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Posts Tagged ‘workout’

I have joined the darkside. I have joined the community of crazies who wake up at 5:00 a.m…because they want to. I have joined a gym.

Call it peer pressure. Call it boredom (sorry, Tony Horton!), call it the desperation of a runner who currently can not run. Call it what you will. I have joined a gym.

I have heard about people like this- people who leave their house before dawn to fit in a sweat session before their real day starts. Heard about them. But never…never been one of them.

I did join a training group last spring when I was training for the Country Music Half Marathon.

This training group met every Saturday at 7:00a.m for three and a half months…once a week…seven a.m…to run three to twelve miles. Always a positive. Always worth it. But oh so painful for me! (I considered asking them to move the time back till eight or nine. But seeing as I was only one of two-hundred and fifty runners showing up for these runs- I decided that was a tad inappropriate.)

So other than my experience with that training group, the occasional Saturday morning run at the park with some friends and my recent experiments of working out in the a.m, at home, with the hubby, I cannot remember a time in my life when I chose to join a group of people…at such an hour…all in the name of…exercise. Until now.

This morning was my second time to visit said gym, Saturday mid morning being the first. My alarm went off at 5:00. I was sitting in the driver’s seat of my car (in the dark) by 5:35. (I know, I know. I am questioning my sanity too.)

When I pulled into the gym parking lot six minutes later, I parked, grabbed my bag and exited my car. I then settled my bag onto my shoulder and rounded the back of the car parked beside mine. I smiled and nodded at the sweaty guy leaving the gym (leaving the gym before six!?!) and thanked the person who held the door for me as we both entered at approximately the same time.

A short chat with Brian (the guy manning the front desk), and three elliptical machine’s later (the first I couldn’t figure out how to program, the second wouldn’t turn on and the third made this unbearable squeaking sound!), and I was settled into the “Cardio Cinema Room”, ellipticalling to my heart’s content, catching bits and pieces of “Get Smart” on the big screen in front of me, and unabashedly observing the crazies who were making their rounds in the lighted part of the gym (the lighted part is on the other side of the large opening at the front of the darkened cinema room. Or in other words- I could see them, they couldn’t see me).

After only a few minutes of this unabashed observation time, I started to notice that most of the crazies fit into one of seven categories.

The skinny mini cardio fiends are the ones that came bouncing in first. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, most of  this group wear tight black pants, sport floppy ponytails and carry gigantic bottles of water. These ladies do their rounds on the cardio machines, pushing and sweating and heaving until all of their fears and regrets and aggressions are lying in a pool of sweat on the floor. Their marathon sweat sessions are probably number one on the mile long to do list that will carry them through the rest of their day.

The body builders were the next category of crazies that I noticed. These were the guys who spent their morning pumping iron. These guys have chest circumferences that rival that of a medium sized barrel. They also have arms that are no longer able to touch their sides. And they are slow. They saunter around the gym, lifting an unbelievable amount of weight at one machine before slooowly making their way to the next one. Their motto seems to be: the heavier the weight and the bigger the muscle, the better.

Then there are the jocks. Different than the body builders, these guys are big but not huge. They also seem very preoccupied with how they look, where as the body builders seem more focused on how many pounds they are able to lift. These guys also move slowly, especially when they are passing one of the many mirrors strategically placed around the gym floor. They do their pushups in front of these mirrors and their crunches and their curls. My hunch is that these guys do the hard work for the attention it will get them later in the day. Their thoughts seem to leave the gym long before their bodies do.

The next category doesn’t really have a name. It includes the people who come in with sleep still in their eyes, sporting bedhead and wrinkled clothes. These people wander around, seemingly aimlessly, with their hands in their pockets, looking confused about how they got there in the first place and why, for goodness sake, they are up at this hour of the morn. (actually, there was only one guy who fit this description. But he was so amusing to me that I just had to include him here.) They may not do a whole lot of exercise, every time. But they do show up!

Then there are the oldies but goodies. These ladies and gentlemen of an older age seem motivated by the desire to stay healthy. And trim. And strong. They seem like the type that have accepted the realities of aging, but also chosen to age the best way possible- healthily. Kudos to all you oldies but goodies out there. I hope that when I am your age, I am an oldie but goodie too.

And lastly, we have the big boys and girls. This is the group of people that look like they woke up this morning and said, “I have got to do something about myself!” Some have trouble walking. Most have trouble exercising. But all are trying. And for that I applaud them. Keep up the good work, guys. It is worth the fight.

There are a few stragglers too. The middle aged man with hunched shoulders, wearing baggy, gray sweatpants; the girl in a bright green sports bra and tiny shorts who exhausted every single portion of her tanned, muscular body; the average sized businessman who jogged on the treadmill for half an hour, before changing into a suit and tie and hurrying out the door; and the young, slightly overweight woman who put in her time before heading back to what is probably a busy life of juggling kids and jobs and bills.

