Tag Archives: gym

Getting in Touch with My Inner Stripper

After almost two years of not going to the gym, I’m finally back in the habit (I hope) of going to the gym. What motivated this slacker to return to working out?

I was discussing with a friend different ways of working out that would be more fun. One idea was belly-dancing, which I heard was great for abs. Instead of paying for a class when I already had a gym membership, I checked out the Group X schedule of the nearest 24 Hour Fitness. They didn’t have a belly dance class, but they had something called 24Tease. Here’s the description of the class:

Jeff Costa, creator of Cardio Striptease introduces 24Tease, an electrifying 30-minute striptease aerobics workout exclusively at 24 Hour Fitness! 24Tease provides a safe environment for members to get in touch with their inner stripper, while taking off pounds, extra clothing and even some inhibitions to reveal a healthier body and stronger self-esteem. 24Tease is low-impact contemporary movement that makes you sweat and feel good.

I think the class lives up to the description, except for the part about taking off extra clothing. I mean, I wear minimal clothes anyway when I work out because I get so hot.

I had wished I could drink some alcohol before taking the class to loosen up but since I had to drive home afterward, it wasn’t an option. The second time I went, I did a few minutes of cardio on the treadmill, with a cool down period. I think it helped me to be more relaxed mentally and have the blood pumping through my body so I was not so stiff.

I’ve taken step and aerobics classes before but would quit after one class due to frustration of being unable to follow. I figured I would get the hang of things if I went on a regular basis but I wasn’t motivated enough. At least a stiptease class teaches a useful skill. :D You know, for sexy dancing in a club.

It’s a pretty low impact way to exercise, but I was sweating a lot. It made me wonder how professional strippers do it. Not that I’ve seen a live stripper. Despite it being low-impact, it’s a fun class that at least gets me into the gym at a specific time.

One drawback is that the room in which the class is held is right in front of the cardio machines, where people can see inside the room through glass windows. Fortunately, since the class has so many people, I don’t worry so much about it. If I were one of a handful of dancers, then I’d be a bit self-conscious.

Tried to Swim @ the Gym

On Sunday, I decided to take the plunge–almost literally–since diving isn’t allowed in the gym pool. It took me a while to get started. I had to buy even more accessories: the goggles and a swim cap. Then I had to shake out the sand from my slippers, which was textured, so it took a while to get the sand out of the grooves.

I finally got to wear the bikini I bought to wear to a beach party in Santa Cruz the previous week (it ended up being too cold that day).

What’s up with the pool being a hangout for older people? I felt out of place.

It had been years since I had tried to swim… at least over two years, since that was how long I had my dislocated shoulder. I didn’t want my shoulder to dislocate while I was in the water. I was really anxious because I had had a terrible experience a few years ago…

When I was a sophomore in college, I took beginner swimming, which was the very first time I learned to swim. I almost drowned in that class. I was trying to swim from the deep end to the shallow end. One of my classmates was coming toward me from the shallow end toward the deep end, and fearing a collision, I panicked. Then I lost it. I looked down, and thought I could kick myself up to the surface. However, the problem with water is that it creates optical illusions, so the pool floor was actually further away than I thought. So I was actually forcing myself deeper and deeper than I wanted.

I was so afraid that the lifeguard would not rescue me because she might have thought that I was practicing, since we do practice keeping our heads under water in class. While I was submerged, I kept swallowing water, and I think that was what saved or helped me. I don’t know if I knew this at the time, or learned it afterward, but when we swallow, it suppresses the urge to breathe.

Finally, after probably 10-15 seconds, the lifeguard pulled me out of the water. Fortunately, things weren’t so bad that I needed CPR.

As soon as I was physically recovered, the instructor gently urged me to get back into the water. The reason was that the more time passed before the next time I tried to swim, my mind would develop a greater fear of water. I was able to get into the water before the end of the class.

Although I never fully developed my swimming abilities, and could not breathe while swimming, I did continue swimming in pools. I even helped teach my little brother to swim. :)

Because it had been so long since I last swam, it made me so afraid to swim again because I feared that I had lost my skills, though little were they anyway. As I got into the water, I felt the anxiety that people afraid of heights would feel as they went upward to a high place. Once I was in the water, I couldn’t get myself to swim because I was terrified to get my face in the water. I guess I didn’t trust the goggles to keep water out. The memory of the near-drowning also replayed in my head.

