(Be)Musings on the Road to Fitness

(Be)Musings on the Road to Fitness

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week Ten: It Was the Best of Times. It Was the Not-Best of Times

There are ways to work around this tire-changing problem.
(Thanks, Kim, for your always-awesome drawings.
Special Cameo by Spencer, who is also always-awesome.)

As per the norm, there were a lot of ups and downs this week, both literal and figurative.  I did get my three workouts completed, though, so I guess things ended on an up note.  In keeping with my worries about changing flats, the week included some indoor cycling.  As referenced above, I will need to learn to change a tire at some point.  Let's face it, since my goal is to return to my previous bike-riding glory, indoor bikes will just not cut it for the long-term.  In the interim, I’ll just roll along on my bike, assuming that I won’t get a flat.  Or that Bike Guy, even when he’s nowhere nearby, will materialize and change it for me.  Yes.  That is my plan.  A good one, No???

So, let’s get down to the awkwardness of my first-in-years visit to a Spin Class.  A friend of mine belongs to a club that holds a daily spin class, and invited me to come for a visit.  When I first got there I was, as is my routine, filled with dread.  The two girls next to me were apparently experiencing the same level of fear.  One of them told me that it was only her second time there, and that the last time she had felt like throwing up partway through.  A glowing endorsement of the fun to come!  (I kind of felt like throwing up before the class even started…).

As the class began, I told myself that if I made it even twenty minutes, that would be a good start and, since I was at a gym, I could round out the workout with some cardio on one of the other machines.  So, when the twenty-minute mark arrived, I evaluated my progress to determine whether I could make it any longer.  (Actually, I did this every one to three minutes from the moment I started, but who’s counting?)  I decided I could hang, and was starting to feel pretty impressed by me.  Right then, the instructor said, “Okay, is everyone warmed up?”  What????  Yeah.  Apparently they hadn’t even really started.  At another moment, she said, “Is everyone having fun?” and it was eerily silent in the room, but for the boom-boom of the techno music. 

It certainly looks harmless enough.

But in the end, I made it through to 45 minutes, one to three minutes at a time.  It wasn’t nearly as awful as I had feared (or maybe I’ve just forgotten by now??).  My only real problem was that when they would tell you to stand up for a “climb,” I had trouble getting a smooth pedal stroke.  The few times I had done spinning before, this hadn’t been any trouble.  Apparently, the new bikes at this particular gym (which, I’m told, had been researched and chosen for their fabulosity) required a technique which I had not yet acquired.  Because, you know, it’s not enough to suffer, You have to do it with “technique.”  This Spinning thing somehow appeals to me, though, so I will be back, to Conquer the Beast.  (i.e., I hope to get better at it someday.)

On another day this week, Walking Friend and I were supposed to meet for a walk in the late afternoon.  She texted me just as I was leaving work, to tell me that her car had broken down, and she (well, her car) was being towed to the mechanic.  So, I picked her up, and my “I Don’t Want to Exercise” demons leapt into high gear.  I rapidly presented all kinds of excuses  justifications reasons for  why it was probably a bad idea to walk that day after all, including (but not limited to):  “It’s probably good to rest my touchy Walking Muscle,” and  “We’re going to walk tomorrow, so there’s no need to overdo it,” and similar.  Not my finest moment, I can assure you.  Ultimately, since WF had already walked that day, she left the decision to me. I’m sure you’ll be flabbergasted to hear that we skipped the walk and headed straight to Starbucks, to just get The Drink, have a nice visit, and call it a day.  But, something has changed, boy, cuz that drink did not taste good at all.  Maybe it tastes better when accompanied by endorphins?  So, no more After-Workout Drink, unless it’s after a workout!  This would seem to be elementary, but sometimes it takes awhile for me to understand things… 

The next day, we really did go for a walk. (As a penalty, we didn’t have The Drink afterward…)  We left from WF’s house and met up with her neighbors, and the four of us, plus a cute dog named Yoda, ended up walking together and had a great time.  So great, in fact, that we walked for two hours!  Up some Very Big Hills.  (How’s that for a Makeup Walk?)  At one point, we walked into a beautiful area that is at the foot of the mountains.  As I was thinking to myself, “Oh, what a calm and peaceful place” I noticed this sign:

There was a man there, who worked at the property.  He said that he had seen the mountain lion five or six times. Naturally, I was freaked out, but we did have our little Fearless Leader to protect us:

Isn't he menacing??
Wildcat Tip:  When walking in a beautiful area where a sign indicates that Big Cats are about, remain calm.  And if a kindly man comes along and tells you that there has never been an instance of a mountain lion attacking a human in the San Gabriel Valley, you should believe him.  Especially if the area is a Retreat Center and the kindly man is probably a priest.

Finally, I am happy to report that, after many, many weeks of endless blah-blah-blah-ing about it, I have made a decision and purchased a membership to a gym. Ironically, by the time I got around to making this decision, spring is imminent.  There is no longer any real worry that I can’t get three times a week of exercise in, without indoor options.  But Costco had a killer deal on a two-year membership at 24-Hour Fitness, so I purchased a certificate.  I’ve read that you should work in some weekly strength training, and I might enjoy trying a class or two.  Knowing my history, though, I’m sure there are family members and friends who are taking bets on how long until I actually go for the first time.  They shouldn’t be so snide.  I always go to every gym I join - Once.  Doing things the second time is where my record gets fuzzy.

So, does anyone have any exercise tips for me?  Classes you enjoy? Fitness machines I should try at the gym?  Things to stay away from, due to their propensity for causing certain embarrassment????  I welcome your input!

I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.
~~Abraham Lincoln


  1. I have been told one should mix it up for the most benefit....cardio first to warm up then weight training then a little more cardio and on it goes...

    1. Thanks, Marie! Sounds like a good plan of attack. I'll give it a go (when I go!). :)

  2. Actually, although I wouldn't test it, I do think Yoda could take a mountain lion, based on the amount of growling he did at me.

    And, much as I hate to admit it, I have cultivated an appreciation for spin. It's hard, but you can always dial it back to your own level without anybody noticing, and it doesn't hurt your knees like running. I do think it's very important to find the right instructor for you, though. The one I like is challenging but varies the challenge level throughout, and she is well organized and has a plan where the music is synched to the activities.

    Finally, I would like to say that I'd way rather be with the silent 24-Hour Fitness Crowd than the people at my gym, who, when the instructor asks how everybody is doing, all yell, "WOOO!" really loudly. Now, first of all, "wooo" is not an answer to a question. Second, isn't the instructor aware that he/she needs to be more concerned about the people who are so exhausted they can't yell "wooo" (or anything else)?


Please, oh please, feel free to make a comment - It would make me so happy!!