Tuesday, August 14, 2012
So props to WOMANOBRONZE for advising me that I'm not on the road to body-builder and instead am a gym rat!
Before I continue with the gym rat part of that ... I can't promise I won't someday look in the mirror with the thought "if only my delts were a little bigger". Even now, I could care less about stretch marks and pay a lot more attention to my calves flexing. Of course, I would never go for any chemical means of bulking and can't imagine myself going through bulking and cutting diets and all that. But I'm not the kind of woman who is worried about weights making me bulk up. Bring it on!
So, gym rat. I didn't take that as insulting. Amusing, certainly. Then I got curious and went off looking at "You are a gym rat if ..." lists and quizzes.
Apparently there's more than one school of thought on what a gym rat is. There is a negative version. That's the guy who doesn't seem to realize there's more muscles in his body than biceps and can spends hours a week doing curls to build impressive arms that just don't fit the less developed body they're attached to.
Then there is the fun, laugh at ourselves version. Here's a few culled ones:
YOU KNOW YOU'RE A GYM RAT WHEN ...
1. You have a gym bag that has everything you would possibly need for the gym and always have it with you.
2. You plan your day around your gym session. When you're pulling out your calendar to plan to meet your best friend, you might change the time of your workout but what kind of friend would think to ask you to miss it?
3. Your workout schedule is in your planner with automatic reminders, but you have yet to need one because you're there early when possible.
4. You have a favorite treadmill, cardio machine, set of equipment, place to stretch, etc.
5. You are never seen without a water bottle. NEVER!
6. You consider So, do you workout? an effective pickup line / conversation starter.
7. You're on a first name basis with gym staff and notice when one is no longer there or switches to a different schedule.
8. Your week is made up of Chest & Arms day, Legs day, Cardio day, and Rest day.
9. You recognize other regulars, know details about them like their favorite shoes or shorts, notice when they get a haircut or a new tattoo, and might even have names or stories made up for them.
10. You spend more money on your workout clothes and gear than work clothes and casual clothes combined.
Monday, August 13, 2012
One of the things I keep questioning myself on is how far I intend to take this "fitness thing".
Right now I've gotten into a habit, a routine, in which I go to the gym seven days a week. The vast majority of the time I do 60 minutes worth of cardio work. On those rare occasions I feel a need for rest or get rushed by other commitments, I still do my minimum of 40 minutes. I always, ALWAYS, stretch after - usually another 15 to 20 minutes. Three times a week I do a full strength training workout, which is about an hour's worth of weight exercises, one for each major muscle and a couple for abs. Days that I do 5k walks I tend to skip the gym, counting the 45 minutes walking as my cardio, and stretching after.
I couldn't even explain WHY I go seven days a week other than it is easy to maintain as a routine. I don't have to pay attention to a day I take off to make sure it doesn't become two days off. I "rest" based on how my body feels by ramping my cardio activity down a level - not doing intervals, not setting the resistance as high - and judge it by the heart rate I tend to reach.
I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. Even when I'm internally coaching myself, muttering in my mind about a particular weight and how hard it is, I'm loving it.
I just don't know that I consider it long-term sustainable. In another year and a half, will I still be working out daily?
I "need" to go back to college in some way to get job skills to move on. That will change my free time, change what I can do. I could eventually meet someone, whether building a friendship or relationship. That would change my free time, change my priorities. I want to start hiking more. That will require completely different time adjustments.
So there's a "reality" in my mind that I can't keep doing this indefinitely.
There's another factor, too.
Right now I know I'm in a phase with weights where I can pretty consistently work to get stronger and bump up to a higher weight. I know that will eventually taper off. There has to be an upper limit to physical strength. I'm unlikely to reach that because I'm not really dedicated in the body-builder sense.
I think what scares me most trying to think forward like that is that I have trouble seeing a middle ground. It's like looking at my walking 5ks and seeing the future progression only as walking a 10k, running a 5k, running a 10k, then a half-marathon, then a marathon, then a triathlon, then trying to get to a competitive level. Other than walking a 10k, none of that really interests me, but at times it feels like there aren't any forks in the road to divert me from those ultimate goals.
