Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mixed Mind about Exercise

Today I accomplished a milestone of sorts for me. I burned up 710 calories on the cross-trainer at the gym. When I started working out in January, I was doing about 580 calories, so I'm seeing an improvement, although I'm not sure that I can do much more than 700 calories during one of my workout sessions.

The gym is my friend inasmuch as it allows me to eat more and not gain weight. In fact, I've lost about 18 pounds since January, too, and I've been able to keep it off, but I'm not losing additional weight (another six pounds?). Unfortunately, working out has also significantly increased my appetite, so I'm still at war with myself. But now when I pig out, I'm a little more prudent about it because I know how much I hate exercising.

The gym is also a benefit because a couple of times a month, Michael (who works out about the same time I do) and I have lunch after workout. This is something to look forward to, and the workout is much less dear than the lunch afterwards.

I think that the working out is slowly having an affect on my blood pressure. It's a little too early to tell, but if it does lower it five or ten points, that would be a very good thing, indeed.

Finally, I like weighing less. I look better, and I'm vain enough to think and believe that. So vanity is a spur to working out. For the life of me, I can't get rid of my little tummy. Ron thinks it's cute. I don't. No exercise short of liposuction is going to change that. Well, maybe if I didn't eat anything for the next forty-five days.

The downside is I hate going to the gym. While I'm working out, I don't enjoy it, but I get enough feedback from the machine's display to think that I'm accomplishing something, and feel vaguely superior for doing the right thing. At the end, it's a delicious feeling to be completely soaked and to feel so wiltingly tired. I like that.

When I'm done with the cross-trainer, I go up to the studio, and strike a couple of poses. It isn't really stretching, but I do a few movements during which I can completely ignore the noise and the people around me. I feel serene and empty. If I can't do my wind down because the studio has a class or activity going on, I'm disappointed, because I really look forward to the time I spend inside myself in the studio. It's meditation. It's my spiritual destination.

So I'll keep going to the gym. I'll keep being annoyed about having to get there. I'll keep using all the wrong reasons to sustain my enthusiasm. But what really keeps me coming back are those quiet moments at the very end when I'm not really exercising at all. I'm just doing my stuff. Soaking wet. Blissfully exhausted. Mentally empty. Smelling... like a rose!