10/8/09

Choosing Cardio Incline

Thursday~October 8, 2009

Since winter is looming, we decided to get a family membership at a local community center. I'll admit that my favorite part about the place is that it has child care. This means I can go get some exercise all on my own, a break of sorts.

To be honest, I usually don't even work out, but this whole child care thing makes it terribly appealing.

Now if only I could figure out the machines.

Let me be honest again. I get really nervous walking into the big workout center. There are tricky machines everywhere, TVs surrounding the big room with all different shows on them, and usually a whole lot of people, walking or running or riding their immobile bikes. It's overwhelming.

The other day, I walked in and quickly scanned the scene. All of the treadmills that I know how to work were in use, but of course I didn't want to stand and wait. So as naturally as possible, I hopped up on an open mystery treadmill, and acted as if I knew exactly what I was going to do.

But I didn't.

There were so many options and buttons, I just froze for a moment. Then I remembered there were a whole lot of people behind me, it felt as if all eyes were on me, watching and waiting to see if I'd push the right buttons and get moving. I reached out nonchalantly and pushed 'cardio,' which made my machine start asking me all kinds of questions with all kinds of loud beeps. I tried to push stop so I could try something easier, but the thing would just beep again and ask the same questions over and over. It even asked me for my weight, height, and age.

I BEEPED the numbers in as fast as I could, glancing over my shoulder to see all the fit young women running behind me with ease.

Then my treadmill finally started. Slowly it picked up speed, relieving me of feeling like such a heel. But because I had pushed 'cardio,' every time I took my hands off the bar in front of me, the treadmill would start beeping loudly, a message flashing across the screen, "NEED HEART RATE FOR CARDIO WORKOUT."

So I couldn't let go, or the magical handles that check my pulse couldn't do their job, and apparently it's a very important job. BEEEEEEEP!!!

I decided at one point to let go quickly to push the up arrow to pick up the pace a little. BEEEEEP!!! I increased the speed as fast as I could so I could get my hands back in their place and stop the mad beeping.

I did it so fast that I really increased the speed. Now, I'm NOT a runner, so thankfully I didn't quite have to run (or my side would have exploded), but I was walking really really fast.

(Just so you know, I have chicken legs. I surely looked ridiculous.)

Then it happened.

The cardio incline. The highest number the machine can reach, apparently.

The treadmill slowly angled up and up and up until I was walking up a very steep hill, very quickly. (I was suddenly quite thankful that I couldn't let go, let's just say that.)


I would like to tell you now that I stopped caring about the people behind me, that I let go and reached up to decrease the incline (you know, so I wouldn't die.). But I didn't.

I'll admit it. I didn't want to appear as if I couldn't handle it. So I just kept going.

I walked up that very steep hill very quickly for 30 minutes. When my legs started to feel like goo, all itchy and tired, and my heart was beating out of my chest, I thought about letting go to reach up and slow things down, but I was too afraid I'd fly right off, or at the very least, appear totally unfit.

So I just kept going, knowing I had done this to myself out of insecurity.

It was exhausting. (And hilarious, really.)

I guess I'm going to be quite fit if I do, but I don't think I'll choose that particular type of treadmill next time.

It's way too much like picking the hard road in life, just to save face, and I'd like to be done with that too.

53 clicked right here to comment:

Tiaras said...

you are hilarious!! There is no way that I would have stayed on - but GOOD for you - think how much your thighs and arse loved it! hee hee

Billy Coffey said...

That was so funny! I have to admit I tend to take the hard road to save face very often. Very. Often. But there are good points to that too, I suppose. Like getting one fantastic workout.

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

Why are we always so intimidated at the gym? Everyone is there to lose weight or get/stay healthy. It's not like they're sitting around eating bons bons while we do all the work. But I feel you. I used to be so self-conscious and act like I knew how everything worked too.

katdish said...

Do you know what came to mind while reading this post?

Lucy and Ethel at the candy factory...

It's really great to be able to laugh at yourself. I do it often.

SM Blooding said...

The good news is that you're not alone. Most the rest of us are that way too. I'm one of those people who will look over at the person beside me and ask the stupid question. "How in the heck do you work this darned thing?"

Usually, I get a shrug and a, "I have no clue. That's why I didn't pick that one." And then as we and all the other people around me, are trying to figure the darned thing out, we're all laughing at me. I think we get a bigger workout through laughing than we do at actually working out.

But that's fine. It makes working out fun for me and I don't go OUT of my way to be laughed at. LOL! It just...happens occassionally.

Frankie

Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) said...

I'm so gald you joined! We willhave to go together. I remember feeling intimidated at first...it's gets better and easier. I LOVE the kids care there!!! We have gotten to be regulars, they all know us..it's like norm at cheers when we walk in "THE BERLIENS!" ha!

charrette said...