I'm not sure that wholly makes sense.
Then again, most fears have some amount of irrationality involved, so perhaps the reason it doesn't make sense is something that I'm not being rational about.
I think it comes down to a fear that I will lose interest when progression is no longer "linear". (I actually have no idea how progression looks on weight lifting. I figure it is more of a curve - real easy to progress fast at first, then about an even balance for time and progress, and eventually a longer time to gain the next level. If it takes me three months to go from lifting 60 to lifting 65, another three months to get to 70, another three months to get to 75, and then six months to get to 80 and nine months to get to 85, will it be as exciting as it was the first few months when it felt like I zipped from 30 to 60?)
And really, if being able to lift 70 pounds gives me the ability to do anything I need to do outside of the gym, reaching my own vague "functional fitness" level, how will I keep from getting bored with weight training maintenance? (Something that I know will be important, if for no other reason than continued aging and loss of bone and muscle density if I don't. Well, right there is one reason to keep going - to plan ahead to not ever stop the 3x a week weights.)
Trying to pin it down, this vague uneasiness I have, and it's not working very well. The only comment I've written here (and elsewhere) that keeps rearing its ugly head to look at me ...
dedicated in the body-builder sense
What exactly do I mean by THAT? I guess I think of a body-builder in terms of someone who eats a very restrictive diet (not in the calorie-cutting sense there - stuff like "carb-loading", "mass gain", and "cutting"). I think of a body-builder as someone who pushes their limits heavily. I think of a body-builder as someone who plans to compete or, at least, show off their physique specifically with a goal on making all the muscles quite defined.
I was going to say a body-builder is someone who spends hours in the gym a week.
Okay ... maybe THAT is what scares me. I think I'm in the gym as much as any dedicated body-builder would be. They can't exactly work out any muscle group more than 3x a week ... and that's what I do.
So what does that make me?
I'm not entirely sure. Obviously I'm not a body-builder. But what other goal is there. Where does my road fork and where will that branch of the road lead? Or is there no fork in the road and eventually I'll either be on the road to body-building or standing at the side of the road watching others pass me by while I try to figure out "What now?"
(( No, my brain really doesn't ever shut down thinking. Even when I'm out hiking, I appreciate nature and wander off into either contemplations of how no leaf is identical to another or into fiction based on something I see - such as a magical portal that exists "twixt tree and stone". ))
Saturday, August 11, 2012
As my status says, I'm now registered for the local Color Me Rad! 5k. I had a goal to do one 5k a month for the rest of this year. August, however, got challenging.
One of my difficulties is getting to races in the first place. I don't have a car. Weekend races in the wee hours like 7 am ( ) don't expect people to be trying to get to the starting line on public transportation. The Stanford one, for example, was workable because the main line that runs 24 hours (even if an hour apart at times) was available and I didn't shirk at walking 2 miles to the starting area. But Vasona Park (another local one) wasn't going to fly and getting to San Francisco's Golden Gate park on a Sunday would be laughable.
I had my September race planned already - Firefly run which is in the evening with everyone wearing lights. It's later in September (the 22nd) and easily accessible to me - an area I know, in fact.
Then another Sparker mentioned Color Me Rad! 5k in her area. I looked it up and, oh hey, local race is 1 September. Even better, it starts at 9:00 am -and- is accessible off a couple of routes that run decently early / late.
So I decided that being only 1 day off, it gets to count as my "August" 5k for the purpose of my goal to walk one each month.
I seriously the fact both of my September races are very fun-focused.
Oh, and the Color Me Rad! one wanted me to pick a team name even if it is only me.
I am the team "SPARKLERS". Seemed quite apropos!
Friday, August 10, 2012
I'm not sure if I ran across these here on SparkPeople, as a Spark Deal or somewhere else entirely. There are these shirts with what they call "sweat activated technology". Basically, some text or images on the shirt are "invisible" until the shirt becomes damp (with sweat).
Personally I think most of their canned slogans are pretty dumb. "I am beast mode" and "I am a BEAST"? "Unlimited Potential" and "CHASE ME"? Wasn't that interested. (And I don't like the length / style of the shirts they've got on their site.)
