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On two months as gym-goer - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
On two months as gym-goer
I think two months is long enough to be absolutely certain that I am not a gym person. I go in nearly every day, and I still feel like I'm goddamned Mars, except that I'd like to go to Mars, and gym is more like purgatory.

Down fifteen pounds or so, which is about half a drop in the bucket. But hey, my jeans are too big, which is a good thing, except it means I have to buy new ones, and the gym is sucking too much money to do it.

I am convinced that the endorphin rush is a total urban myth. I've never felt anything remotely like an happiness in the gym, though there's a certain grim intellectual pleasure in each 10% completed on the treadmill every day. Each time I make it past the "Workout is 50% complete" mark, I grit my teeth and say, "All right, you made it this far, you may as well get through the rest." Okay, not the most inspiring of mottoes. But what the heck, it gets me through. And I've taken the steady speed of the workout from 3.2 miles an hour to 3.5 miles an hour on a cross country program with different inclines. (Yes, I am enough of a wuss that I'm actually pleased with myself for making it up to 3.5 miles an hour.) I was trying to go up to a jog for awhile--just a minute or two at a time--but it made my bad ankle hurt and my knees ached all day. I'm too fat to jog. Ergo, I walk 3.5 miles an hour.

More pleasurable is the fact that I'm apparently stronger than the skinny girls. Accidental Xena moment aside, I almost always raise the weight level if one of them was there before me. I may be fat, but I can lift between fifty and a hundred pounds, depending on which machine it is. I've added from ten to twenty pounds to each machine I use in the month I've been using them, even (finally, yesterday morning), the camber curl thing, which was a real challenge at first. And I manage all my stupid crunches, though that's such a lousy pain that I don't have any pleasure at all in it, though I've discovered it's quite comfy to rest lying down in the great big exercise ball between sets. Maybe I should get one of those to sleep on. (Not.)

Now, I have to cut down the calories more, because the weight loss is stalled. Blech. Too much that's easy to get quickly while I'm out is high-caloric.
37 comments or Leave a comment
ladylisse From: ladylisse Date: August 17th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. I did rowing crew for a year in college (six hours of exercise a day, seven days a week), and I still thought the gym was hell. I only got the rush when I was out on the water at 5 in the morning. The exercise bike? Evil and boring, which I didn't even think was possible.
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: August 18th, 2005 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep, I'm a rower, and I'm more or less the same. I don't mind exercise bikes, though. It's the ergos I hate. Probably because the splits mean something to me. Now I get insane urges to correct people I see rowing in the gym!
ladylisse From: ladylisse Date: August 18th, 2005 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm having erg flashbacks. *facedesk* I swear I had nightmares about those things during the winter.
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: August 18th, 2005 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep, so many nightmares! I don't know how ergos became quite so monstrous. Ergo tests were the worst, I used to feel so sick before hand.
ladylisse From: ladylisse Date: August 18th, 2005 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Twenty-minute ergathons in dank little gym basements. *shudder* And yet I only quit because my field work got in the way. The Seven Sisters regatta was so worth it.
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: August 18th, 2005 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
ooh, yes. We have a pokey corner of the gym and after a while you can barely breathe. My favourite time was when my coach made us do two 5ks back to back. I remember going out afterwards, my legs wobbling and my face bright pink for hours.

But yes, it's addictive. Most of my crew have left and I'm coming up to my final year, so I'm going to coach and scull next year. I'm really going to miss it.
straussmonster From: straussmonster Date: August 17th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I get the rush almost every time I go, except when I'm too tired but I go anyways. So I think it does exist, although it varies in strength.
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: August 17th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh. I've been going to the gym for two months, too, but I'm thinking about quitting. I haven't lost a single pound, and I've been working my butt off (not literally, unfortunately). No endorphin rush for me :( But good for you for losing 15 pounds! Keep at it!

