Tonight I’m posting a little late. I had a pretty hectic past couple of days. I got an offer to do a job so I have been focusing on that for now. I have been feeling like I am running out of good ideas to write about. I really find it awesome that some people can write full blog posts with thousand words everyday about a new topic. I’m going to try to refocus my attention on my blog more after I get adjusted to this schedule. I have to say I am disappointed in myself because I haven’t been hitting the gym like I planned I was going to. I guess every once in awhile I am going to fall down but I need to pull myself back up. I think of the best things to do is to revaluate situations and see where I need to put more time and effort. Tomorrow, I will look at my situation and try to come up with a new game plan. If anyone has any suggestions or tips with blogging, working out, or even life in general don’t feel shy to comment.
For people living on the east coast, this winter has been one of the worst. Now that everything is finally getting back to normal after the blackouts, gas station lines, and devastating losses of Sandy; we were now hit with the storm Nemo. While I think this is my favorite name for any hurricane, I was anticipating the worst after being without heat and power for almost two weeks from Sandy. Fortunately, Nemo wasn’t as harmful as most people thought. There weren’t any power lines coming down or trees collapsing in the middle of the road. However, the storm did bring the most snow I have seen in a couple of years. It was so heavy that I had to shovel my driveway once at night and again in the morning. When I was done, I showered up and laid back for a a little. I felt awesome with that feeling you get after you had a good workout at the gym. My muscles were relaxed and my whole body was filled with energy. I never realized that shoveling could be this great of a workout.
While it doesn’t snow everyday, I feel like shoveling the driveway is one of the best cardio exercises I have done in a while. Unlike just running on a treadmill, you are putting emphasis one very muscle in your body. You use your arms and chest to push the shovel deep into the snow, and then use your back and legs to lift the snow up and throw it to the side. You repeat this over and over again as you pump up those muscles carrying a good amount of weight up and down the driveway. Even though this is a simple task that most people do, it makes me proud that I accomplished it. I almost feel like one of the weightlifters in the World’s Strongest Man Competition carrying those 200 pound balls of cement, even though the snow is probably only twenty pounds every shovel.
Another great thing about this task is you can’t focus on time and can only put your attention on what you are doing. One of the worst parts about being on a treadmill is the timer flashing in big lights. You try to ignore it, but it draws your attention like a fly to a light. Not only is it distracting, but each time you count the seconds it makes you feel like you are so far away from how long you want to run. With shoveling, there is no timer or watch. You just keep plowing the snow until you are finished. When you are then, you just realized you finished an hour cardio workout.
I really was dreading the potential of hurricane Nemo. Fortunately, it wasn’t too bad and actually enjoyed my time being snowed in. While I’m not a big fan of the snow, I have to say it did look really pretty outside at night with all the street lights bouncing off it. As I was shoveling, I couldn’t help but to get upset. My neighbors were all easily clearing their driveways with snow blowers. I definitely wouldn’t mind having one of these to get the job done, but the part that really ticked me off is that they offered the machine to everyone except me. As I was grabbing on to the shovel to catch my breath, they were all chatting it up as it only took them ten minutes to get rid of the snow. After I was done, I was actually happy they didn’t come to help me. I felt a sense of pride that I could do something like shovel my driveway without anyone’s help. The best part about it is that I was so bundled up in clothes, I probably burnt off more weight doing that than actually running or lifting. So if you ever want a really great workout, pick up shovel the next time it snows. I guarantee it’ll be some of the best cardio you have done.
Since I started working out again, I have placed myself on a strict diet. It is one thing to push yourself at the gym, but your body needs the proper nutrition and foods to replenish and stay healthy. I know I am not going to drop any pounds if I stuff fast food in my mouth after the gym. That defeats the whole purpose of even trying to get back into shape. I haven’t dieted since my senior year in wrestling, where I cut close to thirty pounds. It is hard to stay motivated and always remind yourself that the sacrifices you are making are worth it. Temptations are creeping around every corner. Just driving down the road I see all the bright lights of Burger King, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s. I see people enjoying themselves with mouthwatering burgers topped with sizzling bacon. I try to keep my eyes strictly on the road and tune it out with the radio, but then I hear three food advertisements that make me want to dive into a milkshake as I shove french fries down my throat. While these are very enticing, I feel that one place is the worst to go when dieting. It is more seducing than an all you can eat buffet or free burrito day at Chipotle. It is the movie theatre.
How can the movies be more tempting than actually going to a restaurant. I have seen people just order water at a diner or even a small salad, but I have never seen anyone not get something to eat at the snack bar. Growing up, we all have fond memories of our parents bringing us to the theatre. I remember ordering the huge bucket of popcorn drizzled in butter and coated in salt. The thing was bigger than my head. And of course, you can’t fully enjoy a show without a nice soda to wash everything down. I usually turned down the caffeinated beverage because I only wanted the large cherry slushy. And if your parents were really in a good mood, they’d let you pick a candy from the theater’s stand that almost rivaled Willy Wonka’s factory. I am pretty sure I have seen every type of candy in a cineplex from Snow Caps to Sour Patch Kids. After all of these decisions, you are ready to enjoy the actual movie. Wait, that seemingly endless tub of popcorn is now finished before the previews are even done. You flash that innocent smile to your parents, and you get another bag. Nothing makes a movie more complete than the full experience.
