Frankenstein and Kettle bells

Disclaimer: I have no verifiable knowledge that Frankenstein’s Monster ever used kettle bells on those brawny arms of his. However, if he had, it would totally explain why he walked like he had an atomic wedgie going on 24/7!

*  For the uninitiated am going to add a link here about what an atomic wedgie is. If you need to refer to the link then you’re one of the good ones who doesn’t believe in noogies and spitballs either. I’m not posting a picture of the horrors of an atomic wedgie because it may very well fall under cruelty to animals.

Let’s continue shall we? Well…I’ve been quite wishy-washy about going to the gym and I paid for it. Oh boy, did I pay for it! My gym instructor thought I should try out the latest instrument of torture aka the kettle bell.  I tried it and by the end of the routine this was me; praying for deliverance!

knsbwodfeatureimage

Anyhoo, all that praying didn’t get me much. Then. Once I got back home and over the rest of the day it seemed like someone had applied the brakes to my thigh muscles. I’ve heard of lockjaw. And now imagine lockthigh instead. Or rather imagine a short round woman walking like this for 2 days! But much S-L-O-W-E-R!!

Everything about growing older, not eating right, not taking care of your body comes with huge epiphanies. Mine was all the couch potatoness I’ve displayed all these years. I could have read while using the treadmill or just taken out 20 minutes out of my day even every alternate day and done *something*. I didn’t. And fell prey to an innocuous-looking cute, round thing which now I equate with being on the rack!

Jokes aside…don’t go to the gym if you don’t want too much structure and routine. But take care of yourself else it comes back and bites you on the rather sizable glutes you’ll end up having.

People don’t know what lifting weights is till you’re pulling your body up from a slanted plane or holding it up on your elbows while trying to stay steady and not belly flop on the gym mats. Or when your arm muscles jiggle like Jello and you find yourself wanting to melt into a puddle because then you wouldn’t be in any kind of shape and hurt.

But stick with it and the endorphins kick in and it actually does ease the aches and pain. It also makes you want to try out latest bane of your existence, if only to conquer it once and for all!

Till then you put up with your mind saying stuff like this to egg you on-

Of Mat Jumps and Face Packs…

I don’t consciously try and make the blog titles esoteric or cryptic even..they just pop out of my head, all baked and ready to go. Quite like how this happened. And in case anyone is interested (Pshaw! Yeah right…) how that happened…read it right here.

Onto the actual stuff I wanted to convey…I’ve been doing some different things as a part of my gym routine and one of them is to jump on mats. Big deal, right? Wrong!

Jumping on 3-4 3 inch mats stacked on stop on each other in a way that you land on your feet, don’t wobble and don’t sound like The Hulk landing is something that 30-somethings may have some trouble with.

For us, jumping went the way of the Dodo. Especially for the heavier amongst us, viz moi, find it a tad difficult to do without either feeling ungainly or self-conscious.  In any case, whatever we can’t do any longer, or have stopped doing; is the focus of what we need to do to reboot this state of being unfit and unhealthy.

This morning, after a good night’s sleep and an even better awakening, I stepped into TGIF mode with a vengeance! After dropping off the offspring, something that always gets a big grin on my face a la this momand a nice stroll around the campus, I oiled my hair, put a cucumber pack on my face and was dancing blind aka without the glasses to everything from the Moanna OST to jazzy Hindi songs. And feeling quite peppy and not crying out for the oxygen cylinder like before.

All hyperboles aside, when you can and do jump up and land lighter on your feet than you have in more years than you can count, it’s a fantastic feeling! This is why kids are always jumping…it’s fun! Each time you go up in the air, it’s exhilarating and when you come down again you’re buoyed up to zoom straight back up! It’s liberating at the very least and extremely affirming.

I want to go on a trampoline right now but am not sure about the weight limitations on them so I will take it easy for a bit but I might play hopscotch. And soon!

Listening to- You’re Welcome (Moanna OST)

Image courtesy: Justin-hebert.com

Gym Diaries: Jelly Arms & Pokey Things

This Thursday my trainer started me out on a slightly ramped up routine. Either that means that YAY! my stamina is increasing or that I really need as much help as I can! Am sure it’s a good blend of both because I do find it easier to get back into a groove without getting into what I call my “soggy-sweaty-mess” state and also because there is extensive help required in getting to desirable levels of good health.

