Sunday, November 10, 2019

Weightlifting and me: a love/hate story

I stride into the gym, optimistically named "Motivations." I can't recall the last time I was motivated to be here. Maybe never? Randy, the owner, looks up from whatever he does on the computer. Writing a novel? I don't know. It would be the perfect venue for it: I am usually the only one in here.

Here's the thing: I really hate lifting weights. It's boring, it's not cardio (really, though it can be a little) and it's not functional fitness. I'd rather be strong like I was back in the day, from clearing trails with axes and rock bars, or digging fireline, than from hoisting dumbbells. And I guess if I had more time, I could design a fitness program like that. But for now, the weights will have to do.


Here's my gym. Somewhat old school, but I am glad to have it. I don't have room in my house for a gym.

My weightlifting career began at a Golds Gym, where the women wore makeup and kept their hair down. I skulked around in a T shirt and shorts, going to the free weights where the other women never went (they stuck to the cardio machines). In order to do pull-ups with the rest of the fire crew, in order to haul the cubitainers of water, the chainsaw, I had to be strong. I worked a full day on the crew and then at 7 pm, I went out to lift weights. It wasn't anything special--everyone on the crew did this. We didn't get paid to do it, but we all knew that if we couldn't do the work, we would be off the crew.

After I left that crew, I still kept lifting, in small gyms in rural counties of the west. These were populated by the more serious, sans makeup. None of the gyms were fancy--they were one room affairs, with older equipment. When I spent a month in DC, I joined a gym and was amazed by the three floors of equipment and the bouncer who paced the rows, kicking people off the ellipticals when they had exceeded their half hour limit. Actual lines formed by each machine. No thanks, I thought, one room gyms were just fine with me.

I've now been a member of my gym for ten years. Ten years! That's long enough to pick out the regular characters--the woman who uses the elliptical with a purse strapped to her body, the lady who yells the number of repeats, the doctor who does such intense workouts that the rest of us feel lazy just watching.

Today it was just me for the entirety of my workout, and Randy, who was still working on his novel or whatever. I am always glad I did the workout, even if I dislike every minute of it. I close with some quality time on the elliptical, because I'm here. Then it's time to go back to work. I feel virtuous. Even though I don't like it, I've still powered through. Maybe I am motivated after all.

12 comments:

  1. I LOVE weightlifting, cardio seems like So much Work! Not that I haven't had times where I ran most every day, but those were never Work because I ran long slow distance, if was for my mental health first, body second. But I love being strong so I lift. Granted I lift outdoors when I can, kettlebells make an amazing portable gym, and I have a weight vest and some dumbbells.
    I too however, would rather my job was also my exercise.

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    1. Haha! Weights seem like so much work! I feel like if I had room at home to do it maybe I'd like it more? Maybe?

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    2. I have lifted weights off and on most of my life, but when we had our own weights at home I spent a period of time going through the book "The new rules of lifting for women" and I worked through it faithfully. That's only one example, and I have worked with good trainers many times. A new crossfit/cross training gym just opened here that is Great (most crossfit boxes are Not) and I am back to 4 days a week which feels fantastic.

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  2. I'll echo Dragon here and say weights are heaven for me. My lungs and cardio don't get along unless we're just doing some nice hiking, but thinking about running kills me. I have dreams that I'm some kind of runner but my lungs always remind me that I'm not one.

    Right now I lift at home with a few sets of dumbbells and some stretchy
    straps you can use for legs. It works.

    As my job requires sitting all day, I too would prefer some kind of exercise involved job.

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    1. Ok you guys, what is the secret to loving it? I really want to bound in the door excited about lifting. Do you do a different routine every time?

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  3. I keep cardio machines and weights at home because I hate gyms but like to work out other than running. It is snowing, blowing and 20F outside at the moment. I hear the weights calling my name. Well, also I'm recovering from that 50 mile run I did on Saturday.

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    1. 50 miles! I would totally have cardio machines at home if I had the space. I do have a bike trainer. No tv to watch so i pedal away, bored out of my mind.

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  4. I also go to a small independent gym. I love it. Really, I'm a closet gym bunny, and I'm not even sure why ... I think it might be the easy endorphin boost without any of the drama of exercising outdoors. You can stop moving anytime! And watch long-forgotten beloved 80s movies on daytime cable TV. So many guilty pleasures.

    Of course that all comes from using the cardio machines. I enjoy the spin bike and am partial to elliptical as well. Stairmaster for when I'm feeling frisky. But I'm slowly coming to appreciate weight lifting, as it's fun to observe ongoing progress once I've settled into a routine, as well as try new lifts. Those high-power bursts from heavier lifts are downright fun (and a little bit unnerving.) Whether this translates to functional strength for my endurance activities ... I haven't yet decided.

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    1. We have one TV in our gym and everyone is subjected to what is on. So I have to curb my desire to watch something silly and put it on the more socially acceptable HGTV. I need to try to lift heavier weights I guess..maybe then it will be more interesting.

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  5. I have never had a love of gyms. Could be why I now have a slack old body. I have however recently found an over 50's private excercise class. I now have a love / hate relationship with their weights circuit. Hate it while doing it but love the sense of well being when completed.
    My husband's gym has a jogging / walking machine where the monitor can be set to take you to the alps, Rockies etc.

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    1. Oh that would be fun to try. I feel the same way...glad to be done and accomplished. Maybe I should listen to music. Might be less boring.

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  6. The gyms like me for my money. I pay and don't go like 90% of others. We are the ones who pay the bills. I have great intentions but really hate the gym environment. The only time I was successful is when I had a personal trainer. Cost a fortune but having a reliable accountability buddy was ideal.

    My gym at home taunts me. It's a good rainy day solution. I might try to move my gym to my patio. Outside helps.

    I'd love to love going to the gym. My body would love me. I'd love my body. Maybe 2020 will be the year?

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