Saturday, January 24, 2009

Does anyone know how to use a Stair Master?

When we first moved to Colorado Springs, some very nice people from church gave us a free six-month membership to a gym that's right across the street from the church (and, awesomely, about five minutes from our house). This gift was sort of bittersweet for me because, truth be told, I really only like the idea of working out regularly. And it was really convenient when we lived in Lawrenceburg and didn't have a gym within reasonable driving distance, and I could just pretend that I was so disappointed that I couldn't actually do anything about my idea of working out regularly. Then this very generous gift appeared, and now I feel guilty for doing the same amount of working out I used to do (read: none).

Within the first two months of living here, I went to the gym twice. Maybe three times. Let's say it was three times. I was definitely getting my money's worth (free membership = no money-related guilt about being lazy!), but I wasn't exactly helping myself get back into running shape. Sidenote: Moving to high altitude is a great excuse for being a crappy runner. You can totally tell yourself you were in good shape at reasonable altitudes, and your body just hasn't adjusted to this 6800-feet-in-the-air nonsense.

Then my lovely cousin (hi, Whitney!) got engaged (!) and asked me to be a bridesmaid for her wedding at the end of May, and now I have a teensy-weensy bit of motivation to get a little fitter. Specifically, I've decided that I want to get my arms lookin' all pretty for Whitney's big day. Because we all know that's what everyone else is going to be looking at, right? And I am currently rocking the teacher flab in the tricep region.

The only problem is that I am not really adept enough with gym machinery to achieve this goal. There are two or three machines that I recognize from my previous life of semi-intensity when I semi-frequented the Vanderbilt Rec Center, so I use those machines, and there have been a few times when I've stood next to other machines and tried to figure them out (while also trying not to look like an idiot) to no avail. Apparently I'm not willing to sacrifice my dignity in front of total strangers for the sake of arm fitness.

Yesterday, I did my typical routine of using the machines I know and love, then hovering around the other arm machines, trying to convince myself that no one else would notice if it took me a minute to figure the machine out, failing to convince myself, then finally giving up and going over to the treadmill.

But yesterday - yesterday! - I decided that if I couldn't be brave with the arm machines, I would at least use a different cardio machine. For some reason, I selected the Stair Master. A decision that I now wholeheartedly regret because it seems I don't actually know how to use a Stair Master. I've seen them used before, and they seem pretty self-explanatory, but I could not make those stupid stair pedals do what I think they're supposed to do. I thought you were supposed to simulate the actual act of climbing stairs, but my Stair Master experience felt more like climbing stairs in a bad dream with a bad guy chasing me. You know those dreams where your legs feel too heavy, and you can't seem to make yourself go? I was climbing those suckers reallllly slowly.

And perhaps you've seen enough Stair Masters to know that you're about three feet in the air when you use one. The perfect height to be inconspicuous when you don't want to make a fool of yourself using new equipment in a crowded gym. What fun.

Needless to say, I will not be experimenting at Fitness 19 anymore. I will stick to the treadmill and my few trusty arm machines and hope that's good enough. And I would greatly appreciate it if you would share an embarrassing gym story to make me feel cooler.