Even us professional athletes have to get back in the swing of things when we take time off from working out. I had my first week back in training to prepare for the season. You’ll probably be surprised to find out I am not a gym buff and I have to motivate myself as well to get myself to the gym!
I have to psyche myself out to get up and get started. I had a bit of a delay getting there because there was a Divorce Court marathon on tv. It's one of my favorite shows and it's hard to resist being lazy in bed and watching endless amounts of tv, plus its not like I really want to go to the gym! Finally by some miracle, I get myself pulled away from Divorce Court . I drive (slowly) to the gym and I am greeted by all the familiar faces. I haven’t been here for over two months, and I can tell what they are thinking “where have you been?” Why yes, I have gotten skinny (which is not good for a athlete, no bueno, means you are not muscular) and yes, perhaps there is an extra layer of fat from all the servings of truffle fries I've been eating, my favorite vegan food. But that’s alright! I’m gonna work my way into fighting form no matter how painful it may be!
I start off with a five-minute warm up on the elliptical to warm up my legs. I am not planning on going too hard today. Because of my autoimmune disease, Sjorgrens Syndrome, I don’t hold on to my cardiovascular strengthening and endurance as well as others. So I know I can't go as hard this first week, but I am going to do what I can and work my hardest.
Next, I go straight into leg strengthening. We all have body parts that won’t cooperate, and for me its my legs. They hate muscles, I inherited it from my dad, so I have to pound on these toothpicks first. I complete a series of exercise that focus on quads and glut strength, stability and activation.
Next is the arm series, which I complete with thera-bands. I focus on shoulder stability and strength, which is so, so important for a tennis player. These exercises lead to toned and awesome arms and they are fast-paced, which I love. I’ve learned the hard way, if you don’t do your shoulder exercises, your whole arm starts to REALLY hurt and you have to keep playing and not let your doubles partner know how much pain you are in because it's your own fault!
Last but not least, I focus on core. I’ve had some back problem in the past so it's important I keep my back strong and flexible, as well as my abs, and my right hip flexor and left glut. My training is very focused and tailored to my body’s specific needs.
An hour has passed, I gotta get outta here! I wish I was one of those athletes that loves the gym but I am not! It’s just a means to a end. I feel good because I am getting an early start to the preseason training and I know I will be strong for next year. Deep sigh of relief, happiness and accomplishment. I will be back!