Sunday, June 23, 2002

Six Months of Effort

In one week, I'll have been working out for 6 months. I'm rather proud of myself. I've been slacking the last few weeks, but for the majority of the time I've gone 5 days a week. I've been keeping track (more or less) when I go and what I do. When I don't go, I try to write down why, so I can see if there are dangerous trends I need to be aware of.

I feel better on the days I work out and I know it. I don't like the way the gym gets hot during the day, so I try to get in early. Also I'm less likely to run out of time if I plan to workout first thing.

I start with 20 minutes of cardio. In the beginning it was less, maybe 10-15 on a recumbent bicycle since that seemed to be the easiest for me. Now I'm hooked on the elliptical trainers and do a solid 20 minutes each session. After that I do weight training, either upper body or lower body.

I mostly keep to myself when I work out. It's nice having people around but not feeling compelled to have to talk. I always listen to music when I'm upstairs doing the cardio portion. Last Friday I forgot my headphones and CDs at home and didn't enjoy it as much. The equipment has a little TV, CD and cassette player. I may look at the images on the TV, but it doesn't keep me going during the tough parts like music does. I don't listen to music when I am weight lifting. I like to concentrate on what I am doing, and listen to whatever they are pumping through the stereo system at the time. That and watch people.

I am more aware of muscles, both my own and those around me. I may stare at someone as they are working out, not because I'm attracted to them as much as I admire their muscles. As convenient as it would be to be able to work out at home, I still like going to the gym, at least my gym, because I can see other people working out.

I'm going to be adding some free weights to my routine. I mostly use the machines because I know them and it's comfortable. I've been reading up on the benefits of using free weights. I just like having more options available to me. I am starting to get a little bored with my current routine, so I think this will help. Before I would add weight and that kept me challenged for a while.

Six months. I took some before pictures about a month or so ago. I wish I did this back in December, but I still have a lot of room for improvement now. I'm working up to doing a Body for Life Challenge. I've been working on my diet lately since that seems to be the tougher part for me. Even with all my free time, I've having a tough time dealing with eating six times a day. I need to do this cheaply, but the three days I tried, I felt like I spent the whole damn day in the kitchen preparing, eating and cleaning up. I'm going to try my friend, Cat's trick by preparing food in advance and putting it into tupperware containers. That will also help me get my eyes to see the right size portions.

In the months that I was able to work out 5 days a week, I have been rewarding myself with little treats, a CD, a new top, etc. After 3 months, I got a big treat, new sneakers. I keep thinking that 6 months is a big deal, but can't come up with anything that seems quite right. Maybe it'll come to me when I'm not looking.

Exercising doesn't seem like much effort now. I remember one morning in March thinking how I'd love to call in sick and take a mental health day. I didn't because it would mean that I couldn't work out since my gym is only a few blocks from where I worked. I realized that I had changed enough to have this be something I look forward to and in some ways is a reward to me. Considering how much I hated gym class as a kid, this is a huge deal. I'm very proud of myself that I've gotten this far and I look forward to getting to the end of the year and seeing how I look and feel then.

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