Hahaha! I am completely baffled by exercise equipment. Including the elliptical trainer in my very own house. We've had it a year and I still cannot figure out how to work it. Thank heaven no one fit behind me is watching! I don't want all the fancy programming...Just ON and OFF would be nice.

You can be my gym buddy any time! :)

jasonS said...

I remember those feelings when I joined my gym! Trying to figure it out, feeling so self-conscious. Oh well it only gets better. Thanks for letting us laugh at... I mean, with you. :)

Plus, there are a lot of unfit mothers out there, at least you're willing to do something about it. :)

Heather of the EO said...

Jason,

Sure, there are a lot of unfit mothers out there, just as there are a lot of unfit fathers and um...people in general.

And to be honest, I'm not really self-disciplined enough to be doing something about it. I'm mostly just taking a break when I go there :)

momcat said...

Going to gym is like being in high school and acting like a dork - with all the cool kids watching!

Mommy Mo said...

That's why I love going to the gym- the FREE child care, lol. And Heather, I hate to break it to you, but noone behind you was paying attention to you on th machine- they were too busy on their own machines, exercising, listening to music or watching TV!!!!!

D. said...

I am SO there with you on that. The best part is that most people there have been in that place of being uncomfortable at some point in their membership stage. If feels so odd and scary with everyone watching and you think they are judging you and you don't want to look dumb. I once almost fainted in a workout class because I didn't want to seem like I couldn't keep up. Fainting would have been more embarrassing then walking out - so I finally left as my eyes went hazy...
Also, it is a lot like life - I agree with that too.

Boy Crazy said...

you crack me up.

Heather of the EO said...

Oh Mommy Mo, I know they weren't concerned with me. That's the thing about being insecure about something. It tricks you into being irrational :)

Shana said...

I am laughing my butt off right now so for that I thank you! How right you are though that we often times DO take the hard road in life "just to save face!" - As always, fantastic!

BaronessBlack said...

Ha ha!
At my gym they give you a walk round and explain everything first. But, I'll be honest, I went for my trial session in the morning and I was encouraged by the number of older ladies there! So, of a morning, it's just me and the pensioners. The beautiful young, fit things don't start turning up 'til lunchtime!

How did the boys take to the creche?

Eowyn said...

What a crazy experience. I love your last line though. I'd like to be done with that too.

That Girl said...

I just love the description in this. I was with you every (sweaty) step of the way.

And I totally get what you're talking about.

Aunt LoLo said...

AHAHAHAHAH. Oh, stinkin' HILARIOUS, Mama. You're a brave one. I would have hit STOP RIGHT NOW YOU MACHINE FROM A BAD PLACE! (because i never swear ;-)) (They do have that button, don't they?)and nonchalantly gone on to another machine without making eye contact with ANYONE in the room.

Angie said...

"It's way too much like picking the hard road in life, just to save face, and I'd like to be done with that too."

I love how you always bring it back to something meaningful. I'd like to be done w/ saving face, too.

What a delightful post.

Chief said...

this is exactly why I hate the gym. The psople who all know exactly what they are doing and the machines, looming...they know they are going to kick your butt, and they laugh

Tooj said...

As a runner who prefers to only do it outdoors, I get terrified when I step into a gym and have to use a machine. I think they're overwhelming and complicated and all the people already on machines who KNOW what they're doing are intimidating. I hate them, sometimes. Well, okay....not HATE...but well, close to it. And they just keep panting and running and glancing at you out of the corner of their eye. They don't WANT to make eye contact with you for fear you'll ask for help and interrupt their exercise. Bastards.

Midwest Mommy said...

I loved my gym membership if only I could be the only one there. I swear the people watching that goes on is just so intimidating. I loved the break from the kids but I was just too self conscious to go. Ah, now I feel all bad for admitting that.

LisAway said...

Oh how I wish I could have seen that. I never would have, though, since I haven't been seen in a gym for, well, many, many years.

And when I read about your chicken legs I TOTALLY thought it said, "I surely looked delicious". Because of the chickeniness of it. That's what I thought you were saying. And I was thinking, "I'm not sure I would feel hunger pangs no matter HOW much someones legs look like they belong on a chicken." :) (I'm sure you did look delicious, though).

Heather of the EO said...

Lisa, I can't stop laughing. My chicken legs are SO not delicious. Ugh, that cracks me up.

And Baroness Black,
Is the creche the childcare? I'm pretty sure it is...
and if so, the boys are LOVING it. PHEW!

Corinne said...

