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So I went to the gym for a second time yesterday. I walked a half mile on the track to warm up, stretched, then hopped on an elliptical machine for 45 minutes. My heart rate increased tenfold, and it felt really good to get into that “zone” again. This time I had more time than I did the other day, so I went for it. I found that I liked it better when I cranked up the resistance and incline, which shows that I have some inherent muscle tone in my legs from all the walking I do, and in my arms from my daily pushups and incidental lifting at work, and that I can handle pushing myself. After my workout on the elliptical, I stretched some more and walked another half mile on the track to cool down. Then I stretched again, rinsed off in the shower, took a quick sauna, and took an actual shower after that. Then I walked to work where I purchased lunch and ate it, just in time to clock in for my shift. Again, an indication of how out of shape I’ve gotten. You have to be in decent shape to do my job well as it requires a lot of physical activity. But I realize when I was “working out” at home, I wasn’t really challenging myself the way you get challenged at the gym. And I’ve also learned that you can lose a good amount of weight and still be pretty out of shape. The gym combined with working an 8-hour shift after really kicked my ass, and my muscles are complaining today. That’s ok, though. I know it’s all a part of it. It’s a “good sore” really. I found that I felt like I had a lot of endorphins released and that I felt cheery and in a really good mood the rest of the day, despite being as tired as I was. I also found that I had a ravenous hunger and had to work really hard on my mind to resist eating more than I should. I made sure to eat quality protein to help my muscles. I’m not going in to the gym today, as work today will be particularly intense since it’s one of our more heavy delivery days and I’ll surely be running up and down the stairs with heavy boxes today. While I want to push myself, I also need to bear in mind that I need recovery time as well. I do plan on going in tomorrow early afternoon before work, though. And the pool is open for a long time on Saturday so I’m thinking a nice lap swim is in order for then. My housemate is really sick, and I feel a little sniffly, but I get exposed to everything by touching money at work, so I feel like I always get a lesser version of the bugs that everyone else gets. Call it free immunization. When I do get really sick, it’s usually always a sinus infection. From what I’ve read, it’s okay to keep doing cardio if you’re sick, as long as you aren’t running a fever and as long as the congestion is primarily in your sinuses and not in your lungs. So if you’re constantly coughing up green globs, perhaps hitting the gym isn’t the best thing to do, but if you’re sniffly, you’re okay. And I practice common courtesy when I do have something and always wash my hands and sanitize after myself to keep others from catching my yuck.

One thing that kind of sucks is that my apartment doesn’t have a bathtub, just a standing shower. I have a huge bucket that I can soak my feet in with epsom salts, but I miss my old house where I could soak my entire BODY. I’m thinking it may be time to invest in a heating pad for the rest of my muscles. I have some nice ice packs, but it’s nice to be able to ice, then heat. I have always had weak ankles and pain in those and the insteps of my feet. Running shoes are expensive, but another near-future investment will be some new shoes. This time instead of using the same pair for everything, I’ll be getting two pairs, one for working out and one for work and walking around. That way they’ll both last longer and support my body better. I also need to head for my chiropractor and get fitted for some new orthotics (mine are on their last legs, or feet as it were, and I was much fatter when I was fitted for em), but those are UBER expensive. Rent is due next paycheck, so we’ll see what happens.

My housemate and I were hanging out last night when I got home from work, watching some boob tube, and he noted my newly forming biceps and triceps. He felt my arm and went, “damn, that’s some definition there!” That was a nice compliment 🙂 Today, despite my arms being sore from the elliptical machine, I did my daily pushups anyway. It’s weird, I used to be afraid of muscle pain from working out. Now I can handle it. I think my pain threshold has increased a lot in the last 2-odd years. It’s also good motivation to know that this kind of pain isn’t forever, that this is just part of me getting used to a new routine. I know the body adjusts. In 2-weeks’ time I should be feeling tons better. I of course won’t be stupid and overdo it, but I’m going to push myself to a reasonable level.

A note about elliptical machines…a close friend of mine who has inspired me with her own fitness journey over the years told me that when she was dropping weight, the elliptical was a great tool because you can get a great cardio workout and burn a lot of calories on it. However, when she was done dropping weight and was ready to take it to a new level, she found that actual RUNNING was a whole lot harder than running on the elliptical (same goes for stationary bikes versus actual cycling). Since I want to train for a 5k this summer, this is good food for thought. But the elliptical is a good start for me, I feel, because it’ll get the job done to get me less fat. It’s a means to an end. The excess weight is a huge reason my foot and ankle pain persists, I think. Once I’m less fat, then I can most likely focus on getting used to REAL running on actual ground (much more impact on the body and takes a much more in-shape person to do).

Also, I need to learn how to manage my time at the gym so I can give myself more time to chill out, eat lunch, etc. before work and let my brain “reset.” I found yesterday that I didn’t have much time after completing my workout, sauna, and shower in time to give myself enough time to eat slowly for one (I had to wolf down my food really fast in time to clock in). I found that my mental functioning was impaired when I first started working. I was easily distracted and felt mentally “fuzzy.” This subsided after an hour or so, though. What I need to do is time it so that I can still get my hour-long session done, have that relaxing sauna and shower, and have a whole hour to devote to eating and relaxing/refreshing before heading in to work. Because of the nature of my work schedule and the hours at my gym, it makes it tricky. The cardio room and track are open from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, and then close for classes (college gym and phys. ed. classes happen there), then reopens again after I’m already at work and closes before I get off work. It’s tricky timing since I don’t have a car and have to take the bus to get there, but I can do it! I just have to really be on top of my shit.

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