Last night I did my first trial at-home workout. I loaded up my favourite heart-pumping hits (Memories by David Guetta, They by Jem, Pjanoo by Eric Prydz) and went to work.
Confession time: I already miss the gym.
I’ve always been an upper body/core kind of gal. I don’t like working my legs and butt, simply because I hate feeling sore the next day; and since my legs are quite large (I’m nearly 6 feet tall), that’s an awful lot of soreness to be feeling. When my arms are sore, I can still do basic things like write or cook. When my legs are sore, I can barely sit down to pee.
But with it being cycling season and all, that’s changed. My legs have finally gotten the attention that they’ve deserved after being neglected for so long, and I’ve whipped them into shape through running and cycling.
Why does that make me miss the gym? Well, now that my body is fairly even in terms of overall strength, I miss the weights that I used to use for my arms and shoulders. In my former life as a gym rat, you could find me amidst the muscleheads who hog the freeweights. I’d lay out my towel, turn on my Britney, grab the set of 15lbs, and do my best to ignore the lingering scent of testosterone.
In terms of exercise, it’s pretty easy to do lower body exercises when not at the gym. I can squat in my living room just as well as I can squat at the gym. Same with core; I’ve been doing the plank once a day, often at work so I don’t forget. I’ll do the front plant for 60 seconds, and the side plank for as long as I can (usually 30-40 seconds, I hate the strain on my wrist). I also do air bicycles and a series of other core exercises, and I’m pleased to say that you can now see some definition.
Unfortunately, my upper body is out to lunch, and the best thing I can do are tricep dips on a chair, and push ups. At this point, I can do about 15 dude-style push ups, or 20-25 lady push ups. To mix it up, I’ve started to do the walking version of this: I start in a full plank, do a push up, put my left hand next to my right, and move my right over a couple feet, then lower into another push up. I walk back, pushup. