It has been no secret to anyone here on Misdirected that I have not been enjoying working out. Whether doing home aerobics, walking, or performing "resistance exercise" with those hideous oversized rubber bands, I have just not been "into it", as they say. Oh, I have been doing it, of course. I just haven't been enjoying it at all.
This is strange, because I used to be a weightlifter, 15 years and 1 disability ago. Not a bodybuilder, mind you - a weightlifter. That was my primary form of exercise. I would spend hours at the gym, several days a week. I carried a spiral notebook to log my progression, worried about form, complained about cardio, challenged myself to perform "just one more rep" when working a muscle group to failure. I really dug it.
Yesterday, Lor wandered into the office and announced that we would be adding a stop to our daily walk. We would walk a mile up to our local community center, work out there, instead of at home, then walk back. I shrugged, and went along with it. At least it meant no time spent with the rubber bands for that day, right?
The gym at the community center (pictured above) was really pretty impressive - 6 or 7 cardio machines, and a whole bunch of multi-function weight machines. I downloaded an app (of course) to get a suggested workout, and then started hitting the machines, beginning with the bench press.
Now, mind you, I am someone who used to be able to bench 250-ish pounds. So, it was a little depressing to spend some time figuring out that my current 3-rep max was a measly 70 pounds. (3-rep max: 3 repetitions of a weight exercise where you can lift for one second, hold for one second, then lower the weight over 3 seconds with perfect form.) Hooray for the strength benefits of resistance band exercise. Dejected, I set my weight at the next lowest setting (55 pounds) and started cranking through my first set of 12.
Somewhere through my second set, I found I was actually enjoying myself.
I went through an entire full-body session, over the course of about an hour. Sure, the numbers were fractions of what I used to see, back in the day. But the challenge of maintaining form, the sheer visceral feel of moving real weights was amazing. Today, I am sore everywhere, in a really good way. Best of all, I can feel that I have been working out in my drooping chest and arms. I can't wait to go back.
At last, I seem to have found my endorphin-releasing exercise. It isn't walking, it isn't running, it certainly isn't resistance band exercise. Just good old-fashioned straining and grunting as I fight the weights. I am already making plans for breaking up my weight training over multiple days, just so I can spend more time at the gym. Makes me wonder why I didn't do this all along.
Other than because Lor hadn't suggested it yet, of course.
Ready To Throw Away The Giant Rubber Bands,