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This is fun. Really.

Lots of fitness experts suggest that you “shake up” your workouts so they don’t get boring. Well, at my age it’s hard to get bored by anything. (You know, you wake up in the morning pleased by the fact that you woke up. . . .) I make it to the gym, that’s a triumph. I do 30 minutes on the EDM, I’m da man! I add 10 lbs. to the clapping hands machine and still manage to get my hands together — well, I’m feeling good.

But, I read a lot about various fitness regimens in my day job, and every so often I’m tempted to try something new. A few weeks ago, I actually printed out some stretching exercises, concealed them in the pocket of my workout pants and made a half-hearted effort to mimic the moves in a room full of people who were too polite to break out laughing. And then, on Friday, I committed a couple of exercises to memory and took that memory with me to the gym. I am still recovering.

Here’s the deal: I am a faithful cardio disciple and dutifully log my 25-30 minutes on the EDM two or three times a week. This, I had until recently convinced myself, is all the work I need to do to strengthen my hammies and quads and glutes and whatever other mysterious sinews lurk beneath my waist. But, recently I have come across new information. OK, not new, but persuasive. I should be doing squats and lunges.

Not only do these moves build stronger muscles and such in the thighs and butt, (and who doesn’t want a stronger butt??), but they strengthen the core. Or so I’ve read. And, in the spirit of shaking things up, I took my weak-butted self down into the free weights area of the gym for the first time. (This is where the seriously ripped guys hang out, lifting megatonnage and comparing tattoos.) There, I looked for the dumbbells (yeah, yeah: just look in the mirror. . . . very funny, haha) and found an inconspicuous space in the corner and set about the work of hurting myself.

A little context: I never do squats. Really. Never. My knees are shot.

So, of course I grab a 17.5 lbs. dumbbell and, holding it in front of my chest like the big strong guy in the exercise photo (I blame this EL story about the Goblet Squat), I squat — back straight (sort of) — 10 times. Hmmm. That wasn’t too bad. So, I grab a heavier weight (maybe 20 lbs.?) and do 10 more. OK, still too easy. Let’s try 22.5 lbs. That should do it. And . . . OH MY GAWD!!!!!

I feel something pop above my right knee, which tells me that, yes, this is probably the optimal weight to be using, and — being the dumbbell that I am — I finish another nine reps just to embed the pain into my psyche. Ugh.

Now, most rational people (I’m not including guys here) would put the 22.5 lbs. dumbbell back in the rack and hobble home, secure in the knowledge that they have inflected enough pain on their body for one evening. But, I’m not always that rational, so I picked up another 22.5 lbs. dumbbell and, holding one in each hand, did some lunges: right foot out (ouch!), left foot out (hmm), right foot out (ouch!), left foot out (hmm). You get the idea.

Later, I hobbled back up the stairs to where people like me lift weights on the machines and ran through the rest of my “shake-it-up” workout a bit more gingerly than usual. My Lovely Wife picked me up in the Crapmobile when I was finished and suggested that I take some homeopathic Arnica Montana to soothe my pain before revealing that we were presently out of stock.

Saturday morning, I awoke a bit stiffer than usual, but was relieved that my right knee was still functional. And later that evening, MLW and I spent an hour and a half tromping through  Theodore Wirth Park with a small group of owl enthusiasts, hoping to get a glimpse of these shy raptors. No luck, but the trek actually seemed to loosen things up a little. It felt pretty good.

Until this morning. Today, walking up stairs is like a death march. Thought about going to the gym . . . . Maybe tomorrow.

I will get back to the squats and lunges. Really. Just not right now.


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