Category — Exercise torture

The only thing missing were the grapes

After a full day face planted in front of the computer, I thought it would be a good idea if I got my ass up and went to the gym.  Normally I like to get rid of some stress by doing a spin class but this time I headed to the gym’s main cardiovascular room.    Which, at the East Bank Club, resembles a small unincorporated township.  Massive.

Oprah and Obama have worked out in this room.

As I walked past rows of equipment, my eyes spot a new row of elliptical machines.  (This club upgrades equipment like most people change towels, so there is always something new to try.)

In addition to the huge flat screens mounted on the walls, some of the exercise machines have individual TVs.  This was one of them.  You just plug in your earphones and jump on.

So, there I was.  Pumping my arms and legs back and forth, watching my heart rate, calorie burn and a reality TV show which shall be nameless.

A little ironic that I'm watching a woman consume 1,000 calories while trying to burn off a fraction of that.

And then I saw it.  A small button on the control console that said “fan.”  What the….?!  Fan?!  This thing has a fan?!!  No way.

So I press the button.  Suddenly air whooshes out of the console up toward my face.  OMG.  Hilarious.

Let me get this straight.  This thing has a place to hold my water, a personal TV, heart rate monitor…and now a fan, perfectly aimed at my face, to cool me down.

Just one question.  Isn’t a cute trainer supposed to be feeding me grapes long about now?

April 22, 2012   Comments Off on The only thing missing were the grapes

Why my ears almost left my head today

I normally go to spin class on Tuesdays and Fridays during lunch, but I thought it would a good idea to start the new year right by going today.  I checked my health club’s schedule and saw that there was a 11:30 a.m. class.  After logging a few hours at the computer doing end-of-the-year paperwork, I jumped into the car and raced to the class.

Walking into the room, I noticed the instructor.  Someone I didn’t recognize from some of the other classes I’ve attended.  She was a pleasant, pretty blond.  I am guessing she was about 40 years old.

She announced to the class that she was excited to be doing this New Year’s Day class.  In preparation, she had pulled about four hours of music from which to choose.  She said it was hard for her to boil her choices down to 45 minutes, but she was sure that we were going to love her selections.

Cool.  Brand new year.  High-energy spinning class.  I was ready to get my biking groove on.

So, I’m trying to guess what the first song was going to be.  Flo Rida?  Lady Gaga?  Taio Cruz? Nikki Minaj?  Chris Brown?  David Guetta?

I adjust the bike, jump into the saddle and set the resistance.   She leans over and plugs in her iPod into the room’s sound system.

I hear the first few notes.  I’m like….dude…seriously?!   Led fucking Zepplin?!!  This is a spinning class in 2012, not a bong party in the 70s!

I look around the room and everyone has this stunned expression on their faces.  They are probably thinking what I am thinking.  This is a warm up song.  This can’t be the vibe for the rest of the class.

Unfortunately it was.  With the exception of an Amy Winehouse song and a White Stripes track, everything she played was originally released on an LP.  (I started to expect Roaring 20s music.)

To make matters worse, she kept exclaiming at the beginning of every track, “Oh, you are going to love this one.”

Yeah, maybe in 1972, but today…not so much.   (Who picks an Amy Winehouse song for a spinning class?!!  Somebody who is trying to get you to commit suicide while on a bike?!!)

We segued from James Brown to the worst of Motown to the Doors.  I kept looking around the room for a lava lamp and a black light poster.

We struggled through 45 minutes of this aural torture and then some guy with a Scottish accent in the back of the room says, “You actually have four hours of this stuff, huh.  I am so grateful this class is ending.”

I almost fell off the bike laughing, but not before I shouted out, “I’m with him.”

It was so Norma Rae of me, don’t you think?

This was met with, “Oh, come on you guys.  You can’t be serious.  This is great music.”

Yeah, maybe if you are about to have root canal.  Or trying to entertain people in an assisted living home.  But for a spinning class in 2012?

Hell to the no!!

At the end of the 45 minutes, Miss I’m Going to Ignore the Class’s Feedback, asks if she should extend the class by playing more music.

No, no, NO!!  Please stop!!  I’ll give you the PINs to all of my accounts if you could please stop playing this shit immediately.

I get off the bike and walk by the Scottish dude.  I quietly say to him, if I stay in this room one more minute my ears are going to propel themselves off of my head.  He starts laughing loudly.

Decades after leaving school, I continue to disrupt the class.  Finally, something I can be proud of on this first day of the new year.

Wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2012.   Thanks very much for supporting Rantopolis in 2011.

January 1, 2012   Comments Off on Why my ears almost left my head today

Spinning out of control

I know it’s a little lame, but that’s what just popped into my head regarding my experience at spinning class earlier in the day.

