Tiny, minuscule, incremental measures of progress.
The first day of 30, I wandered into the gym and, hands on hips, I squared off against an elliptical machine.
self “I’m going to get on that thing, and I’m going to exercise”
voice “heh heh, that’s what you think”
self “sure I am, I’ve done this before, I can do it again!”
voice “allrighty then, go for it. Let me know how that works out for you”
So I jumped on and started pedaling. First thing I noticed was my left hip was apparently very stiff and my whole leg was burning in about 10 seconds. Soon after came the huffing and puffing, then the sweat, then the funny gurgling heart pounding thing that happens when I spike my heart rate a certain way (I still don’t know what that is, but it hasn’t killed me yet).
OW! Thump-urgle! Drip, wheeze. Repeat.
18 minutes and I was positive I would have to stop- or risk screwing the next 29 days by being Dead.
voice ” *snicker* toldyouso!”
But instead of being discouraged, I told myself that hey, I’ve been fit enough to tackle this before and soon, it will be easy. So my original mini-milestone was decided to be “By the end of this month, I will be able to tackle 30 minutes on the elliptical machine without having to stop for pain or any other death related symptoms real or imagined”
In part due to the fact that I’m really awesome, and probably moreso other factors such as “muscle memory”- it was only a matter of days before I was rocking out 30 minutes at a time on the big bad elliptical machine. And honestly, not long after that, it became rather…boring. WHAT?
Yes, boring. My initial plan for an exercise routine did not include any days of rest- you don’t really need them if you are constantly alternating strength training with cardio and focusing on different muscle groups on at least a 3 day cycle. My “treat” or “rest” was every other day an hour on the treadmill. I have been a strong walker all my life. I can walk for days and days at a decent pace, uphill, downhill, in the rain- I hit a good ground covering stride and can go for miles without tiring. But that’s outside. Treadmills are boring- So, I would read a magazine or a book and just go. That didn’t last long though. I’m sure the other people in the gym think I’m a spaz. My treadmill antics are bizarre. Every few minutes, the speed goes up, the speed goes down, the incline goes up, waaay up, then the speed again, then down and down. I love the way my butt tingles for the rest of the morning after spending half an hour at 8% incline hehehe.
Alas, there is really only one adjustable setting on the average elliptical trainer. The resistance. I’m working my way up on that now. Also, there are a few different models there, so I use them all- they each have a slightly different range of motion, and the displays are all different which is entertaining because I’d like to know how I did 3 miles and burned only 4 calories (I think they see me coming and decide to just make shit up).
Magazine, ipod, and stop watching the clock the whole time. I’ve since upped the time to 40 minutes- I don’t always have time for a long workout as I go before work and it depends how slow I was about leaving the house.
Yesterday I did 20 minutes each on the treadmill, elliptical and the recumbent bike. Total 1 hr cardio and since I had time to kill, I did some upper body stuff too. Switching it up made it more challenging, and only 20 minutes of one activity blew by in a flash. And it wasn’t awful.
I have spent a few solid hours over the last 3 weeks reading about different fitness programs and theories and opinions. The one that I always seem to come back to is the CrossFit model. Their definition of fitness basically boils down to “If you can’t do EVERYTHING, you’re not “Fit” “. Ok, that’s a rather broad generalization of their philosophy…or maybe it isn’t. But they’re right. Being able to run for 10 miles without tiring does not make one strong enough to swim for one mile, or climb a hill or push a car. It doesn’t do to specialize your whole body to one or only a few activities at a set duration. Look at the explosive strength of a sprinter or Olympic weight lifter, and compare it to the scrawny super-lean physique of a marathon runner. Ick. And look at the bulging can’t-scratch-their-own-heads over developed muscle of a body builder- they can’t run from a Zombie either.
My Fantasy Fit vision falls in between. Strength, stamina, flexibility, speed… I won’t find all of those things on an elliptical machine, or a treadmill, or a “peck-deck”. Sticking to only a few exercises may build up my endurance and strength- but only to continue doing those exercises! And I will probably tire of boredom and quit long before I get anywhere near what I’m hoping to achieve.
So, I have to switch it up. Like yesterday with the 2o minutes each on 3 machines. And using free weights instead of single motion weight stations.
Today’s alternative to one, long, boring ass hour of treadmill- Cardio Kickboxing at the Y. Something different, another way to move. Another way to Slay. Trust me, someday, we’re gonna need me!
Do something different today!