Trying Four Days

There was a buildup in the number of training sessions to my credit. I have been working out with Bernard for a few years. We began working with each other twice per week. That number moved up to three times per week, after working for about two years. I liked the perspectives he had on working with my disability. The exercises he came up with to help cerebral palsy improvement. Those ideas led to the desire of adding an additional session during the week. Working three times in a week seemed to be the catalyst behind the additional work inside the yoga studios. Providing the time to bring in the playing of catch and working on the jump rope. Soon, we were working on these two activities each day. Beginning out session inside one of the rooms. My fine motor ability really began climbing with the additional repetitions. The improvement most notably showed itself in my ability to jump rope. Making the move from using the standard rope, into using the speed rope. My numbers continue climbing today with the more challenging speed rope. Then, a couple months ago we found an interesting occurrence with my workout sessions. Due to some of my canceled appointments. Canceled for various reasons throughout the stretch of the months. I had developed a pretty substantial stockpile of unused sessions. There was some contemplation around what to do with my unused sessions.

We had been working out three times per week. Moved up from twice per week, which I had been doing for years. That first jump from twice to three times per week felt daunting. I was concerned over how my body would react to the added frequency. Wondering what kind of exercises would be added to my sessions? There was fear, but I wanted to give more sessions a chance. Believing in the possibility of what another hour of exercise per week might do for my improvement. The idea always centering around improving my ability to physically function with my disability. With Bernard having the experience of working with clients who have cerebral palsy, it seemed a good time to elevate frequency. Inside my mind, the biggest advantage to adding the third hour per week, has been the yoga studio. We have spent much more time working on my fine motor movements. Leading me to believe that Bernard put the extra hour to good use. I can remember all of the experimentation we did with different types of balls. Some we used for a short amount of time, while other athletic balls have stuck with us through the months. Bernard took away the lacrosse ball, which was used for bouncing in place, and tossing up into the air. While, trying to catch the lacrosse ball when it bounced back up, or fell back to the floor. He also removed the reaction ball from our work in the studio. The ball with the knobs all over, which would cause it to bounce in unforeseen directions, when dropped onto the wood floor. They were all experimental tools for helping improve my hand reaction skill. 

We began honing in on the exercises that worked the best for cerebral palsy improvement. Creating a style of circuit to use inside the yoga studios. The game of catch was brought into form when the third day was added. Providing the extra time to begin each session in the yoga studio. Our work inside the studio became much more structured. Bernard took away the extra athletic ball we had been using to experiment. Using only the small squishy ball to start our focus on the games of catch. We would also work on the agility movements, which took me across the wood floor of the studio. The final piece to our work inside the rooms was continuing the progression with the jump rope. The work inside the yoga studio would last about half of the session. Following the work of our studio circuit. The session would take us out onto the gym floor. Bernard had a type of exercise for us to work through with each session. The ballistic day had work on the row machine, with ten pulls, as strongly as I could pull. We often had ball slams and some kind of squat-press to round out one of the days. Another day might involve body-weight exercises, like the single leg deadlift. The exercise was most often unweighted and involve my touching an object placed on the floor. The excitement of adding the third day, which happened months ago, was having time for more movements. Bernard used the time for me to move laterally. Often stepping to my side, under or over a bar he placed off the ground. But, when we found extra session had begun compiling, we moved the plan forward another step.

There have been days all along when I bow out of an exercise session. At times. life has pulled me in different directions. Whether a scheduling error, a tightened schedule, or something sounded like more fun. I might move my exercise week from three days down to two sessions. Well, when those sessions get canceled, they go into a bank of sorts. Sitting in place to be used at a later date. It was a couple months ago when Bernard came to me with the number of sessions in the bank. It was enough to cover a month worth of workout sessions. I took some time and considered the options for using the sessions. It the end, it was determined to tack on a session to each week, until those in my bank had been used. The decision would bring about another challenging step in my training. Moving me into the category of training four days a week, instead of three. It was daunting to think about how my body might react to four days. The step from two days a week to three days a week hand gone well. But, this seemed to feel like a larger step. So, we decided to begin the extra challenge in the final week of November. Doing our best to fill the month of December with four workout sessions per week. I recall the apprehension going into that first week, with four training sessions. The questions of whether my body could handle the added load, circled? Along with the curiosity over the exercises Bernard might add to our sessions? 

I went into the first week of four sessions with nervous anticipation. There was a break in my activities during the month. Having played my last round of golf for the year in October. The wait was on for the snow to pile up in the mountains. The end of November and weeks of December felt like a good time to attempt the elevated workout intensity. Not to mention all the treats consumed around the exciting holiday period. I also felt as though an adjustment period would need to be accounted for. Where my body would be more tired than it had been previously. Meaning patience with myself through an adjustment period would be key. The first week felt more solid than anticipated. Bernard added some exciting exercises to the program. Each of the days continued to involve starting our session inside the yoga studio. Which, provided me with an extra day of practicing my catches of the ball and jumping rope. I anticipated the continuation of work inside the studio. So, the additions would come with a fourth day of exercises on the main gym floor. For this, Bernard added more traditional weight lifting to our program. Bringing back things we had been working on months prior. The cornerstones of dumbbell bench press and cable pulldowns to target the back. It felt good to work on those movements, again. 

By the time, we hit the second week of four sessions, I could feel the toll. The level of fatigue had raised to a noticeable level. Leaving me tired in ways I hadn’t experienced for a while. Though the results I was experiencing from the added hour was exciting. Having dropped some weight and improved my efficiency with the speed rope. My number of consecutive jumps continued climbing, due to the extra day of practice. Another feeling of enthusiasm accompanying the added session was the playing of catch. Around the time we elevated my session, Bernard brought in an additional ball for me to handle. The tennis ball was added to the small squishy ball for our games. The move provided a different variable to one of my challenging exercises. Bringing in the tennis ball showed the improvement being made in catching an object. I had come a long way with catching the small squishy ball and my hands were operating better in daily physical activities. The added element would push the improvement forward in my hands. It would also help my focus improve. Forcing me to change the object in the middle of our catching games. The added session was showing great signs of further cerebral palsy improvement. But, the increase feeling of being tired continued to be a bother. I wanted to continue on the road of four times per week, at least for a period. In order to do this, something was required to help my energy. 

People have often told me that changing my diet will help my workouts. While, I believe this to be good advice. It has been advice that hasn’t worked well. In my experience, changing my workouts has made the largest impact on my diet. Or more specifically, changing my activity level, tends to have the biggest influence on my eating habits. The more active my life becomes, the more my body requires better fuel. Without the elevated activity level, I tend to eat more poorly. So, when my energy levels suffered with the added session, I required something positive. The raised workout load had already found me cutting out the fast food trips and pastries in the mornings. Then, my chiropractor, Dr. Dana, suggested some protein powder for me to use. Which, I had used before and often felt like it wasn’t needed for my activity level. However, in the situation I had created, with the four training sessions per week. The addition of the protein powder really helped my energy. Giving me the fuel to remained focused during the sessions. Getting more out of the elevated time spent playing catch and jumping rope. As December drew to a close, the ski slopes began to whisper more loudly. Pushing me to create time for skiing and reduce the time spent in the workout sessions. Though, the four sessions per week had been positive. I chose to step down to doing four every other week. Alternating them with three times a week. Knowing the time spent skiing would keep up my activity levels. Because, the hobby of skiing does great things for my overall health.

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