Five things I learned today:
1. Never assume that you can pull/push/lift as much weight in the gym as a previous person on the machine has. What a SHOCK when first using the machine – if you don’t adjust. (Those MEN!!!)
2. Never be intimidated by men in the gym. They serve only to scare women into thinking they are wimpy. And it works.
3. Never workout on the elliptical machine next to two men – even if one of those men is your husband. It’s just wrong.
4. Never compare your heart rate to your neighbor’s. My heart rate is a good 20 beats higher per minute than Greg’s is – and that’s just standing still. On the elliptical – FORGET IT!
5. Never take your hands off the ‘heart sensor’ – or it will yell at you. For me it is good to push past the ‘normal’ perimeters of what is ‘safe’ or normal on the machine – because my heart rate is always faster than normal. And I’m okay with that. I have to make the adjustments and be okay that I’m weird.
Greg tells me that I have the ‘heart of a hummingbird’ – and I guess that’s the way it is just going to have to be. As long as I can have the ‘soul of an artist’ then all is well.
Lesson #1 – NEVER skip workouts – even when too busy to get to the gym. Even if you have to stop what you’re doing (i.e. directing a musical production – organizing a recital – vocal and piano lessons) and say to whom ever you’re with, “I’m sorry – but I have to get to the gym now – or my body will punish me later and we wouldn’t want that, would we?” I’m sure they will all understand and wait for you. (Yeah right)
Lesson #2 – When you finally DO make it back to the gym – under no circumstances should you compare yourself with other skinny and younger people around you. You are NOT looking at them – so you KNOW they are not looking at you. (Again – yeah right) You should continue on with your weight regime and try to concentrate on your own business – without staring at the other people incredulously that are doing chin ups across from your lame leg curls. They deserve to be stared at incredulously.
Lesson #3 – No matter what – you MUST NOT giggle! It’s offensive to the people around you – AND it draws attention to the fact that you are a wimp – laughing more than doing the actual sit ups. There should be NO joy in the gym – it isn’t allowed. Even the people on the HUGE posters look scary – even when they smile.
Lesson #4 – Try to look like you know how to operate the equipment. Every machine is different with a little thingy that you pull or push to adjust – and the whatchamajiggy for getting the prongy thing into the lowest amount of weight possible. I myself am an expert at working every machine now – but it took careful preparation and patience. And if I can’t get it – I call Greg over. The same holds true for the treadmill. Just look like you know what you’re doing – and you just blend in.
Lesson #4 – Try to join a class. There are many at my gym to choose from. I want to join them all but Greg says I can’t. He is very mean. I have, however joined a Zumba class (with my friend Jackie Christensen) that meets once a week on Friday nights. I used to look ridiculous because I didn’t know any of the moves. Now I still look ridiculous – but at least I’ve been going long enough that I know the moves. At least some of them. Okay – not many of them – but you get the idea. Try to join with a friend or two. My friends are too smart to do this however – and my daughter ended up coming with me. She has many friends coming with her each week – and I’m sure they laugh at me.
Lesson #5 – Don’t let anyone criticize or make fun of your efforts for trying to get into shape – such as my friend Ron Almberg did – by posting a HILARIOUS article on his blog yesterday about a woman trying to get into shape. Is it a coincidence that this woman sounds very much like me? I think not.
And finally – just relax and have fun. If you can’t laugh at yourself before the gym – you will really see the humor in yourself, the people around you and everything in general – AFTER going! Remember – just keep moving!