What a Difference a Few Hours Makes

Since we moved to Virginia Beach four years ago, I have been going to our neighborhood YMCA during the day.  I work out with young stay-at-home moms who want to work off those extra baby pounds, other retirees like me, and the infirm who come for physical therapy, pushing their walkers or hobbling with their canes.  When I use the weight machines, seldom do I need to lower the poundage.  Indeed, sometimes I have to boost the weights because the previous person was pressing ten pounds and I’m up to a whopping twenty-five.

Recently I made a change in order to get my husband back into exercising. He used to belong to a gym downtown in Norfolk a block away from his office. He would work out after work and get home about 7 p.m. Then he went less and less, using my broken foot as an excuse. “I need to come home and take care of you,” he’d insist when I told him I was worried about his lack of exercise. But even when I no longer needed his help, he didn’t go back to his gym. He said he just missed me and wanted to get home from work as soon as he could. So I added him to my YMCA membership and told him (yes, TOLD him) we were going to work out together at least three days a week. He couldn’t use me as an excuse anymore, and since we were going to work out together, he wouldn’t miss me.

I have news for you, People. Life at the Y is a whole different ball game in the evening. I used to have my pick of any of the machines without waiting. Now they are nearly all full and people wait in line to use the treadmills. I now share the gym with the fittest of the fit: bodybuilders lifting 150 pounds and more, greased bodies glistening, muscles bulging. And those are just the women. Talk about intimidation! And while I’m wearing my discount sneakers and faded sweats from Target, they sport the neon name-brand athletic shoes and latest work-out clothes from Jack LaLanne (okay, Jack isn’t the best person to make my point, but I don’t know any younger jocks. By the way, is Jack even still alive?).

I was on an elliptical a couple of evenings ago, and after thirty minutes, gasping for breath and knees wobbling, I read my stats on the machine. I had managed to burn 75 calories. Woo-hoo! Maybe I could celebrate with an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen? Then I looked over at the Amazon next to me and read her stats. After working out for twenty minutes, she had burned 300 calories. I wonder if I can convince my husband to start coming home for lunch so we can work out together in the middle of the day.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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49 Responses to What a Difference a Few Hours Makes

  1. mercadeo says:

    When i was in elementary school my mother would bring my sister and I to the YMCA to learn how to swim everyday. We lived 40 minutes away by bus from the location so my mother would wait for our lessons to finish to bring us home after. My sister quickly picked up swimming and went to the higher class ranks while i was always low because my swimming did not improve much. But my mom would still pay and bring us to classes everyday even when my swimming did not improve much. Every time they allowed me to go to a higher ranking class my mom would buy us ice cream to celebrate the occasion. Going to the YMCA everyday with my mother and sister was one of the best times of my life because now we hardly spend time together outside of the dinner table.

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks for the comment, Mercadeo. When the YMCA opened in our little town of Fairfield, in Connecticut, our family was a charter member. My mother never learned to swim and was afraid of the water, but she was determined to make us children swimmers, so she took us to the Y one night a week with my dad, who was a great swimmer. We took lessons and, though we never were great swimmers, at least we learned enough to enjoy the water and not drown. Plus, we enjoyed a nice evening as a family. I have always loved the Y. Glad you had such a good experience, too.

  2. Robin says:

    lol! That’s why I work out at home. When I used to go to the gym, I went around 5am. Nobody else was there. Too early for the young and fit, I guess.
    (No, he’s not alive. He died last year.)

  3. oldereyes says:

    My wife’s cardiologist has an interesting approach to exercise and food. He says, “When you’re about to eat a donut. picture it as being three miles away and you have to run to it if you want it.” It’s a clever idea but it doesn’t always work: the burger I ate Saturday night was 13 miles away, but the waitress brought it to me.

  4. Angelia Sims says:

    My husband I REALLY need to do this. We keep talking about it, but it just doesn’t seem to gel with our schedules. However, I am determined to start working out with him. 75 cals is no joke and I bet that machine had a glitch anyway. 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Yes, Angela, I’m sure it was a faulty machine. It expected me to work. There is never a good time to exercise. You just have to bite the bullet and do it, and then you feel so good you did it. Until you have to do it again…

  5. Hahaha your posts are perfect as I wait for my flight home! Good luck at the gym and don’t look at the muscle people wrong.

  6. Al says:

    Funny post! I don’t do gyms anymore, just work out at home. In fact, I’m working out right now….ring finger, 1 2 ,3….index finger,1,2,3….middle finger 1,2,3….well, you get the idea.

    P.S. Had a delightful dinner with Stacia and John. Will tell you all about it soon.

