Well, I have to say that stretching really does help when a workout is particularly, hmmm...what's the word? Painful? That doesn't sound right. How about difficult? That's better. Yesterday in the gym I was doing what Brad likes to call "Crazy Quads" and "Crazy Hammies" - basically, four sets of 21 extensions where the first 14 are done normally and the last 7 are done with Brad providing resistance. I have to say that I DREAD these, because I know I will be sore afterwards - heck, I was sore during them! It can be a real mental challenge for me when I start certain exercises, knowing that I will be extremely sore afterward. I tend to not put my all into them because I try to "save" myself so I won't hurt so much later. But that's kind of hard to do when your trainer is standing right there AND providing the resistance...plus duh, Shelley, you're doing this to get stronger, firmer and more toned, so why would you NOT do everything you are supposed to? (Why yes, I do have conversations with myself!)
Anyway, back to the stretching. Halfway through the crazy quads I took a minute or so break to stretch my legs, and did some more stretching when I was done with the set. Did the same thing with the hamstrings, and remembered to stretch once I got home. And again later that evening - of course, it helped that I was watching The Biggest Loser and seeing everyone working out reminded me. Upside of this? Today when I got out of bed I wasn't crippled like I normally am after that workout. Oh, I still felt my quads and hamstrings, but not nearly to the extent that I used to. This makes me very happy because I know that next time we have a difficult workout, I won't hold myself back. So let's hear it for stretching!
One of the things I really like about my workout place is that Brad and Linda try to make it fun for us with little games and team workouts. Before I did the crazy stuff in the gym, Brad had a card game in the cardio room, where each suit equaled an exercise - say diamonds were push ups, spades were jump squats, hearts were duck walks and clubs were burpees. So if a 3 of spades was drawn, we all did three quick jump squats. Face cards had additional exercises. We did the entire deck of cards twice in less than 30 minutes - it was fast-paced and intense! I think we all felt a little silly doing the duck walk (only a few "quacks" were uttered), but as the workout progressed we just concentrated on getting through it. Since I have a burpee exemption for the month of January due to this, I got to do high knees and jumping jacks instead...and I was very happy about that! I had actually forgotten about everything we did in this workout until later on in the evening, when I reached for my water bottle and wondered why my arms were so sore - and then all of the push ups came back to me. Funny how you don't realize just how hard you've worked when it's more of a game than a workout!
I have to also report that I am very proud of my group today - we did cardio last - four sets of fast/slow minutes on the machines for five minutes. The group before us had done some ab work but we didn't get to it since we spent all of our time on the machines. So there we were, sweaty, panting, drinking our water, DONE...and Linda offered to run us through the ab workout if we wanted. First Nancy got on a mat, then I did, and then Kathleen and Jeri followed suit and we did another four minute set of ab work. Woo hoo, extra credit!
If you haven't already entered, don't forget to post a comment on my Progresso Soup Giveaway - it ends tomorrow (Thursday) night at 10:00 pm CST.