Reasons to get out of bed…

Posts tagged ‘Gym’

Gym Membership!

Last week, I finally signed up for a gym membership! What was my motivation to actually go there and do it? Honestly? I forgot my license there when I went as a guest. Oops! Since I had to go get it, I decided I had to sign up while I was there.

Now, I just need to go use it! In my defense: it snowed on Saturday (which moved all of my plans to Sunday – the day I had slated to go to the gym) and it snowed so hard Tuesday that there was a driving ban for 24 hours. But I WILL get there this week!

Also, I’m directing a high school play at night right now, so that uses up my “nights away from the baby” during the work week, but I’m hoping to re-purpose them once the play ends on March 1st. I know that I can figure out running on lunch breaks and weekends – I just have to put my mind to it.

Here’s a picture of Baby Girl shoveling this weekend to distract you from my lack of running:

EB Shoveling

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Fitness Idea

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how hard it is to motivate yourself to exercise when you don’t feel comfortable about your body, especially when you have to exercise around other people. It’s so easy to worry if others will judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves.

Also, I was talking with some friends about a friend of ours who is struggling. This friend is extremely overweight (I’m guessing she weighs about 400 lbs) and struggles to take weight off because her knees hurt so much. It’s a vicious cycle: her knees hurt because she’s so overweight and she remains so overweight because her knees hurt. Which made me start thinking, isn’t it terribly sad that swimming, the activity that grants the greatest amount of buoyancy (and less joint strain) is also the activity that requires the least about of clothing and the most amount of skin showing?! So in order to exercise in that environment, one also has to overcome the greatest amount of self-esteem issues?

It really got me thinking. I wish that a chain gym would pop up to address that issue. I feel like Curves (and all of the other gyms in that vein) popped up to address the issue that lots of women feel uncomfortable working out in front of men. I wonder if a pool that encouraged people to wear shorts and t-shirts instead of speedos would be well received?

I know I would love that right now! Especially if I didn’t have to buy a swim cap and goggles. I’m not a serious swimmer but would enjoy having somewhere to comfortably swim right now… without any judgment.

Additionally, it would be great if I didn’t have to get over my issues to just BUY an outfit, let alone use it. Granted, I’m pregnant, so my issues of size may pale in comparison, but I least I can sympathize with the issue.

Good luck to anyone else feeling this way! And have you ever heard of a pool like this? (if so, I hope it’s in Massachusetts!)

Round Lady Running

I ran!

I ran, I ran, I ran! I am so stupidly excited about this!!!

If you’re not a regular reader, or you’ve forgotten the details, let me catch you up: I was a bit of a runner (not serious by ANY standards!) and then I got pregnant. I was sidelined for months thanks to morning sickness, major food aversions, and general exhaustion (I had no idea building such a tiny human was so tiring!). I saw my doctor last month and she gave me permission to run, but only for 5-10 minutes at a time, which I assumed would be my body’s max anyway. Afterall, I haven’t run since September.

Once getting cleared, I was really nervous about the belly jiggling and feeling awkward in the tiny gym at my office. But I worked up my confidence with yoga and the arc trainer at the gym (sort of a cross between a stair master and an elliptical). I went down for a late lunch-break on Friday and found the gym was empty! I was so pumped!

decision to try

My goal for the walk/run was a total of 2 – 2.5 miles, and I was hoping to run 1/4 mile, walk, run 1/2 mile, walk, run 1/4 mile. But I figured I would go with however I was feeling – good or bad.

I warmed up for 1/4 mile and then increased the speed to an easy, slow run. My legs were wanting to increase the speed, but the ligaments in my belly (which vaguely hurt all the time from the expanding tummy thing) were not loving it. They quieted down pretty quickly though and I continued on.

By the time I looked down to see how I was doing, I had almost run an entire mile! So I finished the mile and slowed back to a walk (my slow mile was a little over 10 minutes and I didn’t want to push my luck).

Honestly, the belly wiggled a little, but not nearly as much as I expected (I may have been worried that it would bounce frantically like my ponytail) . I feel like I want to look into some sort of weight belt or something though, just to hold it up a little (suggestions will be taken happily!).

My end distance totals were as follows:

  • .25 mile walking
  • 1 mile running
  • .5 walking
  • .5 running
  • .85 walking
  • Total: 3.1 miles (1.5 running!)

I basically did a 5k at lunch (which is what I liked to run on my lunch breaks before becoming preggers). I’m so excited because I didn’t think I could do it. I would love to run a real 5k super round (like 8 months pregnant, not just the 5 months that I am now) and this feels like the first step towards that. Honestly, my legs felt like I could have kept running, but I didn’t want to over do anything.

challenge yourself

And one of the benefits of the yoga was that I knew some stretches for my tummy after running (which I have NEVER focused on before).

