It’s been a while since I’ve been a regular gym-goer. I was a 24 Hour Fitness member right up until the month I left California, but I couldn’t force myself to go. There were just so many compelling reasons to avoid the gym like the plague: The steroidal goons sucking at water bottles like a bunch of hamsters between sets of free weights. The obnoxious sorori-whores who come to the gym in fully coordinated track suits with matching lip gloss and no intention of breaking a sweat. Nasty asian guy who was ALWAYS in the pool next to me, blowing his nose into his hands between laps… That one almost ended in a fist fight, actually.
Despite my less than fond memories of gym experiences past, I purchased a gym membership close to home and work. It’s mostly people from 30-70 years old, as well as a handful of serious triathletes. Dues are also significantly more expensive than the usual hot spots, so it pretty much eliminates the steroidal hamster/sorostitute crowd. Best of all, there’s a membership cap so it’s not going to be too overrun to get a decent workout.
I started with water aerobics in the warm water pool. It was good for a cardio boost, and I even noticed a fair deal of toning in short order. While I seem to have had no problem getting back into the habit of engaging my core (at least for water workouts), I feel like I’ve already peaked in warm water workout. It would probably still be a good toning/cardio workout except that a lot of senior citizens with hip/knee replacements who are not quite so ambulatory take the class as well and there’s not enough room to really move and fully engage all my muscle groups. As such, I had to relegate the class to loosening up and stretching out, and seek something more challenging.
Pinnacle offers TRX, which definitely fits the bill for challenging. If you’ve never heard of TRX, it started as a Navy Seal workout for when the sailors had limited space in which to work out while deployed. The whole system consists of a set of heavy duty nylon straps that anchor into a ceiling or door frame and you use a combination of body weight and gravity to exercise all your different muscles. The first time I took the class a week ago, I felt an intense desire to vomit and then spent the next 2 days shuffling around like one of the seniors in water aerobics. It took a full 3 days before I could sit without cringing. I went back for more abuse at o’dark thirty this morning. The urge to vomit was still there, but passed after about 20 minutes. I’ve been walking around on somewhat unsteady legs ever since, and I’m beginning to sense some shortening in my gluts, triceps, and pecs – I have no doubt I’ll be a little sore tomorrow. I think my lack of core strength probably caused me to strain my low back a little too much because I feel that acutely. TRX seems to be the most effective workout, so depending on how I feel tomorrow, I may hit TRX twice a week and a harder pool workout once a week as well.
My core is weak and I have very little upper body strength. I can’t hold a plank in the straps for more than about three seconds, and I can’t complete a 30 second set of strap rows at a 35 degree angle. To sum up 20 minutes worth of writing, I’m a weakling. But that’s okay, because now I have goals to achieve.
If I can get out of bed under my own power in the morning…