Friday, May 21

I'm a Gym Rat. No Wait, That's Not Me

Sitting down with the lovely Marq McKenney from the Advanced Wellness Centre, I realized I was in for a change. Marq is my personal trainer for this adventure. Well, he’s actually everyone’s trainer. When you sign up for the program Marq is part of the deal. But since I’m a bit of a control freak and Marq is really sweet and cute, I like to think of him as mine. Just mine.

So, MY personal trainer Marq, sat me down to go over the fitness requirements of the In8 program.

I will go to the Centre twice a week for weight lifting classes with Marq, and I’m required to do three additional cardio interval sessions on my own. That’s five days a week I’m supposed to work out. Five.

Um, I may be pretty good about the nutrition stuff already, but fitness, not so much. Which explains my 27% fat content.

I used to go to the gym. You know, back in September. But then I hurt my shoulder and had to take six weeks off. Well, before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. Then we had all that snow. Blah blah blah. So here I am, seven months later, and I go to the gym about once every ten days.

Hmmm, this is going to be interesting.

And Marq’s talking about “interval training” and the “intensity of my workout.” He says that interval training burns more calories in a shorter amount of time. (Excellent. I’m all about a quick workout.) But that in order for it to be really effective, I have to exert a high level of effort. (Oh, bummer.)

It turns out that interval training is just a fancy way of saying, vary your speed. It reminds me of the way my older sister drives. (Sorry Tam. Am I still invited for Thanksgiving dinner?) She revs the engine at a stop light, peels out and reaches 60 mph in about five seconds. But shortly thereafter, she slams on the brakes to stop at the next light. It’s a constant cycle of accelerate, go as fast as you can, brake. Hopefully interval training won’t make me nauseous too.

Okay, fine. I can vary my speed. But then Marq talked to me about “Perceived Level of Exertion,” which is how I’m supposed to figure out if I’m working at the correct level of intensity. Thus, it’s not enough that I run slow, then fast, then slow again, I have to be working at the right level of exertion too. He wants me to oscillate between Level One, sweating slightly but still able to carry on a conversation, and Level Two, sweating a lot and barely able to talk.

Um, yeah, here’s the problem with that. When I go to the gym, I’m more of a yoga-kind-of-girl. I go into the room with the dimmed lights, hushed voices, and ocean sounds filling the air. And in yoga the instructors always caution us to “challenge yourself but you don’t want to feel any pain. Back off if you feel pain.”

I don’t want to brag, but I’m really good at that – the backing off when I feel pain thing. I’m not a “no pain, no gain” girl. I’m just, “no pain.”

Even when I do weight training I’m never at a high level of exertion. I’ll break a sweat, but barely. And here’s sweet little Marq telling me I’m supposed to be working so hard I shouldn’t be able to talk? Well, what’s the fun in going to the gym if you can’t talk to anyone?

Uh oh. I think pain is going to be my constant companion over the next few weeks.


  1. I recently read that some Doctor, when asked whether cardiovascular exercise can prolong life, responded, "Your heart is only good for so many beats, don't waste them on exercise. Eventually everything wears out. That would be like saying you make your car last longer by driving it harder and faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap."

  2. dan dan the canyon manMay 21, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    Love the car analogies (and was tickled someone besides me notices your sister's accelerator habits). But even a fine old muscle car needs a hard run every now and then to blow out all the carbon and keep the 4-barrel clean.

  3. I'm motivated, I'm pumped! Both Silver Sneakers and Water Aerobics twice a week, that's four days a week. Hey, what can you expect at 69 with fat as old as Methuselah! Does pulling weeds count?
    Love ya,

  4. I was SO close to joining you... then you went and said 27%, 1,400 calories (which is like lunch or a snack or something) and skinny-fat. I've seen you; I work out 5-6 days a week, and relatively speaking, I'm pretty sure I'm fat-fat. Who needs to KNOW that! And I'm really sorry to hear about the ice cream. Ugh!!! Keep writing - but I'm thinking I'm with Michael on this.

  5. Hey Dianna! I am really enjoying your blog. I hope you are enjoying, I mean benefiting from the pain. Can't wait to see the new you 3 weeks or so into your 8 weeks.

    As to Michael's point. I do agree that perhaps our hearts are good for only so many beats. However there is some complexity here. For example: An inactive person's resting heart rate could be about the same for all 24 hours of the day. Probably somewhere around 72 bpm. That is about 104,000 beats per day. Contrast that with the person who gets their heart rate up to about 75% of their maximum heart rate for 30 minutes a day doing some kind of cardio. The active person's resting heart rate for the rest of the day could be as much as 20+ bpm lower than the inactive person's resting heart rate. This saves the active person about 22,000 beats per day. That quickly adds up to a lot more days on earth, assuming the active person doesn't get hit by a car and killed while out jogging.

    Go Dianna!

  6. Well - looks like Kimberly is the Green Goblin to my Spiderman, the Catwoman to my Batman. Nice use of logic to combat my idiocy. This isn't over!

  7. I may have bitten off more than I can chew, Michael. I've read that getting adequate sleep really improves cognitive functioning. I've heard how wicked smart you are. I'm not sure I want to go the distance with you. Forget everything I said and enjoy your naps!

  8. LOL - you are smart. Complementing me will get you far. But, it won't get you out that easily... I've still got plenty of dumb things left to say.