Gym, Tan, Laundry: Month One

Well, I’m naturally tan and I do my laundry regularly. So I suppose this post is more about the gym.

For those who don’t know, I started going to Anytime Fitness a month ago. I’ve tried other paths to weight loss, and they did work briefly. Hip-hop dance & kickboxing at home. Sprinkling of dietary supplements. But I wasn’t satisfied.

I asked the Twitter folk for recommendations for a good gym. I also searched reviews for gyms in the area. Anytime Fitness really seemed like a perfect fit for me. I wanted good cardio and wasn’t really gung ho about classes. At some point in the future I may change my mind, but I wanted something I know I’d use and for a reasonable price. AF was perfect.

I never believe you should do things solely to please others, so my motivation to lose more wasn’t to impress the gentlefolk. It was to get healthy.

And I’ve always liked my body. My aesthetic goal is to keep the same ratio of my proportions, just smaller numbers.

After a month of hitting the gym & eating better, I definitely feel a difference. Apparently, others can see the difference already. Not everyone will respond the same way to the same plans, but I figured I’d share what works for me so far. Each month I hope to come back here to update you on my progress.

First of all, I did my homework before starting. It’s amazing how much of a difference that made, me thinks. I learned that it’s natural to gain weight when you begin because you’re building muscles you probably didn’t use previously. And muscle weighs more than fat. Science 101.

Perhaps if I hadn’t read that, I might have quit after seeing the scale creep up a bit (it did).

After I learned what equipment my gym had, I looked up things to do with said equipment. I still have a free session with a trainer available, but I want to use it when I plateau & have no where to go.

I try to go the gym an hour a day, 6 days a week. Sometimes your body just says “Forget this” if you push it too hard in one day, so six hours a week seems reasonable. My plan seems to be working for me. I do about 40 minutes of cardio & 20 minutes of strength training.

My favorite cardio warmups:

*The elliptical: It’s probably my favorite cardio machine. I’m not sure why; I just enjoy it. I start on an easy level & increase it as I start to feel “used to it”. You have to push your body. I’ll stay on for 20 or 25 minutes, depending on however I’m feeling.

*The treadmill: A boring machine, generally. I looked up a good warmup that livens it up just a tad. Start off speedwalking, without holding on to the machine. At the one minute mark, increase the incline one percent. Keep increasing one percent per minute. At 11 minutes, you go back down to 9 minutes. Decrease one percent every minute. At any time if you feel like you’re pushing too hard or about to lose your balance, slow down the speed (but try to stay above 3 mph).

*The treadclimber: A saucy treadmill. Your feet move on independent belts, which is meant to simulate climbing. The ones at my gym have 2 settings: Min & Max. If I choose this one to warmup, I do the Treadclimber Workout. It’s 20 minutes long and it alternates every 3 minutes between min & max. And it’s a major calorie burner compared to the other two. However, like the review says, you don’t feel like you’re killing yourself. You can burn 250 calories & not die. Good news, right?

I then spend the next 40 minutes alternating more cardio & some weights…anything from lat pulldowns to leg presses to dumbbells. I asked a trainer about the proper form for a squat. After attempting it once I believe my response was, “It was much better when I was doing it incorrectly”. Maybe someday I’ll get the squat right.

Perhaps the most satisfying part is the last 5 minutes. I do some kind of major cardio for the last 5. High incline treadmill, running, or max treadles on the treadclimber. I am my biggest competition, and I like pushing myself farther than I think I can go.

In terms of diet, I’ve added more protein. I drink protein shakes for breakfast and I eat protein meal bars for lunch. Special K makes great options for both and they’re actually drinkable/edible.

I feel so amazingly and I feel like this is something manageable. I don’t obsess over any part of it. Sometimes I’m too tired to put in a whole hour. Sometimes I just want to eat a cookie or three. Maybe I’ll panic if I’m sneaking 20 cookies a day or I don’t go to the gym for two months.

Weight lost this month: 14 lbs
Total weight lost: 14 lbs

Fist pump!

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