Tag Archives: exercise

How to Tell Which Group Fitness Personality You Are

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How to Tell Which Group Fitness Personality You Are

Ever wondered how you fit into your group fitness class?  No? Maybe you just go there to get a workout? Interesting. Well , I’ve been going to class with a bunch of “regs” for a while now and I’ve noticed that once you choose a spot, it’s yours forever. But why did you choose that spot?  Because you have a specific gym personality, that’s why. Based on my extensive research of 5 different classes at 2 gyms, I’ve assembled a handy map of the gym personalities, based on forever spots, in relation to the instructor. Though this seems very specific, I find it to be very consistent across all genres of classes. How many Jims go to classes? A lot apparently.  I really can’t overemphasize how much research I have done on this spacing out really hard during class.

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How to Embrace the Pregnant Hotness

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How to Embrace the Pregnant Hotness

One of the sexier things I’ve ever done is gone shopping for post-birth adult diapers. I really hope I got the good ones because it almost wasn’t worth trying to pretend I was totally cool with it while intensely browsing every type, and then trying to get even bulkier items to buy, like cat food and a broom, so the clerk would be so overwhelmed by my purchases she wouldn’t look at the diapers long enough for me to start rambling awkwardly while my chip card extended the wait at the counter. It was a big trip to the store. I had to arrange it a week ahead of time so I could do it alone and my children wouldn’t be like “WHY ARE WE GETTING DIAPERS FOR YOU!!!?? ARE YOU PEEING YOUR PANTS??!! in the super subtle voice they always use in the grocery store. I was a little horrified that someone who had clearly never been/met/thought about a woman who might have to wear diapers had designed a pair with a tiny pink bow on the front. Seriously. With that amount of situation around your situation, the pink color and the sad bow are really just adding insult to injury. But maybe I’m just not appreciating the effort to spice up the design. When I had my first child, our friends stopped by for a surprise visit the next day, and since my ability to judge what might be weird/inappropriate had been completely flattened by birthing a human, I had them come in to talk to me in the bed while I was only wearing a diaper. When they left I was like, “ Why was her husband so uptight?” and “Why wouldn’t he look me in the eyes?” and my husband had to say “Um babe you were only wearing a diaper…. and sometimes people feel weird about that.” And now I think, if I only had the diapers with the nice bow, that one detail could have really turned the whole situation around.

Luckily, getting diapers was easier to do this pregnancy because I transitioned more quickly into embracing the low standards people have for pregnant women. I think it really helped that I overheard my 3 year-old son telling someone at the playground that he was with me when I weighed myself and I was “40 a MILLION pounds.” On the plus side, he also admitted to the boy that he wished he had a “beard” like me. Because there is a serious shortage of extremely pregnant women out in the wild, to go to the gym 8 ½ months pregnant is to truly experience what it means when people have zero expectations for you. Even when I walk on the treadmill at 2.5 for 20 min. they say “you made it!” in a relieved/amazed way. Relieved, I believe genuinely, because they think I might deliver the baby on the gym floor if I overexert myself. More than once I’ve considered putting a Ziploc of water in my pants to pop and pretend my water broke, because everyone would be like, “I knew this was going to happen when I asked her if she was sure she wasn’t having twins.” Which people apparently never get tired of asking. It’s only slightly more awkward when they start asking you at 28 weeks and then you have to keep seeing them till the end of the pregnancy. There is a lady in the gym kid’s playroom who wants to say every time she’s surprised I haven’t had twin babies. I tried to give her fair warning and explain that I go late and I go big, but instead we have to talk about how enormously fat I am every time. It hasn’t been weird at all.

Despite knowing I would run into her every time, I made an honest effort to keep going to my gym classes until my groin gave out, and then I admitted it would never feel better and finally found my true people. I joined my 70 + peers that also attend the gym in the middle of the day for the 20/40/40 routine: 20 percent to “exercising,” 40 % steam room, and 40% socializing while getting dressed slowly sitting down. And it turns out we all have a lot in common: we all like to have a friend put lotion on our back, our swimsuits all have an ungodly amount of floral fabric, we share the same genuine interest in cats and gardening, and we’ve all had to choose between pale lavender and light pink diapers to wear under our huge white underwear. It’s good to be among friends.

The Real Secret to Fitness is Blind Devotion to Someone You Hardly Know

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The Real Secret to Fitness is Blind Devotion to Someone You Hardly Know

The New Mexico gym scene is basically an SNL skit filled with people either over or under committed to working out. Guaranteed, you will always see at least one of each of the following: an older man wearing a black t-shirt with a 4-inch cross necklace, a woman trying out all the weight machines with her street clothes and purse, a woman wearing a gym corset, and a man with a neck the size of corset girl’s waist. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m intimidated, but hanging on “the gym floor” zones me out in the same way the mall does-I forget to eat, don’t remember what I’ve been doing, and have to come down from it all by eating a pound of mini Swedish fish. Plus, I’ve basically arrived at the stage of fitness where I can’t be bothered to think even a little bit about what I have to do once I make it to the gym. Gym membership fees should actually cover things like helping you decide how many minutes you should do on this machine, how to appear tough but not overdo it, how to look as if you are not eavesdropping, etc. They don’t. You should definitely talk to your gym about this. But they do have group fitness classes. And this is basically the only reason to go to the gym. The secret is that the instructors pretty much do the work for you, ANY level of participation is acceptable, and if you choose the right one, you can get a sweet endorphin rush, and only pee yourself a little.

