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Come on in - the water's fine!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I have to admit, I'm feeling *much* better now. I may still *look* like a lump, but I feel stupendous!

It took a bit of doing to break the pattern of the last several months, but I am slowly getting back into the swing of the healthy lifestyle.

For the first few days, I simply made it a point to do *something* healthy each day - cook something delicious and yet healthy, walk maybe 20 minutes, get more sleep. That last one is a BIG one for me - I hadn't realised how terribly sleep-deprived I'd allowed myself to get, but again, once I started paying attention, the pieces just seemed to fall into place, so I am now back to getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night.

The difference? Almost instantaneous. I am smiling more, more relaxed even at work.

And I am actually eager to get in some exercise each day.

This week, I walked either to or from work 3 days in a row, 4-ish miles each day. And on one of those days, I actually stopped at a branch of the gym I like best in town ...

That was funny, actually.

I'd already decided I want a membership, but my prior experience with gyms in general and this gym in particular made me dread the usual obligatory welcome interview and assessment .... all very useful, I am sure, but a dreadful waste of an hour or more while they extol how the gym will change my life.

I decided to buck the system.

Walked up to the reception desk and asked the girl if they had any membership specials going on. She immediately launched into her script of "oh, let me go get one of our associates" - I cut her off (I am *never* that rude) and said, "look, I've got 5 minutes: if you can get someone to me in that time, I'll sign up, but I really have things to do".

I must have looked as if I meant it, because she led me over to a chair to wait, and within 3 minutes, I had an associate introducing himself to me.


Well, given how well that had worked, I decided I was going to play this whole thing my way: promptly started before he could even get beyond the introductions, told him I've already been a member of this gym before, know exactly what I want, just give me the best rate you have.

He gawped for a minute, wrapping his head about the concept of not needing to convince me that I need the membership, not having to hype the gym.

Then, fortunately, he fell into the flow.

Produced the paperwork, told me the essentials (price per month, no initiation fee, one month free with a one-year contract) and I promptly signed it.

That was it. Done.

I have to say, that was the most fun transaction I've done in a long time - I think I will be keeping that attitude for ALL transactions I do now ... so far, I've only used it to get things done at work. Gee: focus, attention and knowing exactly what I want gets me exactly the results I want.

Think that could work for health, too?

You BET!

The next morning, I walked to work again, only this time, I walked to the "Ladies only" branch of this gym, since all I wanted was a quick lifting session - I've been away from the weights long enough that I know I need to ease back into it. All I was going to do? Barbell squats, calf raises, lat pulldowns and bench presses.


It's a "women's" gym.

Which apparently means only machines!

The only free weights are a bunch of dumbells (topping out at 30 pounds!!!), ONE squat rack (not cage, just a rack) with "pretty" plates ... what would be a 25-lb plate on a normal cage is replaced by a ten pound plate of the same diameter, and all I saw were 2, 5, 10 and 25 pound plates.

No lat pull down machine.

No bench-press setup.

No, I am NOT going to do bench presses without the stand ... I know I am not strong enough to risk that right now.

I considered leaving and heading to the other branch, just half a block away, but that would mean going downstairs, dressing again (it's too cool now in Toronto to just walk over without my jacket), and going through the whole rigmarole again.

So I did squats. Olympic bar only for 2 sets, then added 2 ten pound plates and did my final set. That was TOUGH. Which only emphasizes how much strength I've lost: I used to easily squat 135 lbs the last time I was at the gym, and now I'm having trouble with 55 pounds. Oh, well. I'll work back up to that and beyond.

Threw in some upright rows for my back and a few very wobbly pushups ... geeze, I can barely do ONE proper pushup right now, and just a few months ago I was doing ten at a time! And when I was really enjoying the 100-pushups challenge, I had got up to 60 good-form pushups ...


It is what it is, and it's certainly no surprise to me that I am out of shape. And now I'm working on getting back *in* shape.

Yesterday, I decided against lifting (can you say major DOMS? it really has been too long) and voted for the pool instead.

There's only one branch of this gym downtown that has a pool, and it's far enough from home to be inconvenient, not to mention they have aquafit classes first thing in the morning AND again starting at 5, so it's rare to get a chance to do laps in the pool.

So Thursday, I warned my boss and the team that I'd be working from home yesterday, and ONLY until 2.

At 2, I changed and headed to the gym, getting there by 3:20. No, it's not an hour from home, it's only about 20 minutes, but it took that long for me to gather up all the odds and ends I need (comb, flip-flops, change of clothes, something to keep my long hair out of my eyes ...)

By 3:30, I was in the pool ... it felt heavenly! And only 2 other lanes were occupied out of the 5 lanes, so I knew I could stay in as long as I wanted (there's a 20-minute limit if people are waiting).

I had a goal: 5 laps (to the end and back each time).

I did ONE lap and thought I'd be lucky to get in two laps. I was exhausted. Not to mention, scared about the deep end - I'm a self-taught swimmer, and while I know intellectually that my body will float, I also knew yesterday that my cardiovascular capacity may not be good enough to get me all the way to the far end AND back out to the shallow end in one go, so I was a tad worried.

But I did it. Forced myself to swim all the way over (not very far, but it FELT vast!) ... all of 25 metres! :)

Yep. I'm a wuss.

But I did it, and clung, panting to the edge when I got there. Swimming back was MUCH easier, because I knew I'd be out of the deep side in just 12 strokes or so.

By the time I'd completed that first lap, I was doubting my sanity: 5 laps on the first day back in the pool???

But I knew I wasn't just going to get out of the pool yet - it felt SO good to be back in the water.

So I did a bunch of exercises, just kicking with my legs, some at an angle that I could feel was working my obliques, some with my head underwater - I'm no good at holding my breath, but am working on that, too. ;)

Finally, built up enough lung capacity to want to try a second lap ... this time, I wasn't scared of the deep - yay! AND I didn't stay more than a few seconds (okay, maybe half a minute) clinging to the far edge before I swam back.

Played some more in the shallow end, swam halfway down the pool and back several times (only in the shallow end, of course). Then I decided to do ONE more lap.

Swam to the deep end, clung there, and discovered that leg exercises in the deep end are even more fun! So I did a bunch of kicks and twists - all great fun. Swimming back was tiring now, but fun.

And then I did two more laps, just because I could.

I probably could have managed a few more laps, but I had achieved my goal, PLUS a lot of additional unplanned exercises, had been in the pool for about 40 minutes, and the pool was now getting busy.

Hauled myself out of the water and treated myself to ten minutes stretched out in the dry sauna ... bliss!

Showered, changed, headed home, completely relaxed.

Did I mention I love the gym? emoticon

Today is a rest day, and tomorrow may wind up being a cardio-only day. I think I will save lifting for weekdays, splitting it into a 3-2 routine.

Yes, I am back!

BTW: RHR 58 ...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love getting in a hot sauna! I love your description of swimming. It makes me contemplate swimming again too. If I'm still around in May, maybe I'll pay the daily fee to swim in the Rec center pool. It's outdoors and not heated so I'm going to wait until the water warms up. Happy sparking!
    3209 days ago
    I love the pool. I am starting a membership to the YMCA in January. I am going for the pool. I try to keep my head out of the water, even at my home pool...I color my gray/white hair blonde and I am not fond of a green tint I get when chlorine touches it. I can get a great workout in the pool and my joints don't hurt when I get out. I know they have a dry sauna too....I forgot about that until you mentioned it.
    Enjoy your workouts!
    3209 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12442037
    Sounds like you have a great attack plan in place!

    emoticon emoticon
    3209 days ago
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