Today was my first newfit session as apart of the 2019 summer sport season. This is a subset of summer sport that seniors are allowed to participate in. It consists of three gym sessions a week; one focusing on core and upper body strength, one focusing on legs, and one focusing on flexibility and core work. I decided to enroll in this program as It seemed a promising opportunity to improve all aspects of my fitness to make myself healthier and more athletically able. Additionally, it seemed to be practical and sustained as it was built into school time. One of the troubling things about regularly going to the gym is finding not only the time but also the effort to commit to a session. However, as school sport is mandated It's helpful that, amidst a busy schedule and a large workload work, I won't have to designate any additional effort to organize and attending these gym sessions as my sports instructor will coordinate it for me. This seems to reflect the ideals in learning outcomes 1 and 3. Not only have I recognized that I can improve my physicality, particularly in the upper body as this isn't overly exercised in fencing, but I have demonstrated that I will be able to continually engage in the CAS experience.
These sessions, to me, only possess any instrumental value. I am not working towards any specific body image or derive any special pleasure from the process; only using it as a means to becoming more physically sound. As such, I have altered my goals to reflect this. Trying to set goals that can be empirically measured, I plan to progressively increase my ability to use heavier weights when exercising my upper body. This means every Monday when we have a strength session I plan to use heavier weights or, if this possesses any health and safety risks, to alter the exercise, under the instruction of the gym supervisors, in such a way that makes it harder. Having spoken with Rubin, the session coordinator, I was informed that the program for term four will remain the same. This means, since we have eight rotations, I will have eight strength sessions and thus eight opportunities to push myself. Rubin recommended that for most of the exercises the differences in weight will be incremental but, nevertheless, be significant. As such, I will start at 10kg for all exercises involving one arm, such as kettlebell swings or bicep curls, and progressively work up to 16kg - aiming to increase my baseline by 2kg each week. Therefore, I will be operating on a biweekly basis.
For those exercises that do not use additional weight but rather work off body mass resistance, such as push-ups, planks, or sit-ups, Rubin has said that these are harder to improve as the sessions won't be volume-based but work off a time. For example, an instructor will never say do 20 push-ups but, instead, do as many pushups in 20 seconds. However, he has shown me a number of modifications I can make to each of these exercises, mainly altering the hand position, to make them more difficult. As such, I feel confident I will be able to challenge myself on a biweekly basis.
Today was the final newfit of the 2019 season, thus marking the halfway point of the 2019/2020 summer sporting season. I am able to happily say I have maintained the ability to challenge myself on a biweekly basis and adapt to the rotational workout system as previously described. Notably, the challenges I thought would present themselves, the intense physical pressure of some of the exercises, hasn't been a determinant factor in the difficulty of the program. Likely due to my regular external sports conditioning as apart of my fencing, the difficulty of the sessions wasn't as bad as I predicted.
However, throughout this half of the season, although the physicality of the program hasn’t been challenging, the mental resilience needed to engage with the program has presented its own set of unique challenges. This isn’t the case for all sessions, only some. I’ve found that on long or tiring days my willingness to commit to a gym session immediately after school is far less, as to be expected. This is especially true of days where I’ve faced other setbacks, like a poorer academic result than expected.
During these sessions, the temptations all athletes are more poignantly pronounced and harder to overcome. For example, I could jog rather than run, use the lower weight set, or do one less rep than everyone else. Nevertheless, I continually have tried to use the opportunity to improve my day by achieving my best, a scientifically valid effect shown to produce higher levels of endorphins and improve bodily chemistry composition. This seemed important to attempt to replicate for a number of reasons. Firstly, if it’s a Monday or Saturday session I will go home after and have to do either homework or revision, this isn’t the case on Wednesdays as I have further training after. Therefore, to attempt to place myself in the best possible mindset and physicality following this will further enable me to accomplish my study on those days. Secondly, the ability to overcome adversities, even if they’re momentary and relatively insignificant, I believe establishes an important foundation that will help me to progress not only throughout my final year of school, where I will undoubtedly face further challenges but also throughout all of life. Finally, it will contribute to my mental wellbeing. This will hopefully manifest itself in both my ability to regulate my own emotions and achieve a greater level of happiness but also in my ability to be confident in my body and athletic ability.
Subsequently, having reflected on my efforts in the season thus far, I am determined to further develop my ability to positively approach challenges or problems I encounter and continually push myself to attempt to do my best.