Muscle is Essential to Escaping the Zombies (and it’s tough on the teeth)
A couple of weeks ago, I ran out of my anti-depressants. I’d been taking them since a rock-bottom moment back in 2008. In the past, if I ran out and was unable to refill for a day or two, I was a hot mess. Not just emotionally, but physically. It screwed with my equilibrium – made me dizzy, nauseous and unable to hold my head up straight. I would have to sleep for many hours to recover. So naturally, when I ran out, I emailed my local free pharmacy (AKA my mother) for a refill. For whatever reason, she didn’t answer my email, or I never saw her response… whatever. A few days passed. I suffered some minor nausea, but nothing that left me unable to function. So I thought, “What if I just try to go without?” Now I assure you, I knew this was probably a really bad idea. Once before, I had been feeling more myself, so I tried cutting my dosage in half. Within a few days my husband and children were begging me to go back to normal.
But this time, once the nausea subsided, something strange happened. I had an incredible burst of energy. I started waking up at 4:00 AM (when my fiancé unfortunately gets up for work). I started making breakfast, and going to the gym. Then I would go to work, followed by my part-time after-work job, come home and cook dinner. I was in bed by 9:00, but not exhausted! Just pleasantly tired from a good day’s work.
It’s a good feeling. So I’m going to go with it and see where it takes me. Right now, I’ve set myself a goal of being firm and toned for my wedding in 102 days. (Not thin, did you catch that, loyal reader? Just firm and toned.) I’ve decided to see how many days in a row I can go to the gym without a break. I’m at 8 days straight as of today. And yesterday I felt a muscle in the back of my thigh.
If you’re curious about what I do at the gym every. single. day. here is a breakdown of the general routine I’ve set for myself:
◾Day 1 – Upper body strength training, followed by 20-30 minutes of cardio on treadmill or recumbent bike, followed by 15 minutes in hot tub or sauna.
◾Day 2 – Lower body strength training, followed by 20-30 minutes of cardio on treadmill or recumbent bike, followed by 15 minutes in hot tub or sauna.
◾Day 3 – 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical, followed by 15 minutes in hot tub or sauna. (A day off from strength training gives my muscles a little break; plus, that elliptical is a hard workout!)
◾Rinse and repeat.
When I joined the gym last summer, a trainer set up my strength training routine for me, but I’ve tweaked it on my own to focus on those areas I most want to tone. If you’re new to the gym scene, they usually give you a couple of free sessions with a trainer. I highly recommend taking advantage of that, not only because having someone teach you to use the machines properly can prevent injury – but also because if you’re not exercising properly, you’re wasting your time (and I’m specifically referring to strength training. It’s hard to do cardio wrong.) You should also find out your ideal heart rate range & try to stay in that range for at least 20 minutes per session for maximum benefit. You don’t have to kill yourself with cardio – just keep your heart rate elevated a little. The machines are designed to monitor this for you.