Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I lifted 325,719 lbs. and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!

It's a slow day here in blogland, so I'll use the excuse to toot my own horn a bit. Indulge me.


I've been going to the Y for months now and have actually (gack!) learned to enjoy exercising. I love the Y. I'd thought of joining a gym in the past, but could never get past the idea of all that spandex and lycra and all those muscleheads and really skinny blondes. Not my sort of scene. Not to mention what you have to pay to a gym for the torture of lifting weights or taking a spinning class or whatever.

I looked into the local Y (
mostly for yoga classes) and found that they offered a really great discount for volunteer firemen and their families. Bingo! $31 a month and I have use of the whole place and the pools and the hot tub and whatever classes I like whenever I can manage to drag myself there.

I was really, really good about going for months: 4 or 5 times a week plus two evening yoga classes. Then the weather got nice and I found other things to do. I'm the sort of person that has to be regimented about this type of thing; any slacking off, even just a little bit, leads to a total collapse of my commitment. That's pretty much what happened for most of June and July. I was lucky to get there twice a week.

But the Y is smart. If you'll allow it, they'll send you congratulatory emails when you're making progress or nastygrams when you're slacking off. I'd been getting these nice emails telling me that I'd lifted the equivalent of 5 African Elephants in the past month and burned enough calories to eat 3 ice-cream sundaes. Then I got a couple of those nastygrams that intimated that I'd not been trying very hard and that left me feeling like a lazy bum. So I started going again, every day, and now I'm feeling really great about being committed to it again. Plus, physically, I feel so much better! There were those days, in my first week back, that every muscle in me ached, but that only lasts so long.

That sort of inclusiveness, regardless of your level of fitness or commitment, is part of what I love so much about the place. There's senior citizens there and a musclehead or two, plus that awful grunting guy I'd mentioned before, and ordinary people like me just trying to be healthier, one stomach crunch at a time. Plus, they send nice emails when you're trying hard, with animated balloons and stuff. Today I'd finally lifted enough weights and spent enough hours there to earn a t-shirt as an incentive to keep going. A silly thing, really, but you shouldn't lift the equivalent of 38 elephants without someone noticing.

(Plus I've finally got muscles enough to open my own pickle jars!)


Image from National Geographic


bunnygirl said...

One of the cool things about the Y is that (in my town, at least) they're not where you sign up if you're looking to show off in spandex and pick up or get picked up. The Y is where you go if you're serious.

I wish I could go to the Y more often, but since moving into my house 1 block from campus, it's easier to use the university rec center. It's a beautiful facility, but there are a lot of young'uns who go there and aren't very serious. Totally different vibe from my beloved Y, but the savings in gas, parking expense, and time is worth the annoyance.

LauraHinNJ said...

Bunnygirl: You said what I meant. Thanks.

Dave said...

No picture of the T??? Sheesh! Good for you! One thing we all need is a little more exercise. I know I do.

Jayne said...

Well now! Look at you, lifting elephants and we didn't even know it! Congratulations!!!

KGMom said...

Laura--you have captured perfectly the challenge I feel re. exercising. I have belonged to gyms off and on and now off again. I find it mostly boring.
So I try to be good and ride my exercycle here at home, but I do miss the Nautilus equipment.
As for the grunting groaning types at the gym--please, I can do without.
I now have a new name for you, though--Laura, Lifter of Elephants.

Lynne said...

Now I know who to call when I have a case of pickle jars that need opening!

bobbie said...

38 elephants is a LOT of elephants! Congratulations!

Mary said...

Wear your t-shirt proudly. You more than earned it! Keep the routine especially during those winter nights when the couch is so inviting.

dguzman said...

Cool! Now you can carry me when I fall asleep on the trail at our next bird fest!

Floridacracker said...

Dill or Kosher?

Congrats on your progress!

RuthieJ said...

Good for you Laura!
Here's a tip for getting stubborn pickle jars open: using the handle of a sturdy butter knife or large mixing spoon, smack it around the edge of the jar lid 3 or 4 times and you should be able to open any jar (at least it's always worked for me, along with a couple of "magic" words)

cedrorum said...

congrats on doing so well. I've noticed that I haven't been sick in over a year since I started working out.

LauraHinNJ said...

Dave: The T is like 5 sizes too big. A little corny, too.

Jayne: Thanks! (tooting own horn in the background)

KGMom: It is kind of boring, you're right. But I have neighbors I see there and a couple friends I've made in yoga, so it's mostly okay. The grunting guy is a regular source of amusement.

I wonder what your 'old' name was for me?


Lynne: At your service!

Bobbie: Thanks.

Mary: Pfft. The couch in winter is no problem. It's the pond in summer and the beach and the....

(you get the idea)

Delia: Oh please.

FC: Dill, thanks.

Ruthie: Ha! Thanks.

Cedrorum: Really? That makes sense tho. I'm surprised with how much energy I get from it.

MrsWren said...

I supervise a YMCA after school program, but I rarely went to the Y. I now have started with a 12 week wellness program that starts you real slow on machines in a seperate room (so I don't get intimidated). Even have hubby doing it. I enjoy your blog. I was just out enjoying the night sounds. Just beautiful, except it means the end of summer.

LauraHinNJ said...

mrswren: Hi and welcome!

I'd meant to mention that about the Y too, all that they do for the kids in the community. Thanks for making me think of it.

Good luck with your 12 weeks of wellness! I hope you find the beginnings of a new (and not so intimidating) habit.