Posts Tagged With: gym

Jan is Long

And it’s still not over. Traditionally January is the most depressing month for me and many other people. The fact that I haven’t had to stand at a freezing bus stop in the dark twice a day this January has improved it immeasurably, I have to say. Also, even when we have “bad” weather over here, it’s still pretty good; with the icy cold winds and snow we still get blindingly bright sunshine. Strange weather this week, actually. On Monday we went for a lovely bike ride and then had lunch on the beach in shorts and T shirts. On Friday it snowed. This week it’s expected to reach 21c again. How is that even possible in the space of a week?

We had Cornish snow on Friday. What I mean is, it snowed like crazy on Friday afternoon for a couple of hours, enough to ruin everybody’s commute home and plans for a night out, then it had all melted by Saturday morning. Exactly how I remember the snow every year in Cornwall. Only they are even less prepared for the bad weather here in this part of America. They didn’t bother doing any kind of gritting on the roads even though they have the shiny Doppler radar thing that predicts the weather pretty accurately. However they do ensure that all pavements are cleared of snow and ice. For a nation that favours driving over walking, this seems a little lopsided to me.

This month does seem to have dragged like a seal’s posterior. I can’t believe we’re still only in January, and yet another part of me is amazed that it will be February on Friday. Hmmm. I decided at the start of the month that I would make plans to go to the gym every day unless something else came up that I wanted to do instead. Like going out for coffee and cake. Usually my gym classes are on pretty early in the day so there are few clashes with other events. Or perhaps I just have a sad life and don’t get invited out much. Anyway, what this means is that out of 27 days I have been to the gym (or out for a bike ride) on 20. I have never really been a major gym bunny so this is pretty impressive, even if I do say so myself. I’ve just had three days off, going back to the gym today. Partly this was due to the weather but largely because I just felt like having a break. And why not? The thing is, by the third day I realised I felt really grumpy, slightly headachey and a little bit down. I actually wanted to go back to the gym. So today I did, and I felt so much happier for it. What is happening to me??? Please don’t tell me I’ve actually caught this terrible gym bug thing????! Oh my days. Is there a cure?

Categories: Leisure | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Gym’ll Fix It

I decided to join a gym when I arrived here, as it seemed sensible to find something constructive to do with my plentiful free time.  It has been interesting to see the differences between the gym I use here and the one back in the UK.  The classes are, of course, pretty similar (there are only so many variations of the same exercises after all) although just named differently.  Chisel is my current favourite, which is a mix of step & Body Pump and gives an all-round good toning class with a little cardio.  I’ve also been doing Spin, which has both advantages and disadvantages over the RPM that I used to do in the UK.  RPM is highly choreographed, with eight specific tracks in a class that is done for ten weeks until a new eight tracks are introduced.  This means that you really get to measure your progress, although for me and my short attention span it gets really boring and predictable after about week three, which makes it a lot harder to keep going.  Spin, certainly in the gym I’m now attending, is different every single week, with seemingly random tracks each week and also with a different teacher for nearly every class.  This keeps things fresh and interesting but you can’t really challenge yourself or measure how well you are doing.  RPM seems more varied, with specific tracks for speed or for hills, whereas Spin has a lot of tracks where you just go Stand Up, Sit Down, Stand Up, Sit Down every couple of seconds…. probably very good for the thigh muscles but really uncomfortable and annoying.  The best thing about Spin, for me, is the music.  Actually this goes for all the classes in my new gym.  They have realised that you can work out to guitar-based music instead of that bang-bang-dance-noise-stuff that invades all exercise classes in the UK.  The other day in one Spin class we had Mumford & Sons, the Beatles and Metallica.  I can tell you, it’s so much easier to race really fast to a song that you really enjoy (in this case, “Enter Sandman”).  Far nicer than the old RPM track 5 that sounded like a blender.

The weird thing about the gym here is their unwillingness to put on the air-con or even the fans half the time.  Given the fact that it was regularly around 35C and really humid in July/August, this seems madness.  It did probably mean that I sweated out a lot more lard and toxins than I might otherwise have done, I suppose.

The weights in the gym are all measured in pounds rather than the kilos that we used in the UK.  I can’t always convert the measurements very well in my head, so I have no idea half the time whether I’m tricking myself into using heavier weights or whether I’m cheating myself.  It sounds a lot more impressive to be using a 10lb weight than a 4.5kg one though.

I’m pleased to say that this gym malarkey is paying off.  In the last six weeks or so I have lost 4 pounds and, more importantly for me, around 3% of body fat.  As a vegetarian it’s quite hard to eat interesting food that isn’t laced in sauces or cheese etc, as you can’t just have a plain grilled piece of meat or fish etc.  My body fat has gone from the low end of “Poor” to the low end of “Fair”.  Yippee!  I don’t think the improvements are just due to the gym.  I’m also using Frankie the Bike to get around as much as I can, plus I’m no longer chained to a desk from 9-5.  This means I don’t sit and eat out of boredom, I don’t have to eat at midday whether I’m hungry or not just because that’s my designated lunch hour, and I can generally keep moving around instead of being stuck in a chair for 8 hours.  I may need to get a job as a cycle courier when I get back to the UK.

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