Thursday, June 30, 2005

A Simple Choice

I really should have brought my camera to the gym tonight.  The trainer (not the same one as on Monday) switched me over from a stationary bike to a treadmill.  I did fifteen minutes on it before the weight training, and thirty minutes afterward.  The stats for the second stint:  30:00 minutes, 1.39 miles, 114 calories,  starting from 2.4 mph and working up to 3.0 mph, target heart rate 120, topping out at 131 at the end.  Contrast this with my lasting only six minutes on the LifeCycle at level 4 on Monday, followed by walking Tuffy around the block for 15 minutes.  It's not the legs that give out, or the heart that gives me trouble.  It's strictly a question of my lungs hurting, and my panting for half an hour afterward.  That's how it was with the bike, but the treadmill gave me no such trouble.  I'm very happy about that!  Either I'm improving much more quickly than I could ever have expected, or there's something about the treadmill that's a lot easier on my lungs than the bike, or it's because I took two ephedrine tablets earlier in the day, or all of the above.

Karen as of 6/30/05Afterward, I recorded this info with a voice memo on my new PCS phone, and called John.  I woke him up, but he didn't mind when I told him what I'd accomplished.  "I know it's nothing by John Blocher standards..." I said.

"...but it's a good start for Karen," he agreed.  John works out long and hard, nearly every day.  He lost 120 pounds a couple of years ago.

"Can I buy an iPod now?" I asked.

John laughed.  "Not tonight," he said.  "Maybe we'll get you one this weekend."

In between my two stints on the treadmill tonight, I did five exercises (three sets of 20 reps each) of weight training, this time upper body stuff.  Justin on Monday went with my preference for Nautilus machines on the leg exercises, but tonight Junior had me using free weights as well as a couple of machines.  He explained that I should use a variety of equipment, and vary my routine rather than let my muscles get used to the same thing every time I work those body parts.  Okay, whatever.

Karen as of 6/30/05My concern, really, is not that I used free weights and other non-Nautilus exercises.  What worries me is that I trained almost to failure on these exercises, using as much weight as I could, under Junior's supervision.  The last time I did that, without the supervision, I was sore for a week, and found it painful even to type the next day.  After that incident, you may recall, my doctor told me to use "ridiculously low" weight at first, and build back up to a reasonable amount.  Well, this is the second time I've worked my arms and shoulders since then.  My arms and shoulders are quite sore now, but not as bad as the first time, when I could hardly turn the steering wheel on the drive home.

Did I overdo it?  I'll let you know tomorrow.

Answer: no.

Junior also measured my waist, calf, thigh, hips, and upper arms.  Added to the measurements Justin took on Monday (weight and body fat, as measure by a hand-held device), I have my "before" data.  Since that, I haven't eaten anything "bad" at all, and have exercised all three days.  I know that doesn't sound like anything much, but it's on the verge of turning into real momentum toward doing what I need to do.

All this exercise jazz is probably pretty boring to read about, and I'm sorry about that.  But at its core, it comes down to a simple choice.  Who do I want to emulate in the decades to come: my mom or my dad?

Karen as of 6/30/05* My mom had rheumatic fever as a child and polio encephalitis circa 1960.  Her father died of cancer, her mom had multiple heart operations, and her sister had a number of strokes (as did Mom).  She therefore was predisposed toward poor health later in life.  But on top of those factors, she smoked for 40 years, ate poorly, and was sedentary for decades.  Result: after years of declining health, her last year was marked by an ostemy, depression, poor brain function, and going from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair before dying of a stroke at age 75.

* My dad's four older sisters are all still alive, so Dad probably lucked out in the health lottery.  He built on this advantage by giving up smoking a couple of decades ago, watching his diet carefully, and remaining active.  He even has his own weight room upstairs in his condo, which he uses daily.  Result: now in his eighties, Dad sometimes walks places instead of driving, and doesn't even need a cane.  His mind is still sharp, and he still enjoys life.

Okay, so I never had my mom's major illnesses, and I never smoked; but I'm plenty sedentary, and I weigh more than my mom ever did.  If I want to end up like my dad, active and healthy and happy, I have to start now, and stick with it.

I'm illustrating this entry with a couple of "Before" pictures, to be taken right after I write these words.  Meet me back here in six months, and we'll see whose example I've followed, and whether all this L.A. Fitness stuff results in real progress.



olddog299 said...

Good luck with the program -- you're an inspiration. We all know the only real way to lose weight is to change our lifestyles -- eat less, exercise more, stay hydrated and focused and find something you enjoy doing to keep you going during the tough patches. All the fad diets, Atkins and South Beach baloney mean nothing without permanent change. Most of us refuse to get out of our ruts - my hats off to you.


gaboatman said...

What you are doing for yourself is great news!  Don't worry about whether or not it's boring to us, it isn't!  I am rooting for you and will stand in the bleachers as one of your supporters while you get into the shape you want to be in.  Kudos!

rap4143 said...

You go girl~~~~~

gdireneoe said...

Karen?!  You go girl!...and go...and go...  Make sure you are drinking extra water w/ the weight acts kind of like a massage in that it releases toxins.  Drink, drink, drink.                      C.

andreakingme said...

Good luck, Karen. I'm rooting for you!

ryanagi said...

You are really on your way, Karen. I am so impressed! You have totally inspired me. I had toyed with the idea, and now I am gonna DO IT. I'm going to hit Curves on the days Tyler is at camp. I want to get my wind back! I was getting in much better shape with Curves and could actually keep up with Tyler. This trip we just got back from showed me just how out of shape I have gotten. The walks through the airports nearly killed me. Just walking from the car, through the lobby, to the elevator, and down the hall to our room...I had to go slow and with the suitcase, I had to stop to catch my breath. And it wasn't THAT FAR of a walk! Horrible.