Category Archives: Workout

The Theme Is Being Gentler


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I cancelled my gym membership and felt relieved.

The first reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership is because I don’t use it anymore.  I thought joining a gym closer to home would be convenient, but it wasn’t.  I became one of those people I used to talk shit about – paying monthly and not showing up.  I decided to stop wasting money and put hundreds back in my pocket.

The second reason why I cancelled is because I don’t weightlift as heavy as I used to.  This was the purpose of my gym membership; to play with all the hammer strength machines, barbells and dumbbells until I abused and depleted myself.  Now, I can’t step into the gym without lifting heavy.  I can no longer control myself, so I don’t go.

I have developed too many muscle imbalances and there are parts of my body that are asymmetrical (according to me).  Aside from my muscles who enjoy living their life in a state of contraction, they’re holding onto emotional and physical trauma.  The tension I carry must be release from within.

Every time I lift weights, my nags escalate until it’s full-blown inflammation.  It affects me in such a way where my body keeps instructing me to listen.  Over the years, I have decreased the load, given cardio strength a try and included circuit training with lighter dumbbells/barbells only to go for heavier weights eventually.  Therefore, continuing the hurt.

And, my body goals and nature has changed.
Nevertheless, I’ve been heeding the advice of my body.

Slowly, listening.

And I’ve been listening in time to lead me to the third reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership.  For the past few months, I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for pelvic floor dysfunction.  This dysfunction coupled with my fibroid issue and stress incontinence has pretty much ruined a good part of my life that I’ll leave for another entry probably.  Because of these newly found issues, it behooves me to learn how to be gentle with myself in every regard possible.

It’s quite interesting, over the course of the last few years, the theme of my life seems to be about being gentler to myself.  My therapist has also helped me to solidify the idea of furthering my compassion for myself.  I must be gentle in how I speak to myself, in how I respond to myself, in how I regulate my emotions, in how I treat myself, in how I exercise.

It all points to being gentler and I’m actually refreshed because of it.

– Pennington

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Schwinn 130


I always wanted a stationary bike in the apartment.  I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner.  Maybe because I was using the gym on a regular basis or maybe because my last apartment building didn’t have an elevator and if I wanted to get anything upstairs, I had to consider the ridiculous 5 flights to my place.  Now, I have an elevator, so easy peasy.  Plus, I don’t go to the gym nearly as much.   Over the past four years I got used to home workouts.

I also got used to buying different fitness equipment.  I’ve become a shameless collector because variation.  But I’ll admit there was a time when I was struggling with my identity, motivation and fitness goals.  For a little while I was looking for something outside to make my inside feel better, and in the meantime I accumulated tons of interesting fitness stuff.  Right about the time I started to change my attitudes and perspectives in life, I started my research for stationary bikes.

The latest badass equipment and so far, the most expensive is the Schwinn 130.  I got it for dirt cheap – $110 bucks! – from someone who was selling it on the LetGo App.  She admitted to buying it because her doctor told her she shouldn’t run anymore due to her plantar fasciitis.  So, she bought the bike, but with her busy job schedule and never being home, she never used it.  I think it’s crazy that she spent over $500.00 for a bike she never tried.  She was kind enough to let me try the bike at her house.  Then I lugged the Schwinn on a dolly back to the apartment, which was roughly 18 blocks.  It was totally worth it!

The Schwinn being in great condition made me super happy!  I jumped on the bike as soon as I got home.  I didn’t think anything could go wrong.  BUT by the second day, my body awareness was strong.  It was then I realized the bike seat was digging hard into my sit bones.  The pain was unbearable.  I felt the hairs on my body standing up and within 7 minutes I felt my body cringe and posture cave in.  Not even the gel cover that came for free with the rest of the bike supported me in any way.  Pedaling became a problem!

