At the Gym: People Skills

ARMADILLO MODE: ENGAGE.

Top notch people skills, right there.

There is just something about the gym where I want to avoid all human contact whatsoever.  I just want to get in, work out, and get out.  Plain and simple.

To me, a gym isn’t a place to socialize, I suppose.  It’s a place where I need to go in order to keep in shape and maintain my health.  Basically, I think I equate going to the gym to going to the doctor’s office.  Which I’m not sure is the right mindset, but it’s what gets me through my workouts.  I just want to get it done and over with.

…yeesh, that sounds grim.  Way more grim that I had originally intended this post to be.  But is this a bad thought process?  Am I the only one who thinks like this?  I don’t know.  I’m sure I’m not – I’m sure a lot of people just want to get through their workouts with minimal human interaction.  So maybe not.  Who knows.

And now I’m just rambling without a way to properly end this post.  So, uh, yeah.  Gym stuff.

Also, are we passed that time where all the New Years Resolution people have left?  It’s hard to tell.  I mean, it does feel like all the treadmills are taken, but other than that, I’m not sure.

More rambling stuff.  Whoo!  See you Wednesday!

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We Interrupt This Storyline to Bring You Unicorns

Now in color!

So.

Drew did a thing this weekend.  A thing that involved unicorns, a foam pit, getting covered in color, and – perhaps the most unbelievable thing of all – actual physical activity.

I took part in a 5k.

More specifically, I took part in the Color Run at the National Harbor.  And I had a blast and a half.

Now, these are all things that I would have never thought I’d say.  I mean, taking part in a 5k?  And actually having fun while doing so?  But I did.

Let me back up a bit.

My dear friend Chelsea, who has been one of the driving forces behind me actually getting out of the house and doing things, approached me a few weeks back, wondering if I’d be interested in running this 5k.  And no, I did not laugh in her face because me and running aren’t exactly friends.  But I did have to think about it.  Because again, it’s running.  I’d tried running before and…oof.  So I gave it a bit of thought, looked up the Color Run online, and finally agreed.

I had to admit, it did look fun.  The basic premise is that you run/walk/jog a 5k course, and along the way, you get blasted with color.  That piqued my curiosity.  What really drew me was, well, the fact that their mascot was a unicorn.  And you got a unicorn medal if you finished.  And I mean…come on.  Unicorns.  Me.  It’s a perfect match.

Before diving in completely unprepared, I did take a practice run, measuring out a 5k (3.2 miles) run through my neighborhood.  And it didn’t completely suck.  I managed to finish it in under an hour, which was great, and I only stopped once.  I fully credit me going to the gym for this, giving me the stamina to keep going and not completely fall apart.  I did hurt for a few days afterwards, but for the most part, I felt pretty okay.  In fact, I may add running to my fitness routine.  I didn’t feel that anxiety that I get when I go to the gym sometimes.  It was awesome.

Not so awesome was the fact that I had to get up at 5:45 Sunday to get to the event.  Really, any time before 7:30 isn’t actually a time.  But there I was, awake, dressed, and somewhat ready when Chelsea came bounding up the driveway with her parents in tow.  And we were off.

Got there on the early side of things, around 7:00.  Allowed me time to check in, grab my t-shirt and other goodies, such as a sweatband and a temporary tattoo that still hasn’t worn off.  We bounced around the sponsor tents, gleefully taking part in the free items to be had.  Lays, the main sponsor, was handing bags of potato chips, which were all well and good, but did they have to only have Original?  I mean, a bit of BBQ or Sour Cream and Onion would’ve helped.  Just saying.

There were a great deal of people running that day.  There were also a great deal of tutus, capes, and unicorn headbands.  And I mean…whatever floats your boat, really.  But still.  Tutus.  For running.  Man.

I should also point out that the main area was indeed Unicorn Central.  They were selling unicorn stuffed animals, unicorn keychains, there was a guy running around in a unicorn costume – so much unicornity.  I was a happy camper.

Side note: some people did run with their unicorns in hand.  And the poor things did get covered.  Maybe that was the point.  But still.

They did have a stretch session, which turned into this massive Zumba class, complete with instructors.  Which I did not take part in because reasons.  I did stretch, though with Chelsea and her parents.  Just, not necessarily in a Zumba fashion.

