Boot Camp, Day 17: Lesson learned — the hard way!

Encountered a major obstacle today while working out in the gym.

While doing leg curls, the muscle in my right (weak) leg cramped up during my lower body workout.

I hadn’t prepared properly for my workout and it bit me in the butt (or more specifically the right quad muscle.

I had forgotten to drink lots of water before and during my workout, forgot to eat the banana to boost my potassium levels to lower the possibility of getting leg cramps; and I cut my stretching time short.

The result? Leg cramps! Like, really bad leg cramps!

“If you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym, things could go badly.”

Always spend at least 10 minutes warming up, or you can increase the chances of muscle soreness or injury.

I knew the gym has muscle rollers, but I couldn’t locate them quickly, so I just hopped on the nearest treadmill and started walking to loosen up the muscle. After about 10 minutes, the pain was subsiding but not gone.

The temperature outside was in the mid-90s, so I walked around outside the gym. The heat actually felt pretty good and in a few minutes, my leg started to feel normal. So, after doing abourt 10 minutes of stretching, I went back inside to finish my workout.

As soon as I stepped into the air-conditioned gym — BAM! — I could feel the pain returning to my muscle. That’s when I decided to pull the plug on the workout and head for home.

In my daily fitness planning session with my wife, Tammy, who is a bodybuilder and my coach for my 77-day (11 week) self-imposed Boot Camp, I had set a goal to go to the gym twice a day through August.

Well, I didn’t make it back to the gym. At least not the same day.

I decided instead to go to finish my lower-body workout on Friday.  As part of my training, I’m compiling gym workout lists so I don’t feel so lost when I finally do make it to the gym.

Lesson Learned

Today, I learned that if you don’t drink enough water, stretch for at least 10 minutes and get the appropriate bodily nutrition before a workout, your body’s probably going to protest.

By relaxing this evening, eating a healthy supper and drinking lots more water to stay hydrated, my muscles have recovered are are no longer sore. Dodged that bullet — this time.

Injuring yourself in the gym is one of the biggest reasons people fail to follow through with their fitness programs. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on the myriad details of fitness, nutrition and training. If you don’t know what you’re doing in the gym, things could go badly.

Getting input and guidance from someone who is trained in fitness and nutrition goes a long way to being successful in meeting your fitness goals. If you can afford hiring a personal trainer, it’s money well spent because you’re less  likely to injure yourself by simply because you didn’t know any better. Think of it as a rider for your health insurance, definitely worth the money.

Tomorrow is Day 18 of my self-imposed 77- Boot Camp. Going to head to the gym first thing in the morning to finish up my lower body workout.

Now, if I can just remember to stretch, stay hydrated and don’t perform exercises that even-a 20-something person would find difficult. Strength and endurance will come with persistence and grit. But I have to keep in mind that my body is 67 years old and that I didn’t just get out of Marine Boot camp.

If you overdue it at the gym, don’t give up! Reassess you workout regimen. Allow your body time to heal and recover and get back yourself back on track!




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