Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm sore. I ache all over. And I'm physically tired.

It's been 2 weeks since we joined the new gym and started taking cardio classes together. So far it's going well, we're hitting about 3 classes a week after work, Red has her ab class on Wednesday and I'm in the gym in the mornings. Tonight while she's in her class, I'm going to hit a strength and toning class on my own since I didn't do much this morning and don't want to lose out. I almost didn't go as my body is probably telling me to slow down, but I really don't see myself as over working. It isn't that hard to do a couple of 20-25 minute stints on the ellliptical and another 20 minutes on a bike. But when you're feeling out of gas, it's asking a lot. This morning, I rode the bike for 30 minutes and lifted some weights, but I should have done more. Hence the toning class tonight.

One of the few issues we're having, is that the facility we take these classes at isn't as close to home as we'd like. The facility we signed up at and where I go in the mornings is only 10 minutes away but they don't offer the variety or number of classes as the other facility, so we're stuck making this 20 minute trek in rush hour traffic, which can potentially become much longer depending on traffic flow. Another issue is that our Salsa dance class is at the same facility on Tuesday nights at 8:30 and the cardio class we like is at 6 which means we have to figure out what to do between 7 and 8:30. It doesn't make much sense to go home then return, but we can't just not eat either. Red's home earlier than I am so she can eat before we leave. I suppose I have time, as long as I get home by 5, to grab something before class to get me through, but it's a problem to be solved.

So far, we've taken a cardio tone, strength and tone, steps and reps, and something called a low core class. We like them all except for the step class, too confusing. I'd taken one a few years ago just for the experience, but I found it hard to follow and spent so much time concentrating on performing the routine (badly) and keeping up, that I neglected the arm movement (important) and didn't feel like I got a workout at all. I warned Red about it but she dismissed it as just me being crazy. I mean, how hard could it be? You step up then you step down again. Easy. Ya right.

It isn't the stepping up and down that's so hard, it's the routine the instructor does. She's mixing it up, step left, swing right leg out, drop right leg, step down with left, up with right, knee raise with left, step down with left, step down with right, step right, step left, do something with your arms, left knee raise, now do doubles, cross the stepper, step left, step right, swing your arms......etc. At least with a regular aerobic class it's easier to follow. But for whatever reason, the step class isn't so easy. The instructor even warned us that it takes 5 to 10 classes to get the routine down. 5 to 10! Somehow I don't see that as a selling point. Anyway, after stumbling our way through this equivalent of a quantum physics class, Red saw my point. We won't be doing that again.

Since our membership to this facility was only for a month, we'll be changing things up again in 2 weeks when our Goodlife membership activates. From what I saw of the classes schedule, they offer many good classes at good times for us and the gym is closer to home so our travelling time will be cut. One of the problems we're having as well is cooking dinner. Since many of the classes we like are offered at 6, there isn't much time to prepare a decent meal beforehand. If we wait until after, we're looking at at least an hour before eating and that makes for a late dinner, especially for Red who doesn't eat during the day usually. We're working out solutions to this like cooking the day before and reheating, or fixing simpler quick meals, but many of the meals we enjoy take a bit of time. One of my favourites, roasted veggies, requires the cutting and marinating of the veggies for about an hour before cooking. And throwing something together on what we call "munching night" isn't always a good solution; there's a tendency to overeat. But we're smart people, we'll get it under control.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

God I'm tired. I mean totally physically spent. Since getting the new membership at the gym with Red, I've been going every morning Monday to Friday for my 6am workout, plus taking a couple of cardio and toning classes in the evenings and dropping in once or twice on top of that to do some weights. That's a lot of time in the gym. And my body is feeling it. I just hope the scale agrees with my new regimen.

Dinner's been a bit of a problem during the week since we're busier. In addition to the gym workouts, we still take a couple of dance classes, on Tuesday and Thursdays. So on some days, we're in the gym then going to dance which fills in the evening. On other days, the class we want to take is at 6 or so, so preparing a decent meal is hard. Usually on these hard to cook nights, we eat leftovers which is fine, or we munch which can be trouble.

Munching is trouble because we aren't preparing a full meal so the tendency to eat more occurs especially when I've decided to eat say soup and Red goes with salmon and a salad. Simply put, it isn't very filling which leads to more munching. I guess the answer is to plan out our meals in advance so that we can prepare them as best we can beforehand and therefore have a decent meal every night. I like munching night as a rule, but as stated, the tendency to overeat is greater which isn't so good.

