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Take the Elevator to the Gym....Really?!?!?!

Monday, October 28, 2013

There is so much wrong with this picture on so many levels:

Seriously's one of my favorite motivational pictures! It reminds me how easy it is to forget about my reasons for exercising.

What exactly are those reasons, you may so rightly ask? Well, thereby hangs a tale....

Over the last 10 years, I have evolved from a pack-a-day couch potato, lazing around wondering why I kept getting fatter and "unfitter", to becoming a non-smoking outdoor tomato. But my path to fitness enthusiast zigged and zagged through a whole slew of different emotions and motivations.

At first, I hated even the idea of was no fun. I was out of shape, I was ill equipped, my confidence was low.....and it always seemed to hurt while I was doing it!

But I am stubborn. I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to stop smoking, and I wanted to not feel like the best years of my life were behind me. So I started running....a quarter mile at a time....some days just a 100 yds at a time, sweating like a dog in the August heat and hating every minute of it.

So my first motivation was to simply lose weight

I ran 4-5 days a week and it took me till December to even get a glimmer of enjoyment during a run.

But it came....and sometime that December I set a goal of running a marathon within 6 months. Pretty freaking crazy, but it worked for me. To make sure I didn't back out, I plunked down the $100 entry fee and promptly told all my family and friends that I planned to run a that point there was no backing down!

By then, my motivation had changed to racking up miles and minutes, following a program to conquer an objective that just a short while ago, I thought only applied to crazy, weird running people....and now I was becoming one of them!

One of my most vivid running memories is during a 6 mile run along Boston's Charles River. It was in the high 30s, lots of melting snow, clear blue sky with a bright winter sun melting the ice on the Charles ("Love that Dirty Water!")....and I was running.....elated and incredibly steady 10 min/mile clip, I finished the run in almost exactly one hour and I was joyously happy every second of those 60 minutes!

I was a runner!

I still ate like a madman though. Like the most fanatical religious converts, I thought my faith in running and exercise meant I could eat with abandon.....I'll just burn it off on my long run, right?!?!

Not so, fatso! I lost maybe 10 lbs my first year running. Granted, my body shape changed some as I added muscle for fat in some areas, but not a big loss by any means. And any time I took a lull in my running, I put on weight.

After an injury in 2010, I had surgery that put a stop to my running. As I sat around recovering, I knew that if I couldn't run, I would pork up fast, so I did a bunch of web searches and found Sparkpeople.

And here I learned that you can't work off a bad diet.....that weight loss is 80% about eating right and 20% about exercise.

Damn the luck!

So I started tracking my food and found other exercise outlets. I bought a bike and zoomed around the Florida Panhandle (we lived in Destin, FL at the time). I signed up with a trainer and learned to lift weights....real heavy weights.

But fitness still centered around logging minutes & miles or putting more weight on the bar....and it was almost always something I did outside my "normal life." As I slimmed up and toned up, I still looked for parking spaces close to store entrances. I took escalators at the mall and elevators at hotels....even if I stayed on the 2d floor!

When we moved to Virginia, my new job was on the 5th floor of our office building. I made a commitment to never use an elevator or an escalator (see my blog

Yesterday, on my way to the gym, I saw a guy with a gym bag waiting to take the elevator down 5 flights. I shook my head and said, "Dude, really? The elevator to the gym?" The absurdity of it hit me hard, "why do we exercise, but we don't use that new found strength for even these simple things?"

What's changed for me is that fitness is not just something I do for an hour or so to work up a sweat and say, "I'm done"'s to be able to keep doing things that I see many of my peers stop doing; taking stairs, happily walking from a distant parking spot, running after my niece then throwing her 50 lb body in the air and catching her!

My motivation today is to enjoy the feeling of being fit and to put it to use whenever I can all day long, not just in those few minutes I'm "at the gym"

Yeah, I like irony in that picture of people taking the escalator to go workout!

What's your motivation to exercise? What keeps you going?

Have a great night Spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Since you posted that picture I have been seeing it all over the place. Absolutely crazy, misses the entire point. Although I had gym days where I would have dearly loved an escalator to take me OUT of the gym after a particularly tough workout!

    My motivations are to not go back to the 200+ couch potato and to maintain my health as I get older. Things like osteoporosis, heart disease and dementia worry me so far better to be proactive and work to head them off through fitness and healthy eating than to sit around worried and depressed just waiting for the end.