So, I found a bike shop to measure my sit bones and bought a new sexy seat – Respiro Athletic Bike Saddle Unisex.  Instantly, it felt different.  I can now pedal continuously with less pain.  Within the second week, I bought women’s bike shorts to be extra.  And it turns out that it was leaving my vagina numb.  I got off the bike believing I broke my lady parts somehow.  I returned the bike shorts with gel padding.  I love my Schwinn, but I have to tell you that I’m learning more about seat position, bike shorts, saddles, millimeters, bibs and a whole host of other shit I never thought I’d get into.

Work is always in progress.

-Pennington Hall 

BLINK FITNESS


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Yesterday I made a decision to rejoin the gym again.

I had many reservations about it.  Okay, it only lasted for thirty minutes, but those small reservations felt like an anchor that was going to last longer than twenty-four hours, which is unlike me.  I think I’m going to blame it on the miasma of depression and the uncertainty it causes.  Now I know to most people joining a gym doesn’t sound even remotely significant, but when you’ve made the gym half your fucking life – it’s a big fucking deal!

Joining Blink was a happy accident if I believed in accidents.  I didn’t know they built a spanking new gym walking distance from me.  So could you imagine how big my heart swelled as I sat tipsy nursing my white plum wine across from the gym Pre-Valentine’s Day eating like a silly pig at my favorite Thai restaurant?  The thought of the gym alone gave me enough excitement to give my entire body a staggering erection.

Old memories flashed before me in all my assertive and madwoman training and the way I felt empowered simply by owning truck loads of ego and exhibiting strength and personal space in the weight room alongside the brutes of men.  It all rewound itself to foggy windows, smelling the dampness of other people’s sweaty gloves, headbands and fabric while zoning out to chalky protein, diverse tunes, and colossal sounds of iron clanks as well as cardio machines that squeaked for mercy and oil.

But since I broke my ankle I’ve become somewhat of a recluse and kept myself as inaccessible as a teenage girl in her Gothic room.  Over the course of two years I joined a gym twice and canceled the same.  At first I liked the idea of going back to who I was – the full time badass who wanted to spank everyone in the gym while priding and lifting for power, mass and size.  Until I realized I wasn’t the same woman.  I transitioned into something else (I don’t fully understand yet) and my goals did too.  The thing I do know is over the course of time I wanted to default to a natural size, lose a substantial amount of weight (still do) and still keep a lot of the strength I’ve earned from a decade.

Plus, I got used to working out in my own personal space at home.  I was made aware of my troubled hermit existence only after I started to go back to the gym and notice whenever someone would come near me I would practically hiss, sneer and snap at them if they even asked, “Are you using this mat?”  I think I lost some social/interactive skills by being a recluse.  Well, I live and I learn and I also change.  I’m at a different place now mentally, emotionally, spiritually and especially physically.

So once again I’m here joining a gym.  I know some of the good involves:  Being able to strengthen more of my ankle by using certain machines like the Treadmill and I’ll also lose weight quicker by devoting longer and steadier sessions instead of doing HIIT and circuit (strength) training multiple times a week.  I burn myself out all the time.  The bad is being around people and their bullshit, whether they say no when I ask to jump in with them on any given machine [or insert any other annoying gym attitude/behavior here].  Is this something I want to deal with?

More importantly joining this gym is about reflecting harder on the possible notion that I’ve outgrew the gym.  I may no longer find the gym a daily requirement in my life.  If there is a chance I don’t feel like I need the gym anymore, then I have to learn how to come to grips with that instead of wasting precious money trying to figure it all out.  However, if I wind up falling in love with the gym all over again, then that’s just true love that feels like sticking and I’m with it either way.

*

At this moment I’m setting up to go on my date with Blink Fitness.  I haven’t decided on the time yet.  It’s not only about Blink impressing me; I’m not above impressing Blink.  Don’t ask why.  It’s a gym.  I believe in making all kinds of impressions.

The gym from what I assessed is on the smaller end with just two floors.  The people there seem somewhat motivated, but they lack passion, which I’m surprised about because I guess I expect more out of people.  But I can see their blank faces droning whether they’re weightlifting, cardioing or stretching.  I’m telling myself it’s just the weekend and perhaps the energy is different during the weekday.

