Exercise is a Four-Letter Word

Back when I wrote about dieting, I may have been a little hopeful. I may have been trying one of those goal-setting techniques where you tell everyone so then you’re accountable.

I may have then proceeded to make homemade fudge that Sunday.

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Since I’m still at least 20 pounds heavier than I’d like and therefore feel fat and flabby, I’ve started back into an exercise routine. As opposed to my Couch to Bed program of the last year, this new plan involves trying to do a cardio workout each morning.

‘Cause, you know, dieting and exercise go together. They’re like The Rack and an Iron Maiden; like Taco Bell and food poisoning; like The Apocalypse and radiation. They just work.

This morning, I remembered the last time I felt motivated to torture myself exercise. I’d been going to the gym to run a mile or two, most days a month. I thought that made me mighty enough. Then, my friend invited me to an aerobics class over at her gym. It didn’t take long for me to come to several conclusions:

  • I was NOT in shape.
  • That woman working out in front of me needed more opaque pants.
  • I was probably going to pass out if I didn’t slow my pace.

Our perky, optimistic, sadistic instructor used the breaks between enthusiastic reps to encourage us, to promise “just four more,” and to explain she’d been absent last week because she’d miscarried and had to have a D&C.

Clearly, that woman was not human.

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If she was, however, then I was out of excuses for my lazy style of “exercise.” Some humbled, dormant motivation surfaced. I started watching YouTube videos each day, beginning with “The Fat People’s Workout” and ending up at “Fitness Blender.” I ate better. I ran more than 1 or 2 miles and added weight-lifting. I felt impatient, but also saw my stamina and health improve.

Today, I …couldn’t bring myself to start at the beginning again. I remember watching Richard Simmons-type TV aerobics with my mother; the ‘slow track’ person never looked happy or fit and I wouldn’t either. I therefore put on my old high-impact routine and …mostly made it.

That was a few hours ago. I think I’ll be able to walk now.

Is exercising part of your daily routine, or something you resolved to do more of this year? Are you an adrenaline junkie, running 100-milers and marathons; or are you trying to park farther away from the grocery store entrance?

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Take a lap around what I wrote last week:
Wednesday, February 12: Got all starry-eyed in “Love and Marriage and Practicality.”

Thursday, February 13: Throwback Thursday to my sock addiction.

Friday, February 14: Some sort of holiday, so I shared my old schoolmate’s romantic, authentic video.

Also: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bryntin!

Saturday, February 15: Announced the 59th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is “Little Willie” poems again. Feeling twisted? PLEASE ENTER!

I therefore came up with five examples in, “Little Willie: Some Terrible Poems.”

Sunday, February 16: “Dear, Sweet Sugar Report,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, February 17: An inspirational quote by Mathew S. of Blog of the Wolf Boy.

Tuesday, February 18: “Window Washer Whimsy,” a Senryu for Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 19: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Hi. My Name is Mom and I Can’t Think” and “It’s Just a Stage.”

Photo Credit: Gaelle Marcel
Franck V.
andrew dinh

©2020 Chelsea Owens

The Cure for Depression: Get up and MOVE

This topic is my favorite because I actually have experience with it. I have some experience with the others, too. They‘re just not as fun to talk about.

But NOW we get to discuss getting off the freaking floor. NOW we get to talk exercise.

I LOVE exercise. No, I’m not a masochistic, weight-lifting gym junkie. I am most definitely not that person you see running down the street at breakneck speed and somehow grinning whilst doing it.

If you make it over to my gym, I’m the one barely shuffling around the track because I fall off treadmills. Old people are passing me, giving me thumbs-up for trying ’cause they’re nice like that.

Stillstill I LOVE exercise. For me, it’s the ability to move.

Whenever I finally get my sorry rear into workout clothes and start moving, something inside me cannot stop feeling happy. Running makes me feel like I’m flying, like I’m airborne and nothing’s going to stop me. I know it’s not endorphins because it always happens at the start. That, and I seem a bit endorphin-deficient even at the end.

I understand that moving may not be your happy place. Answer me this, though: IS NOT MOVING YOUR HAPPY PLACE?

Nope, you’re lying.

I know, because I’m sitting right next to you. It’s a bit dark, of course. We’ve got some kind of substance and/or distraction and/or avoidance crap going on. No one can get in, even if they’re actually right there by us. We’re comfortable here, but not truly happy.

Soooo…. now you ask how you can possibly get moving.

Answer: Make it easier to move.

No, really. I remember reading an author’s idea about how we are such slaves to convenience, that literally making a habit about twenty seconds more difficult will help us not do it. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.)

think it’s this dude, Shawn Achor:

If not, his book was good anyway. Something about happiness and advantage.

Shawn (or someone very like him) had a bad habit of coming home and immediately losing himself to an hour or a few watching Netflix. Conversely, he wanted to practice his guitar more.

So, he took the batteries out of the remote and ‘hid’ them in his nightstand drawer. He took his guitar and put it on a guitar stand right by the couch. It sounds really silly, but having the instrument right there and the batteries a teensy bit farther away broke him of the bad habit and improved his skills on the good one.

No, this post is not about playing the guitar. I definitely can’t do that. We’re talking about EXERCISE (yay!). We’re talking about how to even get yourself started.