I know this seems like a really small accomplishment, especially to runners (heck, even to the old me who happily ran a 10k), but it feels amazing to me in my new body that I’m still trying to figure out.

Yay! I can still call myself a runner!

You are a runner

Prenatal Yoga – The Sequel

I went back to prenatal yoga at Destination Maternity this week as planned (if you are pregnant and live near this chain retail store, I recommend checking them out for their free classes). Unfortunately, this time around, the class contained more of my fears than the first one.

When I went last week, it was a small class and we had a substitute instructor (one of the weekend instructors filled in). This week, the class had almost doubled in size, but was all different people, and the regular instructor was back (she was totally nice, but was different). Also, I got stuck next to a woman who was 8 months pregnant and crazy flexible. It’s so hard not to compare oneself to those around us, isn’t it?

I’m not flexible… at all! I was never flexible and on top of that, I’ve had back surgery – making my back extra tight. In fact, at one point, the instructor came over to pull on my hips because my back didn’t look right. So then I awkwardly had to mention that I’ve had back surgery. So then she immediately stopped touching me (as though I was on fire) so as not to injure me. Ugh… I’m a train wreck. I totally could have benefitted from her help, but I always want to warn people not to have high expectations because fused vertebrae don’t function the way you want them to. I wish I could have really talked to her, but it was just a big ball of awkward with lots of witnesses…

There was really only one downside to having a different instructor: the poses and sequences were different. It made everything feel new again and made me feel more insecure.

Experience

Something that I loved about being a beginning runner was that I could do it on my own. I would run along a trail with only a few other people around. I didn’t run on the street or at a gym (although I had tried both in the past), which felt in the open where other people could see me. I loved that I could change my pace as needed without any assumed judgement from others. (Let’s be real, no one actually cares, but it feels like they do when you’re red-faced and just starting out). I loved that I could repeat my trail over and over again, day after day to “get it right”. I was competing against myself until I got good at it. Every day, I would try to run at least 10 feet more than where I stopped to walk the time before (or to the next lamp-post or to the end of the next song). And when I ran that trail from start to finish without a break, I felt amazing and so proud of how far I had come in my own growth!

But with yoga, I don’t feel like I’m mastering things, everything still feels new and awkward and constantly changing. And I know it will get better. I know that when I’m über round at 8 1/2 months pregnant and actually know some of the poses, I will feel as though I’ve improved. It’s just so hard to get there.

i-may-not-be-there-yet

And all of this makes me think about the “January Joiners” at the gym (you know, those people who make a New Year’s resolution to get fit and suddenly join the gym). If you are one of those people: good luck! You can totally do it! Just give yourself a chance (and ignore everyone around you).

If you’re a regular at the gym and are feeling a little irritated by all the new people at your gym: take a minute and think about how it felt when you first joined, or if you didn’t struggle, imagine how hard it might be for them. Please, try to make them feel welcome. More fit and happy people can only be a positive thing for our communities (the exercise community as well as your local community).

Being new at the gym can be so intimidating as you’re pushing your own physical limitations as well as feeling uncomfortable in the new environment. Let’s all try to feel welcoming.

I know that when I attended this second class and it was ALL new faces, I was intimidated all over again. It’s so easy to think that everyone around you thinks you’re an idiot if you’re a novice, let’s try to keep that in mind. If you’re not a novice: be welcoming and smile at the new people. If you are a novice: smile a lot at strangers and try to remember that no one is judging you as harshly as you’re judging you.

Or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself… (we’ll see how it all goes after I try a weekend class this weekend).

Fly

Stupid Scale as Motivation

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit of a “casual runner.” I go out when I have free time and when I’m feeling like spending some quality time outdoors without getting a sunburn.

And last summer when I was constantly busy with grad school’s night classes and my job and all of that other jazz, I still found plenty of time to run because it was some great time to just decompress. Flash forward to this summer… and I don’t have the same motivation… or even the drive to run. Instead, I have a lot of drive to cuddle with my wonderful boyfriend who didn’t get enough attention while I was focused on completing my thesis.

However, last Monday morning, I stepped on the scale and saw a number that I find completely unacceptable. When I was in my teens (and very, very skinny – naturally, thank you genetics! – because I certainly wasn’t working for thin back then) I would tell myself that if I hit certain numbers as an adult, I wouldn’t be ok with them and I would become a gym bunny. And you know what? My teenaged self was an idiot! Those numbers came and went and it was totally fine. But this new number, that was completely out of the scope of imagination for my teenaged self, it’s not totally fine!

