Body Image

I keep moving

14 April, 2010

Proof I'm still standing after a weights workout

Remember that time I was all gung-ho about the Couch to 5k? I remember that time. It didn’t last long. After struggling with finding exercise gear that fit and fearing nasty people yelling things out at me (which totally eventuated), you know what? I stopped doing it. I didn’t like that I stopped running, because I enjoyed it but I needed to sort this problematic stuff out first.

I started with finding a solution to one huge problem: I didn’t have a proper bra that I could do such a high impact activity in without a lot of pain and discomfort. The amount of moaning I’ve done on this issue is legendary, and as a result of that moaning the president of Enell emailed me. I’d been trying to buy an Enell bra from a few different places with no luck so I was really upset and aggravated about the whole issue. Renelle, the kind and benevolent president, had heard my cries and sent me three bras. I actually weeped with relief when I got them. They fit! I could jump up and down without my chest slapping me in the chin! I could hang upside down without my boobs falling out of their cups! It was an Actual Revelation.

Recently my husband and I found ourselves in a position where we could actually afford a gym membership, so we signed up at a Jetts 24 hour gym. And you know what? Now that the issue of heckling is mostly removed, I feel so much more motivated to exercise. I don’t think that many people with slimmer builds consider this constant anxiety about being harassed for being fat whilst one is exercising. It’s a huge barrier – an unhealthy barrier for everyone. I’m really impressed with Jetts and Jess the manager, who is also looking after Nick and my programme. I told her that weight loss wasn’t my primary concern, and that I wanted to focus on fitness and strengthening my arms and she listened to me! You guys, I’ve never had a fitness professional actually listen to me and design a programme that actually helps me (rather than helping the fitness professional feel like they’re Saving A Fatty)! The gear is all new, there’s a cap on memberships so that you don’t have to fight for equipment, and the cardio machines have TVs built in to them (so I can shake my fist at moron politicians on morning TV). We’ve gone almost every second morning since signing up, and even though the walking lunges with 5kg weights in each hand is leaving me with screaming thighs, I’m feeling more energetic and motivated.

Wobby legs

The final piece of the puzzle is the exercise pant. I’ve been wearing some men’s 2xl Slazenger tights, which are pretty rad for preventing chafing but I’m wanting a pair of actual women’s pants. Because you know, I’m a woman. Nick has been searching for some skins that will fit him too, because it seems like Australian retailers don’t think that a 6xl man could be exercising (while self righteous doctors abuse “The Obese” for not exercising in the background!) We found an American retailer called Aero Tech Designs which stocks cycling and work out gear up to proper plus sizes and ordered some pants each. I’ll let you know how that goes when we receive them!

So right now at least, I’m enjoying the gym. I’m enjoying the time I allocate for myself which turns into time spent with Nick having a quick coffee before we start our working days. It’s good stuff!

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  • I just changed back into contact lenses tonight with the aim to start walking and jogging again soon. TOMORROW. Okay… maybe the weekend. I'd be keen to know how the exercise pance go. Sometimes Target actually has exercise gear for larger girls, at least – don't know about guys. Do Nick's glasses annoy him when he exercises? Or can he get by without wearing them all the time? I realised the other morning when I leapt out of bed to go for a jog just how much of a frustration my glasses are when exercising. Which sounds ridic, actually. BUT ISN'T.

    PS UGHHHH LUNGES, BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. I salute you.

  • Nick doesn't wear his glasses when exercising – I don't know much about vision issues but I know he doesn't have too much difficulty without his spectacles.

    Every time I go into a Target they have NOTHING for me to exercise in. It drives me nuts. I refuse to wear shorts because I don't want to be preoccupied with them disappearing up my butt, and I love the cycling/ running style skins because it reduces friction a whole heap!

    I nearly fell over last weights session – DOING LUNGES. There was a gymsausage on one of the weights machines near me and I was trying really hard not to look like a noob. I failed :(

  • I hate that – the snide remarks I used to get at the gym by buffed-up boffins was so horrible and off-putting – they acted like I shouldn't be at the gym. Um, hello? If you have a problem with me being fat then why do you have a problem with me exercising in an attempt to get rid of the fat?! I will DEFINITELY check out Enell – I'd love to run but there is no way on God's green Earth I'll run with the bras that I've got now!

