Saturday, November 21, 2015

Working Out, Part 2: The Unfattening

See this post was going to be all about how I battled through a back injury, recovered, reinjured it later carrying cat litter, and even suffered through a stomach bug, but you know what? That’s not really a great thing to talk about. Because who the hell cares? The point is it hurt and I had to deal with it because that’s just part of life. I will say that a big part of dealing with it was a massage from my friend/massage therapist extraordinaire Mike Gray, who, in an hour, made me go from feeling like this:

To feeling like this:

If you ever need some help in that area, let me know. I'll get you Mike Gray's contact info!


On to the real point of this post: Going to the gym.

The truth is the hardest part about working out is putting on pants. I’m not even kidding. Because pants are the enemy. I mean, I’m sure I could go to Orangetheory Fitness in a toga to workout. People would look a little askance at my outfit, but let me workout anyway. That’s because they’re awesome though. I actually had a woman concede the point this past week when I confessed that I was exhausted. She nodded sagely, ‘Well you’ve already got pants on, so the hard part is done.’ Perhaps the studio (that’s what OTF calls it) needs to consider a pants-free workout?

Maybe not.

Anyway, let’s go back a few weeks. I had a realization after a few weeks of just simply treadmilling my workouts. No other activities, basically because I was trying to baby my back (which is sort of like Baby Got Back, only no Becky.) At one point Wes (one of the trainers) pointed out that it’s an easy trap to fall into and that maybe I should just try a little to push myself further, all while listening to my body. If it hurt, and more than just you know, ‘Ew, exercise!’ I needed to stop. But if it was just uncomfortable because I love nachos and sitting on my ass? That’s a bearable level of exertion. So I did. And I actually started to see results on my speeds on the treadmill. Heidi (another trainer) made the point of mentioning that hills could put strain on my lower back (where I was injured) so I was mindful of not putting too much incline on me, but I kept increasing my speed…...sometimes rapidly, say when there was a trainer around.

You know we all do it.

It was a couple weeks after my back injury that Mike (another trainer) showed me some stretches I could do--even in bed before I got up in the morning. This is what I love about Orange--he knew I was trying to increase my range of motion, he helped me, and I didn’t feel shy or dumb for asking for the help.

So every morning I started disrupting the cats with my stretches. I’d bend this way and that, Cheddar and Colby would run from one end of the bed to the other, extremely disgruntled. As I eased into the floor exercises (utilizing weights, straps, mats, and other tools for torture exercise,) the team showed me modified exercises to help keep me in the game, especially when things looked like this:

What is that even, fit people? You are outside of your minds. Mike told me that as long as I kept moving, that was all he cared about. If it meant doing jumping jacks while people were doing a form of push up that should be reserved for prisoners, so be it.

Anyway, something weird happened. While I was pushing myself harder on the treadmill, I noticed that I would feel like I was dying, what with the exercise and all, when suddenly I would… not be dying. It would only last 30 seconds or so, but it wasn’t just a mental thing. My heart monitor reflected that indeed, I was doing something besides dying. My heart rate would drop slightly, and I’d have this feeling that I can only describe as comfortable. What is that, y’all? If it’s a runner’s high, I call bullshit, because y’all made it sound like that lasted a lot longer than 30 seconds and that it felt way nicer.

Another interesting thing happened to me, this one far more recently. I was wearing a pair of jeans that were admittedly kind of loose. And then I was almost not wearing the jeans, and a good number of people found out I have some really cute turquoise underwear. Related: I am now in the market for a belt.

It’s been over a month of working out. I haven’t lost weight--in fact I think I’m up 2 pounds, but my pants don’t fit. So that’s progress, I guess? The real issue is consistency on my part. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve let my physical maladies and life in general sidetrack me a few times.

Recently someone asked me if I liked working out and without missing a beat I replied, ‘No.’ They were confused. I went on to explain: I don’t like working out. I will never be that person. But I like working out at Orangetheory Fitness and I love both the people who work there and those who participate in the workouts. We’re a team, all of us, and I have never felt more supported as I do when I’m there, ugly sweating all over the treadmill with the person to my left quietly cussing, the person to my right singing along with the music, and Mike dancing around behind us. It’s actually quite inspiring, all of it. So no, I don’t like working out, but damn it, I love working out with these people.

If you’re ever interested in hearing more about the studio, I definitely recommend you give ‘em a ring. If that feels intimidating, you can always drop me a line!

I was talking to my friend Kat, who runs regularly with a club of some sort. She’s been preparing for a death march half marathon and very kindly read my last post. She shared a thought with me that really stuck with me. Running isn’t anymore fun for her than it is for me--and she’s very fit. She described exercise as being kind of like brushing your teeth; it’s not something you enjoy, but it’s you’re supposed to do. After that I stopped exercising AND brushing my teeth. Kidding, kidding. But she makes a great point.

So I’m going to keep working hard. I’m going to keep putting on pants. I’m going to keep stretching. I’m going to keep moving. And I’m going to keep exercising--because like brushing my teeth, it’s what I’m supposed to do.

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