Have you tried Weight Watchers? I have a bunch of recipes I could send you, if you want them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't do the cooking thing. I can, but it's too depressing to cook alone, eat alone, and then sit alone at my computer. I like Weight Watchers frozen dinners. But I can either pay for the gym or pay for a weight loss group. The budget doesn't stretch for both.
chienar From: chienar Date: August 18th, 2005 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I've not been doing the gym yet, I have been chasing the two year old however. I went to a mix of slim fast (which now has a nice online log book to track calories/fat/protein/etc.) and using Lean Cuisine dinners. I -have- to recommend the Chicken Tuscan and the Chicken Portabella, both are great.
pathstotread From: pathstotread Date: August 17th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
My "rush" comes the minute I'm done stretching and start walking back to the locker room. So, of course, that's probably just me being happy that the torture is bloody OVER for the evening. :)
threnody From: threnody Date: August 17th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

I know *I* can't made 3.5 miles an hour. I'm such crap on foot. Biking is much more my style. :P
rabidsamfan From: rabidsamfan Date: August 17th, 2005 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're still losing inches, then don't worry too much about the numbers on the scale. Muscle actually weighs more than fat, and you're doing a lot of weights, so you're adding muscle. The fat's still going, but the loss is hidden for a while. I did the same thing when I was in basic training and I still lost two dress sizes in six weeks. If it's any consolation, the weight training will keep you healthier longer than the aerobics. Certainly you'll have better bone density!

I had a fictional character once who got a model of Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite to use as inspiration when he worked out because all he had to do was look up to see someone who was in worse misery than he was...

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2005 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, now there's a thought!
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2005 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never feel peaceful and relaxed afterward. I just feel annoyed at having to do it, and hateful toward myself for getting into this shape.
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siegeofangels From: siegeofangels Date: August 17th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to run in the mornings on the basis that if I started the day with a run, whatever else happened to me during the course of the day didn't seem so bad, because at least I wasn't running.

Aren't you a public servant? There might be a gym or something that's free or discounted for you.

Congrats on the fifteen pounds, though!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2005 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
The gym I go to is at my bus stop, where I have no excuse not to go. If I have the slightest excuse--"It's more than a block from hooooome!"--I'll use the excuse. Can't go anywhere but where I am. For the same reason, I rented a locker, so that I will never be able to say, "Oh, drat, forgot my gym clothes, guess I'll just have to skip it." ;)

Because I'm that lazy.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 17th, 2005 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
More pleasurable is the fact that I'm apparently stronger than the skinny girls.

Because most of them are doing that completely frickin' ridiculous "low-weight, high-rep" thing. I stare at them waving their tiny pink 2.5-pound weights around and I think, "What in God's name do you think you're accomplishing?"
limegreen_sloth From: limegreen_sloth Date: August 18th, 2005 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Toning muscle and burning fat. My shoulders and back are broad enough as it is without adding extra muscle to them when all I want to do is get my fitness up and strip away a few of my wobbly bits.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I went over there. I'm glad to say that the first thing my trainer pointed out was to not fear being "overbuilt." I knew that one, but it's hard to get the image of the Hulk-ette out of one's mind, so it's always good to have it reinforced. Me, I like the machines because I'm very ungainly, and if something is entirely Fern-driven, it's not going to be driven at all. The machines force me to at least keep up with them. However, once I feel a bit stronger and steadier, I don't have any issues about switching to free weights, except for the possibility of dropping them on my toes. ;) I do like moving those pins, though. I was only twenty pounds behind a guy who looked he was taking one of them very, very seriously.

I opted to concentrate more on my upper body than my lower body weight-wise because my legs are getting a lot of excercise in the cardio part, but my arms, not so much. Also, my upper body just isn't as strong as my lower body, and it needs to be at least in the neighborhood.

I wish I believed in shortcuts, because I would very much like to just make the fat go away. Alas, I'm just not that gullible. ;) Also, some of the things that diet pills are supposed to do look scary... and that's before you get to the things that they do whether they're supposed to or not.
limegreen_sloth From: limegreen_sloth Date: August 19th, 2005 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the link. I've been using smaller weights while I was on the treadmill to get my heart working a bit harder, but now I'm convinced to go get the cute instructor at the gym to help me out with the bigger stuff.

...Okay, so maybe that last bit didn't take that much convincing.
danaedark From: danaedark Date: August 18th, 2005 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
:loud applause:

Congrats to you! That's awesome, and now I feel very lazy and guilty about *not* keeping my resolution to start going to the gym. You have inspired me, and I will *make* mayself start asap. Go Fern!
antonia_east From: antonia_east Date: August 18th, 2005 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I understand how you feel. I used to hate the gym with a passion, but it was the only exercise I got so I made myself go. I row at university, though, and that's got me sort of fit - boat fit at least. This summer I've been trying to get to the gym, mainly for something to do, and for the first time I'm appreciating the rush you get from it. I do love putting the weights up, as well. The best times in when men come along after I've been on a weight machine, get on, try it, and then have to put it down. Doesn't happen all that often, but rowing means I have strong legs at least.

