August 7, 2012

Alarming behavior

When I tell people I workout seven days a week, the usual reaction is “Really?!” Followed by, “How do you do it?” When I add that I get up around 4:30am every morning and that I am at the gym by 5am — including on weekends and even holidays, people usually start to wonder if my body’s been taken over by an alien being. And, I must admit, on certain mornings I wonder the same thing.

First of all, no — it’s not easy dragging my butt out of bed when the alarm rings every morning. This can be as true on a Thursday or Friday as it is on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. When the alarm rings, I’m not always a ‘happy camper.’ But I never (and I mean never) reach out and hit ‘snooze’ on the alarm clock. Instead, I do a quick stretch (sometimes with an added ‘groan,’) cuddle with my puppy for a few seconds and then jump up and get going. At this point, I’m usually in ‘robot mode’ (AKA ‘automatic pilot’) as I brush my teeth, wash my face and run a few fingers through my hair (before deciding the early morning gym crowd can just deal with my ‘bed head’). After getting dressed and grabbing my gym bag, I’m out the door.

I’m usually the first to arrive at my gym (even before the person who opens it). And I see the way the person who opens the gym looks at me, wondering himself if I’m part alien. At this point I’m forced to admit that the answer is probably ‘yes.’ This is because I’m a much different person today than I was years ago when I weighed over 450 pounds, during which time I would become breathless just from talking on the phone and participated in no physical activity whatsoever (unless you count ‘chewing’ as a physical activity). Ironically, during the time I was that heavy, I usually always wore sweatpants and t-shirts (AKA the usual gym-wear), since with a 60-inch waist, those were the only types of clothing items that I could find that would fit (not to mention stretch with me as my body grew bigger and bigger).

When I think about ‘those days,’ I’m able to understand why I’m somewhat obsessive about working out these days. I never want to go back to my former habits (the ones that kept me tipping the scale at over 450 pounds). And while also helping me to maintain my self-imposed work schedule for the rest of the day (after my daily workout is complete), exercising also keeps my ‘inside’ as healthy as my ‘outside.’ And I’m not gonna lie — I like looking good as well as feeling good.

Now, just because I exercise 7 days a week at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Just as with a healthy eating plan, you need to create and stick to an exercise regimen that works for you, individually. The good news is that you don’t even have to join a gym to do so. Just walking several times around a block (or a track field, a park, a mall — the list goes on) is a good place to start.

After years and years of yo-yo dieting, I find that working out 7 days a week is essential to my metabolism and my current dietary needs (and occasional dietary splurges). One exercise program is not right for all people. So you need to do what works for you as well as what works for your schedule. (And depending on your current medical condition, you might want to consult with a doctor first — be smart about it.) Personally, I find working out first thing in the morning a better choice, since by the end of the day I’m tired and can usually come up with 100 excuses why I don’t have time to (or don’t feel like) work(ing) out.

But do I love it when the alarm rings? No. Am I thrilled when stepping onto the treadmill knowing I’m going to be on it for an hour? No. Do I love waiting for a trainer and his or her client to stop using the one piece of gym equipment or weight set that I need to complete my workout routine? No.

But do I love how I feel when my workout is complete? Yes. Do I love breathing without difficulty? Yes. Do I love getting a medical checkup and my doctor telling me my lab numbers are “Insanely good?” Yes. And do I love being able to treat myself to occasional indulgent foods knowing I’ll work the calories off the next morning? Hell yes. I mean, um, yes. You get the point. The working out is worth every morning groan (when the alarm rings) and every drop of sweat. Bedhead be damned.

So join me in my insanity, won’t you? Whether you’re setting the alarm for early in the morning or scheduling a 30-minute walk later in your day (perhaps during your lunch break), please do your body, mind and soul a favor and make working out a part of your life — one that you stick with throughout the year.

Again, it doesn’t have to be every day. It doesn’t have to be at some crazy hour. But it really does have to be. As much for looking good and feeling good as for being healthy on the inside. Your health is important to me. So let’s be mad workout alien beings together!

