Maybe I Should Warm Up Before Jumping Back Into This Blogging Business

Seeing as how I hurt myself at the gym yesterday, I am super pumped that today is Friday.

Get it? That's Beyonce, getting pumped? Get it?
Get it? That’s Beyonce, getting pumped? Get it?

I was at the hideously misnamed Club Strength. Our also hideously misnamed instructor, Meaghan* had set up various torture stations around the perimeter of the class workout room. We were to go around the room in groups of two and do whatever “exercise” was assigned at each torture station for 1.30 minutes and then move on to the next one.

(*I say misnamed because  all the Meaghans or Megans or Schmegans or whatevers I know have been really pleasant and this one was a group class instructor; ie: Meaghan McMeanies)

Here’s the main issue: I don’t want to work out with a buddy. Sure, Meaghan assured us that we weren’t competing with each other, we were “just suffering through this together,” but still. I don’t want to work out with another solitary person doing the same thing next to me. I don’t like to grunt and struggle next to another person. That’s why I don’t invite XFE to sit on the edge of the tub while I take a crap. “It’s ok. We’re not competing here or anything, we’re just suffering through this together.”

Also, that’s why I’m in a class, see? Trying to blend in inconspicuously in the back of a room filled with a bunch of other people. I do not want any one-on-one attention while I’m sweating and grunting and generally failing at basic body skills such as lifting something and then putting it down, or raising my head off the floor and then putting it down.

But no. Meaghan had her plan. It was going to be fun. We were “mixing it up.”

The real reason they're extinct. They couldn't get through Club Strength.
The real reason they’re extinct. They couldn’t get through Club Strength.

To make matters worse, but only marginally, I was paired with an octogenarian who wanted to regale me with tales of missing vertebra. I assured her I didn’t care how many reps she could do and was only focusing on my own pain, and then we got to our lopsided workout. Oh, and when I say lopsided, I mean my old work out buddy basically kicked my ass and was able to complete more reps than me on all but one torture station (a sit up station. Guess you need vertebra for those. Suck it, octogenarian.)

We were two stations away from completing our second rotation of torture when I injured myself. It was an alternating-elbow-plank-with-side-shoulder-rotations move. I was huffing along, sucking in my gut (also known as “engaging your core”) when I over rotated while alternating elbows and fell full on my left shoulder. I thought I heard a pop.

The move. Pardon the selfie, I just couldn't find a good image to use.
The move. Pardon the selfie, I just couldn’t find a good image to use.

I crawled to a corner and gathered up my pride so I could complete the last two torture stations (with modified moves, of course). I think my octogenarian workout buddy was secretly relieved.

The whole episode was painful and very embarrassing and really makes me want to swear off all group classes forever. I didn’t dislocate my shoulder or anything like that, but it’s still pretty tender a day later. I think my career as a professional plank artist is over. Apparently, my wimpy useless pasta arms are incapable of holding up my body weight for approximately 1.30 minutes. Awesome.

So in the spirit of failing at fitness, I bring you this video, which I stole from this funny girl. It made me laugh and feel slightly better.

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A Plea to Old People at the Gym

Due to a variety of reasons (upcoming beach vacation, an uptick in free time, wishing to not be winded just by watering the garden, giving up on folding laundry because my arms got tired), my training-partner-for-eternity, XFE and I have been working on our fitness. Like, really working on it. Like, ordering overpriced paleo food from a food delivery service and giving up alcohol during the week. We’re talking a serious amount of dedication from two (ok, one) major couch potato. (Mmmmm, potatoes…..)

Prior to this latest round of fitness fanaticism, I had been going to yoga, albeit, pretty intermittently. Or, as XFE describes it: “napping with old people,” which is a completely accurate description.

And in the middle.

We do live in an area called “Old Town,” by the way, so yes, I am usually one of the younger folks at the 9:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. yoga classes at the Old Town Sport & Health Club down the street from my house. Not a lot of hip, urban professionals around during those times of the day. Just me and the old folks crew, many of whom use that time in yoga class to do whatever the hell stretches or poses they want to do. I’m pretty sure the instructor is just there to make sure no one seriously injures themselves.

