Thursday, January 27, 2011


I got to the gym today. I really, really wanted to stay home and 'get stuff done' but I had to do the pep talk that goes like this, "the highest priority is your health...get moving!"

I took a book, which I never do. My usual M.O. is to put in the iPod and ride hard. I think I feel like if I'm not sweating like crazy, I'm not doing any good. I have a play list called "Mom's Work Out" and another called "Mom's Mellow Work Out". The second one is the one I pull up to get the warm up going. Slower songs I love. Then, about six minutes in, when my muscles feel looser and warmer, I switch over and dial up the serious work out songs.

A good rhythm is so inspirational to me. My current favorites are Her Diamonds, by Rob Thomas and Nothing Better to Do by Leann Rhymes. I love the beat on those two songs and I find I can push harder when I'm matching their beat.

But today I put on the mellow list and opened my book. I rarely read fiction because I love reading about real things, things that really happened. Memoirs are my favorite category. But every now and then I find a fiction book that intrigues me and I have to dive in. I thought maybe taking the latest one to the gym might help my hour on the bike go by faster.

I have practically memorized the chart on the bike for heart rates. I know that if I'm in the 120s I'm at 'fat burning' and when I get up to the 140s I'm into the cardio zone. To really sweat, I need to be in that cardio zone. That's where I feel like I'm doing something. I'm making a dent. If I'm not dumping sweat out of my artificial leg in the locker room after my ride (seriously, I do that, and hope it doesn't offend anyone)then I haven't really worked out.

But the fat burning zone kind of intrigues me now. I was able to read quite a few chapters of my new book, keeping my heart at that 65% today. And the hour flew by.

I've consulted with my fitness guru, my sister Terri, to see if it still 'counts' if I dont go home dripping with sweat. If so, I might alternate my work out days. Every other day I'll do the hard core, full on ride. The other days I'll read my book and do an hour of what I truly hope is 'fat burning'.

This is an important distinction to me because of the whole shower thing. For girls in general I think it's harder to do the shower ordeal. We have hair to worry about. It's why I never took to swimming. Re-doing the hair is a hassle. And I have simple hair. I brush it out and it dries. But the whole drying it part takes time.

In the past I've justified not exercising because it meant I would have to allow an extra half hour for a shower. An hour on the bike was really two hours, when you add in drive time to gym, then shower time.

Showering with one leg is a pain. I do it because I personally like to be clean. It also helps with the marital relationship, to not smell like a hot camel when you go to bed at night. But honestly, it's labor intensive.

First of all I have to sit down. I have a great shower stool, but I have to have everything set up before I sit down and take off my leg. The handheld shower has to be taken down so I can reach it. The towel and clean clothes have to be positioned correctly so I can reach them from my stool when I'm done. The soaps have to be in reach, if a husband or child has used them and put them on high shelves. The shower curtain sometimes doesn't want to close smoothly, and I can't reach the top, while seated on my stool, to fix it.

You get the idea. It's a pain in the neck. So showering once a day is enough for me. Going to the gym and walking out soaking wet with sweat, means I have to go through the ordeal twice. Kind of makes smelling like a camel more appealing.

But if I can ride at the lower pace some days, and get a decent work out without the gallons of sweat, I could be more optimistic that this fitness thing might stick.

Now I'm off to watch a movie with my kiddos. Fortunately they are all healthy, fit and active. I've started a new family habit, that part of the time we're watching TV we have to play catch with the weighted ball. I feel like every little bit of muscle building helps. The more muscle I build, the higher I can get my metabolism.

My ten year old loves that something as fun as 'playing ball' with me is helping me with my fitness goals. He's standing by right now, ball in hand, ready to play. Guess I'll be going now.

Once again, it's time to start.

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