Tag Archives: Gains

Ballet Training Life



Ballet Training thus far has been a really interesting journey.  It’s about 4 months (or a little more) and I’ve grown to take immense pleasure in Ballet Beautiful (and other Ballet Conditioning work I’ve come across).  I always liked Ballet, but I can appreciate it more now that I perform Ballet-inspired movement (and some actual Ballet exercises).

Ballet has been very tricky in some areas like getting the form down.  There’s a lot going on most of the time – movements come from all angles and are done simultaneously at the same time.  For example: Picture yourself balancing on one leg while the other leg is in midair lifting up/down/sideways/bending or performing large circles while you swaying your arms up/down/side/waving.  It’s challenging and the focus needed has to surpass 100%.


There’s a lot of balance and concentration involve, but it’s all good because I’m a special kind of woman who’s built for this with my work ethics.  I have the capacity to push myself beyond my mind’s or body’s limitations especially since I have to deal with burning arches and aching cores throughout each exercise.  Not to mention dealing with borderline cramping even if you’re simply bending or stretching to one side or backwards without arching the spine.

There’s also the act of practicing stability and working through a super intense muscle burn along with having super muscle control.  What I enjoy the most is getting through the first exercise sequence of 4 sets in counts of 8’s at a rapid pace because the exercises are so difficult particularly Ballet Beautiful that for you to finish without pausing is a HUGE accomplishment.  And although there’s a lot to learn I’m keeping my mind and body open as I carry on flexibility in every technique and exercise I approach.

BB 2

I benefit from using different muscles than what I’m used to.  The techniques and exercises I’m performing have further enlightened my sense of physical awareness for instance engaging the center.  I currently pull in through the center even when I do dishes or take a shower.  Back then the only time I engaged my core was during a weightlifting session since it’s very important to do when you’re Deadlifting, performing the Military Press and Barbell Squatting.  Sometimes I think my core is lacking, but I think the only reason why I think this is because of the fat on top.  There’s nothing wrong with my core – it’s much stronger than I give it credit for.

There’s also the ease of gaining lower back, hip inner/outer, glutes and ankle flexibility.  As is, there are positions (including Yoga) where I couldn’t get the top of my foot flat and now I’ve made gains where I can flatten my foot another centimeter or a full inch – which is outstanding as FUCK!  To get this foot and ankle where I want it to be has been a mission.  I’ve been given the wrong information from stupid surgeons saying if I can’t make any gains in 6 months to a year from the accident then I won’t be able to make any improvements.  However, since Ballet Beautiful I’m making tiny gains after a year and naturally this makes me very happy.  Plus I’ll take any miniature gain I can get.

BB 9

There’s the minimizing of cellulite behind the back of my upper thigh right under the glutes and no matter how many lunges I’ve done in the past that’s been something hard to knock off when you have extra weight on.  I have extra weight but the cellulite is still minimized like some kind of magic trick.  The best part is (although I don’t need it) I’ve received an even higher instantaneous butt lift at the same time my cellulite is disappearing.  In the beginning I was scared of losing my curves with Ballet Beautiful, but I haven’t lost any – it’s all being enhanced.

As far as the flexibility is concerned, well I’m back to the flexibility and have even surpassed the flexibility in certain poses (including yoga).  Holy crap!  You don’t even understand how awesome this is for me as I used to stretch intensely for an hour, and sometimes overstretch to the point where I would actually hurt my muscles and couldn’t stretch for a week or more.  I used to think I have to stretch at least 5 times a week in order to get to where I want to be (one of the goals is a front/middle split), but it’s not true.  Ballet Beautiful is magical when it comes to simply just performing exercises and having you become flexible within the process where lengthening happens literally overnight.  I will say – better flexibility also means better sex.  (I apologize.  I had to throw this in here.)

BB 10

I love exercises that are different and difficult.  So it intrigues me very much to perform exercises that have a lot of internal and external rotations.  I’m carving out the larger muscles I’ve built over the years simply by building all the small muscles and vice versa.  This creates an even better and more efficient foundation.  I like having to create and work for better isometric contractions.  I like that there are new rules I have to learn like rounding my back during exercises or going through a full extension through the knee as opposed to never locking out like weightlifting and bodybuilding.

I like leveling up my fitness and I enjoy cross-training again.  I like being introduced to a whole wide world of new muscles.  I like feeling as if with less weightlifting – I’m allowing my body to become more symmetrical.  I’m decreasing size (mass/bulk) and even bodyfat at a pace I didn’t think would be possible with my exceptionally low thyroid and such.  And did I mention my posture?  It’s also changed immediately!

