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In which I am afraid of the machines

Hi there! Guess what I did today? I went somewhere and exercised for the first time in nearly two decades where it didn't involve some kind of plant or staying in my general neighborhood. I went to the gym!

Many years ago when I was working down in Kent at a company I thought I would be with for the rest of my born days (I wasn't so much naive as I had found my perfect job and I was well-loved in my position and everything was going swimmingly until my boss showed her true psycho colors and purged me as she had many people before me), I bought a lifetime membership in the nearby Bally club, where I would work out with my friend on our lunch hour. It had a pool, so that made it worthwhile for me, because I would rather swim than do anything else. But then I lost the job, and I went to the one across the lake from me a few times, but I felt awful there. The pool was kinda gross and cold, and whenever I would work on the weight machines, there were tons of people around and everyone seemed really mean and I was very intimidated. So I never went again, though I kept the membership through the yearly small fee.

A few weeks ago I went to the Y with gattagrigia and sherrold up near gattagrigia's house, which is new and very lovely, and we swam and spa'd our afternoon away, and it was wonderful. I figured, if I started going to the club once or twice a week, and swam with them a few times a month, I might be able to get rid of some of this awful weight I can't shake. I have cut my eating in half, literally, and I garden and walk all the time, and most of what I do eat is all healthy and stuff, but I still can't get this stupid weight off. So stronger measures must be taken.

The thing is, I hate gym exercise. I'd much rather be out. But the cold and damp get to me too much, I'm realizing, and I don't do enough in winter. Today I tried out the recumbent bike, but the elliptical machine, which calls to me, also intimidates me like hell, and rather than make an ass of myself, I decided to forgo it for another day. Then I went down and did weight machines, most of which are a lot nicer than the ones I used 18 years ago. ;-) I absolutely love the torso twister machine, and the leg machines are all good, but the one I like best is the one that simulates squats, which I can't do because of the no cartilage in my knees thing. Of course, I have really strong legs already and always have thanks to high jumping when I was young, but that machine is just really enjoyable.

I don't think there really is anything for the spot I need to lose weight in the most -- this weird space above my hips, at the top of the glutes, which I don't even know what it is. It's like, nothing targets that area, but that's where most of the fat is that I need to get rid of to fit in my favorite pants again. Also back fat. ::Ew, hates back fat.:: I realize that's probably just the cardio... but the cardio confuses the crap out of me. I have never had good aerobic condition -- which is weird coming from the camping family from hell, where it was expected I could carry a 50-pound pack before I was even a tween and we climbed a mountain when I was 17 (I mean, a real mountain). And so any kind of aerobic things wipe me out within 5 minutes -- my friend used to make me do the stair machines, and she never sweated, while 5 minutes in I was not only dripping with sweat, I couldn't breathe and wanted to die.

The machines now ask you to put in all this info -- your age, your target heart rate, how long, etc. I put in 15 minutes and made it only 8, because even the recumbent bike still hurts my pelvic bones like whoa. But how the hell would I know what my target heart rate is? How the #$&!@#* do you figure that out? I haven't got a clue and the bored desk person is of no help.

Anyway, all in all, it actually felt good. Like I did after swimming, I wanted to come home and curl up and sleep, but I'm trying to stay awake. (And, um, I ate a sweet roll when I got home so... yeah.) Too much to do still today. I feel like rubber and my chest aches, but more weights will fix that as I get used to them. Still don't know about that elliptical. O.-

And it's pretty easy -- I think if I just roll out of bed and head over there after traffic is clear, then I can come home and shower without looking at gross hair-clogged drains and catching weird foot diseases; I could wear only my workout clothes and just come straight back. Sweaty, but simple.

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Jun. 2nd, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)

Here's a tool that calculates target heart rate based just on your age. There are more complicated ones out there, but this is a good starting point.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:27 am (UTC)
You are awesome! I thought it had to be some big mathematical calculation or something. Or that I'd have to ask the doc. Still, there's no way I can do that kind of workout!
Jun. 2nd, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
I am the least coordinated person in the history of ever, and I love the elliptical. LOVE. And it's easier on my feet and knees than anything else, too, which is a bonus. Start on the least elaborate one, hold on tight, and don't worry-- everyone has one good "I fell off the elliptical" machine story, and you won't have more than one, because once you get it, you're totally fine.

The machines at my crappy Y have target heart ranges on them, which is handy since I don't remember things.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
I did actually get thrown off a treadmill once, fell over, twisted my ankle badly, and then chipped my tooth. So I'm really scared of something I can fall off of like that. Plus the vertigo has been bothering me a lot lately, which adds an extra layer of suspense.

