Wednesday, March 19, 2008
no more grunting
this is the gym i belong to now! (top floor, above the pork restaurant!!)
i only signed up for a month, just to see if i can actually get into the swing of working out at a fitness facility again. ugh...the thought of all those machines...the tv screens. it's been years. i spent over a decade playing sports, lifting weights, adhering to strict exercise regimens, even embarking upon brazilian jiu jitsu training and kickboxing....then i moved to northern california! i didn't realize at first how much i would enjoy stepping out of what my mother often called my "sadomasochistic routine." i still remained physically active but found different, gentler ways to strengthen and move my body....yoga, dancing, hiking in the berkeley hills, bike riding around town, walking more to get from place to place, etc.... living in berkeley made all of that very easy to do year-round. i never had to set foot in a gym to keep healthy and fit.
living in daegu, korea is a completely different story. yes, there is yoga here, which i loved for a time, but my favorite teacher left the studio and after all was said and done it was not jessa yoga....it was pretzel yoga. i am a stout, tightly musclebound norwegian....my people can only bend so far in certain directions....it's our particular genetic soup. this makes the "wrap your legs around your neck" yoga classes absolutely terrifying to me.
there are no dance classes i have found as of yet. although, i've seen signs in the subway for belly dancing! now that would be a trip worth taking!! i do not own a bike, and honestly i would not feel safe riding on the streets of daegu....it would only be a matter of time before i was a giant, norwegian SPLAT on the pavement. i do indeed walk from place to place (ALOT) but how to get the heart rate up for good cardiovascular health....that has been the quandary.
suddenly one day, i remembered the gym. i felt zero excitement at this possibility, but when the going gets rough the rough get going. so i made my way to the facility and signed up. it's a simple place and only a block away! it consists of a few treadmills each with its own tv, two elliptical trainers of which only one works, and a few bikes. there are some free weights and weightlifting machines. that's it. i like the quaintness of it. oh, and there's this machine that you stand on and put a strap around your waist then lean back into the strap. you press the power button and the whole thing shakes violently as you lean back into the strap. it feels like a massage of sorts. supposedly it breaks up clusters of fat in your body and helps you lose weight! i don't believe it for a second, but i know it makes me feel really relaxed and giddy! i always end my work out session with that machine. it's the carrot on the end of the stick.
it's been approximately two and a half weeks of this new workout routine. my attitude is vastly different than it was back in high school and college when i was training so rigorously for sports' teams. i feel like a different person. i guess i am...and ten years later i have a different body too. it used to be all about how much i could bench, how far i could run before collapsing, how solid of a muscle mass i could become. i don't think i ever paid much mind to stretching. now, all these years later, i feel it in my knees.....my back....my right hip. all those times i hit the floor to save the ball...the miles and miles of hills run at 7am with the coach yelling in the background.....up and down, up and down.....those hook punches to the bag, side and roundhouse kicks repeated a million times....my body feels the impact of years of hard core physical exertion. i have no desire to continue down that path of pain, so i am reworking my gym experience here in korea. i do 30 minutes on the elliptical - low impact to the joints. then i stretch and do yoga for about 15 minutes. i lift weights lightly (no grunting allowed) for about 20, then i stretch for another 15. i eat my carrot and walk home. it's beautiful. and i think it's going to stick.