Also, can I just say that people will go crazy whenever free stuff is offered?  Seriously, the moment they started firing free shirts/arm warmers/headbands/God knows what off the stage, people were going nuts.  Just thought I’d mention that.

Finally, we made our way to the starting line.  It was time.

More free stuff was thrown.  More music was pumped.

Then finally.

Finally.

The clock hit 9:00.

And we were off.

Well, kinda.  As off as we could be.

Chelsea and I managed to jog along so we wouldn’t get trampled, watching as her parents slowly took off into the distance because they are much more in shape and life’s not fair.  We finally slowed down to a walk, and proceeded on our merry way.

We did not run the whole way, thank God.  We did a walk/run.  Walk for 5 minutes, jog for a minute, and repeat.  Really, the best way to get through the run.  No need to expend all your energy at once.  And we weren’t alone in this – lots of others had decided that this was the best approach to the 5k.  Some did run the whole way, I’m sure.  Some walked.  Some jogged.  I think the main objective of these events is truly to have an experience.  To get covered in color and get through the course.

Speaking of, there were four color stations: green, purple, pink, and yellow.  And the coverage did vary.  The green people, for example, were a bit skimpy.  The yellow volunteers really went for it.  Looked like I got hit by a school bus after that station.  Also, it varied from runner to runner.  Some barely had any color at all.  Others looked like they had a run in with Oscar the Grouch and Grimace before colliding with Big Bird.  My goal was to get as covered as possible because it’s a color run, people.  That’s the whole point.  Make me look like a walking rainbow.  Don’t be stingy, color me up!

The first mile felt like a mile.  The second mile did not.  And the third mile lasted forever.  But eventually, Chelsea and I hit the finish line, running through the foam pit and back into the main area.  And it was a glorious feeling.  I’d done it.  I managed to get through a 5k.  I got that unicorn medal.  I EARNED that unicorn medal, dammit.  I earned heading towards the soundstage, where they were having Color Blasts, in which everyone threw colored powder at each other because we all could use more color at a color run.  I earned that delicious lunch at Nando’s and walking around the National Harbor with Chelsea’s family looking like a sentient rainbow.

It was amazing.

And so was the shower and two hour nap I took afterward.

Would I do a 5k again?  Probably, actually.  Chelsea listed off a number of others, including a Fit Foodie one that came with snacks afterwards.  And I mean, free food.  Would I want to get into better shape first?  Absolutely.  Hence why I want to add more running into my routine.

All in all, an experience that I never thought I’d partake in, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

A final note to Chelsea and her parents: once again, thank you so much for having me along.  Thank you so much for cheering me on and allowing me to be a part of this whole thing.  You guys are seriously awesome, and added to this whole experience.  Massive hugs and high fives to you all.

Story resumes Friday!  Stay tuned!

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Resoluting Resolutions

Hey, two out of four ain’t bad, in the long run.

Didn’t really come up with any resolutions for the new year.  Or rather any new resolutions.  It’s pretty much the latter two mentioned in the comic – attempt to worry less and try to write more.  Both of which I failed at last year.

Of course, now that I think about it, I don’t think I helped myself at all in those regards.  I basically ignored writing – aside from this blog – in general, while ramping up my anxiety through constant Googling and clicking on stuff that I really shouldn’t have.  So this year, it is a matter of displaying some actual willpower and restraining myself from random Google searches at 10 PM whilst pushing myself to write.  So far, the Googling seems to be going well.  The writing, well – it’s a work in progress.

As for the other two resolutions that I actually managed in some capacity to achieve, now is the time to continue forth with those, not chucking them aside.  I need to make sure that I keep going to the gym and watching what I eat, whilst moving away from the snarky t-shirts in order to upgrade my wardrobe.  Time for them to evolve into habits, not just resolutions.  And hopefully at some point, writing will become a daily activity and the worrying will diminish.  In the meantime, it’s time to buckle down and make sure they happen.

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Things I’ve Learned at the Gym: The PAIN

"The weirdest part is that I think she ENJOYS it..."
“The weirdest part is that I think she ENJOYS it…”

Wish I could say I was exaggerating.

But no.

Recently, I’ve had moments when, after coming back from the gym, I can barely lift my arms/move in general.  Especially after I’ve had a workout with my trainer.  Never really when I’ve gone there by myself, which either means that I’m not pushing myself hard enough when I’m on my own or personal training just hurts all around.