Anyhoo…for the most part this particular regime has me moving my whole body more than the previous ones did and the way that’s happening is partly comical and outright ouch-inducing.

One of the exercises consists of me jumping onto a set of mats from a bent-knee position with arms swinging to give me momentum. But there’s a catch- I MUST NOT THUMP! My trainer lands like a cat. Barely any sound. But I THUMP. Quite thumpingly. He asked me not be terribly consciously of myself while jumping and to do it the way I used to as a child. I took him at his word and he said in his I-want-to-praise-you-but you-aren’t-there-yet tone, “That’s better. Now do it without the sound”. And therein lies the rub. Chunky people create sounds. We haven’t been light on our feet in a while so our movements overall including treads, gaits are fairly heavy. So I have many jumps to go before the thumping stops.

Now comes the more painful part of my story. The dreaded nemesis of the gym, the foam roller with the pokey thingies poking out all over it, has made a return in a vile form. And my thighs are begging for mercy. I’m supposed to lie down in a plank position and keep the instrument of torture under my thighs and just roll back and forth. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yeah, so were the circles in Dante’s Inferno!

But all drama aside, going to the gym has shaken loose one of my biggest fallacies: that my lard is going to protect me, dull some sensation of pain etc because there are layers of it just under my skin. But nooo…pokey things are designed to cut through fat and poke away to glory and make you cry for mommy. I really, really, really don’t think I’ll ever like that thing and am pretty sure that my thighs are getting permanent grooves in them from all the back and forth rolling.

Onto the jelly arms. No guesses here. I started on weights. And after the first 8 reps there was mini earthquake measuring around 5.7 or so in the Richter scale in my arms. And then there were aftershocks. I couldn’t fathom how wobbly my arms got. And this was with just a 3-kg weight.

The reason going to the gym often ends up being a slap in the face for many and leads to drop-outs is due to the image of yourself that you see emerging. Stamina, endurance seem to be words in a dictionary and you really don’t know how to summon any up and want to just lie down on the mat, have the world leave you alone to curl up and sleep away the hurt from the pokey things.

But those who can endeavor. Sometimes by getting their angst out via blog posts. Those who can’t, take a step back to less intense activities or attack the bag of chips with a new-found love or vengeance. But I decided that very day; the only jelly I wanted to see was on my plate and not in my limbs.

PS: The next post may need to be posted with Google Docs Voice typing because the era of jelly arms isn’t over yet.

Image courtesy- media.giphy.com

Realizations: Gym Diaries

My routine for going to the gym is pretty regularized now; am happy to report. Nothing worse than a break for legitimate reasons and then feeling the pinch while trying to get back on the metaphorical horse.

I realized a few things over the last week and here they are in no specific order-

What you wear is quite important. You may want to hide the bulges by wear loose clothing or comfort fit pants but when starting to get your groove back you need stuff that moves with you. Loose tees create a drag and when you see yourself sweaty and tired; you also see a person in rather shapeless attire which does nothing for the self-image.

Wearing seamless pants/leggings goes a long way in helping you move, bend and stretch. Soft capris and sweatpants maybe comfortable but the stitching for the pockets etc restrict movement rather than facilitate it.

This one is for the women- those of us who are top-heavy may invest in innerwear which contains but again it needs to be the kind which helps you move rather add more weight to a particular part of your body and make you feel heavier than you actually are.

I for one started out with the cozy, comfortable clothing that I had lying around at home rather than kit myself out with “proper” gym attire; not knowing if what I had was adequate or not and there was always that niggling doubt of sustainability. Why invest more money if you don’t know if you’re going to be able to see things through. But it makes a huge difference in achieving your goals if there are enablers along the way; even unlikely ones like one’s attire.

Getting a good night’s sleep on the day before you hit the gym is essential. Unless you and your stamina haven’t parted company  with each other and can wing it with just 4-5 hours of sleep, a good night’s sleep is restorative in ways one can’t imagine!

Taking a quick nap on the days you feel you need a nap is also sensible rather than a sign of weakness. When your body is fatigued it needs rest in some form or the other. People whose work hours aren’t as flexible as required need to find a way out of that one, but for me, a 30-45 mins catnap does a lot to make me feel more energized and actually soothes the tinges of sore muscles.

So what’s the underlying moral of the story- listen to your body. Dress it fabric that breathes well, allows more freedom of movement and invest enough time in vegging out because it does add to your overall health and always workout to funky beats!

