Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cycling is apparently not enough

I’m so confused. I spend a total of at least 60 minutes a day bicycling and it doesn’t count as the weight-bearing exercise I’m supposed to be getting to keep my girlish bones from shrinking. That is so not right.

But that’s what they say, so in addition to biking I frequent a gym in the hope that bearing weights counts as weight-bearing exercise – although “frequent” isn’t a word I can honestly use to describe my recent attendance pattern. Except then last week I had that experience of not being able to lift my bike onto the train hook, and I’m a changed woman. Reformed for life. I’ve figured out the problem and I’ve got the solution.

First, the problem: I don’t like gyms. I don’t like lifting weights. I feel foolish doing any exercise that is pretend, such as riding a bicycle that goes nowhere, rowing a boat on dry land, or moving inert cast iron items that have absolutely no need of being relocated. And if I have to do something that dumb, I certainly don’t want to record on a chart the number of times I do it. Besides not enjoying any of this, I resent using up what precious time I have left on the planet in the pursuit of such inane activities. Nor do I particularly connect with people who work or hang out at gyms. I’m not saying they’re not bright, intelligent people – I’m the one who can’t talk and work out at the same time – but we clearly have differing ideas about what fun is. And the last hateful thing I’d like to share with you is that I resent having to change clothes more than twice in a day.

So there you have it – my big fat bad attitude in a nutshell.

I know what you’re thinking. How is someone like that going to force herself to go to a gym without pointing a gun at her own head?

But there’s good news, and it is this: I do like how I feel as a result of lifting weights. Though I object to having to use up that time, it is actually time saved when I consider that to achieve the same results from an authentic, productive activity, I would have to be employed as a farm hand – which would take longer.

Instead of having to wrestle with the time issue, the clothes change issue, the scheduling issue, and the self-flagellation issue, I’ve decided to simply eliminate the loathsome thrice weekly errand of “going to the gym.”

That’s right boys and girls. But wait! Didn’t I just finish implying that I was reformed into a fitness zealot?

Here’s my new M.O. Instead of all that rigamarole, I’m simply going to “drop by the gym” on a daily basis. I’m not changing my clothes, making a special trip over there, then taking a shower and changing clothes back again and then making the return trip. No.

I belong to a gym that’s located right on the way to where I’m usually going. (Portland is so full of gyms now that it isn’t hard to set that up.) When I ride past it, I stop in. Do I change my clothes? No I do not. I throw my stuff in a locker, I stroll into the workout area, I do somma these and somma those. Do I keep track? No I do not. I ask myself, what do I feel like doing today? I do it. I do not write it down. How do I remember how much weight I used before? I don’t. Do I care? I do not. I pick a weight amount. If it’s too hard or too easy, I change it.

I do this for twenty to thirty minutes. If I’m not done in thirty minutes, too bad - time’s up. I grab my stuff out of the locker, I depart. Do I feel sweaty? A little. Do I care? I do not. Do other people care? I doubt it.

As for not connecting with the people, that turns out to be a good thing because it means I’m not inclined to strike up conversations and thus prolong my stay or use up my allotted gym time on chatting instead of exercising.

As for the expense factor, I’ve come to terms with that too. I’ve realized I’m more than willing to pay a monthly stipend to a gym for the service of keeping unsightly items such as exercise equipment out of my home.


At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Judy B said...

I heartily concur with your new exercise plan. Weight-bearing for those who can't bear the wait... through normal gym routines. I go for any amount of minutes enroute to "anywhere"" wearing "anything." Last week I wore street shoes, dress slacks and dangley earrings (you don't need special shoes/clothes for weight machines-and the floor is carpeted) I operate from a principal I've learned, which is: I am undisciplined! Once I come home from work to change clothes, I rarely leave the house again! The dropping by principle is sound!

In every area of life, I'm trying to streamline. "Less is" Keep it up Kate! This from a lady with pre-osteoporosis herself!

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered strapping weights to your ankles and/or wrists?

At 8:52 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

No. Such an idea has never crossed my mind. Much like lying on a bed of nails has never crossed my mind.

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have another suggestion for you.

The summer that I had lots of muscle (BTW, I fall into the testosterone free 40+ category) was when I worked at a place that had no secure spot to lock up my bicycle. But there was an under utilized mezzanine where the cyclists kept their bikes, conveniently located overtop of the change rooms. As long as we kept it low key, management was willing to turn a blind eye to the fact that we were bringing our bicycles indoors. I developed some pretty good muscle carrying my bike up and down those stairs 5 days a week.

My suggestion is that you use the bicycle as your weight and incorporate carrying it up or down stairs into your route. Its hard at first, but in a couple of months you'll notice a difference and will start looking for a longer set of stairs to incorporate into your route.

That's just my opinion, and my opinion and $5 will get you a beer....


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