Subourbon Mom


No More Exercise Appointments
July 23, 2021, 7:00 am
Filed under: Exercise, Middle Age | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In our efforts to become more and more efficient with our time, exercise has become something we do to be healthy, look good and relieve stress. And the faster we can do that, the better.

So, hat’s off to all you exercise psychos who get up at 5:00am, be at the gym by six and showered and at your desk by eight.  You’ve knocked it out for the day and you’ll sleep better knowing your blood pressure is lower, your muscles are tired, and that eating the donut Kevin brought into work isn’t going to wreck your dietary world.

I used to be one of you. 

But, since the pandemic forced me to work from home, I’ve learned some unpleasant truths about myself: 

  • I won’t exercise at home unless it’s walking the dogs, and even then it’s really only because my apple watch talks to my health insurance and I get $1 for it.   
  • Watching exercise videos on YouTube is like watching TV – I’ll just turn it off when I don’t like what they’re doing. It’s a lot harder to do that when you have a trainer blocking the gym door against runners like me.
  • I need physical and mental separation from my work, which doesn’t happen for me, working from home. Compartmentalizing is not my thing. 

As soon as I could, I started going to a Pilates studio. I was too out of shape to go back to Orange Theory (no way was I going to go back to being a “Walker” – if you know, you know…).  I had injuries to heal, and I knew Pilates is good for strengthening your core. Since my “core” had expanded to include a lot of peripheral areas, that sounded perfect.

And it was, for a while. But just like with all the other exercises I’d tried, I got bored. It became an appointment I had to keep instead of being something I looked forward to.  Worse, I still couldn’t disconnect from work. I’d be doing stretches and making a “C—Curve” until my body shook, but I would still be thinking of all the things I had to do.

Finally, after a lot of bitching and a heart-to-heart with Daughter #1, who is now a personal trainer herself, I understood that I need to find an exercise that is something physical that I enjoy doing away from the house/work, but that also takes my complete attention.

Enter Daughter #2, who asked for the millionth time why I didn’t just start horseback riding again.

From the mouths of both my babes.

With horses, you must be present. They can read your emotions form the moment you enter the barn, and trust me, if you’re in a shitty mood, they’re going to be too.  And who can blame them?  Would you want someone sitting grumpily on your back, hands clenched, attached to the reins and the bit in your mouth?  When I’ve tried to ride Daughter #2’s horse like it’s a mission to accomplish, he simply refuses to walk out of the barn, and I don’t blame him.


From grooming to riding to walking them to their field, horses demand your complete attention. There’s no sneaking out when you’re done, like I used to do at Orange Theory, when the rowing part of the class was just the last straw. If you’re not paying attention with a horse, you’re either on the ground, chasing an escapee or simply stepping in a big pile of shit.

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So this fall, after Daughter #2 heads back to college, I’m going to start riding again in earnest. God help the poor horse that has put up with me flailing around until I’m strong enough to stay balanced (and on).

Now, I know riding isn’t for everybody – that’s not the point. The point is to make exercise something you want to do, not an appointment you have to keep. Go find your thing – hiking, canoeing, pickle ball, swimming, rock wall climbing, yard work, whatever it is that floats your exercise boat.  Just make sure it’s something where you have to be completely present – the rest will follow.  

   



Exercise Bikes – The Hatred is Real
October 25, 2017, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Exercise | Tags: , , , , , , ,

One of the many reasons I’m not a runner is because it hurts every joint from your hips to your toes. When I hopped off the still moving treadmill and tried to stretch my hip by twisting my leg into a pretzel, the gym trainer made me get on the exercise bike instead.

I hate the bike. I hate it with a passion I usually reserve for pedophiles, animal abusers and people who don’t use their turn signals.

Partly, I hate it because I associate it with those ultra-considerate people who ride bikes on the country roads by my house, taking up an entire lane while going 10 mph, and holding up traffic for miles. I dislike those biking enthusiasts even more when they have the audacity to grump when I shoot past them because…that’s right, I LIVE ON THAT ROAD. Bikers, I’m glad you’re out for your afternoon of freedom and exercise, but I live 20 minutes from town – I’ve got shit to do and errands to run before I too can enjoy the great outdoors, and you’re making it take even longer.