In fact, many of my fellow old stogey yogis stick around for the class that follows, which is called “Fusion Stretch.” I have not taken this class (one one-hour stretch-and-nap session per day generally does me in), but the class description promises a “fusion of stretching and stability work….for a relaxing, yet invigorating experience.”

No, with XFE at the helm, we’ve been pushing our out-of-shape (unless you count round as a shape) bodies to their brink. XFE’s favorite form of torture is the innocently sounding, “Club Strength,” which we go to on Saturdays. Because, who doesn’t want to almost throw up without drinking before weekend brunch?

funny-picture-i-dont-always-go-to-the-gym

The name is mostly deceptive. As at a normal club, they do play loud, thumping, repetitive EDM music, but mostly I think it’s to drown out the moans of the victims, erehm, I mean, participants. And, as at a normal club, there is a lot of sweating in skintight neon and black lycra as people kick and thrash to the incessant beat of the music, but that’s pretty much where the comparisons end. Continue reading A Plea to Old People at the Gym

You Know What Makes Everything Better? Cat Videos

It’s been…a…challenging week around here.

The weather has been abysmal — cold and rainy yet humid and gross. Requiring one to wear a coat and/or sweater and/or scarf, then carry some combination of those items during the afternoon, only to put them on again in the early evening. I constantly smell like layers of slightly sweaty wet wool. So pleasant.

I’ve also been trying to get up at crack o’dawn to work out with my personal-trainer-for-life, XFE. He’s really into this fresh new hell called “Metabolic Effect” that takes place at 6 AM.  It’s “metabolic” because it revs your metabolism through non-stop, complex movements with weights. The “effect” is that I want to kill my personal-trainer-for-life, but find my hands too sweaty to properly grip his neck and squeeze.

Also: I went to Gap for some lunchtime pick-me-up shopping and somehow, against all Internet spamming gods, I did not have a single coupon from Gap somewhere in my email inbox. How is that even remotely possible? Ann Taylor, Banana and Gap email me coupons at least twice a day on a regular basis, but the day I need to go shopping? No. Oh, but I do have a Gap Outlet coupon in my inbox. W. T. F.

Work has been….well, let’s not talk about that.

There just are not enough hours (or wine) in the day.

I know some kitty cats who feel my pain. Sad cats. With diary entries.

 

Cheered me right up. Especially the first bit about the black pants. And the food dish. And the water bowl. All of it, really. It’s exactly what I imagine Petunia thinks of us.

Happy Friday

 

Nice to Meet You, Machu Picchu

I’m fairly convinced that “Machu Picchu” is Incan for “stay the hell away.”

I say this because honestly, I don’t think they could make this place any more difficult to get to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I think this guy is saying, “To enter, you will need to hand over your precious pet cat and part of a lung.”

(OK, fine, I will acknowledge that Machu Picchu actually means “Old Peak,” which is kinda funny when you think about it since we were there to celebrate my 41st birthday, and my super supportive travel organizer and concierge XFE loves to point out all the time just how old I’m getting.)

But back to remoteness: Machu Picchu is a plane, a train, a car and a bus away from the capital city of Lima.

Continue reading Nice to Meet You, Machu Picchu

Bradley Cooper, Let Me Introduce You to Body Pump

Hey, you know that whole “exercise is good for you, it will help you live longer, improve your stamina, put you in a good mood” stuff? Yeah, I don’t get that either.

In fact, the main reason I go to the gym is to accompany my gym-buddy-for-life XFE to his beloved Body Pump class. You see, there are a lot of really, really hot girls/women/ladies in that class. Like, a lot of them. I was quite surprised when I first started going. I had been stretching my way through yoga class with all the old people. I had no idea.

And all the females in this Body Pump class are all really, really fit. They look like they spend a considerable amount of time working on their physiques, which they like to show off in these butt-sculpting yoga pants. These yoga pants also get quite a workout since these ladies are repeatedly bend over and lift things while grunting provocatively the entire hour of class.

rhoa-phaedra-donkey-booty-520x346

Oddly enough, there are not very many men in these Body Pump classes — usually only one or two others besides XFE. So basically, the ratio is about 7 girls for every guy. I do not like these odds. At. All.

