Thursday, January 17, 2008


I am a wimp. I do not like to work hard, especially physically. I was always the one on the verge of puking when we ran the mile in school. Wimpy. I watch The Biggest Loser and hope that I wouldn't be like Neill, always looking for an excuse to take a break or ease up on a workout.
For this reason, I force myself to go to classes at the gym. Having an instructor there pushes me to work out harder and longer than I would on my own. Let's face it--even with my new Zen (mp3) pumping out tunes or conference talks, I still hate to be on a treadmill. It's boring and it's work.
The other problem is that I am highly uncoordinated. I could never do a cartwheel and it took me years longer than most to learn to ride a bike. Kimball was diagnosed a few years ago as having minor Cerebral Palsy, which manifests in an inability to smoothly coordinate both sides of his body. I secretly wonder if he inherited it from me and that I have been undiagnosed all these years. (At least it would be a good reason to be so clumsy.) Needless to say, I am lost and look ridiculous in an aerobics class. By the time I finally get the steps down, they have long since moved on to another step.
For the past 9 weeks, I have been going to a spinning class on Thursdays at 5:30 am. If you've never been to a spin class, it is one of the best workouts I've ever known. One of the great things about it is that you don't have to be coordinated. There are no routines to learn and no tall step to slip and fall off of in the middle of class. You ride a stationary bicycle with adjustable tension and spend the hour "riding" up hills, pushing harder and harder all the time. It makes me sweat like a man. And I love the way it makes me feel. I do not, however, love getting out of bed at 5:00 am one day a week.
But this week, I had an epiphany. If I really want to get to my goal weight, if I really want to be healthy and fit, then I might have to pay a higher price. I might have to get my sorry, wimpy, clumsy butt out of bed before it wants to be more than once a week. Getting up at 6:00 to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill most mornings is not cutting it. I checked out the schedule at the gym and found that on other mornings, there is a 5:00 am spin class. Why does that seem so much earlier than 5:30? Perhaps because I actually have to set the alarm for a time that starts with a 4. That's just plain obscene!
Tuesday night I decided to go to that dark and early class the next day. "Think of it as a last chance workout before your weigh-in," I told myself (you have to watch TBL to get that.) Not only did we go to bed at 9:30, but I wore my workout clothes to bed! The next morning--if you can call it that--when the alarm went off, I wanted to die. Instead, I pulled myself out of bed, put on my shoes, socks, and contacts, and headed for the door. The streets were empty and I wondered if I was being a complete fool on the way there, tempted to turn around and go back to bed. When I arrived at the gym, I was surprised to see at least 20 people on the spin bikes--twice the attendance of the 5:30 class! As we climbed our 13th hill of the morning, it dawned on me that I was in on the secret now that these people already knew. If you want to be healthy and fit, you really do have to pay a price that is painful. But everything truly worthwhile in life requires sacrifice and hard work, doesn't it?
I left the gym at 6:00 feeling invigorated, accomplished, and sweaty. Amazingly, by the time my kids needed me to be their mom at 7:00 am, I had already showered and spent 30 minutes studying the scriptures. Not a bad way to start the day.
I am planning on making it to an early morning spin class three times a week from now on. I'm posting about it so that you'll expect it from me and even follow up with me once in a while. And if you've never been to a spin class, you might just want to give it a try. Just remember your water bottle!


Anonymous said...

Hi Michal,
This is Karla from Whittier(think Mason's.) I've been reading your blog for a short time now and felt it was time to leave a comment.I too lack coordination and the desire to exercise hard. I'm so glad to hear that i'm not the only one unable to do a cartwheel.
I'm so bad, I used to hit the ball backward during volleyball. Good luck with your goals.

Erika said...

Love the blog. As I drove home last night from the gym, it dawned on me that I'm addicted to exercise. Glad I'm not the only one. For me however, its from 10pm-11pm that I hit the gym 3x a week for my elliptical workout. During that time I read my lesson in the Joseph Smith Manual and also read some out of the BOM. Its the only time Scotty will for sure stay asleep and Tyler won't miss me because he's glued to Sports Center :-)

Michal said...

karla! of course i know who you are! you don't have to remind me! i'm so glad you're there. i've been keeping tabs on you via my mom.
we are as one when it comes to coordination. i'm terrible at volleyball. and tennis. and softball. are you detecting a pattern?

Michal said...

glad your boys are letting you get to the gym again. i'm sure you've missed it. i've been trying to hit the s.e.t. class here once a week, although i've only made it two or three times. that class instructor is into torture. it reminds me of the time you gave me my own personal s.e.t. class. are you going to start teaching again?

Yvonne said...

Great for you! I have been contemplating doing an early a.m. workout, but like you - I feel that any alarm going off with a 4 in the time is obscene! A 5 is even pushing it! I have been doing Yoga in the a.m. with a video at home, but KNOW that if I want to shed the dreded 15 (pounds that is) I really need to get moving. Thanks for the encouragement...keep it up

Macy said...

Go Michal! I just joined the YMCA this week - I may follow your lead and sign up for the early spinning class as well. I have lost all the weight I am going to lose with watching what I eat. I really need the exercise. I like the way you put this - if I really want to look good, I have to put in the work.

Rebecca said...

I have to admit, I didn't have coordination as a kid, so my parents put me in dance class. Seriously, I would fall down as I was walking. Now I'm really coordinated, but not using it!

