To celebrate the fall season, I decided it was time to dust some things off.
First, this blog. I’m back from hiatus, not because I’m done with the book (I’ll let you know when that not-so-small feat is complete), but because I’ve missed Lynn’s Weigh and you and I keep writing blogs in my head and it’s getting really annoying not having a place to write them all down.
I also dusted off an old nemesis-turned-friend in the garage: my stationary bike. I bought the bike used seven or eight years ago when I thought I was ready to exercise and lose weight, but all it did was serve as a clothes rack. The few times I tried it when I weighed 300 pounds, I could barely do two minutes on low without feeling like my lungs and thighs would break. Of course, rather than keep at it and get progressively stronger, I called myself “fat” and “useless” and gave up. Even when I got serious about losing weight in 2005 I didn’t ride the bike because I didn’t want to get frustrated and give up. My psyche was still that fragile. Losing weight was all I could do at the time. Adding exercise could have hampered my efforts because I was afraid to know just how much riding I still couldn’t do even after losing 50 or 100 pounds.
I realize now how sad that is and I don’t advocate not exercising because of fear of failure, no matter how much you have to lose, but that was my reality. The good news is that I feel empathy for the 300-, the 250-, and the 200-pound me who was afraid. I don’t beat myself up for being afraid of failure. I chose, instead, to learn from it.
This lesson came in real handy last Sunday.
I do my strength training at home three days a week. On those days, I do 15-20 minutes of cardio to warm up and then 45 minutes of lifting dumbbells and the barbell while mixing in a few ab/core exercises. I usually warm up on the elliptical since it used to be the only piece of cardio equipment I had in the house. Then I remembered my bike in the garage. On Sunday, my husband and I hauled it to the porch where I dusted it off before hauling it into my “gym.”
I was feeling really confidant. After all, I ride my real bike for 60-90 minutes and work out on cardio equipment at the gym for 40-60. What was 15-20 minutes on a stationary bike? Piece of cake, right?
Um…that would be the big NO.
My thighs were yodeling – I mean they were SCREAMING – by minute 15. Granted, I didn’t have it on low. I had it cranked pretty high. But still, my thighs were saying, “What the…? Remember what we told you back in 2001 when you tried this?” I lowered the resistance for the next four minutes, but cranked it up really high for the last minute just so I, not my thighs, could get in the last word.
That bike kicked my ass! That I could do two minutes when I was 300 pounds is amazing to me now and I wish I hadn’t given up. Of course, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been 300 pounds in the first place, but we can’t live our lives looking back, now can we?
I have some “new friends” on order that I hope will shake up my body a little more, too. I love Perform Better. They have the best variety of exercise equipment I’ve seen on the Internet, and their prices on hand weights are very reasonable. It’s time to up the weights I use for the triceps kick-backs, but no retail outlet I’ve been to has 6-pound dumbbells. Perform Better does, so I ordered a pair yesterday. They have all those odd sizes. I’ll probably get the 7-pound weights next year when I’m ready to up the pounds again. I have to stay ahead of my batwings!
I also put a bid on eBay for an aerobics stepper, you know the kind with a platform and two risers that will take the step from 4 to 6 to 8 inches high? I don’t plan to do step aerobics (that kills my knees), but I want to use the platform for calf raises and for some low-impact lower body work. I’ll know tonight if I won the auction. If not, I’m sure there will be others listed.
So how have you all been? Have you made any new exercise “friends?” Tell us about them. What do you do to switch things up from time to time? You ARE switching things up once in awhile, right?
It’s good to be back! I’ll be in touch very soon.