Needless to say, I go to the gym to hang and slobber all over XFE and let the ladies know that this fine specimen is taken. He is not available to help you “work on your form,” or anything else for that matter. I don’t trust any of these little gym hood rats to keep their grubby paws off my man.

that's right

However, I never for a minute considered that there might be another, even better reason to go to the gym: Bradley Cooper.

Apparently, he went to a spin class in New York earlier this week and this made the papers. OK, well, it made the New York Post.

And then he took his shirt off. Le sigh.

“Silver Linings Playbook” star Bradley Cooper got ladies spinning out of control at the SoulCycle studio in TriBeCa yesterday morning. Cooper showed up at the 7:30 class for an early workout. “He was trying to be incognito and wore a long-sleeved shirt for most of the ride,” an onlooker tells us. However, Cooper ripped off his shirt near the end of class, causing a ruckus among the mostly female riders. “Girls were literally falling off their bikes,” said our source.

Whelp, that is indeed a silver lining to going to the gym.  Ladies of TriBeCa, you might want to do your hair and start wearing makeup to spin class. Ladies of Old Town Sport & Health, you might want to consider moving to TriBeCa. I’ll even help you pack your yoga pants.

What a scamp!
He’s no XFE, but what an adorable little scamp. 

It’s Not a Fad If In Fact You Do Get Fit

My personal-trainer-for-eternity XFE is making me try new workout classes lately. He’s talked me into going to BodyPump a handful of times. Tonight, he’s got me doing some CXwork class, which sounds intimidating as all get out.

The happy couple. That's a pretty accurate representation. Me, standing useless. XFE, trying to get his fitness on.
The happy couple. That’s a pretty accurate representation. Me, standing useless. XFE, trying to get his fitness on.

(Where on my body is my CX located anyway? Are we absolutely sure it needs work?)

We’re trying to get beach ready for Croatia and we know it’s going to take more than a couple of SlimFasts and a walk around the block at lunchtime to get there.

cow bikini

The whole class thing gives me so, so much anxiety. It’s paralyzing enough to go to the gym and get on a treadmill. It basically requires me to have my ipod blaring at full blast and a pair of blinders so I don’t look around and fall off my treadmill.

But classes take that drama up another notch. Whenever I walk into a class and start gathering the puzzling myriad of equipment necessary for a BodyPump session, I look around at my fellow classmates and size them up. “Well, she’s pregnant, so pretty sure she won’t make it through the class. That lady over there is at least 114 years old, so she’ll probably fall over at the halfway point. That mini-lady over there is about 80 pounds, so I’m sure I’ll be able to lift more than her. That girl in the front just looks all loose and disjointed. I’m not sure what’s going on with her.”

(By the way, why does BodyPump have to be one word? Is that meant to convey some sort of intensity?  Same with CrossFit? Why? Why not two words? You could even have some sort of lightning bolt logo or something between the two words, if space is an issue).

Of course, I’m invariably wrong about all my classmates. While I “BodyPump” my measly 5 pound weights and fall into a sweaty heap whenever there’s an opportunity for floor work, our pregnant protagonist is opting for all the more challenging move options; our geriatric heroine is crunching her well-worn heart out; and Thumbelina is adding another 20 pounds to her already bowing weight bar.

So here are some exercises and fads that I think are better options for someone with my athletic abilities.

Stretching. Stretching is nice. No weights. No steps. No gravity working against you.

stretch

If I can’t just lay down and stretch, at least I can balance on my knees. And if it’s good enough for NeNe, it’s good enough for me. Plus, the footwear is much more attractive.

leakes workout

These Trim-Jeans actually work in two ways  – they’re supposed to help you burn calories through metabolic heat or something or other (“a sauna for your belly” according to the promotional materials.) OR, if you don’t lose the weight, you can just wear these to cover your pudge. BONUS: you’d probably float in water! Although, maybe floating butt-up isn’t how you want to spend your vacation.

trimjeans

I do enjoy a good sit down and this thing seems like a good way to tone up.

vita master

If I absolutely must stand to get more toned, then maybe I can use this thing called a Hyper Bike. They’re saying it goes 5o mph and has the backing of NASA — an agency replete with really buff athletes. On the upside, since this one has big wheels, your workout probably take half the time, no? It seems to have worked for this lady.

hyperbike

Or, one could go the human hamster wheel path. Even hipsters seem to like it.

human hamster wheel

This one is my absolute favorite though. This Fit Wet combines a stationary bike with a hot tub. And it looks like she’s doing all of this in an evening gown whilst drinking a beer. Yep, we have a winner.

