piranha: red origami crane (Default)
so we met with gloria again. she didn't ever get back to me on my email, and she did not set time aside to talk about the form of our workouts, for which we had asked. *sigh*. instead she changed the workout "to start over", "taking my suggestions into account". umm -- i thought we would talk and come up with something together? she was clearly not pleased with that email; she was all business instead of her usual jokey self. i don't actually mind, since her jokey self was distracting by chatting all through the exercises, but it's kind of a marked change, and i don't think it's a good response to us requesting a change in workouts.

the part of the change that is good is that the paramour and i do the exercises together now, so her attention is no longer all over the place. the whole process is more streamlined, and i like that.

what it looks like she's planning is a split workout -- upper body one day, lower body the second, 4 exercises and 3 circuits each. that's going away from what i want: full body workouts most days. what's also changed is that she's upped the reps; i want to do lower reps at progressively higher weights. and she's seemed to have tossed out whatever notes she had on prior weights for me; she has us both at the same weights for everything. which resulted in working to failure on the triceps pushdowns and i didn't appreciate that. i don't think she is very good at this partner workout thing. and she's not listening to what i want (probably because she thinks she knows better).

since we didn't talk, we don't know yet whether she's also gonna cut down on the number of total exercises, and the amount of cardio. i am not shy of confrontation, but i worked a lot on that initial email, and if she is this unwilling to talk, i don't want to spend more energy on it. we have paid for 3(or 4?) more sessions; i'll finish those and then i'll quit. the paramour will probably continue if she reduces the number of exercises and the cardio. i will just do stronglifts 5x5, interval walking, and mobility. i like working out with the paramour, but i have different goals for now. we can do mobility and walking together.

warmup: 10 min treadmill, which was 5 min more than i wanted to do, so i slowed down during the last 3 min. f*ck cardio.

1. wall angels: 3 sets of 12 each -- i have better RoM on those now, yay.

2. airplanes (i think these are properly called lying rear lateral raises): 3 sets of 15 each @ 10 lb

3. lying rows: 3 sets of 15 @ 24 lb

4. side planks: 3 sets of 30 sec each

5. triceps pushdowns:
set 1: 15 @ 30 lb good form
set 2: 15 @ 30 lb form broke down at rep 10
set 3: 10 @ 30 lb form broke down at rep 6

6. biceps curls: 3 sets at 20 lb

7. pushups:
set 1: 15 on bar
set 2: 10 on bench (just dipping; wrists hurt)

8. ball rollout bridges: 3 sets of 10 each

cooldown: kinda lackadaisical stretches

it wasn't a bad workout, it just is very clearly no longer what i want. i've soaked up enough power lifter attitude to feel mildly silly when doing biceps curls, *heh*. my entire body needs to get stronger, and doing isolation exercises for that is bogus.

i think i'll be fine doing SL5x5 interspersed with this for a couple of weeks because i am still at very low weights.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
5x5 BW

floor press
5x5 38.5lb

pendlay row
5x5 50lb

*arrgh* -- it never occurred to me that my new (used) bench might be too high for me! i can't put my feet solidly on the ground. i guess i will have to find some slabs of wood to use, but it was dark already, and i needed to get going, so i did floor press instead. from what i understand, that works most of the same muscles, except it possibly has a lower range of motion. but fat li'l ole me could touch my chest with the bar even while flat on the floor, so the ROM is probably not significantly different. it also takes the legs entirely out of the equation, which i think is beneficial.

the squats were decent today. i am now squatting to a box (which means, i am NOT pausing on it, so i don't anticipate it and change my motion; i am just using it to gauge where i should bottom out). i held my form better throughout, i think, and i was more balanced.

i found out how to do pendlay rows for sure, and those work indeed better for me than the bent-over rows, because i am pulling the bar towards my sternum instead of my belly. i can't feel my lats working too much though. i might add single arm DB rows because i know they do wonders for my lats.

good workout, no problem with any of the weights (better not be, *snrk*).
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
walked all the way around westwood lake (5.52 km, 63m ascent). brisk walk; heart rate elevated the entire time. didn't have my watch with me, so didn't time it precisely, but the 5k interval training is paying off. last time i walked this i was huffing and puffing when i wasn't even walking as quickly, and this time i actually carried on a conversation through most of it, and there was no gasping at all.

put off strength training til monday; was too exhausted at the end of the day. should definitely try to move workout to start of day if at all possible.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
5x5 bodyweight

overhead press
5x5 @18.5lb

1x5 @55lb

the squats keep improving, fewer stability issues than two days ago, and i am having better control on the way down overall -- i was well-rested today too, which makes a difference. still breaking form on sets 4 and 5 though. throughout the day whenever it seems useful, i do ass-to-grass squats to pick stuff up, and that has helped with mobility in my ankles, as have daily calf stretches. i see a lot more mobility workouts in my future; the few exercises i am doing after watching a kelly starrett seminar are really working wonders.

first overhead press -- i watched rippetoe instruct this, and that was helpful so i didn't rip my nose off. ;) i tried experimentally to press the empty olympic bar, but that wasn't gonna happen for 5x5 sets, nope. luckily when i bought the rack and weights a dilapidated curl bar came with it, which weighs in at 13.5 lb, and i added the 2 smallest plates (2.5lb each). i could handle that weight well, no stability problems, but i wonder whether i am hyper-extending my back; it feels a bit like it. tomorrow the paramour gets back, and then i'll have a spotter.

