Monday, October 31, 2011

Healthy Competition

I must admit I am pleasantly surprised at what a motivator a little competition is.  From a scheduling perspective, I am thinking a lot more about when and how I will fit a workout into my day.  I simply have to do it.  None of this see how I'm feeling crap.  I woke up this morning with a killer headache that had carried over from the night before.  My first thought was, "Shit, today is a workout day I can't be sick."  I decided in the beginning of the competition that being sick was not an excuse to miss workout days.  In the real world, it is, but for the sake of our one month competition I decided to leave no room for excuses and loop holes. 

Tomorrow I am getting a massage after work, so in my head I'm trying to figure out what I should do.  Do I take a rest day tomorrow and workout Friday?  Do I do a workout dvd at home after my massage?  Do I get up and workout in the morning?  Without the competition I wouldn't even consider factoring a workout into my day tomorrow.

I had thought I'd lost a lot of my competitive spirit, but I feel a strange sense of motivation to complete this.  I think going through a goal like this with someone has been helpful.  In the beginning of my Happiness Project when Melissa had decided to do it as well I felt excited.  As time went on we did different 'month's' themes at different times, and were rarely, if ever, working toward common goals.

It's really the accountability that I needed.  I've created a win win situation for myself with this gym competition.  I use a little reverse psychology on Flash, pretending to be excited at the prospect of him missing two days in a row, or failing, but I only do that because it makes him mad and motivates him to prove me wrong.  Really, I want him to go, I want him to complete the challenge.  The only real benefit to me is not having to buy him a prize if he does fail.  It's like reverse nagging, instead of constantly reminding him to do something I'm instead getting amped at the idea of him not doing it.  Go ahead and lie on the couch tonight, because then I will be the winner. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gym Phobia

In my efforts to become a 'fitness' person I have been going to my gym for 3 months now. It has been taking me forever to get organized enough to move beyond the cardio and leg machines.  At first it was my own ignorance about what I should be doing, but now I'm starting to realize that I have a gym phobia.  The fear of looking like an idiot.

I am not a big fan of putting myself in situations where I might embarrass myself.  If I had to learn to water ski, I'd like to do it on an empty lake.  I've never let myself by hypnotized because I was worried I'd do and say mortifying-ly embarrassing things.  I had my mother make my appointments for me up until I was in my 20s because I didn't know 'how' to.  I hate practical jokes, or the kind of teasing meant to make someone feel small and stupid.  Other than the fact that the girl signing me up for my gym membership was flustered and rushing through everything, it was my fear of looking stupid that stopped me from signing up for the deal on sessions with a trainer.

I've debated going to a different type of fitness class, like a dance oriented or kick boxing class but everytime I start to seriously consider it, I start worrying about the fact that I don't know what to expect, and what if I can't keep up (because kick boxing is hard) or if I look stupid trying to follow the choreography of the dance class.

I had a workout plan for yesterday of upper body work.  Lifting some weights on the ball and some use of the cable machine.  The area for that was crowded and I found myself nervous, the balance balls were in the other room and there was a boot camp class going on in there.  I could do it on one of the reclining benches, but I'd have to carry one to an open spot and adjust it and I didn't know how.  And then people would be looking at me like who's this retard taking up space, she doesn't know what she's doing.  Eek.  So I got on the treadmill and did some tricep and back work on the machines.  I chickened out.

Another unexpected thing that's happened at my gym is running into people I know.  I have, to date, run into two different people.  One is my roommate's best friend's boyfriend, and the other is a guy I worked with at my last job.  If I'm going to look like a retard I'd at least like to do it anonymously.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Competition Week 1

Week one has been a success.  I took my rest days on Friday and Sunday. 
Doing this contest has created an interesting mental shift.  I refuse to lose.  Saturday was a challenge.  I'm not used to working out on the weekends, I had plans to go out that evening and as I was about to run out and do my Saturday errands of Wal-Mart and grocery shopping I realized that I needed to make time to work out.  Normally, I would've told myself to see how I felt after grocery shopping and then just not done it.  But not this time.  I didn't work out Friday, I had to work out Saturday, or I would lose.

