Friday, February 4, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle


Despite my best intentions, I've yet to get my body into the routine of going to the gym after work. Instead, I've become a "weekend warrior." No longer permitted to spend days off loitering around the house watching movies and sauntering around fulfilling errands, I spend my Saturdays and Sundays soldiering through my obligation to sweat. This is a problem for many reasons - the most important being the lofty exercise goals I resolve to achieve due to my incessant need to "make up" for my lack of work-week exercise. Last weekend's obviously idiotic endeavor ended with me limping out of Sherman Branch park, whimpering my resolve to lay down and die if I ever was stuck outdoors longer than 24 hours.

My Woman vs. Wild inspiration began innocently enough - my husband and I took the dogs to the park and completed a brisk walk that left me feeling energized and wanting more. Evidentially, this pragmatic enterprise roused in me a need to bear down and get the kind of workout that leaves you blissfully tired and pleasantly sore. With the excitement of a child going to a birthday party, I made plans with my husband to walk the maze of Sherman Branch in its entirety on Sunday...all 11 miles of twisting trails. I have a feeling my husband was hesitant because he not only took me to my favorite bagel place prior to our conquest attempt, but he also made sure we left the dogs at home this time. On the drive up, I actually asserted that we would return to the park with the pups after finishing our workout so they wouldn't feel left out. I was obviously pipe-dreaming.

Needless to say, Sherman Branch exercised the general's scorched-earth tactics on me until I was a blubbering, parched mess. Not only did the winding 10 miles we actually completed feel like a trail of torment, but we also left our water in the car. At first my positive energy pumped me up and I plowed on towards my 11 mile goal despite the slow development of an aching thirst that made me voice aloud my desire to knock over a biker who passed us and steal his water bottle. Though I managed to rally a second wind around mile 7, my caked lip corners and inability to freely swallow is what broke me. The sniffling cries I began randomly spewing ("I keep spitting out white balls of dried saliva!") and desperate panic ("We haven't seen another living soul in awhile - maybe we accidentally entered some rabbit hole of exercise hell!") finally forced my husband to convince me to take the emergency exit route to the parking lot - 1 mile short of my goal.

Though we began our day with full bellies and laughter, by the time we returned to the car, I was nursing 4 blisters and on the verge of a panic attack. Not only did I draw the conclusion that I don't like my life enough to be a survivalist, I also lacked that good workout glow (my walking speed had slowed so much that I actually saw a flower blossom before my eyes).

I need a better plan, but my drive to be my best self results in late work days and 6 AM morning commutes. Once dinner is made and the dishes washed, spending my 1 hour of downtime before bed exercising seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Anyone else have this problem? Anyone know a solution?

27 comments:

James said...

Don't make excuses. I'm a nurse and get up at 3:45 during the week to work out at the gym before work. After I work out, I clean up and head to the hospital for 12-14 hour days and then head home. It all boils down toa single question: How bad do you want it? Progress doesn't come without sacrifice.

Sugar Plum said...

Keep a work-out calendar. Actually write down the days each week that you can commit to going to the gym after work, so that you are not only going on weekends. The more consistent you are, the quicker your body will adjust :)

Anonymous said...

Work out before dinner. Make a few things on the weekend that can be heated up. There are some great 20 to 30 minute work outs that you can run through while a casserole heats up. Or have your husband make dinner or do dishes 2 nights a week.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried Jazzercise? I have found it to be the best workout around and something that I have been able to commit to on a regular basis. It keeps me entertained for an entire hour. The music is what gets me to class and makes me come back for more. Give it a try! This is the class schedule for the studio at Park & Woodlawn.

http://jcls.jazzercise.com/facility/jazzercise-charlotte-fitness-center

Anonymous said...

Sherman Branch!! Best trail in Charlotte, NC. ;o)... Great Blog!!

Anonymous said...

The weekend warrior idea is quite possibly the worst way for you to try to accomplish your goals. You have to make fitness a priority every day of the week. There literally thousands upon thousands of quick cardio options on the web that you can do from home. Get a spin bike and train at 4 am like me. Go for a run. Running is the magic weight loss bullet and takes very little time.

Also, pumping your belly full of food before a workout is a horrible idea. You should eat for about half the anticipated calorie burn, or less. Then, as you workout you may feel the need to eat something small. I train 2 hours a day and rarely, if ever, eat prior to a workout. Some I train with will eat a banana or a piece of toast with some peanut butter prior, but never a meal.

You have to stop making excuses and just buckle down and get real about this. If you continue to treat it as a joke you will not succeed. Think about how you want to live in your 60s, or 70s. Do you want to be bed ridden taking dozens of pills a day with shot joints or active and enjoying life?

KMAL said...