BB 8

Just like weightlifting – ballet exercises give me the feeling of constant motion in physical existence as well as completeness in the present moment within the body.  To close this long entry I’m still learning everything I’m sensing from head to toe with Ballet Beautiful.  This is one reason why trying to write about my Ballet Training has been different as I feel these entries don’t flow as well as I wanted to.  I digress.. I believe I’ve exceeded the phase of novelty, so this isn’t a phase I’m going through and I’m into ballet-inspired workouts which is not to be confused with actual dance ballet and such.

Happy Training everyone!

-Pennington

Advertisements

Break a Sweat in a Different Way


aeon_flux_by_lucirgoI’m a big believer in doing things differently in life every few weeks, months or years as it shows maturity and continual personal development.  I carry this thought process in every aspect of life – especially fitness.  I like to switch things up all the time.  I can’t even do the same workout twice in one week unless I’m no good at something and I need to improve to make a set of gains I find to be necessary.

It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in everyday routines because it doesn’t take much conscious effort.  A routine and few redundant examples are: Traveling the same way to work, spending quality time in the same exact way with your kids, knowing what your partner is going to do later on tonight in the bedroom and using the same training program your uncle wrote you when you were like fifteen years old.  Being on auto-pilot is safe on one end, but dangerous to your health and depressing in another.

This leads me to being a big believer in changing my workouts.  (I despise doing the same workout twice even in one month.)  On top of my weightlifting workouts, I now have reintroduced a lot of things I used to do because I must keep it funky fresh and because my ankle has made some gains.  Some of these workouts are total body circuits, dance fitness, ballet, Yoga, Kenpo X and Pilates just to name a few.

These workouts on top of the strength-training aren’t JUST because I want to lose weight or gain a better core or reintroduce balance again, but it’s because my metabolism is sluggish since I broke my ankle a mere year ago and have gained weight.  I’ve notice in the past – when I want to kickstart my body and have it be a fat-burning machine my body needs something different.  My body needs something out of left field in order for it to start responding in the way that I like.  I believe it’s partly due to having a low thyroid as well as my dietary intake – it’s not the best or the worst.

And this is where my theory comes in, and why I’ve chosen to once again mix my workouts heavily.  I have twelve years of weightlifting under my belt and some of my fibers are used to this weightlifting plan.  This means that focusing on the strength-training aspect to pick up my sluggish metabolism initially doesn’t work for me.  It’ll actually work against me since my body is already used to picking up steel and putting them down.  So, my body needs a different shock.

It’s not a wonder why over time one has to overload their muscles to the point of no return, and that’s simply to make a small gain.  It’s easy to gain muscle in the first 3 years, but after that it becomes harder and harder to make the gains AND at a quicker pace.  I believe that on one end, weightlifting for twelve years has hurt me in some respects, and in others it has blessed me.  I’m restarting from a different place where I had mobility, balance, proprioception, strong fibers and a decent metabolism for the longest time.  Now I’m working to gain each and every one of these back and much stronger than before.

In my partner’s words, “You’re getting sleeker”, but it’s not necessarily due to the weightlifting at the moment, it’s due to everything else my body isn’t used to handling.  I laugh hysterically whenever I pick up 3lb-10lb dumbbells and have a tough time doing a difficult exercise and am not allowed to perform reps and sets that constitute ego lifting.  I’m humbled every time I perform the Swan Arm Ballet Workout and Bun Shaper wanting to cry from the scorch I feel throughout my body, yet I can do 100lbs and more of Barbell Hip Thrusts for 4-5 sets on a working bench with no problem.

Because the fact remains that the things your body is good at and is used to – you can do it forever without breaking a sweat; however the things your body isn’t used to – you can only do for a small amount of time and break under the sweat of a new raging world.  I know I love to do things I’m good at.  (How about you?)  I know that I hate to make myself look bad or stupid or like I’m not strong enough in front of others.  But that’s just fear, embarrassment and ego talking.

This also comes from a place where one doesn’t want to evolve because of fear, but making the conscious effort and having the desire of wanting to excel despite looking silly, or knowing you’re going to fail and such leads to maturity and personal growth.  We learn more about ourselves from adversity than we do when we’re full of joy and happiness.

In hindsight, breaking a new sweat because you opted to do something different will break you (people) out of your (their) safe routine life.  And in turn, will break you out of your plateau – yes this includes fitness – the kind of plateau YOU (they) weren’t even aware about.

