I’m not dead yet!

Bonus points if you just said, “Shut up, you big baby. You’ll be stone dead in a minute.”

Well, I did it. I went to the gym and came back again. I figured out the treadmill enough to do the first of the Couch To 5K runs, and then I stared, befuddled, at the different machines for resistance training.

I was about to give up and leave when I turned around and met a friend of mine. She’s amazing: could probably run a marathon if she wanted, writes, runs Girl Scouts, everything. She took pity on me and showed me how to use every single machine there. It was awesome.

At the end, she said, “There’s so much I didn’t know. I couldn’t really help you.”

But that’s not true at all, and I’ll tell you why. Because in the places where she didn’t know something, she figured it out. I watched her figuring it out. When she knew what to do, I would watch her, watch her form, and imitate her. And when she didn’t know what to do, I watched her, watched her form, and now I can imitate her in that too.

I walked in there assuming, for some reason, that everyone knows how to do all this stuff. On their first day, they just walked in and there was the knowledge, hanging before them like a shining sphere ready to be taken into the palm of their hand. And instead, my friend who’s been going there for ages, had to decipher some of these machines, figure out what they do and how to do it. It took maybe three minutes, and then she’d adjust the whole thing and suddenly: a workout.

So I ran. I pushed on things and pulled on other things. I got used to the feel of the place. But best of all, I can take my time and learn what I need to learn. The fitness police aren’t going to throw me into the parking lot for not knowing what a lateral row is.

And there you have it.


  1. diinzumo

    Those machines are daunting, and the exercises with the free weights are worse. Lat-pulldown-fly-pushthrough-pullup-plank-crunch-watcha-thingy… I’ve been at it since June and I still don’t have it all memorized. You can easily single me out of a workout crowd: I’m the one with the clipboard and the scowl of concentration.

    1. philangelus

      I was wondering about writing down which machines I use and how much weight I use on them. Right now it’s easy to figure out (“What’s the lowest possible setting?”) but it seems like there’s a lot to keep track of in terms of what muscle groups get worked out and how much weight. So it’s okay to carry around crib notes? 🙂

      1. diinzumo

        I’m trying to remember the strength test method. I think it was as much weight as you could use for 8-12 reps, with a goal of doing 15-20. But the best rule is whatever you’re comfortable with. I carry crib notes complete with seat settings, little stick-figure illustrations and rather rude descriptions scribbled hastily in the margins, but I could even print the official workout instructions out and carry a little notebook if I wanted. The gym generously provides pencils, clipboards and printouts.

        The programmed workout I use dedicates two sessions to upper body and one to legs. Every session involves abdominal work.

  2. Scott

    Good for you. Getting started is half the battle. (One I have yet to conquer) 🙁

    Now keeping with the routine is the next half. 🙂

    1. philangelus

      That’s where I’m most likely to fail. Unless I can make it a routine, I’m sunk.

  3. loriendil

    Go, go, Gadget, Jane!! *thumbs up*