Spin classes? I still have to go back to the gym. I fell on the ice when I tried last week, had to wait until Monday (chiropractor's orders), got sick on Sunday and another week down the drain.

Exercise, scripture reading then starting the day! I think you're my new hero!

Michal said...

don't be too impressed. it was one day. i am hoping to make it a habit, but one day does not a habit make!
most days lately i am getting in exercise before i start the day, but the scripture study often has to wait until later when i can snatch some time to myself again. since i need to get a spiritual boost in the AM even if i don't have time for scripture study, i have been listening to a conference talk or two while exercising or while driving to the gym.

Malia said...

wow Michal youre amazing! Setting an alarm that starts w/ a 4? I always complained about having to get up and in the pool for morning practice and that was only an alarm that started with 5! I love the fact that you slept in your workout clothes! I used to do that sometimes... I dont remember what kinda of clothes it was... I just remember getting dressed the night before for whatever I had to do in the morning! Youre doing so well with exercise keep it up!

scrap chair potato said...

That is really awesome Michal. I was always afraid of the spinning classes at the gym. I was always afraid it would make my leg muscles too big. I know, terrible excuse. I think I will try it now, you have inspired me!

Morgan said...

That is awesome, Michal. Working out stinks rotten. I've just joined curves- trying to not gain 65 lbs with this pregnacy like I did with Henry. Eek- 3 more months till this baby comes!

mindyluwho said...

Wow. I can only muster getting up no earlier than 5:45ish. And that's only because I have to drive my kids to seminary! After I pick them up we hit the gym for an hour before coming home and starting the day, but it's just a little gym, no Spin class darn it, that sounds like fun! I'm hoping to get outside on my bike as soon as the weather turns warmer.

Andrea said...

I am impressed. I think it would make mornings so much easier if I was ready before my children get up. I have tried to wake up early and exercise many times but have never done it. Maybe I should try the late night one like Erika. I need to do something.

Amy said...

Michal, I found your site through the A Year off Site. How inspirational! This is an area I have been really working on hard for the past 2 months now. Exercise is NOT something that I naturally enjoy and has come very hard for me and is still in the coming process. Coordination!? HA!!
Thank you for the post. I found it enjoyable,inspirational, and encouraging!

Amy said...

Okay, not sure what I need to do for my name to lead to my site, but it is Amy

Erika said...

I've actually been teaching for 2 months now. 1 night a week, from 6:30-7:30 at the San Juan Capo gym. SET.
Tyler & Scotty make a weekly trip to Costco while I'm gone :-)

Michal said...

welcome! come on back anytime, and thanks for leaving me a comment so i know you were here.

Michal said...

i wish i could come to your SET class. it's a pretty long drive, though. i'm glad you're back in the swing of things.
that baby is going to be worth it, even if you do gain a lot of weight. i am so excited for you guys and i can't believe that it's only three months away.
scrappy and macy,
don't be afraid of spin. it will surely kick your butt, but it is so empowering to last the entire class.
i was pretty sure that surfers were willing to get up at any time for good surf. i suppose if you live on the beach, you don't have to get up as early, though, do you?
andrea, mindy, yvonne--
i had to work up the early morning hour gradually. i started by telling myself i'd get up at six most days. then i added one day at 5:00, and let myself sleep until seven on fridays. now i'm going to try the 4:45 thing two days and the 5:00 one day, 6:00 one day, and 7:00 the other days. we'll see. the feeling of empowerment is somewhat addictive. good luck with your own workout goals!

david mcmahon said...

You are such a pleasure to read, Michal. To me, the key sentence in your searing self-examination is this: ``I left the gym at 6:00 feeling invigorated, accomplished, and sweaty.''

An early-morning workout (or exercise of any kind) really leaves one invigorated for the day.

Bless you


lynn said...

Gosh well i'm shamed to the core. I don't like gyms, they bore me rigid. Watching bad music vids and going nowhere. Nope i've no time for it. Swimming; i love. My membership has run out at the luxury place i went last year - mmm, swim, sauna, steam, pampering shampoos and fluffy towels and a calm soft drink in the bar after...sigh... - and the other place well i'm not keen on veruccas and hordes of school trip attendees barging past me in the showers so i haven't been for a while. I went for a walk though this morning! Yay. It's a start again.
I have three sons and i agree being a full-time mum is the best and busiest job. I had to go back to work though i wish i still could devote my time to being their fussing mum! I still do, when they let me, they're 20 19 and 16 now. I love nothing better than bringing them nice things and making sure they're okay. Now it's mainly my 16 year old and his girlfriend at home. Oldest two boys are at uni. It's good to meet you, i'll put you in my sidebar thingy.

shooting star said...

oh my my!!.....such a big post on having had put years behind me of efforts to lose weight(thankfully successfully)....can say only one takes one helluva determination to get out and workout..but once one starts..its addictive...!!! a avid jogger now......

Martin said...

Aren't you sore the next day?
I recently started exercising hard again, and I felt great the first day, but the next day, my hips and knees all stiffen. I have to use half a tube of icy/hot to walk around normally.

Also I need to visit a chiropractor . . . . .

I think the last time Becky worked out regualry was when she and a friend would go to water aerobics.

That is an excellent option if you lack coordination, and its less stressful on the joints.

Spinning would be second, then walking, but running on treadmills is just hard on your knees, and I would avoid it.