Flogging has nothing on the elliptical machine

I’ve recently joined a gym and started working out for the first time in, um, we’ll just say years, as that implies I have at least done it at some time in the past.  I chose a no frills, old school gym a mile from my house so I couldn’t use the excuse of not feeling like driving all the way there.  It takes me as long to park as it does to get there.  (No, I don’t walk, then I’d be tired when I got to the gym and far too tired to walk home in the dark).  And the gym has a reportedly mostly gay male clientele so I don’t have to worry about anyone judging my ass.

I’ve always thought “working out” was ridiculous.  Spending time and energy simulating activity we used to do outside for real?   Picking up heavy things only to put them back down in the same place?  Just silly.  But I don’t have a field to plow, plant, and harvest, or any livestock that requires heavy work, so I’ve resigned myself to being silly.  Very silly, as I have no idea how the machines work.  I had to ask someone from the gym to show me how the elliptical machine worked, and I swear he laughed.  He just showed me the basics, how to press “Quick Start,” and which handles measure your heartrate.  There was something about being able to program it for different resistances, but the lowest one is enough for my sorry ass for now.  I was hoping for a bit more advice on form, as I have crap knees and don’t want to cripple myself trying to strengthen them.  I’ve used it twice so far, making it no more than 1/2 an hour on the torturous device.  The second time hurt less than the first, I think because I forewent convention and wore my comfy non-athletic sneakers instead of the over supportive ones I bought for such occasions.  My feet are oddly claustrophobic and my toes like being able to wiggle and grip the ground.  When my form gets better I might look into going to a store and getting advice on some better shoes, maybe some of those wacky “barefoot” type that would allow maximum toe wiggling without creeping out fellow gym patrons.

Thoreau said, “beware of all enterprises that require new clothes,” which normally I don’t agree with but in this case rings true.  Other than considering new shoes, I’ve had to buy actual workout clothes, which for us womenfolk includes special undergarments designed to prevent bounceage without poking us with wires.  I don’t have a washer and drier, and do not welcome the thought of hitting the laundry more than once a week so I needed enough “exercise” clothes to get through a week of working out daily.  Yes, I said daily.  I can’t manage an hour until I know how to use more machines than just the cardio ones, so I’m aiming for 1/2 an hour daily.  Plus I want to see results yesterday.  Patience may be a virtue, but it takes a damn long time.

I’m planning on a few sessions with a personal trainer, which is another level of silly.  Having someone teach me how to punish myself on machines seems like something worthy of the Marquis de Sade.  And I’ll be paying for the privilege.  Definitely sadistic.  Watching the men using the weight machines, it does not look like they are having fun.  There’s much grunting and groaning and scrunching of face.  It looks like they are being tortured for information, “Lift another fifty or we cut off a finger!”  I’m looking forward to joining their ranks.  I can already carry a 20 lb bag of cat litter up the steps to my house, conceivably I could just carry it up and down the stairs rather than lifting weights through a complex system of pulleys.  But I’ve already fallen on my front steps twice, so I try to limit the number of trips on them to lower the odds of falling and cracking my head open.  Then I couldn’t work out at all.  Or they’d call it “physical therapy” and my insurance would pay for it.


January 26, 2010. Tags: , . Life, the universe, and whatnot.


  1. laura replied:

    Lol – love the take of lifting weights to spy torture…however if its mostly gay men…it might be more like “keep lifting that weight or you’ll never see your limited edition Funny Girl album again!” 😉 I love the elliptical, when I used to belong to a gym I spent all my time on one…felt like I got a really good workout from it. I admire your daily commitment!

  2. Tim Walker replied:

    Keep at it — it all gets a lot easier with repetition, especially if you have a trainer who can show you the ropes.

    By the way, if your knees give you problems, you might consider the stationary bike or rowing machine rather than the elliptical.

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