I just got my arse kicked. Seriously.
Back story (for context!)
I’ve been working out for about 10 months now.
10 months ago: I started with 3 days of weights (pyramid sets) that had 48 reps with 3 failure points for each muscle group, plus 3 days of cardio a week. I was also doing two days of pilates per week. Pushing hard. For months. Religiously.
6 months ago: I cut out one of the cardio days, so was still doing weights 3 times, cardio twice a week, pilates twice. Experimented with slow reps to increase strength.
2 months ago: I started doing drop sets, 120 reps with 12 failure points per muscle group. I dropped cardio because I didn’t want to lose any weight. Still doing pilates.
1 month ago: I changed my diet to be all super healthy. Continued with the drop sets and pilates.
I was consistently getting stronger (that is, lifting heavier weights), I was pushing myself to failure (multiple times) with every workout, I worked hard and didn’t just ‘phone it in’.
I tell you all that to essentially summarise my feeling of “I’m fit, I’m strong, I’m in good shape…” as a precursor to my sad tale of arse kicking…
Today, I had my first session with a personal trainer (from this point referred to as ‘That Fucking Bastard’ (‘TFB’ for short)).
What I expected: To be pushed hard, to struggle to run/bike/row/lift/whatever he threw at me in an asthmatic-breathed, red-faced, “OMFG, I can’t do any more” kind of way. I’ve been there before.
What I got: A massive struggle not to throw up and pass out.
Total and utter shocker!
TFB talked me through what we were going to do. He emphasised ‘intensity’. I was (smugly) fine with that.
Five minutes of hard cardio (rowing), followed by deadlifts, shoulder presses, and burpees. Five sets, with each set having fewer reps (15, 12, 9, 6, 3). Eh. No biggie.
I finished the cardio and first set of 15. I stood up from the last burpee and felt dizzy. I waited for it to pass. It got worse. TFB got me water. My instinct was to double over, but he wanted me standing, encouraged me to breath deeply. I waited for it to pass. I was covered in sweat. I thought I was okay and we started walking back to the rowing machine for more cardio.
But I wasn’t okay. I thought I was going to vomit.
I thought, “Oh my fucking god, I’m like those people you see on shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’ where they throw up from their workout! THOSE PEOPLE HAVE NEVER DONE ANY EXERCISE EVER!! WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. THIS?!!”
I must have gone really pale. He walked me over to one of the machines and I leaned up against it while he tried to stop me from fainting with chit chat interspersed with “Keep your eyes open, look at me…” I couldn’t talk, I felt my eyelids fluttering, eyeballs rolling back in my head, my vision was blurry and I felt really nauseous. I was going to hurl and then pass out. What. The. Fuck??!
I just couldn’t get my head to signal my body that I was fine. I am not sure how long it took before he realised I wasn’t recovering, maybe five minutes (it felt longer). He led me over to one of the mats, had me lie on my back, feet up on a bench. I immediately started to feel better, and came back from it quite quickly then.
I finished the workout without doing any more cardio, just doing the remaining sets of the other exercises. I felt a little more dizziness, but nothing like that happened again.
We talked about it, and he said it’s pretty common. He handled me well, but I felt a scepticism from him about how hard I had been working so far (I HAVE been working hard! Fuck you!!). Primarily I felt cheated. As if all of the work I had been doing up to then didn’t count for anything. That’s not true, of course, but it seemed horribly unfair to have that kind of reaction to a workout THAT DIDN’T EVEN SEEM ALL THAT HARD (that’s the kicker, that when he told me about it, the workout seemed just ‘eh, whatevs, it’s fine’)!
I’ve since asked Mr Google about it and realised that this is much more common than I thought, and happens for various reasons; high intensity (and burpees *are* intense, I’ve not done them before), not enough food beforehand (possible), not enough water (don’t think so), less blood circulation to the brain from rapid body position changes (um… burpees!!)…
So what now?
I’m planning to work with That Fucking Bastard for 5 weeks, and see if I can get some big gains. I’m intending to try the same workout again on Wednesday (without TFB) to see how it goes. Obviously it’s stressing my body and despite this shaky (nauseating, faint-making) start, stress is exactly what I need to kick this body into the shape I want.
TL;DR Worked out with That Fucking Bastard, nearly puked, nearly passed out. I will do better next time.
Edited to add: I did the same workout two days later (on my own this time). I had the same breakfast, but had a protein shake about an hour before I went. The workout was hard (burpees!), but IT WENT FINE!! So I do think my reaction was at least partly related to a lack of food. Onwards and upwards!