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17 September 2011 @ 03:36 pm
Working out  
I hate exercise. We have a long standing animosity for one another. In school I was the kid worst at sports. Picked last for any team, and last around the track when we did that stupid mile every year in gym class. When we did tennis in high school, I was so bad at it, the gym teacher had me stand off to one side and practice throwing a serve in the air for the entire hour. We had an understanding, she and I - I would try hard at every single sport we did. I would suck at it, but I would try, and in exchange she gave me an A for the class. Back then, I was maybe five or ten pounds overweight. I still looked good in shorts (actually, I had great legs in my youth), and because I'm extremely small boned, I got away with looking smaller than I really was most of the time.

But let's fastforward a few years. Now I'm in my mid-thirties, heading into my late thirties. For the past year, I've been at my highest weight ever. I am a lot more than ten pounds overweight, and more, my legs haven't seen a pair of shorts in three years, at least. Swimsuit shopping or wearing is an excruciating experience. I've tried calorie counting, dieting, aerobics classes I - yes, you guessed it - universally sucked at. I tried owning an exercise bike, the Wii Fit, a gym membership I hated using. (If there is one thing I hate more than exercise, it is doing so in front of a bunch of people a lot better at it than me, who are almost all much more in shape than me, in a place that doubles as a singles meet-and-greet half the time.)

This is a point of tension between my metabolically-lean husband and myself. He has the kind of metabolism that can consume three thousand calories a day without gaining an ounce. He was a state champion swimmer in high school, with six-pack abs that were swoon-worthy at the time. These days, the only thing that's changed is his abs have a soft layer covering them, instead of a six pack. He can still wear the same jeans he wore in high school. If he feels like he needs to lose weight, he cuts out the Pepsi and the Totino's party pizzas for a day, and drops five pounds. This is in no way an exaggeration. Her in the past year or so, his metabolism has slowed down slightly. He's started swimming more, and those days where he tries to drop five pounds happen more frequently. That's the only change. He cannot understand why I "can't just committ to exercise and lose weight". I am not saying this so you'll all jump all over my husband for not being supportive. He really tries. He also just really cannot understand where I'm coming from. It's so far outside his realm of experience, he can't grasp what it's like for me. He loves me, but he worries for my health. In my family, obesity is in the genes. So are heart attacks and high blood pressure. He isn't just concerned because he wants to see me wearing sexy clothes. He is genuinely worried for what might happen as we get older if I can't turn around this trend in my body.

Recently, he advocated joining a gym together so we could work out. This idea was more appealing to me than doing so alone and dealing with all of those things I hate about gyms by myself. However, the summer passed quickly, and now he really doesn't have the time for a gym membership with school back on. Going to a gym again by myself holds zero appeal. Plus, there's the money. Not just the gym membership, oh no! I would have to try and find workout clothes that 1) fit me. 2) look halfway decent on me, and 3) don't cost an arm and a leg, because money's a little tight right now. Again, my husband doesn't understand this. Why would I need special clothes? Just put on some old sweats, even though they don't really fit me anymore, and I look like a sausage in them. *sigh* Men. Some things you just don't understand!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was woken up at 2:00 in the morning with a terrible migraine. The kind where I can't lie down, because this makes it feel worse. I can't read,I can't check my e-mail or play a game, I can't sleep or do anything but sit upright while sipping tea, and hoping I won't throw up. I ended up with the TV on out in the family room, with the lights dimmed, watching infomercials. Because there is nothing else on at 2:30 in the morning. I know, I know. Informercials are designed to sell you something. It's all a marketing ploy. But occassionally, you acually find a product in one that works. At about 3:00 that morning, I watched an infomercial on the Total Gym. This is the home gym that Chuck Norris advocates. I'm sure you've seen the infomercial at least once in your life. Anyway, for an hour I watched Chuck, Christie Brinkley, and a bunch of other celebreties and "real people" talk up the Total Gym. The thing was....it looked pretty cool. Resistance based workouts that use your own body weight against you, with a back board and gliding action that removes the joint issues squats and some other exercises give my knees, etc. Intrigued, and with my migraine receded enough to go online and do some research, I looked up the Total Gym XLS, and read every review I could find. The thing was...I couldn't find anything really bad about it. Sure, it was kind of a pain to put up and take down, and yes, it's long and takes up a decent amount of space when in use. And it's kind of expensive, but what home gym isn't? The Bowflex for $1000 is not better deal, that's for sure!

I liked the fact that Total Gym would let you buy it for interest free monthly payments, instead of all up front. I liked the fact that it could work for both my husband and me, even though we are at vastly different fitness levels. I liked that we could get an optional weight bar, and add whatever free weights we wanted in the future, if Mark works his way up to where the machine by itself isn't doing it for him anymore. I liked the fact that it could do any of the weight routine I would do if I went to the gym, right in my own home, in whatever clothes I like, looking however I look.

It took some talking, but I got my husband on board. Really, he's willing to try anything that will get me working out. This isn't much different than paying a gym membership, except within a year, our membership fee will be done, and the gym will belong to us forever. I pulled the trigger, and ordered it. It came three days ago, and I've used it three times. Taking it down, and putting is back up each time, since our house is too small to really leave it up all the time without it being out in the main room where everyone can see it.

And here's the thing.

I LOVE IT.

I know, I know. ME, who pathologically despises exercise. I love my Total Gym XLS. Right away, you can tell this is a solidly built piece of equipment. It's rated up to 400lbs, and all of the pieces look and feel well made, and the glide board moves smoothly and easily. the cables seem very sturdy, and the padded board is very comfortable and solid feeling. I am not posting my weight, but I will say I'm about 50 pounds overweight right now. A friend of mine who is much taller and bigger boned than me, and is about 90 pounds overweight for her height and body type also came over, and we used it together, alternating between the exercises. It worked for both of us, with very quick and minor adjustments as we moved through the workout. I could feel the workout in my muscles after the first day. Today, on day number three, I feel it even more. But I also feel good. Like I haven't felt after working out in a long time. There is NO DOUBT in my mind that I am getting just as good a workout as I would at the gym, that I am getting a far better workout than I personally did walking, using an exercise bike, or the Wii Fit. I can believe some of those testimonials and reviews I read about people losing weight might actually happen. And even if I don't, I'm certain I am doing something good for my body. My husband is thrilled that I actually like it (although skeptical this will last, and rightly so after my many years of vocally hating all things exercise related. We'll see what he thinks in a month.)

Tomorrow, we are going to work out together, and I will show him how to do some things on it, and he will see for himself. For now, I do not regret a penny of this purchase, even though it was not really in the budget right now. Neither was joining as gym, and this is a much better alternative for me.
 
 
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
 
 
 
"Connoisseurs of Difficulty": Whee!!kistha on September 18th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
YAY for you!
anneteanneten on September 19th, 2011 01:21 am (UTC)
That's great! Glad you found something that you enjoy - hope that you're still loving it months from now!