So I spent my hour and a half with these crazies. And along with being amused, I felt inspired. Inspired by their movement. Not their physical movement (although that can be inspirational too), but their movement towards…betterment. And health. And goals. And discipline. And a challenge.

Big and small, fast and slow, young and old, some tan, some hunched, some tired, some endless balls of energy- each unique in their own way. All inspirational to me.

Thank you, crazy people, for my morning inspiration.

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This is the list of goals that I handed to a friend, Sunday night of last week, before asking her to keep me accountable to them:

1) Be out of bed before 7 a.m. Mon-Fri

2) Workout in the a.m. at least 5 days this week

3) Keep a daily food journal

4) Drink at least 64oz of water daily

5) Go to bed with a clean kitchen every night

6) Finish one load of laundry daily

7) Plan (and execute!) one sex date this week

8 ) Have one couple over for dinner this week

9) Keep the tv and computer time to a minimum

10) Make doctor and dentist appointments and order oils diffuser

 

And this is what I learned from them:

1) For me, getting up early really is…better. The night owl side of me hates that this is true. But it is. Getting out of bed by seven changes the tone of my entire day. And there is something delicious about early morning air, early morning light, and the quiet and peacefulness and productivity of being the only one in the house awake.

2) A.M workouts are also, I am slightly hesitant to admit, better. Starting the day with my blood pumping seems to keep that blood pumping till bedtime! And it guarantees that the workout will happen cuz the later I wait, the more complicated fitting in a workout seems to get.

3) 64oz of water (or more) makes me feel lighter, healthier, and more energetic.

4) Keeping a food journal helps me eat better. Knowing that what I’m putting into my mouth will be recorded on a piece of paper makes me stop and think, “Do I really want there to be evidence that I ate this?”

5) Going to bed with a clean kitchen every night is…hard.

6) Washing, drying, folding and putting away one load of laundry every day prevents Laundry Mountain from growing big enough to take over my laundry room, my laundry baskets, the top of everyone’s dresser or chair, my thoughts, my energy and my couch.

7) I don’t care who you are, how old you are, how long you’ve been married or how much sex you are already having- if you want to improve your sex life with your spouse, having weekly sex dates is the way to do it!

8 ) Having one couple (at least) over for dinner each week is a true blessing to us (and hopefully to them). I don’t know why we ever get out of this habit. It’s benefits are too great.

9)Turning off the TV and limiting internet time is worth the challenge. At times it takes all of the self-control I can muster to stay away from these time suckers.

10) Nothing really. Other than, it is such a relief to knock items off the to-do list that have been on there for weeks!

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“You awake yet?” my husband asks, far too energetically, from his workout mat positioned a few feet from mine.

“………….No,” I answer begrudgingly. “It will probably be two or three more hours before I’m awake.”

He laughs at me, his “not a morning person!” wife.

It is six-thirty in the morning. We have just begun our p90x workout. I have been awake since six, giving myself enough time to change into my workout clothes, wash my face, eat a bowl of oatmeal and drink a bottle of water.

We begin our workout with a warm up and some stretching before moving on to yoga, kenpo, plyometrics, core synergistics and ab ripper x.

About fifteen minutes (into our sixty minute workout) later I am in plank position,  and still yawning. I do my pushup into upward dog and another pushup into downward dog…runners pose…warrior one…warrior two…reverse warrior. I am still yawning. My eyes are heavy (though I went to bed at eleven. Seven hours should be enough, right?) and for a moment I think, “Why am I doing this? Why am I doing pushups in my cold den, while it is still dark outside, when I could be in my toasty warm, cozy soft bed, still asleep and dreaming about flowers and butterflies and candy (cuz that’s what we always dream about, right?) Why am I wearing workout clothes when I could be wearing my pajamas? Why am I doing squats and lunges when I feel like I could literally lay down on this cold den floor and within minutes be right back asleep?…

But as quickly as these negative thoughts come, they are gone.

And I remember- I do this for me… for my health and my peace and my frame of mind. I do it so that the rest of my day can be better! I do it to make climbing our stairs easier, to make carrying around my thirty-four pound, one-year old son less painful, to make running (one of my most favorite things to do) that much more effortless. I do it to age well, I do it for my quality of life, I do it for my blood pressure. I do it to be a good example for my husband and my children, my family and my friends. I do it for the moment when I pull on my favorite pair of size four jeans…and they actually fit! I do it because it helps me sleep better, eat better, have better sex. I do it because it gives me more energy while somehow, also, making me more relaxed.

I workout because the five hours a week I spend doing it makes the other hundred and sixty-three so much better!

And I do it for those minutes of time when, with my blood pumping, my chest heaving and my muscles burning, I know, in every cell of my body: I am alive!

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