Saturday, October 13, 2007

Working Out Vs Working

How much exercise is enough?

I ask because I need to know. I have a big project I'm working on, and I wonder--do I dare skip the gym to work on it?

I admit, I'm a bit of a gym devotee. Five days a week, ie Monday through Friday, I take Step classes, which include weights, and also other accouterments like using one of those big balls, and bands that you wear between your ankles, and those heavy bars (I use 18 lbs) and wrap-around ankle weights, and those half-cylinder balancing foams, and those stretchy rubber tubes with handles at the ends. I like the high-choreography classes, and I'm a bouncer--meaning I do a lot of jumping around, and always include the "extras" for the higher-level workout. I come out of these workouts dripping with perspiration, or, if you're very polite, like Rudolph the Reindeer, "you would even say she glows." A lot.

I've been doing this for a lot of years. Probably more than the age of many of my instructors.

I can't say it's fun. Sometimes when an instructor really does a complicated or innovative routine, without repeating stuff a zillion times, then yes, it's a LOT of fun. I had one teacher a few years ago who was SO fun, I was willing to get up really early to take his classes. Unfortunately, he had AIDS and had to stop teaching. Dare I say that the very best Step teachers I've had were all gay guys?

I take classes compulsively because I'm afraid not to. I don't want to get un-toned. I don't want to lose flexibility. Especially, I don't want to lose the extra energy and endurance I get as a result. I like that I am competent and I like the "regulars" with whom I take classes. They notice if I'm not there (and I miss them if they're not there, too). There's a camaraderie among people who take the same classes together over time. Not really a deep friendship, but certainly a friendship on a level that can only be forged from enduring something challenging together. OK, this isn't mountain-climbing, but there's a degree of discipline in showing up to push yourself every day.

But now, I've got this project, and it crossed my mind that I could sure use another four or six hours a week to work on it. Can I cut out two days' workouts? (That's what I'm considering now.) Would I be consumed with guilt? I need advice. Have you gotten in an exercise routine and couldn't allow yourself to get out? SHOULD I???


  1. Definitely NOT the best person to give an opinion on this, but... a lot of exercise regimens specifically have the person work out 3x a week (WO, break, WO, break, WO). No?

  2. 1)You exercise to be healthy. 2)You've maintained this discipline for many, many years. 3)Your highly-toned bod and glowing (NOT with sweat) personality are proof of your success in maintaining your excellent physical, mental, and emotional health. 4)You have, in the past, been consumed with guilt when Life Demands cause you to miss even ONE day of exercise. ERGO: DON'T.

    I understand that this project is extremely time-consuming and requires hours of complex research and dedicated work. However, my guess is that not only would the guilt eat away at your mind; if you skipped your daily workout, you would probably start noticing a decrease in your energy and a "down"crease in your mood and you might start to find yourself unhappy and eventually yes, unable to work at the level you need in order to focus on your task.

    Ezzie's suggestion is a good one, i.e., exercising 3x/week; however, perhaps you might think about either working out earlier in the morning (to which I say "yuck that!")... OR ... and this would REALLY require a change in your mindset and biorhythm ... put in a solid 4 or 5 hours of work during the FIRST part of the day and THEN "reward" yourself with a workout, which would give you an energy boost in the afternoon but more importantly, you would have logged a solid chunk of time working on your project so would therefore feel gratified that you made that your priority.

    And what credentials do I have in order to provide such counsel? Absolutely none, nada, zip, zero. I do not exercise and the corpulent folds of my corporeal self definitely reflect this. Nevertheless - you asked, I answered. That said -- Maggie Moo's, anyone?

  3. Ez & TT, I read your comments as I leave to go work out....I find that I think of myself as somehow lazy or a schlub if I don't work this a problem? Write ya after class!

  4. Doubletee...while Northern Light works out, I'll take you up on that offer of Maggie Moo's!

  5. Northern light! I got a workout just reading about your routine (esp. my smile muscles!) You could be a stand up (or a bounce-around) comedienne. Why don't you make a vow, a big, official, solemn, spoken and written vow, with witnesses, and signatures and calligraphy and wax seals and curly ribbons, to go 3x a week ONLY for the duration of this extremely exceptional project (and it is), with a clause declaring that never should this be used by any person whatsoever (including yourself!) as precedent in any evil, misguided attempt to abridge your routine in the future.
    P.S. to Doubletee - can I come too?

  6. SJ and Mink,
    As the anxiety over the project mounts, I just can't bring myself to NOT go to the gym! A vow with curly ribbons sounds like something I'll have to contend with on Kol Nidre--I even used my heaviest weights today...helllllp!