My love hate relationship with exercise

I have never been a gym-rat – nor have I even remotely liked exercise. Whenever I “feel the burn,” my instinct is to cry and quit and run home. However, I did want to live healthier – and you really can’t do that without fitting some level of exercise into the equation.

Last year, when I got serious, I joined Curves. That was fine for about 2 months. But it quickly got old. Yes, at least I was changing machines every 30 seconds or whatever it is – but it still got old. I tried bringing my own music or books on tape to listen to from my iPod. Didn’t help. At the time, I was doing Jenny Craig. I started Curves in April 2008, I started Jenny Craig in May. By September, I’d lost 15lbs. I was sick of Jenny Craig and couldn’t wait to get off the diet. Curves was boring me to tears. My work had gotten insanely busy – so it seemed like a good excuse at the time to just stop everything.

Of course I had intended to go back to Curves (and I thought I was “eating less”). By January, I hadn’t exercised again, and I’d gained 10 of the 15lbs I’d lost. (Well that was money (not) well spent on Jenny Craig!)

Don’t get me wrong – I think Jenny Craig is great and it does work. The problem isn’t the program. The problem is what do you do AFTER the program. Jenny Craig really didn’t teach me how to eat better. It taught me that if my meals came in a box, and I ate what they told me, I’d lose weight and keep it off.

Anyway – the diet is for another post.

So since January we’ve been members of 24 Hour Fitness. What I have learned since starting there:

1) While I liked how I looked when I was using the weights 2x a week – I really don’t enjoy it.
I think resistance training is important though. I haven’t done it in almost two months now and I’m feeling guilty about that fact. So we’re going to try, one day a week, that Sam and I use the weights together. Hopefully this will at least make it a little more interesting.

2) Exercise machines at the gym make me feel like a gerbil on a wheel.
So I try to use them as little as possible. I outright can not run on a treadmill. The bike machines makes my butt hurt. I’ve used the stair master a few times, but it’s not my favorite. The one machine I can somewhat tolerate (so long as it’s not more than 1x, MAX 2x, a week) is the elliptical machine. So what do I do at the gym? I’m trying to do classes. At the moment, my favorite so far has been the Zumba class. I love that class so much, I think I could do it everyday without getting bored. Unfortunately, it’s only offered a few times a week, and only one of those times works for me. I’m also going to try the Aqua class at some point.

3) Above all – in order for exercise to work – you have to find something you like or can tolerate.
This is the biggest thing, and it’s the reason I keep changing things up. Curves didn’t work, time for a change. I tried a bunch of machines at the gym until I found one I didn’t mind as much. Classes are fun and help on the “something different” front. There were a few I tried and didn’t care for – but the key is to keep trying different things.

Along that same line – I had never really tried running. But on a diet-related forum, a lot of people had been talking about their runs – so I thought I’d give it a try. That has turned out to be one of the things I’ve liked the most. I’m just beginning, so I can’t run for very long, so I’ve been switching off running and walking. And trying to work up to longer stretches. My goal right now with this is to work up to being able to run a 5k. I will say, though, that I’m kind of picky about running. Like I said before, I can’t run on a treadmill. (I feel like I’m going to go flying off the back of it) – so it has to be outside. But it can’t be too hot, or too cold. So this really limits how long I’ll be able to run. Right now, in the summer, I’ve been running a few times a week, in the evening, just before sundown – it’s cooled off by then and the temperature is perfect. We’ll have to see how long I can keep this up. By September/October, I may need to try the treadmill again if I want to keep the running going.

So my routine has been running 3x a week, Zumba class 1x a week, and if I need to fit in another day of exercise, I’ll add in an extra running day or I’ll use the elliptical machine. This extra day I’m going to try and swap out for an aqua class. My average calorie burn is about 300 calories. Zumba class usually has me burning between 400-500 calories.

I think one problem a lot of people have when trying to lose weight – is overestimating how many calories they’re burning when working out. If you’re using a machine and you go by the machine’s readout – you’re more than likely overestimating. This is the reason why I use a heart rate monitor. The one I use is this one: Polar F7

So these are a few things I’ve been doing and have learned. It’s all a journey.

1 Comment

  1. Cee
    Nov 23, 2009

    Love point #3 – I was forever putting off the diet or the exercise regime until ‘next Monday’ and of course that Monday never came. It took me a long time to realise I didn’t need to take drastic measures, just needed to change certain aspects of my life. I decided to lose weight by walking and cutting out chocolate and slowly but surely its working. Just wish I’d done it years ago.

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