Fit and Fat: Part Deux
A couple three years ago, I went on a fitness bender with Hode. It was really pretty great. I felt great. I don't know if I looked great, but I felt like I looked great. Which is all that matters. And then like 12 minutes later, I found myself preggers with Parkie and I was gagging in the weight room from something other than exertion, and I bowed out of our little fitness regimen. And then I had a baby. And then I had 3 kids and I was really exhausted for a number of years.
So I've spent the past couple years in a state of relative fitness malaise. I mean, I have always kept active. How could I not have kept active, chasing these little manimals around? I walked my dog a lot. I played in a volleyball league. And a softball league. Once in awhile I'd have a flirtation with a fitness DVD. But I have not purposefully worked on my fitness in a focused way for 3 years. I went through a period of feeling very taxed and as if it was very important to be gentle to myself physically. And it was right and good.
You know where this is going, right? That really obnoxious post where some asshole talks about how they've been going to the gym regularly for like 10 minutes and now they're amazing. Bingo, buddies, bingo. God I hate reading/hearing people talk about their fitness. Truly, there is nothing more annoying in the world to me than the musings of fit people. Except possibly my inability to purchase cute shoes in a size 13. And Republicans. Also Republicans. (Except for you crazy Republicans out there that I actually like, of course.)
'Round about the end of December, I investigated a local fitness facility. A real neat one. Lots of fun for the whole family, a big pool, and childcare. And after I found myself a discounted rate and discovered that Big K's work has a (relatively lame) fitness reimbursement program, it's costing me $25/month. For the 5 of us. Okay, friends, 5 people can barely drive to the local convenience store and get a popsicle for that much money, so I considered it a valid expense for a month's worth of fitness and swimming and classes and arts & crafts time for 5 fuggin' humans.
I have gone to that place and exerted my carcass essentially every day since we joined that clown show. Sometimes twice. Yes, twice.
The list of crap that sucks about me is long and audacious. One thing that does not suck about me is my ability to motivate when I decide I am doing something. I am really, really good at that. If I could bottle that shit and sell it to all you procrastinators out there, well, I wouldn't be so pumped about the $15 monthly reimbursement from Big K's employer.
I have been getting up at the godawful hour of 5:30 a.m. Now. Let me be clear. I am NOT A MORNING PERSON. Mornings are my nemesis. I do not do mornings. Ugh, bad, hate. Mornings. Ugh. Mornings. Ugh. But I have been waking up IN THE MORNING. And then I go to the gym and bust it for an hour or so. I do this because I do not want to cough up the $2/hr/child fee for childcare there, although I have taken advantage of it a handful of times. But when my ship comes in, I will absolutely have my young in the care of 19-year-old deadbeats while I engage in lengthy yoga sessions followed by refreshing swims followed by really long, hot, silent showers. But for now, it's a few bucks I can save, so I'm saving it. Which means I am getting up at the buttcrack of dawn. In the morning.
I like going there. A whole heck of a lot. I do all sorts of shit. I do strength training. I run. I do water aerobics. I do TRX Suspension Training (#hell). I do the elliptical. I screw around with an exercise ball until my core feels like I've been laying over a fire pit. I frolic around an indoor track. I stretch my absurdly perma-cramped calves. I work on my shitty balance. It's not quite as scattershot as all that makes it sound, but I do a lot of shit and I go really hard. When I am running, I sometimes get close to breaking into actual tears and I feel very much like this, but when I hop off that treadmill, I feel very much like this. So I keep doing it.
Yeah. It's fascinating. It really is. It's amazing how good it feels to feel strong and confident. (Please note I did not say "skinny and pretty.") I am by no means a natural runner...it's pretty much the hardest thing on earth for me and I am terribly slow and it is terribly painful for me. But I am naturally able to get really strong really quickly. I cannot explain my delight at doing something absurd on a weightlifting machine, walking away, and then watching the eyes bug out of the head of the dude who follows me on the machine. And then mutter under his breath and drop the weight down a single cursory peg because he has to or else his little man business will shrivel up right then and there while the freakishly strong chick watches.