Now, whenever I met with my trainer in the past, I was sore, but never this sore.  Like, first time going to the gym in ages sore.  I figure there are two reasons for this new level of pain.  One is that there was this huge gap in the summer where I wasn’t able to meet with my trainer, so my body’s trying to acclimate itself again.  The other is the dreaded push up.

Would make sense – I’ve been having to do those a lot recently, and all the areas that are in agony are those that my trainer claims that push ups are meant to “help” or “work out.”  By which I think she means “sadistically punish.”  So as of now, push ups are running neck in neck with planks as The Worst Exercise Ever and I Don’t Wanna.

The weirdest part is that it’s like a delayed reaction of sorts.  I’ll be fine walking in the door – maybe a bit tired, definitely sweaty.  I’ll go upstairs, run a shower, step in…and find that everytime I try to raise my arms it feels like someone’s stabbing me in my ribcage/shoulders/EVERYTHING.  I just wanna take a nice relaxing shower and my body’s screaming “LIE DOWN YOU FOOL JUST LIE DOWN.”

So I rush through my shower, get out, grab my towel – and hence this comic.  Just, can’t do it.  Can’t reach my head.  So I’m slightly damp upon finally being able to lie down and not move for a few hours.  I’ve had moments where I’ve considered asking someone for help.  My pride has a tendency to win out in these cases, though.  But I’ve been close.

This can last for days, too.  Trying to get out of bed the next few mornings is interesting.  Another delayed reaction, as I won’t feel it until I attempt to go down the stairs and my legs, my back, my everything starts to scream out in pain.  All in all, it’s been a strange throwback to my first days at the gym.

So how do I deal with it?  Mostly just by gritting my teeth and dealing with it.  I tell myself it’s okay, it means that I got in a good workout, and one day hopefully it’ll hurt a lot less.  In the meantime, I’ll just cope with having wet hair.

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Things I’ve Learned at the Gym: The Kettlebell

Blasted little bugger...
Blasted little bugger…

Dear Kettlebell,

Let’s just get this out of the way: I hate you.

Why is it that in a gym full of large, intimidating machines that look like they could cause some serious damage to my person, that you, essentially a fancy metal ball with a handle on it, are the most awkward, rage inducing piece of equipment there?

Maybe it’s that stupid way you manage to throw me off balance every time I attempt to use you.  Perhaps that’s the point, and you’re supposed to force me to keep my balance, but you don’t see the barbells doing that, do you?  Noooo, they actually like to make sure that I don’t end up feeling like I’m about to topple over.

Maybe it’s your shape.  Your bulbous body never wants to cooperate, and I’m terrified that I’m going to end up bludgeoning myself if your handle slips or you swing in just the wrong way.

Maybe it’s the fact that you just don’t feel good.  Sounds weird, I know, but it’s true.  I can’t get comfortable trying to use you.  Not just because you’re heavy – or seem heavier than a barbell, even though you might be the same weight – but because I can’t find the right way to hold you.  Even with that handle of yours, I can’t seem to make you and me work.

Or maybe you’ve got the unfortunate roll of the dice in that all the excercises that my trainer makes me do with you are extremely awkward.  Like squats, otherwise known as That Exercise I Refuse to Do Alone Because They Look Stupid.  Or attempting to roll a deadlift, a squat, and a press all together.  But you don’t help.  You don’t help at all when you slam into my arm or dig into my shoulder.

This could be entirely my fault, though.  Maybe I’m too lazy.  Maybe I’d rather be doing something else at the gym and I haven’t gotten to know you better, to feel you out and see if I actually make you work for me and my physical wellbeing.  Maybe we just got off on the wrong foot that very first time I picked you up.

Just maybe.

In the mean time, yes, I will use you whenever my trainer – who swears by you and seems to think you’ll cure everything in life – wants me to.  And maybe in the future, we could be friends.

Until then, though, you can kindly sod off.

Sincerely,

Drew

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Things I’ve Learned at the Gym: All the Feels

Not included: that weird moment of Guilt afterwards that I haven't done enough.
Not included: that weird moment of Guilt afterwards that I haven’t done enough.

