Many people might not care, but I’m revisiting my health progress as it pertains to going to the gym. Part of this is a little bit of narcissism; part of this is accountability; and part of this is just sharing the realities of what working out is all about. It could help someone, entertain someone, or bore someone to death; this blog is called I’m Just Sharing after all.
It seems the last time I wrote about the health club at all was back in July; I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’m betting y’all thought I had given it up and gone back to the bad stuff. Well, there have been some changes, so let’s get to it. By the way, that’s not me; even I can’t lie that well. lol
I’m still going to the gym. I’m going 4 to 6 times a week still; it’s hard to believe. I find that I actually like going, mainly because of my MP3 player and all the songs I have on there. I really hadn’t had that much time to listen to all the songs I have on my computer, and the time I’m at the gym allows me to listen to many of them. Sometimes I go twice a day, once in the morning then again when my wife gets home. Sometimes our Friday night date night is spent at the gym; now that’s sad!
I finally lost some pounds, though not close to what I want to lose. I had talked about joining the health club and gaining 9 pounds; what the hey? Well, it wasn’t until I went on a metabolic eating plan that I started losing weight. I’ve lost about 15 pounds, which is fine except all it accounts for is losing the weight I gained and then a little bit more. But my doctor is happy with it and I’ll take what I can get.
The biggest change has been inches. Truthfully, I look at myself and still see the same guy. But last weekend I put on my suit for a funeral and was stunned at how nice it fit. When I got on the plane to fly to Ft. Lauderdale I was amazed at how much more room I had in the seat and with the seatbeat; that felt nice. Many people who haven’t seen me in awhile say they see a big difference; I’ll take that. The measurements don’t lie; I’ve lost at least 4 inches everywhere on my body except my neck and calves. There’s no exercise for the neck, and my calves were already rock hard and have remained so, only losing about an inch.
My glucose readings still fluctuate, depending on how well I’m following the metabolic plan. Sometimes I drop too low; that’s never good, but it’s my fault. A part of this plan, oddly enough, is making sure I eat enough food so my body has something to burn. When I was doing well I was only having one dessert a week. Well, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with that, but I’m not eating it every night or day, and that’s a big step forward, though the cravings are hard to overcome.
Anyway, that’s my tale. I now find that I miss those days when I can’t exercise; who’d have thought? And I like the loss of inches, even if it’s not fully translating into weight loss. My wife says it’s coming if I keep it up; we’ll see.
By this time some of you know that I joined a health club. My story about my experience with the hot tub was one of my most read posts of June.
I have to say that I went into all of this with some preconceived notions, which seemed to be justified. After all, I did belong to a health club, this same one in fact, from 1988 to 1992. The thing is, that’s about the age of most kids getting ready to go to college, 18 years, and obviously a few things stayed the same, but many things have changed. And some thoughts I had going in aren’t the same as they were when I joined either. So, I figured I would share my 10 truths about health clubs to see if people agree, disagree, or whatever emotion it garners.
1. It does take more than just exercising to start seeing real changes. This means that even if I did 1,000 stomach crunches a day and ran 10 miles a day that there probably wouldn’t be all that much difference in my body if I didn’t change how I ate; that stinks! Yeah, I know we already read about this concept of diet and exercise, but if you weren’t doing either one wouldn’t you think that just adding one of these would still be a pretty significant change? We first visited the health club on May 7th, signed up for the free 7 day trial on May 9th and started working out on that day; that’s 59 days ago. I went in with two main goals; lose weight and bring glucose down. To date, I’ve not lost any weight except for the 9 pounds I gained within weeks after starting. My glucose hasn’t come down one bit. However, I have lost an inch off my stomach and hips. I also gained 3 1/2 inches on my left thigh and an inch on my right; that wasn’t supposed to happen. So I’ve backed off weights for my legs, kicked up stomach crunches because a smaller stomach isn’t a bad thing, work on reaching my cardio heart rate goal, and modified my eating habits a bit.
2. Once you get used to a routine, you’re supposed to change it up so you start hurting again. Okay, soreness, since that’s what they prefer you to say, but so be it. This means always increasing either the weight or the number of reps. They say if you’re not feeling any discomfort after awhile then you’re not really doing anything. Bah!