But I digress.

Mostly I hate the exercise bike at the gym because I sweat like a politician telling the truth as I do the hill climb or whatever cardio Hell they’ve decided to throw at us. I start wheezing because it’s hard work pedaling up an imaginary hill to nowhere.  I suck wind like I’ve been dutch-ovened after a chili cook-off because, in order to make the RPMs like I’m supposed to, I have to lean over and use the arm rests on the front of the bike. No big deal you say?  You try flailing your legs in a tiny circle in record time while you’re bent in half. It’s like running on a gerbil wheel while trying to lick your stomach.

Did I mention that I hate the bike?

When I’m done, completely spent and in danger of becoming a “sprinkler,” (one whose sweat dances off their body and onto others) I go to the office, shower and examine the damage. I will never be able to go to the OBGYN while I’m having to ride this Inquisition torture device – there would be some questions asked about the bruises all over my inner thighs. Helloooo…ever heard of seat cushions, oh Makers of the Almighty Exercise Bike?

So, I went out and bought some actual exercise leggings for an added protective layer. It didn’t help. I still look like I’ve been riding a bony bucking bronco every morning.

hamster wheel guyAnd I will never understand those people who do spin classes and say how much they love it, how addicted they are.

I think it’s a cult.

They probably keep hundreds of gerbils spinning on wheels in their homes just to watch them go, because they’re so obsessed; and, I’ll bet some of them spin to power their eco- and gerbil-friendly homes as they try to challenge Lance Armstrong’s over-sized, steroid-tripping heart. Over-achievers, if you ask me. I would much rather walk and jog on a fake road, thank you very much.

I will always hate the exercise bike, but the bottom line (aside from the ones on my actual bottom) is that it does rest my hip joints, and I’m no longer in danger of flying off the back of the treadmill while I stretch during the hardest parts of the workout (I’m not stupid – I’m not going to waste the walking portion with stretching).

So don’t worry Lance, you and your gerbils are in no danger from me.



There Should Be National Trainer Day
October 10, 2017, 5:27 pm
Filed under: Exercise, Misc. Humor, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are several health care jobs I know I could never do, mostly because they’re just gross or dealing with negativity – dentists (scared patients), ear-nose-throat docs (green noses make me dry-heave), and gynecologists (just…eeewww), to name a few.  But one of the most underrated jobs has got to be exercise/gym trainer.

Before you roll your eyes and say, oh please, they make their own hours and get to play in a gym for their job, let me point out a few things:

fat trainerGym trainers have to look good every day to sell their product. Slapping on some makeup or pricey cologne and throwing on a cute dress or fancy suit after a blurry night out aren’t going to do it.  Trainers have to be perky (almost annoyingly so) and looking fresh every time, like they just stepped out of a fitness magazine or off the beach after a refreshing jog along the waterline – they’re selling a body and motivation. No one wants a fat trainer lazily leaning against a stack of weights telling them how to not be fat and lazy.

sports bra 2Trainers have to exude motivation, even when they’ve been up half the night with a vomiting kid, or are regretting eating that entire Chipotle bowl.   An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and lots of clients feel like they have already produced a herculean effort just to get to the gym in the first place. For some, that includes just trying to get their sports bra on.  They’re not happy about getting out of bed at the crack of dawn or leaving the office after a crappy day of work and heading to a place that makes them alternately miserable and euphoric.  But trainers have to somehow make these people exercise until they sweat, hearts pounding and bodies straining with every lift, curl or push – and they must do it in a way that doesn’t make their clients hate them.  At Orange Theory,  the gym I go to, Hannah and John have mastered this – God bless ’em!

Trainers who teach the early morning classes are a special breed.  Not only do they have to look good and be cheerful around a bunch of sleepy, grumpy people who have desperately fueled up on coffee in a pitiful attempt to make it through the class, trainers endure hours of garlic sweat (don’t be that guy), morning breath and general B.O. (because why bother if you’re just going to shower before going to work?).

