Friday, May 3, 2013

Post-Workout Euphoria: a follow-up

English: Mid drive fluid motion quantum ellipt...
English: Mid drive fluid motion quantum elliptical trainer. A mid drive crosstrainer has the driving cranks centered under the user. A front drive elliptical hsa the driving cranks located at the front of the unit and the rear drive has the cranks at the rear of the unit. Houston Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In response to my post about exercise, Dawn left a lengthy and really insightful comment, and I felt the only way to do it justice was to devote a post to it.

I don't want to quote at length, because this isn't a guest post on her part and internet rights are weird, so I'll just touch on the points:

She asks what kinds of exercise I'm doing.  Right now, it's largely alternating between weight-training with Chris, which probably isn't the best routine since we're of different biological sexes and have different fitness goals, and cardio.  I'm currently using a couch-to-5k app, and once I finish the training program, I plan to treat myself to the Zombies, Run! app. Zombies aside, these are chores. Do laundry, cook dinner, go to gym, wash dishes. 

What have I rejected?  Pretty much all organized sports. I suck at them, pretty much consistently, so if our team has any interest in winning, I sit on the bench.  And that's a lot of money and boredom to sit around.  I can do that at home and get some knitting done.

Plus, there are sports I  just don't really know how to play, and Google has not found me many instructional leagues for people over the age of 6.

She (and other people not commenting on this blog) mentioned yoga. I've never done yoga, and my gym doesn't offer it, so I'm wary of joining a yoga studio on top of my gym membership. And Netflix doesn't stream exercise videos anymore. Now, if you know of a good one for beginners on YouTube, I'll check it out...

Learning new things is rough.  I'm very wary of taking on the expense and commitment if I don't know I'm going to enjoy it.  I suppose if something was a good enough workout, I could cancel my gym membership, but I don't know... Then again, I've lost track of how many sports leagues Chris participates in (at least basketball, softball, and he just added soccer, although never more than two leagues a season,  plus he's in the New York Road Runners),so maybe our budget would allow a class of some sort, if I'm smart about it.

I'm well aware that comparing myself to people at my gym is a bad idea -- what's the saying?  Never compare your insides to someone else's outsides?  But the gym is largely about "outsides", so that's tough. And I suspect part of the problem is when I go -- I try to avoid the right-after-work rush, so I mostly see people who aren't trying to stay fit while working around a day job, but instead people for whom this is, well, life. I'm never going to look like that, because I don't want it to be my life.

I'm frustrated with my progress because, while I know, on paper, I'm doing  well (the amounts I can lift are consistently going up! I can run for longer stretches of time than ever!), I feel like I look worse, and I have yet to notice any health benefits -- I'm not sleeping better, I'm not less anxious, I'm no more coordinated, I'm not more energetic, I'm not seeing any increase in mood or memory,  my acne hasn't improved, my immune system isn't any better, and dagnabbit, my pants still don't fit!

Now, Chris makes the valid point that I don't have a solid goal to work toward.  He wants to reach his college peak; I've surpassed mine, in terms of lifting and running, and I'll never see it again in terms of weight. But being the strongest I've ever been is still, objectively, pretty darn weak.  I think he's right -- I need a goal.  Thoughts?

Thanks again, Dawn.  You've given me a lot to think about.

 Updated 9/24/15 to fix typos. 

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