During the abnormally long process of me signing up for a gym membership, one of the things the manager mentioned to me was what working out can do for anxiety.  And with anxiety basically being my default mode, I was more than interested.  From what I gathered, exercise can alleviate this feeling and help you manage it better in the long run.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s helped me outside of the gym yet – I still find myself worrying about everything in the entire world.  But at the gym, it certainly does take a back seat to the following emotions:

Pride: I have actually made it to the gym at least twice a week for the past month or so.  This, coupled with the sheer fact that I decided to acquire a gym membership – and that I have the funds to pay for it! – I mean, why shouldn’t I feel proud of that?  I’ve also managed to lose a couple of pounds as well!  It’s a start, at least.

Hope: God, I hope I can lose more weight.  And if I keep going to the gym, then maybe my goal of hitting 200 pounds will be a reality.  Here’s hoping.

Concentration: Using some of the equipment does require me to be focused on what I’m doing, so that I don’t end up injuring myself in some ridiculous way.  And yes, I do in fact forget to breathe.  I don’t know why, I just do.  I have almost passed out once from this during a training session.  Bad idea.  Breathe, people.

Pain: Self explanatory, really.  Some of this stuff hurts.  But I guess that’s a good thing?

Anxiety does creep in, I have to say, especially when I’m on the treadmill and they’re playing the bloody news, which doesn’t help at ALL.  But I’ve learned to situate myself in front of the TV that’s playing sports.  Do I care about sports?  Not really.  Would I rather watch something about March Madness than the Election?  Hell yes.

There is also a bit of  self consciousness that sticks around as well.  I don’t want people to be watching me work out.  Not that they actually are, but still.

All I can do is keep going.  And maybe, just maybe, my anxiety will soon be under my control.

And that I lose 40 pounds.

We can all hope, right?

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Things I’ve Learned At the Gym: Hunger Pains

Food glorious food, man.
Food glorious food, man.

Every time I come home from the gym, I’ve always been super incredibly hungry.  I don’t know why.  My best guess is that I’m finally expending some calories, and my body’s like, “Wait, what’s happening?  Where are they all going?  We need more!”  Of course, I can’t just gorge myself.  That would pretty much negate everything I just did at the gym.

I’ve also begun to notice that every time I get hungry now, it’s intensified.  Not like hangry, where I slip into grouch mode if I don’t get something to eat, but like this stronger, must eat something now sort of feeling.  Again, burning calories.  Get used to it, body.

Hoping this is kind of normal on some level for people going back to the gym.

In other, non-gym related news, my dad’s doing just fine!  He’s at the hospital, recuperating from his surgery, which went well, thank goodness.  But for the most part, he seems good!  Doesn’t seem to be in too much pain, he’s acting like himself, color’s good and he’s not lying there all pallid and weak – everything’s looking okay.  He’s probably going to be home in the next 2 or 3 days, and then begins the long, recovery process.  Just glad that he’s fine and that this surgery is done and over with.

 

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Things I’ve Learned at the Gym: Planks

If your arms aren't spasming, it means you aren't doing it right.  Or is that just me?
If your arms aren’t spasming, it means you aren’t doing it right. Or is that just me?

Whoever developed planks as exercise was probably some sort of sadist, right?

I don’t know why, but these are the hardest exercise I’ve had to do at the gym thus far.  Maybe it’s the lack of upper body strength.  Maybe it’s because I’m a big guy and trying to balance all of my weight on my arms isn’t fun.  Who knows, really.  I just hope I’m not the only one who goes through this.

All the times I’ve met with a personal trainer, they’ve had me do these, right off the bat.  Why?  What’s the point of this bloody little bastards, aside from me feeling like my arms are going to snap in half?

 

*consults almighty Google*

Okay, so apparently they’re some kind of core exercise.  And I guess with my soft and squishy core, I could use the help.  So, hopefully, in the long run, it’ll all make sense and I’ll see some results.

In the meantime, I’m just going to whine some more.

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Sunday Morning

Nothing helps a sore back like 11 pounds of red panda jumping on it.
“Whhhhhyyyyy…”

Just a quick continuation of Monday’s post.  Also what I feel to be a  good representation of how I felt waking up Sunday morning.  Like someone had thrown 11 pounds straight onto my back (the weight of a red panda), and very, very sore.

Really I just wanted to draw more red pandas.  Because why not?

Side note: I’m feeling much better now.  Not sore at all.  So, snaps for that.

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