I’m going to shower, put cold cream on my face, smooth it over with some serum, and shave my underarms and legs.  I’ll slick the ends of my hair with protein polish and a flat-iron only to hide it’s slickness in a bun.  And although I have lots of variety (DVD’s, YouTube and paid Fitness Streaming Subscriptions) working out at home, everything is much different in the gym – energy, friendly competition and even meeting people or bumping into a gymrat I used to know takes place there.

I’m hoping being at closer distance would keep me motivated at first and I’ll have fun second.  I want to remain a gym member in my heart of hearts.  Also I don’t want a third cancellation on my gym life resume.  I would say wish me luck, but I don’t believe in luck.

Crazy excited,
Pennington

High: Pure Being


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The blood stops short trapped before a hair tie, until I release the bun of tension:  post exercise of body-induced drama.  This is the captivating magic of night.

*

The mind works itself into heavy persuasion.  The body labors with intense urging.  The heart never questions what the goals are or what state of peak condition or overwhelmed fatness I stand in.  A sober thought I do entertain is how someone can not understand the significance of body awareness and its dynamism.

I have a passionate addiction to adrenaline and to the exclusive kick of the way my muscles drum within its act of compulsion.  The heart skips, skips and skips uninhibited.  It beats obsessively and storms out my mouth like an aggressive bird.  It ignites the fight and frenzy over the psyche and tissue land of freedom.

I’ve failed many times and am more successful because of every stoppage.  And now every weakness is formed into substantial strength and what strength has already been established has now constructed itself into marble and stone.

The focus is better determined than years previous.  The focus is better established than the last set and the mind-muscle connection tastes stronger than the last seething rep.  I’ve been sucked into a craving that’s unaware of its bounds.  I throw my fists into the air to battle and enter new coordination and balance ground.

My chest hovers over the floor, shoulders and triceps contract, hum and weep pushing up 200lbs plus over and over again.  The brace of my abdominals is my body’s endless support and savior.  Now there’s a surge spreading like a wild forest fire burning each of my hamstring fibers and into every angle and groove of my glutes with a various amount of hip thrust and single-leg pelvic bridges I can muster under time and tension.  The inner thigh screams by its own distress signals and fleshly vulnerability.  The burn degrees increase and I pull my center deeply to the spine to further the accuracy of the focal point along with the present.

I grimace in pain and drill my teeth into my own mouth.  I start to elevate and disappear like smoke.  I’m high now and there’s an exit.  I’m high and there are no thoughts struggling its way to birth other thoughts.  I’m high and suddenly there are no problems in the world.  There is no suffering.  There is only bliss and light.  There is only presence and heaven.  There is only the state of pure being.

-Pennington

ballet-inspired: core


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The other half of me: Link here! Thank you for reading. 🙂

-Pennington

Muscle Chatter


Leave my deodorant stains out of discussion.
Leave my deodorant stains out of discussion.

[FYI: Don’t be surprised to see this blog on my other Training Life!  I promise in time, there will be enough of me and my inspiration to go around.  Ha!]

My shoulder pangs and howls to let me become acquainted with the power it has over my training life.  It’s fully aware that one thing is connected to another:  Performing bicep curls, bent-over rows, overhead tricep extensions, and push-ups will harm; and as far as shoulder pressing – during the action it wouldn’t hurt will, but later on it’ll be unforgiving.

My abdominals are back to their strong connection where I can lay flat on the floor and sit up in a heartbeat without an ounce of struggle.  And the other night getting into a dog position I can feel the outstanding stretch from the top of my abdominals, to the oblique and lower region in wincing tenderness.

My glutes are under a sexual tension of their own I like to believe.  I assume they adore being at the height of attention and at the personification of pain – how they love to demonstrate by hurting me brutally with every step I take, any time I sit (like on the bike earlier) and every bend I perform from the waist.