first deadlift ever as well -- to bring the bar up in height i used two boxes of the science fiction i removed from the wall so i could put the rack there, which seemed fitting, *little grin*. they might be a bit high though -- i now understand the benefit of standard plates. i am glad i practiced squatting so much, which really helped with the form here. again i am not sure i am doing it entirely right. i might have to drop by the crossfit box after all to make contact with local powerlifters.

good workout. i feel chuffed that i am doing this.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
5x5 bodyweight (YAY!)

barbell row
5x 45lb

lat pulldown
5x10 40lb

i should get to log all the cleanup i did as a workout too. ;) this was an extremely productive day after a series of crappy, crappy days (i don't even want to count how many). vincent dying really depressed me, the paramour's mother got ill, and it's off to ontario now to deal with that. and there was no room to exercise, PT gloria cancelled a workouts because she was sick, and i cancelled workouts with her until next week because i didn't want to deal with the inevitable confrontation, since she still hasn't gotten back to me in response to my email about the problems with the last few workout. anyway, enough of that. *blech*.

i cleaned the carport, moved a bunch of stuff from the living room/office, made room for the rack, and put it together. i decided if i keep it inside we'll actually use it, while the carport gets cold and clammy. i was beat at the end of that, but after an hour of dinner and rest i WANTED to work out, and so i did.

didn't do a proper stronglifts workout, but got damn close to it; got myself used to the 5x5 pattern, and worked with the olympic bar for the first time. only bodyweight squats, but 25! that's a new personal best. the form really sucked on the last 2 sets though, so i'm still not ready to put weight on top of that. and i felt my legs the day after, hoh boy. i can't see yself because we don't have mirrors, and setting up for recording just throws more obstacles in front of the next workout, so i am thinking of finding a box and squatting down to it (not a proper box squat, but just as a guideline for where my ass should be so the hip is just below parallel with the knee

lat pulldowns because the bench i acquired is dirty and i didn't clean it yet, and hey, the rack has a lat pulldown thing. went down from the weights i did last time in training with gloria because i knew i was gonna do 5 sets instead of 2. worked out well.

watched a lot of videos on barbell rows, and i definitely need mirrors in here, *sigh*. i think i have the form largely right -- but my fat belly prevents me from pulling the bar up very high. hm. maybe i need to pull it more into the chest? i think what i want is a pendlay row instead. but i might be better off substituting one-armed dumbbell rows instead, because i get a larger range of motion with those. the empty bar was not too heavy for this exercise, at least.

i need to order fractional plates so i can increase weight in smaller steps than 5 lb. or find some big-ass washers at home depot, which will be a lot cheaper, even if they'll require more diddling with weights. it doesn't really matter exactly what the weight is, just that it increases steadily. maybe i do that tomorrow before the paramour gets back home.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
band pull-aparts with resistance band
10 /12 /14 red band

lateral shoulder raises
10/12/12 8lb DBs

woodchop with resistance band
20 red /16 blue /20 blue band

calf raises
10/16/16 10lb kettlebell on side of leg being worked

medicine ball slam-down (raise hands all the way overhead)
10 blue /11 blue /12 red ball

lat pull-downs
10/12/14 25lb

still didn't feel great; stomach bug still with me, but better than before.

warmed up by walking around the block 4 times, and then 5 min on the treadmill, just briskly. i don't like treadmills, but it warms me up faster than the recumbent bike. i am glad gloria has backed off from her "gradually do more cardio" plan, because i am now dead certain i don't want to do more cardio before my workouts.

i thought the weight on the lateral raises was too light, but i actually did a 3rd set, which made up for that, and at the end of that i was fighting for good form, so yeah, not too light.

but the weight on the lat pulldowns was definitely too light. i am getting to the point where i can keep better track of this than gloria (she was somewhat distracted by my training partner who is new to all of this). i need to make a sensible log book instead of scribbling things on post-it notes, so i can look back on specific details instead of keeping it all in my head.

it was a good workout, and i felt positive afterwards.

seriously looking forward to starting heavy lifting. it is interesting and helpful in a way to do all these different exercises, since i am getting to know my body and the different muscle groups, but there are too damn many exercises which often ends up confusing rather than enlightening.

have to figure out how to handle that once i start, because meeting with gloria is really good for keeping me on the exercise wagon, and i am not sure it's the best idea to let go of that; i know my discipline is easily shaken. so maybe i'll keep meeting with her once a week and have her correct my form, even though she's not a lifter. hm -- maybe she'll be willing to learn. well, i'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i fell off the exercise wagon since gloria was gone on thursday, we had to take vincent to the vet, and i've had a low grade stomach bug for about a week, so since last tuesday i only did one interval workout on the exercycle.

but it's back on. data and ramblings under the cut )

vincent has advanced kidney disease, so i spent some time researching how we can make him more comfortable. picked up an assortment of low phosphorus / low protein foods, though for some reason veterinarians seem to have a lock on the really low diets. what a ridiculous idea, that one must purchase overpriced food at a vet's -- i understand prescriptions for narcotics, but food? *grump*. just one more example of the nanny state taking choices away from me; ghods, i sound like a libertarian. i guess in this regard i am one. i can abuse my pets in many ways without the state stepping in, but oh no, i can't purchase a certain diet food for my pet without white-coated approval.

