With my trainer so far, I’ve worked on my back, my arms, my core, and done some cardio. I warm-up and cool down with 15 minutes on the treadmill. Trainer is fond of increasing my speed and/or incline every couple of days just to “push me” when really all it does is make me want to push him…down a flight of stairs. (On a side note, it hit me the other day that I’m actually paying someone to yell at me, push me beyond anything I think I can handle, wear myself out physically and mentally, and then to do it all over again when I come back after refusing to give up. Paying?? My kids have been doing this for free for years!)
After getting through my workout on Thursday, Trainer decided to have me cool down on the Stair Master. As this didn’t require me to use arm muscles that were the consistency of vanilla pudding at that point, I was relieved. He climbed up, set it all up for me, and then told me “10 minutes”. 10 instead of 15? Yes!
Actually, no. It turns out 10 minutes on the Stair Master is way harder than 15 on the treadmill. And it takes longer, too…well, for me anyway. But it did give me time for a bit of self-reflection and meditation. Because I am a transparent soul, I’m sharing the insight I gained while perched high atop those Masters of Stairs.
1. I have no coordination. If you’ve seen me bump into walls (or the aforementioned doorways), or have been subject to my I-will-run-you-off-the-sidewalk way of walking with friends, you’ve probably already figured this one out. I only realized how bad it was when I started Muay Thai class and I found myself in constant danger of tipping over after kicking my target. I’ve also observed that the side rails on the treadmill are the only thing that keep me on the track. If not for them, I’d probably jog myself right off the darn thing. Oh, but the Stair Master…that machine is a whole new level of coordination strain. Not only do I have to keep myself in a somewhat straight line while walking, but I have to walk up steps while doing it–steps that increase and decrease in speed while I’m climbing! Seriously, who invented this thing? I imagine they come equipped with hidden cameras and the inventors are sitting somewhere watching the video feeds while cackling and patting themselves on the back over how deviously they’ve managed to get a whole population of balance-challenged people to struggle to hold on to their dignity AND the railing while watching their feet very carefully to make sure they hit the next step.
2. I can make 10 minutes last foreeeeeever. After a workout, my muscles go into self-preservation mode–they curl up in a fetal position and refuse to surface for fear they will again be yelled at to “push through the pain!” I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of a cool down exercise is seeing as how I always end up even hotter and sweatier, but it usually serves as the icing on my I-hope-I-don’t-have-to-use-my-now-useless-muscles-for-anything-today cake. It turns out that the Stair Master is a lot of icing. I climbed those stupid stairs at different speeds like I was told, but it seems that my Jell-O legs can’t hold up to the climb very well after a regular workout because I don’t think I ever made it longer than 45 seconds at a time before I had to hit “pause”, catch my breath, and wait until the shaking in my muscles let up a bit. Most of the time it was closer to 30. Yeah, that’s right. I can climb for 30 seconds before I’m ready to cry Uncle. Climb. Stop. *pant, pant, pant* Grit my teeth, start again. That was repeated every 30 seconds until I had climbed for 10 minutes. You see, when the Stair Master stopped, so did my timer. It was a very long 10 minutes.
3. I don’t want a support group. Because I was taking an exceptionally long time to get through my climb, a line had started to form of people waiting to get on the Stair Master. The first woman in line was older than me and she kept trying to encourage me. While she was smiling and saying, “you can do it”, I was eyeing her fashionable workout clothes and her fit muscles (and the fact that she was OLDER than me) and all I could think was, “I’ll bet she can make it at least a minute at a time.” Having Fitness Barbie watch me struggle to climb my escalator from hell didn’t make it any easier. The best part? When I finally finished and gave a half-hearted attempt at a cheer, “I’m done. *pant, pant* I did it!”, she responded with, “Good! You should try it again tomorrow.” As I walked away, I’m pretty sure I heard her cackling and patting herself on the back.