Friday, January 12, 2007

Like that's a real original start to the New Year

While on vacation I joined a gym. Now, normally, I am not a gym person. I recognize that I simply don't like exercise for the sake of exercise, and without any direction at all, I am completely intimidated by all the machines. Overriding all that however, is the fact that I don't like the way I look or feel. My body has been worked over by pregnancy, and needs a makeover to finally get back to where I was a few years ago. I checked out the local YMCA and another chain gym. The YMCA looked fine and the price was good, but the personal trainer who showed me around was so bitter and cynical that I had no desire to do anything except go get a cheeseburger and milkshake for the sheer futility of it all. My friend suggested checking out her gym. The price was actually better, it is a much nicer facility, and everyone was very upbeat and encouraging. So, I bit the bullet and signed up, earning a year of obligating myself to get my flabby butt there several times a week and a free t-shirt.

So far, so good. I went to work out the first evening, and was fairly proud of how I did. After 15 minutes of hell on the elliptical machine I braved the floor of workout machines. While suffering on the elliptical I was watching people very closely. Although I was probably creeping them out, I was only trying to see how the machines work so I wouldn't look like a complete idiot when I went over there. A couple of them looked fairly straight forward, so I gave it a shot. Fortunately(?), I am so out of shape that it only took a few reps on a couple arm machines to wear out those muscles, making it impossible to attempt figuring out another exercise out anyway. I also had the brilliant idea to make my way to the free weight room. After all, I know how to focus on specific muscles, so why use some fancy contraption to do that? Good old fashioned free weights are fine, right? I walked in and picked up the dusty 5 pound weights, feeling even more stupid doing reps with those, among people lifting hundreds of pounds. After about 10 minutes, I retreated to the treadmills. Walking. Just my speed. Familiar, easy to use. Up and down arrows to control the pace, and a nifty little fan to cool me off. In all, I sweated it out for about 45 minutes, and went home feeling as proud as if I had run a marathon.

Last week I went to a yoga class. Years ago I worked for a firm that had a private instructor in our private gym once a week. It was wonderful. The last time I did yoga was in her class when I was about 6 months pregnant with Hayden. Over 3 years later, it was quite a challenge! I did like the instructor we had last night and felt my body intuitively adjusting my poses as my previous instructor had taught me. This was definitely more my style. Although my yoga session involved much arm shaking, sweating, and some mental pep talks, I felt much more in my element. I like to exercise with direction, with an instructor setting the pace, and feeling confident and competent in what I am doing. I will continue learning those new fangled resistance machines, but feel more motivated knowing I can "treat" myself to the yoga classes as well.

Yesterday I hit the gym while my MIL watched the boys. Again, I was the Treadmill Stalker, learning how each machine worked by observing the other people there. I carefully chose who to watch knowing most of those people are already in much better shape than me. For some reason, about half the people there yesterday were senior citizens. I figure if a lady who looks to be about 80 years old can do a certain machine, so can I. I think I overestimated myself. Today my legs are killing me as if I spent the day rounding up cattle, but that is a good thing. Each time I go I feel a bit more confident, which motivates me more. I can totally do this.

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