the doc said he probably has less than a year to live. i'm ok; i never actually expected him to live as long as he has, being a feral tom -- he's older than 12 now. and he's become pretty tame; sleeping in my bed, headbutting me in the face, and behaving really, really well at the vet, even ended up purring when we cut off the big mats with a cordless clipper (i have to get one of those). we've already given him several years more life than he would have had otherwise, and i've found him some yummy food that doesn't make him throw up, feed him small portions, all by himself so he doesn't have to feel crowded by the others. even if he just has a few more months, at least he'll be comfy.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
there is some form of diet talk in here, so beware of potential triggers.

jesse asked about it, and yeah, i've thought of giving gloria the HAES materials now, but i really don't like proselytizing, even if it is for a good cause (of course all proselytizers think it's for a good cause). so i am gonna wait until she brings out actual "yay, weight loss, good for you" talk. i think. it's a bit ironic because she is clearly struggling with her own fat, because it's not at where society thinks it should be for a fitness instructor, so she could possibly use the information now. i need to think on it a bit more. maybe we need to have a more honest talk about her assumptions for me. it's all still new, and i primarily want her to teach me about strength training, so i am shying away from ancillary talk (which will aggravate me, and heck, possibly her too). we're not friends, you know?

also, i AM losing weight right now, if not on purpose. shifting to a mostly vegetarian diet, eating more mindfully, eating out very rarely, and consuming lots of nutrients in raw veg/fruit smoothies means that i often inadvertantly take in fewer calories than would be maintenance. trying to eat more "mindfully" means actually paying attention to what/when i am eating instead of shoveling it in while i am distracted by reading, so i've become more conscious of satiety clues. i'm keeping a food diary for nutritional purposes and i can see how it happens (and i am careful that i don't get caught up with the numbers). so my body is doing the officially expected thing -- fewer calories + more physical activity = weight loss.

except i know that will stop quite some time before i reach any officially sanctioned "ideal" weight or "good" BMI, and i am honestly fine with that. i've never been skinny in my life, not even when i was very healthy and working physically all day; i just don't think it's in my genetic makeup. i am expecting my mindful eating will get to a point where i won't need a food diary -- i know i could try without even now, but i really, really do not want to get diabetes, i feel i need to learn more about vitamin and mineral content of foods as well, and i've got terrible habits from growing up re preparing nutritious meals. yeah, that is still "diet talk", i know. but i think i need to do it for my peace of mind. i am pushing back as hard as i can against the idiotic "war on obesity", any harder would be counter-productive.

i believe i am not putting too much pressure on myself because it doesn't feel the same way as it felt when i was dieting; i am not feeling deprived, nor on edge about food all the time. when i want to eat a carton of that fine raspberry truffle cheesecake ice cream, i eat a carton of ice cream (actually i don't ever eat the whole thing at a sitting anymore, because allowing myself to just eat it instead of carefully controlling portions seems to remove the desire. funny how that works.). i know it's still dangerous, which is why i want to talk to a fat nutritionist, who knows about all the pitfalls and can help me watch out for them.

but yeah, it feels like an odd time to talk to gloria about HAES. it's not really, but it feels it would be more natural if my body had settled into its perfectly happy, fat stage where i am not gaining or losing while eating what i want and being as healthy as i can be. i was there once, before american obsession with dieting and pseudo-health infected me, so i am hoping i'll still recognize it when i get there.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
had a 6 hour tachycardia attack on sunday, which was demoralizing -- i know by now that the electrical issues my heart has probably have nothing to do with any "clean living" changes i might have made recently, but when my heart goes nuts it still feels like nothing i do to improve is making a difference.

except it does. my blood pressure is reliably in the low 140/80, entirely without meds. it still needs to decrease a bit more, but it's come down so much. same with my blood glucose levels which are safely outside the prediabetic range.

so after the arrhythmia converted, i did my knee exercises. ever since i started riding the new bike, my right knee has been bothering me when i move it laterally in a certain position, and i've started specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around it. it seems to be working. i should probably see a doctor, but *meh*, i am sick and tired of doctors. i just cannot stand another supercilious guy who just goes through the motions while tossing weight loss on the table like it were a panacea. fuck, my knee didn't hurt when i was heavier. i don't want to hear it. in any case, if the exercises make it feel better, that's a good thing.

the exercising continues apace; i am training with gloria twice a week, do the interval walk 3 times, and rest one day -- something else will go into the extra day (like yoga), but the tach attack used it up. i'm also thinking of doing the interval walk 6 times a week, which gloria said should be fine, but i don't want to overdo the whole exercise thing. like today i would actually like to take the kayak out; gotta check the tides.

minor rantage about weight loss and stuff )

anyway, so now i am a bit worried that gloria will start pushing the weight loss if it becomes obvious that i am not losing any. that's when i am gonna put HAES documents into her hands, *snicker*. i will not get railroaded over this, and this time i won't shut up either. i'm gonna be a fathlete, dammit. ;)

this last workout was really good. we did almost all new exercises, one of which was quite uncomfortable (balance issues), but it all came out well. and she didn't talk so much during the actual exercise, which i greatly appreciated. she is very gregarious, a total extravert, and likes to talk a lot, which tends to distract me while i am concentrating on getting the form right and trying to feel my muscles, and it feels rude to me not to listen. but i've sent all sorts of hints that i do better when i don't talk, and maybe she's got them. or maybe it was just random luck. i don't want to come right out and say it because i haven't figured out how to not do it rudely, so i am hoping she did catch on. she does watch pretty carefully and adjusts to my capabilities in other ways. i still think i definitely made the right choice.