I will NOT LOSE!  So I went into my room and did a workout dvd that focused on the lower body, squats and lunges, and put a big fat check mark on the calendar.

My rule, of not taking more than one day off in a row is great.  It makes this competition way harder than just working out 5 days a week.  Taking the weekend off isn't an option, you have to be super consistent.  If you want to take a rest day you really need to strategize if it's the best day to take it.  Do I have anything in the even that will make it difficult to work out tomorrow.  If so, maybe I better work out today and take a rest day tomorrow.

I am getting frustrated with the size of my gym.  There just isn't enough open space.  If I want to set up a mat or do work on a ball there's very little space to do it, and what space there is available is always occupied.  I bought a year membership, so I have to make it work.  Because my gym is only a half block from my work, it just doesn't make sense to me to push my workouts later.  Going home and then coming back later kind of defeats the purpose of having a gym so close to my work.

I keep thinking about mornings.  It's just something I can't seem to figure out for myself.  It makes sense.  I think it's the best long term solution for finding time to work out.  It's so hard for me.  I love sleep, and mornings are so dark and cold, so very cold.  I could see it being doable on the days where it fit with Flash's schedule and he could drive me, but if I'm serious about it I'd have to be committed to getting up and going on my own in the dark freezing mornings. 
Ahh I can't commit to that yet!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's On Like Donkey Kong

Flash and I have been struggling with motivation, so we were trying to figure out a solution.  Flash suggested we have a contest.  His idea was to go to the gym 5 days a week for a month staight.  The winner would get a prize.

Kirby: So if you complete it, you get a prize, and if I do it as well, I get a prize.  What's the point of buying each other prizes then.

Flash: What?

Kirby: Well, if I buy you a prize for however much money, and then you buy me a prize for the same amount of money that's dumb.  I should just buy myself a present.  But that wouldn't work for me because waiting a month to buy myself something I want is dumb.  I'll just go buy it tomorrow.

Flash: Uh, well what would be a better prize then?

Kirby: *Shrug.

So I thought about it, and thought about it, and realized Flash sucks at follow through.  The chances of him going an entire month of working out 5 days a week without fail were slim to none. 

Before I had been thinking that it was do able and that we would probably both win, like a tie, but on second thought I realized my chances of coming out of this with a straight up win.

Kirby: So I've given your contest some more thought.

Flash: And?

Kirby: We need some ground rules.  1. You can not take two days off in a row.  2. We need to track our workouts on the whiteboard calendar where we can both see it.

Flash: What if I get sick and don't work out for two days.

Kirby: Then you lose.  Period.

Flash:  Lots of people at work are sick, what if I get sick?  That's not fair.

Kirby: Suck it.  This contest is serious.  If you're going to get sick it better be a 24 hour cold because you only get one day off at a time.

Flash:  Whatever.

Kirby: If you get sick due to your pathetic immune system and take two days off in a row you lose.  You are a loser and must live with the shame of your failure.  BUT, you have the option to start your 4 weeks over, beginning with the next day you work out.  If, from that point on, if you can complete 4 consecutive weeks of 5 workout days a week, you will win a prize of slightly lesser value.

Flash: Lame.

Kirby: Um, no, I think you mean awesome.  It's called a second chance.  The goal is to do the 4 weeks and form good habits and get in shape.  If it takes two tries to do so that's okay, the goal is to do it, but you want to do it on the first try, because the spoils are the sweetest the first time around.

Flash: Okay.

Kirby:  Please note that I have agreed to this contest on the grounds that I believe quite strongly that you will fail.

Flash: Are you trash talking me?

Kirby:  Most certainly.  You've already started trying to find loopholes with your talk of illness.  You don't got the stuff.

Flash:  That's not very nice.

Kirby:  You know what else isn't very nice.  Losing. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I had started writing a poor me post about how hard it is to stay motivated, but then I remembered that I didn't want to complain on the blog all the time so I thought suck it up bitch.  So I went out and bought the new Oxygen magazine.  Yay!

