journey to buff: progress report

Last week I crawled onto a massage table where I had just invited a small woman with strong hands to beat me to death. There was no amount of pressure I couldn’t take, no level of suffering I hadn’t endured. Knots and lactic acid be damned for the grim reaper, otherwise known as the heat pack and applied pressure, is coming to get you. As I writhed and breathed through my sports massage, my masseuse admired the defined muscles in my back — an articulation challenge for someone in her field — and I lifted my head up and said, rather incredulously, I have muscles in my back? WHERE?

Sometimes it’s hard to see where you are when you always look for where you’ve been. You rely on memory as a means to gauge progress without realizing that memory is often fallible. That which is familiar is not necessarily that which is good, healthy or strong. When I look at photos of myself from years past, goddamn specters, I’m reminded of my smaller frame, which was a result of unnatural discipline and eight hours of yoga a week. Oh, the clothes that used to fit. Oh, the smaller chest I used to have. Yes, you may have heard this story before, but guess what? Just because I write about it once doesn’t mean the feeling goes away. Writing about something doesn’t mean that emotion is compartmentalized and conquered, rather it’s recognized and confronted. That typed sentence and uttered word are the first, valiant steps in the battle to become present. I’m almost there, almost.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see very slight signs of age {thank god for good genes, probably the only gift my mother gave me}, and I actually don’t fear growing older — I say this because age has made me wiser. Age has made me confident with architecting words on the page and building brands in the marketplace. The hours have given me strength and a voice louder than bombs and the joy of being contemplative and quiet when I need to. I’m starting to realize that what I’ve endured is another form of strength — in mind and heart — and why not give my body, my house, the gift of this age?

Last night, after having dinner with a friend, I came home, drew all the blinds and disrobed. I tried not to look at my body as a means to compare it to what came before, but what can be built now. Yes, that stomach used to be flat, but now I have muscles in places I never conceived. My back is strong that falling into drop-backs is finally a reality. I can finally see some definition in my triceps and while I sometimes feel sore, I feel good. I feel strong.

Yet more work needs to be done (ah, that journey again!} I’ve the weakest core imaginable, so you can imagine that I often nearly faint during the plank to pikes while suspended by TRX bands, and the idea of oblique work gives me vertigo. But I tell myself this: much like I’ve spent months focused on building upper body strength, weeks of breathing through grueling squats and lunges with pulleys — there will always be another road to trek, another new place to go.

Status Report: Strong, but a woman needs to work on her core, cut down on the bread and cut out the dairy as it’s been making me sick.

Where You’ll Find Me Weeping: Cat Scanlon + Tara Bethune’s classes at Chaise, Jackie Dragone’s TRX/Pilates class at Flex Studios, Nefertiti Thomas’s class at Core Fusion, Shaun Jenkins’s class at City Row, Keisha Saddler, Andrea Dusel-Foil, and Abby Geartner’s bad-ass classes at Brooklyn Body Burn {obsessed}

While in Dublin: I’m packing my resistance bands, and I’ll be practicing these exercises in my hotel room after spending the day walking around with my pop. If I have it in me, I’ll hit my 7-minute workout app on my phone.

Where You’ll Find Me, Post Dublin: I’ll be checking out Throwback Fitness with Tara Bethune, fitness inspiration!, and taking classes at Physique, Chaise, Core and piles of barre classes. I tried SLT, and after an initial rough experience {rebounded by excellent customer service}, I’ll be checking it out again.

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