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8 Responses to “Alarming behavior”

  1. Sharon says:

    Hi All!! I love this message you are giving us! I just joined a gym 2 1/2 weeks ago, and I love it! I go everyday! I do the treadmill everyday, the recumbent bike & elliptical everyday too. I do light weights for now…30# lateral press. I don’t want to bulk up…I already have broad shoulders…no need to look like a linebacker! I think for me, I have to go to the gym every single day to be able to stay in a routine. I feel great when I am done! Physically and mentally. I used to be athletic in high school, but have let myself go. I have lost 9# so far! Doing a Zumba class tonight…but I’m going to walk on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes before hand to loosen up…so I dont hurt anything in Zumba…lol. I will probably be laughing the whole time, cuz this girl just can’t dance. This is my first Zumba. I joined the YMCA, sing it with me people…”It’s fun to stay at the Y M C A….” your you all have that song dancing around in your head. I am 232# now, and I was kind of self conscience when I first got there. I thought people were going to look at me and be disgusted, etc. You know the things your mind tells you, when we are overweight. Sometimes I’m sure there are people out there like that….well…I know there are….but really..Who are they to us? They are not worth the air that we breathe…so PLEASE, don’t let that stop you from achieving what you want to do. You have every right to be at the gym as they do. As time goes on…I am going to do Pilates and Yoga…and I am sure I will like Zumba. I mean hell! The calories you can burn in that class are AMAZING!!!! I’m with Gregg on joining the gym! I feel so much better already, because I am doing something about my obesity. I will get there….there is not going to be a magic fix, but just eat right and sweat your ass off! Literally..

  2. Gregg says:

    Despite the fact that I will now have the song “YMCA” playing in my head for the rest of the day (LOL!), I love your post, Sharon! So full of positive energy and inspiration! Your glow is showing, young lady! I can definitely feel you! And I promise that tomorrow morning (at the crack of dawn) when I’m on the treadmill, I will be thinking of and virtually toasting YOU! Although hopefully the “YMCA” song will be out of my head by then! 😉 (Thanks again for your amazing post!)

  3. Sharon says:

    on the treadmill….get the rhythm goin’……right left right left right ..It’s fun ta stay at the Y M C A ( right left right) Y M C AaAaaaa…..( left right left right )

    Have to say that I LOVED Zumba! I seriously don’t think that I will be able to walk in the morning, but when I recoop, I will surely keep going to classes. WOWZA!! My face was bright red = sweating = raising my heart rate….cleanin’ out the ‘ol pores….And you would think that there would be a bunch of tiny people in there with beautiful bodies, but there were more people in there close to my size than not. The instructor told us slower ways of doing different steps so that we dont pass out on her. It was a 45 minute class and it seemed like 15 minutes. It was great!

    I, however, will probably just walk on the treadmill tomorrow to kind of stretch things out a bit. We will see what tomorrow brings. 🙂

  4. Gregg says:

    It’s always good to change things out and “surprise” our bodies, Sharon. While losing all my weight, I found classes to be most motivating. Nowadays, because of my schedule, I tend to take less classes (not that many offered at 5am — ha!). But I still try and change up my workout every now and then to keep things fresh and to keep from getting bored. (And thanks for putting “YMCA” back into my head again! LOL!)

  5. KP says:

    I too work out every single day except sundays. Twice a day on M,W,F. AND chase my kids around 24/7.
    Something i said to myself after I lost my baby weight (5 years later) is:
    “There is no food that tastes as good as I feel with the exercise routine and weight loss.”
    I say it to myself all the time, especially when the kids’ birthday party is at my front door, hot dogs, burgers, chips, cake, candy….great munchies,,,,yah right! “There’s no food that tastes as good as I feel, there’s no food that tastes as good as I feel, there’s no food that tastes as good as I feel”, click my heals and voila…. I don’t pick up the food. Thought I would share.

  6. Gregg says:

    That is an awesome share, KP! Thank you so much — and congratulations on all of your success and on your way of reminding yourself what’s really important in regards to food vs. exercise and weight loss. You are a true inspiration — not just to me, but so many others who will read your comment as well. Thank you again! And keep up the good work! (P.S. You made me drool a little when I reading about the food at the kids’ birthday party! Ha!)

  7. Cindy says:

    Your not alone at that hour of the morning particularly if you take the bus I do. Pacted to the rafter with people that live on one side of the city and work on the other. I get up at 4:15 and all I have to do is get out of bed, change, grab the gym bag and get on that bus. Brushing the teeth and combing the hair I do at the gym. There is a large crowd of us waiting for the gym to open. Racing for our machine or lane in the pool. Come September 4th they are adding an extra level of difficulty to this competition. The gym is opening half an hour earlier. Ha!!! I am looking forward to it. Maybe there will be breathing room on the earlier bus.

  8. Gregg says:

    Oh, Cindy, you are singing my song! Love your motivation and drive. And thanks so much for your comment. I feel you on that half hour you’re about to “gain” (or lose from sleep?). I often contemplate finding a 24-hour gym, but know I’d be there at 2am. True story! 😀

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