3. Guys are bigger than they used to be. You know, I’m not a small guy. When I used to go to the health club, I was never a big muscle guy. But the guys who were big muscle guys were pretty much my size, just more muscular. These days, young people are bigger and taller than we were, and thus when they work out they’re absolutely huge. I have to admit that I hadn’t noticed that kind of size difference in guys until I joined the health club; that’s somewhat intimidating, and I’m not used to that. I have to keep reminding myself when I’m alone that there’s no way I can get that big, so don’t even try.
4. Women are still hot. I’m glad that didn’t change, but something you see more these days are these really tall ladies who get on the treadmills and run like the wind. When I was originally going it was always the short ladies who ran on treadmills, so that’s another change.
5. Men don’t wear socks anymore; they wear “socklets”. When did this happen? I don’t pay any attention to fashion, but my wife tried talking me out of wearing my regular athletic socks the one day I decided to show up in shorts. I wore them anyway, then found that only myself and one man probably in his 70’s were wearing them like that. I always thought ankle socks were for little girls; I am still freaking out about this one. I now only wear sweats so my long socks stay hidden; the socklets just feel, well, weird. Maybe one day I’ll get used to it; maybe not.
6. You just can’t look cool while working out. Okay, this one I think I already knew, because I certainly didn’t look all that cool when I used to work out. But I’m coming to grips with some things that I just can’t do; my wife hasn’t really learned this one, though. For instance, I used to participate in a high impact aerobics class; that’s not happening for me. My wife has not only tried going into one of those, but she also went into one of those weight classes and then a yoga/pilates class and injured herself badly enough to need medical treatment and a week or rest. I have to fight all the time walking over and yanking the heaviest weights like I see the younger folks doing. I know I can get it up; heck, until I realized I wanted my thighs getting smaller I was pushing 300 pounds. But that’s not me, so for me, it’s lower weights, more reps, and not looking cool but not hurting myself either.
7. At a certain point in one’s life, they just learned not to care what others think. I admit it, I have some body issues. One on one, I can suppress them, since I like massage. In public, though, it’s just not happening with me. In the hot tub story I talked about men with no behinds. Well, you see all sorts of stuff in a health club that equals or comes close to that; almost nothing will surpass it. You find yourself often wanting to say “cover that up”, but it is what it is.
8. People are nasty. Okay, this is a different direction, and maybe my wife and I are just fastidious people. At the end of using a piece of equipment, we wipe stuff down. There’s a sign asking people to do that. However, almost no one does it, and that’s just nasty. Some machines I actually wipe down before I use them. If there’s head sweat involved I wipe them down. If there’s the potential that I might have followed a heavy back sweating person, I wipe that piece of equipment down first. It can’t be an only child thing since my wife is one of 7, but she’s also in health care and knows sterilization processes, and she’s not having it. I’m not either; ick!
9. There’s a fine line between knowing your limits and suddenly being beyond them. The people at the health club are always saying to step it up. Well, I’ve seen some people stepping it up to the point where suddenly there’s a “pop” and, uh-oh, we won’t be seeing you for a few weeks. Frankly, one of the gripes I have about the health club is that the only training you’re going to get at all is if you pay for it after your first complimentary session. I’ve seen people doing things that my mind has said “someone should show that person how to use that thing”. Heck, the first week that “person” was myself and my wife, the supposed health club expert. When I was younger, I’d just do a machine I didn’t know how to use and risk the consequences; these days, I look and study, and if I can’t figure it out, I’m not using it. I think there should be a trainer on hand at least during peak periods, walking around and making sure people are using the equipment properly.
10. Smoothies are refreshing; are they healthy? Seems it depends on who you ask and who’s making them. This young lady who I get mine from, and only if she’s working, has learned that I won’t drink it if there’s not enough chocolate in it. She’s also stopped adding yogurt to mine and makes it only with ice; tastes good to me. She says it’s saving me at least 150 calories, and she’s adding something in it called “burn”, which is supposed to keep my metabolic system burning more calories throughout the day. I have no clue, and I’m not going to worry about it. Taste, especially chocolate, rules my life.