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So be kind to your trainer. Say thank you after class, even though yes, you are paying for it. Appreciate that they got out of bed even earlier than you so you could get to your 5am class, and they never said a word to you the day you came in smelling like PF Changs.



Spring Break – 5 College Guy Body Types

Lots of people have asked me if there was any eye candy on the spring break cruise we took, which apparently had most of the University of Georgia on it. I hesitate to say yes, because a) the “men” were the same age as my daughters and b) eye candy is only fun in this situation for someone my age as long as you have your headphones on.  As soon as you actually hear the eye candy speak, it’s all over – it’s like getting what you thought was a caramel chocolate out of the candy box, and it ends up having that nasty pink creamy stuff inside.

But while I waited at the back of the pool crowd (see photo above) for the waiter to bring my next boat drink, I did notice that there are essentially 5 main male college bods:

  1. The football player who will eventually be a real estate broker or work in his Dad’s car dealership. This guy has already peaked – in fact, he may have peaked in high school but is riding the wave until the bitter end. His bulky size is beginning to go or will go to fat as soon as he stops working out in the gym, although he may re-acquaint himself with his neck when that happens. He always enters the belly flop contest and does the beer yell while dancing like Uncle Kracker. He also has some of the worst sunburn because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and guys generally just aren’t that helpful to each other with sunscreen application.
  2. Dad-Bod. This guy has already achieved that settled look that usually comes after baby #1. You can already see what he’s going to look at when he’s 40. He’s wearing the pastel button-down shirt (probably unbuttoned) and a university hat. But he is someone who might be able to hold a conversation, and his sunscreen is evenly applied because he has a girlfriend (or potential girlfriend) who cares.
  3. The Gym Rat. This guy, no matter how tall or short, spends the same amount of time in the gym that Oprah Winfrey spends telling people how to live their lives better (BTW, I’m still annoyed that one of Oprah’s “favorite things” was a pair of slippers for $300, as if we’re supposed to be able to afford them – bitch, please). He has perfected the flex-and-scan, which involves – you guessed it – flexing his pecs and abs and scanning beneath his $200 sunglasses to see who noticed. This is usually followed by a smirk if he’s spotted a fan, or a frown if he hasn’t.
  4. The Head of the Back (a-la Michael Anthony Hall in 16 Candles). These leaders of the non-Ken Doll contingent tend to lurk around the outskirts of the big crowds, drinking as much as the rest (or more), but never quite make it to the inner circle. They may not spend as much time in the gym or in the girls’ dorms as the other guys, but they have an amazing assortment of professional sports-related clothing to choose from, such as baseball and basketball jerseys. Sunburn? See Bod #1.
  5. Baseball player bod. These guys aren’t necessarily baseball players – they just have that naturally athletic look to them, without all the gym work. They either are already in the military (hence the look), they’ll work 20-hour days on Wall Street, or they will climb some other corporate ladder quickly with their combination of looks and charm (and probably smarts as well) – unless they go the opposite direction and do something interesting/noble like joining the Peace Corp or becoming a Wilderness adventure leader in the Rockies. Their sunscreen is applied evenly by pretty much anyone they ask.

At the risk of being accused of body-shaming, these are generalizations only. I don’t know these people and haven’t spoken to them except to ask them to please aim their vomit down the stairs and not down my front (just kidding). And no, I’m not going to talk about the girls’ body types because…I’m not stupid.

And yes, I was jealous of them for a bit, but then I had a revelation:

College kids don’t have cash, and pool wait staff like cash.   A lot.

Grownups have cash.

So, we grownups grabbed some chairs first thing in the morning while the partiers were still sleeping, and camped out all day enjoying the partiers’ annoyed looks.  We tipped the wait staff each time they took our orders.  Soon we didn’t even have to ask – they just brought. No standing in line amongst the sweaty, rum-breathing hoards, vying for the bartenders’ attention among the belly button rings and thongs. Just drinks on a tray when we needed them.

