Tag Archives: exercise

I Did It, And I’m Proud! (ish)

I found the above title on a completely blank post in my Drafts folder.  I don’t know what I had originally intended to write, but I’m going to run with it now. (Fasten your seatbelt, because the upcoming segue will produce severe g-forces.)

So… speaking of running with it: Remember the aerobics classes of the 1980s?

I was in university then, living in the city after growing up so far out in the sticks that even the fashion-conscious folks were several years behind the current styles.

University was an eye-opener. Suddenly I was confronted by Fashion with a capital F, in clothing, shoes, home furnishings, music, EVERYTHING. Including fitness. My dismal attempts at sartorial style are a post for another day (actually, many days), but I seized on aerobics as The Fitness Thing To Do.

My first aerobics class was taught by one of my interior design classmates. She was perfect in every way. Blonde, petite, a talented interior designer, fashionable, and so insanely fit that fat cells couldn’t even exist in the same room with her.

She was everything I was not. Dressed in her sleek bodysuit, tights, leg warmers, and perky matching headband, she led the class through a complicated and gruelling workout without apparent effort. I gallumphed gracelessly at the back of the room, puffing like steam engine, sweating like a toilet tank, and flailing wildly in an attempt to match her dance-like choreography.

If she hadn’t been such a nice person, I would have suspected her of keeping an eye on me and purposely changing the routine the instant I managed to catch up. But I knew the truth: Even though I’m generally pretty well-coordinated, I’m hopelessly choreography-impaired.

I hadn’t thought about aerobics classes for several decades, but this week it all came back to me. We don’t live close to a gym now, so I follow an online program that’s focused on strength training, not choreography.  The movements are simple and I can keep up.

But.

There’s an add-on module for extra ab work, with a randomized selection of timed activities. Which means, “Keep up with the class, kids”.

So there I was again: panting, sweating, and hopelessly out of sync. The only change from 38 years ago was that this time I was on my back, doing a strikingly accurate imitation of a beetle that’s been flipped upside-down: Arms and legs flailing in the air, body rocking spastically back and forth.

I managed most of the routine before I collapsed and lay there laughing helplessly at myself, while the mechanized voice prompted, “X-Man crosses for 30 seconds starting in 5… 4… 3…”

But at least I’m exercising. I did it, and I’m proud(ish); as long as nobody confuses ‘proud’ with ‘dignified’.

Anybody got some leg warmers I can borrow?

Book 15 update:  I spent most of last week wrestling with a knotty plot (which is not nearly as much fun as wrestling with a naughty plot), and did a big reorganization.  I’m on Chapter 27, and it should be clear sailing now!  (Says she, with misguided optimism.)

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Exercising My Options

First, my triumphant announcement:  Book 14 is finally live, hooray! (Click here for retailer links) Now, as long as there are no SNAFUs with the retailers, I can breathe a sigh of relief.  *crosses fingers*  Maybe I’ll even kick back and relax for a day or two.

Or maybe I should go and work out instead…

I have a love/hate relationship with exercise.  I’ve always been a bit of a jock, but I also have a bad case of inertia:  Bodies at rest want to remain at rest, and mine is no exception.

So I’m working away, planted comfortably in my chair, when I realize it’s mid-afternoon and my butt is putting down permanent roots into the chair cushions.  That’s when my better self murmurs, “You should get up and exercise.”

My lazy self whines, “But I’m busy and I don’t wanna! I’ll have to change my clothes, and exercising takes so much time, and it’s hard…”

This argument goes on for a while, but my better self (usually) prevails and pries me out of the chair.  It helps that I’m eager to get in shape for martial arts again — even though I’m too old and slow to compete, I still love to kick and punch the hell out of something that won’t hit back.

So I get changed and get started. Then there’s another whole round of whining until the endorphins kick in and I really get into my workout.  By the end, I’m frizzy-haired, red-faced, sweat-soaked, and grinning with the knowledge that I’m closer to my goal.  That afterglow carries me for the rest of the day, but the following morning is a different story.