detail about exercises under the cut )

i've gone through the municipal activity guide and made a list of fitness classes that could be interesting. very cool: the city has a "fitness sampler pass" which gives access to 10 yoga and 14 other fitness classes on an individual drop-in basis, at C$85 for 10 sessions. that's not really cheaper than a gym, alas, and i gotta compare the schedule with the lifestyles fitness centre, but it offers a lot of flexibility. i'm also eyeing getting a rec pass for the pools/weightrooms/gyms/sauna, which again isn't really cheaper than joining a gym -- but the aquatic centre is much closer to me than the gym i would otherwise join. i know i want to swim again; i just need to get myself prescription swim goggles.

so yeah, i didn't let the damn tach attack get me down.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
snapdragon flowers, shading from yellow to orange, peach, salmon to mauve

second training session with gloria. details )

this was more demanding than tuesday, but not bad. and i felt good after doing it (no GI upset this time). told gloria about my first interval walk, and how accomplished it felt, and she said that sounded like a good cardio workout, just to make sure i don't push myself too much while i am freshly excited about working out -- which is a good warning. she does really seem to be impressed with how quickly i pick up the correct form, especially considering i have never done any of these exercises before. i liked that some of the exercise was familiar, but also that there were new ones.

it'll be interesting whether tomorrow i'll experience the same muscle soreness i did yesterday. when i started running last night, at first my quads were bitching a bit about it, but that wore off, and today before exercise they were considerably less sore. that's kinda weird, since the run should have also worked them; i expected more soreness today. but apparently there is some not-quite-understood mechanism by which muscles that have been hurt slightly protect themselves from future pain.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
pink, blue, yellow, red, green splashes of colour pop out from the lush greenery of the lake shore, provided by lawn chairs and kayaks

today i started my c25k-style walking program. c25k stands for "couch to 5k" and is a 9 week (minimum) plan for beginning runners, taking them from couch potatoes to being able to participate in a 5k run. it does so by using progressively longer intervals of jogs alternating with recovery walks to gradually develop your stamina. you can easily customize it to your capabilities by repeating each week until you can comfortably handle the respective intervals.

me, i don't run (too much impact), but i am looking for a reasonable way to increase my cardio without killing myself, or alternately not getting my heartrate elevated enough. c25k is really popular, and so there are a lot of podcasts, which take the fiddly bits out of interval training by having somebody tell you when to start each interval (or providing musical cues).

normally i walk a 2.5 km loop starting from the shack, which conveniently goes by the mailbox -- that's why we call it the "mailbox walk", bursting with originality, yeah. it takes me about 40 min, which comes to a speed of 4km/h. week 1 of the c25k program consists of 5 min warm-up, then 20 min of alternating 60 sec jogs and 90 sec walks, finishing with 5 min cool-down. i replaced the jogging with speeded-up walking, and the podcast i used had well-matched bpm (beats per minute) for my cadence.

i finished the loop (had to extend it to 3.2 km) in 30 min. that's 6.3 km/h, a ~50% increase in speed. i was sweating and breathing hard, but i wasn't exhausted, which means i did pick a good speed for my fast walk intervals. no endorphin high, *snicker* (i've never in my life had one), but a high of accomplishment. it seems i was right that i can really up my cardio quite a bit without straining myself too much.

i plan to do these interval walks on days when i am not training with gloria (mo, we, fr). on saturdays i'll do exercises i learned from gloria at home, and on sundays i either rest or just do some random outdoorsy thing like kayak. it's kinda ambitious, so here's hoping i can keep this up -- i don't think it's too ambitious, and gloria sent email today asking how i was feeling, which is pretty awesome. if she keeps up this level of motivation, i might be able to keep up this level of commitment. the weather has been cooling off the last few days too, and we're basically through the summer heat now (yay!). if it rains too hard, i can do the same routine on the exercycle.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
on a dusky teal fence hangs a round mirror with a frame made from rusted wire, many rays radiating from the mirror, with shorter, irregular, wavy cross pieces echoing the round form.  the mirror reflects a concrete brick wall painted turquoise

today was my first training session with gloria. true to form, my stomach started rebelling an hour before, and would barely keep down my breakfast. thanks, body. fucking anxiety. intellectually i saw no reason to be anxious, but my reptilian hindbrain urged flight. i dragged myself there anyway.

it started bad. gloria wanted me to warm up 5 min on an elliptical. now, i'd never been on one, but they had looked like fun when other people used them. for me, no fun at all. the motion was weird; i felt like i'd fall over backwards if i didn't hold onto the solid handlebars (i never got to the point of using the arm poles), but gloria said my form was correct. ok, weird motion is something to get used to, eventually. however, after 2 minutes my legs started hurting from the knee down,and after 2.5 minutes i basically had to stop because when my body sends me pain, that is its message to stop what i am doing, and i listen. gloria looked a little worried because obviously she hadn't wanted me to feel pain during warm-up -- and she had promised me FUN. *little snrk*. i am not that easily discouraged. i finished the rest of the warmup on the recumbent bike, which was no problem at all. my legs stopped hurting right away.