But it does look like people really love them. Sandy says they are a lot easier on your knees than stairs, too. There were some with fancy handles and some without. I just have to figure out how to get on it without hurting myself.
Jun. 2nd, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
That is awesome - go you!! It's been about a year since I had any kind of actual exercise practice (sigh), but this sounds like a good one, and maybe also even a sustainable one, which is a great combination. :-)
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
Now, let's just hope I can stick with it. THAT's going to be the biggest problem. ;-)
Jun. 3rd, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
Yay! Go you!
Is this a Y? I've been thinking of joining the one near me and thought we could go together. I would love to share some of the knowledge I had to acquire on my own. There are a couple things I would want to address here, if you're interested.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:35 am (UTC)
Re: Yay! Go you!
It's the Bally over at Eastgate, I'm afraid. I would love to support the Y but I already spend the money on the yearly fee for the lifetime membership, which is only about $35, so it's hard for me to think of spending the joining fee and $69 a month when I'm already paid into something else. I figure that spending the $10 for a swim every few weeks (on the day pass when I go with Nicole) should be okay, but then, I'm not exactly making any money! I feel guilty!

I wish I did have someone to go with, but everyone I know goes to the Y. It would be great to have someone show me the ropes and have someone to talk to. I do feel really intimidated by a lot of the equipment and my klutziness makes me even more concerned, and kind of fearful of certain things.

Hey, when do you want to watch Deadwood?

Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:49 am (UTC)
Re: Yay! Go you!
Ask Bally about guest passes. I should be able to get a free or cheap day and come in with you. No problem!

This week and next are pretty busy with the norsk classes and weekend plans. I could do Monday or Wednesday after some early evening workouts—so, say, 8 pm or so. What do you prefer?
Jun. 3rd, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
You can't spot reduce fat so don't worry about that, eventually you'll lose the weight it's just your genes that determine in what places first and how much. And don't listen to the machine's target heart rate, generally you want to be at 80%+ of your highest heart rate so you'll burn the highest calories and therefore the highest amount of fat.

Go you! I think it's awesome you're exercising again.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Yay, you! I say with singular lack of originality
Mostly I want to share your pain with that weird bit of ugliness that settles above the hips. About 20 years ago I was doing aerobics at lunchtime and a woman to whom I had never spoken grabbed that part of her anatomy and said, "Don't you hate this?" At the time I didn't have such a problem so I took it a little personally but I've remembered her practically daily for the last decade.

I've been biking lately after which I don't so much want a sweet roll but I did ask Gradka if she didn't think a beer would be a good idea when I collapsed next to her this evening. "Shower!" she said in her Slavic way. "Is better."
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay, you! I say with singular lack of originality
Gradka is completely correct (as cats so often are). Maybe that woman was me from the future or something. I took a time machine just to insult you one your lunch break.

The thing is, I don't even know what that body part is! It's sort of hip, sort of glutes, sort of waist... does it even have a name? It torments me!
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
Dammit! I want specific spot reduction! Well, not really, because I need overall reduction in a major way, but what I really want is those weird lumps on the part I don't even know what to call it, gone. I picked burn fat on the machine -- they options of cardio or burn fat -- but I honestly don't know what any difference would be. It seems like it's all of a thing.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
I really like elliptical trainers, and the only time I ever used one in a gym (a couple weeks ago) it was better than the one I have; the handles didn't bother my wrists because they were tilted. Although it took me a little to get used to the foot holders that tilt up and down; mine are stationary.

Plus! The ones at the gym had TELEVISIONS. ON THEM. Hello! Bring your headphones!

This is from a person who used the treadmill at the same place and just about fell on my ass.

Jun. 4th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Televisions! It's like we're living in the future! They have a bunch of big screen tvs placed hither and yon in the cardio room, so I don't think ours have individual teevees, more's the pity, because the ones they have are loud and on uninteresting stuff. I can't even see how my iPod could get over that din, but I may still try in the future.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
Bravo! And thank you for the inspiration. I have been such a slug this spring.
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
It's been so wet and cold until SUDDENLY it's 90 degrees out, so it's easy to be a slug. I just can't stand it anymore, so I figured, conquer my fears and go. Getting weighed at my doctor's visit didn't even motivate me, but my pants, now that's a different story...
Jun. 4th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I hate the pants-o-gram.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 07:30 am (UTC)
Good for you!
Keep it up.
I used to dot he same thing when I went to the gym - much nicer having a bath at home. I liked it so much I bought some exercise machines, so now I have no excuse not to do it.
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it definitely helps not having to go back to work and such afterwards. I love the freelance schedule -- just not the difficulty of getting work. ;-)
Jun. 3rd, 2009 10:21 am (UTC)
I'd much rather be out. But the cold and damp get to me too much, I'm realizing, and I don't do enough in winter.

I often think how lucky I am to live somewhere that it's usually nice enough to exercise easily outside all year round. It's technically winter here now, but I went for a run in warm sunshine in the middle of the day.
Jun. 4th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that definitely is helpful -- here, so much of the time it's drizzly or rain with cold wind, and it just isn't motivating at all to walk and do stuff -- and I sure don't want to be in the garden when it's like that. With the vertigo, I have to sit down, and sitting down on wet grass and plants... ugh. Hopefully I will keep up with the gym thing.
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