Current Happenings

Monday, December 1, 2008

Is my exerciserizer broken?

I like to read "diet blogs", for a lack of better terminology. I am noticing that there are lots of gals out there who work a lot harder than I do. I read about them busting their humps 5-7 days per week, doing heavy exercise as though their lives depended on it. I've come to the conclusion that I'm either weird, or my exerciserizer is broken.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love to exercise. I'm such a darned competitive person that I turn into a crazy beast in the gym. God must have wired me this way, because this is what I've known since I could form a thought. I don't feel the need to "beat" anyone at anything, but there is something so great about pushing and being pushed. What I loved about crew in high school was that there were other girls who felt the same way as I do, and we would have fun just running each other through the ringer. It was never an "I can do better than you" kind of thing though, because we would carry our partner through the workout if we had to, to not leave her behind. Still, there was something as delicious as dark chocolate in targeting a girl, letting her get a head-start on the run, and then spend a mile or two chasing her. Rarrr.

This kind of "chase" mentality comes out a great deal when I exercise, regardless of what I'm doing. I have to be very careful, because sometimes it overrides my common sense. My body gets pumping with endorphins, and then I go and do something stupid like breaking a hand or run until I puke. See why it is so dangerous for me to try and hike the treadmill at the gym while some dude is running on the treadmill next to me? I start feeling like a high-strung horse, prancing around with the whites of my eyes showing. I feel that overwhelming urge to run too, even though I'm not actually supposed to run. I just love the challenge, but that is why I like to exercise at the gym, not because I want to lose weight.

I can't bring myself to exercise in order to lose weight. I can easily eat an extra 500 calories in a day if I allow the junk in my diet, it will take much more effort to work off that amount of energy through exercise. Aside from that, there is the guilt factor. If I am counting on exercise to save me from my squishiness, I become depressed if I know that I'm not exercising that much more. Instead of having fun at the gym, I'm critical of every weight lifted and ever step taken on the treadmill. I worry that I'm not riding the bike fast enough, or that the incline on the treadmill isn't high enough. That bleeds the fun out of everything.

To be honest, I feel like I don't "exercise". When I'm at home, I do my physical therapy on the bike or on my walking glider. There is the added bonus that moving burns calories, in addition to keeping my bad knee from turning to complete mush while the arthritis makes me move like an old woman. I'll pedal the bike while watching tv, or even just to keep warm when the house feels really cold. Sometimes I'll climb the basement stairs again and again, just because I remember how embarrassing it was to do that one day, only to run to the bathroom to be sick. Who wants to be weak? Who wants to feel crippled? Not me.

When it comes to making myself stronger, I deal with it on an 'as needed' basis. If I learn that I am weak in my upper body and can't do things that I want to, I work on that. If I am struggling with the weather and my joint pain, then I work on that. If I think that my stamina is lacking, then I work on that. That exerciserizer of mine must not work correctly, because I can't make myself move through a workout for the simple purpose of moving to burn calories. The very thought of it makes me depressed. However often I need to exercise in order to meet life head-on and complete all the chores and adventures of just being active and alive, that is what I strive for. That may be 30 minutes of walking each day, or that might be 2 hours of cardio and weight lifting 3-4 days per week. Whatever. It's all about what I want out of it.