Feelin’ the Burn


I am so not an athlete.

I mean, really.  Not. An. Athlete.

For years, when asked what I did to work out, my answer was “Chop, stir, saute and chew.”  I have always hated the gym and everything associated with it.  If I’m going to sweat, I damn well better be on a beach.  If I’m going to feel pain in my muscles, it better be either from giving birth or from rocking a baby.   Exercise for its own sake has always struck me as a complete waste of my precious, precious time.

But everything has changed.

See, I recently developed high blood pressure.  It lasted for a while, so my doctor wanted me to have it checked by a specialist.  And off I went to the cardiology clinic, where I was greeted by the world’s best looking medical specialist.  Warm smile, sexy crinkles next to his sky blue eyes, soft voice, strong hands……Let me just say that when he found my pulse to be on the higher side, the response that leapt to mind was this: “Maybe you should take your hand off my chest.”

So when Dr. Heartthrob (I can’t help it!) told me that I really needed to lower my blood pressure, I felt compelled to try.  In the first place, there is NO WAY I would consider saying “no” to this man.  Ever.  If you get my drift.

In the second place, I would really like very much to live long enough to hold and cuddle my as yet unborn-unplanned-unthought of grandchildren.  Its looking like I need to stick around for quite a while if I am going to reach my goal of baking gingerbread men with my grandbabies.

So.

I have cut way way way down on my salt.  Good bye Romano cheese!  Good bye delicious olives!  I will miss you, anchovies!   I have even cut back on my alcohol consumption.  This is not fun, but without the olives and cheese, its easier to give up the glasses of wine. Sigh.

Worst of all, I have gone out and bought an elliptical machine, which I fondly refer to as “The demon torture machine”.  The first time I climbed on it, I lasted a full 8 minutes before collapsing into a sweaty, shaking mess.

After two months, though, I am now able to walk/glide/push/pedal my flabby old body for 45 full minutes of elliptical blood pressure lowering magic!   Huzzah!

This is the point, according to all of my athletic friends, when I am supposed to be feeling the joy of the burn. I should, theoretically, be cheering myself on, feeling the euphoric endorphin high of the workout and generally loving every minute of my elliptical experience.

Yeah.  No.

Here is the truth of how I feel about working out for 45 minutes at a time, five days a week.

It sucks. It sucks wicked.

Just to get myself on that stupid thing, I have to be able to watch something totally riveting on TV.  Something like “Long Island Medium” or “Psychic Kids” or “The Colbert Report”.  That way I can pedal for what feels like days as I let my mind be absorbed by the show.  I only look at the timer when the commercials come on.

4 minutes and 15 seconds have elapsed.

“What?!  This stupid thing is broken! I am not going to look again until I’m positive ten minutes have gone by!”

5:00

“Gah!  My back hurts!  My legs are cramping!  I can’t breathe………”

6:12

“I’m thirsty.  I’m hungry.  Don’t look at the timer.  Don’t look at the timer. Don’t look at the timer. (gasp, gasp)

8:31 have elapsed.

“It’s broken!  It’s broken, I tell you!  I’ve been on here for a week!  WAIT!?  Did my heart just skip a beat?  Am I having a heart attack!  OH, MY, GOD!  I’m going to die of a heart attack while I’m doing my cardio routine! Do. Not. Look!”

12:10

“This can’t be right.  This can’t be helping!  My butt hurts!  Oh, God, there goes my heart again! I’m sorry, I can’t do this!  I’ll just do 20 minutes, then I’ll lie.  To myself.  Later.”

15:23 have elapsed.

“One third of the way!  But my heart HURTS!  I don’t want to die!  I want to see my kids again! I want to see Paul again!  I want to eat pumpkin ice cream one more time…….pant,pant,pant.”

And this is how it goes for the full 45 minutes.  At no time do I feel virtuous, or strong or euphoric.  Mostly, I feel like I want to kill someone.  Maybe someone with a cardiology degree.  Then I want to lie down and feed myself some cheesecake.

So to all you athletes out there: You are full of crap.  It doesn’t feel good.  It hurts and its all sweaty and stinky and nasty.