FitWet

Another Day of Running Rants

Some random stuff.

First, thanks for all the concern and well wishes. I took two days off from running  and did a short, easy run today and didn’t die, so I’m pretty sure that means I’m adequately prepared for a half marathon. I think I’ll just ditch the rest of my training plan. Or not. We’ll see how the next couple of weeks go.

When did workout clothes get so damn expensive? I went to Target last weekend to buy workout pants. I blindly put some items in my basket (checking prices is for losers) and made my way to the checkout counter (oh, but not before perusing the razor blade refills and having a slight heart attack. $23 for razor refills? Apparently, I’m too poor to shave my legs. Sorry for you, XFE).

But back to workout clothes. As I was heading to the exit, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, that tally seemed a bit high, even for tempt-you-with-other-stuff-Target. Lemme see here…. 40 US DOLLARS for a pair of running tights??”

How you like my sweat-xedo?

I’m sorry, but we’re talking Target here. Champion brand. Not the evil, Michael-Vick-supporting Nike. At least I know that with Nike, there’s a huge premium for all those flashy commercials and endorsements, so I don’t even bother looking at their stuff. When’s the last time anyone saw a Champion commercial? I think not, Target. I went directly to the customer service desk and returned those bad boys. Now I have hairy legs and old workout shorts. You are all welcome.

ALSO: because I’m a wimp and refuse to run outside in (a) anything under 50 degrees and (b) in the dark, which now descends at the ripe old hour of 4:30 pm, I have caved and joined a gym. This was an easy decision. The gym I chose wasn’t picked for its variety of classes (there are none); the delightful spa-like locker room (doesn’t exist. But there is a bathroom. Very basic though. I think you have to bring your own toilet paper), or the vast variety of the latest and newest equipment (there are like, 5 treadmills, a bunch of elliptical, a couple of bikes and weight machines, and some free weights.)

No, Crap Fitness was chosen amongst all the more glamorous selections because it is literally two blocks from my house and I walk past it every night on my way home. You’re right, that is convenient. And unlike many in my running brethren, I’m actually ok with running mindlessly on a treadmill. Yes, it’s boring, but nobody gets hurt. No issue there.

The thing is: this gym is hot as hell. It’s like I’m bikram running in there. No you guys, seriously, it is HAWT. Really, really hot. Like two rats humping in a wool sock hot. Like so hot hens would be laying hard boiled eggs. What I’m saying is: the gym is a might bit overly warm.

Dang y'all, it is hot up in here.

I recently asked the girl manning the front desk if other people have ever mentioned it being hot, and she looked at me like I had two heads. Perhaps because I was bright red and sweating all over her counter? I dunno, but she said, “nope.”

I do not believe her. I have eyes and I can see other people getting really red and sweaty too. I can also see that there are no air vents near the treadmills whatsoever, so that’s probably part of the problem. But apparently, no one else in the entire world is prone to complaining except me.

I guess I should have taken advantage of Crap Fitness’ whole “one week free trial period,” but I thought that was merely putting off the inevitable since I had to join a gym at some point, why be picky? But now? One super sweaty month into it, I’m really starting to wish I’d been picky. It is nice to just walk down the street to the gym though. UGH.

I bought a fan to clip onto the treadmill but it is incredibly weak and ineffective against my Extreme Radiating Heat (ERH). I think it gives me more of a mental boost than anything else. Maybe I should tape some ice packs to my forehead and temples. What? I’d cover it with some sweet headband.  

Knees up! And happy as hell!

 Y’all seem real fond of the Gold Rush post, so there’ll be another one coming tomorrow, you’ll be happy to hear.