When I got my current job in May and learned that there’s a gym onsite, so I thought, “Hooray! I can quit the Y and save that $70 a month!” Also, my commute is significantly longer, so the logistics of going to a class at the Y before or after work would have been really challenging. But the reality is that the gym is a room with weights and cardio machines, and I am not a gym person, and even at the Y, I hardly ever used the cardio room. One week, I made a lackluster attempt at walking the trails around the office park and showering before work, but that was … unpleasant. I worked up the nerve to join the weekly yoga class, and that was enjoyable, albeit somewhat awkward. Three months went by, and I successfully avoided thinking about what my new fitness plan would be. And then I went to Seattle. Well. Despite my best-laid delusions, traipsing around Seattle did not counteract the extremely high caloric intake of that vacation. I kept saying things like, “The new regime starts on Monday!” and “I’m back on the wagon on Monday!” Which, of course, gave me license to stuff my face and ignore cold facts, like how my nonstretchy pants were becoming increasingly uncomfortable, and I had the tendency to huff and puff when I walked briskly.
Not good, folks.
The Monday after that trip, I stayed true to my word and started my new fitness schedule:
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I’m working through a 5K running program again. Stamina is my biggest challenge and the one I am least likely to confront naturally. This time, I’m using 5K101 podcasts. The music is kind of generic techno, and the guy keeps plugging his Facebook fan page, but it’s so much easier than my old system: checking my watch every 45 seconds, mentally repeating when the next interval started (“Remember, 6:30, 6:30…”), screwing up the math sometime along the way, and all the while reminding myself just how little time had actually elapsed. I appreciate how cheesily upbeat he is (“Remember, the road ahead is paved with small victories!”), and I especially liked how at the end of this week’s workout, he dubbed in some crowd cheering for the last 30 seconds, and it was surprisingly cheering. One morning, it rained during my run, and I felt so freaking hardcore.
On the nights before I run in the morning, I wear my running stuff to bed, as Lawyerish advised. Pathetic, yes, but it’s one less step in the morning and therefore one less barrier to overcome. Today, I almost didn’t do my run, but then I realized that I would have to change out of my workout clothes to shower for work, and that is just sad, people. Eventually, when the early-morning darkness and cold becomes untenable, I think I will still sleep in my running clothes, roll out of bed to walk Ted, and drive straight to work to run around. We’ll see.
Core and toning
I am still figuring this out, but my plan on Tuesdays is to work on, well, core and toning at home. So far, I have tried 2 on-demand Pilates workouts; one was a dud and one was insanely hard but good. I have also resurrected the workout with a mini exercise ball that my first, beloved Pilates instructor wrote out for me, and I was ashamed at how hard it was for me. I’d like to incorporate resistance bands (which we have) and maybe small hand weights (which we do not), but this is where I am the most unclear. My target areas are my core, backside, thighs, and upper arms, and I always need to be cautious with my back. I’d also like to find exercises that I can do while we watch our fall TV shows, so any recommendations for workouts like this — DVDs, YouTube videos, lists of exercises — would be greatly appreciated.
I’m still going to the office yoga class on Thursdays at lunch time because it’s free, gives me a break from my desk, and allows me to interact with people outside my team on a regular basis. The instructor is sort of weird, but I think the class is beneficial and puts me back into the environment where I do my best workouts. That is to say, the environment of being judged by an actual person.
So far, so good. I finished Week 3 of the new regime, and I feel pretty good. I don’t get that mythical fount of exercise-induced energy that people talk about all the time. Instead, I am always starving. Not a fair trade! And, yeah, we did go to Talula’s shortly after Seattle, and that didn’t help things, but I am not really touching the food part of my fitness. Aside from the occasional splurge for dinner out, we eat pretty lean, so I feel okay about that. As a person who hates sweating and has no hand-eye coordination, it’s more about overcoming inertia, dragging myself out of bed, pushing through for 30-60 minutes, and knowing doing something is always better than doing nothing.