(i am totally proud of myself for shutting up the internal voice that makes me self-conscious and pushes me beyond my capabilities. i'm determined to be honest with gloria no matter what; no sucking things up to impress the trainer.)

from then on things went much better. she had me do 3 exercises, then repeat those 3, then do 3 other ones, and repeat those as well, and then we did stretching as a cool-down. i got sweaty, and i felt my muscles, but it didn't exhaust me. click for more detail. )

and then it was over. gloria said i had more flexibility than she had expected, that i was a quick learner, and she had surprisingly few corrections to my form. i warned her that i am a geek, and that i will start to pour over anatomy books now. ;) i liked the way she did things; she was positive but not overly cheery, she gave good directions and encouraged me to ask questions, she said "i don't know" when she didn't know, and she asked before touching me! that was awesome. i think i made the right choice in hiring her.

so while i can't say it was unqualified fun, it went unexpectedly well despite an also unexpected negative beginning. i'm looking forward to thursday, and i bought one of those swiss exercise balls, so i can do the same exercises by myself on saturdays.

nobody else was at the studio, except for another trainer; he did not bother us (thank you, adam). that was nice, much nicer than it would have been at the NAC gym.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
some kind of yellow-red-green creeping vine climbing up a tall building with corrugated concrete sides

not much happening... well, no, actually i've been busy running around, doing errands, driving the paramour to various health professionals. too tired at the end of the day to go kayaking. so, stuff is happening, but it's not real interesting to talk about.

tomorrow is my first workout training session! i am so chuffed. i got lucky that gloria actually had room in her busy schedule in the afternoons, since my own weird-ass schedule means i'll actually have a greater chance of being awake then, instead of having to set an alarm and drag myself creaking out of bed at a -- for me -- unghodly hour.

which reminded me how privileged i am that i can allow my body to indulge in weird-ass schedules. i whine about it, but man, i am so lucky in that aspect of it.

small positive accomplishment, albeit *duh* moment: my cellphone had been unusable for months now; it'd randomly reboot every few minutes. i didn't miss it much until i started kayaking, so after trying a few things to fix it, i just ignored it. well, now that i want a working cellphone i decided to trade it in; our plan would allow me to get a more spiffy one (like the motorola razr HD LTE) at minimal cost. in order to do that, i wanted to wipe everything, so i did a hard factory reset. which fixed the rebooting problem. apparently neither i nor the paramour (who is our resident smartphone expert, since for some reason i feel luddity about phones) had ever tried that. oh well. i honestly didn't miss the phone much.

i'm missing my garmin forerunner 205 (GPS/training watch) much more -- after 4 years the battery had given up its ghost. garmin charges a freaking fortune for a new battery. thanks to the internet however, i am reaping the benefits of some tinkerers out there who figured out that an ipod mini battery fits perfectly, gives better performance than the garmin-branded one, and costs $5 instead of $70. yay for tinkerers. and the internet.

the forerunner has a heart rate monitor which will come in handy now that i am going to be switching up my walks to provide better cardio exercise. i'm looking at doing some form of interval training.

i'm generally feeling more energetic since i've upped my intake of fruit and vegetables. i've been away from the house nearly every day since buying the kayak and researching gyms, which is a huge thing, because i'd been quite hermitty for a long time now, a trend only broken when the *poing* visits. yeah, i am also more tired (partly that is because interacting with strangers takes a lot out of me), but i am doing stuff, so i have reason. i am really hoping all the exercising will also give me more energy over time.

oh, and we're gonna hire a fat nutritionist! i am really pleased to have found this person; it didn't look good finding someone simpatico in town because they either seem married to the establishment opinion of nutrition (which comes with constant admonishments about weight loss), or... slightly flaky. this one we'll have to talk to online, but that's not really a problem i don't think.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
very fine, green-to-blond-to-red fountain grass spills over grey stone stairs

last (and kinda least), the gym that's closest to where we live. it'd be very cool if this were the right kind of gym, because the less distance, the more likely i'd go. and i could ride my bike here. anytime fitness is part of a large chain, and its big attraction is that they mean it when they say "anytime"; you get 24/7 access. i love that because if my schedule shifts into "sleep all day" mode, it'll be a bear to try and make it to normal opening hours of other gyms.

it's a very small gym, but since the hours are so flexible that doesn't really matter. it has some cardio machines (treadmills, ellipticals, a recumbent bike), some strength training machines (nautilus), and the usual free weights. also a small room with balls and balance boards and steps. the equipment is clean and so are the unisex (yay!) change and rest rooms. i gotta say, all the gyms i've been to have been clean -- some looked more bright than others, but the change and washroom facilities have all been good. showers, but no dry sauna or steamroom here. also no tanning, ha!

but these guys don't have any classes. so for right now this isn't the best proposition. though i am tempted to wait with joining any place until the municipal parks & rec fall schedule comes out; they might offer some classes that i could take independently. but it worries me because i fear if i spread things out too much i will stop going. i am doing pretty amazingly well during this gym exploration, but i can feel the fatigue now of going out nearly every day in connection with researching one thing or another. it's not sustainable. fucking depression. yeah, i am sure more physical activity will slowly raise my energy levels, but i'm not there yet, and overloading will just assure that i'll not get there either because i'll quit.

i think will join the lifestyle fitness centre on a month-to-month basis because they have a pool and a lot of classes i can sit in on while i find out what works for me. it's a longer drive, but once i am in the truck, the distance isn't a big deal until we get close to an hour drive, and this isn't even close to that. and it's pretty much on departure bay, so i can toss the kayak into the water after the gym visit for a quiet paddle (even on departure bay there are quiet spots).