Today as I was pedaling away, the slogan I'd love to have on the back of the shirt came to mind. Yes, the blog title:
. I AM .
. SEE .
. .ME. .
I think the "I AM WOMAN" portion could show at all times. That's an indisputable fact.
Then the "SEE ME SWEAT" portion could show up when I'm burning it up and sweating. Because, no, I don't glow. I don't glisten. I don't glitter. I sweat pure and simple. It's as indisputable a fact as my womanhood.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
A recent unexpected event with respect to my money had me thinking about lessons I'd learned with my budget before I started in on my journey here to fitness and health.
I have had some extra cash in my checking account for a few months. I've been slowly using it toward things like getting dental work that is long overdue. Slowly being the key word. I'd learned to always leave myself a cushion for the unexpected.
This week I was thankful I had. Two weeks ago I got my new insoles and shoes. Expected expense, but a little more than I planned. One week ago I got my DDa new insoles and shoes. I also got my DS new shoes. The former was expected; the latter a concession to buffer them from the EX's family getting into nonsense about me loving one more than the other because they're more likely to see what I buy DDa.
All good so far. But then a potential situation cropped up where EX owed DDa money - the money she needed to pay her rent. And a second situation cropped up where DS has a wedding to attend this coming weekend and needs something a little more formal than his usual polo over a T and jeans.
Because of what I've learned in the past, I know all the payments coming out of my account, when I'll have a paycheck, how to make sure that clears on Friday rather than Monday night, and have an accessible online bank savings account that I can transfer funds from just in case. I have enough "spare" groceries around to make it through one week of no food budget.
So rather than panic or feel like giving up, I'm immediately looking at all my options.
I do that same thing with my food and fitness. My DDa likes to randomly ask to meet up, which often means for dinner. Often the request comes in the late afternoon ... after I've eaten everything in my planner but dinner and my post workout smoothie. Some days I get to work later and stay later, and by the time I get to the gym there may not be time for a full workout or something else causes me to want/need to put off my ST a day.
Rather than panic or feel like giving up, I've learned to look at the many possible options. If my calorie range is 2200, and I eat 2700, I can try to eat 2100 each day for the rest of the week - or I can add 10 minutes to each workout for a week. ST may be scheduled for M-W-F, but I have no trouble doing M-Th-Sat or M-W-Sat or T-Th-Sat. As long as I have at least one rest day between each, and get back to M the next week, what difference does it make which day I do it on?
I remember reading something about optimism - quite possibly here on SparkPeople. One of the reasons that optimists do well is that they EXPECT there to be a solution and they will keep looking to find it. A pessimist has already accepted that there isn't a solution and would miss one sitting right in front of their nose; because there is no solution it can't be there.
I use that approach when it comes to problems and stresses.
I EXPECT there to be a solution.
I keep looking and keep pushing and keep researching and keep trying ... because one way or another I am determined to find that solution.
Interesting what that reminded me of.
Growing up there was a magazine I found out about from my mother's third husband's mother (okay, yes, that sounded awkward, but we didn't call him our step father for whatever reason even though they were family more than the wicked step mother ever was.) GAMES magazine, it was called. I see an online version, but have no idea if the hard-copy is what it used to be.
From my mother I'd already gotten well into all sorts of puzzle magazines. I had a giant maze book for a cross-country road trip, I did acrostics and crosswords, logic problems, and so much more. I still have a love of word puzzles and games.
GAMES took this way beyond. Some puzzles were incredibly challenging. Magazines often had hidden contests, where answers in other puzzles added up to the contest instructions.
Anyway, it took real perseverance to keep going back to the magazine and trying to get just a little further in one or another puzzle. Sometimes it took teamwork - one of us doing puzzles we were better at and another doing others. With three or four of us, that covered a lot of ground.
The lesson I learned was that every one of those puzzles did have a solution - even if I couldn't see it right now, if I could just look at it differently or learn something new then I would have the clue to solving that part of the problem.
Dealing with the unexpected - is a puzzle with a solution. Sometimes we can work at it and solve it right away. Other times we have to set it aside until we can look at it another way. Yet other times we need to pull in another mind to help us with expertise we don't have.
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