Reading: Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette: A Journey

Moving: not much, then more


23 January 2003

We joined a gym. It's one several Dot Orgeristas have joined, it's not far from the house and easily bussable from the house, though not from Dot Org. Insert gripe about the hinterlands here, because if Dot Org were still downtown, several gyms would be easily accessible from work or home by bus. It might be bikeable from Dot Org, though the same major road that provides a gym-house bus ride also makes a gym-house bike ride either inconsiderably dangerous or vaguely out of the way.

I have a few problems with gyms. First, they cost money, and second, the purpose of the money is exercise, not what I want to spend on. Third, all the exercise is artificial. Fourth, televisions and other people's choice of music throughout. Fifth, the food plans are calculated on prepared food. They can tell you how Kraft, Kellogg, and Hellmann's factor into a diet, but not how the homemade or still-commercial-but-allegedly-organic versions of these foods measure up. In their entire list of Very Lean Protein, I discovered entirely not to my surprise that I like almost nothing. I'll eat well-disguised tofu. I hate beans of all varieties except garbanzo in the form of hummus. Eggs are poison. Tuna fish is cat food. This is why, when I went off red meat, I never planned to exclude poultry as well.

Whatever. I should make a new page, exercise and food for January. In the mean time,

Saturday 1/11: two 20' periods on an elliptical trainer, hill program, level 12; one 20' period on a treadmill, 15% incline, 4 mph.

Sunday 1/12: ditto.

Monday 1/13: first session with a trainer. 153 pounds, 28% fat (as measured with calipers, allegedly more accurate than the electric pulse in the home scale. Since calipers made me five percentage points less fat, I believe them). My measurements were taken, and, get this, their printer is broken and the entire system is not available online, so I don't have these figures. My once ideal proportions are no longer so ideal, I know that much. There should be 10 inches at least, or 12, between chest and waist. I'm down to 8. And I'm sure my breasts are--well, I'm not going to put in an adjective that will draw that sort of search, but my chest measurement doesn't reflect that, I think because I have lost so much muscle in my upper torso. Then 20' on a Cybex stair machine. If I could get the hang of it, it'd be good exercise. I was in my target heart range for most of the time.

1/14: Flew all day. Seriously. I got up at 6, left for the airport at 7, flew to Chicago at 9, flew to Hartford at 1, was picked up at 4:30. I did my stretches and some exercises meaning to strengthen my "TVA," as it's called in the biz, transverse abdominal muscles vital for posture, in the evening.

1/15: nada

1/16: walked 2 miles. This was met with some suprise by my family, since it was 20 degrees out. What a pack of noodles they be.

1/17: walked at least 6 miles and more like 7 or 8

1/18: nada

1/19: two 20' periods on an elliptical trainer, hill program, level 12; one 20' period on a treadmill, 15% incline, 4 mph.

1/20: second session with the trainer. He said I shouldn't exercise aerobically more than 20'/3x a week, which I snorted at. He granted me 30'/3x a week. Feh. Purportedly after a half hour when you haven't refueled, your body can't take any more energy from fat and goes for lean tissue. Yet these same gym folks are the ones who assert that these 15 pounds can come off in two months. I was thinking six. Because the printer was dead, we didn't do menu crap but began to go through weights, finding the setting and resistance of the myriad equipment.

Also, hell in the shape of a ball: stand against a wall with an exercise ball in the small of your back, roll down the ball to a near-sit but not allowing the thighs to go parallel to the floor, up and down, partway down and hold it, oooph.

My problem with resistance training is not the weight itself but maintaining proper form in the exercise. I really have no core strength, something I've been aware of for a while, with a posterior tilt to my pelvis and this new (well, it's a toddler) potbelly. I could probably leg-press, in a single sloppy, clean-thrust grunt, close to 200 pounds. The same exercise in several reps in three sets and proper form with my abdomen tight, maybe 90.

1/21: bike-commute, 7.6 miles round-trip. Nothing else, and that was fine with me. I don't know how people with real lives manage. I brought in a bag of seed from the garage for the birds and squirrels; I made an offering to the compost and covered it with leaves; I brought out some trash; I did laundry; I folded laundry and put it away; I ate dinner; I read some of my book; I geeked out with RDC. We developed a much more useable method to track eating and exercise: a spreadsheet that can take input from Palm Pilots. Haitch, stop rolling your eyes. The gym's "checkbook" is paper-driven; supposedly the gym folks enter some of the data, but when that data take a useful form, it's in their system and inaccessible to us the outsiders. Why they don't have a web-based system I couldn't say. Me, I'm 21st century. Not entirely, since I listen to a Discman instead of an iPod.

But I'm trying.

1/22: third session with trainer. This will end at 5:15, prime time on the ellipticals. Monday he kept me a little over an hour, just past 5:30 when the step class began. There was no more room on the floor for me. I don't think there's a stop class on Wednesday. Next Monday I am going to get there in time, damn it, and insist on a sign-up sheet for the 5:30 class as there is for the 6:30 (I asked, there wasn't one, "you won't need it," and, of course, I needed it). Let's see what he says about the spreadsheet, or at least about my diet.

And when I say "diet" I mean "what I eat" not "starvation plan of grapefruit and Ry-Krisp." (That particular combination is a snippet of conversation that the narrator of Auntie Mame overhears at his engagement party.)

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Last modified 23 January 2003

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