Since I had spent so much time preparing, I didn’t want to quit so easily. In a standing position, I would gradually put more and more of my body under water. This was in the 3 1/2 feet end of the pool, and I was already feeling panicky about letting the water go over my neck. When I let the water finally go up to my chin, the fear was like that of an acrophobic starting to peer over a cliff. At last, I had my entire head underwater, but my eyes were squeezed shut. Finally, feeling confident that the goggles were keeping the water out, I opened my eyes. Whew!

With that being the hardest part–psychologically–I was able to start swimming, though not very gracefully. At first, I would only go as far as the part of the pool that was 4 1/2 feet deep, because I could stand there and still be above water. I can’t breathe while swimming, so I didn’t want to have to come up for water at a point where I couldn’t stand up above the water. The more I swam, the further I was able to go, until I was able to go pass the 5 1/2 feet point to get to the 4 1/2 point on the other side of the pool. I couldn’t go the entire length of the pool because I couldn’t hold my breath long enough.

It was such a relief, and accomplishment, to be able to swim again. :D Hopefully I can develop my skills enough so that I can join in water activities. I had to forgo going on a rafting trip because I couldn’t handle a class V level because it required swimming ability.

shoulder update

I saw my sports medicine surgeon today. He said my shoulder is as good as it gets and I can resume normal activities. My limitations would be motions such as the one used for serving overhand in volleyball. That’s fine, for now. I know I have a lot of strengthening to do before I can serve like that again.

It makes me so glad that I joined the gym, so I can progress more quickly, and further, in my shoulder rehabilitation, instead of just stagnating at “okay” or “good enough.” :)

My doctor said that I was one of the most difficult cases. I am so glad that he was able to fix my shoulder, which is such a complex joint. I thought I could be okay without having the surgery… that I would just have to be more careful. But, I’m such a klutz, it didn’t work out. :lol: Now, it’s great to see the potential things that I can do… again, and try new ones. :D

my personal torturer… uh, trainer

When I signed up for 24 Hour Fitness, I had two plans to choose from if I wanted to be able to go to all the sports-level clubs. Plan A: $150 enrollment fee/$45 monthly dues. Plan B: $750 enrollment/$7 monthly. (Prices are approximate because I have a bad memory for some things, so don’t quote me). Since both plans end up costing the same after a little over a year, and I plan to stick to a gym membership indefinitely, the best buy for me was Plan B, which included 4 sessions with a personal trainer. Since it was included in the package, I thought it worked out well. I needed someone who would teach me how to use the equipment properly as I transitioned from doing my shoulder rehabilitation with my physical therapist, to doing it on my own.

I’ve just completed my second session with my personal trainer. Not only is he teaching me to use the equipment properly and showing me new exercises… he’s totally torturing me! Just when I thought I could barely do 15 reps in one set, he makes me do 3 more sets of 15! :shock:

However, I know he’s doing it for my own good, and I wouldn’t push myself–and thus wouldn’t reap as many benefits–if I tried to do this by myself. So, I think he’s doing an awesome job. But oh, the agony! :cry:

The sessions go by quickly, and right now the priority is to strengthen my right shoulder after my dislocation surgery. So, I’m thinking of getting more sessions once my four are over and we haven’t gone through working on the rest of my body. I figure, I already invested so much money in the membership, I might as well maximize the results with a professional. It’s like getting an iPAQ and shelling out even more money to get accessories, which truly add to the functionality and value of the iPAQ. I’m also the type of person who benefits most from professional instruction, like in dance or snowboarding.

If you’re interested in a personal trainer and you have a specific need, you should ask for someone who specializes in it. I had asked for someone who specialized in shoulder rehabilitation and they assigned me to him, and I think he’s great!

:idea: I think I should share the reason why I joined the gym in case it could help someone else. My doctor asked me if I exercised, and I said no, because I didn’t really need to lose weight. I did have a little flab, but it wasn’t worth paying hundreds of dollars to address it. He said that if I don’t exercise, my bones would get weaker, and I would be at greater risk for osteoporosis. That was the magic word that got me off my lazy butt. Of course, not everyone has to pay for a gym to get exercise, but again, I’m lazy and I need motivation, so a gym membership that bites into my wallet will force me to go. :D I used to detest exercise, but now I actually like going to the gym… so many toys. :wink:

Since I have already spent hundreds of dollars on the gym membership, I have created new goals besides just strengthening my bones. As I have described, I’m working on rehabilitating and strengthening my injured shoulder, and working on the other one to prevent it from getting injured, too. I strive to improve my cardiovascular system, tone and strengthen my other muscles, and challenge my flexibility. This should all help me improve my volleyball-playing performance. Yipee! :D