Thursday, May 3, 2012

Working Out: What I Know Now...

I was huffin' and puffin' on the tread mill this afternoon, trying to work my jiggles off. It had been a week and a half since I'd last walked. I was headed round the belt at a fairly frantic pace, trying to make up for lost time and realizing how very much this exercise has become a vital part of my days.

Five months ago, my Man actually said to me, "Do you think Meg can handle the little girls for an hour in the morning so that we can go to the gym together?" but what I heard was, "Hey babe, I wanna spend some time with you in the morning, do you think you'd like that?" 

I immediately answered, "Yes, sure. Let's go." Love, to me, is best spoken to me as time. If you love me, you'll be in the room with me, in a conversation with me, looking directly at me, and it would be best if you laugh at something I've said. (Notice all of the "me" in that last sentence...clearly I'm a first born child with issues :-).

The next morning I found myself at the gym on a treadmill beside my Man who was also on a treadmill. I was walking at a lively clip a podcast playing in my ears, he was running at a pace that exceeded 6 miles per hour, listening to music. Every now and then I'd try to tap him on the shoulder to call his attention to something remarkable on the TVs in front of us and he'd grin and nod and run. Hardly date night, but we were in the same room, which is always a plus but not always the norm!

For the first two weeks, Darrin would drive me straight from the gym to the coffee shop and reward me for my efforts, then after he was confident I had formed a good gym habit, the coffee shop trips happened less often, but another reward began to make itself known, and then another, and another.

After five months of exercise roughly two to three days each week, here's what I know:
  1. I am healthier. I can carry Molly up the stairs and not be out of breath! This was such an encouraging development after just a few weeks and was early proof to me that what I was doing was actually making me healthier.
  2. I don't feel the constant need for a post lunch nap or at least an afternoon cup of coffee. I didn't always get to take the naps I felt I needed, but oh did I ever feel like I needed them!
  3. I've not found a better time to praise God than when I'm walking on the treadmill. I'm tempted to raise my hands right there in the gym as the praise music plays in my ears, but I'm very afraid of: 1) all the cool kids thinking I'm a nut and 2) falling off of the treadmill! I cannot recommend Mandisa's album What If We Were Real highly enough! It's perfect not only for working out but also if you're just sitting on the couch. It is a treasure. What a message! Click the play button below to hear my favorite song from the album.
  4. I've discovered I'm not the only one who benefits from my taking a bit of time for my own benefit. I'm generally happier and nicer, my head is clearer and my perspective brighter when I've gotten to workout. That's good news for everyone in my own little world. It took me a very long time to learn this, and until I did, I felt guilty for not doing laundry, scrubbing floors, washing the very smudgy windows, or some other necessary task instead of going walking.
  5. I'd love to add weight-loss to this list, but alas, the scales haven't moved dramatically. That could be a result of the Mango sorbet I've grown rather fond of this year however. I am much more aware of how many calories my junk food contains because the treadmill estimates just how many calories I burn with each work out. I know, for example that it takes a walk of approximately 2.5 miles at a pace of 3.8 miles per hour to burn off 16 ounces of sorbet. Some days, it's worth it, some days I make a better choice! My Man frequently reminds me, it's not about pounds, it's about being healthy.
  6. I still dread waking up on gym mornings, but I know that if I lay out my workout clothes the night before, it's much easier to get my tuchis out of bed and down to the gym. Those clothes seem to shame me into them and from there its much easier.
  7. I've learned that having gym buddies, at least at the beginning, to encourage you, makes a big difference. When Darrin was out of town last month, I was very tempted to skip the gym for the week. My son had other plans and prodded me each workout day until we were on our way. There were many other mornings during the last months when, if my Man or son had not said, "Hey aren't we going to the gym?" I wouldn't have gone.
You're waiting for me to say that one of the benefits of a regular workout has been spending time with my Man but I'm not gonna. Now that the nice weather has come, he has forsaken me the gym for the out of doors! He got me hooked on that wonderful feeling of regularly working out and then he took off for the sidewalks of our fair city, and really, that's fine. Our time side by side on the treadmills was nice, very nice, but there was no laughing and no conversation and little eye contact.

My new gym partner (really he's been with us since the beginning) is the other man in my life, who joins me: 1) so that there aren't too many indian chiefs at home while I'm gone, and 2) because he benefits LOTS from running about shooting baskets on a regular basis!

And that's why I actually missed the stinky, smelly, sweaty gym last week when I was nursing a cold. What began as a way to (I thought) make my Man proud of me (he is) and spend time with him (I did), has developed into a habit that has greatly enhanced my life! Who knew?

Apparently, my Man did!

"And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." ~Matthew 5:41~
(...verse used very much out of context, but I just for the record, I feel very Biblical about the whole thing!)

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