise that I currently don't find easy. Therefore, the stair stepper is a machine that I will have to conquer.