Gym for the win

It’s relatively easy to deal with being guy-free when I have the kids. They’ve met very few of the men I’ve dated, so the nights I have them (about 60 percent of the time), there’s not much change, apart from a lack of texts — although C. would occasionally come over for a cuddle and to watch TV with me, after they were asleep. Plus, I’m busy with feeding them, helping them with homework, and carting them about to various events, so I seldom have much time to dwell on my feelings.

But when they’re gone, that’s when the loneliness sometimes hits. So I discovered the place that I could always escape to: The gym.

fitness-motivation-quote-one-workout1It’s bright, it’s busy, it’s colorful, and if you can manage to drag yourself there and then MOVE, it makes you feel better and look better, too.

I go to a big, cheap chain place, and while it’s not fancy, it has everything I need and it’s always open.

If you’re new to working out, I love They have great workouts you can do at home (most of them require dumbbells, but there are bodyweight workouts too), and they provide great instruction on proper form. (Plus, I just find Kelli and Daniel fun to watch.) I’ve learned a lot of exercises that work well at the gym. Their videos on other matters — such as supplements, nutrition, thigh gaps, etc — are also quite good.

Because there’s a lot of woo in the fitness world, I like to get a lot of my fitness info from Coach Taylor Simon and James Fell, two of my favorite fitness writers, who I think provide scientifically sound advice.

I don’t have a particular routine. I go when I can (which is about three times a week when I don’t have the kids that weekend, and usually once when I do). I do a good active warmup¬†beforehand and stretch afterward. I try to do two sets of two different exercises for each body part, more for abs and glutes. Sometimes I use the treadmill, too, although I’m not a runner, so I generally prefer to walk at a high incline. (Walking backward at a very slow, safe pace can be a good workout too!) In the summer, I also prefer to get my cardio outdoors by hiking or kayaking or something similar.

If you’ve never been to a gym before, check out A Beginner’s Guide to the Gym from NerdFitness, which is a great community for those who are new to fitness (and/or are nerds like yours truly). There’s also an article on gym etiquette.

And don’t be nervous — I know a lot of people are, especially if they’re new to working out or feel out of shape. Even at my college-town gym, I see people of all shapes, sizes, and ages. If you want to check out the gym before you join, see if you can check out the gym with a friend first (a lot of places let you bring a guest), or get a day pass. If you don’t feel comfortable there, check out a couple of other places. But almost everyone is there just to work out and do their thing.