i checked out local fabric stores, but swimwear fabrics are a) hideously expensive at C$28/m, and b) hideously patterned. at those prices it's not worth making anything myself, unless i get a plain base colour and dye/paint to make it something special. i am pretty sure polyester/spandex/lycra can't be dyed at all at temperatures the dye would need to set. wonder whether there's any fabric paint that's guaranteed to last a while even if immersed. *sends an inquiry to dharma trading*. no, that's not a serious proposition, i just got curious. i'll just order something plain from one of the fat-n-tall online stores out there.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
today i met with gloria, a trainer associated with the nanaimo athletic club (the place i liked from its website but then was disappointed by in person). we met at the NAC, which gave me another chance to look at it -- to see whether my perception had been coloured by the suboptimal interaction with the receptionist. it had, somewhat. it still looked a bit dingy though. the same person was at reception but seemed not to recognize me.

but gloria was a breath of fresh air. i got lucky to meet her this soon; now i am almost glad the other places didn't call back and i don't have to do at least 3 more interviews. she is just what i was hoping for -- enthusiastic but not pushy in the wrong way. she listened to me and it didn't feel like she was tailoring her replies to suck me in, but it felt like i got her honest reactions. and she shows a little chunk, yay. she's lost a lot of weight over the last 3 years, but i didn't get a zealous vibe from her like one often gets from "converts" of one stripe or another.

she thinks exercise should be fun overall (though it might be challenging at times), and that everyone is different and needs a different plan for working out. she's not peddling any supplements or specialized equipment or fat-burning diet plan. she commiserated with me about my negative experience at the NAC and asked whether she could share the feedback with the owners. we talked about the other gyms in town and it was interesting to get her opinion of them (i appreciated that she wasn't trying to push NAC on me). she did tell me that in her opinion the yoga classes at NAC were top-notch, and that spin classes were included in the price, which they were not everywhere else (which is correct, but at this point i am not interested in spin classes).

she also told me that she is working primarily out of a small personal fitness studio that is not a gym, and invited me to check that out -- able body consulting. i had noticed them during my web research, but they hadn't properly registered because i got the impression that they were geared towards fitness performers. that seems not to be the case. she also likes the lifestyle club and thinks their aquacize classes are awesome, but doesn't know whether the owner would allow her to train me there since the club has its own trainers -- something for me to find out.

we were to meet for 30 min, but ended up yakking for a whole hour (we both do tangents upon tangents and then unerringly return to the original point, which was fun), and could have gone on if a client had not been waiting for her -- i watched how they interacted, and really liked it; it felt comfortable, and she introduced us, and i felt i could have asked him his opinion about her and that would have been fine. i didn't because heck, i don't know him either, but just feeling that option was opened for me, that was comforting.

so yeah, we hit it off. i am excited to get started. (and it's not even hideously expensive -- $40/hr if i prepay for 12 sessions.)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
sansevieria has sharp blades, green with bright yellow edges, which really stand out in front of a dark, mock-brick slate wall

on monday i had a meeting with VI fitness's rachael, for a mutual interview and my fitness assessment. physically rachael was pretty much the opposite of what i'd been hoping for -- petite, and very skinny. i know i can't expect a fat trainer (though i'd love that), and physicality isn't all that important, but somebody with some poundage on them might be more inclined to understand where i am at. anyway, just a minor thing.

except that rachael tried to empathize with me anyway, by bringing up that she too was once overweight, looking at herself in the mirror and realizing she absolutely had to lose 20 lbs.

yeah, rachael, way to go. i had already told the intake person, cassandra, that i was NOT there for weight loss, did not want to talk about weight loss, did not want weight loss pushed on me. guess that didn't make it through to rachael. maybe that just doesn't fit the script these guys obviously follow. i imagine that most fat people join a gym to lose weight.

i was good. i did not get defensive. i patiently explained that i was not there to lose weight, but to gain strength and flexibility. rachael smoothly switched tracks and nodded, said "of course, getting healthy is what matters most" and on we went with some more questions. nutritionally we had no big disagreements (the fitness industry seems to have backed off its totally stupid diet plans where all fat was bad). i told her that i was walking nearly every day about 40 minutes at an elevated heart rate, and that i had a new kayak which i drop in the water whenever i can.

then came the fitness assessment. they have a "revolutionary" (gimmicky) thing called "body age" where they do some simple strength and flexibility tests, weigh you, assess your BMI, and then tell you that you could actually be younger than you are if you only work out at their gym. as i expected, i was not as flexible and not as strong as i want to be. and immediately the weight loss snuck back into rachael's narrative, disguised by pointing out that my body was almost 50% fat and that was much too much. yeah yeah yeah. i cackled internally because the test had me pretty much at the chronological age i actually am.

then rachael made a tentative plan if i were to see her twice a week. which included 30 min cardio, but no classes for yoga or pilates. hello! i am there to gain strength and flexibility. i am already doing cardio on my own. why would i need more cardio, and 30 min of it to boot?

in short, she was nice, but i got the feeling she had a script, one script, and applied that to all clients equally. not a good match. i still like the facilities, and i want to check out their other location, but rachael is not gonna be my trainer. i wonder what the polite thing to do here would be; should i call back and let them know that i've decided against it? probably. should i tell them why not? ugh. probably, eh.

the other two places that were gonna call me back, did not. bummer for them.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
next on my list, working myself back towards downtown, was the lifestyle health & fitness. the name is a bit of a turn-off, but at least in this case "lifestyle" is actually meaningful instead of derogatory.