My lower back has been having a groundhog film moment where it feels as if it’s been hit on repeat with a small hammer because anything bigger may have me registering at the hospital overnight as I try and explain to the doctors how I switched from “cutting” to out-lifting myself and every other person in and out the gym because priorities and wanting to be the master at something before I die.

My ankle decides to knock, knock, and knock on my nerves with its flaming metal and screws which poke and stab me like syringes.  It has every reason to be annoyed with my telling it to suck it up and woman-and-nut-up.

I had to strategize the slow and fast pace of pedaling and of heartbeats per minute during the course of forty-seven minutes on the stationary bike because let’s face it – 7 miles in my mind wasn’t enough for the 30lbs I want to lose, but it’s a start to getting more workouts done in the gym (out the apartment) and getting my old body back.

Over and out,
Pennington

Tonight: A Side Effect of Greatness


meI have undying passion.
I have creativity and flow working together.
I’m a vessel of many lives.
I receive openly – more so than ever before.
I give when it behooves me.

And through these strong hands I channel my own life’s energy.  I can see that look of determined intent written across my eyebrows, pupils dilated with an immense shade of brown fire (if there were such a thing).  I love pleasant reminders of being a weightlifter like my silver barbell faded into a zealous rust color where the hands are strategically placed from robust usage.  Or the old-school globe dumbbell on the belly of my forearm in its own imperfect symmetry yet ideal shading.  I love reminders that feel like slices of heaven.  Or when heaven in my world resembles delayed onset muscle soreness.

I rewind to the time when my boyfriend performed the Razor’s Edge from the top of the couch when I was twelve years old – my entire back slammed onto the concrete of the floor in rapid fashion.  Without a flinch, without a facial expression, my skin sizzles like the morning sun, and my muscles quickly take on a singe.  But that’s just me rowing and pulling back with my elbows directing the strength show.

It’s just me and the bar – alone with my thoughts, alone with my focus, alone with my concentrated desire.  I can feel the flames fan and spread like a forest wildfire through my traps, teres minor/major, rhomboids and lats.  I row bent-over and row until my muscles become like deep hooks fasten to my bones.  I row until these muscles remain unquestionably contracted and freeze.  I row until my muscles yell, spit and claw at me with spasms.  Until I have to beg them for mercy and limber them again.

Disregarding the tight knot that formed in my back and in my forearms it is time to pick up the dumbbells for a bicep curl marathon.  I ride the mind-muscle connection.  I stand with soldier posture.  Shoulders are down and back and my abdominals are fully engaged.  I curl and curl; my skin tightens like a face peel – twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four and twenty-five reps.  I keep the world of burn centered in the bicep peak.  I’m in pain.  I can’t tell which it is:  Does my mind or body want to give up?

I grind my teeth.  I get angry.  I’m extremely ugly when I lift.  I’m never to sure what come(s) over me.  I now proceed to hurt myself further by grinding my teeth into my mouth and grimace like I’m dropping sewage in the public restroom.  I can feel my body wanting to break down since the fourth set at the beginning of the training session roughly 40 minutes ago.  I’m now over the hump.  I do my best to maintain good breathing technique during the seconds of concentric, isometric and eccentric.

Keep the body tight.
Keep the body tight.
Can you feel it baby?
I dirty-talk myself.

I’m far out.  I’m probably having an out of body experience.  I’m a watcher sitting on an engine fueling my iron addiction observing myself.  I’m exhausted like a motherfucker, but I’m chasing the burn, the pump and the grind.  I’m chasing the fat I’ve gain last year.  I’m chasing my fickle motivation.  I’m making my own inspiration once again.

And…

Tonight I felt like myself.
Tonight I felt like a weightlifter.
Tonight I’m heavy in love with myself.
Tonight the pumps in my deltoids were fearsome.
Tonight my triceps bled over (still are),
And I didn’t even train them.
That, my friends, is a side effect of greatness.

P.S.

Does my training inspire my writing or does my writing inspire my training?

-Pennington