Tuesday, April 20, 2010

sweat…

If anyone had told me 5 years ago that I would spend this morning kickboxing to Christian pop, I would’ve told them they’d lost their ever lovin’ minds.

And yet, that is exactly what I did. I signed my two boys into child care in different rooms of the church, paid my money for a 9 week, two-day a week course, and lined up with a bunch of other young mommies in the church gym. I kicked and side stepped and crunched and spun and ran in place for an hour. It wasn’t too bad, really. I felt pretty good by the time we were cooling down by twisting our legs into pretzels above our heads.

I got the boys, and we headed home. I didn’t take a shower (big mistake), and I didn’t pig out, even though I was hungry. Being tired and slightly shaky from muscle fatigue was not a lot of fun, but God was gracious, and the morning went pretty smoothly. The boys are now tucked into bed, I’ve had a shower, and I’m thinking about this whole exercise thing. And I have a theory…

I’ve been blessed with a high metabolism. This means that most of my life, I’ve been able to eat pretty much whatever I want without gaining weight. I am 5’ 5 1/2”, and I graduated from college weighing 100 lb. soaking wet. Go ahead and throw rotten organic veggies at me. I did nothing to deserve it… I just got to enjoy it. I still do… for the most part.

But I’ve had my second baby, and things are a little less than stellar in the ab department. Evan is 11 months old, but I still look about 10 weeks pregnant with him. We may have another baby at some point, and if we do, I want to start out with a better looking tummy than I currently have. So I’m attempting to kick my tail into gear.

It’s requiring time and energy from me that I would rather not expend. I have to put my babies in child care, or I have to leave my husband at night to take a class. I won’t be having playdates on Tuesdays and Thursdays again until June. I have to come home and try to entertain my small ones until nap time on low reserves after each class, and frankly, I’m worried about that. I would rather talk to other women or study the Bible with them in the few precious hours I have with them than kickbox next to them. Any. day. of. the. week.

So here’s my theory. There are a lot of enthusiastic, slightly smug, exercise afficiendos out there. You all know who you are. I love you…. but I’m not buying what you’re selling. You say that you exercise to feel good, to take care of the body God gave you, etc., etc.

And I say bull. A giant, steaming pile of it.

Because, in my opinion, if most youngish, generally healthy women could have flat tummies, tight tushies, small thighs, and non-jiggly arms from eating one less cookie and one more apple a day and taking a leisurely stroll around the block a couple of times a week, they would never sign up for another aerobics class or step on another treadmill again until they hit menopause. Why do we do it, ladies?

Let’s just cut through that steaming pile, shall we? The reason is… VANITY. I’ll spell it again for you. VANITY. We want to look good. Do we feel better afterward? Sure we do. Is it a good thing to do? Sure. But that’s not our primary motivation. Those things are not enough motivation by themselves when the costs in time and energy are high.

So I’m exercising. And I’m being HONEST about why I’m doing it. I’ll probably be moderately cranky on Tuesdays and Thursdays until June. And if I don’t have a tighter tummy to show for it by then, my yoga mat is going in the trash can…

10 comments:

SMS said...

Ok. I had this nice huge response typed out to this post and then something happened and it went away.. so I am taking that as a sign that I wasn't meant to give you my full reaction on the issue at hand.. so I will just say this.. Ellen.. Ellen.. Ellen. Sigh. The end.

Ellen said...

My blog. My opinion. And I'm standing by it.

Perry and Amanda said...

I will tell you can loss weight without exercise but it is much slower and you have to make serious choices in the eating department. Trust me I am in proccess but it is working. Exercise does make the proccess faster. I understand the feelings.

Shannon said...

"Exercise produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands."

Apologies if you haven't seen that movie. :)

Ellen said...

Yes, but sore, grumpy, tired people might kill their husbands. =) Endorphins don't last... muscle aches apparently do.

SMS said...

that means that perhaps you are out of shape. just think of how good you will feel when you hurt less after each workout - that's improvement you can see right away. also, stretching and mild yoga can help ease sore muscles on the days between workouts. seems counter intuitive but it really does help.

Ellen said...

There is no "perhaps" to me being out of shape. =) But if the level of the workout gets harder every week, how will I not be feeling battered after every workout?

SMS said...

believe or not you will build strength and endurance so that while you might feel tired and yes maybe even sore each week, you will find yourself feeling less so over time.. it's really funny how that works. One day you feel like the workout you just did is going to do you in and in a week or two it barely raises your heart rate. Even if it gets harder each week, you will feel better and your muscles will heal faster etc. Drink lots and lots of water, this helps as does the afore mentioned stretching and easy workout. I am so proud of you for doing this lady.

Terri said...

I echo Sarah--you will start finding that exercise gives you MORE energy, because as you get in shape, your body bounces back more quickly.

As for your vanity comments: of course there are people who exercise in order to look a certain way. However, I know tons of women who are perfectly beautiful without any extra toning, but just love to exercise. I personally don't really lose weight from exercise...I just feel better, and I know it's the right thing to do. It's similar to eating healthy: lots of people do it because they enjoy it, or because they know they are taking care of their bodies for the long haul.

Hopefully you will have the abs of your dreams in 9 weeks...but don't be surprised if it takes longer :). But reserve judgment until you've taken more than one class...you just might start to like how you feel!

David said...

But the toning is a mighty powerful incentive, right, Terri? All that nice toning and the rosy glow? Mmm hmmm... =) Still going with my original point... but I will let you know if I enjoy exercise later for its own sake. Doubtful, but I'll let you know. If you don't gloat.