I came across a plan from a diet site i like to help aid in our endeavour: marking the calendar with weightloss goals every week or bi-weekly plus keeping track of measurements which are a good source of information about the changes your body is making. Another thing I want to do is take some pictures and keep a visual record of the changes. Sometimes when the scale isn't cooperating, it's encouraging to have other sources of info to keep you motivated because nobody knows better than us how discouraging it is to see that scale not move or even go up when you know you've been good. But it doesn't mean nothing good is happening, sometimes its muscles growth, sometimes its bloat or water retention. Just relying on the scale is not a good indicator of your progress and I do believe this plan will help, especially me.

In the meantime, I'm tired......I need a break.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more."
Edward H. Harriman

Seem familiar? It does for me as it sums up my battle with the bulge. I can dutifully visit the gym every morning, do my regular workout and feel good that I accomplished that goal, but then blow it by indulging in some food item later that day that I should have avoided. Result? All those calories burned wasted and no weight loss.

In 2000, when I made my decision to join the gym and diet to lose the weight, I had little problem abstaining from junk, fast food, larger portions or any other pitfall that could sink me. I ate well, ate light and hit the gym 5 days a week for a rigorous workout that saw me lose up to 10lb a month. But that was then, this is now. Since resuming a healthier diet and renewed committment to the gym in September of 2007, I've gained and lost weight and been on a yo-yo. The first 3 months were great, I went from about 226 to 207 before the problems started and my yo-yoing began. First it was Christmas, then after that debacle and righting those wrongs, it was Easter, then vacation, then whatever. You see the pattern. Do some hard work in the gym, eat right and avoid temptation, then fall off the wagon.

At then end of last summer, I was feeling pretty good at 196lb. I wanted to go down to about 185-190 and felt good coming into the fall. But a change up in my workout (adding weights), and a few too many indulgences, saw me bloat up to 213lbs which is about where i remain. A bad trip to Cuba, followed by a week of doctored ordered rest due to a painful injury, then a week of limbo thanks to my gym closing further sunk me. All I needed to do was that little more. Maybe I couldn't hit the gym for a week due to injury or because my gym closed unexpectedly, but I certainly didn't need to eat without having an outlet to burn off the calories. All that hard work.........

I'd like to think that when I get to my desired weight and body size, that I'll be able to maintain it with little trouble. But getting there isn't the hard part, it may seem that way, but its actually much easier than maintaining. When I lost the rest of my weight back in 2001, I got lazy. I still went to the gym, but not as often and when I did, I didn't work as hard. Also, I was dating and you know how that goes: you go out to eat, you sit and snack, you drink, etc. Before long, I had gained about 30lbs and needed to resume my earlier habits. This happened again in 2007. After my illness and recovery, I gained an extra 30 or so pounds which I needed to lose again, eerily similar to 2001.

So my biggest issue may be maintenance. I've been at a good weight a couple of times in the last 10 years but always managed to botch it up. One of the things that annoys me to no end is buying nice clothes I love when I'm at that good weight and then not being able to fit into them later on thanks to laziness and gluttony. Most of my clothes seem to fit me as I stay within this 20lb window, but I have some that were purchased when I was a slimmer 180-190lbs that I haven't worn in a couple of years.

I don't know why I feel I can let myself off the hook sometimes when I'm down on the scale, I know I'm only going to gain the weight back and be miserable with myself later. I need to find that balance, that little more work to keep it off. Perfect example? Friday night we cooked popcorn, Red made a pot but I decided we needed more to fill that extra sized plastic bowl we were using. That also required extra butter and salt. So two pots of popcorn (we didn't even use the air popper which we normally would!) and god knows how much butter later, I was feeling guilty and kicking myself for my indiscretion. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Sadly, this is not an uncommon occurence. But it needs to become one.

So here I am, about 20 or so pounds from where i want to be. Now I'm not as concerned this time because Red joined the gym and we are taking cardio type classes in the evenings plus doing some weights in addition to my morning workouts. This will, I have no doubt, have a huge impact on my weightloss as I'm getting an extra 4 or more hours a week in the gym. If I can just do that little more work at home when I've got the munchies and not set myself back, I should be good for the wedding in September. Red's fired up, she's caught the bug so there should be no stopping us. A new gym, a new workout buddy and renewed motivation should get us where we need to be.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I gotta start writing more often, but I'd rather write when I've got something to say, rather than whine and bitch about the same old.

So I've been going to the gym regularly for almost 10 years now and it's a part of my life, a part I miss very much when it's gone. It's not that I love going to the gym, far from it, but I've become dependent on it being there as a check against my sins. Last week, my life was torn apart. Queue dramatics.......