  1. First, ensure that you have something you can exercise in, in terms of clothing. If you intend to stay inside (which I recommend against), you’ll only need undies. If you’re female, however, you’ll feel more comfortable with a bit more for support.
  2. Next, either set the clothing out RIGHT WHERE YOU TOUCH when you wake up, or go to sleep wearing it. Put your shoes and socks that you’ll exercise in nearby, too.
  3. Wake up just a tad earlier than usual, roll over to wherever you intend to officially move, get dressed, and get started.
  4. Choose an exercise routine that you can do. There are many.

Yes, folks, it’s that easy. And, for the low, low price of $999.99, you can exercise, too!

In reality, following my three steps is free (minus the cost of #1).

But let’s say you’ve got a YUGE mental block in terms of where or how to exercise. To answer that, I think going outside is the best. This may not work for you, particularly if “outside” is a super scary neighborhood with super scary people or potholes around. Maybe it’s snowing. Maybe you have allergies. See how the list keeps getting longer and you’re now not going to even consider exercising?

If you’re able to afford it, a local gym is good. They often have deals like “let your friends in for free this month so they’ll get suckered into signing up.” Hang out outside and ask someone to be your free gym class friend.

Thirdly, I suggest the option I use most often: l’internet. I didn’t know this, but lots of peoples on YouTube have free exercise videos. I started out with Fat People Who Move Faster than You and can now do a few HIIT workouts (okay, I do most of their session).

YouTube is my “20 seconds closer.” Sometimes I find myself making excuses like, “I just ate,” “I need to use the bathroom,” “I don’t have shoes on,” or “I haven’t been drinking enough water today and yet I still need to use the bathroom.” When the excuses pile up, I turn the TV on (we’ve got streaming) crank up my dubstep exercise music, and do it barefoot.

Even with kicking myself to move, some days I wimp out. I only do half the circuit, for example. Still, I did some. I’m always good about not beating myself up for giving up. I beat myself up for plenty of other things, but my aerobic habit is not one of them.

The results? After six months of (attempting) daily exercise, I miss the beneficial feeling when I try to skip out. It’s become a habit. I also enjoy all of the following:

  • More clarity of thought, especially when I walk outside.
  • I get good ideas for writing topics when I jog around the track because I’m super bored going around and around like that for so many laps.
  • I haven’t had a bad cold since beginning, and have only had two minor ones.

Plus, I passed an old person at the gym the other day.

I gave her a thumbs-up.

 

Photo Credits:
Curtis MacNewton
CATHY PHAM
Oana-Maria Sofronia
Jesus In Taiwan

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

Aerobic Pentameter

 

exercise

Gym shirt, found.
It may be clean.
Pants on floor;
Not quite pristine.

Some shoes and socks
Sit behind the door.
Breast suppressant
In the chest of draw’rs.

Once clothed, I search for
My anti-depressant:
Sadist aerobics,
Their countdowns incessant.

All smiles, bounces, talks –
The instructors jack and kick.
All grimaces and moans –
We viewers flop, anemic.

Seconds to minutes to more:
Intervals pass like kidney stones.
Three more, now two more, now ten;
Those liars grow happy from groans.

I cannot clearly see the moves,
As dripping sweat rains now and then.
I’m ready to admit defeat
When they say we’re cycling through again.

Why do I squat, jog, and jumping-jack,
Whilst watching a professional athlete?
I do not know. I can’t even think –
Until I hear them say, “Workout complete.”

Diet and Ex-orcism

Track

Within the past half-year, I have been participating in a cruel and unusual recreational activity known as exercise.

Don’t get me wrong; I love some exercise, like sprinting. I especially love the challenge of racing out of the blocks, elbow-to elbow with contenders, barreling toward a long row of impenetrable hurdles.

Those last few sentences should have been past tense. I haven’t had the physical ability to hurdle since creating human beings. Baby production takes your nutrients, smooth skin, ability to sit on a metal chair, and sprinting capabilities.

To be honest, I still have enough youth left in me to be able to sprint. That’s one reason why I’ve been participating in YouTube aerobic sessions and occasional gym visits: to be able to move.

Whenever I get impatient about being fit, I feel like I’m trying to drag a fat body (mine) with me around the track.

Not one to settle for one form of masochism, either, I’ve recently added dieting.

If bottom-shaping exercises online are led by twisted, pain-driven persons; and my adherence to such a thing is a form of crazy cultism; then voluntary sugar-starvation only cinches my questionable sanity.

Why? Why, universe? Why did I ever give up the wonderful delicacy that was sugar; most especially, chocolate?

I hate to say it, but it seems to be working. I’ve noticed a difference.

Cutting refined sugar and white bread out of my diet has been the most-effective weight loss I’ve ever done. Like, 2 lbs lost a week.

It definitely works better than my past plan: eat really healthy until around 3:00 p.m., then consume whatever’s edible until bedtime. (Coincidentally, 3:00 is the time my grown offspring return from free, educational, public babysitting.)

I may want to kill someone for a chocolate chip at the end of the first day or two, but it’s worth it to push through past that hurdle. I’m really only competing with myself.

And the end result? A winning figure.