Who knew that I would actually look forward to my biweekly visits to the spinning torture chamber.  But along with the high I get from the workout, other forces can be at play which drive me a little crazy.

Here’s what happened during today’s class.

1.  I threw my stuff in front of one of the stationery bikes and proceeded to make the adjustments to the seat, handlebars, etc.  It took a couple of minutes to make sure everything was positioned so that I could have a great ride.  I clipped myself into the pedals and started to warm up.

That’s when it became obvious that the tuberculosis queen was biking next to me.  Sniffle, sniffle, hack, hack.  Repeatedly.  I turned and said…”Oh, you have a cold? ” “Yes,” she replied.  “But I’m sure I am not contagious.”

Great.  Not only is she spreading a virus.  It’s clearly affected her brain and she is delusional.  I’m sure I am now incubating ebola.

2.  In the middle of the class, I suddenly find myself being gassed to death.  Someone’s anal cavity was pumping out vast quantities of methane.  In layman’s terms, someone had turned farting into an Olympic sport.   Seriously, people.  Put a cork in it.  Or avoid having beans for breakfast if you are going to be cycling during lunch.

3.  Towards the end of the class, during a particularly difficult hill climb, a guy started barking.  Yes, barking.  I thought to myself, sweet Jesus.  First there’s Typhoid Mary, then we have the Flatulence King and now we have Dog Boy.

On the positive side, the instructor played two Prince songs during the ride.  The circumstances put new meaning into “I will die 4 u.”

October 18, 2011   4 Comments

Weekend themes: chocolate, running, fabric

Earlier today, I saw a frightening number on the scale.  Blame it on a detour to Kilwin’s Fudge in Chicago’s Old Town Friday night.  (Really blame it on my friend Maria who spotted the new store as we came out of a sushi restaurant.  You don’t want to know the names I called her prior to succumbing to the gravitational pull of the store.)

First we were assaulted by the candy counter.  Rich, enrobed chocolates, pieces of English toffee….just tray after tray of delicious little morsels just screaming to join their predecessors already positioned on my hips and thighs.

We muscled our way through that section and down the stairs to the ice cream counter.

She had enough self control to order one scoop of ice cream, but oh, no …not me.  I went in for the double scoop of chocolate peanut butter.  The only thing that was missing was the insulin syringe.  (Trust me.  I asked. They thought I was being funny. Not.)

This whole excursion was followed by me trying to install her new DVR box.  (Maria, you may recall from an earlier post has the tech knowledge of a gecko.)

I managed to get everything working except for the remote.  (We get the green screen of death, when trying to turn the TV/cable box on via remote.)  Right now she has to manually plug and unplug the TV and cable box into the wall socket.  It’s currently the un-remote, remote.  All will be fixed later in the week when the cable company tech makes a house call.  (Which, no doubt, I will be called upon to supervise.)

What did you expect from me?  I was in the throws of a sugar rush.  I did the best I could.

Okay, so fast forward to today.

I’m sitting here all sweaty right now.  I forced myself to go for a 45 minute run along Chicago’s lakefront.  It’s Sunday.  It’s summer.  And I’m out of excuses.

The good part is, I did it.  The bad part is that several people passed me.  They were walking. (That one guy who was about as tall as a Sequoia probably could have passed me if I were driving 40 miles an hour, so I’m not counting him.)  But just in general, I’m pretty sure running means that you should actually be moving faster than pedestrians.

Apparently my speed is just one more thing I need to work on.

Beachy shirt

But there were a few people that I actually did pass.  Like the guy who was wearing a flowered shirt with palm fronds who was sauntering along.  (I actually stopped for about 10 seconds to take a photo of him, because his shirt pattern was very closely resembles the sofa cushions at my Florida condo.)

Beachy couch

Apparently he and I are both suckers for palm fronds on a red background.

I actually think if he sat on my couch in that shirt, he would totally blend in.

So there you have it.  Chocolate, running and fabric.

Hope everyone had a great weekend.

June 19, 2011   Comments Off on Weekend themes: chocolate, running, fabric

Health club true confessions #1

I belong to a fantastic health club.  Been a member for the past 18 years.  You name it, they got it.  Four floors, one huge city block square. The place is a veritable altar of fitness.  Classes, machines, every racket sport you can think of, swimming pools.  You get the idea.  Heck, even Obama and Oprah are members.

So, can someone tell me why lately I’ve been using it for only mani/pedis and massages?!

Nevermind.  We all know the reason. It is because I am an undisciplined lazy fuck.

There.  I said it.

With last weekend’s 40th high school reunion fresh on my mind, I decided it was time to (once again) recommit myself to a serious cardio program.  So, this morning I went for a brisk walk.  And this afternoon, before the massage at the club, I engaged in a serious tug of war with one of the elliptical machines.

