It is August 2, I just woke up, and I am sore. Wow, am I sore! I can’t say that I didn’t expect this, but I definitely did not expect to second-guess picking up my coffee mug. Straightening my arms is comical, according to my wife’s laugh.

As I slowly get my day started I think back to yesterday’s “soft opening” of Elevate Interval Fitness in the new 301 M building in Southwest. Although an avid runner, I had fallen out of love with gyms over the previous year, and felt I had lost strength and respiratory conditioning. So when a gym opens across the street from your home that has “interval” in its name, it is a sign from the conditioning gods.

At 6:30 a.m. on August 1, I stepped inside a building on the site of a former parking lot. To be honest, I was not sure what Elevate Interval Fitness was. It is not a big box gym. This is their second location after the original in Northwest. I assumed it would be a coach-led class that does interval conditioning training, but is it mostly cardio, weights, high intensity interval training, or something else?

The class began with a set of light movements to loosen and limber you up. Next, we moved into our “first interval” set of an unsaid number of movements. We had dumbbells, TRX bands and rowing machines, and nine minutes. The combination brought about sweat and a feeling that the last year was giddily catching up to me. Next we had a partner pairing workout. As the only male in the 8-person class, I felt confident enough, which was immediately corrected by my partner, Bri, telling me she had already completed her half of the workout.

The combinations of dumbbells, push-ups and presses seemed common enough until I noticed my triceps, shoulders and arms begin to drag. All of which, sadly enough, were faring better than my lungs. I have hundreds of miles under my belt running this year. I am considered a pretty fast runner. Yet for whatever reason I felt impressively out of breath.

My lack of air was rewarded with our final interval training of the morning: the treadmill portion. I have not run on a treadmill in years, but these treadmills were actually really nice and forgiving to my four-times-surgically-repaired knees. The helpful placards on each machine give you the speed range you should be within as we worked down from a half-mile run to 0.15-mile sprints. Finally, we heard that beautiful four letter word roll off the coach’s tongue: “TIME!” Day one was finally complete.

After taking a day off, I’m back in the gym for my second class. Having an understanding of what I am getting into puts the mind at ease. While the brain is technically a muscle, the body portion of my muscles is far from at ease. The soreness remains, but it feels good. “Soreness is weakness leaving the body,” my former drill sergeant used to say. He never followed up, though, to let me know when the soreness will leave the body. I think about that now as I start my limber-up movements. The first lift of a dumbbell strains the arms, to which I laugh at myself. “Here we go again,” I say.

BY Shannon Vaughn

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