To Dr. Heartthrob: If my blood pressure doesn’t go down, and I die in spite of all this suffering and sacrifice, I am so going to haunt you and bother you and give YOU a big old heart attack.

So there.

21 thoughts on “Feelin’ the Burn

  1. Oh, I feel your pain. Literally. I am trying to lose weight and exercising is part of it. Because of health reasons, though all I can do is walk. So I set a board across the arms of our treadmill and put my laptop on it and read blogs. It’s hard to leave comments, and zeroing in on the “Like” button is a challenge, but I forget I’m doing it. sometimes.

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    • Oh, I wish I could blog, or read while I’m on that stupid thing! I keep playing mind games with myself, but they are just not working!
      I hate exercise. Blah! And as for the weight loss…..I’m so damn hungry when I get off, that I’m getting no where!

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      • My dietitian says to eat more protein (not Atkins, but still) I’m actually not hungry believe it or not. Lots of eggs (ho hum). Of course I haven’t lost much. But I feel better.

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  2. Oh how can you speak so harshly to Dr. Hearthrob? And I’m going in record as saying – yes it really does suck but – you look marvelous. 🙂 uh oh feeling that plaque build up coming on! 😉

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    • You, my darling athletic, skinny friend, are one of the very “full of it” people to whom I was referring!
      I haven’t lost an ounce, because I keep making up for the calorie burn with more toast.
      Ach, vell!

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  3. Oh my word – you really did make me laugh out loud. I do the same thing on my treadmill. (I have a dream of owning an eliptical one day….) I tape my shows and fast forward through the commercials but still…. Every 5 minutes or so I can’t resist looking at the timer.
    If it makes you feel any better I’ve been daily fast walking for two and a half years now and while I love that I eventually lost 50 pounds and lowered my blood pressure and cholesterol I still have to force myself to get my time in some days. Some of us just weren’t born to be “gym girls” I guess.
    Keep up the good work!!

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  4. I couldn’t make myself use my rowing machine every day. No way. I have to dust it off before I use it. I’m making a sincere effort to get outside at lunchtime at work and walk or jog. I’ve got to have some scenery and fresh air when I exercise. Plus, it calms me down and I’m much less likely to slap my coworkers when I return. This weekend: Several hours of picking up leaves. I just don’t really like the machine form of exercise, but bravo to you for finding your way to it. As far as the salt stuff, be sure to consider the salt content of everything, because it’s shocking how much salt is added to our processed foods. Look at the labels and try for a sodium content around 2-5%. It’s hard to imagine, but one can get used to having less salt.

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    • I so agree on the fresh air and “real exercise!” But my doc was adamant that the exercise has to be aerobic in nature, and I can’t run because it hurts the knees, back and feet (and we have no sidewalks out here in the woods!) As for the sodium, I use literally no processed foods. I’m kind of a home cook nut job, so I make everything myself. That’s why cutting it down is hard; I don’t even eat that much (other than my olives, cheese and anchovy!)

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  5. I am so with you. Let me refresh your memory of my love/hate relationship with my treadmill: http://bethcobiski.blogspot.com/2012/05/lovehate-relationship.html. There is also an email I have seen a few times about a woman who receives a gift of a personal trainer for a month. She initially loves him, worships him and doesn’t want to disappoint him. Soon thereafter she is cursing him, his early morning workouts, his stupid rowing machine, etc. Sounds like Dr. Heartthrob!

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  6. Ok I have been faithful about going to the gym every other day but I hate it too:( It only allows me to have my wine/cosmos and everything else that I eat that is bad for me and burn them off. I am bored there too, I try to change up the routine try different machines or combos of ones and I still am not a fan but I do say I feel glad that I did it when I am walking out the door. Last Thursday night a co-worker talked me into doing a booty camp class. OMG my legs were seriously shaking when attempting to do some of these exercises, the next day not only was I walking like Herman Munster I could not touch my thighs without experiencing pain. I guess they say no pain, no gain but I’m with you I wish it was more fun. My favorite form of exercise is walking, I do love walking and have taken up snowshoeing to get myself out there in the winter time. But other than walking I am not a fan of any other form of exercise either, I do it because I have to, not because I want to:(

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