Sunday, March 21, 2010

lesson one: more is not always better

when it comes to improving health, the first two things that come to most people's minds are diet and excercise, so in the interest of starting simple, that's where i've decided to start. to that end, last week i made an appointment with a nutritionist and joined a gym.

joining the gym was easy. there is one right down the road on my way to and from work. it's actually a circuit gym -- a 30 minute loop through three rows of mats and machines. now, as you've probably guessed, i am not the most physically fit person on the block but when i went in to sign up there was an 85-year old man with serious health problems and a recent double-hip replacement who wasn't even breaking a sweat, so i figured, how hard could it be?

HARD. the trainer walked me through slowly, setting up the machines, picking the tensions, explaining everything. and still, during the first row i started to get dizzy. so i sat down for a quick rest, letting a sprightly 75-year-old pass me. by the end of the second row, i nearly threw up. so i rested again, then sucked it up and finished it up. it took me only 65 minutes to finish an abbreviated version of the 30 minute course. and yes, by the time i got home after a quick smoothie pick-me-up, i hurt.

still, the next day, i went back again, doing my best to shake off the lactic acid burn. i maybe did half the work-out (less if you consider that not only did i skip a lot of the machines i also reduced all of weights).

and it helped. i was tired, but in general, held up okay. until yesterday when i went back again, determined to push through. bad idea. immediately after finishing i felt like i'd been felled by the flu. muscles ached and temperature fluctuated as though i'd caught a nasty bug. i am only now beginning to feel marginally okay after nearly 24 hours of straight rest.

the moral of the story: listen to your body. there is a difference between pushing through and pushing too hard and since i clearly can't tell the difference between the two, i really need to start erring on the side of caution.

next time, i'll limit myself to a few minutes of cardio and work up to the rest one machine at a time.

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