It’s good to be a grown up.



Are You A Reacher or a Settler?

Daughter #1 recently informed our family that on the TV show How I Met Your Mother, they talked about how in every relationship there’s a Reacher and a Settler.
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Reachers are in a relationship with someone who is out of their league. Settlers are with someone they believe may be inferior to them, either intellectually or physically – think Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel, or for those of you under the age of 40, Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde.

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Ok, ok, if you want to be intellectual about it, it could be anyone of normal intelligence who has married a genius of any kind.

 

So I started wondering:  If this is true, what relationships would work better and longer?

 

Reacher + Settler:  A lawyer once said, “You know 10’s don’t date 2’s, right?”  Well, in my opinion, if they do it’s most likely not going to work, for two reasons:

1.       There rarely are 10’s.  Some people may think they’re a 10, but chances are they’re not.  I’m not just talking about looks here – you can be  a 10 in the personality department, or a be a 2 (a total D-bag).  Either way, it probably won’t last.

2.       These relationships are doomed from the start, unless the Settler (the 10) is a narcissist and the Reacher (the 2) has absolutely no self-esteem whatsoever, and they stay that way.  In this type of relationship, Reachers will let their well-being be dictated by their desire to be needed by the Settler.

unknown-3Think of Bella, the character in the Twilight movies. She is the Reacher (a young girl who is completely attracted to the all-powerful vampire), and Edward, the vampire, is the Settler.  (Yes, I know what happened in the books at the end – more on that later).  If their relationship had stayed the same, she would eventually have become just a blood supply to him.

Settler + Settler:  This would appear on the surface to work, except that the relationship will become toxic. Eventually, both Settlers’ feelings of superiority allow them to convince themselves they are right, or at least that the other is wrong. In a relationship between two Settlers, each thinks the other must be a Reacher, and therefore must be inferior/wrong.  “Asshole”, “arrogant” and “egotistical” are a couple of favorite words for two Settlers to sling about when they fight.  Try to imagine what would happen if Kanye West or Taylor Swift got together, or even better, Hillary and The Donald.

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Toxic.

 

 

Reacher + Reacher:  This is the best combination.  Two Reachers will be convinced they don’t deserve the other person, and will treat each other well.  Back to Bella and Edward – by the end of the series, both become Reachers.  Once Bella is made into a vampire, their unique vampire abilities put them on equal footing. Plus, both are so screwed up emotionally (she’s horrifically repressed, and he’s got some bizarre emotional need to be with a girl one tenth his age) they will never consider themselves Settlers.  That said, most of the marriages I know that have lasted a long time have done so because both people are self-aware enough to know they are flawed, and that not many people in the world could put up with their shit the way their spouse has for the last decade or two.

But what if the dynamic changes?  What if one of the two Reachers turns into a Settler? It happens.  Think of the Couch Potato-turned-Gym Rat.  The Couch Potato, who is in a relationship with another Couch Potato, should be happy (according to my theory) – until the Couch Potato decides she no longer wants to be a Couch Potato (because she watched the Twilight series too many times), and begins working out in the gym.  Soon she’s rockin’ the six pack and has a whole new set of Gym Rat friends. She starts to look down on her Couch Potato, and becomes in her mind, a Settler.  So, we are back to the first scenario:  Reacher + Settler.

Does this mean people aren’t allowed to change and grow in their relationship?  Of course not.  It does, however, mean that both people have to communicate, and never stop growing and trying new things.  Children try new things every day and grow exponentially.  It’s one of the reasons they are so interesting to watch.  Adults have a harder time trying new things, out of fear of looking ridiculous of being uncomfortable.  But not trying anything new means not growing.

Trying something new doesn’t have to mean hiking the Appalachian Trail or learning to pole dance at age 50; it can be something as simple as taking an online class about underwater basket weaving, writing a blog, or starting a business from your home.  When one person in the relationship stops growing and trying new things, they automatically become a Reacher.  If both people stop trying new things, they become…Al Bundy.

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