Taking spin class with M was completely different from taking spin class with B. M is gentle and encouraging - more of the type of top that I am, although I am not a fitness instructor. Heh. B was more the bootcamp type of top - harder! harder! not good enough!
As in her Strong Women class, M used a lot of praise and encouraged people to take breaks and rest. This made it possible for me to go much further than I thought I could, and also I felt GOOD about how much I accomplished, rather than guilty and incompetent. One thing that she said that was typical: "This is the point in your workout where you're really going to want to turn down your resistance. Please don't." Totally different from, "Don't touch that knob!" even when you ignore the sympathetic tone. I will definitely be taking this class again. It is at the same time as Classical Stretch on Tuesdays, so I think I will be taking the Thursday Classical Stretch more often as a result.
Yesterday I wanted to go to Locomotion at ten, forgetting that I had a chiropractic appointment. I decided to go to the doctor early, and I got to the gym just as the class was starting. I probably could have made it, but I thought that would be too stressful - I didn't want to rush, especially since I'd never done the class before. So, I decided to do the personal trainer workout instead. (I am curious about how hard it is to design your own workout, once I get tired of this one or stop getting as much out of it?) I did all of the steps except the plank, which I didn't like, so I chose to do pushups on an excercise bar instead. About thirty, which I regretted when we had to do forty in my strong women class - ha! But I'm getting ahead of myself. The way I did the workout (which was with three sets of eight reps - she hadn't told me how many reps I was doing) it took about forty minutes, and then I spent another fifteen to twenty stretching just about everything you can stretch publicly. I felt good, I felt I had gotten a good workout. And I liked that I wasn't using the machines.
Then I went and hung out with cyclothemia for a few hours, and we had lunch together and then went to Target, where I picked up the last few things I needed to complete my collection of workout gear - cheap sports bras and gym socks. Well, and I did get a pink water bottle last night too. I bid her a fond farewell and went back to the gym for the Strong Women class.
The Wednesday class is much more rigorous than the Monday class. The instructor T has us do more and harder things, with a lot of balance, but she still always prefaces the excercises with, "If this feels good for you today," and "Ladies, please" and ends it with "Nice work." If she gives us something challenging she offers alternatives, too (like, "If this doesn't feel good, do another set of the ones we were just doing," or "If you need to, you can hold onto something or touch your toe to the floor for balance.") I did all of the excercises and generally as many as everyone else did, but noticed something was unhappy with my right calf. Not sure what, but it hurts today, so I'm going to try to take it easy. I am also noticing that I can now do most of the stuff with decent form and some expectation of what is probably going to happen next. I can also hold the balance poses better than I could - it seems to help if I don't look at myself. I have also started to understand the rhythm the teacher is looking for, so I don't have to keep looking at her to stay in rhythm. Staying in time and looking like everyone else in terms of what my body was doing was so hard just a few weeks ago - now if I'm doing something different, it's because I decide I want to and need to.
After that, I was pretty tired but I had some more time, so I did the delightfully Scandanavian thing. Cool shower, time in the whirlpool and sauna, another cool shower, back in the whirlpool, and then a long shower alternating hot and cold. If you've never tried something like that it's a great way to detox your body, although it does take a little getting used to. Then I got ice cream, since my body was craving it intensely, and I try to listen to that. I need to work on post-workout food planning.
I would be at stretch class right now, but I realized an hour ago I had no more clean workout pants. Ugh. I can and do wear them more than once, but there's a point where they, well, stink. (Maybe a fourth pair would be appropriate if I can find some more at Goodwill?) So I will have a quiet morning with tea instead, which actually strikes me as rather appealing. I can still go to the gym for yoga later.
Something that continues to frustrate me about the gym is that many people assume you want to lose weight. I am not trying to lose weight, I am trying to increase my fitness. I don't care how many calories the post-workout food has, as long as it will give my body what it needs.
10 Things I've Learned at the Gym
- Always have a water bottle for cardio.
- Bring all of your gym gear even if you don't think you'll need it all for a specific workout. Otherwise, you will think your bag is fully packed because you packed it last time, but it's not.
- When lifting something, your elbow should be a little bit bent and your wrist straight.
- Have a snack in your gym bag. Workouts make you hungry. (I really like having a sesame snack after a workout - that gives me the juice I need to get home and get actual food.)
- Grocery shopping after working out works really well. My body is generally being loud about what it wants - craving healthy foods that are high in protein and vitamins.
- When you leave things in a gym bag, they get smelly. Take clothes out ASAP. Also, flip flops need time to dry out after use.
- If you need something you don't have, ask a staff person. Yesterday one got me a resistor ball, when they were mostly all being used by classes. Last week one got me a hair tie when I'd forgotten mine.
- Mix it up. Try something new. Variety is the spice of fitness (and life). Continuing to do this has meant that I have tried a ton of new things, AND that my standard for classes I like enough to take every week is just going up and up. If I had stuck with the first few classes I tried, I would never have found some of my favorites.
- Locker room etiquette is confusing. Sometimes I start a conversation with someone and it goes great. Other times the person acts weird about it. It generally seems safe to compliment people on their clothing, though. I like it good when someone else starts the conversation. Either way, it almost never seems to progress to sharing names.
- I love the gym. I love working out. And that is something I would never have expected.