I went through the usual physical changes and strength development, but one major change that I’ve noticed is in my volleyball games. I’m not in any highly competitive leagues or anything, but I like to play every chance I can get during the year including at North Ave Beach over the summer. I always knew I wasn’t a cardio guy, and I remember that I’d get extremely winded after the first game, especially after going up 4 or 5 times in a row to hit and block. I also had knee and shoulder issues that affected my jumping and hitting, but I played through the pain. I’d also be pretty sore for the next day or two.
After the 2nd and 3rd months of joining, I did notice some differences in my breathing and endurance while playing. I’d still end up gasping, but not as early and not so labored, and I’d be able to catch my second and third wind a lot faster. This was expected. What I didn’t expect was the reduction of my knee and shoulder pains. I mean, I still have them, but most of the time I’ll go through all three games without feeling it.
There’s a lot more progress that I’ve gone through, it’s just this one stuck out in my head. I’m in better shape than when I was wrestling in high school, and I’m still going for better. I’ve learned a couple of gymnastics skills and jump rope tricks; it’s like a jungle gym for adults. I’m definitely still not a cardio guy, but I’ve learned to appreciate its purpose and I even joined some runs and stair climbs. This has been the least monotonous, most effective fitness program that I’ve gone through. And nothing beats the way the gym is run. I know everyone is suffering with me and it makes me work harder and finish faster. There’s just a certain connection between everyone at Rudy’s ‘box.’ You can see it reading the daily blogs… people congratulating people, ribbing each other, sharing their soreness, offering advice, talking sports… I’ve never experienced anything like this from any other gym.