Even though I am grown up, I love going to the movies and enjoying the snack stand. Somedays, I just crave theatre popcorn and will see a random show to fill my need. It’s bad enough the prices are jacked up, but not even that will stop most people from buying a large in everything. Since my days as a kid, the snack stand has really revolutionized. It is more than just popcorn and candy, it is a full on food cart. It has hotdogs, pretzels, and even funnel cakes. Some movies even have a dining theatre where you can eat and have a waitress serve you food. If I was a kid now, I wouldn’t be able to make up my mind with all these options.
Going to the movies is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy nothing more than to get lost in a good movie and find myself wishing it never ended. I’ll admit, I am definitely a long time patron of the snack stand. But I don’t know if I could handle that much temptation. It all looks so tantalizing that my tastebuds are almost dragging me to that jumbo bag of popcorn. And I have been so accustomed to this eating routine when seeing a movie that I don’t think I could sit two hours and just focus on the screen. As a kid, I always felt bad for the people who brought their own snacks into the movies, especially the kids whose parents made them eat fruits and vegetables. I guess some kid will be saying that about me as I dig into some carrots for the next big show.
I posted yesterday’s blog entry “15 Tips” because I couldn’t believe the outrageous fees that gyms try to scam people into signing up for. The employees are possibly even worse than car salesman by pressuring you into deals that you can feel in the pit of your stomach is wrong. They try to persuade you with all their fancy gimmicks, state of the art facility, and classes that you will never attend. Luckily, I was able to find a gym that was the perfect fit for me. There weren’t any NFL regulation football fields or tennis courts built to the exact specifications of Wimbledon. It is a simple, no-nonsense gym with all the equipment I need to get back into shape. Unfortunately, my success in finding a gym didn’t take away from the pains and aches of lifting for the first time again.
After a quick, ten minute jog on treadmill, the adrenaline rush began to kick in and I felt like Superman. I puffed my chest out and was ready to lift a eighteen wheeler if I had to. I sat down on the lat pull down machine and busted out a set of twelve. I got up and began to strut around feeling good. My muscles were pumped and I felt that amazing sensation of blood rushing through my body. Even though there was no one else in the gym, I had to parade around as if I just went twelve rounds with Apollo Creed. I sat back down on the lat pulldown machine and busted out a set of ten on a heavier weight. I got back up to do my march of victory but it wasn’t as sweet as the one before. The adrenaline rush now faded and I began to feel the downfall of getting back in the gym for the first time. My head was lightheaded and those muscles that were filled with adrenaline now began to feel the aches of being out of shape. This is what Rocky must have felt like after the first time he fought the World Champ.
I finished my back exercise and continued with biceps and triceps for the rest of the day. I probably drank three bottles of water as I huffed and puffed like I just finished a pack of cigarettes. I battled through all the aches and pains to finish my workout. It wasn’t enough that my biceps were so worn out I couldn’t extend them down, but my lightheadedness now turned to nausea. Every time I lift for the first time, I usually throw up from pushing myself too hard. This is one of my biggest fears lifting, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself at the new gym (even though there wasn’t anybody there at this time). I decided to take it easy so I wouldn’t end up tossing up my breakfast. I finished with a light, thirty minute jog as I barely got through my first day back to the gym.
Now that it’s morning after, I felt like a truck had just run me over. Even muscles I didn’t workout the day before are aching. After a few minutes of getting out of my bed, I am slowly walking off the soreness. This is just one of the drawbacks of getting back in shape, but I still could not be more excited to go today and lift again. I’m nowhere near my high school days being a wrestler with one percent body fat that could throw around weights all day and not be tired, but I still have that determination and passion when it comes to going into a gym and blasting out a lift. Those day of being an athlete are behind me, so it’s now time to open a new chapter of my life with exercise.
Since it is after the holidays, most people are rushing to the gym to burn off those unwanted calories from that extra slice of Mama’s pumpkin pie . I always find it difficult to choose the right gym, especially with a new chain popping up on every corner. With all the options to look at, here is a list of some of the things you should consider when looking to join a new gym.
1. Is there anybody I know that lifts there that I don’t want to run into? It would be unbearable to muster up some friendliness to interact in a social environment.
2.Will I be the smallest/most out of shape guy there? What’s the point of trying to get back in shape if I’m that far down the food chain.
3. (For single guys) Enough hot chicks to stare at aimlessly when they are not paying attention.
4. Plenty of mirrors to check myself out in, especially during the first week where I will see the most definition and change in my body.
5. Juice bar because I need to pay for over priced protein shakes I could make for one-tenth of the price at home.
6. Televisions on all cardio machines because there is no way I can run this long without taking my mind off it. Especially the movie theatre cardio rooms where your running in the pitch dark like you’re in The Blair Witch Project.
7. A swimming pool and basketball court that I will most likely use once or twice.
8. Dumbbells going up to 150 that I can’t even get off the weight rack with two hands.
9. Trainers that are so juiced out that it makes you question what you have been doing with your life up to this point.
10. Cool swipe card for car ring, so that everyone knows I lift and I’m serious about it.
11. Always crowded at the time I want to lift, so I can either walk around/stare at myself in the mirror more or just stay on one machine the whole time.
12. Great memberships discount that include the outrageous sign up fees and cancellation penalties.
13. Inconsiderate people that never wipe down their sweat so my head is soaked in another person’s body fluids.
14. Managers that look like that they just came back from the buffet, but feel a sense of accomplishment because they know all the meatheads at their gym and vicariously live through their physiques.
15. *Most Important* A gym that is not on your route to work or any other important place, so when you stop going you don’t feel that sense of failure every time you drive by.
If you carefully read this list and narrow down your choice with my criteria, you should find the perfect gym that fits you.