We’re six weeks into our workout sessions with our trainer. Seems like a good time for an update, no?

Up until this week, we were meeting with our trainer once each week. He’d come with a plan put together for the week, guide us through the workout, selecting settings on machines that were appropriate for our sizes and weights that fit our abilities. At the end of the workout, we got a sheet with all the exercises and related info on it to use until our next session. Pretty simple, right?

We’ve officially been in the “Acclimation and Stability” part of our 12 week program. It is designed to ease us into a program without injuries, and to focus on developing core strength along the way. Thus, we’ve been using lots of accessories – such as stability, medicine, and Bosu* balls – and odd positions – like standing on one leg while doing shoulder presses – to ensure the core muscles are always being used.

I’ve enjoyed this approach. The exercises are difficult, even with light weights, so it’s easy to see both improvement and ways to mix up workouts down the road. Working the core has generally been an afterthought when I have been a regular visitor to the gym. Like most guys, I’ve been far more worried about doing bench presses or curls or triceps exercises than spending 20 minutes hitting the abs and other core muscles in different ways. But since we started our current program, I almost always feel that pleasant soreness / tightness in my abs, back muscles, etc. that is a sign that something in there is getting stronger.

In fact, as I told our trainer Wednesday, I knew we were making progress on Monday after I had been sick all night. I’ve always been sore after having the flu, food poisoning, etc. But I’ve never been as sore as I was this week. I told him that had to be because there was muscle in there that didn’t exist six weeks ago.

A back-handed compliment, but a compliment nonetheless.

The only downside to our routine has been that a lot of the exercises look silly. Or rather, we look silly when performing them. It’s one thing to do them with a trainer around. It’s another to be doing them alone and not be self-consious about how you look. I don’t have the best balance in the world, and when I’m standing on one leg, doing shoulder presses, and teetering around, or desperately attempting to keep a Bosu ball from tipping over while I do squats on it, I imagine it looks a little strange.

But we’re making progress. I hope. We moved into phase two Wednesday, which is more a financial move than anything else. We now only meet with our trainer every other week for the next two months. He added a few more traditional exercises today, although with a twist or two, but we still spent most of the hour focusing on the core until our arms and legs and stomachs were shaking.

I feel good. I’ve not been as diligent about the cardio side of the plan, but I hope to pick that up some as it gets warmer and I can start running outside. I have adjusted my eating habits a bit, too. Taking all of that into account, I have dropped a pound or two, although weight loss wasn’t my main goal. So far, it’s been worth the money and effort. We just have to stick with the plan to make sure that remains the case.