Monday, January 10, 2011

I joined a gym

For two years, I have worked out and gotten into the best shape of my life exclusively at home.  My Powerblocks are almost as important to me as my KitchenAid--and that's saying a lot.  

I've been doing the Chalean Extreme program since the middle of 2010 and I have nothing but the highest recommendations for this program.  Initially, I wanted to do the P90X program but I just couldn't swing the time commitment.  Chalean Extreme is perfect in that it was a serious, all-over strength training program in a time-frame I could handle.  And I'm so pleased with the results.  Chalean completely converted me to the idea of "Go heavy or go home" and I never miss an opportunity to encourage women to start lifting weight--heavy weight.  It's true:  you won't bulk up and look like a man but you will become strong and get that tone that you desire.  Not to mention all the fringe health benefits (like denser bones).  

So after about 6 months of Chalean Extreme, I was looking to do something different.  I picked up The New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROL4W) by Lou Schuler and it looked like something I could handle.  I was a little discouraged because I wasn't sure if I could do the program at home (it's designed mainly as a program you do in the gym) but I thought I'd do my best.  It took me a little while to get into the book . . . I don't know, it just wasn't straightforward in the way it was written so I had to figure out exactly *what* I was supposed to be doing each day.  Well, I knew I wanted to start in 2011 so a few days before new year, I really sat down with it to figure things out.  

I did the first workout at home last Monday and it was fine.  I didn't feel like I just *couldn't* do it at home.  I really felt the workout the next couple of days too.  But the Sunday before I couldn't go out to run due to ice on the ground.  Every day for the past couple of weeks, there's been ice to contend with.  I thought maybe I could just put on my ice trax and keep it moving but honestly, that didn't sound smart.  I could wait till later in the day when it thaws out a bit but I really try to keep my working out from interfering with family life, if you know what I mean.  I like to be done before everyone is awake so it doesn't feel like I'm taking time from them.  As it stands now, every other Sunday I go to a donation Bikram class at 2.  Even though it's amazing, I can't shake the feeling of guilt at bouncing in the middle of the day.  

Anyway . . . I need to run.  Period.  Point blank.  And it wouldn't hurt and could only help to have all the equipment that's recommended in NROL4W so I could do it as is.  (Squats especially have become difficult since currently I squat with 35# in each hand and it was getting to the point that the weights were just too heavy for me to hold.)   Even if the treadmill didn't work out, I could definitely do NROL4W and being able to work on my squats with a bar would be awesome.  (I checked out olympic bars and thought about buying one but honestly, I just don't have the space for it--my fitness corner is already well-cluttered.)  So I joined the gym just for a month to see if I could get down. 

I can get down.  I was having my doubts though. This gym is my local gym.  I walk about 10 minutes and I'm there.  It's mostly a weight lifting gym--lots and lots of weights and weight machines.  The culture there is such that there's really no one to ask for help so I have spent a lot time just figuring simple things out.  (I suppose I could have paid for a training session but there's the money issue.  I just . . . can't put out anymore.)   Today, I was very frustrated trying to figure out what bar I was supposed to be using to squat.  Such a simple thing but a source of serious confusion.  I was ready to say that after the month is over, the gym membership is over.  There's not much floor space so if I wanted to do floor work, I'd have to cram myself into a corner and really, the frustration was zapping my energy.  

But then . . . I got on that treadmill.  And started to run.  And it felt so good.  I had worried about how different it would be having always run on asphalt and then running on a treadmill but it was just fine.  I thought I would hate running and not going anywhere. But I really, really, really enjoyed myself.  They gym membership is well worth it for the treadmill alone and monthly membership (if I sign up for a year) amounts to about $18 a month.  Not too bad.  

And as an added perk, I finally got to listen to some of a podcast I had downloaded eons ago on the walk home.  

I think I *like* leaving the house to work out--even in the dead of winter. I can focus better and not worry about disturbing anyone or being disturbed.  I'm glad the gym is in walking distance too because I *know* I couldn't motivate myself to go if I had to drive there.  

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