Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cut Out the Fitness Noise- Making a Workout Plan that Works for You

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I can't tell if this issue is just me being a little bizarre, or if it applies to more of us.

Does anyone else have a hard time filtering out the fitness noise?

Like, there are so many sources telling you to do so many things in so many ways and you almost don't want to do any of it because you can't do all of it?? And then, if you're me, you just get angry at everything, because, well, that's what I do.

I've been feeling that a lot latley. 

I mentioned in a recent post about my knee injury that I met with a trainer at my gym to set up a fitness program.  She was really nice, but she made me the least realistic plan ever. I left kind of angry, but mostly because I felt like if I didn't go with the new plan, I'd never lose weight or get anything accomplished, which is kind of how I think the fitness industry wants me to feel.

When the meeting started, I told her that I have my cardio plan, but I needed some guidance in terms of adjusting my weight regiment  and stretching. She was really adamant that I add some of the gyms fitness classes into my regime.  She cited sound reasons for this-- varied muscle movement, a variety of cardio, stretching and strength, etc.  I left with a plan has me running four days a week, doing weights 4 days a week, and attending fitness classes, including cardio, strength and yoga, 5 days a week.  The weights and the running I'm fine with, but adding in fitness classes, though I'm sure it would be extremely beneficial, makes my daily workout about 2.5-3 hours long.

More problematic is that I can't lay on my gym floor. The floor in 2/3 of the gym is made of rubber, which contains latex, so I can't sit or lay on it. The other area is carpet, and this where the classes take place. Thought the carpet is latex-free, it is walked on by everyone who waked on the rubber and rolled latex heavy mats, balls, etc., all over it.  This concept is really hard for some people to understand.  Even when she was showing me stretches, half of them involve laying down, and I just can't do it while I'm there. I can do it at home, but by the the time I get home, it's a little too long after my run to be as beneficial or to help my knee. I know I should have stopped her immediately and told her to show me something else, but she was really having a hard time understanding what I was telling her, and just kept suggesting I lay on a towel, so I just let her do her thing, knowing we were wasting time.(In her defense, she was really sweet, she just didn't get it.)

The trainer also put me in two dance based fitness classes, as they lay on the floor the least, but, uh, to be honest? I'd rather be locked in Guantanamo than dance. I'm a hazard to anyone with in fifty feet of me if I dance. And I hate it. Back in my musical theater days, every. single. choreographer I ever worked it threatened me within an inch of my life, thinking it could somehow make me coordinated. I actually made the Guantanamo comment out loud during our discussion and it confused the poor girl even more.

On my way out, the trainer asked if I felt good about the plan and how excited I was to start. I was honest and said I didn't think the plan was realistic at all. I think I hurt her feelings and I felt a little bad. She then started spouting about how following would lead to 2lbs a week in weight loss and how great a balanced program it is, blah blah blah.

And that's when my brain freaks out.  I start to think, "I HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO DO THIS OR I'M NEVER GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT AND I'LL BE STUCK LIKE THIS FOREVER."  When the truth is, I don't. Would it be ideal? Yes. But, I work. I try to have a life. I have a ton of boring, everyday stuff to do, like, laundry and cleaning my bathroom. Doing my runs and some weights 3-4 times a week is enough.  Is it perfect and balanced and everything a fitness instructor dreams of? No. But it is on par with the recommended amounts for the average person. And it is a healthy amount.  Even if I managed to find a way to pull off her plan for a the next 10 months while I train for the 1/2 marathon, I will immediately gain tons of weight as soon as I stop, because it is an unrealistic amount of exercise for a person who works full time.

I'd like to be able to say that this whole, kind of funny, story is simply just one experience with one trainer at one gym, but I don't think it is. I, actually, really like the culture of my gym and all the people who work there. I believe this is the nature of the fitness industry-- to somehow trap you into thinking you must make it your life or not have it at all. Like, if you aren't at the gym 3 hours a night, you are somehow a failure who is going to be fat and die of diabeattack (that's my own person combination of diabetes and a heart attack).

I'm working on filtering out this noise and doing what I know works.  I'm trying to be open to learning new things without being forced into a plan or agenda I don't want or can't do. I'm trying to remember that one does not have to do ALL to do SOME.


  1. Maybe she thought you meant "Geronimo" instead of "Guantanamo" and since that's what you say before you jump off something high it meant that you wanted to jump right in to her awesomely impossible fitness plan!


  2. Great post! I had an eloquent (ha) comment all written out and it disappeared. Oh well.

    The gist was this- yes, totally unrealistic and humorous that it was suggested.

    No, I (amateur) do not think you have to do fitness classes to succeed. I think they are a nice addition if you get bored with running. I've never heard someone suggest you have to do them. I thought they were good for people who, for example, hate running.

    The dance classes are scary and awkward, spin class is fun, but not latex free.

    Celebrities work out that much, because that is their full time job. For the rest of us, the formula would lead to a faster weight loss, but would also create an exhausted, hungry, and constantly in pain you (aka miserable). You should still be able to enjoy your life while meeting your sustainable fitness goals. Following the Couch to 5K and slowly increasing workout times seems sustainable and much more enjoyable.

  3. I know what you mean - and realistacally if the gym and fitness isn't your LIFE how on earth do they think normal people who have jobs, kids, other interests even have 3 hours spare a day? In what alternate universe do they live?

    Do you have a wii or that new Xbox thingy? I swear by our wii - we only got it at Christmas but the wii fit been such a help in allowing me to do 10 minutes here and there WHEN I HAVE THE TIME. It really works too.

    Big hugs for all the non-understanding you are encountering - it must be so frustrating - like you are banging your head against a brick wall.

  4. You should get a bubble! Then you can just go to the gum and in your bubble and your latex issue is solved. Just make sure the bubble isn't made out of latex, obviously.