One day I came home and whined to Big K and said, "It is just SO HARD for me to run." And he looked at me and said, "It is just SO HARD for runners to get anywhere near as strong as you are." I fell in love with that bastard all over again right there. And one day, I was showing him my big-ass biceps and I said, "They're getting pretty big, right?" And he nodded in agreement and said, "Yes they are." And I said, "For a girl." And he said, "I didn't add that qualifier." Swoon. Yes, that's right. My version of romance is having my husband tell me I have pipes like a dude. And given that his version of the ideal female body is Serena Williams, things aren't going too badly for him either.
So, yeah. I am making some gains. I am feeling really healthy and positive. And Big K is working out too. Last night he came home bitching because it takes him so long to round up enough plates to leg press 840 pounds. Sets of 840 pounds, that is. And the other day, I watched the man bench press 400 pounds. It was like something out of a comic book. There were like weird veins and muscles and strange colors not normally seen on the human body and a lot of animal-like sounds. It was really weird. I enjoyed it.
I think we should probably try to find some sort of obscure circuit for husband and wife weightlifting teams. Because we'd be killin' that shit. The K's are animals.
Speaking of being an animal, I also love how fitness is just another realm where I can engage in my favorite pastime of casual anthropological/sociological study of humankind. I won't go into it too much because I've got plenty of thoughts on this for a separate post, but man is it fascinating to watch humans in a gym. We are total animals. (WARNING: THE REMAINDER OF THIS PARAGRAPH IS DISGUSTING. SKIP IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A PART OF THAT.) One day I was killing myself on the treadmill and I was fighting off one of my children's sundry viruses, and I felt slime start to run down the back of my throat. And it took every ounce of my social norm-ing and composure to not just spit on the floor of the gym. To be clear, I am not a gross person. I do not do gross stuff as a matter of course. I'm not even very good at sweating. But in that moment of dying on that treadmill with slime in my throat, I was primal. I was absolutely willing to spit slime on the floor in front of people. At the risk of sounding like a real crazy bitch, I love that feeling.
So, yup. Fitness is happening. The K's are into it. I am scaring dudes at the gym. I also accidentally scared my sister. I showed her what is happening to my arms and her eyes bugged out of her head and she said, "Jesus, Rosie the Riveter, I'm scared of you. What the hell are you DOING?" That shit straight up made my day.
And now I come to the Q&A portion of this post. By which I mean that I will write some Q's, and hopefully you will provide me with some A's.
Q: I am struggling with hunger during this time of absurd muscle growth. And by struggling with hunger, I mean I am eating a granola bar before I work out, 2 eggs with toast and a cup of green tea after I work out, and within 90 minutes I could very easily tear through a 3-meat platter from a southern barbeque joint without coming up for air. Please advise me on your fave meals/snacks for satisfying a hungry animal. Don't just say "protein." I got the memo on that already. Tell me what you actually eat. Please. And then I will take what you say and multiply it by two. Because I am a dude.
Q: I need a fitness-facilitating swimsuit. I need to be able to do water aerobics (by which I mean bounce a lot) and lap swimming in it. I already bought and returned this one because the torso was significantly too short for me. My requirements are: 1) mega-long torso 2) mega-supportive bra 3) does not slip around or do anything weird while in motion. Bonus points if it minimizes an ample mid-section, but frankly I don't give too much of a shit about that in this context. Also, is there such a thing as a fitness tankini that actually stays fully in place, or do you have to wear a one-piece for water-related fitness?
Q: If you have any hot tips for people who suck at running but insist on chipping away at it anyhow, please advise. I have followed a personal/running blog written by a doctor for years, and her advice basically boils down to: Go really slow. Do not run 2 days in a row. Go really slow. So I'm following that. But any other thoughts would be appreciated. For the record and if it matters, I have a harder time with my legs feeling like they are going to explode than my lungs feeling like they are going to explode. I have done a pretty good job of building up my cardio on the elliptical...it's just the damned IMPACT of running that kills this big momma.
Q: Bras. I have one a lot like this and I love it. I only have one though, which is obviously inadequate. I'm washing that thing so much it won't last long at this rate. I am willing to purchase another one from this company but if your life has been changed by a particular sports bra, please advise. Suffice it to say that sports bras are much more than a formality for me. If you are a B-cup, God bless you and your highly charmed breast-related existence, but your advice will not be helpful to an individual such as myself on this matter.
And that is all for now. I have to go down a milkshake made out of egg whites and dead hobos before I faint.