Friday, February 8, 2013

Exercise, Schmexercise

I hate posting without pictures, but this post is about me finally exercising and we all know that THAT'S not going to happen on the internet. So instead I offer you this sweet 'stache picture:

You're welcome.

Anyway, I'm finally exercising. This is, like, blog-worthy news, you guys. Seriously. Pretty amazing stuff.

I have never liked to exercise. I come from a great family, but when we want to reward ourselves or perk ourselves up, we treat ourselves to food. My mom always lamented the fact that we weren't the type of family to, I don't know, go on a bike ride or swim some laps together as rewards. Sure, we took family walks and bike rides, and my sister and I did some sports (it took several years for me to accept my complete lack of athletic ability), and then we both did years of marching band, but we weren't that kind of family. You know the kind I mean. The super fit family that only posts pictures of group mountain hiking excursions and team Iron Man challenges on their Facebook wall. No, we were staying in and making cookies. And having an awesome time together.

We also never quoted Shakespeare, another fact my mom liked to lament. We quoted The Simpsons and various Muppet movies. It explains a lot, y'all.

Off and on I've attempted a regular fitness routine, but first school, then a job, then WHAMMO multiple babies in a short amount of years always interrupted any half-assed attempt at exercising I had started. I was always secretly relieved. I never knew what to do on my own besides running, and running makes me want to jump off a cliff. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than running. Seriously, nothing worse. I have a bad knee, so not only is running not enjoyable and really boring, but it's exceptionally painful, and visions of early knee replacements dance in my head the entire time I'm wheezing and hating everyone and everything. There is nothing worse than running, unless you count running on a treadmill in a gym. That is the ultimate worst.

I didn't begin to actually like exercise until about a year ago when I discovered (always late to the party) Zumba. I wrote about my flailing Zumba(!) moves here, and I have managed to keep up a semi-regular class routine for this past year. I loved everything about Zumba--the dancing, the great cardio, the acceptance of any and all fitness levels or body types--and I still love it. But with a husband pursuing a PhD, preparing for some big tests, it was getting harder and harder for me to get away and exercise. Plus Zumba classes outside of a gym membership were hard to find. Plus I was stagnant, fitness-wise. I needed more to lose that baby booty.

Enter the YMCA. We have an awesome and active Y in our community, very close to our home, and I have been begging for a membership for a few years now. We were finally able to make it happen, and y'all: I haven't looked back.

I don't know what's become of me, but I am there, sweating and swearing and simultaneously being miserable and transcendentally happy, nearly every day. Perhaps it's wanting to prove to my husband that our monthly payment is not in vain. Perhaps it's a love of the free childcare and showers (which I don't have to clean!) available to me. Perhaps it's the fleeting glance of myself, naked, I caught in a mirror. Perhaps it's just a clear understanding of how much harder achieving fitness goals is going to be, now that I've had all these babies and turned 30. My body has morphed into something very different than it was a decade ago. I'd like to beat it back into submission.

I am lifting barbells in a group weight-lifting class. I am shredding any wisp of abdominal muscles I have left after childbirth in a group circuit-training class. I am continuing to dance and jive and just generally make a happy fool out of myself in Zumba. In short, I have discovered a love for exercise in a supportive group environment with lots of bossy, knowledgeable instructors who tell me just what I need to do to reach my fitness goals.


I am now that irritating person who moans and groans when she can't make it to the gym for a day. I proselytize about Body Pump to anyone who stands still long enough to listen. I live to shower in a locker room where, sure, I'll encounter lots of other unclothed women. But, hey!, no little people are bothering me, and I actually have time to shave my legs. Just yesterday I dropped the texting plan on my cell phone and traded that charge for the permanent rental of a locker in the locker room. I realized something in my brain had snapped when I found myself excitedly telling my family about my spacious corner locker ("It has a rod to hang my clothes on!") in the evening.

My mom says she doesn't know whose daughter I am anymore. I am wondering when the aliens came and stole my personality.

Using up my mornings to work out means my house isn't always clean. I can get in a shower at the Y, but I don't have time to blow dry my huge amount of hair, so my hair hasn't looked "done" in two weeks and the last time I put on makeup was for church last Sunday. I constantly walk around hunched over because every one of my muscles aches. I'm pretty stupid at working out, which means the instructor has to move beside me and show me how to do really simple moves. I am so exhausted that I fall asleep by 8:30 most nights, snoring loudly while my book of crossword puzzles slips from my fingers. It is neither a glamorous nor a thug life.

But let me tell you this: I am getting fit. I am involved in a fabulous community resource. I am meeting new people. I am a stay-at-home mom getting out and about and refusing to hold onto these 20 extra pounds any longer.

I am loving exercise.

Please do not contact the aliens. I am quite happy being a pod person.


gina said...

Love it...I grew up in a tv home although I was athletic. So I have coordination where sports are concerned. Regular exercise has come and gone in my life. I also am a hibernator in the winter so it is hard for me to exercise then. I am hopeful that I can get in the groove again, lose that baby weight, and keep it off. After all, my youngest is 20 =) -Gina

Gallo Pinto2 said...

I'm so proud of you! I am very much like you in the world of exercising! I hate running and I find it hard to go to a gym. It was a little easier when Eric and I tried going together but he is working two jobs now so we quit our membership (at a local 24 hr no instructors or classes available place).

I am however making a very conscious effort to eat better - and NOT eat to keep up with my husband.

Oh and enjoy those free and childless showers! Awesome!!!

Tracy said...

I'm so very envious of your Y membership. I've been begging my husband to let us get one so that I can run while he's away on travel for work. No dice.

I'm sure you look fabulous! You're doing awesome!

Raechel said...

Yay for exercise!! The Y is the BEST!! We ended up with a membership to a different gym that was a little less expensive but had nicer childcare and showers. Downside: no pool, nothing great for Oliver.

But, my days (at least 3-4/wk) are filled with mornings athe gym and showers and running on treadmills alongside my sister while watching the Titanic sink for 45 minutes.

I wish I could swap dance for running - and I've TRIED- but Christine, there really is no better way to described the way I look but perhaps an adolescent ostrich with a drinking problem. I am not a long-limbed person, but when the music starts playing, my arms go flying and we all discover that Raechel had NO rhythm to save her soul.

Yoga Fusion has been fun- except when you find yourself situated next to a tall, blonde, flexible model for an hour. Then you feel pretty stumpy and frumpy.

Love you and SO glad you've found your stride (ha!) as an "exerciser".