I always thought I was a planner, but I'm not sure I am.  Not like I thought I was anyway.  

There's really a huge organizational component to working out and eating well.  You have to plan.  I would argue that the planning and prep required to be successful at getting in shape and eating right is more of a contributor to people success or failure than anything else.  Even if you're putting the time in at the gym if you're not planning workouts you're probably floundering around at the gym, wasting time, resorting to cardio because you don't know what to do.  You're probably not getting the results you want.

If you're not planning meals then you'll never have the ingredients needed for a last minute recipe choice, or you're resorting to buying whatever is convenient for lunch or ordering food for dinner when you're too tired after work to figure out what to make.

When it comes to stuff, physical stuff, I'm quite organized.  I know where every thing I own currently is in my apartment.  I use something and then put it back in it's place.  I make cut throat decisions about clothes that I need to let go of every 6 months.  I've made the most of every square inch of the bedroom I share with Flash without it feeling messy and cluttered.  Me = organzied.

Yet, when it comes to sitting down and organizing workouts and routines it's harder.  I thought I would address my lack of know how by taking advantage of the trainer deal that was going on at my gym when I started.  It was super busy, I waited 20 minutes to finally talk to someone, and when I did the girl was so flustered that she flew through my application.  It just didn't feel right.  I almost didn't get the membership at all because my sign up was such a bad start but I'm made my mind up that I was going to so I did.  I'm glad I didn't get the trainer now because it's super awkward when someone has a training session.  There's not a lot of space in my gym so the workouts are kind of like, spectacles.  The person is very on display during their training session.

I still need the know how.  I still need a plan.  I've said this a hundred times yet I never figure it out.  I don't just want to work out, I want the smartest workouts.  I want results.  Gretchen Rubin did a post about procrastinating and how sometimes she'll put herself on lockdown.  Like, she'll literally lock herself in her office until she accomplishes a certain task.  Maybe I should put myself on lockdown, somewhere outside my apartment, and I'm not allowed to go home until I do it, ha.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fix Your Own Shit First

I went to the gym today for the first time in 10 days.  I thought there would be a gym at my hotel in San Francisco but there wasn't.  It was a very small downtown hotel.  We did a lot of walking, but that's about it.  I brought my gym clothes to work yesterday, and didn't go to the gym.  It was the first time I've ever done that.  I felt burnt out.  Getting back into the groove after vacation is an adjustment.

Flash stayed in San Francisco with a friend of his for a few days longer than me, and when he came back he took the time to sit down and write down some goals for himself.  Please note, Flash does not makes plans.  He lives in the the now, 150%.  Organizing and planning for things ahead of time is not how he rolls.  Flash is... unhealthy.  It's a source of frustration for me.  I'm not health nut, but I just can't understand why he always puts in at the bottom of the priority list.  So when his list of goals involved really committing to working out and getting in shape I was more than pleasantly surprised.  He's currently going to the gym, but I feel like he does it begrudgingly, like he's just putting his time in and not trying very hard.  

I'm always trying to help him, being encouraging, making an effort to eat better, planning meals, etc.  I chose to re-do fitness again for me, because I thought it was important to boost my energy, that I didn't do as well as I could have before, but a secondary motivation for doing it again was Flash.  There were times where I'd be sitting in the apartment and I'd ask Flash if he was going to the gym, or if he appeared to be bored I'm suggest going for a run, or to walk the dog or whatever.  As I was asking him I'd always think to myself, "Do I feel like going to the gym right now?"  "Would I want to walk the dog right now"  A lot of times the answer was no.  I heard somewhere that things that bug you about other people are things that you don't like about yourself, or something to that effect.  Your lazy hypocrite girlfriend harping on you to go to the gym can't be that motivating, people in glass houses and all that jazz.

My thinking is that if I can change myself, that will be the best way I can hope to help change anybody else.  You know, be the change you want to see in the world, right?