at reception was laura, a very chirpy, very young woman, who was also very friendly and interrupted her sushi meal immediately to answer my question even though i said she could finish eating, really, i wasn't in a hurry. showed me their class schedule, their pricelist, and then the gym. this place has been here for a long time, apparently they have adylt members who originally came to participate in "aquatot" programs.

pool! they have a pool. 25 lovely metres of pool, newly renovated, surrounded by non-slip tile, completely with aquacize classes. their classes in general are a good mix of easy, gentle beginner classes and power stuff. the tour was too fast; laura seemed to run at about 3 times the rps i am. and i was preoccupied by the pool! this gym got 100 extra points just for the pool.

they have a number of affiliated trainers. no fat ones (nobody has fat trainers), but these at least varied in age from very young to very old; they have two trainers who deal specifically with rehab and old age issues. that is promising. alas laura thought there was no established way to have an interview with a trainer without becoming a member, but she was very understanding when i said that that wasn't going to work for me, and told me to leave my name and she would find out for me whether we could do something about that. she also gave me a guest pass for 7 days of trial.

the facility felt well-used, but parts of it were quite new and airy (the pool, the aerobics and yoga rooms). they have two levels; one the co-ed area, one for women only. there was some banter between people who were working out, which felt friendly (all the other gyms seemed more like people hardly talked to each other). somebody might have flirted with me. maybe. i am never quite sure of that sort of thing -- it wasn't obnoxious, which matters. the website said they had a community atmosphere, but didn't give that impression -- but the actual place does.

this is my definite favourite so far. i need to figure out the trainer situation.

last was vi fitness. they have two nanaimo locations, one co-ed, one women-only. they also have other gyms on the island, including courtenay, where we might be moving if the paramour's mother decides to come out here. that would make longer-term membership an easy thing to handle.

these guys were on the ball. i had no sooner said "hi, i'm thinking of joining a gym" to the person at reception as she had grabbed somebody (cassandra) for an intake interview -- there were several people at reception, which i like a heck of a lot better than only one person handling everything. she asked a lot of good questions, and then told me about the gym, their "bodyage" system, their classes, and gave me a tour. very bright, spacious facility with easy-to-use machines (each machine had very clear instructions on it, and brightly coloured, orange knobs to show which bits adjusted) -- this is nicely geared towards people who might be new to gyms. there was absolutely no condescension here when i said i was a newb. there were some people present who were definitely new as well; taking their time to get their machines ready. there were several quite heavy-set people. the intake rep was ready to make an appointment with a personal trainer for me right away, though i did not get a choice (and IMO she made a suboptimal decision, but for all i know that was the best she could do). i could of course ask for another trainer interview, which i'll do if i decide to join. i also need to find out whether i can bring my own.

while i liked the personal attention, i didn't like the hard sell that came right afterwards ("if you sign up today we'll waive the initiation fee"). she wasn't terribly pushy about it though, and remained friendly after i laughed a bit and said "please don't push it, i never buy on impulse". well trained.

this is probably my second favourite so far because the personal attention feels good at this stage -- a far cry from the first place which was about as impersonal as you can get.

i booked an appointment for the next day with rachael. more on that after i've slept.

no kayaking; i drove by departure bay, but was worn out from talking to so many strangers.

neither northridge nor harbour city fitness have called me back about personal training. gloria (the trainer i really liked from the website of the nanaimo athletic club) emailed me back, and we have an appointment for monday.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
so today i went to have a look at that one gym i had picked from the several this town has to offer.

it was a good reminder that website impressions don't necessarily translate into the equivalent real-life impressions. the gym that had seemed the friendliest turned out to feel like the least friendly. 20 years ago i would have given up. today i went to another 4 gyms to check them out instead. yay for perseverance.

what went wrong at the "nanaimo athletic club", which was the only one that features a "safe harbour" pro-diversity and tolerance badge on their website? the receptionist went wrong. i don't think she read the website or the mission statement. she wasn't unfriendly per se, but she had apparently no clue about new customer service. she shoved some price lists under my nose, and a schedule, and i had to explicitly ask whether i could take a tour. she became patronizing and acted like i was stupid when i asked newbie questions -- and that after i had told her at the start that i knew nothing of gyms and had never been a member at one. her tour of the facilities was so quick i hardly had time to look at anything, and she sucked at presentation. like, she literally went "ellipticals, garbage can, drinking fountain, our first circuit..." -- ok, lady, i think i can identify those two in the middle on my own. and i kid you not, when i asked what a "circuit" was for, she said "you don't know? everyone who comes here knows about equipment. your trainer can teach you.". wow. when we were in the change room i asked whether the facility was scent-free, which elicited a defensive "well, we can't police that". that was pretty much it for me, any further questions stuck in my craw. she didn't show me the outdoor area. she didn't tell me about the jiu-jitsu and mma club. she also did not mention anything about a free trial (the website says they offer it).

the only good thing i learned was that i don't have to be a member of this gym to use one of the personal trainers for whom they had business cards; they're all independent. so if i end up liking the trainer i noticed on their website, i can go to another gym at times when i am not training with her.

it didn't help that the facilities didn't look as bright and friendly as in the photos; everything looked like it might well have been bright at some point, but that time had passed. the spin cycles were much too close together. maybe the change in ownership last year affected the place negatively. maybe the receptionist's unwelcoming attitude affected my vision negatively. and no, seryn, i did not walk in there with a bad attitude, i was primed to LIKE the place. i had been positive. i had even been a little excited -- i was about to do something about stalling my body's slow descent into decrepitude.

