January is when many people renew their interest in fitness. February is, uh, when I’m writing this post. And August of last year is when I started up a good and proper exercise routine again.
One of my dark secrets is: I like working out. Weight lifting and core exercises, the rowing machine, lots of walking, an interesting fitness class twice a week. The problem is, it’s 2014, and this fitness approach was all that in 1984. I’m supposed to be crossfitting six times a week in my Vibram shoes. Gnawing on sugar-free beef jerky dipped in coconut oil, washed down with a dairy-free kale-and-chia smoothie. Maximizing my calorie burn with high-intensity workout blasts!
As happens, I fell off the fitness trail in 2012. The new cafe lady at work turned out to be too good at cooking. I fell in love and started spending a lot of time across town – which meant less packed lunches from home. In March 2013, when some of my workmates wanted to do the Jillian Michaels “Shred” series of workshops, we did them religiously for two months. Then I went to the USA and, on my return, I found the workouts dull, and my workmates were either flu-stricken or suddenly too busy. It was time to take my fitness back into my own hands.
So, since last August, I have been spending my fitness money on training. Ten years of working out have shown me that’s how I get results. I’m paying for this, per month…about what the Crossfit people pay per month. My gym clothes come from the thrift store and my workout shoes are always on sale. There’s a gym where I work, which is great, and free, and fits in 1.5 hours of my weekly workouts over lunch breaks.
If I was actually exercising during this shot, my face would be clenched in a pink grimace. Also: note the gorgeous gym fluorescent light!
I recognize that I am incredibly privileged to be able to do this. What I do, when I’m in the fit living zone, takes between six and ten hours a week. Yes. The equivalent of a part time job. That time is spent exercising, preparing healthy food, and washing the portable containers for the healthy food. It’s enough of a time and money commitment that I said to my partner, “Hey, this is a thing that is changing my activities and budget – let’s talk about this.” That has led to a lot more kale on my plate, evening walks, and dance class attendance.
Scrunching myself on the floor: a privilege.
In the fitness narrative beloved by mainstream media, this is the point where I should share with you my Magnificent Transformation Tale. But that’s somebody else’s story, I think. I’m holding up on all-day travel walks, my features and waistline are cleaner-cut, and…I’m still doing the stuff. Most importantly, it’s working with the rest of my life, even when work is giving me a hammering and someone dear is in the hospice.
I’ve been passing some of these fitness-related books and links around my friends in real life, so I should share them with you, too.
- Stumptuous - Former women’s studies professor turned personal trainer and food activist. This site is a blog that’s calmed down into a resource site with occasional updates.
- Cranky Fitness - What could be better than the title of this fitness blog? Only the blogger’s name, Cranky McSlacker. “One of the founding principles of Cranky Fitness is: Healthy Living is a Pain in the Ass.“
- Greta Christina – One of the few bloggers discussing fitness/weight loss who asks “How, exactly, do you lose weight while maintaining progressive ideals about body image?”
- Train Like A Man, Eat Like A Woman – Two big fitness-diet trends right now are paleo and intermittent fasting – trends that, for women, don’t always lead to desired results. “In the end, you have to find the nutriton style that works for you.”
- Two good books to read when you’re thinking about food and health: Laura Fraser’s Losing It: America’s Obsession with Weight and the Industry that Feeds On It and M.F.K. Fisher’s An Alphabet for Gourmets. She talks about food in the context of the hungers of the heart – food and sorrow, solitary eating, social eating.
- In Defense of Disgusting Gym Clothes – Looking cute while you schvitz has only just arrived in Wellington. There is a Lululemon “pop-up” outlet here, where the staff seem rather more interested in yoga and gossip with each other than in selling garments. I’ll stick with the thrift store, thanks.