  • Sorry, I mean changing from running outside (because of mean comments) to using the gym.

    Moving is definitely awesome and everyone’s right :) I think that too many people get into a ‘no pain, no gain’ mindset and the fun gets sucked out of it.

  • thefullnilson

    YES! Hooray for serindipitously overcoming a series of unfair obstacles. I long for the day when I get over the “exercise is punishment” hurdle for good (and gyms no longer give me panic attacks), so I can exercise for my health, longevity and overall wellbeing. Until then, I can live vicariously through you. And I smiled IRL when I read the last paragraph, that sounds lovely.

  • desleybaird

    you are such an inspiration, makes me want to come with you both to the gym!
    Love you both so much, I'm so very proud of you.

  • Just wondering, for someone who advocates body acceptance, how do you reconcile that with making changes in your exercise behavior? It seems to give a few douchebags a lot more power than they deserve.

    Btw I've never had ppl say mean things when I'm running but maybe that's because I have my ipod turned up loud :D

  • Oh, also meant to say – Big W have larger size men's workout gear. I've bought stuff for my son there.

  • For a long time I have struggled with the exercise thing, and the notion that to exercise one is not being FA enough, but I've gotten over that little hurdle in my mind because I came to the realisation that I need to move and that I have a right to move. I'm not approaching this as a body changing endeavour because I know enough from going to the gym when I was younger to know that it didn't change my weight that much. It made me feel stronger, but not lighter. That's the feeling I crave now – I want to move my body and to make my muscles stronger, because at the moment the muscles in my right arm especially are very weak, and cause me a lot of pain due to overworking them by use of the computer and drawing.

    I feel like going back to the gym is helping me reclaim an activity I should have all rights to! I've actually come across a number of personal trainers who view fitness as being divorced from weight, and that's helped me feel like I have the right to access movement for my own personal health too.

    And all that aside, I really enjoy it. HAES advocates especially recommend finding enjoyable movement!

  • If you sign up to a Jetts you can use any of their gyms around Australia – so if there's one around your new house, it'd be especially useful, and you can spend the last few weeks living around this area coming to the gym in the mornings with us :D

    The cafe in the complex is so great, you would love it!

  • It's so annoying when people like that don't recognise their own cognitive dissonance!! Well it's more than annoying, it's bloody frustrating and hurtful.

    I wear a G cup and my boobs barely even budge when I've got my Enell bra on. I never thought it was possible!

  • I think it's so sad when people view exercise as punishment, it's totally being sold to us all wrong!

    I'm so enjoying our ritual of gym > poached eggs and a cappuccino :D

  • I do exercise with my glasses on and it has never been a problem. When I'm doing crunches I take them off and leave them on a table, but besides that I'm happy wearing glasses and working out.

  • megamagameg

    I used to run outside at night because I was afraid of people looking at me and/or yelling things at me. Now, I blast my music and run wherever I want. I can't hear when I'm focused and if someone does say something, I'll never know. It's really very difficult to go to the gym at any weight, let alone when you're big. This was something that took me a long time to get over. I'm delighted to see how positive and triumphant you are in getting through these issues. Very classy, very classy indeed!

  • I just found your blog and wanted to say Hi
    I just signed up the the gym (YMCA) and I've gone 10 days in the last 2 weeks and I'm loving it. I'm a size 22 and I'll be following your journey, feel free to follow mine xx
    PS: oh and I got exercise pants from BigW that are super comfy.

  • KateF

    Hey Nat

    I wish I'd known you were after a good sports bra! I would have recommended Enell to you as well. I bought a few off eBay a few years back (time to replace them now) and I love them.

    Exercise is so great for the mental health.

    I'm very proud of you for overcoming so many barriers to get in and embrace exercise again.

    Now, can you re-motivate me to get off my lazy a*se and get back there as well ;-)

    Love ya work

    I feel like I'm wearing Kevlar armor under my clothing (My hubby calls me Robo-Kate)