Sunday, April 26, 2009

Noticed: De-motivating workouts

This April, my gym membership was up for renewal. It's a great gym, close to home and down to earth. I set up my renewal and with it got on something called ActivTrax which helps create a customized workout for you each time you visit. Prior to being set up with this service, I was required to meet with a trainer who would have me do some basic exercises to see where I am at and suggest further exercises accordingly. I've been working out steadily for at least 4 months now and feel pretty good about where I am physically. I'm even 10 lbs. lighter. 

The trainer took me through the exercises and then fed the results into the computer. Several days later, I went to the gym for my first workout. After this workout, I entered my weights for the day, commenting whether they were "too light," "too heavy" or "just right". For the record, I am a bit over 5' tall and average weight. As I input "just right" to the suggested weight workout for the first exercise, a note popped up that said, "this is particularly light, are you sure it's right?" Am I sure? YES, I'm sure. I'm female, I'm not an athlete, and yes, right now, I cannot lift 100 lbs. even assisted by a machine. This happened with each exercise in succession and has left me with a large bruise on my ego. 

And yet...it's bad enough the machines at the gym are barely alterable to my size. Now, I have the added insult of a machine telling me I'm not strong enought. On one hand, there is the negative motivation: "Well," I think, "yes, I can only lift 1 plate now, but wait a few weeks, I'll be lifting plenty by then!" On the other hand I think, "I'm a petite female and this ridiculous machine (apparently programmed by men, strong men) gives me no credit for what I can do in relation to my age and size. Why should I even bother" It's a bit maddening if not humiliating. 

I continue to use the machine, which gives me weights that are at times too light and not enough reps on exercises. So, hah, I think, I am stronger than you think I am after all. I'll show you. I'm pretty sure the computer cares not at all, but it's quite interesting how motivating it is to want to get back at that inanimate object for thinking you are a weakling. Talk to me a in a month or two when I'm flexing my muscles for the keyboard. 

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