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Fitting into fitness

Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 in Army wife, Me

What I want right now is a salt lick for humans—something salty not covering a chip or cracker. I’d usually crave the chip, but right now I just want the salt.

I am back from working out at the gym. Yep,  I said it. I have been working out at a gym. I even own some gym clothes. This bothers me.

I do not own cropped yoga pants. I haven't fallen that far.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, an athlete. My high school girlfriend made me learn tennis and play on the school team one year. I did play varsity badminton without urging, and loved it, but that’s the sole athletic endeavor I’ve ever really enjoyed. Oh, and hiking, which I’m not sure counts because there are no rules and no special equipment is necessary.


I joined a gym because the geeky boy I married is turning into a geeky biker and runner. He keeps growing more muscles. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to keep up with him since he’s got so many fewer years slowing him down, but I want to hike up a hill with him and not keep stopping along the way to wait for me to stop panting like an overheated shar-pei.

So I looked around and found a gym with “free” tai chi and yoga classes. I figured those would be more gentle ways of encouraging myself to activity. I could do those a few times a week and later think about doing more on my own. Joining the fitness center—they aren’t called gyms any longer, I guess—was a cultural experience.

Apparently this fitness center caters to cougars. I really hate that term, but it seems appropriate here. There was an attractive young man at the front desk, an attractive young man to give me a tour, and an attractive young man to give me my free session with a trainer. They smiled, they talked about how clean everything was, they asked me questions about myself, and they pushed offers on me like my Aunt Mil would push her homemade cookies. When I hesitated about an offer, mostly because I was still in shock to be in such a place, they’d offer a slightly better deal—available only if I signed up today. They had me agreeing to all sorts of obvious things, saying yes to their questions, and then slipping in the question about what package deal did I want to buy. They were well-taught salesmen.

I bought a membership. The place was clean like they said. It was uncrowded. There were lots of shiny pieces of equipment. There was a sauna which I’d probably never use, but I’m from Minnesota where saunas are heavenly places in the winter. I did not buy the services of a personal trainer, however. First of all, the number of pretty boys walking around made me wonder if any of them felt like gigolos. I felt like I was being manipulated by testosterone. Also I was asked why I wanted to work out and what goals I had. I talked about wanting to avoid another should injury, wanting to build bone density, and wanting to increase my endurance. The handsome dude just kept talking to me about weight loss and looking better. I did get him down from $50 an hour to $25 before I had sat long enough to regain enough strength to walk back out the door. Oh, and I think he’s starting to bald on top.

My first yoga class was taught by a tall transvestite. I’m sure he’s a straight and very masculine transvestite. Don’t ask me how I know this. I read Blink and learned about someone spotting a forgery in a manner of seconds, So I’m confident in the snap judgment I made with no real evidence. He’s the only one of their yoga teachers I’m actually comfortable with. The others move much too quickly and I’ve left their classes with sore wrists.

Mostly I now go to do whatever the proper verb is for using the elliptical machine. Walk? Ramble? Circle? Row? I do whatever it is and sweat into my eyes while listening to audio books. I find that I almost enjoy it. I like being read to and it helps me avoid the Kardashians who seem to be on at least one TV screen at all times of the day. (I now know that Kardashians are humanoids and that somehow an Olympian is related to them.)

I’ve learned how to lengthen my workout by my choice of books. For example, right now I listen to The Poisoner’s Handbook until I start to feel queasy. I tell myself it’s the book and not the exercise. I stop, take a sip of water, change the audio track to Bossypants and let Tina Fey get my energy level back up for another 20 minutes. This works better than listening to women with British accents read me a novel. That works for walking around the neighborhood, but is too somnambulant for strenuous exercise.

I have been working out almost daily now for three weeks. I have lost the 3 pounds I gained during the first week. My heart rate no longer shoots into the 90% range as soon as I near any equipment. I have learned how to get into and out of sport tops so I’m feeling pretty good. But last night during my second Latin Heat class the instructor stopped class to ask if I was OK. After class I caught a glimpse of my face and saw why she asked. I was purple. It’s not a good shade for someone sporting copper-red hair.

I still have to practice thinking of myself as someone who works out. I am trying to think of it as an extension of the Army wife thing. It’s what Army wives do when their husbands are away. It’s not who I am. It’s just a way of coping. This doesn’t really help but will have to do for now.

HabMoo has said that he will be writing a blog post about his own self-loathing about becoming a biker and someone who runs in the heat of the desert. Maybe we’ll bond over this, but I prefer bonding over Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, and Disgaea.

  1. Funny, I was just working on my post. I wouldn’t say I keep getting muscles, though…they just keep moving around.

  2. Just read this post too. You are hilarious and REALLY need to write a book! The title “A Lady named Bullwinkle” just popped into my head for a title. Oh and I REALLY want to come to your LotR movie day, but I think we are going to be driving out to Mackinac Island that weekend. Boo.

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