 

Of Hip Hinges&Mountain Climbing…

I must be doing something right because my trainer (P.B.U.H) added new exercises to my routine. He also tweaked an existing one just to see if I could take it up a notch. And a tiny notch it is. A wee one really but I have been extremely pleased (and tired) all day because things got taken to a slightly higher level.

Speaking of higher levels, doing step-ups on a 16 inch high box is my new nemesis. I mean who designs these things anyhow? I am 60 inches high. I’ve stopped using the word tall when I mention my height because when you’re 5 feet, you are anything but tall. But being vertically challenged is a story for another day. I’ve also been called a preshrunk-shrink back when I was studying Psychology but I digress. Ah yes…16 inch box is baaad. I gasp, pant and puff a la the Big Bad Wolf only without blowing anyone’s house down!

Anyhow, the reason I’m pleased is quite simple. I can endure a little more than I could one month ago. Even a week ago. I break into a sweat later and later during the exercise sets each time and don’t always need a water break to recharge myself after every 5 minutes. And those voices inside my head saying, “Have Mercy!” and “Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?” have kind of faded. Not gone away completely, but faded a bit.

Today I started doing something called a Hip Hinge- you fix your hip/lock it in a particular position and keeping bending till you touch your toes or ankles. So your torso is functioning like a flap that opens and closes. I was not a fan initially of hinging the hip but it worked out. And then my instructor sprung another surprise on me by getting me to do something called a Finisher. That nearly did finish me off since it was in the fag-end of the exercise routine but after it was done, it felt pretty damn good. After my heart stopped pounding in my ears and I could feel my limbs again that is.

I’m turning 37 soon and honestly, this is the worst I’ve ever been physically. I was actually in much better shape while my kid was an infant and a toddler (no surprises there) but over a point of time the eating became haphazard and so did the sleep and I made the mistake of thinking that I had time for a do-over. I have it; but just barely.

So when I can move from one exercise to another, do a new one without needing a bolus of glucose just to feel alive again; it feels really good. I suspect those are my endorphins talking but I hear them loud and clear!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to hobble away to my bed and sleep for 12 hours.

Image courtesy-clipartfest.com

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud…

Quoth good ole W.W aka William Wordsworth. And so did I…or my mind did instead. It happened at the gym where a lot of stuff has been happening of late. I have an active imagination. I can daydream with the best of them. In glorious HD 1080p. We have moved on from Technicolor!

Anyhow, the only time I focus on myself in toto is at the gym. And after a while I start to wander off. Always mentally. Physically I’ll be frog-stretching my way to aching thighs but mentally I’ll be thinking about the rap song lyrics calling forth the bitches and hos  to “get lit” and how inappropriate they are or when Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah played on the radio etc.

I’m serious. When I focus inwards, that focus goes deep and then goes right out of my head. We have mirrors spanning the walls on two sides of the gym. When you exercise in front of one of them, you see unending images of yourself in the mirror to the back and you become a 6-year-old in a fun house with funky mirrors instead of a soon-to-be 37-year-old who is supposed to be watching her posture, her balance and her breathing.

You assume a particular posture on one bended knee with the opposite hand over your head and your mind screams, “OLE!” and you think flamenco and giggle inwardly. And it’s all very silly and un-adult but that’s how some of our minds cope.

I remember once when Sia’s Cheap Thrills came on over the radio, I got so caught up in the song I did some extra stretches lasting almost half the song. Again, silly.

But it’s also fun and my mind is a fecund breeding ground for blogs and ideas and all with their very own templates, colors and often sound tracks. And that’s where I’ll draw the line now before someone carts me off to the madhouse in case these are hallucinations.

No Guts…No Glory

So the idea is that only if you have the guts will you feel the glory of getting rid of them and not being an official ‘rotunda’.

Sadly as women, the only time you get a pass from not being able to see your toes without bending is during pregnancy. Take that out of the mix and you have no reasons why your stomach precedes your entry wherever you go.

The idea is not to be buxom (let me tell you that’s a whole different can of worms!) or be model-thin. The former leads to few things fitting properly and the latter spells doom during strong winds and roller-coaster rides.

But one’s gut is the thing that’s possibly the hardest to get rid off. Even the clingiest kids get weaned off, literally and figuratively, before the gut melts into a plane or a plateau.

My metaphors are all over the place. Tends to happen post all that huffing and puffing in the gym.

Till the next installment of me and gut diaries…ciao!