In case you didn’t see the news crawl at the bottom of your TV screen, I worked out Sunday afternoon. I have a call in to the White House to see if we can declare the day an annual holiday, but what with all the sequestering and counting of the pennies to pay this month’s electric bill, they’re a little busy right now.
Some of my Pinterest friends probably guessed I was up to something with the flurry of exercise and healthy smoothie pins I created over the weekend. Of course, one of my very best friends summed up my fitness philosophy perfectly when she texted, “I love it that you pin all of these wonderful detox, juicing, exercising, etc. tips…and then a recipe for a bacon wrapped hot dog.”
What can I say? Everything in moderation. And if I ever give up hot dogs, watch your back for the undead because it’s officially time for the Zombie Apocalypse.
I’ve always known and believed that regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but that knowledge and belief does not play well with my lack of discipline and follow-through. But I’ve recently realized that I’m an adult and part of being a grown-up is doing things I don’t like to do or that are hard because they’re the right things to do. I’ve really been working on moving beyond good intentions since we talked about that a month ago.
I could list for you a dozen different reasons I know I should be exercising regularly and why this particular “need to do” has bubbled to the top of my list this week. For one, although the number on the scale hasn’t changed all that much as the number of my birthday cake candles has increased, where those pounds are sitting on my bones apparently has. If you’re over 40, can I get a witness? And since I’m not a particularly young mom (I loved this blog post, by the way), I need to keep my joints greased so I can get up and down off the floor for a rousing game of Apples to Apples without having to call 911. I don’t want ride to my kids’ high school graduation on my custom-built HoverRound, no matter how tricked out it may be.
Another reason I need to tone up some chicken fat is that I live on a tropical island. Every season is shorts and bathing suit season here. It’s bad enough I’m Liquid Paper in a Coffee-With-Cream-Colored World, but when that pale flesh is loose and dimply, I find myself spending way too much time trying to figure out how to position my legs in ways that keep them from looking like cottage cheese. Got that mental picture? You’re welcome.
But the biggest reason I’ve decided to add regular exercise into my weekly routine? Ashley’s coming. Ashley is my 30-something-year-old cousin. She’s coming for a visit along with her husband, her twin sister, my aunt, and my mom. I’ve been compiling a list of everything we want to see, do, and eat while they are here. A good time will be had by all. But Ashley has two speeds: stop and go. When she goes, she goes fast. When she stops, she’s asleep. If you can’t keep up, you will miss all the fun. And for some reason, the rest of us let her set the pace. I guess it’s because we don’t want to miss all the fun. Ashley has always been athletic and she’s lived now for many years in Colorado where her lungs have become acclimated to the thin air. She can hike the laces out of your hiking boots and shop the rubber off your flip flops. I need to build up my stamina if I’m going to keep up. Some people train for the Color Run. I have friends who do the Disney Marathon and others who are Tough Mudders. But me? I’m training for Marathon Ashley. Maybe we should have t-shirts made.
So Sunday I spent a little bit of time on the treadmill. I did some time (I just realized I used the phrase “did some time.” Like it’s a prison sentence. I may have some mental roadblocks hindering me in this endeavor.) walking at a rapid pace on the highest incline. (So I could truthfully tell my kids about the time I walked uphill both ways.) Then I fast walked on a level plane. Later, I had Kelly help me with some arm exercises that I’d pinned. I needed him to make sure that I was actually doing what was portrayed in the exercises I’d chosen. For some reason I often think I’m doing what the toned girl in the picture is doing but what I’m actually doing is…something not at all like what she is doing. This is one of the many reasons I do not participate in group exercise programs. No need to put all that uncoordinated crazy on display for others’ entertainment. Not when Netflix is pretty affordable.
Thinking I’m actually doing workouts correctly is not the only way exercise makes me delusional. For some reason, after a workout I ascribe powers and attributes to myself that I probably don’t actually have. For example, Sunday night as I was taking clean, folded laundry to the boys’ rooms upstairs, I was convinced that my legs were much toner than they had been the day before. Look at how I had bounded up those stairs! Why, I was faster than a speeding bullet! And my, wasn’t I feeling energetic? Certainly I felt much stronger! Probably more powerful than a locomotive! I was sure I could leap tall buildings in a single bound! By the end of the week, I would easily be able to bench press at least my own weight, right? I began to plan the rest of my workout sessions for the week. On Monday I’d work my abs, Tuesday I’d tighten my thighs and then move back to my arms on Wednesday, work on my glutes on Thursday….
The only way I can describe how my head felt was to have you imagine a large spike being pounded repeatedly into the area around and above your right eye. No way could I get on a treadmill feeling like that. So I pushed my plans to the afternoon. But then our dentist appointment went way longer than I expected and something about the way the hygienist scraped the surface of every tooth aggravated my headache all the more, so long story short, I never exercised.
I’m a work in progress, people. If only folding laundry got rid of arm jiggle! But nope, that’s not the way life works. No pain, no gain. Just do it. Nothing looks as good as healthy feels. No more excuses. No one ever drowned in sweat. A year from now you will have wished you started today. And all that other stuff I pinned about working out that was supposed to make me want to do it.
I leave with you one of my childhood exercise memories. My Aunt Leigh used to play this old 45 and her daughters Christy and Shelby and I would march around the room sweating and dancing to “Chicken Fat.” I hadn’t thought of it for years and years, but when I did, thanks to Google and YouTube I found it and I’d like to share it with you now. Or you can find an alternate version on my Pinterest board. Because pinning makes it so. Enjoy. Come back next week for Sweating with the Oldies and Richard Simmons.