Work out, work hard

November 11, 2009


Here’s where I wax enthusiastic about how I’ve actually stuck with working out since the end of March. If you’ve read the Inertia and Inertia 2 posts, you’ll know I’m not the most motivated person in the world. But I do like being healthy.

A couple of years ago, my weight had crept up to the highest ever. Not outrageously high, but higher than it should be. It was then that I began to embrace the South Beach philosophy of healthy eating. In a nutshell: eat lots of veggies and salad, cheese and eggs, moderate portions of meat. Small portions of whole grains. Avoid the white versions of things (flour, sugar, rice). Red wine is permitted. Potatoes and beer are the devil.

Beer is the devil.

For a couple of months I was very diligent and the pounds melted away. Then I became complacent because it seemed so easy. I’m still about 15 pounds down from that high point. About five pounds come and go, depending on how I’m eating and what time of the month it is. That old cliché? Well, if you’re a woman you know it’s true.

The devil is in the details. I would say I’m about 50% compliant to the South Beach guidelines. If I gave up beer, that would rise to about 75%. Uh oh. I just need to have a little willpower and then I could make the food/pounds part of my healthy self kick back into gear. I don’t have willpower. I let myself not have willpower. Maybe that’s part of the problem with other areas of my life that lack accomplishment.

This entry isn’t meant to be about weight and pounds. I want you to be amazed that after seven and a half months, my lazy self is still on a regular workout schedule of usually three times a week, always at least two, and only two or three times, only once a week. It’s never been more than seven days in between workouts.

The magic bean? Curves for Women.

About five or six years ago, I had belonged to Curves. I stuck with it for five months that time and loved it. Then I faded away, and then I moved. Last March, my coworker mentioned that she had joined her local Curves and I thought, hmm. I’m as out of shape as I’ve ever been, I like Curves, there’s one near the office, okay I’m signing up again. Plus this time around, my health insurance reimburses me about 40% of the fee if I go at least eight times a month. Not a problem.

I love Curves even more now than I did then. For those of you unfamiliar with Curves, it’s a 30-minute workout. There are 12 machines, each of which works a different muscle group. You do a machine for 30 seconds, then move to a recovery station where you step or run or box or whatever in place for 30 seconds. Then on the next machine for 30 seconds, recover for 30 seconds and so on, until you’ve been on machines 22 times. That’s a total of 11 minutes working your muscles. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? That’s why I like it. It doesn’t seem like much when you’re doing it, either.

But boy, is it a workout. You get what you give. The harder you push, the more resistance there is in the hydraulic pistons. Technology has stepped in since I was previously a member. New is the CurvesSmart Coach, a tag that you put in each machine that tells it how hard to work you based on your previous efforts. Everything saves to the computer so that you can easily track your progress. That’s what the report up top is.

Within a month, my improved strength and stamina were obvious as I biked up long, gradual hills on the path along the Mississippi River, the same hills that the previous summer I had had to walk the bike up. It didn’t take me nearly as long to get loosened up for bowling. I jogged up stairs at the Metrodome during baseball games and wasn’t winded when I got to the top.

Within the last month or so, I have realized that although I haven’t lost any weight to speak of, my wobbly bits are redistributing. I actually had to buy a smaller belt. I work hard at Curves and I’m beginning to see visual results. I know I haven’t been this fit for a long, long time.

I’d really make progress if I could exorcise the devil.

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