When I joined the gym last fall, I really didn’t think I’d stick with it. Nothing about my track record gave me reason to think otherwise. After a few weeks of sporadic and half-hearted use, any home exercise equipment I ever purchased went unused. I don’t know what made me think I’d go to the trouble of hitting the gym.
But I did. Not only did I stick with it, but I’ve signed up for another year. I hate to admit it, but I’m getting kinda into it.
If they offered a class that worked with my schedule, I’d go to Zumba every day. I hit two classes just about every week and sometimes make it to as many as four, along with the occasional Zumbathon or Zumba After Dark. I know almost all the music well enough to add my own embellishments and throw myself into my favorites with reckless abandon. You wouldn’t believe the range of motion in my hips and shoulders. Ricky Martin and William Levy ain’t got a thing on me, except for maybe pecs and washboard abs.
And believe it or not, I do have pecs and washboard abs. I can feel them beneath the layer of fat that still blankets my chest and belly. In another year or two, if I keep going to the gym consistently, my abs and pecs might become visible to the naked eye. Did I mention I’m single?
From the start, I hated the strength training sessions. I learned a hundred different stalling techniques to keep my trainer talking about what I needed to be doing instead of making me do anything. I’d show up a few minutes late and take frequent breaks–to get my breath, a drink of water–anything to keep from having to do more exercises. At my best I got it down to about ten minutes of actual exercise in my thirty minute session.
When I came in on my own, I’d knock out my full routine in about twenty minutes. Instead of pushing myself, the objective was to just get ‘er done. There were plenty of weeks that I only got in one session either on my own or with the trainer. The good news is that there were very few weeks when I missed both, and quite a few weeks when I got in an extra session on my own.
My attitude changed about a month ago. I weigh less than I have in at least five years and maybe as many as fifteen or twenty. My skinny clothes are hanging on me, and I can’t wear my fat clothes any longer. I’ve got big hard muscles in my arms, shoulders, and chest that are totally new and unfamiliar to me. If my half-assed strength training program got results like this, what would happen if I really applied myself?
So now I’m early for my training sessions. When Armand tells me to do twelve reps, I push myself to do fifteen. Instead of going with lower weights, I keep pushing myself to try heavier weights–even if I end up dropping down to something lighter before I’m done. At least I tried.
But the biggest change has come in the workouts I do on my own. Here, too, I’m really pushing myself. Instead of finishing in a half hour or less, my weight-lifting routine takes more like ninety minutes. Instead of skipping a round of sit-ups, leg lifts, and planks at the end of my workout, I’m doing two and three times as many and visualizing the fat melting away.
On the few days I don’t go to the gym, I usually run. Here, too, I’ve really been pushing myself to get in at least two runs a week–three if I can, and four is great–and to pick up the pace. The MapMyRun app is great–letting me know my pace with every mile. I’ve noticed that around the fourth mile, any pain in my shins or knees has disappeared and I’m able to pick up the pace by better than a minute a mile. Thanks to the app, I also found out that the runs I thought were barely two miles were closer to three, and my normal run covers more than five miles.
Seeing results has made it easier for me to avoid stuff I know I shouldn’t be eating. It’s the time of year when I tend to carb load. The time change just makes it worse. But this year I’m prepared. I started the antidepressant I take every winter for Seasonal Affective Disorder a few weeks earlier than usual to hopefully avoid the big weight gain I experienced about this time last year. I’ve come too far to backtrack now.
I’ve lost forty pounds in the last year and a half, a pound or two at a time, with a lot of backsliding. Now I’m beginning to see the results from more than a year of working out, and I like it. I like it a lot. By the time I’m sixty, you’re going to find most amazing me, here in…
My Glass House