  7. I think intimidation is the biggest problem with gyms, it’s like senior school PE again. What shoes, what bag, how bad you are at the whole exercise thing. At least there are no PE knickers anymore. 😉

  8. stupid, fit, young people…

  9. Dianna says:

    Walking 30 minutes in the morning is my exercise. And the only folks I compete with are those folks walking their dogs….! But this week, hubby and I have been spending nights with his parents, because his Mom fell and broke her shoulder, so I’ve only walked once in the past few days. I have GOT to get myself back in the habit…hopefully tomorrow! (That is the best day to get back on track, right??)
    Good for you going to the Y!

  10. dorannrule says:

    Great post about the many faces of the Y! I was a member for the last 25 years but now trying Curves, where I feel young, slim and in great shape. Well, I’m moving aren’t I? At least I’m moving when I go. 🙂

  11. Boy do I hear you. I almost always try to go to our Y first thing in the morning, but if I don’t then I (a) recognize no one and (b) if I wait too long I’m with the super intense people. It really is a whole new group. Time really does make all the difference…the other possibility is to get some body grease, neon shoes and a new gym outfit and join ’em.

  12. Shary Hover says:

    If I have to go, I’d rather do it in the morning when it’s quiet. Usually, though, I manage to get my exercise in dance class or walking the dog. Much more my speed.

  13. I use to LOVE my morning Gym time as well. The seniors at my gym brought the coffee and donuts in as they leaned up against the machines to “exercise”. Well, their jaws did get a workout between the talking & chewing. I loved watching them…I was jealous. The night people are hardcore, I try to stay clear.

  14. winsomebella says:

    Gym culture can change by the hour—if only our bodies changed that fast!

  15. Lenore Diane says:

    Oh this made me chuckle. When I had a gym membership, I always went early, early in the morning. The folks in the gym with me looked like me – tired, bed-head, determined. I remember having to go in the afternoon once or twice and seeing aliens – alert, primped, social. Not my kind of people. (smile)
    These days, I prefer staying home and using my Nordic Track or walking at the park.

    • Coming East says:

      I wish our house was big enough or had a basement so we could have work-out equipment here, Lenore. I would much prefer working out at home. But since we don’t, the YMCA has been a good place for us. And I live in a terrific place for walking. I can walk to Dairy Queen.

      • shofar says:

        I’ve found I’m too lazy and undisciplined to stay with a routine if I had to exercise on my own at home. We gave away all of our home equipment. I was only staring at the stair climber, bicycle and other equipment. When my cholesterol went up and doctor suggested regular exercise I joined the water aerobics class twice a week and do weights, elliptical, rowing machine 3days a week, made lots of friends AND my husband has his exercise at the same time at the YMCA, 5 minutes from our home! But would you believe that I haven’t lost a single pound since I started 4 years ago. My son-in-law said I have to work harder and sweat! (Gross!).

      • Coming East says:

        Sweat, Shofar? Gasp! We Southern women do not sweat.

      • shofar says:

        Well, O.K. then!

        I guess just get the heart rate up instead of breeze through the routines- which is what I’ve been doing. You know, increase from 30 lbs. to 35 on biceps, 10 more minutes on the elliptical and 15 more minutes on the rowing machine, etc. Starting tomorrow. . . Have to lose 10 pounds before next 6 month cholesterol check.

      • Coming East says:

        Shofar, I found exercising made me feel better and I could tone up, but it didn’t do anything for my weight. The only thing that helped us was our diet. Even though we ate fairly healthy, when we cut out the bread, even whole grain, and cheese, we saw our weight finally go down. I still miss my rye toast for breakfast, but I’ve lost five pounds and have kept it off.

      • shofar says:

        Yes, we’ll try harder with our diet. Like cutting back on rice, snacks and desserts, and eat a variety of salads, quinoa, and ‘healthy’ foods. Thanks for the encouragement!

  16. notquiteold says:

    Isn’t it funny how our good opinions of ourself can change so quickly? I felt fabulous going to the easy Yoga and Zumba classes and ‘out-exercising’ my classmates. So then I stepped it up to a harder Yoga and harder Zumba class. I felt so incompetent! And yet…. here I am five months later and 20 lbs lighter, and keeping up (a little) with these amazons. I never would have gotten into the shape I am in now if I had continued to take it easy on myself. So keep going at night!

    • Coming East says:

      Wow, twenty pounds in five month, NQO! Good for you. Good point you make, too. I will definitely continue going at night because it’s the only way I can get my hubby to exercise.

  17. Huffygirl says:

    I find the same thing at my gym Susan. During the day, I look pretty good compared to the folks who are there – the senior citizen coffee and doughnuts after workout crowd. But at night…a whole different story just like you. Good thing you have those snazzy work out clothes to show off and make you look just like them, even if you’re not lifting as much as they are.

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