Sunday, August 1, 2010


Sunday 1st August – Reflections before Week 4 begins

When I started this blog I had the idea that I would do a post for every day I went to the gym, and others when the mood took me. As you can see, I have not done a post since last week’s Monday morning session. This is not because I have been too busy to blog (although I have) but because I have not actually been to the gym (or done any other kind of exercise) since last Monday.

If you remember we did Tabata last week. We did a lot of leggy things, and punchy things, but I noticed the leggy things the most. My legs were wobbly from the start and got worse. I had trouble walking for the next 2 days, and on Tuesday night I checked my legs and had visible bruising on my thighs.

Visible bruising.

On Wednesday I started what would be a 3 day stay in Melbourne, and it began with me walking 1.5km to the train station in the dark and cold. I then ran around a room with a microphone for a couple of days, which wasn’t really a substitute for actual exercise, but it certainly loosened my very stiff legs. Then I stayed up reasonably late both nights and woke early, which meant that by the time I got home I was absolutely knackered, and spent the weekend reasonably sedentarily (although I did walk into Lara yesterday, which I normally don’t do).

Tomorrow, according the most depressing email in my inbox, we will be doing Tabata again. Also according to the email “this type of training is usually performed by the very fit…”. I have received some comments, both on the blog and in real life about whether this training is too intense for a noob like me. I am beginning to think perhaps it is. The email then goes on to say “…but can still cater for those of you that are less fit” by toning down the intensity of the 20 second blocks of exercise. Well that’s OK then.

“So if you are new to exercise,” the email continues, “make sure that you rest if necessary, as this type of training can bring you to a whole new level of intensity.” The thing is, though, I am in their hands. The whole idea of trainer based training is that they tell me what to do, and how much to push myself. Sure they can leave it up to me, but if it was up to me I would more than likely just walk, or hobble, out.

The email signs off by saying “Train smarter, not harder”. I do wonder if the smart thing would be to not go at all.


  1. Ok then, so the last time I left a comment it mysteriously disappeared into the netherworlds and no one ever got to read. So this is a test comment.

  2. Right then, so as long as I press the preview button first and, it seems, don't slag off exercise "classes", (and what did you learn?), too much it'll work.

    The problem I believe most people have with exercise is accepting it as a routine part of their regular life - like eating and sleeping. I think that the major difficulty, for which I have no formulaic answer, is that if it's too hard then natural repulsion of the unpleasant will stuff you. If it's too easy then you have "this is a little bit unpleasant and totally pointless" issues to stuff you.

    I'm glad you've backed off a bit as too hard has the potential to stuff you a lot quicker and more seriously than too soft.

  3. on the whole personal trainers aren’t too bad at showing us how to do exercises and use the gym equipment, (although I agree the whole industry makes way to many assumptions) but they are pretty much TERRIBLE at the whole motivational/how hard to push ourselves thingy. They know very well how hard to push THEMSELVES, but when it comes to the average person they have no idea. why do so many people join a gym and lose interest. because it’s too bloody hard? No, because of the expectation you have of yourself, which is not helped by some 26 year old professional gym junkie telling you "you can do it" when he really means "I could do it easy, so if you weren’t so lazy and you could do it too" whilst your thinking, “ this is too hard, I think I'll just give up on all forms of exercise forever”

    There is a middle ground, but most gym trainers don’t know it. it’s not how they got "to be this fit" but if you don’t want to be "that fit" then why should you style your workout on their expectation. Do as much as you feel comfortable with both physically and emotionally. take breaks throughout the workout and try and get to the end. next week see if you can take less breaks. Every time you turn up it counts, no matter how much you do. Just try and turn up
    good luck

  4. "accepting it as a routine part of their regular life - like eating and sleeping"

    This is certainly a problem I have. I don't think I will ever see it like that. Exercise, of the kind we are talking here, is there to serve a purpose (as are both eating and sleeping) but does not create any immediate need in the body. (I can go for days without any form of exercise. Can't do the same for eating or sleeping).
    For this reason, I'm not sure I could ever do it without a specific goal in mind. In fact, I believe (and this is a lazy man's way of thinking) that it should be goal oriented. With exercise you are simply expending calories. If you are trying to lose weight, then you need to expend more calories than you take in. If you need to gain weight, then you need to take in more than you expend. (Obviously if you need to build up muscle it’s a slightly more complex story, but what I have just said still holds true.)
    If you are doing it to maintain, then that’s OK, but if you are eating to ensure that you maintain what the gym is taking out, then that’s probably an issue (note, that this is never likely to be an issue with me).
    I don’t believe the world needs as many gyms as we have. I don’t believe the world needs as many personal trainers as we have. I don’t believe Andrea needed to get on the exercise bike for an hour this morning at 4:30 (which she, apparently, did). I think there’s a kind of self feeding vicious circle going on here.
    I think these people self-perpetuate and create a need for themselves that doesn't otherwise exist. Then again, I think I feel the same way about lawyers.

  5. Yeah - but keep in mind I've had 4 years of tertiary indoctrination at a very formative stage of life, followed by another 5 years or so sprouting the message myself. After that I really got into it. And lets face it, it's only physical disintegration that's sent me back to the land of the moderates now. You are not listening to a balanced person.
    Gyms etc are just there to make it easier. If you don't care about how easier it is, just get a stable chair and start doing step ups, (alt. legs). It's a simple exercise and a very good one. Boring as hell though. If you get through a few thousand of them let me know and I'll recommend a complementary exercise.
    You are right though. You don't have to exercise. It's really up to each persons benefits/hassle meter I guess.