Go On. Fire The Gym!

Okay, maybe you don’t have to be that drastic, but if you are in a pinch in these tough times like most of us have been, then you are looking for ways to save and are keeping a tight ship when it comes to your wallet.  A few people will need to keep that membership, cause it may be that you are working with a Personal Trainer (they need work too you know) or maybe it’s the only thing in this God-beautiful world that motivates you to workout and has worked for you (so you think), or well, maybe you just need to be there to keep a good eye on your man.  But, if you are like many of us who are searching for ways to keep more George Washington (this is what is has boiled down to) in our pockets, then you may consider the many alternatives to gym membership you have like running, walking, biking, yoga, free weights, dancing, swimming, gardening, the use of any rusty/dusty machine you have in that garage, on a regular basis, to get your stagnant heavy-laden blood moving.

Don’t get me wrong, joining the gym can be a good experience and motivator to start you on the way to your journey, especially when you see many people working out on machines and taking their health and fitness seriously.  My first gym membership I paid for was in my late teens (After Columbus, of course!), and I joined so that I could gain weight (what da hell???)!  You see, I was very skinny, and in my good ‘ole Roatan, Honduran upbringing they say men do not as much as cast an eye on women who are skinny, but only on those who have some meat added to them.  Yup!  I remember feeling disappointed that my mom did not give me that medicine they sold in my country of origin, Honduras, to fatten skinny girls up.  It was called Postafeno (Buclizine?), and was said to help make them eat like a farmer’s cow or a lab rat to fatten them up for the kill (marriage).

So I diligently caught the bus and headed to the gym ate least three times a week, and guess what?  I did gain weight in about 3 months, but in muscle mass.  I felt and just knew I was looking slammingly good!  And, those “hard legs” (as they call nicely firm calve in Roatan) in heels sure attracted a few more glances from the chaps.  This consciously directed experience opened my eyes to the filed of doing things to make my body look or at least feel good.  I felt more energetic (can you imagine me now on Cuban Coffee? I know. Makes your head spin.).


So joining the gym can be a positive experience, but I just want you to know that if you are hard strap for money, adopt some other form of exercise, and let that membership go.  Day before yesterday I took a nice stroll down Santa Theresa Blvd, to Great Oaks, then to Bernal St, and while passing a neighborhood vocational school, I spotted three full-figured (Ever wondered about this terminology? Is there any half or quarter figured women out there?) women dressed in scrubs and all walking the same direction  as I was going.  It made me so ecstatic to see them enjoying the outdoors and engaged in moving the body, but as we continued the same path towards Bernal St, they made a swift left turn to Jack In The Box and this just ruined a great moment for me.  Well, at least they walked there, I thought to myself, consoling myself.

As I said before, no offense to the gym, but too many people pay for membership, and some never visit this artificially-lit closed space.  Others pay, but go to the gym very infrequently (like I did at some point).  Some join to loose weight, workout (or maybe to socialize?), but fail to get much good a result.  As the case of a Laboratory Technician who told me she has been working out in the gym and on a regular basis (at least 3 days a week) for at about a year, and still has not shown significant improvement in her weight or health (Hard to believe, but possible, I guess).  So, I advised her to get doing some sorts of physical activity outdoor and switch things up a bit, doing stuff that she already know how to do like speed-walking, biking, or other form of cross-training of the sort.  I hope she has better luck.

Like I said, on few occasions I have joined the gym, but since I am a freak for the outdoors,I usually visited the club infrequently.  Once, I’ve joined the gym only because they had racquetball courts and I enjoyed trying to beat up on a few folks I knew who also have a love for the game.  The most benefits I’ve gotten from joining a gym was to get instructions on how to strengthen my left foot right after my podiatrist declared it safe for me to train for running a marathon once again.  I found an excellent Master Trainer at a local 24 Hour Fitness gym in Miami, Doneall, with whose help I was able to get conditioning and lost a couple of pounds to get me back to running on my feet.  He was awesome and very instrumental in helping me re-condition and hit the road once again.  And believe me, I was scared like a mouse facing a trap, to step on that foot before going to see my Personal Trainer.  Thank you Doneall (Charged me a leg and two molars though)! I have to say one thing I am certain about, those Personal Trainers know what they are doing, and if you have to keep that gym membership, please see if you can afford a few sessions from a trainer, if at least to show you how to use those equipment in a safe and effective manner.  My trainer showed me too many people who were just moving thee machines, and many improperly.  This platform can also be a set up for injury.  Got gym membership?  Get a Personal Trainer for a few sessions too.  You will not like the lightness in your pocket, but you won’t regret it!

