“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve started a new exercise regimen. My first foray into this bold new world of better cardio didn’t end well. It ended with me two minutes shy of the basic recommendation the advisor gave me, when I think he was trying to go easy on me. I told him not to, I’d been active, I had results to back it up, I was ready to take it to the next level. If my outcomes were a fraction as potent as my ambitions, this world would belong to me. Good old reality is always there to take me down a peg or two.
A few days later, I return for round two, determined to make those last two minutes. Being somewhat of a creature of peculiar habit, I return to the same machine, which is occupied. The rest of the machines in the row are occupied as well. There are some other ones across the room, but they are of a different model, and I am stubborn, so I decide to do something else while I wait. There’s a rowing machine near my elliptical of choice, so I hop on that for a bit while I wait.
10 minutes of rowing pass and my machine isn’t free yet. Sigh. I tell myself to quit being a crybaby and go get on one of those other machines. I’ve still got something to prove, and those additional two minutes aren’t working themselves.
Wow. I thought that the last time was bad. That time, I didn’t fall apart until 2 minutes shy of the recommended routine. Considering I’d never been on an elliptical machine before that, I felt it was a valiant effort even if I didn’t succeed. I was on this other thing for no longer than 7 minutes and my legs were screaming for mercy. I was broken. I stepped off of the machine and was dizzy. Hmm. That’s never happened before.
I slowly walked to get the sanitizer and paper towel to wipe down the machine. After doing so, I looked at the weights, but my vertigo was still in full effect. Disappointed (and a little concerned), I start to head to the locker room, not a half hour in and I was done. I get to the stairs and start to take one step down and I don’t think I’ll make it down safely.
What. The. Fuck.
So I end up taking the elevator. In the gym. After a paltry 7-ish minutes of cardio (and the rowing). All of that bravado I’d built up had turned liquid. I was thoroughly destroyed, defeated, demoralized and dizzy.
I slowly get dressed, take the elevator back up and make my way for the door, doing my best to not look the way I felt. Once outside, I pick up my slightly stumbling gait til I get to the car. I suppose, I thought to myself, this is the reason they say to consult a physician before starting any exercise plan. I sit in my car and wait out the dizzy spell and wonder what the hell happened.
I went home, and in an effort to not let it be a total wash, I crank out a few miles on the bike before calling it quits for the night.
The next day, my quadriceps were sore. That’s nothing new. There’s always some soreness after a workout. It’s normally a pretty pleasant pain, because it comes with a sense of satisfaction knowing how you earned it. The day following that saw the soreness get significantly worse, building to active pain. All over a few stupid minutes on that elliptical thing that wasn’t my chosen machine. I reached out to a friend of mine who is a physical therapist and she tells me what to do to help it out (thank you, thank you, thank you!). Through the grace of her advice, I manage to maintain the ability to self-ambulate. It was pretty bad.
The next morning I’m walking my daughter to her classroom when one of my quadriceps spasms and mid-stride I devolve into the Harlem Shake. I manage to stay on my feet, and my daughter is delighted with my slick and completely unintended dance moves and begs me to do it again.
Two days later, I’m still sore. I’m talking to a co-worker about my humiliation at the hands of the off-brand elliptical machine when she asked me if it measured my stride length. An odd question, but at the time, I just assumed it was a metric that one measured that the first one didn’t.
As it turns out, that’s no elliptical machine I was on. This monster (and I use that term somewhat literally) is called an AMT, or Adaptive Motion Trainer. Some research on ye olde internettes reveals that this thing does not fuck around. People in WAY better shape than I am are pressed by it in just a few minutes as well.
So now you know. If there’s a place on the control panel for stride length, you stay the fuck away from that thing. For now, anyway. I am utterly determined to conquer that mountain in 2013.
So, for any of you nerds out there who are similarly hellbent on getting healthy, a word to the wise by means of a Tolkien quotation: “Not all that glitters is gold. Not all who wander are lost. And not all that look like goddamn elliptical machines are elliptical machines.”
Next time: My Badass Revenge.