spinning wheels & warrior poses

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so as previously stated, I’m staying in LA. As much as I would like to leave LA right now, the truth is that my money is made here, and I just don’t think the universe will let me clear out of Dodge. As I said to Polgara, “The first time I was going to move, my dog needed a couple thousand dollars in cancer surgery, and the second time my nice, solid, well-paying part-time job became a bit uncertain — after a while, you gotta kinda just take the cosmos’ hint.”

There are a lot of things that I’d been putting off because I thought I’d be moving – fixing things in my apartment, cleaning out some of my stuff, getting my grandmother’s hope chest restored, figuring out my cross training, etc. But, since I’m staying, I figured I’d best get on getting on that.

The first thing I did was set up my cross training for the summer. I love rowing, I’m in no way going to stop being a rower, but the LA boathouse isn’t available to me in the afternoons, I can’t drive to the LB boathouse in the afternoons, & honestly, I’ve been rowing & running for so long that at this point both my brain & my body are just bored. Because of being injured & not training as much over the winter, I’d gained about 10lbs, and getting that off has been a crawling process. Right now I’m about 6lbs up from where I was, & I’d actually l like to drop another 13 off that just because I could spare the padding even before I got injured. Plus on a purely practical level, I’m mostly rowing a single right now, so the more I weigh, the more I have to pull down the course, and at the end of the day, I really am kinda lazy. (or, as rowers put it, “efficiency-oriented”)

Many many moons ago when I lived on the East Coast, I worked in a gym, which is where I lost my first 40lbs, & during that I used to teach Reebok Cycle, because hey, it actually was not always called Spinning.

This in mind, I decided to attempt a recon mission to explore the possibility of returning to the mother ship for a while, so I chose a small chain of studios that focuses on yoga & spinning, and headed over to the Venice studio last week.

As you might guess, the fitness industry in LA can be a little intimidating to begin with, but once you get into Venice, Santa Monica, Brentwood, etc, you can take that environment of low body fat percentages, overly cheerful, slightly pushy salespeople working on commission & vapid-subject chatter looking to be disdainful of others so they feel better and exponentially increase that by… about a billion.

…and that’s what I was wary of when I walked in.

The classes are fine, so I’m cool with the place — I’m not there to make friends, I’m there because I can stack a spin class followed by yoga pretty much any night of the week, & that’s what I was looking for. It was the people watching that I found amusing.

Now, I have a very realistic idea of what I look like – I’m not a tiny girl, but I’m not medically obese. I, like the rest of America, fit into a two-digit size when I buy jeans, and while there is still some pudge to my wudge, even after I lose that, I will still have a good amount of muscle mass — I’m an openweight engine room rower, that’s just the way it is.

However, by West LA standards… I’m fat.
I’m not saying that’s the proper scale to measure things, or how I personally think about it, but that’s just the way it is.

So when I walked in & found not just one, but two platinum blond girls who look to wear a size 4 or less, I kinda laughed a little in my head because omg, they’re my favorite kind. Why? because these girls haven’t realized what I learned long ago – there are ten thousand other girls in this city who could switch out with you & the majority of the members here would never even realize anything had changed.

After setting up that yes, I was doing my first class and trying not to laugh as the girl behind the counter attempted to sell me the more expensive package until I reminded her that the facility had a May special for three months as a severely discounted price, I handed my paperwork back & was cheerily instructed that if this was my first time working out or I had any questions, my instructor was Dennis & I should ask him.

One of the things I do a lot in LA is to apply a principle that I actually learned from a 19-yr old coxswain named Shaw.

Shaw once told me, “Whenever I talk to :OtherCoach’sNameRedacted:, I just pretend to hear what she should be saying in that situation & tell myself that’s what she meant to say, because if I judged her based on what she actually says, it would be incredibly rude & I’d have to hit her.”

This in mind, I went ahead & assumed the cheerful girl behind the counter meant if this was my first time spinning I could ask for help, because that would be the logical, customer-service oriented word to use in that situation, so I smiled & said thanks before I walked away rather than to say what the voice in my brain said, a response which involved the fact that my body’s natural tendency to bulk up meant that even though I don’t lift anymore, my German Swim Team arms could pick her up & snap her scrawny ass like a twig.

But hey, lookit me – I’m learning, I’m growing, I becoming a better person, & I totally didn’t say that. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m trying to avoid wheat right now, I’d suggest such restraint on my part as having earned me a cookie.

How, you might ask, do I manage such a higher level of being? Well, it’s a kind of zen state, really. It involves herbs, berries, mediation, & a lovely focus mantra gifted to the world by Joss Whedon…


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Spinning was fine – for lack of better metaphor, I’m going to play State-The-Obvious & say that it really was just like riding a bike – hardware hasn’t changed, workout requirements are the same… it’s all good. I should probably get myself a set of clips, but for now my slightly worn down sneakers are just fine.

Their yoga, however, is a little different. I’d tried their DVD before, & hadn’t found it all that challenging after a run. But hoo boy – do it after a spin class, & it’s a whole new ballgame.

There’s a lot of emphasis on Warrior poses, which center around this leg position:

Ya know what? you hold that a bunch after a spin class, and suddenly your inner thighs hurt a whole eff of a lot. Also, I am now determined to master a standing split:

Of course, I don’t know that I could ever be as cool as this guy.
Honestly, I didn’t put the photo on because the pose doesn’t wig me out nearly as much as the gaping chasm he’s created with his big toes… Toddlers could use that as a chair!

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I am a sweaty, sweaty beast.
Overall, the biggest problem has nothing to do with the workout & more to do with the fact that where some girls perspire, I sweat.
Like a pig.
That lives in Texas.
In August.
During a drought.

For realzies, people — when I’m rowing outside, it’s not as bad, because hey – fresh air! Wind! Things that help with evaporation!

But when it’s an inside thing, and there’s a heat factor… well, it’s totes disgusting, yo. I literally have to change clothes between spin & yoga, otherwise I have this problem where the sweat from spin has gone cold so I’m freezing, but I’m also still sweating as I do yoga, so my hands are sliding off the damn mat, & that’s with a towel on the mat.

The solution? Double-wide wristbands.

Yup, the ones like the NBA players use. I know, right? That’s totally what you think when you see an incredibly white girl like myself — that it’s gonna be me & LeBron, rockin’ the same gear. ’cause dammit, I’m a baller, & that’s just how I roll.

I pull those bad boys up to right below my elbow & they catch enough of the sweat running down my arms that I am no longer in far less danger of cracking my forehead on a hardwood floor because my hand slipped in a pool of my own perspiration.

So yes. We’ll give spinning 3 – 4 times a week in addition to rowing a whirl, & see where things stand at the end of the summer. As of this morning, I am officially able to say that I’m solidly under the first xx0 number that was my weight goal for mid-May, so next up is getting myself down another 5lbs so I can be under the next xx5 on the scale by June 1st.
No, I will not be telling you my actual weight at this time — even in my world, there really are some limits to what I’m willing to let the internet know.

Music: Say When – the Fray The Fray - The Fray

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  • Andrea

    “I really am kind of lazy”
    ‘k I realize that’s in rower parlance and reference but I still can’t help myself from shrieking
    ON WHAT PLANET!!!!!









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