A Geographical History of How I Never Learned to Exercise

When R.J and I first started dating way back in 2007 I used to sit on a box in his mother’s garage and watch him weight lift. He used this rusted metal barbell and rack his dad had sent him, the same one he’d flown with him on his tour in Afghanistan that now seemed very out of place in this cramped suburban garage. Granted, just sitting and watching him lift wasn’t the most entertaining of all dates–but there was something pretty damn impressive about watching someone exercise day after day without any chronic pain deterring them.

After a few weeks I decided that I wanted to start working out with him–and I don’t think anything could have made him happier.

So for a few brief sessions he taught me some stretches, worked with me on some significantly smaller dumbbells, and hustled me when I bitched and moaned about how badly everything hurt the next day.

I couldn’t seem to crack the code: how did he lift and stretch and crunch without his body feeling like it was going to fall to pieces every day?

My mother and I were the same way with exercise. We would not exercise on a regular basis, randomly decide to take an advanced Pilates class and then lay unmoving in bed for the next two weeks trying to unwind our abused muscles.

R.J had taught me how he worked out, but he had no idea how to teach me how to work out my body.

That’s why I was skeptical when I stared cardiac rehab–working out 2-3 times a week? How was that possible when I was in such bad shape? For the first few weeks I struggled to even walk fifteen minutes on the treadmill and I barely broke into a sweat after the full workout. It was disappointing to see how slow I was and frustrating to see 70-year-old women on higher levels than me.

But I had to face the facts:

-I had no idea how to exercise.

-I had no history of ever really exercising on a consistent basis.

-And I had just spent the last three months in a hospital bed being medicated out of my mind.

So it stood to reason that I’d be a little slow on the uptake.

I’m happy to report though that today one of the nurses described me as “an animal!” while I was on the treadmill.

This is what I’ve managed so far:

-Graduated from the recumbent bike completely.

-30 minutes on the treadmill at 3.5MPH at a .5 grade. (I’m almost jogging)

-20 minutes on the arm bike at level 3.

-55lbs on the leg lift for 3 reps. (15 lifts per rep)

– All arm exercises at 3lb weights.

Maybe to some people that might seem like a really “light” workout, and I hope that in a few more weeks I can look back on it and be like–why was I even remotely proud of that? I have arm muscles. I could be a tanktop model. Fuck 3lb weights. I’m a¬†monster.

But today is not that day.

However, I’m still going to pat myself on the back.

There, there¬†continent–you’re going from an Asia to an Australia.



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