Someone commented on my fitness on Monday, and NOT in the way I expected.
I wrote in my other blog about my rush to get to Zumba as well as my need to confess to all there the exact reason I had a scratched and swollen eye.
But as I was leaving the class with another (less-regular) participant we were comparing notes about our workouts. She confessed that she struggled to make it to the gym once a week and was impressed by my daily workday workouts. “That’s why you’re so fit,” she said.
What. The. Fuck?
Now, I’m not sharing this story in some coy way to have you think that I am (in fact) fit. Cos I’m not. I’m seriously overweight and not-very fit (ie. not someone who’s 5kg overweight and all woe-is-me cos they can’t run 10km!). At the moment I feel like I’m struggling through Zumba and Hip Hop, which made her comment even more surprising. It did, however, get me pondering more on different types of fitness.
Now I’m not a fitness expert. (Obviously.) And I think some of my readers visit this blog for that very reason. But I do recall reading about aerobic fitness and anaerobic fitness many moons ago and it’s stayed with me. Of course, if I was more enthusiastic I’d do some research (via Dr Google) and set out the differences between the two and suggest ways to improve on each; but this isn’t that sort of blog. Heaps of others offer that sort of advice; just not this little black duck who prefers to write about me… and how I see the world. (Yes, it’s all about me, me, me!)
For example, one of my girlfriends used to be a mad gym-goer. From all accounts she worked-out twice a day, doing stacks of weights and spin classes and the like. But, when she and another friend attended a bootcamp (back in the early 2000s when they were a novelty) she was really shocked at her lack of fitness when it came time to do shuttle runs and other similar exercises. She’d seen herself as super-fit and was so discouraged she didn’t return after her first session.
I’ve nearly always been the opposite. Although I’ve got crap reflexes (in terms of getting a quick start) I’m better at short shuttle runs and the like. I’m (well, I was) agile. I can stop and change directions quickly. My recovery rate is also okay. But I’ve never really been a long distance runner. Even when I was anorexic and exercising for hours a day, jogging did not come easily to me.
And as for now… I’ve talked about the fact before that – generally – I’m okay in my dance classes. I might get stuffed, but a few seconds to grab some water and get my breath between songs and I’m okay. Similarly in circuit type classes, I’ll complain incessantly about an exercise (step-ups, rowing, squats, skipping or mountain climbers), but I’ll be ready to move onto the next exercise more quickly than many there.
It’s one of the reasons I HATE working out on the gym room floor. I’m not good at pausing in between sets of exercises. When I used to do free weights or use machines at the gym I alternated exercises if equipment was free, rather than take a break. Although, I suspect this has as much to do with impatience as anything. But I’m often stunned by those who go to the gym to workout and will stand in front of a TV screen for minutes-on-end watching something before getting back to the exercise at hand.
HELLO, YOU’RE THERE TO WORK OUT, NOT WATCH TV FFS! I’d prefer to work on another muscle if one becomes fatigued, while waiting for the first to recover.
My brief foray into personal training years ago was problematic because my desire to just bloody well keep going, meant that my trainers possibly thought I was fitter than I was (which became obvious when they wanted me to run or climb stairs!).
Jogging etc for any period of time KILLS me and I have written about my hatred of running in this blog on many (many) occasions. I feel the same about hills and stairs. But shorts bursts of exercise, I find to be, doable!
I know of people who could run 5km but would struggle (fitness-wise) through a high impact aerobic class. Similarly I chuckle at those guys who irregularly attend my gym’s pump class (group weights held to music) and load their bars up as if they were still on the gym floor doing sets of short repetitions, and struggle to keep up during a 5 or 6 minute routine.
I’m sure you’re wondering if I have a point. And… as it happens I don’t. Not really.
But it occurred to me later that, rather than accept a compliment from my fellow gym-goer, I had to debunk her perception of me by explaining that I really wasn’t ‘fit’ at all. I was gasping for air as much as the next person, I explained.
However, in retrospect, it’s back to that age-old dilemma of not comparing ourselves to others or judging those around us. I look at those who tweet about their 5km or 8km runs and feel inadequate. But perhaps they compare themselves to those training for a half-marathon or marathon. So… perhaps she wasn’t mistaken, and in the mind of my workout colleague I AM fit. (I’m just not as fit as I’d like!)
Do you find some types of exercise easier than others?