Tag Archives: working out

Wildcard Wednesday: Lifetime Fitness

As part of my husband’s new job, he got a membership to Lifetime Fitness. As long as he goes at least 7 times a month, his membership is free. Not long after he found out about this new benefit, he headed over to check it out.

In the 15 years I have known him, my husband has not had a gym membership. He did have a small workout room with some free weights and a few cardio machines at his old job, so he’d often go in on his lunch hour or right after work to sneak in a quick workout. He didn’t do this with any sort of regularity, but he’d get on streaks where he’d pop in 3 or 4 days a week and come home quite proud of himself.

I’ve been a member of Planet Fitness for five or six years now. Although there have been moments in my life where I have been more dedicated than others, for the most part I go at least once a week and often two or three times a week. For the money, PF is a pretty good deal. Sure, there are no classes, no pool, no childcare and it’s hard to get any sort of trainer to set up a routine for you, but considering that mostly I just wanted to do cardio or circuit training, that was fine with me.

However, when my husband got his membership to Lifetime, he also got me and our kids a trial membership. It was basically love at first sight. The gym is ENORMOUS! Seriously, it is huge. They have a rock wall, three pools (one outdoor for nice weather) with water slides, a full basketball court, tons of cardio and weight machines, a cafe, a spa, a sauna and all sorts of classes. What’s more, they have a childcare facility, so instead of waiting until my kids are in bed and then slipping out on my own to work out, we can take our kids to the gym with us and they can play while we work out. We can also take our kids to the pool or to the rock wall, which they love.

The only downside to this new gym is that it is a bit more expensive than PF. For myself and our kids, it’s actually about 7 times my current no frills basic PF membership. That gave me more than a few minutes of pause. Is a gym membership really worth that expense?

Well, as it turns out, my daughter’s swim lessons are even more than that. So, by canceling her lessons and signing up at the gym where we have constant access to the pool, we actually save about $14 a month. Sure, it means I have to work with my daughter to help her strengthen her swimming skills, but that just means I get to spend time in the pool. Plus, as great as her swim lessons have been for her, they are only 30 minutes once a week. We can replace that with gym time AND my son will get to practice his swimming as well. Plus, we’ll be able to add a whole other activity to our weekly schedule this summer. Unlike our current swim school where we can only take advantage of open swim M-Th from 12-1, this coming summer we’ll be able to swim all day, every day if we want to.

While I’ve only technically been a member of the gym for three days now, I did take advantage of that trial membership as well. I’ve gotten in four really solid workouts and it’s been great. My hope is that since it is a rather substantial expense compared to PF, I won’t feel like I can blow it off the same way I did working out at PF. I also hope having fun activities for the kid will help my entire family become more active.

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Wildcard Wednesday: Brussel Bytes

Brussiel BytesAfter my workout I stopped in Fresh Thyme to get my daughter some of the vegetarian jerky she likes. It’s been over three weeks now and her desire to be a vegetarian does not seem to be wavering in the least. Her pediatrician is fine with this experiment as long as she gets enough protein and fruits and vegetables and doesn’t become a “carbotarian,” so I’m trying to get as many alternate meat choices as possible.

While I was looking at potential snack foods for her, I spotted one that peaked my interest: Brussel Bytes.

Unlike kale chips, which seem to be the new health food craze, I love Brussels sprouts. They are one of my favorite vegetables, whereas kale is something I only eat if forced to and even then not unless it is flavored into submission. I tried kale chips and could not stomach them. But Brussels sprout chips? That had me intrigued. And even though the ingredient list included kale (along with cashews, carrots, red pepper, coconut nectar and spices), I figured I’d risk it.

I grabbed the cheezy herb flavor, figuring even if I hated them it would be a fun experiment. But I didn’t hate them. Not at all. I actually really like them.

They are made from sprout “leaves” and coated with a a cheesy Italiany herb mix of basil, garlic, rosemary and salt. They have a great crunch to them and somehow remind me of spinach, my absolute favorite vegetable. They don’t have any of the bitterness that is often both Brussels sprouts and kale have, which is delightful.