I know people who have been fit their whole life think the only thing chubbers need to do is just get to the gym. By the way, been working out hard for a year and have actually gained weight, so I suspect this theory definitely has some flaws. However, I am considerably stronger and can absolutely CRUSH someone in a pantomime fight, if it includes good music. The key (to working out regularly), actually, is a killer instructor and … also becoming unreasonably dedicated to them. My sister took me to her class (insiders just call it “the” class) and to get me pumped she told me the instructor “could be a cult leader.” Yes please! Admit it, pretty much anyone who has made a difference in your life is mostly a cult leader. The only difference is they have a more acceptable end goal for you (which of course you think is your idea) than poisoned Jello.

I’m in pretty deep. I’ve been with my cult leader for a year now. She doesn’t know it, but I celebrated our meet-a-versary yesterday. It is easy to tell I’m in the fold because I actually get a lump in my throat sometimes when the opening song comes on. I refer to her as MY GIRL ____ as if we were, seriously, eighth grade besties. My husband knows her first name, though he has never been to the gym. When she talks to me, I get flushed and I stutter. I frequently ask questions I know the answer to, just so I can check in with her. I regularly respond voluntarily when she does call and respond. Seriously, I don’t even know the person I become in this class. I would be creeped by myself, but -1. Going to work out is healthy, no matter what your reasons and 2. Everyone seems to be on the same page about her. If you even mention her name with a reg you basically end up holding hands and being like A- MAZE RIGHT? She told me there was an athlete inside me who wants to come out and punch the air really really hard as if someone is there. Right? Totally sold. Sometimes I see the athlete, sometimes I mistake her for the girl next to me who is around my weight loss goal and wears the same color shirt. But. But… I went out of town for 3 weeks, and when I came back there was an empty space waiting for me where I usually stand. And it was exactly the right size. And someone, pretty sure you know who, seemed a little bit more enthusiastic than usual. Coincidence that she was also wearing her “FRIYAY” shirt? I think not, folks, I think not.

This is What it Feels Like to Be High on Testosterone

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This is What it Feels Like to Be High on Testosterone

Good thing I started out with the feel good classes last week because the one I went to next turned up the heat big time. I just want to start with a quote from my instructor: “I’m going to tell you something. There is something bada** in all of you and I want you to get in touch with that bada**ness during this class.” The key to this quote, though, is she only mouthed the swear word, and then to show she was really serious, she said, “Don’t make me say the word.” Yeah. So in case you didn’t already guess, this was basically an extreme fighting with an invisible enemy class, which claimed to incorporate Karate, Taekwondo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Capoeira AND Kung Fu. This was not a class for sissies, but there were plenty of us there, throwing limp-wristed punches at random spots in front of us while the regulars reduced their “opponent” to a whimpering pile of bones.

Fresh off the cardio dancing classes, where being “fun” was a virtue, I came into this one like a babe in the woods. The first sign that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore was that the two 50 plus female instructors looked like they had legitimately been in fights before, maybe just a few days before, and they were both wearing boxing shorts with skulls down the entire length of their femurs. They made no attempt to assure us that this class was pretend, and explained in great detail where each hit was landing on our “opponents.” Because I was new, one came and did the moves by me sometimes. I was not intimidated at all when she explained, “Your elbow is hitting your opponent, right here, in the middle of the forehead,” and she drew a line down the middle of her face while she stared at me intensely. When we were bear-lifting them she noted, “Your opponent is the same weight as you are.” Whoa! Reality check! Reason number 55 I am glad this isn’t for real!

That said, I did get a good workout, and I would highly recommend this to anyone who hates and/or has a stressful job or has a boss who is always riding them. If you have someone to visualize, it really helps with your fierceness. The soundtrack was, you guessed it, exclusively heavy metal. This is the only type of music I will openly say I hate with all my heart. But. But… they must know this, because it does want me want to punch the wall to make it stop and it definitely increased my testosterone levels by 300 percent. I think I was actually half male by the time I left the class. If I really get into it, I might have to just leave the kids at home because I know my daughter is going to call me out and be like, “Mom, why are you a man right now?” because she already says that when I sing along to hip hop in the car.