Red's never believed in the gym, I think she used the word scam or something of that nature at one point. But she came around and surprised me with the announcement that she'd like to join and do some cardio classes and stuff like that. Of course I was ecstatic! I knew this was the only way she was going to shed those 10lb she's been complaining about for so long and it gave me a workout buddy. Plus, on a selfish note, it allowed me some more time in the gym during evenings to aid in my weightloss endeavours. It was win-win.

My membership wasn't due up until July but I thought maybe they would cut us a break seeing as I was an upstanding member and let her in at some reduced rate. After some haggling, the boss gave us both a year plus that extra 3 months leading up to July for Red for a sweet deal if we paid cash. Not thinking anything of it, we paid. Done, right? Well not quite.

We showed up Monday night for an awesome circuit training class and i continued to do my mornings as per usual. Until Wednesday. I wandered in just after 6am to find the gates closed and 2 signs hanging. One was a lease termination notice from the mall, the other a hand written note stating that "the gym had closed. A new facility will be opening very soon. All memberships will be honoured." I was stunned. I spent the day at work wondering what I was going to do. Red came home that day and I told her the news worried that this impression would kill her desire to join a gym , any gym. Aside from the feeling of being ripped off, which I did too, she was still game.

Now part of this might have been because I've been through this before. A few years ago, a gym I had longed belonged to suddenly closed its doors. A new owner showed up only a couple of weeks later and reopened and memberships were honoured. So i wasn't too worried this time. After all, its the same gym with the same equipment, a new owner probably hasn't put any captial into it and its got a membership that isn't going to pay again for the privilege to work out there. So I feel okay about this. However, what to do in the meantime? I mean, we have no idea how long the gym was going to be closed or what the deal would be once it reopened. I can't wait idly by for this situation to resolve. I need the exercise, of that there is no doubt. A couple of weeks of being away from the gym would be catastrophic. I needed a plan.

It would have easy for me to just grab a monthly membership at another gym and play it by ear until my gym sorted itself out, but I had Red to think about. We needed a gym with an aerobics studio for classes and one that was convenient. The city recreational centres were perfect as Red was already taking an Ab Attack class on Wednesdays and had the chance to scope the facilities out. We went and looked at it together and got the price. So far so good. But then Red chimed in about her corporate wellness program at work that allowed us a great deal on a membership to Goodlife. This is where everything went south.

We dropped into Goodlife and had to fill out a form with our personal info just to be taken through the facility. Obviously a sales tactic to get your info and spam your inbox. The guy who showed us was young, a gym rat himself, and obviously hungry to sell everything he could to us "newcomers". What he didn't count on was that I wasn't new to this environment and knew what we needed, and secondly, that Red was going to purchase using her corporate wellness program which would reduce the sale to less than half. Suddenly he wasn't so eager any more.

Anyway, we got the info we needed and really liked the facility so being as it was coming into the Easter weekend holiday, we elected to join Goodlife for a full year at the beginning of this week and restart our program. For the price, it just made more sense than going monthly and hoping the old gym would reopen. Easy enough? Well.....ya, here's where the fun began.

Turns out the corporate wellness program only signs up memberships on the 15th of every month and they require you send them the money and forms which takes time and then you have to wait another 7-10 days for your membership cards to arrive in the mail. Oh joy! So if we went this route, we wouldn't be signed up until May 15, a full month later. No good. So Red drops into the Goodlife close to her work to see about getting just a monthly until the full membership is processed. Holding a form stating that through the corporate program we'll only pay $40 for the month, but unable to go this route thanks to the snails pace it takes, she's told it'll cost $93 a piece for the month. Are you fucking kidding me? $93?!?! For a month??? And the girl said this with a straight face. Like we should be honoured that Goodlife would even have us. Needless to say, after questioning this logic, Red left.

So it was back to the city facility. I'd had enough of the bullshit and city gym was good. We dropped in yesterday and joined for a month. Red sent in the money and paperwork through her corporate program for the yearly at Goodlife so we should be ready to go May 15 there. We'll see.

In the meantime, I made my debut at the new gym this morning and it was refreshing to be at a new facility. The equipment's pretty much the same as every other gym so getting started was easy. There are schedules for cardio classes and the like at each city facility so we've chosen a few to attend, starting tonight. I'm looking forward to it, the extra workout, my baby at my side, a new start.

I don't know what's going to happen at my old gym. If and when they reopen, if they honour our memberships, at least we'll have that option too. But I'm not worried about it. I like the idea of being in a new environment, I've been needing a pick me up in that area and this fits. Despite the hassle with Goodlife, they offer a great facility with many great classes, we're really looking forward to it. But I've never had so much trouble just getting a membership to a stupid gym! I was ready to lose my shit and almost did. But so did Red. I think its a testament to our relationship that we managed to keep it together with each other despite the stress.

I love my baby.