I had to face facts; I'm pushing 50 and the work out routine I've adhered to for years and years just ain't cutting it any longer. It's not that I'm overweight or even out of shape (that much), it's more that I feel what I've been doing isn't getting me any results. Plus, I'm totally bored with it ("it" being going to the gym and jumping on the elliptical machine for 20-30 minutes, then doing ab work either at the gym or with my ab roller at home).
I thought joining the Y would help; give me the opportunity to join in on some classes and use all of the cool machines. I tried one class and felt uncomfortable. I am, by nature, a loner, not a joiner. Not to mention, I looked like a total fool because I couldn't do the basic moves very well at all (and this was a class for BEGINNERS!) Plank = fall over on my face. T-Ups? No freakin' way.
I had one of the volunteers show me the nautilus equipment (much of which I'd used sometime in a past life at one gym or another). Issue with this was primarily getting the opportunity to get onto the equipment; the "machine hogs" abounded and there is nothing more frustrating (and discouraging) than attempting to do a routine and not being able to get through your entire circuit in a reasonable amount of time. Oh, and every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 11-12 there was a senior citizen group working the circuit and I wasn't allowed to jump in.
I finally decided to avail myself of the personal trainers at the Y. I figured why not, the cost for one session was nominal and I definitely needed to learn something new.
It took a while but I eventually ended up one Friday morning a few weeks back meeting with a lady named Felisa. Prior to our appointment, we'd chatted back and forth via email so that she knew what my goals were, what I was and was not interested in, etc. So, she was prepared.
First off, they matched me up with a great trainer for me because Felisa is 54 years old, and, let me tell you, she looks great and not in that sorta creepy woman looks like a man way but simply in fantastic shape. Not too skinny but fit, toned and strong.
We spent about an hour together and it was well worth the $55. I'd told her I wanted a routine that was portable; meaning, I could do it anywhere. Yeah, I intend to mostly work out at the Y (especially as I'm still going to avail myself of the elliptical machines and maybe even the treadmills and stationary bikes) but there will be times when I won't be near a gym and I don't want this to be an excuse not to work out. Walking the dog helps, but, it's not the most vigorous of activities (Lucy starts to drag after a few minutes of walking at a good clip).
Although many of the exercises she put in my routine are familiar (chest press, chest fly, bicep curls, bent-over rows), she introduced several new ones that addressed the issue I've been having with my knees (I'm sorry, I just HATE lunges and squats). She showed me reverse lunges and curtsy lunges and one-leg dead lifts and step-ups, all of which appear to be quite effective (judging from the soreness in my hamstrings and quads) but have not caused any knee pain. She is a firm believer that women should be able to do real push ups (this from her background in self-defense, apparently, this type of upper body strength is crucial to fighting off would-be attackers). Well, this chickie can't do ANY push ups, real or otherwise. So, she has me doing push ups off the kitchen counter. She says if I pump out 10 a few times each day, sooner or later, I'll work my way down to the floor. We'll see, but, I can manage to do these fairly easily so she's probably right.
In addition to the free weight routines, she showed me some new conditioning activities (to be done before anything else) and then core work (the last thing I do). I can assure you, both the conditioning and core work are definitely a challenge.
So, now, here is a representative new routine for me:
Plank Jacks. Think this is easy? You try it!
T-Ups AKA Plank Twist. Wow. I'm lucky I haven't fallen over (yet!)
20-30 minutes on the elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike.
Upper Body (Alternating Days)
Chess Press or Chest Flys.
Triceps Dips. Yowie!
Arnold Press. This works the entire shoulder area.
Overhead Pull. As far as I can tell (and feel), this appears to work every muscle from my shoulders to my gut).
Bent Over Rows or One Arm Rows.
Lower Body (Alternating Days)
One Leg Dead-Lifts.
Ab Roll Outs. For this, you use this wheel thing. I keep worrying that I'll roll out right onto my face but I haven't yet!
Reverse Swivel Crunch. This one is uncomfortably hard.
Planks. This one actually feels pretty good at the end of a long hard work out.
Pulls-Ins with Stability Ball. Thank goodness we have one of these balls at home so I don't have to embarrass myself in public.
A stint at the gym now takes a little more than an hour, which feels right.
I went out and bought a yoga mat plus an ab wheel so I can now do everything at home. I also started doing a few more ab exercises because I want to work on that area.
A final remark on my new routine; it can be changed up quite easily and/or things added to make the routine more challenging. Plus, Felisa said she had "lots more" to show me if and when I get bored. Not to mention, while searching for images to post with this entry, I've already discovered several new variations on what I'm doing. Also, I think it's really cool that the majority of the resistance I'm getting is from using my own body. Talk about a cheap way to get fit; not a lot of equipment required (and much of what is required is readily available (e.g., a wall, a chair, a bench, the floor).
Watch out. I'm heading towards KICK ASS! I'm the new (almost) 50.