Stronger

Yesterday, I was declared a physical therapy graduate. All my hard work has paid off, and my right shoulder is now as strong as my left. It’s not quite 100%, but it’s close. I still have exercises to do at home, and my workouts at the gym are helping immensely.

I feel stronger everywhere. My abs feel engaged a majority of the time. I feel lighter and healthier and happier. My mood has improved immensely.

There are a few programs that are helping me immensely. I started off with a trainer at the gym, but that can get a bit expensive. Thankfully, he set me up on ActivTrax.

ActivTrax is a program offered through my gym (and lots of others) that gives you a workout to follow every day you’re there. You can choose how you would prefer to work out (all machines, all free weights, no free weights, etc.), and it will set up a program for you. It has a web app as well, which saves paper (in case you wanted to print out your workout beforehand). The website also has videos in case you don’t know what an Incline Fly is, but that’s not available on the app yet. You then do your workouts and record your reps in the app. It will analyze all your data, and the dashboard on the website will show you how much stronger you are. The program is designed to challenge you in one or two sets of reps. If you can do 20 reps with no difficulty, the weight is too low. It makes adjustments every time you work out. I have been sore after every single workout, and I likely wouldn’t be if I didn’t have something telling me what do to.

Another program that’s been invaluable is Fitocracy on my Pebble watch. There are several workouts you can choose from, both pre-made and build-your-own. So far I’ve only done body weight exercises, but there are options to include weights. As you complete workouts, you level up. I don’t know if the points mean anything or not at this point, but the workouts themselves work great. I love having a program I can do at home on days I don’t go to the gym. I use the app on my phone, and it sends the exercise to my watch. I can time the exercises and adjust the reps on my watch, too. If it’s an exercise I’m unfamiliar with (I didn’t know what Russian Twists were yesterday), the phone app has a short demonstration video.

My Pebble smartwatch also has a 7-minute workout app. It’s controlled entirely through the watch, with no companion app necessary. It’s quick, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to pause it, so some transitions (from wall seat to plank, for example) are a bit rushed and difficult. It’s not my favorite, but I hope they’re working on improvements.

What programs do you use to keep you on track? Are there better options that I haven’t tried yet?

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