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Posts Tagged ‘gym’

I tried on a new bikini last night and didn’t hate myself.

For the record, today is January 20, meaning I tried on a bikini in the dead of winter and didn’t hate myself. That’s next-level crazy.

pants

Clearly not a bikini shot, but I’m loving my strong legs these days. Also my lion’s head garbage can.

 

By no means was there an Instagram faux-perfect body staring back at me. First of all, I’m paler than any swimsuit model would dare to be. Six-pack abs still elude me, mostly because I’m not giving up ALL of the good things in life, like the occasional glass of wine and chocolate croissant. The thighs could be spindlier, but they just don’t seem to want to (even when I was seriously tracking meals and workouts and weight and body fat percentage, they didn’t want to be tiny).

What I saw in the mirror was … OK. My abs are in good shape (I have a little oblique action going on). I’m loving my arms and shoulders — although my lifting game is not impressive weight-wise, my tiny muscles are a joy.

Finally, my legs are STRONG. They have a few muscle cuts. They can climb and lift, which in the end is more important than being skinny.

At 43 years old, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, and I feel fabulous.

Over the past few years, I started rethinking my nutrition and fitness goals. I stopped having a “goal weight” (I have no idea what I weigh right now, but my clothes fit the same week after week, so SCORE). I began to pursue weightlifting not as a weight-loss activity, but as a bone-building, let-see-what-these-muscles-can-do activity. I’m not lifting super heavy – my condo gym is small and frequently not populated with spotters, so I have to lift only what I can safely carry (a good travel rule for suitcases, too).

The husband helped me make a standing desk for work – it’s hard to get sleepy after lunch if you’re on your feet.

The biggest changes I’ve made have involved food. I cook. A LOT. We eat more whole foods than processed foods. Note I didn’t say NO processed foods – we still eat meatballs from the Trader Joe’s freezer. I still make a weekly trip to Moe’s Southwest Grill with the office crew (Moe’s Monday waits for no one). We eat the occasional frozen chicken burrito at home (a Trader Joe’s original, yet again).

But for breakfast? Oatmeal. Not instant. Sometimes steel-cut. Topped with cinnamon, walnuts and raisins.

Lunch? Leftover quinoa. Always a salad (sometimes only a salad) with good greens, grape tomatoes, feta and sometimes banana peppers. I like the Caesar dressing from Trader Joe’s, but after reading  about “natural flavors” in The Dorito Effect, I’m considering just topping my greens with a little vinegar.

Dinner? I have a great recipe for chicken tacos from The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook by my favorite cookbook authors at America’s Test Kitchen. Also included in that book is a stuffed manicotti recipe – that one is a two-day affair, since it’s easier to make the sauce one day and complete the dish the second day.

We eat a lot (A LOT) of cheese and salad. I make a mean meatloaf. The aforementioned meatballs come into play at least once a week with my homemade marinara sauce – sometimes with stuffed ravioli (yo, Trader Joe’s again), sometimes on a bun from Publix for sandwiches (although I’m notorious for leaving at least half of the bun on my plate – simple carbs aren’t taboo, but they aren’t a requirement, either).

I drink a lot of water. And a bit of coffee. The occasional glass or three of wine.

Perfect dietary guidelines? No. Better than some, worse than others, but it’s working for me. My meal-planning is a combination of deciding what I would really enjoy and what’s good for my body. Not good as in, oh, this will keep/make me skinny, but good as in, oh, this will help with today’s deadlifts, or help me stay upright and focused while I finish making this presentation.

Good as in, I tried on a new bikini last night and didn’t hate myself.

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I don’t know why flagrantly bad customer service still shocks me, but it does.

I’ve been trying to join a gym this week. When my husband accepted his great new job a couple of weeks ago, I lost access to his uncrowded, well-appointed company gym. My inner cheerleader was all, “Yay, dynamic career move,” while my inner weightlifter was all, “Crap, now I’ll have to wait for bench time again.” 

I qualify for a significant discount at this gym, which I’ll call Party A. I’ve been a member there before, so no worries, right? 

Worries. Oh yes, worries.

Clerks who don’t want to explain, just process paperwork, even if it’s wrong. Managers who ignore polite e-mails. Clerks who do explain things, but only to inform me that they work for Party B, a contractor for Party A, and therefore can’t really help me. Clerks who insist that both clients (me and the husband) fill out our paperwork at the same time because they might lose it before he returns to complete his part of it.

Essentially, this gym is doing its best to avoid accepting hundreds of dollars a year from me.

I’ve been nice. I’ve been beyond nice. If anybody deserves good customer service for being polite and helpful, it’s me. A combination of Southern manners and unspoken inner apology for actually using the services of customer service personnel (I know, issues) means I’m on my best behavior. I’m the most awesome customer you ever want to cause problems for.

Yesterday, after having had no gym access for more than a week, I gave in and stopped by my neighborhood gym, which is run by the homeowner’s association.

The last time I was there, it was a small, humid little room stuffed with a couple of weird weight machines, a few dumbbells, a stairstepper and two stationary bicycles. It was frequented by a few guys attempting to lift weights on a laughably small mat, and a bunch of retirees pedaling in place while watching Oprah reruns.

It’s since been renovated. It still contains the weird weight machines and a few dumbbells, but the association has tripled the space and added more cardio equipment. It’s much less humid, though there seems to be an inordinate number of roach motels lining the walls, a condition that I choose to ignore for now.  

It is, appropriately enough, entirely adequate for my gym needs.

I guess I should thank Parties A and B for their complete ineptitude and disregard for minimal customer appreciation, since their neglect led me to find a useful resource that is a mere half mile from my home, not to even mention the money they’re saving me every month.

Still, chasing customers away and playing the “I’m just a contractor” card is really bad long-term strategy. Eventually, those lost and angry clients will add up.

In the meantime, though, I’ve got a whole season’s worth of Oprah reruns to watch with Betty, provided I can get Carl to turn off Fox News.

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