I am not ok with calling myself a casual runner and still gaining weight. Uh-uh, no way! So it’s time to ditch the “casual!”

There’s my new motivation: a number I simply don’t like.

But I’m still really enjoying the cuddling with the boyfriend at night, so how am I balancing it? I’ve changed my schedule. Let’s be real, I will never, NEVER be a morning person. But I do have a (free) gym in my office building, and I’m taking more advantage of it: at lunch!

I mentioned recently that I’ve gotten into using an elliptical and it’s really great for an afternoon work out. I found it hard to run in the middle of the day because I think of running in terms of distance. It’s almost (mentally) painful to quit without giving it my all. But with the elliptical, I view it as time spent. It’s much easier to just head down to the gym for 30 minutes than 5 miles (I can’t run 5 miles in 30 minutes). Any day I don’t have meetings in the afternoon, you’ll find me in the gym for lunch! I’m simply loving it!

A change of perspective can really change a lot. I’ve spent the past 7 days straight working out in some form: either the arc trainer at work, the elliptical on the weekends at my factory style gym, or the occasional run along the Charles River near my house. I’m totally loving it! The next two days will be rest days because of afternoon meetings though. They have been earned though! I had hiccups earlier in the week that were literally painful because of sore chest, back, and stomach muscles!

And I’m not saying that I want to lose a ton of weight. I’m happy with losing 5 pounds. But what I’m really focused on is that I don’t want to think I’m living an active lifestyle while actually gaining weight.

Thank you, scale, for the refreshed drive!

Running Disaster, Crosstraining Convert!

I am a running disaster… seriously, I have hurt myself TWICE with my ipod! Lame! The first time was a few months ago, before the Run to Home Base, where I scraped my hip like crazy just on my ipod case! So my mother bought me a new case that was more running friendly. What did I do? I managed to get an inch long scratch on the soft patch on my upper arm from the velcro! That’s right, I didn’t line the velcro pieces up well so it scratched my arm for about 6 miles. The end result – an inch long (but luckily very shallow) slice on the tender part of my arm.

If that’s not pathetic, I don’t know what is!

That happened on Wednesday night, last week. I was planning to go running again on Thursday but between my lameness and the demotivating heat, I called it a night and melted into my couch. But I wouldn’t let myself get away with completely skipping the workout. I decided that on Friday, I would use the stairmaster at work. I would have run on the treadmill at work, but during lunch breaks it always makes me feel like I’m being weak. If I run on my lunch break, I can really only get in about 35 minutes of working out between time wasted getting into my gym clothes, and then stretching, showering, changing, and getting back to work. I can really only get in about a 1/4 mile warm up, about a 2 mile run, and a 1/4 mile cool down. I feel like I’m leaving so much still in the tank. So why not cross train instead?

I went down to the gym to use the stairmaster… funny thing about that though… the gym in my office building doesn’t have a stairmaster. Wow! Clearly, I have never paid attention to what anything in there is besides the treadmills! Oops! So I used the elliptical instead. I have only been on an elliptical once before, at the gym-I-actually-pay-for-but-never-go-to. That gym is one of those giant warehouse gyms with hundreds of people at any given time (think Planet Fitness… but I think mine is just a more local version with only a few locations). So, if one doesn’t know how to use a particular machine, there are a ton of witnesses to one’s mishaps. And I know that “no one is judging your workout and even if they are, who really cares?!” But I don’t like to look awkward and confused in front of so many attractive people.

Side note, why was everyone on the elliptical at my real gym always looking flawless (full makeup, hair down and styled, matching velour sweatsuit) and never breaking a sweat!? Seriously? Annoying! Meanwhile, the people on the treadmills were always more normal: a variety of weights from thin to overweight and moving at a full range of speeds. And even the thin walkers were sweating a storm! Ok… rant over… but that’s why it was easier to feel at home with the runners.

While I tried that elliptical, I used it on “manual” and it wouldn’t register my movement on the screen unless I was sprinting, there didn’t seem to be a walking-equivalent, and I never went back to one of those machines.

Until last week… at my office gym where I was literally the only person in the entire room. No one could judge and I could figure it out without any pressure. Since I failed on that other machine with “manual,” I figured I would try the “cardio” setting at the office gym. It was great! Honestly, I wasn’t awesome at the rhythm of the machine and I was either stubbing my toe on the front of the foot holder or falling off the back, but I had a nice time and my quads were so feeling it! I’m really going to try to do that at least once a week.