I believe I felt my little endorphins fist bumping.

With the massage over at 3:30 pm, I still had not eaten lunch.  Someone needs to call CNN.

You have to understand.  I’m not one of those people who has a little food alarm that goes off as meal time approaches.  Oh no.  My body reacts as if a thermonuclear device has been detonated.  It’s like a growl from the bowels of hell that says:  Feed me now, bitch or else I will plunge your blood sugar level down to a place where decimal points are involved.

You think I’m exaggerating?  Fine.  Come visit me at 1:30 pm some day when my lunch has been delayed.  (It might be a good idea to wear a Kevlar vest.)

So before heading to the roof deck for some sun after the massage, I thought it would be a great idea to pick up a drink from the smoothie bar.

Yeah, I’m well aware that some of those have more calories than a bacon double cheeseburger.

Never in a million years would I thought of combining peanut butter with blueberries, plus soy milk, almonds and a couple of other fruits. Which I can’t really remember right now since I’ve not had any solid food since breakfast, so please don’t expect peak mental performance out of me.

However, let me just say…dee-lish.  I would have taken a photo to include in this post, but I was waaay too focused on sucking it down.  (If you have seriously bad short-term memory, scoot up a couple of paragraphs and reread the part of what happens to me when I am hungry.)

So, now I need to head to the kitchen where I’m about to wrestle with a squid.  Rinse, slice, broil and throw on top of a yummy Greek salad.

Afterall, I need to fortify myself for tomorrow.  The painters are showing up at 8:30 a.m.

Yippee.  Multiple butt cracks in my immediate future.

June 5, 2011   Comments Off on Health club true confessions #1

Pulp Fiction day at the gym

As part of my weekly exercise program designed to keep my ass fat to a level that does not require a belt extender when flying, I work out once week with a personal trainer.   Said workout takes place at a very large gym which is exclusively used by many personal trainers to put their clients through a wide variety of torturous exercises.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I enjoy people watching.  Always have.  I tend to see something eyeball-rolling or laughter-inducing every time I leave the house.  (Like the time I walked past a woman on a major Chicago street who had tied her dog up to a random fence and proceeded to groom him right there on the sidewalk.  Not like a little brushing.  I mean like a barber shop worth of tools.  Hair balls flying everywhere.  How is that even normal?)

Back to the gym.  Normally, I see a few wacky things during the course of the workout, but today was full-fledged Clockwork Orange.  Let me share.

Exhibit A. New mom (also a personal trainer) decided to bring her baby in.  Baby was strapped into a carrier that was on her chest.  Trainer mom, would lift weights and instruct her client with the baby jiggling around the carrier.  Breast feeding could not have been far behind.  Two words.  Day care.

Exhibit B. Another female trainer was wearing short shorts cut up to her ying yang.  Put new meaning into the words “camel toe” if you know what I am saying.  Those things were so tight I’m stunned that the blood flow to her femoral artery hasn’t been shut off.  Three words: Buy a mirror.

Exhibit C. Walking in today, I see a muscular guy doing pull ups.  He’s got a weight belt around his middle which is pretty normal.  However, as I gaze downward, I see a super thick chain extending from the front part of the weight belt.  That’s my trigger to go into freak alert. He has two kettle balls dangling from the end of the chain.  All that was needed to complete the look was a mask, a choke collar and a gag.  A whole sentence:  The Marquis de Sade would have been proud.

Exhibit D. Lastly we have the jiu-jitsu class in the corner.  Have you ever seen jiu jitsu being practiced upfront and personal?  No?  It’s defined as a martial arts form that includes “grappling on the ground.”  (Ahh…that’s what they are calling it now.) Well, then, from what I’ve seen, no need to spend your hard-earned dollars on pay-per-view adult movies.  Just come to the gym.  Three letters. XXX

The lesson here? If you really want to get your freak on while building muscles and burning calories, skip the dance clubs and head straight for the gym.

March 16, 2011   Comments Off on Pulp Fiction day at the gym

It’s the little things…

Temps reached the mid-40s today in Chicago and it was sunny.

You woulda thought somebody won the Power Ball.

Jog cam

We Midwesterners are hardy stock.  And we Chicagoans know one two things for certain.  The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in more than a hundred years and that winter is going to suck.  It’s fine if we bitch about it, but the second someone from another part of the country starts in with “I have no idea why you people live there,” we want to beat them upside the head with a deep-dish pizza.

After two months of working out indoors with both a virtual and a real trainer (two different entities.  I haven’t had my psychotic break with reality yet), I am ready to run outdoors.  What better place to jog through than Lincoln Park and the zoo.