If it’s weight loss that prompted you to join that gym that you hardly ever attend, then please send that money my way (In a donation form of course.  Just kidding!), or you may donate it to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who help support many patients with those dreaded diseases, and who also contribute much of that money for research to find cures.  Heck, you may even use a fraction of that extra money to buy you a few equipments such as a balance ball, a couple of 8 pound dumbbells, a jump rope, a resistance rubber, Hoola Hoop (remember these?), a bike, rollerblades, and grab you some Sunlight for vitamin D to help prevent chronic diseases!  There! No excuses.  You have so many ways to get in a good 30 minutes exercise nowadays that I could write a book on them (You only have to say the word).

Let’s not forget that when you engage in conscious things like washing the dishes by hands (yeah, I know. I just cursed. Sorry), walking up and down the stairways (rather than hopping on that elevator), walking to the nearby grocery store or any store for that matter within 2 miles distance of hour home (rather than jumping in the car), washing those clothes by hand in a tub and with a washboard (okay… That’s doing too much)….you get the picture, don’t you?




I just have to tell you how ridiculous some of us can be (yeah, I’ve been there too).  There is a medical professional and a secretary I know who lived just across the street from the hospital where we worked, and don’t you know they would hop into their cars and drive across the street to go to work?  And then we wonder why ONE IN EVERY THREE American is overweight or obese!  Not to say that that is the only reason.  By now you are knowledgeable enough to know that many other factors play a contributing role in weight gain and chronic diseases and epidemics such as obesity (thank goodness!), but many of us walk around huffing and puffing and feeling sorry for ourselves (Yes I am a sensitive person!), jumping on a fad diet every Monday, and by God, would faint if anyone suggested little itty-bitty things one can do to gain control of their tumbling health to feel and look better.

So if you are up to it, there are other things that may help you loose the weight that you wish to loose to get you on the road to health, fitness, wellness, and loving-yourself-ness.  The body loves exercise.  Yes, it loves exists for activity (just remember this when you are trying to put some love on someone).  It thrives on good, simple, and natural foods.  The human system was made for work, and this includes working out (and well, maybe if you insist, the gym workout too).


If it’s your goal to be healthier, loose weight or see better result on your waistline, the latest research shows that short-duration-high-intensity workouts (Also called High Intensity Training) may work best for you.  If you have the stamina, great!  If you feel you don’t, then no problem, this can be built up.  Just start slow and at your own pace.  You want to see result, not pay a visit to your nearest hospital Emergency Room.

Just recently, a week and a half after getting over the lactic acid ache of running a full marathon, I began engaging in High Intensity Training.  I am already seeing the effects of my midsection shrinking.  The after-burn effect–burning calories even after the act of exercising has ceased–of this type of rigorous exercise is phenomenal!  Researchers concluded that you can continue to burn calories up to 48 hrs or so after doing 20 minutes exercises in which you, for instance, jump on that stationary bike and pedal as fast as you can for one minute, then rest the next minutes at a slower pedaling pace.  It is said that if you continue to do this for 20 minutes (for instance, 1 minutes of intensive pedaling with one minute of slow restful lower-speed pedaling intervals, or 1 minute of speed running with one minute of jogging (slow running) or walking and so forth, you can burn more calories and loose more weight than let’s say running for equal amount of time.    The reason being that High Impact Training (HIT) exercises revs up (boosts) the metabolism like no other exercise, and so while, lets say, you are sleeping, your body is still burning calories! Now if that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is!  SWEET!

OYE!  Yesterday I ran out to a nearby park, and did my 20 minutes of jogging one minute, then speed running one minute, for 20 minutes and felt a burst of energy.  I could have gone on another 20 minutes, but chose to do a few resistance work on my arms and doing five half pushups.  Yeah, the pushups were the demon that ended it all, but surprisingly, I got up and still felt very energized and alive.  Hope you consider what I’ve said.  Know that I am a running nurse.  And one that love to run a good long distance, but it is good to give the body a little variety.  Everyone loves variety. Yes we do.  And this variety helps me so that I don’t’ suffer any more injuries by too much repetition and long runs.  Now, since I did my HIT yesterday, I am sitting here writing to you and yes (according and well know research), burning the calories away!