Despite what the package claims, no chips will be moving over. They aren’t replacing potato chips in my heart and my brain has no illusions that I am actually eating chips. However, the entire package only has 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, 9 carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, so I don’t feel bad eating the entire bag in one sitting. They may not have tasted as good as a single serving of salt and vinegar chips, but I felt a heck of a lot better about myself after eating them.

I haven’t tried to entice my kids to eat them yet, but they both actually like sprouts, so there is a chance they’ll at least try them. They may even like them.

I definitely want to try chili pumpkin seed flavored ones I saw as well, so I guess another trip to Fresh Thyme will be in order soon.

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Wildcard Wednesday: Dieting update

tape measureI officially have a 48 day streak on My Fitness Pal. That’s right, for the last 48 days in a row, I have logged in each day and diligently recorded every calorie I’ve consumed, every glass of water I have ingested, every minute I have spent in exercise, every measurement I have taken of my body and every pound I have lost.

Well, for the most part I’ve been diligent. I confess that the last two days, though I’ve logged in, not every calorie has been added. I have not only been lacking a little motivation the last two days, but I also know that, without a doubt, I have gone well over my calorie limit. I should probably be a bit more chagrined about this, but considering that for the past 48 days, I’ve only gone over my calorie allotment four times (and two of those times it was by less than 100 calories), I’m chalking the last two days up to crazy schedules. I’ll get back on the right track tomorrow.

See, I’ve not only been pretty darn good for the past 44 out of 48 days, I’ve also lost weight. So far I’ve lost 10 pounds and aside from a few days when I definitely went to bed a bit hungry, it hasn’t been a huge sacrifice either.

When I started this crazy ride back in July, I allowed myself 1600 calories and decided on at least 4 workouts of at least 30 minutes per week. On August 1st, I lowered my calories to 1500 and upped my workouts to at least 35 minutes 4 times a week. Now that September is upon us, I have once again dropped my calories, this time to 1400. I am also planning to up my workouts to 40 minutes 4 times a week. I say planning because I had a rather nasty run-in with a metal stool and while I thankfully did not break my toe, according to the athletic trainer at my school (yes, I had him look at it before school on Friday), I not only severely sprained it, but also pulled the ligaments in it.

I am the picture of sophisticated grace.

Right now it still hurts quite a bit, but I am hoping that tomorrow I can be back to my workout schedule.

I know that losing 10 pounds may not seem that impressive in a world of Biggest Losers who drop that in one week, but I’m not only pretty proud of myself, I’m also feeling a whole lot better. My clothes feel just a little less snug. Thanks to working out and eating more of the right kinds of foods, I have more energy. And, overall, even though I still don’t actually like working out, I have a pretty positive attitude about this whole diet thing.

I think I’ll keep at it awhile longer.

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Wildcard Wednesday: Gym etiquette

I’ve been going to the gym on and off (and sometimes way more off) for the past decade or so. For several years I was a member of Anytime Fitness. I liked this gym because anytime I wanted to go to the gym, I could. They were actually open 24/7. It was also located in the shopping plaza just down the street from my house. Even though it was pretty close, I live on a fairly busy street with no sidewalks, so although it would have only taken me about five minutes to walk to the gym, that was nearly an impossibility. Still, it was close and open after my kids went to bed, so it was a great place for me. Since I was a teacher, they even had a discount rate for me. Instead of the usual $39.99 a month, my membership was only $29.99 a month.

This was my gym for about two years and for the most part I was happy there. I only really had a few problems and they were because other patrons didn’t seem to understand what I think is basic gym etiquette. For example: I would usually come to the gym later in the evening, often not arriving until 9 pm. Since the gym was not staffed after 7pm, anyone with a membership could use their fob to get into the building and exercise without any sort of supervision. Some people really took advantage of this. At least once a week I walked in to a TV in the weight area at the back of the gym turned up to top volume. Even though the lone guy (and it was a couple of different guys who did this) working out saw me come in, he never once turned the TV down. I always brought my iPod with me, but even with my volume turned up, I still caught snippets of whatever he was watching–usually sports.