As for changing your diet, have you thought about changing the times you eat? It's better if you eat high-calory foods earlier in the day, and don't eat late at night. So speaks the girl who's just eaten pasta at one am!
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: August 18th, 2005 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
*15* pounds! You go girl. I am now doing those Popeye-style "Salami, salami, baloney" thingies to you. Oh, wow, Gymming for two whole months. That's a brilliant achievement in itself - a bigger one than the 15 pounds, I think.

And hey - did you ever try those 5-small-meals-a-day things? It works for me! I haven't excercised in a ridiculously long time, but I'm still losing weight because I eat my meals split up into snack-sized portions. Seriously. Still eating the same stuff, the same amount, but I s'pose I don't snack as much because every couple of hours I eat a frickin' meal. But it works, so hey.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure how it would work with my lifestyle (I'm trying very hard to find a regimen that fits with the way I live, so I don't screw it up), but it could be worth a try (the mini-meals, I mean).
rabidtolkienfan From: rabidtolkienfan Date: August 18th, 2005 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Ewww, gyms = teh scary
Go you for losing 15 pounds! :)
And I totally agree that the endorphin rush is an urban myth; exercise is torture! :p
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stella_by_moor From: stella_by_moor Date: August 18th, 2005 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I hate the gym as well. I don't know anyone who likes going - it's just the results we're all after ^_^

Congrats on the results though! You seem to know what works for you, just keep at it and don't let the plateau get you down. (By the by, the endorphin rush is real, but it's definitely a YMMV thing. I get a huge rush whenever I work out, but I know plenty of people who just hurt and feel miserable.)
From: anatomiste Date: August 18th, 2005 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Each time I make it past the "Workout is 50% complete" mark, I grit my teeth and say, "All right, you made it this far, you may as well get through the rest."

Me too! Except when I'm on the elliptical machine, which is smooth enough that I can put Scientific American over the readout screen and happily learn about prehistoric mammals until it beeps at me.
marukka From: marukka Date: August 18th, 2005 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
The best thing about reaching the point where you start replacing weight in fat with the weight in muscle mass is that it's a rolling snowball effect. Muscle tissue in itself will constantly require energy even when you don't use it actively, so you'll use more energy even when not excersising. But that also means it's not a very good idea to cut your energy intake too much (unless you're still eating junk food,I guess) and one of the worst thing to do when still trying to build up muscle. Stumptuos.com still has a frame layout, but the "eating" section has some really damned good advice for strength training.
super_pan From: super_pan Date: August 18th, 2005 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fifteen lbs in 2 months is an amazing accomplishment. And if you're not getting the endorphine rush, then you're missing one of the best reasons for excercising. It may be that you've picked an excercise that you don't enjoy so much, or that is not getting your heart rate up enough. I reccomend the elliptical trainer, because it has less impact on your joints than a treadmill, and you can go faster (I also recommend not so much resistance at first), elavating your heart rate up more. Anyway, it's great to work out, but you should find something you enjoy. Working out straight up makes me happy, and I hate for someone to miss out on that feeling.
lyras From: lyras Date: August 18th, 2005 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I understand how you feel; my favourite exercise is running outdoors, but get me on a treadmill and all my energy disappears instantly. I do use the gym for cross-training (so as not to injure my legs, basically) and weights, though.

Congratulations, though, on losing the fifteen pounds! You're obviously doing something very right to have achieved that. If the weight loss has stalled temporarily (which often happens when you put on muscle, as others have said), maybe you could use your hip & waist measurements to spur you on? I bet they're still going down!

If you're looking for motivation, have you see fanaticize? They've just opened up sign-ups for September if you're interested.
super_pan From: super_pan Date: August 18th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah, I just now read someone mention stretching; it is important to end with stretching, because that is the final step that wrings all the tension out of your body.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: August 18th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fifteen pounds? Go you!

And a walking speed of 3.5 miles an hour? Wow! I clocked myself once; I can do 4.4 miles in 87 minutes comfortably, which works out to three miles an hour even. I don't do jogging/running--it makes my knees and ankles ache and very quickly the shin-splints I acquired during high school marching band kick in and make running pure pain. But walking, yes, that's good.

I should do weight-training, and crunches and other ab exercises would be good for my riding (should I be able to afford to resume it this fall), but I'm so lazy....

I think you should be proud of yourself!
37 comments or Leave a comment