Sunday, December 16, 2012

Owwww... My Arms...

My friend, Kae, just signed up at Planet Fitness, so we decided to go this afternoon. We started out with brunch and thrift store shopping as a warm-up.

Kae and I used to do The Firm workouts back when they were still on VHS tapes and everyone was 80s-tastic. Seriously. She and I started working out together in 1993, and the tapes were released in the late 80s.

That said, they remain one of my favorite workouts because they combine weights and aerobics. I was in the best shape of my life back then, and I used those tapes to lose 40 pounds in 1997. If you can get past the cheesy leotards and awful hair, I highly recommend looking for them on Amazon and eBay.

Anyway, because we have a history of working out together, we know what each other's limits are (my knees, her hands) and how to motivate each other. She's also really knowledgeable about weight machines, whereas I am most decidedly not, so I let her take the reins today.

She asked how I do my cardio so that we could do our own, separate things and then meet up by the weight machines. I always warm-up on the treadmill or recumbent bike and then move to the elliptical to flirt with certain death. She likes the bike, so I did that with her for ten minutes and then left to get on the elliptical. The bike is good for a warm-up, but it's kind of boring, and I don't feel like I'm getting a workout since I'm sitting down. I'm fairly sure it's psychological, since my heart rate gets up to 145, but still.

The last time I was there, I made a goal to stay on the elliptical for 4:00. I barely made it. I thought I was going to DIE. This time, I figured I'd go for 4:30, since my plan is to increase my time by thirty seconds every time I go to the gym. I want to work up to 45 minutes.

The first couple minutes were much easier this time. My knee didn't freak out, and when it did, I simply went backwards for a little while until my knee felt okay but my thighs were hollering. Then I went back forward. I hit a groove around 3:00 and thought, "Maybe I'll go for 5:00 today," but then the wheels fell off the bus around 4:00 and I had to focus to get through to 4:30. It's amazing how long thirty seconds can feel when you want to fall over and play dead.

That said, I LOVE the elliptical. I want one of these things in my house. It's definitely a torture machine, but I love it for that very reason. My heart rate gets up to 170, so I have to scale back a bit just to keep it in the correct zone. (It's almost always because I'm moving my arms too fast.) There's absolutely zero impact, it's a smooth motion, it isn't as awkward as it looks, and it makes my legs feel amazing. I also sweat a ton. So, yes, this is my favorite machine, and I can't wait for the day I can stay on it for a full 45 minutes like all the other cardio rock stars.

Once we finished our cardio, we decided to work on our shoulders and back. Kae likes to split her workouts into shoulders/back one day, then legs/butt, then arms/chest/abs - or something like that. Anyway, we found the right machines and set to work. She had me do ten reps at a weight that was comfortable but still challenging, rest while she did it, and then get back on for ten more reps. We did this with all of the machines and then did some free weight work.

I have to say, having that mirrored wall in the free weight area really helps. I always thought it was kind of funny that people would stare at their muscles, but today I realized its true purpose - I could see when I got lazy with my form. No wonder people watch themselves. I felt like an idiot for thinking it was there for vanity's sake. ;)

Once we finished that up, she had to go to Best Buy, and I decided to come home and shower. We would have showered there (and they have nice showers), but we didn't realize they don't provide towels. Oops! I did think it was really nice that they not only have shower curtains, but they also have a curtained dressing room where you can put on some basic underwear instead of having to walk back into the locker room wearing just a towel. It's also nice for those who are more modest/religious.

I'm pleasantly sore now. It feels great to be able to do a full workout again. 46 pounds ago, there's no way I would have been able to do any of this. I felt powerful and really proud, even though my reflection in the weight area was still a chunky girl. I simply didn't care, though, because I'm smaller than I used to be, and the more I go to the gym, the smaller I'll get. I can't wait to see what my reflection looks like next December. :)


  1. I always use the elliptical at the gym. I never feel like I'm getting a workout on a bike. I never really get to the point of being sweaty. Greg and I had an elliptical in our house for a while when we were in England. Since we both have a hard time finding time to go to the gym, we plan to get an elliptical for our house again. Most of my exercise right now is walking, but I'd like to have the chance to do a bit more.
    You sound like you are doing so great!

  2. I am telling ya, the elliptical is the jam! If you like work out videos with cardio and weights I recommend Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. It is levels one, two, and three and each level is only about 25 minutes but you get in a serious work out. She also has modified versions of the moves for people with bad knees. I dont know how uncomfortable your knee situation is but its a pretty cheap dvd on amazon and defiantly worth checking out.
    Congrats on increasing you elliptical time that 30 seconds. You will reach your 45minutes in no time!


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