The Gym

March 05, 2008

Sibylle and I have joined a local gym. The mother of one of her students remarked about how much she enjoyed her fitness club, which got Sibylle to looking at our options. We went and visited the Prairie Life Center nearest us one Friday evening about a month ago, and had a tour.

The facility was nicely spacious and very low key. The manager who walked us around was also very low key, no hard sell at all. We were given three guest passes and used them over the next week to come in and try things out on our own.

We were able to sample a yoga class, use the weight machines, the treadmills, elliptical walkers, rowing machines, and the walking/running track. We also tried out the whirlpool and sauna in the locker rooms. At the end of the third visit we were both sold, and so at the start of our fourth visit we signed up for the monthly membership.

Since then we have gone at least once or twice every week. Our routine is starting to be established and it feels good. We start with some laps on the track - to warm up. A run through the weight machines is typically next, followed by some treadmill work for Sibylle and a little rowing machine action for me. I try to complete the stretching exercises required for my lower back in the stretching area, on those days we are there, and then we might walk another few laps to warm down. Last, but certainly not least, is a sauna or whirlpool and a shower.

Our workouts are unstructured in terms of when we go, or how long we stay. If there is a group class in pilates or yoga when we are there we may or may not join in. We've both talked about trying one of the water based exercise classes but so far haven't committed to that yet. By letting ourselves approach our workouts in an unstructured manner we both have a positive feeling about them. Going and working out is time shared, and something we look forward to, rather than a chore that must be accomplished in order to feel good.

The last time I belonged to a club I obsessively tracked the repetitions and sets I completed, and the total weight lifted for each workout. In order to not take time from the rest of my day I was getting up at 5:30 and working out before going to work. While that gym experience ended when I hurt my leg in kendo (which eventually contributed to my lower back issues), I think the regimen wouldn't have lasted; simply because I was making it about work and not about play.

The uncomplicated manner in which Sibylle and I are approaching the gym now, feels much freer and more rewarding than a rigid schedule with objectives and goals. Perhaps we might see more benefits sooner from a more structured approach to our gym time, but I think we will gain in the long run with our unstructured, but fun, approach. As long as it is fun we are more apt to stick to it.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.