The Ninth Day of Christmas

On the ninth day of Christmas no more excuses, no more debate

The time has come to get back in shape.

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Working out is definitely not one of my favorite things to do, but I know that it is the only way to actually stay healthy. Eating right is part of it, but without physical exertion, your body cannot maintain.  A sedentary life opens the door for all sorts of terrible things including being over-weight, diabetes, depression, muscle deterioration, and aging. Granted you cannot reverse the aging process, but you can certainly slow it down.

Last year I stopped working out because of injury. Honestly though, I was looking for any excuse. I truly hate working out. I’ll go for a walk, work in the garden, or do housework, but none of that is enough. It takes weight training and really getting your pulse up for more than 20 minutes to make any difference.

So, my knee isn’t completely healed from the torn meniscus and my lower back is still weak (which it has been all my life), but I can no longer keep dwelling on this. It is time to get back down in the basement and push myself. No time, too many other things on my to do list, or promising to do it tomorrow are just excuses that I am no longer going to accept.

The ninth day of Christmas seemed like as good a day as any to make it happen. I put on my sweatpants, pulled my hair into a ponytail, put on my tennis shoes, and walked that lonely mile down the stairs into the cold basement. Thirty minutes later I crawled back up the stairs.

Thirty minutes isn’t bad for the first time in more than nine months to actually do a pull down or tricep extension or bicep curl or shoulder press. In fact, coming back up the stairs I could already feel my muscles aching. That’s a good sign — another reason I hate working out. How can pain be a good sign! I know, I know, there’s no other way to actually get back in shape other than to shock the muscles and make them do things they have never done before (or at least not done in too long a time).

The ninth day of Christmas and I’m on my way to getting back in shape. I’m not fooling myself into believing that in 30 days I’ll have that killer bod I always wanted or look and feel 20 again, but it sure would be nice to get a little more tone in my arms, improve my stamina, and really start getting some strength back into my knee. And hey, if I can lose a few pounds and stop having to squeeze into my clothes on a daily basis and have them actually fit me they way they should, I won’t complain.

Getting back on track to be healthy and fit, it feels good (emotionally at least, let’s not even think about how my body is going to feel for the next couple days), and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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Exercise Epiphany

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

This morning, as I was putting on my warm-up pants, t-shirt, and sweat jacket, it hit me:

There is more to “working out” than just wearing work-out clothes!

You could have knocked me over with a feather!

Most days I put on these clothes with every intention of working out, yet most days I end up wearing these clothes all day without hitting the gym. It’s almost as if I’ve convinced myself that if I put on the right clothes, I’ll somehow be motivated to go down into the basement and workout in our gym or God forbid drive out to Planet Fitness and actually use my gym membership.

I hate exercising. I don’t mind taking Bell for a walk or going for a three mile hike to get my blood flowing, but when it comes to weight training or going to the gym, I have never been good at maintaining a regimen. And this isn’t for lack of opportunity or equipment.

My husband has spent years building a professional-style gym in our basement with equipment off Craig’s List. We have machines that could put some gyms to shame. In all he has spent maybe $700, but retail for these machines is well over $10,000. He has gotten machines free or for next to nothing and to top it all off, he has sold pieces we’ve acquired for a profit to enable him to upgrade our gym without having to spend any money out of pocket.

Still, going into the basement to workout is not as easy as it sounds. Motivation eludes me most days. This holds true for the kids too. So, in order to make sure my son didn’t become a mush and to give him the motivation he needed, we joined Planet Fitness. This was exciting for the first four or five months. I went three times a week and was really dedicated. Then the holidays hit and I used them as an excuse to cut down on going. Then my father joined and he and my son started going to the gym together, making it all too easy to just stay home and find any excuse not to exercise.

“squats are a form of torture designed by people who don’t need to do squats in the first place”
― Nora Roberts, Bed of Roses

I know how important it is to exercise. I know it is not an option, but a necessity. Still, I cannot seem to make this a life-long habit.

Today though, I am going to workout. Before I clean one more thing; before I plan dinner; before I finally pick up that Kleenex sitting in the middle of the floor — I am going to exercise. But if I don’t, which I’m not saying is what is going to happen here but if for some unforeseen reason I don’t, at least I’ll be nice and comfy in my workout clothes as I promise myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and for this I am — Simply Grateful.