Happy Training folks! 😉

-Pennington

A Real Gym


CaptainMarvel-SallyJaneThompson
I believe in the kinds of gyms that are supposed to be grungy-looking with a profound dungeon-feel.  The one that kick-starts your central nervous system by the dilation of the eyes as you enter it, where it’s fairly loud with metal clanking and comes across intimidating on various levels, where grunts run, no lunk alarms, along with sprinkled friendliness and ironhood, where the air is thick with the sweat and blood of like-minded individuals who come to the gym for assorted reasons but all remain for one in particular:  To obtain gains.

So those people who complain about stinky gyms, towels on the floors, weights never being racked, who are too busy staring at their cell-phones than glancing at their workout program, who become unfocused by the sheer silhouette of a man or woman, who don’t know a single difference between a front versus a back squat or grumble about how the gym isn’t pretty enough because it’s missing the state-of-the-art equipment make me, to be honest, want to vomit in their goddamn mouths.  FUCK THEM!

Look, I understand it’s all about the personality and the behavior and the perspective and the yada yada of a person.  But I always dreamt of going to the gym I recently signed up with, just shy of two weeks and where I started training at 2 days ago.  It’s a gym that’s successfully nerve-racking by Hammer Strength eye-popping jazzy blue machines that look like smaller versions of Transformers.  These transformers are all set at center stage of the gym itself, so no matter what spot you’re in you’re feeling the next guy’s super-buff energy entering your personal space.  You have a few choices:  Cancel your membership, get used to it, or get angry and join the crowd in raging fun!

I want to go into a gym and see freak of natures whether genetically natural or juiced up to resemble a King Kong god!  FUCK walking into a place where everyone knows your name.  I want to be in the gym where everyone knows you by your deadlifts, your escalating numbers, your awe-inspiring training partner and the muscular shadow on the wall.

And now I do!

I’m at a place where the owner knows everyone personally, where he came up to me after I finished a set, shook my hand and said, “If there’s anything you need or any problem you have, tell me and I’ll fix it” while asking about my injured shoulder because we were friends on Facebook before I became a gym member.  He actually took the time to get to know me and read my statuses as I took the time to learn about his gym and even promoted the Powerlifting Competition as a way of saying thank you.

I’m at a place where a naked woman could walk in the center of the gym like the whores in a boxing ring holding up cards of round numbers and the beasts of the gym wouldn’t flinch for shit.  They aren’t there for eye-candy.  It’s not only because there’s a handful of women around but because they’re there for serious gains.  I’m at a gym where men rock colorful tights and rock big bulges during their million snatch performances.

I’m at a place where I asked one of the lifters, “What’s your favorite body part to train?”  And he single-handedly states, “Squats.”  Favorite body part to train?  Well, we don’t think under these terms.  And I get it.  So, this lets me know I’m in the right place.  I’m among the like-minded individuals.

On the same day I chatted up one of the hardcore females at this new gym and she mentioned she takes Tae Kwon Do (in the vicinity), sparred with a guy, broke her finger and the master put it back into place like nothing.  Apparently, she took that shit like a champ! – where another woman at another gym club would have fucking sued!  I’m going to say only flaccid soft penises and soft pussies sue.  Unless of course the gym didn’t do anything to take care of you in every way possible, then they deserve to get sued.

Still I’m at a place where there’s camaraderie, it’s a respected community, whether young or old, big beer-belly or slim-twig.  We’re all are at a common ground.  Rather than dirty looks and gymtimidation, guys come up to me and out of the blue offer me chalk for my deadlifts.  One guy saw me taking off the first two 45lb plates with 6 more to go on a High-Iso Hammer Strength transformer machine.  Unexpectedly for me, he came by and said, “Let me help you” and he just took off the rest.

So I’m at a place where I need to get used to countless plates being on benches, Squat Racks and Hammer Strength machines but it’s okay because I feel I belong here.  I trained with as many plates as possible when I first started training back in 2003 and some people wonder why I’m strong.  *Sings* I started from the bottom now I’m here.  (I hate that fucking song!)  But maybe I need to train like how I used to in the beginning; stacking plates so I can maintain my motivation?

My current theme lately on this blog as you can see is how I’m lacking motivation.  So much so, I’ve been thinking about taking a hiatus for a few months away from the gym.  I’m still reflecting and speculating on the countless reasons as to why I may want to do this.  One of the biggest reasons why I thought about this break from the gym is because I’m tired of forcing myself into the gym for the past few months with zero motivation.

However, being in this new gym and training among a crew of cool powerlifters and bodybuilders, I’m starting to think I can turn this attitude over.  I can be motivated again because this is where I need to be and like the gym owner told me, “We need the gym even if it’s to keep hope alive.”

-Pennington