Going to the Gym

fat woman at the gym get healthySo we joined a gym.  And by “gym” I mean YMCA with free childcare and a pool.  I’m not sure if I’m motivated to get fit or get a shower alone. Yes, the showers at the Y are more alone than my own bathroom, because while there might be strangers in there no one is talking to ME.

Can you say AWKWARD?  Here’s how going to the gym goes down.

We walked into the “wellness center” which is a big room packed with big equipment and lots of people who look like they know exactly what they are doing.  We do not know what we’re doing.  I ask Tom what we should do first, since he’s been in a gym more recently than I have and he helpfully replies “whatever you want”.  Thanks for making the tough decisions, dear.

We tell the sign-in guy we’re newbies and ask, maybe can he show us how things work?  OK.  What do we want to do?  I look around.  Lots of machines. Many people. I flash back to the worst part of high school, gym class.  I couldn’t even lift the bar, which was half my weight and a requirement to pass the course.  I’m in 9th grade again, out of my element.

I grasp at straws. “Bike!”  Bikes are familiar. I know how to ride a bike!  And this one doesn’t even move! I can do that.

He shows us how the controls work but leaves out important steps.  He leaves us to it and we can’t figure out why the machine won’t tell us our calories and heart rate.  The lady on the step machine beside me helpfully walks me through pushing Option Enter Scroll Up Find My Age.  She seems really nice, and normal but at the same time I’m mortified that not only am I gym-stupid, now I know that other people are watching.  Even if they are just noticing we could use some help.

But! Biking!

Away we go.  I like the bike.  It leaves my hands free so I can update Instagram.  After a few minutes I vaguely recall something about target heart rates and fat burning zones.  I still have no idea what I’m doing but I figure ok, let’s play a biofeedback video game.  For 1 minute out of every 10 I’ll go really hard and make sure my heart rate gets right up there.

I manage one round of this before Tom decides he’s done with the bikes and wants to move on.  I click through my stats. Calories burned: 30  THIRTY.  I burned off celery sticks.  Great.

Tom wants to do weights and asks me what I want to work on.  I remember those great boots I got when I was pregnant, but can’t wear because my calves are too bulky. No leg machine for me!  Let’s do arms.  Really I do want to work out on my arms.

I want to be strong. I want to carry Philbaby and not get tired.  I want to not have an ache in my neck from the weight of my purse.  I want my turkey gobbles to stop flapping.

I live in the land of flip flops and tank tops and I want tank top arms, dangit!

We find some machines.  I surprise myself by not doing the minimum weight- I’m at 10 whole pounds for the biceps curl.  15 for the triceps.  Whee! Go me. At this rate I’ll be able to lift our Thanksgiving turkey by November.  Tom watches me then goes to some machine that looks like bench pressing except he’s sitting up and pushing forward.  He loads it down with weights.  125 lbs. on each side- 250. I think he’s showing off for me. He does one set of reps and we call it a day.

swimming with philbaby june 2014

We go hunt down the kids at the KidZone and I undertake more cardio activity, getting the baby, Miss J (3), Miss A (4), and Miss C (8) ready to swim.  Shoes off, swim suits on, swim diaper wrestled.  I stuff the smallest ones into floaties and puddle jumpers and gird my loins, because Philbaby hates his bath and I don’t think he’ll like the pool. It’s his first time.

In we go. He doesn’t scream. He’s not exactly happy, but he’s not terrified.  We’ll work on it.  We’ll toughen up at the YMCA together.

We sit together while he naps and I watch the kids play.  I swam in high school. I was certified as a lifeguard.  I haven’t been actual swimming – not holding babies and bobbing in the shallow end- in over a decade.  Maybe I can change that, too.

I have an incredibly hard time losing weight while I’m breastfeeding.  My body hangs onto every pound for dear life until the baby is weaned.  I want to be more fit, though.  More resilient. Have more stamina.  Be able to see my muscles and to lift heavy things like four year old children.

We head home and I nurse the Philbaby with my laptop open, our nightly ritual.

I need to find an app or something that will tell me what to DO at the gym.  Something that will keep track of how much weight I’m lifting so I don’t go backwards.  Something to tell me do 2 sets of reps on this thing, do 3 sets here, go do 15 minutes of cardio.