Thank you for the laugh! Personally, treadmills scare the you know what out of me... I went through a little bit where I attempted the couch to 5k thing, and every time I prayed I wouldn't fly off the darn thing!

Mrs. Dunbar said...

You always make me laugh Girl. Do a thirty minute jaunt for me!!!

jodilee0123 said...

As a person who has worked in a gym for about a million years. . . I am so sorry that the staff did not notice you may have liked it if someone asked you how you were doing. The gym workers do know who is new and who is not--especially at a community center. As for the treadmills--pick manual or quick start--then you can control the speed and incline with the + or - or arrows. Very rarely does anyone workout on the highest incline (unless they are training to climb a mountain!) Just so you know. . . I would have noticed that--if I was working there and would have come to check on you! :0) You let me know if you have any other questions!!!!!!!

Bridget Chumbley said...

Such a fun story! I stay away from the gym for this exact reason. I'm a klutz even in the simplest tasks (walking).

Heather of the EO said...

Jodi, thank you.

I'm pretty sure I did such a good job of acting normal, that no one knew I had a problem.

(yeah right, THAT'S it)

ZDub said...

This is too funny!

I also do not like big workout places. And the machines should have one button, for off and on. :)

Nina said...

I love going to the gym but I never understand those machines. Then it seems when you figure them all out they replace them with something new that I now have to figure out.

I laughed that you kept going. I am one of those crazy people who will kill myself trying to keep up with the person next to me and I wont stop until they stop and get off, even if I was their before them. Insane yes, but I never want to feel like I can't do it so I torcher myself instead.

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

You know why I'm laughing, right? Because this sounds like something I might have written. I would totally do this. Just wait until tomorrow. You're going to be in a world of hurt. Or at least I would be if it were me.

Deb said...

yes! paranoid and insecure! we really are soul mates! listen, this is the same darn reason i had never stepped foot in trader joe's. i was too worried about doing it wrong.

Becca said...

Your closing line needs an Amen from over here. Good, you.

L.T. Elliot said...

Hey, at least you're willing to even work out in public. I bike ride late at night just to avoid detection.

H-Mama said...

Your message thingy says, "Talk to me goose." So, I'm goose, you're chicken. Feathers will be flyin' in gyms across America!

Sounds like you had the people behind you thinkin' you're a pro. Mission accomplished? ;) Not as bad as the time I nearly killed my dog on one... Ceasar Millan and his recommendations. psh! {of course, leaning one's arm on the acceleration button unknowingly doesn't help}

Jamie @ Six Bricks High said...

Those people behind you were probably so impressed that you got on that machine and did the whole hill thing. I bet you totally intimidated them with your super athletic ability.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I totally would have fallen off.

mama-face said...

LOL. I can't imagine you being anything other than super cool. You write so super cool. :-) It is super cool that you never gave up.

I stay away from anything complicated. What if someone thought I was dumb? (inside joke with myself.)

Lara said...

And the really sad thing is, the person behind you was so involved in his/her own workout and trying not to die that they never noticed you anyway!

Hey, at least you burned a lot of calories!

blueviolet said...

I hate the incline! Last time I did that I had shin splints for months! You are a better woman than I am.

Jen said...

Seriously made me laugh out loud and I almost had beer coming out my nose. I can just picture you on that treadmill. Too funny.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

That's great, Heather. I was the same way when I first went. Even months later, I still stick to the two machines I know.

Mrs Montoya said...

Oh my goodness - so funny and all so true! I shy away from the gym for the very same reasons. I have actually laughed out loud at myself when I get brave and try a nautilus machine and then can't figure out what muscle group I'm targeting :) The analogy at the end is dead on. You're a super clever girl. I like it!

BoufMom9 said...

OMGOSH! Hilarious and so something I would do as I don't want to look like i don't know what I'm doing either. LOL

(to avoid that from happening, i just tend not to go. LOL)

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

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bernthis said...

been a gym rat my whole life. I am one of those fit women but allow me to tell you that there are some machines that leave me with my head spinning. Been in your shoes. Next time, screw everyone else. You paid to be there. Take your time.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Hysterical. I may or may not have peed my pants a little.

Kimberly said...

The reason I have never signed up at any fitness institution is because I have experience JUST like that one - in my HEAD. I've never even had courage enough to be in a position where it could happen, I just know myself well enough to know that it WOULD!

Jolene said...

OMW, that was too much! HILARIOUS! Thanks for sharing your moment of insecurity with us, so we can all feel better. LOL I also like the gym for my break from the kiddos!

myimaginaryblog said...

This was so funny. It's exactly how I feel at the gym (or, um, would, if I ever went. My few experiences like this one don't make me eager to go back.)

amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay said...

LOVE IT- we just started at our local rec center too. I KNOW THIS!

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