Wow! Anonymous is a bit harsh with talk of being "bed ridden and taking dozens of pills" but his/her point about the downside to being a weekend warrior is valid. I would never substitute sleep for working out. It is a losing equation and not one that I could ever see myself committed to for my entire working life, so ixnay the early wake-up ideas. The best time to workout is on the way home or soon after arriving. Grab a banana (great tip) and get to your workout locale pronto. Remember, even if it's just 30 minutes, every other day, it will add up, as will your willingness to push a little more, do a little more, and go a little farther.

As for the blog...too freakin' funny! I loved the line about seeing the flower bloom. Great stuff.

Mandy said...

Hey Missy,
Hahaha I'm sorry but the park story is too funny! I can just picture it! At least you did 10 miles though! One mile short of your goal is not so bad. I'm proud of you for starting to work out even if it's mostly on the weekends for now. You can always add in week days a little at a time. For the past couple weeks I've been forcing myself to work out as soon as I get home from work before I eat dinner. It's hard cause I don't get home until almost 7pm so that means I have to wait until 8 or 8:30 to eat dinner, but if I don't do it then I never will. I've realized that even though I dread working out I'm always happy I did it afterwards!
Keep it up! and keep making us laugh with the great stories! love you!

Anonymous said...

Anon is harsh but he/she is correct. The blogger admits to carrying 80+ extra pounds. Here is what her life will be like if she lives to 60 - diabetes, heart disease, joint issues including possible joint replacement, high blood pressure. Every time the blogger skips a workout or overeats it is simply another nail in her coffin. Americans need to have some tough talk about the consequences of obesity. You will have an incredibly unpleasant life after 50, plain truth.

Anonymous said...

A person can always come up with reasons why they can't exercise. To be successful, they must come up with reasons why they CAN exercise.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, always remember that you are doing this by choice, and make the best choices you can each day. Some days a workout isn't the answer, just watch your calorie intake and adjust accordingly. There are some that can't live without their daily regimented workout, more power to them, but then again, there are those that need a break from what seems to be horrendous and mundane! Not everyone can be Jillian or Bob, but that is a very good thing. Humanity comes in all shapes and sizes, and good health is what ultimately matters. Yes, most that are obese will eventually struggle with their health, but nowhere is it written that you have to be a size two to be healthy. So whether you look in the mirror and eventually see a 2 or 12, you are a success regardless as long as you know you’ve tried your best! I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and wish you plenty of success with all that you are trying to achieve! Remember, we may lose the weight, but it does tend to find us again, so do what is sustainable, not a quick fix…xoxo

Anonymous said...

Consitency is KEY. if you trying to trim down and get fit you need to go EVERY morning after drinking a big glass of water. Strive to workout TWICE as much as you are now, and you will see results. Diet is secondary to consistent exercise!

Anonymous said...

Have another martini.

Anonymous said...

You mention your dog in the blog - what a great reason to get into a daily exercise routine! My husband and I have an almost three-year-old black lab who absolutely lives for her daily walk through the trails near out house! She is the only reason that I've been able to make a 2 to 3 mile walk a daily event. Everyone posting here speaks the truth - you have to incorporate movement of all sorts into each day, and to do that you need to make a conscious decision to change and improve that part of your life.

Anonymous said...

I workout mostly on weeknights. I have a job/career too, and you have to make some sacrifices. It is hard, but this is about balance. I meet with a trainer two days a week, and have my work calendar blocked from 4:30 on for those two days. That is MY time. I come in early, work through lunch, etc. If I have work to do, I take it home and do it later. I am lucky that I have a supportive boss, which helps.

Eat a snack about an hour before your workout. Some carbs, some protein. Have dinner after the gym. period.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Calories burned > than taken in equals weight loss...I disagree that exercise is key, when you exercise you tend to consume more and you get accustomed to those extra calories even when you stop, which eventually most do, if you eat properly as a primary goal, you can continue that forever despite any injury or inability to exercise. Life happens and the trek to the gym may not be possible. What enters our mouths is something that we are optimally always in control of. Nothing in excess…

Anonymous said...

Almost no one with this type of obesity can lose weight without an exercise routine. Telling her that exercise is not key is bad advice, contradicted by every medical expert out there.

Anonymous said...

@ last annon...I never said it is not key, it just shouldn't be the only focus...do you want to be someone that eats an entire pizza, but because he/she runs 10 miles, it's okay? I know plenty of "athletic" people with high cholesterol, high BP and quite a few fatty's like myself with normal readings on both...Sustainability...we were not put on this earth to constantly be "training" moderation is key in everything, exercise included. Makes the work, life, play balance that much easier to attain. And the 80 lbs she's overweight could be easily attacked with a reasonable eating plan, then as she loses the weight, she can tackle more exercising...brisk walks hun, and eat right...

Anonymous said...

Again, absolutely horrible advice and no medical expert will support it.

