Thursday, December 15, 2011

Push-ups Are Hip...From A Wanna-be Athlete

Run climbing the rock wall

Huy taking his next move

Exercise and I aren't exactly best friends.  Any of you reading who have known me since, well...birth, would nod your head in agreement.  Although I sport a (typically) skinny frame, it doesn't come by hard work or discipline.  I am inching my way towards my 30's and still have my metabolism to hold on to.  I know that, one day, it will fail some miserable way, I'm sure.  

Ever since I could remember, I have disliked playing sports involving round objects hurtling at dangerous speeds toward my face.  I think back to a humiliating incident where, in elementary school, my PE class was engaging in a game of football, and the pigskin couldn't keep its polite distance away from my head.  It seemed that every time I looked up, I was getting pummeled.  I still flinch when you throw a ball at me.  It's a fact.  But, please don't test it, I beg you.  

Since then, I had my bouts with running...jogging...rollerblading...biking... racquetball...the *shudder*  Other than the occasional bike-ride to my friend's house or to the local gas station for a 44-ounce Big Red (how healthy am I?)...nothing really "stuck" until college.

In college at Baylor University (Go RG3!), the rock-climbing wall at the student center is the main focal point when you walk in to go "workout" (which I pretended to do with great determination).  Before attending Baylor, I had climbed the occasional wall at youth camps and such.  For some reason, they intrigued me so much.

There is something about climbing that I really, really like.  No teams, for example.  No mandatory practices 6 days a week.  No uniform.  No skill, even.  The skill eventually comes.  But, for a new climber, all you need is a pair of arms and legs, a bit of courage, and some shorts that don't ride up in the harness.  I'm just sayin'.

I visited the rock wall when I wanted to, as often as I wanted to, and I found a little community there.  The staff helped to give me advice when I got stuck, and to encourage me when I felt like my muscles were going to give out.  Puny muscles do that to a person; especially one who isn't a fan of real exercise.  I never got truly great at climbing, but good enough to chuckle at the occasional, bulky football player who just couldn't seem to get his legs to cooperate with the small rock holds while he scaled the wall for the first time.  In a small way, I felt like my own sort of spry little athlete - who could wear her hand calluses with pride.  I even sprained my ankle once after dropping off a bouldering route.  It was much more fun to blame my ailment on that rather than for stepping off the curb and biting the dust (even though that is much more probable for me).

Fast forward to the present:  since getting married, leaving college, living overseas in a few countries, having three babies, etc. etc...I haven't had much opportunity to pick up my climbing hobby again.  Thankfully, the New City we're living in has a climbing wall - and I have been a few times, and taken the kids to climb a few more times.  I am loving it!

But, the thing I am not loving is the fact that I am way. out. of. shape.  But, really, who's to say that I have ever been in shape?  Ever!

The last time I went to the climbing wall here, I asked the owner for some tips on how to prepare my body for next time.  I was really honest with my current state of non-fitness. She gave me a very practical, simple goal = push-ups.  



But, because she is, actually, a star-climber in Thailand, I listened.  Carefully.

She showed me how to do a proper push-up, and then how to do them leaning on a table for a twist on the common way to execute this muscle-building activity.  I now have a fitness goal.  Beware, it is very small and quite humbling:

One "girl" push-up a day.  Five "table" push-ups a day.  Done.

I don't know about you, but for this mom-of-three, this is a step "up" from my non-existent fitness routine.  It took me a week of trying the girl push-ups to actually complete one.  You heard me.  Now, I can do ONE!  I feel like a super-star!  The "table" push-ups weren't as difficult, until Treavor corrected my posture today while I was doing them.  Much harder.

Next week?  TWO push-ups a day and 10 table push-ups.  

Baby steps.

What gets you going?  Dancing to cheesy pop tunes?  Running with your dog?  Chasing your toddler?  Or, are you a Aerobic super-star?  I'd love to hear!  Leave a comment below:


  1. Oh Alina! You make me smile every time I read your blog posts :) I love to exercise and I try to take some time everyday to do so (although, in Thailand I didn't try very hard). I have been trying to do a "real" push-up for what seems FOREVER and I still can't do it! So, we all have our hurdles.

  2. So proud of you! I am inspired.

  3. eileen pace-fitzsimmonsDecember 16, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    Good hints for me too. The push-ups, not the climbing :-). Huy look sssso intense!

  4. I joined a group called Stroller Strides that meets thrice a week at a park. We walk or jog, do weight bands, the dreaded push-up (and its mean older sister, the tricep dip), lunges, crunches, etc. I joined because I was laying on the ground in July and realized that I couldn't lift my legs. C-sections will do that to you I guess. Since joining, I found a beautiful community of mommas and babies but more importantly, I can do a side plank in yoga now! I used to HATE those things. And, I lost 15 pounds. Cue girl power music :)

    You inspire me girl, I've always wanted to be a rock climber but am too self-conscious about it!

  5. Megan! Thanks for reading! Push-ups are a beast. When I do mine, I will try and pray for you. :) Maybe God will gift us with the supernatural ability to do them. He cares about our arm muscles too, right?

  6. You inspire me! I wish I could be as encouraging as you one day!

  7. He was. Climbing is one of their new fav things to do!

  8. Stroller Strides sounds intense! Maybe I could join you guys one day and sit on the bench eating candy bars while you guys work up a sweat! Or, better yet, I'll take you climbing instead! It is more fun to climb with a friend, for sure!

  9. Glad to have stumbled upon your blog Alina! I'm ready to go rock climbing now. Let's gooooo :)

  10. Let's do it!


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