Member journal: Weight machine strategies that worked for me

[Read what FitNotes is all about over at the FitNotes About Page. Then, I’ll see you back here real soon–or look for me on the exercise floor.]

My checkered history as a Wellness Center member is littered with stops and starts at trying to use the weight machines consistently.  In short, I hate them. No, I don’t hate the machines, per se. I hate the process. No, it’s not “hate” so much as it is an all-abiding boredom.  “Lift, one, two, three…Lift, one, two, three…” and so on, and so on. I do 15 different free weight and weight machine routines and I try for two sets of 15 reps at each one.  So that’s 15 repetitions times 2 sets times 15 stations.  That’s 450 counts total… “One, two, three…” Well, you get my drift. Some people may find all this counting oddly mesmerizing or relaxing. I just get bored. There, I’ve said it.

Okay, so I know that strength training is way important, especially for us women as we age. Strong muscles mean better posture and less chance of injury as we get older.  Lifting weights can help reverse osteoporosis, or prevent it in the first place. I know. I knooooooow, it’s important. Yet, I’m bored.

No, the televisions on the fitness floor don’t do it for me. I hate television and I can’t really concentrate on it if I’m also counting. “One, two, three…” No, I can’t listen to music on my iPod. I don’t like not being able to hear fellow members who might be saying, “Good morning,” which they do, thank goodness.  And, besides, if I do wear the iPod, I’m such a klutz that I’m constantly getting those earphone wires tangled up on my water bottle, my hair, the machine.

But, lately, there have been a few things I’ve discovered that make the weights routine more tolerable, which means I’m doing it more consistently and I’m seeing the positive results.  Here they are:

1) Summer! The early morning light really gets me out of bed in the morning, so early in fact that not much else is happening yet in the world. The Wellness Center opens at X (5:30am), so there it is, just waiting for me!

2) An extremely large travel mug full of my home-brewed Starbuck’s fully caffeinated, extremely strong French Roast coffee. (No promotional consideration has been paid here by Starbuck’s.)  Between reps, I sip from my mug.  I haven’t actually asked the friendly fitness floor helpers if a) this is allowed, or b) it is advisable, health-wise, to drink coffee and lift at the same time. I’m kind of taking a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach here.

3) Surrounded by inspiration! I was begrudgingly hitting Set 2, Rep 13 on the abductor machine and this woman next to me, who looked to be nearing 80, plops down and says, “Well, I’ve done my 2 miles, now I get to sit!”  She’s been coming to the Wellness Center to walk 2 miles on the treadmill every day, since the day it opened, at a time of day when I’m usually staring blankly at my coffee machine trying to wake up enough to remember how to run it.

Then there’s the guy whizzing along on the rowing machine at blurring speeds. He’s got his asthma inhaler nearby. And the 70-year-old man using the barbells? His stomach looks like it would hurt your hand if you ever tried to punch it, not that I would.

Okay, now I feel chagrined.  I’m not going to be bored anymore.  I’m just going to keep looking around me, sip my coffee and start feeling my muscles build up!

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  1. Kerry says:

    this brought a smile to my face, as you put into words some of my thoughts, of the “work” aspect of working out. but I do like to think sometimes, that I am also part of the other side too. where someone looks at me while I’m there and is inspired. :-)