A person who runs 10 miles a day can probably eat two pizzas. At even a slow 9:00 mile/minute that is still burning over a thousand of calories. Ever wonder why runners as a whole are thin?

You know plenty of people with high cholesterol and high BP that are fit? I will bet you any amount of money that a fit person will have better all around readings than an obese person. You may know a person or two who are outliers but that is not the norm. A person who is obese that has good readings is still not healthy. There is no such thing as fat and fit, it's a myth.

You have no idea what we were put on this earth to do nor should you be preaching about how much exercise is too much. I train with dozens of hard core athletes who derive great pleasure from our fit lifestyle. We will outlive the obese crowd and we will enjoy life more.

Anonymous said...

Fat and fit is not a myth, there is medical research that supports my comments. Yes, the typical obese guy/gal as well as the smoking fit person who abuses alcohol uses drugs, yes they should die sooner than one who lives a life of moderation. But this is about sustainability; addiction is addiction, whether it's to Twinkies or even exercise. The pleasure derived from both, if it because a need that you cannot do without, is reflective of voids in your life that you are attempting to fill. I will clarify, we were not put on this earth to be fat, nor exercise addicts, and the breakdown of the body is inevitable if too much is done without the proper rest. What happens when you can't continue the hardcore workouts? This is not about the easy way out; it is about what can be done from day one till the last day...fit or fat, you do not know when your last day is, so the self-righteousness is not necessary. And by the way, you nor I, have the right to assume that one’s life would be any more or less enjoyable…people do what they do, and mostly do it cause they want to. This blogger wants to drop 80, and I commend her on her goal, just want her to be okay with herself if she doesn’t do everything absolutely perfect, or the same way as others who have chosen to live a certain lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Some people decide they will push themselves to achieve success and excellence. Other, like this poster, is happy with mediocrity and berating others who strive for athletic achievement.

Anonymous said...

I think any activity is better than no activity. I'm sure when the weather breaks and the sun shines later you'll feel more enregized and ready to work out after work. Your stories are hysterical and I enjoy reading every one of them. At least you're focused on eating right and trying to exercise. Keep the blog coming, I really enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

No sir/ma'am...not about insulting or judging you or anyone else, nor settling for mediocrity, it is about being realistic and accepting one's limitations. Trying your best is being the best you can be and sometimes the best isn't up to society's standards. If you are able to work out all the time and be a physical specimen, more power to you, if all you can achieve after trying your very best is being healthy but not ripped so be it. Do what works for you and be proud in your achievements. Same goes for those that read many, many books a week, or like the real housewives shows or are trivia buffs...it's what makes you happy. Not my place to pass judgment and if I have offended anyone that puts a premium on exercise, no offense was intended. I wish all peace and happiness within their lives.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely hysterical. Reading your blogs and the responses you are getting is better than anything on television! I know that teaching is an honorable profession, but if I were you I would seriously consider writing for a living.

Diana said...

Love this story. I am so impressed by your 10 miles. Good for you! I think you should forget dinners that require cooking, and make the good ones on the weekends. This way, you can exercise after work, and have the rest of the night free. Soup and sandwiches are so dull, but maybe it's worth it for time. I agree that weeknight workouts stink.
Oh, and I'm glad to sign back on here, and see the last comment, because I was getting offended by all of the harsh people above.GOSH! I agree-I think you should write more things like this. You crack me up.

Jessica said...

Hi Meliss,

Your blog is great. I has a possible tip with helping to stick to a workout schedule, from someone who is currently not working out. Maybe you can reward yourself for each week that you workout your preset amount of days. Have your hubby keep you honest. Tell him what days you plan on working out, and when the end of the week comes and you acoplished your goals, you get the ok to shop. Maybe a manicure or new outfit. Now if you are trying to save extra money or cut debt while dropping the extra weight this is not the best idea. I have used this before to lose some weight and it does work. It is even better if you can get someone (hubby) to pay for your reward. it has been fun reading your blog, good luck til next week!

Jackie P said...

Ok wow some of these people are very condescending and harsh!! Take it one step at a time, and definitely keep a sense of humor about you. If you make this a miserable experience there is no way that you will be able to keep it up!! I started my weight loss journey 4 weeks ago and I have lost 9.5 pounds. Did I work out every day, no I didn't. Have I kept my calorie intake between 1200-1350 calories a day yes. I do think that exercise is very important, but you shouldn't beat yourself up over every missed workout, it just becomes something you dread. Also I am like you when it comes to the breads and chocolate. I love chocolate, and I will tell you if you cut yourself off from it completely you are just going to break down one day and binge yourself on it. Allow yourself occasional small allowances and don't allow yourself to feel like you have failed every time you make a mistake. You said yourself this is about a lifestyle change. Rome was not built in a day, and neither will this process. I am VERY proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself!