Thursday, September 20, 2012
Boot Camp 101
My friend Matthew is just completely convinced that it is the cat's meow. That is it THE thing to turn us into creatures of bathing beauty status by next spring. If you haven't gone yet, it is probably one of the highest intensity workouts that you'll participate in. A variety of workout stations set up around the room. All sorts of barbells, dumbbells, and stepping risers at each stations. Probably half of the room for upper body workout. The other half for lower body. It's a quick minute or two of warm up jumping jacks or push ups or some other pussified thing and then we're off! To about 50 or so minutes of fast-paced, race car-speed-induced stations of exercises designed to raise your heart rate, keep it raised, and push your limits. I would actually concur that it is beyond my limits and the limits of all but one, maybe two, people out of the 30 or so in my class. There are no breaks, no periods of rest, other than the 10 seconds racing from one station to the next when straight Asian bodybuilder boy Sam who thinks that he's all of that with the chicks yells "Switch!" But along with about 90% of our class, I found myself finding my own few seconds of rest. My legs wouldn't even work. I couldn't even raise one leg up to the riser to step up onto it. And the squats? Really? Man oh man, I am sooorrreeee today. Probably the most sore I've been in many, many years. And that's good...right?
I have made a dedicated effort to get myself to the gym. And keep myself there. Let's just say that consistency is not my middle name. I was going to yoga quite often but have eased up on it a bit....there are actually a few yoga poses that worsen my lower back pain rather than help it and I need to get that all figured out. I've been doing dumbell and barbell curls, flying arm sorts of deals designed to work the forearms, shoulders and shoulders, tricep pull downs, chest pull downs, sit ups and other core benders until my middle-aged flab doesn't know which end is up. And then upstairs to the treadmill. Thirty minutes of racewalking interspersed with intervals of running -- all the while adjusting the incline up and down, the pace up and down. That burns fat, you know.....the intervals.....not letting your body's metabolism settle in to one pace. And I don't have a lot of fat to burn. Just a drop or six around my midsection. I'm not sure if you call it a jelly roll or a muffin top. But clearly, it is some sort of pastry that doesn't need to be sitting on my store shelf.
I've been eating much better at home. And in restaurants. Better choices. Better decisions. Tons of delicious salads filled with fruits and vegetables like apples, watermelon, asparagus, carrots, peppers and grapes. It has really been a nice change. And I feel much better. It seems like when I start doing one thing that is good for me, that it makes it a little easier to do others. But getting started, and staying the course, is a challenge for many of us. My weight was 128 pounds from 8th grade all of the way into my mid-20s. Then it inched up to around 140 pounds where it stayed for years. And then I burgeoned up past the 150's up to 162 pounds when I said that was enough. No way this is going to happen. That's when this whole gym thing started. I had been paying the monthly membership for four years now. But I'd been famously NOT at the gym which is complete silliness. Not going and still paying for it is asinine. I'm now down to 154 pounds. It needs to stay there. The pastry shelf in the middle is still there but looks much better. And a little tiny baby buddha belly is cute, right? And feels better. And I'm happy with that. I'll be excited to see what my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers look like next week at my semi-annual blood work checkup.
So, whether I go back to Boot Camp or not, I'm not sure. I wouldn't call it fun. I didn't really "enjoy" it. I am so not the guy that pushes himself beyond his limits. I just don't have that competitive spirit or edge about me. But when personal trainer turned drill sergeant yells at me that "You don't want to go home saying to yourself that you could have worked out harder!" what am I supposed to do? Clearly, he doesn't know me.