Just Busy OWNING the Gym

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Just Busy OWNING the Gym

No doubt, I’ve been out of the “gym scene” for a while, but based on my experience this week, I think I’m in for a serious comeback. Apparently, my new health insurance includes a free gym membership, and after a week and a half of talking to customer service, I’m happy to report this is true. AND they take care of your children while you work out. WHAAA?? I am not kidding. This includes membership to multiple gyms. I decided to start out easy with the YMCA by our house, and I picked a group class I thought would get the blood flowing, “Prime Time Cardio.” I thought this name referred to “the best time to work out is in the morning,” but as it turns out, it means “the prime of your life is when your are over 75.” I guess that’s why people read the class descriptions. Despite the fact that I was the only one without great-grandchildren, the instructor asked me to “listen to my body” since I hadn’t been working out regularly yet. Though I did enjoy the company of a different age group, I did listen to my body and my body said, “You are wasting an hour lifting your knees softly and doing star hands to bring up your heart rate.” Just to give you an idea of the rigor of the class, 20 minutes was spent stretching on a chair, and not in a sexy or flexible way.

Lesson learned, I did my research on the next gym, which was way more glitzed out than the community Y. The classes all had uncomfortable sounding names like “Body Attack,” and “Butts n’ Guts” so I chose the one that promised to help me “lose myself in dance-inspired cardio.” To say this class was different from the first one is the understatement of the year. First of all, there were two instructors, a fun-loving 40 something woman who had obviously been cool her entire life, and a ridiculously fit guy who I am pretty sure is a real back-up dancer. And the people who came to work out! Whatever the hippest is, that is what they were. I found out later they were all dressed for the theme (assigned for every class!) which was Valentine’s day. And this totally explains why people OWNED and WORE things like white mesh shirts with pink bras and athletic pants with slits torn in the front. Needless to say, I DID NOT stick out like a sore thumb in my baggy shirt that even my 4 year-old informed me was “not for exercising.”

As it turns out, it didn’t matter, something the instructors told us many many times, that we were just here to “be ourselves” and have the best time ever. The optimism was kinda aggressive, but I totally bought in when they darkened the whole room and lit up FIVE different sets of club lights. There was a lot of “YEAHs” and “FEELING GOODs” and I did find it hard not to buy in when I was clearly clubbin’ at 9am while my children hung out in the playroom. And yeah, maybe I felt a like if I kept coming to this class I could be as cool as the people I was tripping over trying to follow the routine.

Based on this, I went to the same class the next day with a different instructor. This woman was the girl at the bar/party/ anywhere that has a glaring amount of energy, always invades your personal bubble, and responds too quickly to anything you say. Lucky for her, her traits are perfectly suited for cardio instruction. She unnerved me when she licked her teeth and said this was a great place to “dance naughty,” but I think she meant well. She went through a lot of emotions during the hour. We literally brought her to tears with our ability to express ourselves through dance. I actually wasn’t totally sure she was crying but she did wipe her eye, and she said, genuinely, “I just can’t believe this,” and “If you ladies could see what I’m seeing right now…” So I think she wanted us to know we moved her. And it totally worked. I still had all the jiggly bits I came in with, but I was like, “Damn, we are AMAZING, thank you stereotypically named gym instructor.” Y’all better watch out, cuz I’m probs gonna make the next one cry too.

It Is ON 12-Year-Old!

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After spending 4 months hassling with the stroller plus Ergo combo, I finally got a double stroller. This actually made it possible to do something close to a workout with the kids. Let’s just say I’m a little out of practice in the fitness portion of my life. The first time out, I realized I had brought no less than three snacks and a chai tea (with whip!) along with me on my “jog.” To be fair, I was leaving the house for at least 35 minutes and I’m not one of those dummies that finds herself facing down a tantrum without a snack for a bribe. Girl’s gotta be prepared! However, I did consume all of my food items while exercising.

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I encountered another problem when I started running: I noticed that my right boob was still out from nursing, and now bouncing around under my shirt like a fat mouse. I would have worn a sports bra, but I cut holes in the nipples of the last two so I could make them into homemade hands-free breast pump holders. If you think the no-bra situation looks bad, you should think about the effect of just my nipples protruding from a cut-out, too-small sports bra under there.

See? I made the right choice.

Anyway, it was a rough start. Also, as it turns out, exercising is still not my faves, and I have plenty of jiggly bits which makes it more than just mildly uncomfortable. What I’m saying is, I have lots of excuses to not get out there, and it helps to have a little motivation.

Enter 12-year-old-park girl.  This girl comes to exercise at the park almost every time I am there. She is not the most athletic type, and has one of the most awkward running styles I’ve ever seen. It’s kind of like a flapping, stomping prance. Needless to say, watching her makes me feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit. I am blown away that she is so dedicated that I see her and I am at the park almost every day, and even more impressed that she doesn’t appear to have any fears about public exercise. Here I was taking back alleys for my jog, and hoping not to run into any neighbors, or fit women with dogs, or men my age that might call me a lady. Meanwhile, 12-year-old is just letting it all hang out, jammin’ to her ipod, owning it in plain view. I am a total coward, and I need to step it up. So. I am secretly challenging park girl to an exercise competition. The rules are: I see her, I have to exercise.

It is ON 12-year-old.