Saturday, December 12, 2009


I met with a Fitness Coach today. No, really, I did. I went down to the YMCA and, by appointment, met with Cindy, a very nice middle-aged lady whose job is to help people who have no idea what they are doing get into an exercise program. That’s me: don’t have any idea what I’m doing. In a gym. I don’t particularly like gyms, don’t particularly like the idea of gyms, certainly don’t like being in gyms, and have managed to avoid being in them for most of my adult life. So, why am I at a gym meeting with a Fitness Coach? Because I have to. Because if I don’t I’m likely to degenerate into an oozy blob of goo in my elder years, and I’m just not liking that idea.

Several weeks ago, I listened to the audiobook Younger Next Year For Women and started walking. The book explained in scientific term not just what exercise does for you on a cellular level, but also exactly what NOT exercising does TO you on a cellular level. Let’s just say I was horrified at the prospect of where I was headed in my comfortably sedentary life. “Holy crap”, I think, was my exact, gut-level response. So, I started walking about 45 min to an hour a day, four to five days a week (my goal was six days a week, but whatever). That was Stage One of The Exercise Plan, and it’s gone really well so far. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to manage escaping from the house for an hour, six days a week, but with Papa Bear working from home and the Cubs and I in a fairly flexible homeschool routine, it’s been working out (pun). And, the funny thing is, I actually crave walking now. I get itchy and antsy if I’ve not been walking, and can’t wait to get out to the park and blaze down that nicely paved trail through the trees along the creek. It’s kind of great that it’s been so fulfilling, because it’s made it easier to stick to.

So, now I’m looking Stage Two straight down its nasty gullet. Strength training two days a week. Ugh. That means a gym. And those machines. And people. Really, when I’m sweating and turning pink I really do not need an audience. Yeah, I know they’re not looking at me, but I’m still just not comfortable with the whole idea of exercising around strangers, ya know? And, is it just me, or are all of them attractive with really great bodies? And I’m not. Do they really have to have all those mirrors? But, I digress…

Cindy sat down with me and we talked about why I was there (because I have to), what I liked to do for exercise (not much), and what some of my long-term goals were (to not degenerate into an oozy blob of goo in my elder years, and maybe lose about 15 lb somewhere along the way). She had me fill out some questionnaires basically designed to let her know how much of a project I was going to be, and how perky, motivational, or downright pesky she was going to have to be to get me fit (she has my e-mail address, and somehow I don’t think she’s afraid to use it). Then she took me into the Cybex Room (yes, it is as reminiscent of The Terminator as it sounds), showed me how to log on at the FitLinxx Kiosk, how to log “other” workouts like my walks, and how to retrieve her messages to me and leave messages for her. Then off to the machines she had decided I should start with (only five for now) to show me how they work.

Now, the FitLinxx system that the Y uses actually makes working out about as idiot-proof as you can get. Everything is set up by your Coach so you’re not hurting yourself by taking a stab in the dark at which machines you should be starting with, how much weight to use on each, how many repetitions to do, etc. When you log on at the Kiosk, you can look up your routine (called a circuit) so you know where to start. Each machine has its own little computer screen that you log onto when you get to it. If you go to a machine that’s not on your circuit, it tells you, “Wrong machine, dummy. Try again.” Not really, it just tells you that machine is not on your circuit. Once you get to the right machine and log in, it tells you where to set the seat, back, leg, etc., how much weight to use, and how many reps to do. After you’ve finished your reps, it tells you which machine to go to next. When you’ve finished your circuit, it tells you you’re done and reminds you to log off at the Kiosk. And everything you’ve done is recorded in the FitLinxx computer. Kinda creepy, but in a really helpful way.

After I escaped from Cindy I took my usual walk through the park. When I got home, I pulled up the FitLinxx website, figured out how to set up my online account, and how to log my walks. It told me how many calories I burned on my walk and added it to my accumulated workouts for the month. At the end of the month, it will e-mail me a report showing my progress to date; total weight lifted (expressed in numbers of elephants) and total calories burned (expressed in numbers of chocolate sundaes).

So, I’m all set. Now all I have to do is actually go to the gym.

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