by Lisa Lucke
I’ve just begun my third (or is it fourth), 6-week TRX class at Motivate, and this time, I’ve decided to chronicle some of what is going on, both with my body and mind, how they respond to TRX, and the class itself. I’ll start with a little background.
I’m dangerously close to turning 50, and when that happens this summer, I want to be in the best shape I possibly can, given my conditions: oodles of kids, busy household, job, and believe it or not, a life outside all of that. In other words, I am not a “party of one” and therefore, I can’t devote two or three hours a day to working out. But I want to be in shape and stay ahead of the aging curve. So I choose to squeeze it in. What I have found with TRX is the most "bang for my buck." In other words, TRX gives me the best results for the amount of time I have to invest in serious exercise: one hour, three days a week. On off-TRX days, I try to do a little yoga at home, just to stretch and get my blood flowing. A couple days a week I walk roads that traverse the rolling hills on the edges of town, which give me a little challenge. For stretches of thirty or forty yards intermittently, I "lunge" instead of walk. If you think this doesn't turn a simple walk into a totally different experience, try it sometime.
I have back issues. Running is out for me, and has been for a few years. A degenerative disc disease and lower back issues brought running to a close about three years ago. TRX is low-impact, so I don’t have to worry about joint/disc inflammation (and consequently, stiffness and pain) that results from the jarring and pounding of running. Once in a while, thinking that perhaps there’s been some sort of divine intervention, I go for a run. The next day I regret it. So now I’m putting all my eggs in the TRX basket.
What I Get Out of TRX
First, I can see muscle tone and definition where before there wasn’t much. My shoulders, legs and upper arms now have a different look. I also feel steadier in my movements. While 50 isn’t 80, it’s also not 20, or even 30. The change in a person’s steadiness and coordination begins to change big time after the age of 40, unless you are a super fit athlete. For most of us average folks, who left the seriously athletic life behind once kids came on scene, which for me was my early 30s, it’s noticeably different. TRX, with its focus on the core muscles of the lower back and abdomen, translates into better balance, period. I already mentioned the increased muscle tone and mass, but there’s one more thing I get, and that’s the mental lift that comes with working my body hard three days a week. My muscles are very tired when class ends. By late evening, I’m usually starting to feel a little stiff and store. The next morning after a workout, I’m wincing, but in a good way. It means my body was challenged and is a little bit better and stronger than it was the day before.
Because TRX relies on bodyweight, everything is scalable for a person’s individual abilities. Need to make that chest row more challenging? Take a step forward, deepen the angle and let gravity give you what you need. Want to add a little edge to the planking? Curl your knees to your chest while holding the plank. A beginner and an experienced TRX classmate can be right next to each other and both will get a serious workout.
Finally, I enjoy hiking in the summer, and without a doubt, this summer, at 50, I will be stronger and in better physical shape than I was when I turned 49 last summer. And for me, that’s success.
What TRX Gets Out of Me
Stress. Anxiety. Feelings of guilt about my physical condition. TRX sucks out the negative energy that comes with life’s everyday happenings: teenagers, work, family, appointments, laundry, animals, and chores. For one hour, three days a week, everything else other than TRX gets relegated to “not the priority.” Of course, life gets in the way now and then and I miss class. After my initial guilt passes about that, I try to have a really “clean eating” day since I had to miss my workout.
And that soreness I mentioned? It keeps reminding me, during the rushing and hurrying of running errands and going to meetings that I’m getting stronger and healthier with every passing day that I work out. The old line, “hurts so good,” is true, mentally and physically, when I’m doing TRX.
For the next four-and-a-half weeks (I’ve just started week 2) I’ll share what’s happening. Or what happens when The Dominator says, “We're almost done” and we still have 15 minutes of class left and I cuss loudly.
P.S. This blog is dedicated to Sophie girl, the Motivate mascot who was always there to give us an encouraging kiss or nudge with her wet nose while we were planking. RIP Sophie. You are missed.