Friends in Orange Places
For single people, there can often be an ulterior motive for going to the gym. Of course they want to get a good workout, get in shape, be healthy, and boost their energy. But a lot of them are also looking to hook up.
That’s part of the reason that some women don’t like the gym—they feel like it’s a “meat market” and they don’t want to be bothered. Others love that aspect, and purposely get dolled-up to do their workout thang, with the secondary goal of catching a hottie’s eye.
Back in my single days, during the random stretches that I actually went to a gym, I was so focused on trying to figure out the equipment and not look like a complete dork that the last thing on my mind was trying to meet anyone. Now that I’m married, “hooking up” at the gym has a whole new meaning.
I’m talking about friends. Workout buddies. Comrades in exercise. Don’t get me wrong—when I started the Weight Loss Challenge at Orangetheory Fitness, I wasn’t trying to become best buds with anybody and sit around singing Kumbaya together after our workouts. I was trying not to pass out on the rowing machine. But I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness not just of the OTF staff, but of the members.
The support started on day one, when the staff welcomed me like I was a long-lost friend they were SO HAPPY to see. That was cool, and it made me feel good. And even cooler, it’s still that way. They’re just as welcoming now as they were when I first started, and I like that. It’s part of what motivates me to get off the couch and show up for class.
But what I realized is that their attitude sets the tone for all of us, and helps us encourage each other. I’ve struck up conversations with some really nice people as we were waiting for class to start. I’ve started seeing the same folks at some of the classes. We commiserate over splat points and how many pounds we’re losing. It’s like a little support group.
Take Yukari and Shawn, for example. Coworkers and friends, they’ve been coming to Orangetheory just a little longer than I have. I met them one night after class and kept seeing them on certain days.
Yukari moved here from Japan a few years ago. She said she likes it here, but the culture and lifestyle changes translated into her gaining weight.
“In Japan you walk a lot more, take the stairs, and live an active life,” she told me. “I drive a lot more here and I like American food, too—eggs, cheese, beef, and I love huevos rancheros.”
Me too, Yukari. But I don’t have moving to a different country as a good excuse for gaining weight.
Yukari heard about Orangetheory from a coworker, and recruited Shawn to try it with her. Now both women are hooked. They challenge each other during class and spur each other on as needed. That’s perfect for Shawn.
“I think it helps because I'm a competitive person so I'm like, ‘This girl can't beat me!’” she laughed. “I see the person next to me who seems to be doing the same as me and I compete. And I yell to Yukari to keep going. It fosters a healthy competitive spirit.”
I’ve enjoyed getting to know Yukari and Shawn during our brief conversations. They even gave me tips about using the OTF app. And now, they encourage me, too.
“Come on Kristi, you’ve got this!” I’ve heard Shawn yell out on more than one occasion when I’ve been ready to tell that rower what it can do with itself.
And there are other folks in my various classes whose names I never got, who provide encouragement as well. Several times I’ve been heading from the treadmill to the weight floor and gotten a high-five from another member. That unspoken support (often because we’re both out of breath) is a boost that seems to happen at just the right time.
A few times, I’ve even run into friends of mine that I didn’t realize were OTF members. One Sunday, I saw that two of my friends, Stephanie and Erin, were in the same class. Afterward, we hung out for waaaay too long catching up (props to the OTF staffers for not kicking us out).
So I have to say, I’m digging the social aspect of Orangetheory Fitness. I need that, it helps me stay motivated, and it makes working out more fun. It’s good to have friends in Orange places.
I'm Back on the Treadmill Again
Back where a splat point's my friend
Sing it with me, people! “I’m back on the treadmill again… back where a splat point’s my friend…” It’s week two of the Orangetheory Fitness Weight Loss Challenge and I’ve gotta get back in the groove. I was pretty (awesomely) tired after my trip back east to the Women’s March on Washington, so I took a couple of days to rest. But I had to get my three workouts in so off to Orangetheory Westside I went.
I had more energy than I did during my workouts in Week 1. I hopped on the treadmill and our instructor, Elia, got us going. We spent roughly 25 minutes alternating between our base pace, and doing “pushes” of higher intensity. During the pushes, I kept my pace at a 3.5 but upped my incline to six percent. I could definitely feel it (super heavy breathing) but I hung in there. Once or twice, I’d bring the incline down and up my speed to 4 just to mix it up. I broke a serious sweat and knew I was getting a good workout.
After the treadmill we hit the rowers for a 1000-meter challenge. I was doing pretty well until I hit 461 meters. Yep, that’s when my quads started burning like mofos! Note to self and anyone else who is doing an intense workout – stretch before you exercise!! Yes, I know I’m supposed to. No, I didn’t do it. And I paid. I hopped off the rower and stretched my poor little fiery quads out. Then I got back on to finish that last 500+ meters. Our instructor, Elia, saw me and the next thing I knew, she was on the rower beside me. “Come on Kristi, you can do this! You’re almost there!” she cheered me on. That was pretty awesome. I was the last one to finish, but hey, it got done.
Despite my burning quads, I’m trying to stay focused on “what I burn for.” That’s Orangetheory Fitness’s big question—“What do you burn for?” I burn for preventing myself from becoming a diabetic and having the same health issues my parents now deal with. If I burned for looking like a swimsuit model I would’ve done this years ago. Nope. Health has got to be the motivating factor.
I had a long conversation with my parents about their Diabetes during my recent visit. They told me some things I’d forgotten over the years. And some of it freaked me out. Like, that they weren’t all that overweight when they were diagnosed. I now weigh more than they did when they were told they were diabetic. Crikey.
I asked how dealing with Diabetes has impacted them. Mom said, “It consumes your life. There's not a day that goes by that you don't think about it. There's not a meal you eat that you don't think about it. You never get a day off.”
She said she definitely recommends exercise, because it helps control your blood sugar numbers. This is a HUGE statement coming from her. She and Dad were late to the exercise party. They finally started working out in 2014 at around 70 years old, after my Dad had another heart catheterization. I’m really proud of them for doing it. I get my sedentary genes from them, so I know it takes motivation to get them to the gym.
Mom’s Diabetes is under control, but Dad’s isn’t. His numbers are all over the place. He’ll count his carbs and shoot the appropriate amount of insulin, but an hour or two later his blood sugar can be sky high. He’s working with his doctor to regulate it better.
I finally met their doctor. The infamous Dr. Musselman. He was very nice, and in the brief chat that we had, I asked him how to keep myself from following in Mom and Dad’s footsteps. The look on his face said, “You’re doomed.” Shit! He told me that exercise will help at least delay it (delay!?) and that I should go ahead and lay off eating sugar. “One coke has 30 teaspoons of sugar in it,” he said. “You should try to eat and drink things that have less than eight grams of sugar per serving.” 30 teaspoons?! Less than eight grams? But what about my beloved Malibu and Cokes?
A little freaked, I asked Mom to test my blood sugar. The next morning, on an empty stomach, she poked my finger with a needle. A small prick (get your mind out of the gutter) and a tiny drop of crimson emerged. I held my breath. The meter beeped. “109,” Mom said. “That’s in the normal range.”
Woohoo!!! What a relief! Normal and I want to keep it that way! I am definitely keeping up with this workout thing.
At the end of one of my workouts, Elia shared this quote from Jim Rohn: “Everyone must choose one of two pains. The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”
I’m choosing discipline. I don’t want anymore regret.
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