Monday, October 12, 2009

Hunting Down and Suiting Up

When most people embark on a new exercise routine, they look forward to fitting into smaller size clothing, having more energy, and winning kudos from friends. For me, it’s in the hunting down and suiting up.

Recently, after joining a fitness center and enrolling in yoga and Pilates classes, as well as weight lifting and aerobics sessions, I decided research into each activity was the first order of business. Books had to be bought, and CDs, DVDS, and web sites reviewed. While that investigation delayed my actual performing of the exercises, I deemed the preparation essential.

After my initial fieldwork, my appetite for additional knowledge was stoked. Now, I wanted to know more about the derivation of each exercise. Oh, you may think I didn’t need to learn yoga’s origins in India, or read the biography of Joseph Pilates who invented his physical fitness system in early 20th century Germany. But curiosity and enlightenment should never be squelched. Should they?

Maybe the background on Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, former Air Force Colonel from Oklahoma who authored the 1968 book “Aerobics,” which emphasized a point system for improving the cardiovascular system, was too much information.

And on second thought, the story of Eugen Sandow from Prussia, who first promoted bodybuilding, was overkill. However, bibliography did heighten excitement and anticipation.

Thus armed, it was time to select new wardrobes for my four workouts. Naturally, I couldn’t be expected to wear stretched and out-of-fashion shorts and tank tops squished in a corner of my dresser drawer. And my running shoes – a misnomer I admit –were several years old and painfully devoid of support. Some $140 later, I felt quite the jock trotting the shop floors of Fleet Street.

As for yoga, entire industries now focus on clothing for poses that were once performed in simple muslin. Obviously, I had to purchase pants and tops that would allow freedom of movement, yet hug the body. There was also a cunning invention called the “shelf bra” --tank top and bra in one garment, but alas, I could barely pull that shelf over my head, let alone cover the products they were intended to support.

While I was aware my fitness center possessed yoga mats, blocks, and straps, I thought it wise to purchase my own equipment. True, big box stores carry these items, but since I would also be reaping Eastern wisdom and a certain amount of soul stuff, it just didn’t seem right to go cheap. How can one put a price on serenity? (Actually, I could: a tad over $200.)

Lest you think that the inventory of instructions and clothing from previous exercises; i.e. tennis, swimming, spinning, and kickboxing, that are gathering dust on closet shelves (and smirks from family and friends) would dissuade me from my current fitness pursuit, you’re mistaken.

Soon enough, when I feel properly informed and suited up to Downward Dog, tighten my core, pep my step, or hoist a barbell, I’ll begin.

Until then, please keep your mouth shut and avoid rolling your eyes.


Sandy Price said...

I am all for the mental prep stage. It stokes you to follow through... at least for awhile! You shop, girl!

Steve Durning said...

Funny and delightful piece of writing.

Anonymous said...

Very funny, always enjoy your blogs. It also does my heart good to see someone else being a complete failure in the same
endeavors that I have tried. (learning Italian, can't say a word)