There you go; long post, but that’s what it takes to get through 10 points. If you belong to a health club, do you see any of these things yourself?
On Friday the 21st I decided that for the first time ever I was going to try the hot tub at the health club my wife and I just joined. I get all my stuff together at the house, mainly because this means I’m going to have to change at the club after I do my workout, and then change again after I’ve gotten out of the hot tub. Normally I just wear what I’m going to workout in and then come back home.
We go to the club, my wife and I, and we do our workout route. Then I decide I’m going to try the hot tub while she works out some more. I go into the locker room to change, and… before I go any further I just have to say there is no other ways for me to describe some of what I’m going to say so you just going to have to go with me here.
I’m in the locker room, and I’m changing into my hot tub stuff. I decided that I am not sharing all of this body with all of these people I don’t know in public until I get into better shape, so I decide I’m wearing a shirt into the hot tub; stop laughing. Also, I haven’t been in real swimming trunks since 1976, since I can’t swim, and I wasn’t feeling all that comfortable with “the boys” hanging out without being in underwear, so I wore underwear under my swimwear.
The rules say you have to shower before you get into the hot tub, so I had my first shower ever with a shirt and underwear on. Across from me is this older white guy, with his back towards me. I finally had a question answered that I’ve wondered about for many many years that I really wish I hadn’t had answered. That question has always been about white men’s sunken behinds. My wife and I see them walking down the street or in the stores or many other places, in pants with a belt and no behind, and we often wondered where the heck the behind is and how they keep their pants on. Well, I’m facing this older guys sunken behind, him totally naked, and my eyes aren’t appreciating it one bit. It reminded me of the only bit of the show Sex & The City that I saw where this woman had sex with an older man and thought maybe her beliefs in dating older men were wrong until she saw him walking away from her. Oy!
Then he decides to turn around, and now I’m facing the front of him. My eyes immediately went up to his head so I didn’t have to see his private parts, which probably would have freaked me out even more. This is a guy who you know has been working out at the club because at least he’s got a chest. The bottom of this chest immediately shrunk into this space that supposed to have a stomach, only I couldn’t notice one. I was totally freaked! I finished my shower as quickly as I could and got out of there.
Now it’s hot tub time. I set my towel and my glasses and the key to the locker I was using down in a chair and proceed to the hot tub, which is set at 103 degrees. I had to get used to that, which involved four steps to the bottom of the hot tub, me pausing at every step, finding out that the fourth step, which is to the bottom of the thing, was the longest drop down. Once totally in, the water is around the top of my stomach; this was about a 90 second process. I walk myself all the way to the back, as there was this guy standing in the middle of the thing to one side, and I had planned on settling down there.
However, within a couple of minutes my eyes were burning, and we speculated later that it was the chlorine coming from the pool, and possibly the hot tub, which was causing me all this distress. This meant I had to get back out of the hot tub, grab my towel and the rest of the stuff, put it near the area where it was originally sitting, and get back into the hot tub. Mission accomplished, and now I’m sitting in the hot tub and relaxing. Or so I was hoping, because let me tell you, that hot tub was kicking my behind. My knees were loving it, but the rest of me wasn’t quite sure. The jets are very powerful, and I wasn’t prepared for anything like that. I did stay in about 10 minutes however, just to be a man about it, but when I got out I felt just like I had done another full workout. I was whipped, but me being me, you know the adventure wasn’t over.
Time to go back into locker room. Over where the lockers are the floor’s all rug, and I now know that I’m going to have to take some of the stuff off and wring out in the wet area before I go back to the lockers. As I look into the locker area, the original guy I saw is still there, and now there’s another white guy there, and I’m seeing the back of him and he’s also got a sunken white behind. I’m freaked again! Anyway, I take my shirt off first and I wring it out in the shower area and set it down. Then I take off my swimming trunks and I wring them out and set him down. Now, I haven’t been in a locker room or shower naked around any other guys since probably 1991 or 1992, which was the last time I belonged to a health club, and I’m not feeling it this time around. So I dried myself off as much as possible and went to my locker.