Small problem.  With the exception of some sea lions swimming around a huge pool and a lazy polar bear, no visible animals.

My guess?  They are all sitting in a time-share ark in Cozumel.  Somehow the sea lions and the polar bear got unfriended.

Spring can’t come fast enough.  And maybe this year, the Cubs can…..oh, nevermind!

March 1, 2011   Comments Off on It’s the little things…

I’m being yelled at by an avatar

Yes, that’s right.  Four times a week at about 7-ish a.m., Nikki the Avatar (whom I refer to as Nikki the Bitch) yells at me.

Apparently, it is not enough to have crabby shouty business people segue in and out of my life. Since the beginning of January, I’ve also invited a computer-generated avatar to yell at me.  Cause apparently you just can’t have enough shouting in your life.

My flat screen is yelling at me.

Let me introduce you to Nikki.  She’s on the right with the orange tank.  That’s me, or more correctly, my avatar is on the left.

My day begins with my strapping arm band sensors on both forearms and on my right thigh.  (Don’t go there.)  The band on the left forearm also acts as a heart rate monitor.  This enables my avatar to mimic my movements.

From the moment the sensors are activated, I have to follow Nikki’s lead.  If not…she will yell at me.  This is what my life has become.

Every workout is different, but I typically end up running, mountain biking, boxing, basketball/soccer drills, skipping and squats and more.  Usually about 35 or so exercises lasting about 45 minutes or so.

Let me stress the squats.  Lots and lots of freaking squats.  I hate squats. Despise, loathe and seriously can’t stand squats.

Sumo squats, stride jump squats, squats with resistance bands….pretty much every variation of squats.  Accompanied by sweating. Lots of sweating.  I hate sweating.  But not as much as I hate squats.  Are you getting the message? Squats and sweating.  Hate ’em.

See the heart rate monitor and calorie counter on the top left part of the screen?  (Nikki has the highest security clearance possible.  Translation?  She knows my weight so my actual calorie burn can be calculated.  Not my fake driver’s license weight or the “lie by 10 pounds best friend telling” weight.  Nikki knows my real weight.  You know what this means, right?  I will eventually have to kill her.  Just sayin’.)

During our 45 minute session, I usually burn close to 300 calories.  Mostly because I try to stay on maximum effort.  Cause if I do, Nikki won’t yell at me.  And, that means I can hit the shower more quickly.

If she’s yelling that means the sensors are telling her I’m not doing something right.  Which also means the clock stops.  And that means the workout could theoretically last until lunch.  Which also would mean that I would be forced eat the flat screen TV.

Also, just sayin’.

February 15, 2011   Comments Off on I’m being yelled at by an avatar

Middle-aged women: losing weight tutorial

Weight loss articles usually don’t make me convulse in laughter, but I ran across one today that did.

Cut to the chase, I’d rather die grossly obese with blood pressure in the low 200s than try to follow this little torture program.

Tip #1.  Exercise one hour per day.  Sure no problem.  That’ll happen as soon as I get the memo announcing that a day now has 30 hours.  Here’s the thing.  I’m already exercising five days a week, usually 30 to 45 minutes each time.   You want me to exercise one hour every day?  Great.  Lemme know who will be interfacing with my clients, assisting my elderly mother and watching reality TV on my behalf.

Tip #2.  Step up the intensity of your exercise. Oh, right.  Like I’ve been reading romance novels while casually step dancing?!  The article gives an example of a person who weighs 180 pounds and cycles 14 miles per hour can burn in excess of 800 calories.

Umm…if you are a middle-aged woman, weighing 180 pounds and can cycle anywhere close to two-digits per hour then I think you should get a Nike commercial contract.  Trust me…I’ve cycled plenty during warm weather.  My goal is covering something close to 10 miles per hour.  Exerting myself to that degree usually means that my heart is beating through my chest, my legs are cramping and I’m sweating blood.   Fourteen miles per hour?  The only way I’m going to achieve that is if I die while biking and the whole assembly gets strapped onto a hearse.

Tip #3. Decrease calories by 500 per day. Since I am already on a calorie-reduced diet, this additional reduction would mean that I will be eating paint chips for two of my three meals.  Yum.

Tip #4.  Lift weights six days a week. How ’bout if I just take piles of weight-loss books and start hurling them out the window?  I believe that would also assist with hand/eye coordination and balancing.  See…that’s me.  Always thinking.

Bottom line.  I’m willing to take a look at new ways to boost weight loss.  Let’s make them a little more practical, shall we?  Otherwise a whole slew of middle-aged women will be rolling their eyeballs while looking over their reading glasses…and secretly dreaming about chocolate.

February 10, 2011   3 Comments