Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time At The Gym

I was thinking that I haven't really been talking about the other aspects of life since WLS.  Specifically, exercise. I recently went to one of the post-surgical support groups at the Weight Center and listened to an hour "lesson" on the importance of exercise. But they didn't like that word and made a big deal about how we shouldn't look at it as "exercise," but instead should focus on adding more "activity" and "movement" to our days in lots of little ways. We were also encouraged to look for "non-exercise" ways of getting exercise - things we enjoy, like dancing, so that we are more likely to do them regularly. While I agree with the general premise of all this, it wasn't the most stimulating hour of my life. ;)

My gym routine has changed a little from when I started. When I was cleared for full activity, about a month after surgery, I was doing 30 minutes on the dreadmill (I mean, treadmill) and 15-20 minutes on the recumbent bike and calling it good. The thing is...as you can probably tell, I don't really enjoy the treadmill. The bike is okay, but I don't love it, either. Listening to audio books or good music helped make it less painful (and they have TVs and radio at the gym you can listen to on headphones), but it didn't really help with the enjoyment factor.

More recently, however, I've been at the gym a few times with my friend, D, and her system (designed by a friend of hers w/a degree in exercise science) is to do 10 minutes cardio, 3 sets of 12 of 3 different weight training machines, another 10 minutes of cardio, another group of weight machines, and end with a last 10 minutes of cardio. I tried it one day and found it much more pleasant. I've elongated the cardio time by 5 minutes each round, to make a total of 45 minutes of cardio interspersed with a full routine of either arms/chest & back or legs & abs. It means that my full routine takes about 90 minutes, but it doesn't feel like it because it's all broken up. By the time I get to 12 minutes of cardio and I'm starting to want to stab my eyes out with boredom, I realize I only have 3 minutes left until I get to do something else. Not bad, not bad at all.

As far as the weights go, I won't get into loads of detail (unless someone comments and tells me they want loads of detail), but for legs & abs days I do leg press, curl, extension, hip ab/adductors, calf raises and crunches. On the arms/chest & back days I do bicep curls, tricep extensions, overhead press, row machine, lat pull down, chest press, and back extension. And I stretch every time.

I still can't say that I enjoy going to the gym, but breaking things up has really helped me to handle the tedium. And I admit, I'm starting to like having gone to the gym.

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