On the ferry this summer - I didn't know my eyebrow could do that!
Well, I finally canceled my gym membership today. Not such a monumental event but it's something that I had a really hard time doing. I've taken to working out at home (thanks to these websites and their workouts) and have changed how I think about exercising.
I never had to worry about my weight until I graduated from high school. Yes, there was the dreaded freshman 15 but truth be told that summer before school I started gaining weight. In college a friend of mine convinced me to sign up for a weight training class through our school. It was basically a class for working out. We had a ten minute "lecture" with our instructor at the beginning of the class and then we were to work out for the remaining time. It was the first time I had ever lifted weights, ever stepped onto an elliptical machine, and was ever challenged physically. By the quarter's end I had lost that excess weight and had a pretty sweet bicep muscle to boot. After that class I would work out every now and again but never with any serious intention. I became a gym rat after I graduated college because, again, my body was changing and I needed to get this ass in shape. I took up running several years later and learned how to skateboard in my late 20's (surprisingly awesome and fun exercise - good for your butt and balance). I found out that I like physically pushing myself and that yes, I actually have some athletic capacity. Being able to see my mileage grow or my running pace get faster or skating fast up and down large banks across the skate park was encouraging and really, really fun.
Moving to New York changed some things for me. I found that I had less time in the day due to long commutes and the general concept that getting to places takes much longer here. I lost much of my "Ohio weight" (that's what one of my Columbus ex-pat friends called it) simply by walking the city but there was little time for the gym. This past year I started reading about things like Cross-Fit and Primal Living. The diet guidelines were interesting but the fitness and exercising portion really caught my attention. I read article after article discussing the problems of "chronic cardio" and extolling the virtues of high intensity workouts and the "lifting of heavy things." There was also a lot of talk surrounding smart workouts and maximizing your time while exercising. In other words, working as hard as you can for twenty minutes was possibly more beneficial than forty five minutes on an elliptical machine. I tried some of the workouts on the previously mentioned sites and promptly got my ass kicked. By this I mean sweating like crazy, feeling like my lungs were on fire and pushing myself harder than I had before. All within the privacy of my tiny living room. I pretty much stopped going to the gym but kept my membership thinking I'd go for a class or go to lift weights. That never happened. (Actually, I did go once solely to lift weights but once I stepped foot into the free weights room I promptly turned around and left. It was full of muscly men and I got too intimidated.) The other thing that I found was that my running actually improved. My body has gotten all around stronger and that translates to me being a faster and better runner.
I am trying this 30 day challenge with Jon and I am going to stick with it. Even though these workouts are relatively short, by the end I feel spent but really, really good. I like these kinds of workouts because they are made for every level of fitness. You basically do as much as your body can handle in a specified amount of time. If you can only go through a sequence once, fine. Twenty times, holy crap you're a beast! Regardless, you should be pushing yourself to do as much as you can do.
So that's it. No more gym membership and me continuing to work really hard at home. I'll let you know how this 30 day thing goes.