About a year ago, I started training seriously at a gym. I had tried other places in the past, including LiveStrong through the YMCA, a very good place to start if you have the credentials (cancer patient/survivor, sorry to those who aren’t in the club). I’d been reading and podcasting a bunch about such things, and thanks in part to my brother, I came across a compelling case for weight training. Co-incidentally, my medical oncologist pointed out that the Tamoxifen she had me taking to prevent subsequent cancer (don’t get me started!) would also attack muscle mass, and that I’d better do some weight bearing exercise as an intervention. Grump!
Off I went to a very scary-looking gym that now makes me feel quite the thing, thank you. After a few weeks of hard work, my brother shared with me some of the things he and a buddy tell themselves as they work out. One was “This set makes me stronger.” That was useful a year ago and now again as I return to strength training. By the way, the new drug I’m on to prevent cancer causes osteopenia (bone density problems, prone to fractures). There are two fixes for it, the first is (drumroll): weight bearing exercise. Grump!
Right now, I find myself saying “all the sets make me stronger” because, well, I’ve lost a lot. I’ve been burned inside and out and cut up stem to stern. But yesterday, the assignment was three sets of inclined dumbbell bench presses. I started with 10 pound dumbbells, down from PR of 25 pounds but up from the five pounds my first day back. This day, I bumped up set two to 12.5 pounds and the third strength building set to 15 pounds. Grunt!
Trying to maintain training through surgery and chemo ultimately became futile, but it was the last thing that I took off my plate for the sake of treatment and recovery. It was the first thing back on the plate from the all clear. It sounded like a good idea at the time. For so many reasons. The reality is so much more challenging and difficult than sitting back playing Zelda. I also feel so much better for it. I can do hard things.
Would it be OK if the gym went back to being the hardest thing I do in a week? At least for a while.