I Google.  I watch too many slide shows titled “57 Best Fitness Apps” and “14 Must Have Workout Apps for Women” and “This Weight Loss App Will Blow Your Mind.”  I download from the Playstore.  Nothing seems quite right.

I Google some more.

Yeah, iexercise is crazyt’s getting real all up in here. Forget the apps. Forget healthy toning and strength training and moderation. We’re going straight to query “lose baby weight fast.”

Because after 8 years of being a slug, I must have six pack abs RIGHT. NOW.  Or at least not have a muffin top, by the end of the week at the latest, right?

Y’all. Article after article came up and they look promising at first until I look at the photo.

She’s standing on one leg, balanced forward in some kind of yoga? pilates? who knows? position, balancing a weight in each hand.  Her abs are engaged, and her eyes are bright with the knowledge

My eyes are bright with the knowledge that some things are better left untried.  If I attempted the first exercise, the beginner one?  I’d look like I lost a game of twister and had a heart attack in the process.  I wouldn’t be a slug, I’d be a twisted, fallen lump of a slug.

This sucks.  I hit Instagram and see all the inspirational fitness bloggers talking about their exercise highs and Paleo ice cream.

This really sucks.  I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not good at it.  I’ve gotten used to not doing things I don’t like. I’m a grown up; I get to pick and choose now.

But I want to get strong.

It’s just so awkward.

Then I realize that if I were to go and do the bike/treadmill/stair thing? I could start reading books again.  I haven’t had the luxury of fiction in forever, I never have enough down time to read books for pleasure.  Any free reading time is spent browsing my Feedly for my business and my blog- latest SEO developments, blogger information, homeschooling techniques, homesteading posts, and useful reading only.

I think I’m going to be back at the gym, soon.

Current weight: 210 lbs.

I love comments. Tell me what you think!

  • Cintia June 3, 2014, 10:24 am

    I’m following your journey and loving it. We’re YMCA people too, I joined at 9 months of pregnancy almost 2 years ago. I never had a tour of the facility so I stuck with walking for the most part til I ventured into other things. My heart and goal was similar to yours: I just want to be strong to lift my kids, to carry the baby on my hip all day long and just to be able to play with them. Reading and showering uninterrupted have been a thrill. Hang in there strong one. There is nothing you can’t do. Yeah, I’m your fan and you know it! {hugs}

  • Wendy June 3, 2014, 12:06 pm

    group classes! I just started yoga and LOVE IT!

  • Kristi June 3, 2014, 11:29 pm

    YAY!! I’m so proud of you! I’ve been on my weight loss journey for 8 weeks now and while I’m only down 8 lbs, but I’m seeing change! I’m down 4.5 inches on my waist and 4 inches on my hips. I was a little discouraged when I jumped on the scale the other day and only saw an 8 lbs loss, but seeing the inches lost outweighed the minimal lb. loss.

    Keep it up…you will see change before you know it! When you feel discouraged, think about how much healthier you are feeling as a result of your new lifestyle.

  • Jill Syrigos June 5, 2014, 4:40 pm

    I started last July at 210. I have been using loseit.com and tae-bo to help me. I have lost 26 pounds so far and have a goal of 30 pounds by my year mark. I have a total of 80 I would like to lose, but, hey, I have to start somewhere. Good luck on your journey. I also belong to facing fitness together on FB. Maybe you can also find some inspiration there.

  • stacy June 11, 2014, 4:30 pm

    I am in the same boat. I have had eight kids and the wear and tear is evident. I feel like a balloon that has been blown up and deflated. I starting hiking on the trails in CO; my thighs have been on fire for the past two weeks. Pounds lost? ZERO. AAAGGGHHH! Someone hand me a donut!!!

  • Milehimama June 16, 2014, 12:48 pm

    Don’t lose hope! You are getting stronger even if the scale is the same and that’s important and worthy of the effort!

  • Angel June 30, 2014, 9:55 am

    our YMCA has a special program that is free(one time visit) that a personal trainer will work with you and teach you how to use the machines or whatever you want to learn. Then they talk to you about your goals and then help set you up with a program that you log in the info yourself for the future to meet those goals. I suggest asking at the front desk about something similar.


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Desperately thrifty mom of 10, sharing my frugal tips, easy shortcuts, recipes, and thoughts on natural living and real food.

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