I creak out of bed groaning and swearing and questioning my own sanity.  I mean, seriously, what’s the point? I’m going to die sooner or later anyway, and all the exercise in the world won’t change that. Why am I putting myself through this? I could just schlep around being comfortably weak, and I’d only be sore on the rare occasions when I overdo it.  I wouldn’t be sore every damn day. *whine, whine, grumble*

I was in my ‘cranky’ phase a few weeks ago when I arrived at my painting group. After struggling with my watercolour for a while, I let out a martyred sigh and announced, “I’m tired of trying so hard all the time! Why can’t there be just one thing in life that’s easy?”

One of my painting buddies spoke up immediately. “Gaining weight is easy.”

I stared at her, happily enlightened. “Dang, you’re right! And it’s fun, too!”

“Except for the long-term consequences.”

“Uh, well… yeah…”

*sigh*

So I’m sticking to my exercise program.  It’s slowly getting easier.

And hey, that painting turned out okay, too. After nearly two years of weekly attempts, I’ve finally created something I might just hang on the wall!  But I can’t decide on a mat colour.  Opinions, please?  (Click the thumbnails to enlarge.)

 

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I’m Only An Idiot. Whew.

A while ago, I discovered I’m an idiot.  That was a relief.

Let me explain…

I’m not exactly a gym rat, but I work out a few times a week.  I enjoy competing against myself, in a laissez-faire sort of way.  If I don’t do anything stronger or faster, I don’t worry about it too much, and when I do hit a milestone, I’m pumped.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

But on days when I really underperform, I can’t help feeling a little bummed.  That happened to me a while ago – I’d been keeping track of my running times, so I knew roughly what interval I should be hitting.  Then I ran a lap and stared in disbelief at my stopwatch, panting and wheezing like steam engine.  It was twice my previous time.  What a wimp.

Then the hypoxia subsided and I realized my earlier intervals had been half laps.  Oops.  So I wasn’t a wimp; I was just an idiot.  Whew.

The reverse happened last week.  I hurt my ankle kickboxing a while ago, so I’ve been doing my cardio on an exercise bike instead of running.  I do the random program for half an hour, and crank the intensity up to 10 so I’m working close to my maximum on the peaks.  (Sadly, this sounds more hardcore than it actually is – the top setting is 25.  But “cranked it up to 10” sounds good…)

Once the program starts, I turn my brain off and just go for it.  Last week, my half hour slipped away before I knew it, and I was coming into the final three minutes smugly congratulating myself because my workout had felt so easy.  At last, I was making progress!  I was a hero!

Until I looked closely at the screen for the first time, and realized I’d set the intensity to 9 instead of 10.

So I wasn’t a hero; just an idiot.  Oops.  Not so much of a relief.

But sometimes I really do get to be a hero.  I love working out when I’m travelling, because just about everywhere is closer to sea level than Calgary.  I get down into that nice, oxygen-rich environment, and I am a superhero at the gym!  I can run farther, faster, work out harder!  It’s fabulous!  (A side benefit is that I can drink twice as much beer at sea level before I feel the effects, so I look like a superhero in the pub afterward, too… but I’m pretty sure Marvel Comics isn’t going to be introducing “Middle-Aged Six-Pack Lady” anytime soon.)

Occasionally, I also get a belly laugh from my workouts.  The last time I worked out at a hotel fitness centre, I was doing my thing when a guy passed through on his way to some other equipment.

And he stared at me.  So I stared back.

So the guy holds eye contact, cracks off a long, rip-roaring fart, and then stumbles over a weight machine, still staring.

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that.  I suppose it would have been correct to return the compliment, but I lacked the necessary resources at the time.  There’s never a bean burrito handy when you need one.

I laughed myself silly after he left, though.  I guess that’s what they call a “core workout”.

At least I wasn’t the idiot that time.  Whew.

* * *

Postscript: Yesterday when I walked into the gym I encountered an elderly man on his way out.  He shot me a big grin, and with a heavy accent proclaimed, “Kickboxing!” 

I’m not sure whether I was looking like a hero or an idiot when he saw me kickboxing, but it made my day.

* * *

P.P.S. One of my blogging buddies, Charles Gulotta, has launched a line of everyday greeting cards that address the in-between-occasions of life with his usual quirky sense of humour.  Check them out here if you could use a chuckle!

P.P.P.S Another one of my blogging buddies, Tom Merriman, just made me a superhero for real!  (Well, kinda for real… as real as cyberspace ever gets…)  Check out Middle-Aged Six-Pack Lady here:  http://wellheregoes.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/the-middle-aged-six-pack-lady/

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