On the Gym

So, I mentioned a couple posts back that Mr. B and I joined a gym. It’s actually a wellness center affiliated with a hospital. I’d grown to loathe my usual gym so much that I haven’t been since I started my job. Yeah, that job, the one last August. Needless to say, even with my weekly pole lessons, I’ve been getting squidgier and my aerobic fitness (especially with this whole asthma thing thrown in) was positively laughable.

When you first sign up at Nifty Gym, you fill out an application, and if you’re in horrid shape (We were!), you get your doctor to sign off on it. Mr. B and I go to the same doctor, and I’m imagining him looking at the applications and screaming “Oh, thank God!” and rushing them back to the front desk.

Once your doctor affirms that he doesn’t think you’ll die on a stationery bike, you have a consultation and get your base measurements. This involves riding on a bike while keeping your heart rate at a certain level (flatly impossible for me — my heart thinks it is jumping hurdles, with corresponding spikes), testing your back flexibility (the one part of my body that 12 years of ballet did not make more flexible), testing your strength (I curled 60 lbs. like a champ), doing as many pushups as possible (I’m so mad I stopped at 25 — 26 would have put me in a higher category), getting weighed, testing your body fat percentage, and having everything measured.

As we’ve discussed, I’m a fat girl. Not hugely fat, but fat enough. I’m fat enough that due to my BMI (27), doctors love to tell me that I need to weigh 131 lbs. Having weighed that as a seventh grader, I’m less than optimistic. While I’m aerobically out of shape, I’m pretty damn strong. Hauling 165 lbs up a brass pole once a week (for recreation, not profit) and some other core strengthening exercises have given me above average muscle for a fat girl.

Imagine my delight when I discovered by bodyfat percentage is around 22% (!), putting me in the fit category. Imagine my utter thrill when my paperwork read, “KitschenBitsch, due to your low bodyfat percentage, it is not recommended that you lose weight unless you want to change your body composition.” I won’t lie. I did the cabbage patch out to where Mr. B was to show him, and I probably actually kept dancing until I got on the elliptical machine. For the first time in ten years, I was told that I did not need to lose weight. It was a beautiful thing.

One one hand, it was awesome. On another, it is sad that I needed that validation. My little community talks much about body image, and I think I’ve got a fairly healthy one at this point. But I can’t deny I’m holding on to three dresses from four years ago, waiting to see if I get back in them.

Of course, since I changed my eating habits and have been working out like a madwoman, I’ve lost four pounds. I’m fine with that, and I’m fine with losing more. But, if I stay this size forever and am healthy, I’ve got a hell of a lot to be thankful for.

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On a funnier note, post-consultation I had my workout consultation with a trainer. She’s an exercise physiologist. I’ve determined this means she watches what you do when you’re moving, how you move, and explains to you why that is. She could tell which hip was stiff just by watching me. We also had quite a laugh when she discovered that I can’t stand with my feet straight ahead. This is due to genetics (my dad walks with his feet turned out, and not coincidentally needs a hip replacement at 57) and due to twelve years of ballet. Great. The classes I took to make me graceful have ruined my body. Those of you who know me know I have the flattest butt ever (seriously — it’s so flat I broke my tailbone TWICE). My weird stance and gait are part of that.

So, to combat this, I’m being very conscious of how I walk and am essentially learning to walk again. I’m also having to regain balance. I have fabulous balance with my weird gait, but with my feet pointing forward, I can’t stand on one foot at all. I’m also doing some strange stretches, including one that has me stand with a foot turned in, one leg bent on a bar in front of me and pulled over so far I’m twisted, and then bending at the hips. It’s hilarious, but it works.

My back and hips feel great even with my two hour commute, and I’m now able to do 45 minutes of cardio and keep my heart rate under 160 while I do it. I won’t lie… I do kinda feel like a superhero.

2 Responses

  1. Melissa says:

    Listen, I hear you. I doubt there’s a woman out there that doesn’t need some sort of reassurance, even if we play like we don’t. I’ve been working on strengthening my core since, oh, February with the following results — I can see some muscles developing (mostly at the top and sides) and now I cannot fit into my pants. Seriously. I can sometimes button them on a skinny day, but then I feel like they’re sawing me in half. I keep going to a trainer’s website who tells me that once muscles are developed, then fat will burn — and it’s normal for clothes to not fit for like 8mos. to a year because muscles are hard and don’t squish into your pants, and fat burns more slowly than muscle builds, but it is _very_ disheartening to have to buy new jeans because skipping a dessert or two doesn’t help you fit back in the old ones. But I keep plugging along — I feel better, I know I’m stronger, and , well, women with muscles are SEXY.

    Man, I need to start a blog where I talk about this stuff and not just stuff I like about the state I live in. Clearly, there’s some stuff to get off my chest. My muscle-y, muscle-y chest. :-D

  2. TheBitsch says:

    Man, I am so with you. The more I work on my core, the fatter I look. It’s hilarious. I finally saw a little go away this week and convinced myself that I must have lost ab tone before the trainer told me today that she’s pretty damn sure it was fat because my face looks different than it did a month ago when we first met. I just keep telling myself there’s a nice bit of muscle underneath my layer of tasty, fluffy nougat.

    None of my clothes fit right. I’ll take it as positive feedback and move along… :)

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