Being really serious about getting back in shape and not just ‘wishing for it’, I knew that I could not wait until New Year’s to resolve to do it. I have been making attempts over the last few months in running at the park or using my weight bench at home, but any excuse that got in the way would keep me from being consistent. A week could pass by quickly and I realized that I never worked up past ‘beginner’ – in fact, I was always “starting over”. Being determined and working hard was not my problem. I give it my all (with the exception of knowing a few of my limitations) when I work out. My problem was sticking with it.
I also knew that I had to devote time and mental energy to it in order to stay committed. The online dating was taking up too much time in getting to know people and I had to choose – dating or getting back in shape. Dating could wait. I began thinking of a plan that would keep me as consistent as I used to be before I had moved to New York. I was in pretty good shape and my endurance and energy level was fair because I was surrounded by the fitness society. Working at Fit One Gym, I had access to working out and joining Bill Dillard’s Bootcamp.
With his Bootcamp, I had noticed changes my body in no time and I loved it. It was the end of 2010 and I did it for three months up into 2011. It was winter and mostly outdoors unless the elements were nasty. This Bootcamp was not a mechanically-minded aerobics class; it was real basic training workouts with the latest equipment for a deep core workout. I had never been a part of a group exercise that I liked so much as that class and it lasted the whole hour.
When excuse after excuse flooded in as I wondered what plan I would now follow, I finally decided that I needed that gym setting again. Yes, I was 10 minutes from the Y but that wasn’t bad. Fit One was now over 40 minutes away. Obtaining my treadmill from my ex-husband’s house made me apprehensive. It has been almost four years and no telling what kind of shape it was in as well as the dilemma of having the space for it in my apartment. I knew to stay committed I needed to plan for winter weather knowing that running in the park close by would not last. It was time to join the Y and surround myself with that fitness mentality that I used to have.
There was an early morning Bootcamp that I decided to try. Waking up was easy. I was used to waking up early but I was beginning my day with two cups of coffee while checking email, Facebook and reading the news. I knew in order to have energy for Boot Camp, I would have to have some sort of fuel and I tried to eat an energy bar.
It was like trying to eat a tree that early in the morning and trying to eat it quickly before my salivary glands were awake was not helping it go down! I couldn’t eat the whole thing. My mouth just doesn’t want to chew that early. Gulping water and a multi-vitamin, I was headed out the door in the dark. I was actually doing it and not dreading it!
I found the class upstairs and expected an Army type guy to lead us. As I followed the others in getting a step, weights and a stability ball, I noticed the little blonde girl leading the class was pint-sized and very young. She had just gotten married and was giving her disclaimer to not feeling ‘with it’. That was what I wanted to hear for my first day – I knew it was going to be hard anyway.
As we got started in the warm up, the very first song that played was music with profanity being in the first sentence. I had hoped I could get my mind off the words and just focus on the beat and the movements, but then the song kept saying the word “sex-drive” over and over. This was NOT how I wanted to wake my brain up with a group of strangers.
The routine was a fast moving aerobic style workout – it was not the personal attention to each movement, controlled core workout of the Bootcamp I had been a part of before. It had that “Barbie-aerobic” mentality. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was kicking my rear-end. It was tough. But the mentality of it was not the style I liked. I felt as though I was in a club dancing to hip-hop – and that is just not my scene. Since I am not motivated by false pride of trying to keep up with the others, I did what was good for MY body. Only I… know about the condition of my knees and how fast they can pivot.
I did what was good for me. I tried to follow the fast-moving dance-y steps and keep up with the beat but I was just not that coordinated to keep up and my stamina was not at the others’ level. It also was not good for me to be in front of the huge mirror after having gained the 20 pounds since I was there last. I got pretty good at the ‘marching in place’ thing (though I seemed to be the only one who needed to do that). When we reached a higher heart rate I saw the instructor and the rest of us in the mirror… bouncing. Okay, I think I was actually the only one bouncing.
Her energy level was up more than she let on in the beginning. I watched her spring up and down on the step with such rhythm and vigor. I remember those days. But I let myself go for a whole year and I was going to pay for that. I had to realize I was lifting much more weight than she was. I had 50 pounds of bondonk-a-donk to lift. Okay, maybe not 50, but you get a pretty good idea.
I lasted about 30 minutes but I knew that if I was to have proper gym etiquette and put my equipment back. I needed to save what energy I had to be able to do that and I stopped before it was over. I put my equipment away and smiled at the instructor, thanking her. I wasn’t quite finished yet though. I needed a little more workout, something that I could handle… something less ‘twisty’.
I got on a treadmill and ran for a few minutes and then powerwalked a few and then cooled down. All together it was a 45-minute workout for my first day back on the scene. I do like an intense workout and I will work back up to what I had before when I was in better shape, but I have to say there are certain workouts that are for you and some that are not. I loved the Bootcamp that I did at Fit one. It was personal, it was ‘Army’, it was outdoors unless it rained and if an exercise was not good for my knees, Sgt. Dillard was good to show me an alternative and he would go around the group making sure that we had good form and were getting the most out of our hour. He would encourage us as he pushed us.
I did like heading to the Y at dark-thirty and working out; I just don’t have the patience that early in the day to deal with something that is not for me. Dance clubs are not for me. Coordinated aerobic classes are not for me. The instructor at the Y was a good instructor and she gave an awesome workout for those who like that style. But I knew to keep my interest I needed something that was geared for an older mind. No, not quite Silver Sneakers yet – though when I used to teach Silver Sneakers, I have to say I felt a part of them! I am an old soul, what can I say?
Even though I felt the Y’s Bootcamp wasn’t for me – I may try it again down the road. I have to be careful at my age and my fitness level right now to avoid injury. I still want to work hard and have a good workout but twisty moves with my knees made me nervous.
The next day, I had planned to jump right into the yoga class. But I couldn’t stand up! My calves were so tight and I felt as though I was on the verge of multiple Charlie-horses during the night. I literally did too much for my first time back – and it did me no good to be so sore that I couldn’t even stretch or walk it off the next day. I was literally using ice and rubbing alcohol. The intense soreness lasted three days. To me that wasted more time than if I had started off slow and had not over-done it so that I would be able to do it again the next day. But I considered these calves roped! They were down for the count.
After a few days, I went walking near Coolidge Park and the Walnut Street Bridge again. I took more photos and walked through the park and around town to familiarize myself with the area. I love it there and wish I could rent something out that way. I walked a little over two miles and my calves started feeling better. I decided I was not ready to join group aerobic classes that are not geared to my individual needs. I needed to do what I was doing before – just using the cardio equipment and weights until I work up to more. I am on a mission though and…
In the words of Ahh-nold…
“I’ll be Bach…”
(and then I’ll be Beethoven).