And it left me feeling worn out but with enough time to also use the upper body machine. My arm muscles were on fire the next day, which is a feeling I totally love.

So maybe that stupid velcro scratch did me some good after all.

And now I’m off to run the Finish on the 50 10k! And after completing the 10k (which I will hopefully rock, aka run the entire time even if I’m lamely slow)  and running on the field at Patriot’s Stadium, they have picture opps with Jerod Mayo! Would I prefer to take a picture with the awesome linebacker while I’m done up and looking nice and he’s sweaty from running on the field, instead of the other way around, heck yes! But I’ll take what I can get and I AM super excited!

Oh! And one more thing to be excited about? They have an “Inspiration Station” to entertain the non-runners where they can make signs for their loved ones! I hope I (aka my wonderful boyfriend or mother with their cameras) can find some good ones for Jill’s Best Race Signs!

Afraid of the Gym?

Hi! Have you found my blog because you’re one of the many people searching for motivation to go to the gym? Was it your New Years Resolution and now you’re second guessing yourself? Welcome!

Last night, I finally returned to the gym after a short hiatus and I was thinking about all of the people who are starting to go to the gym this month after their own hiatus. Let me tell you, I was NERVOUS!

If you’re not familiar with me, let me tell you about my own sordid work outs. In December 2010, I started the Couch to 5k program… by myself on the treadmill at my gym. I made it about 5 weeks before school started up and I quit going to the gym. During spring break, I went back, I started around week 4 and made it to about week 7 before giving up again because life got in the way (and let’s face it, the treadmill isn’t that fun). When nice weather came around in June, I started running outside on a trail near my house. I loved it! I ran when I felt like and I walked when I felt like it and I felt that people didn’t see me long enough to judge me. I still think the Couch to 5k program is great and I totally recommend it to people even if I wasn’t really able to finish the program per se… but I ran two 5ks last year… so I sort of finished the program, right? I never really considered myself a “runner” though. But I will own up to the fact that I wasn’t afraid of the gym anymore.

I like going to a gym in my office building now that’s cold (instead of the giant, warehouse-like gym that I pay for near my house). I also like going to the office gym because it’s usually empty. I haven’t gone running since Thanksgiving, it was time to get back into it! And last night was the night! Before the holidays, I had lost my access card to my office and had to get another one. In order to get into the gym, the access card has to be put on an approved list (we have to sign something that says we can’t sue if we hurt ourselves in the office gym). I wasn’t sure if my new card had my old card’s approval, so I popped by the gym before getting ready to make sure I could get in. Unfortunately, I saw that the gym was pretty full (with people I work with everyday!)

While I was changing into my gym clothes, I was actually freaking out a little bit. How out of shape had I gotten? Would I make a fool of myself? Etc. And I had only been away for 41 days! I can completely sympathize with the gut wrenching fear one might feel after being away for a long time!

So I want to offer you a few positive thoughts before you find yourself in a locker room, clutching your sock, wondering if you should just go home (that may be personal experience talking).

  1. Lots of people are starting out at the gym as resolutions. It’s not like you’ll be in a room filled with fit people and you’ll be suffering alone. Most of the people there will be new to the gym! You’ll all be starting out together!
  2. The treadmill blows! Even someone who is rocking it out, is mostly cursing out that they are on the treadmill at all, and they are cursing out the treadmill!
  3. You’re there for YOU! Not them, so don’t worry about them!
  4. Most people aren’t actually caring about you because they are thinking about their own workout.

In fact, here is a short list of things that I think about at the gym that actually have anything to do with the people around me:

  • Wow! She’s running really fast! Oh… oh, she’s getting off the treadmill! After only 10 minutes! Yes! She may be faster, but I can stay on here longer! (even if your longer is only 20 minutes)
  • I wonder if the person next to me is thinking I’m doing a good job. Do I look good on this treadmill? I feel like I do!
  • Yay, I’m not the slowest person in here ANY MORE!

See? They’re all really about me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other people were like that too. Please don’t feel that all eye s are on you… because they most likely aren’t!

Don’t get discouraged! No one is judging you the way you think they are! I’ve been there: thinking everyone thinks I look like a fool. In reality, no one cares how you look!

Good luck!

I’ve posted these motivational posters before, but they are my favorite, so I wanted to share them again. They are my gym mantras and I hope they help you out!

And a new one that I love:

Good luck!

Oh, and as a really sad note, I used to be able to run 5 miles without walking. Last night I could run 1 before needing a break. If you’ve had a hiatus, you might not be as fit as you once were, but if you still with it, you’ll be back to where you want to be!

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