after that experience i was a little disspirited, and was gonna just go home and think about it. but what the hell, if my impressions of a place that looked good online were mistaken, maybe my impressions of a place that didn't look that great were also mistaken. fine. i decided i'd visit all local gyms. i am kinda proud of myself. interacting with strangers in person is not fun for me, and any negative experience makes me want to just stop it and go home. but i didn't throw in the towel.

of course i didn't have their addresses with me, and my phone is bricked. reminder to self: get new cell phone ASAP. apparently one result of the widespread use of cellphones is that public pay phones are becoming rare. there were none in the redesigned (made smaller) port place mall. the rogers rep (whom better to ask for a landline phone than a cellphone company rep, *snrk*) sent me to the wharf. there were two phone booths, but neither had a phone book. yeah, that's helpful. they were not ripped out, no, there was apparently not even a provision for them. fine. this day was so not going my way. but by now i had my stubborn on. fortunately, the guy manning the wharfinger's office had a phone book and lent it to me.

i scribbled down the addresses and started the trek. click for the continuing saga, which -- surprise! -- becomes steadily more positive )

ah, gotta go sleep. more later.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
but i am sort of thinking of joining a gym, and consulting a personal trainer.

i went to a gym for a while once before, decades ago, but the experience was as horrible as high school sports -- with the wonderful exception that i could actually get the hell out of there when i had enough. and i had enough pretty quickly. disparaging looks from fit people, patronizing "advice" from staff, too damn much focus on weight loss, and me caring way too much about exposing my clumsy, ugly body to ridicule. yeah, i didn't fit in real well in LA and its particularly toxic culture of idealized appearance in general.

but i want to get in better shape, and my own attempts at doing so are always fizzling out when i hit a physical setback (the depression doesn't help). i've never done any weight training, and i think it'd be good for me (certainly good for kayaking). i don't just want to get some free weights for myself because i am worried i won't get the form right; i've watched videos, and i think this is one thing where having a teacher right next to me correcting my posture would be better at the start. i want to be stronger, more flexible, more agile, and develop better balance, so a yoga/pilates class would probably also be good. i need somebody who'll get after me when i start to slack, because relying on the paramour or the *poing* to nag me is not something i want to do to our relationships. but i don't want that person to yammer on about "ideal weight" and such crap. i'll never be my "ideal weight" (which i think is bogus anyway), and while i wouldn't mind dropping 30 lbs (because my knees and ankles will be happier), that is not my primary goal.

i've learned a lot since my bad experiences, and i no longer care much what other people think about my body, though i still prefer to struggle with it privately. i know many of the negative signs to watch out for, and i found one gym locally that might be a good match (not ideal, but that would be improbable); their list of good reasons for exercise doesn't even mention weight loss, they feature a safe harbour decal in the sidebar and mention repeatedly that all are welcome, they have a private studio for individual training sessions, and one of their trainers is a woman who was heavy and out of shape into her early 50s -- who, as opposed to the usual athletic go-getters, might actually have some insight into my issues. i like that their pictures feature real members (of varying sizes), not some stock images with plastic smiles, or photos of ripped fitness models.

any of you members of a gym? any tips, concerns, etc? questions i should ask? this is the place. any warning signs?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
ocean, with front deck of kayak in left lower corner,  a rocky point in the middle, and the mainland mountains in the background

but they were probably a foot and a half, just short of white-capping. i went to blue heron park, and while the bay was relatively sheltered, out in the strait there was a bit of a wind, which, together with the incoming tide, produced some nice waves. which were great fun to paddle in; i'd power on out towards a tiny islet, and then "surf" back in with the waves at my back. an hour and a half didn't even seem that long.

i'm coming to the conclusion that cardio-focussed exercise for weight loss is something of a bogus proposition. not that i am kayaking for weight loss (or doing anything for weight loss), i'm just keeping a log of food intake for heart reasons right now, and making some observations. kayaking for an hour and half at the activity level i am doing it burns off about 500 kcal. walking every day for 40 min at ~3mph burns off 250 kcal. changing my diet to one with a lower glycemic load has reduced my caloric intake by ever so much more. i couldn't possibly exercise at the level at which, for example, cutting out most refined sugar affects me, and now i seriously doubt anyone can but those who are already very fit.

weirdly enough, this makes me feel good. *heh*. for most of my life i've been reasonably active -- not athletically, but i've steadily walked, hiked, swum, canoed, with only some excessively sedentary periods. and people used to think of me as a couch potato, because i've always been overweight. i sorta chafed at that. ok, i wasn't fast, or particularly strong, but i had decent endurance, and i did most definitely not lounge on my couch all day long (more likely in my computer chair anyway). i've been equally fat when i was reasonably active as when i hibernated in front of my computer all winter long. i've been in very different shape, however. so yeah, going for "health at any size" is the only message that makes sense to me after observing myself and my interactions with food and exercise for decades.

i've mostly opted out from reading size/fat shaming anything (easy to do only if one no longer watches mainstream tv or reads mainstream papers/magazines). and i no longer see dr. weightloss-uber-alles ("i don't understand why your cholesterol levels are so good"). i've got my blood pressure and blood sugar levels down with diet changes, not with increasing exercise past a daily walk. but i still carry some of those dumb messages with me, and it's good to see it confirmed that they ARE dumb.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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