    Plus I really like to be able to beat people up...errr, defend myself....if necessary. emoticon Big self-confidence booster.
    1478 days ago
    Such a great blog... while I still want to lose weight... my focus is shifting to getting strong and how this fat I still carry around is getting in my way! My goals are morphing from being a size 12 to being able to do a strict pull up! and to do that I need more strength and less blubber!.. I want, and will have, a life without physical limitations.. no limits! I want to be prepared for whatever opportunity comes my way.. I want to be an amazing 60 year old.. 70 year old.. 80 year old.. still in the gym.. throwing around some weights.. hehe
    1480 days ago
    I'm sorry, but to be a contrarian, some people can't handle going down stairs. Knee surgery, a previous fall down the stairs. You just don't know. If they were perfectly capable, then I'd shake my head and wonder why. But if I didn't know them, I'd let it go.

    Thanks for the background on your running and transition to weight lifting. Inspirational as always.
    1482 days ago
    You said it! I just shake my head at my gym as it is two floors and I see these people who are perfectly capable of walking down the stairs, taking the elevator. I said something to one staff member when I saw them taking the elevator.....Unless you have a disability of some sort...DO NOT TAKE THE ELEVATOR at the gym! No matter how much money you spend on the gym clothes, that type of action speaks volumes!
    1482 days ago
    Fantastic blog! Such an inspiration! My motivation? I feel much better that way! Even though I have only lost a fraction of the weight I had gained, I am feeling physically much better when I exercise, and it makes me happy too!
    1482 days ago
    I've been known to run up the down escalator - that's a quick way to get your heart pumping.
    1483 days ago
    Another great blog!

    My motivation?

    LOL ... had to say that - Especially since I just posted a blog about it. emoticon

    1483 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1483 days ago
    GREAT BLOG! Thanks for sharing and getting your readers to think! I know for me it is the feeling I get during and after exercise, but you're also right that I look for ways to get in exercise outside the gym or out running.
    1483 days ago
    The gym I belonged to last year had an elevator too, and an outdoor smoking area! LOL, that's Italy for you.
    Nice blog, I enjoyed reading your motivation and I'm going to show it to my husband so maybe he'll get motivated too!
    1483 days ago
  • BILL60
    I liked the blog. However, I must admit that I too take the elevators when possible. While I'll do multiple hill repeats on my bike, I just dislike climbing stairs.
    1483 days ago
    That is crazy!
    I like your commitment about no elevator - escalator! I should do the same.
    I also know a gym in Vienna, it's on the third floor, and everbody takes the elevator to get there. I was the only one to take the stairs.
    So funny!
    I enjoyed your blog a lot. Keep them coming!

    1483 days ago
    Today I rolled up last to a kick-my-@ss bootcamp, and didn't have a choice to which kettlebell weight to take- there was one left. Well, the 20lb-er or a super heavy guy. I didn't get a 10 or 15lb option. So I chose the 20lb option, which when the hardcore guy says, '2 min of squats/swings/shoulder press/etc with the kettlebell' it gets really freakin' heavy. So it pushed me out of my comfort zone doing all the squats and some crazy burpee with a lift of the kettlebell that worked the shoulders combo. Anyways, I impressed myself. And I look over and the girl beside me had a 2lber and was taking breaks. mmhmm.
    So- pushing myself motivates me. Seeing what I can do next. Doing more than the next person. Going to dip my toes into a sparing class for boxing one of these weeks. And looking smaller than I am- and more toned ;)
    1483 days ago
    Well put! My motivation started with my kids - I hated being the "fat mom" in the pack...

    Also, I hated not being able to play with them.. really play, not stand by and watch and throw the ball back. Now I play WITH them... although my 12 yr old daughter can out swim me any day of the week.

    Once I got hooked, I ended up getting vain about it - I wanted to LOOK good... and so the weight lifting journey began - I am sculpting my body, not just merely losing weight.

    At 200# I stuffed myself proudly into a pair of pants. At 225# I zipped those same pants up easily - no, that isn't a typo...


    Now my motivation is to lift big weights... and watch the gym wannabes stare as this 48 yr old chubby mom out lifts them... consistently. emoticon

    Sorry to ramble, but you asked ...

    Keep up the GREAT work.. YOU inspire me.

    1483 days ago
    Great blog. My motivation is the fact if I gain weight I will have to buy new clothes. But I already have clothes for when I lose weight
    1483 days ago
    What a great history, GETSTRONGRRR! No wonder you're so faithful about exercising no matter where you are or what else you have to do in a day. Great motivation for the rest of us : )
    1483 days ago
  • PROT358
    What a great, thought-provoking blog! Sometimes we lose touch of our reasons for doing things in the first place. And clearly go back to where we were before is not an option!
    1483 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    I'd probably catch my toe in the escalator and be ruined for the gym. Don't know where you found that picture, but it is funny!
    1483 days ago
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