Occasionally I could tell someone was trying to play “basketball” with their dirty paper towels. When they didn’t hit their shots, instead of walking over and picking them up, they’d just be littered around the trash can, waiting for the morning cleaning crew to come in. Several of the patrons were also pretty bad about replacing the free weights when they finished in the evening. Since I mostly stuck to the cardio machines, this didn’t bother me too much. Mostly I just thought it was rude.

A few times I felt very uncomfortable there at night. There is something very unsettling about being one of only two people in a gym late at night. It only happened a handful of times, but on two different nights I actually left only a few minutes into my workout because the guy in the gym with me kept stopping his workout to stare at me.

About six years ago, I changed gyms when Planet Fitness opened up. I’ll admit that part of my reason was the even cheaper price (only $10 a month), but another real draw was the fact that there was always someone on duty. Sure, they are only open 24/7 four days a week, but the other three days they are open until at least 7, so I can fit in my workouts.

Once again, for the most part, I really like Planet Fitness. I actually like the overall atmosphere way more than Anytime Fitness simply because no matter what time I go in, there is always music playing at a normal volume and I’ve never been in when there are fewer than a dozen people in the building with me. To me, this is comforting.

As much as I like PF, it is not without some major drawbacks…once again almost all related to gym etiquette. My biggest complaint is people not cleaning the machines. I just don’t understand how anyone can finish with a machine and not clean it. Even when I use the Arc Trainer where the only part of the machine I ever touch is the keypad to enter in all of my information, I still clean the machine, just in case some of my sweat dripped on something. When I use the weight machines, I clean the machines really well. While I won’t lie and say I am in the minority, I have never once been in the gym and not seen someone walk away from a machine without cleaning it. And, I’m not talking about people who just aren’t quite as germophobic as I am. I am talking about people sitting down at one of the weight machines, where they sweat quite a bit and just walking away without so much as running a dry towel over it, much less one with disinfectant spray on it.

Once I kindly confronted a guy about it. We were both doing the circuit training. He was sweating quite a bit and despite the fact that he knew I was using each machine about three minutes after he finished it, he was not cleaning them. When I POLITELY reminded him that he was supposed to clean them after each use, he yelled at me, “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” I told the staff and they said they’d talk to him. I used to see him a lot after that and he’d always glare at me and still not clean the machines. GROSS!

Oddly, it is always men who do not clean the machines. I have never once seen a woman finish with a machine and not clean it. I’m not saying all men do this or that no women do. I’m just saying at my gym, the only people I’ve seen walk away without cleaning the machines are men. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m disturbed by the regularity of it.

Another real pet peeve of mine at PF is the circuit training area. I really like this area. I think it’s a great workout and I actually kind of like it. However, despite the fact that there are signs all over it saying that the area is for circuit training only, every single time I use it, someone (and once again, it is always a guy) pops in just to do one or two of the weight machines, even though the exact same weight machines are just across the gym in the weight area. Once, I did 19 of the 20 stations, skipping the bicep machine when I initially came to it because for the entire time I was doing the circuit, a guy was just using the bicep machine. I finally had to tell him that I needed to use it to finish my circuit. He apologized and gave it to me (and even cleaned it), but he clearly knew what I was doing and had already made me skip over the machine once, which I just thought was rude. I often have to do the machines out of order because someone has decided to just use the machine I need next.

My latest annoyance at the gym is guys–and yes, I know that it seems like I am really down on men…I’m not…I simply adore them…but for some reason the only people who break the rules of etiquette around me are men–is people who hop onto machines right next to me. In the last two weeks, I’ve had three different guys hop on the machine right next to me (one Arc Trainer, one stationary bike and one elliptical) despite the fact that the gym is nearly empty and there are plenty of other open machines in the row. Last night I was surrounded by empty stationary bikes (I was the only person on one) and a guy decided to plop right down next to me for his workout. There were 8 other bikes open and he took the one right next to me. Now, it’s not like he was touching me, or eyeing me or talking to me, but it was still odd. I could feel the heat coming off of him and I didn’t like it. When there are so many empty machines around, why pick the one right next to me? I know some people pick their machines based on what is on the TVs overhead, but he had a device to watch.

None of these issues are big enough for me to stop going to the gym or even really say anything, but I just find it out that some people seem so oblivious to basic gym etiquette, even when there are signs all over the place explaining it.

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