I was all alone by the locker with no one else around and I reached into the locker and grabbed some dry underwear, whisked off what I had really quickly and dried myself just as quickly, and pulled on new underwear. Mission accomplished; whew! Then I got dressed and put back together, all the while feeling extremely drained and tired. When I finally got back out to the lobby, where my wife was waiting for me, I felt like I could barely move. I ordered us a couple of smoothies, which helped put some life back into my body. Probably one of the issues is that I hadn’t had anything to drink while working out or while I was in the hot tub, and I was probably dehydrated.
At some point I know I’m going to go back into the hot tub again, but I certainly hope I don’t see what I saw before, and I also hope I’m smart enough to at least take some water in with me to see if that helps out some. Why can’t a hot tub be more like a Jacuzzi?
As y’all know, two weeks ago I wrote about joining a health club. It’s actually been 3 weeks of working out, and I thought I’d share some things with y’all to this point.
Frankly, I feel a lot like this cat most of the time. I keep having people tell me “it’s only been 3 weeks” or something goofy like that, but man, I’m about as tired all the time as I was before I started working out, only the reason I’m tired is different. And I’m sore all the time as well; okay, that’s not quite accurate. I’m either sore or tight, feeling like I need to constantly stretch, and when I do stretch nothing happens. This is where my dream of being rich comes back into play because I’d have a full time massage therapist (someone told me I should stop saying ‘masseuse’ because Americans supposedly don’t like being called that) to take care of these types of things.
Not counting today, I’ve been a participant with this health club for 21 days. Out of those 21 days I’ve gone 17. Some people have said that’s too many days, but I’m looking for results. Now, out of these same 21 days I’ve worked out twice at the club on the same day twice, and another time after spending 90 minutes at the club I then went on a 90 minute walk at the lake. So, out of 21 days I’ve had 20 hard work out sessions; whew! Saturday was the first day when I really did absolutely nothing except feel some pain; okay, I’m supposed to say ‘sore’.
What am I doing? My routine always starts the same; walking around the track. My knees hate me from all those years of bowling, so I try to get them warmed up for what’s coming next. Sometimes it’s only 3 to 5 times around the track; sometimes it’s 15 to 20 minutes. Doesn’t matter to me; I walk until my knees say they’re ready for the next stage.
Here’s where deviation comes in, and this is one of those points that all my “expert” friends keep throwing at me. They say you have to shake things up because your body gets used to the same routine over and over. I think it’s kind of early for my body to be used to anything, but so be it. There are different things I could do and different things I actually do. There are two different sets of workout machines, some of which I mentioned in the first post. I know how to use one set completely; the other set, my wife and I are learning a piece here and there. I finally figured out how to use the one piece of equipment that’s supposed to help tighten my abs, and I’m up to 100 sit ups on that one, though my stomach screams at me each time I’m finished. I mix up the weights; sometimes I do very low weights but lots of reps, 30 or more, other times I do heavier weights, usually 10 reps.
Do I know what I’m doing? Heck no! Am I showing any progress? Well, it depends on what you want to look at. My wife and I didn’t take any measurements when we first started, so I have no idea if I’m smaller now compared to 3 weeks ago. However, we did have measurements from last June, and I’m smaller in some areas and not smaller in other areas. My stomach hasn’t shrunk one bit. My thighs have fallen drastically, which isn’t bad, but my shoulders have gotten larger; not quite what I want, but it’s not so problematic. My weight hasn’t gone down a single pound, and my glucose is still pretty high, although on the days where I worked out twice I’ve had a low number after the second one. And all my other measurements are pretty much the same as last year; oh well, at least I still have something to work towards, right?
I was asked if I’ve changed my eating habits. I keep saying I thought if I worked out that it was supposed to overcome my eating habits. I guess not; seems to indicate that if I changed my eating habits it would work much better than just working out. Frankly, this might be a lot of ado about nothing, but who really knows? I can’t say I feel better, but I can say that I’ve felt better than I do with the soreness. However, I’m still giving it the full 60 days to see if there are any real benefits, so don’t fuss as me for not giving it a real shot. And I expect within a couple of weeks to modify my eating habits in some fashion; hey, I’ve already given up my 1:30AM meal (y’all know I stay up late).
Oh yeah, the hot tub; that’s a tale for later in the week. So stay tuned.