Sunday, March 1, 2009

Exercise is Absolutely an Ugly Word

When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away.
Robert M. Hutchins

Long ago, way before the newspapers and magazines talked about it, I noticed Michelle Obama’s toned arms. I wondered. Was she one of those lucky people who had a body like that simply because some beefy god awarded it to her randomly? With no work required on her part?

Yesterday, the true answer arrived. I read she gets up at 5:30am to work out. Crap! What a message that sends. I don’t know about you, but exercise and I don’t click early in the morning. In fact, if I ever find myself getting out of bed early to go to the YMCA, someone please slap me. For it will mean I’m living someone else’s life or something too strange has altered my normal makeup. I can’t handle that much change.

I am so not a morning person. But I am an exercise person. My brain tells me that it is good for me, therefore, I do it. But I hail to the Flabby Arm Club.

I've tried to ditch that group, to no avail. Last December, a fellow member of the arm club and I marched from the bar to the Y and signed up for eight sessions with a personal trainer. I’ve dabbled in exercise through the years, even did the Danskin Triathlon in 1997 (where I finished the ½ mile swim in 19 minutes, thank you very much.) But, excuse me, where you actually have to exercise while someone stands beside you saying “Only eight more and 500 sets left” doesn’t compare with a Sangria Margarita at Jardine’s.

Needless to say, my midlife world has put some weight on me. Yet after three months and a dedicated effort at this exercise gig, I can honestly say that so far I’ve gained four pounds. Working for me, wouldn’t you say?

Two to three times a week I lift weights and two to three times weekly I either swim a mile, sprint on the elliptical machine, or aqua jog. A measurement a month ago said I had lost 4 ¾ inches.

Do I look any different? No.

Do my pants fit better? No.

Are my boobs smaller? Of course.

But I remained undeterred. Surely my heart must be healthier. And somewhere under these lumpy body parts, there must be some muscles. Right?


Which brings in an entirely different discussion. Starting next week I begin working 8-5. Getting my ass out of bed, dressed with hair combed and teeth brushed is going to be an exercise in itself. Tell me how I keep my dates at the Y? I’m thinking I need to drive there directly from work. But my life doesn’t always allow for nightly exercise. i.e. people to feed, baseball games to attend, other mom/wife/friend/life activities.

Anyone want to share their methods for work, toned arms and gut? Please, I already see that getting up at 5:30 is a good answer. Ain’t my thing. I’m still trying to figure out how to get to sleep before 2am so I can get out of the house by 7:15. All suggestions considered.


  1. "Yet after three months and a dedicated effort at this exercise gig, I can honestly say that so far I’ve gained four pounds."

    Did you actually HEAR the sound of me falling in love with you?

    Okay, I suppose I should congratulate you on that new job, but mostly it seems like it's raining on your exercise parade. Personally, I exercise like a madwoman seven days a week (an hour or more of cardio every day, plus lifting weights 3x a week. I also love yoga and pilates and a "muscle pump" class), yet I look like the "before" picture in a weight loss ad. It sucks. Metabolisms suck. Age sucks. Genetics suck.

    For me, I've made exercising everyday non-negotiable, simply because it keeps me from killing my family. And I'm pretty sure I love them, mostly.

    You might have to use your lunch time for some sort of workout? Maybe? There's a woman at the Y here who does weights over lunch and the comes back after work for some cardio. Yea, she has a problem, but still...

    Maybe isometrics at your desk? Tighten them buttocks; hold; release; ignore looks from co-workers.

    Hey, I lived in Austin, MN, for five years before moving to Duluth, so we have Hormel memories in common!

  2. Oh, and when I leave an obnoxiously long comment, that's just my way of saying hi.

  3. Okay.....I don't do the exercise thing....
    Wait does shaking martini's and lifting the glass to me lips count??
    Buh, I detest "organized" exercise. I run around so much doing crazy days that I just can't fit that in, you know?

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  4. Time Travel. I have an extra quantum emulator around here somewhere.

  5. Oh, btw, Holly is actually Beth. I didn't really mean to sign in as Holly, but it popped up as the automatic sign in so I was too lazy to change it. Anyway, seriously, time travel is the only answer. I get up at a decent hour, do some exercising, set the machine back to before I started and then go to work. Works like a charm. You see how I've kept my girlish figure. Just be careful. If you don't use the machine right, it could blast the earth right out of orbit. Other than that, no worries.

  6. I was going to suggest a few of those mini-powdered donuts, but then realized maybe you actually wanted REAL advice. Sadly, when it comes to exercise I have none!

  7. I don't mind getting up early but I don't want to least like that. I used to go to the gym at 5:30 am everyday for a year. I hated life. I'll stick with after work.

  8. Well, I have made a sneaky maneuver to trick myself into exercising more regularly. I joined the Y! Yes, we have one out in Bumfuck Buda. It's a huge, beautiful one with free yoga and pilates classes several times a week. I'm going to bend and contort myself into those classes and work up to kickboxing and, dare I say it, the Bootcamp class. Bikini by June!

    Living largesse, baby.

  9. Oh, and those yoga/pilates classes are at like 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. I don't do anything in the morning but slog around till I can drag my butt to the car and hit the gas (on autopilot) to the J.O.B.

  10. Jocelyn,

    And having living in Austin, MN you are one of the few people who know how to pronounce Hormels properly, I"m sure. I can't imagine that with all that exercise you look like the before picture, but that certainly cracked me up AND made me feel better. I'm not alone!

    A grand hello to you also.

  11. Midlife, menopause...

    "Wait does shaking martini's and lifting the glass to me lips count??"

    Absolutely that counts. Twelve ounce curls, right?

  12. Wendy,

    Just had a great time perusing your blogs. So much to learn from you that it's okay you don't exercise. You're having much more fun than I am at the Y.

  13. SMB - So glad to hear mornings weren't good. Seems to give me license not to go that route.

    Liar - Really? Buda has Y? That a lie, right? Guess it's been too long since I've been. We need to fix that.

  14. Make it a point to drive right by the Y on your way home and remember they are taking money out of your checking account to pay for your membership. It works most of the time. :)

  15. Dear Anonymous:

    This sounds EXACTLY like something my husband would say. Hmmm....

  16. Not your husband, but there is a relation.

  17. Love your blog, Julie. I can almost hear your voice saying these things. As for exercise, you are light-years beyond me. My latest scheme is to get an iPod, learn how to use it, download an irresistible book, and listen to it only while exercising.

    I got the iPod for Christmas.


    (But I still think it will work.)

    People have told me quite a bit about the kind of job you've gotten. I'll be interested to hear how the peculiarities strike you.

    Those photos knock me out. That heron . . . that sky . . . that dock. . .

  18. Thanks, Jennifer. Will let you know how it goes.


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