Sunday, September 4, 2011

5 1/2: A Lesson on Gym Etiquette and Fitness

Readers of other my blog know that I had a serious cardiac event a few months ago, that I bought a new Android phone, and that I have been working out for quite a while. Today you get to meet the child of those three parents! Gyms are interesting places. The YMCA where I live is sort of the Walmart of gyms. It's big, it's got a lot of stuff in a huge building, and the people, well, they are colorful. I am going to start a page People of the Y. They are some of the same characters you see on the People of Walmart site only dressed in spandex.

Come with me on a short journey from desk jockey and couch potato to amateur runner and health nerd as I share the essentials of getting into shape.

1) Equipment: If you are going to be a health nerd, you need health nerd stuff. First, you need running shoes. It is best to get the ones that do not have the flashing LED's and Dora the Explorer or Diego on them (seriously, get good ones!). Then you need a musical device: iPod, SmartPhone or MP3 player will do. If it is a really sharp looking gadget, then you'll need to get the Velcro armband holder for it. That way you don't have to hold it when you use the rest room. If it is a cheesy Barbie phone, you may want to stitch a pocket for it in your drawers.

Be sure that you have headphones; at the gym, sharing is not caring!
If you are really cool (like me!) you need a heart rate monitor (HRM) to keep track of your pulse. Some of these have alarms so you will know when you are about to die on the treadmill. Mine is wireless, and to my surprise, not only does it show up on the special decoder wristwatch I have, as well as my SmartPhone, but it displayed on the Precor treadmill too. Freaky! What's next: A study to show that diet and exercise is the only good way to lose weight?

2) Apparel: In the old days we had sweat pants and sweat shirts. Period! Walmart could have saved aisles and aisles if that were still the case - but it's not. Now you can get Spandex (please don't if it makes you look like a package of pork tenderloin!), polyester, fake velvet and even sequins. I am just kidding about the sequins - I hope. So what's up with cheap polyester? It makes noise, lots of noise. The good news is that if you are huge like I was, you won't be going fast and you be able to keep it under 90 decibles! The velvet sweat suit with the nice little piping and stripes, be careful. If you fall on the treadmill, it 's like a long-haired cat caught in a lawnmower. I'm just sayin'. Oh, and remember, Richard Simmons is not trendy.

3) Diet: Come on, you've maybe tried a few such as Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach or the Dill Pickle Diet. If you are going to lose pounds, you need to change the way you eat. Dill pickles are 0 calories, so try them seriously! Dump the sweet drinks, cookies, candy and chips. It's over. You may want to get rid of white rice and potatoes too! Only whole wheat or whole grain bread, bagels and crackers if you are serious. Get yourself an 8 oz measuring cup. You get two filled with veggies or fruit for each meal, plus 3-4 oz of meat or fish. The trick is to chase it down stuff that makes it taste good, there are loads of spices besides chocolate and salt. Three snacks a day of something nutritious and you're done! I went from 276 to 219 exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Without the exercise while I was sick, I still lost 10 pounds in 2 months.

4) Music: If you are going to move, you need music. It should rock, you are not meditating for God's sake! I suggest, Led Zeppelin, Burn Service, Steve Miller, Kutless, Tim Hughes and Jason Aldean.

5) Events: I need a goal, and you might too. Mine is a 5k race. My first for the next month is Run, Walk or Crawl 5K in a nearby town. There has got to be some slow people there! Sure, in high school I ran it in 16:57, but now I'm happy with 35 minutes.

5 1/2) Noom! - I have an app on my phone entitled Noom/Cardio Trainer. It keeps track of all my exercise and food consumption! Another app that is pretty cool if you don't have a SmartPhone is the MyFitnessPal. 

How about you, are you as healthy as you'd like to be?

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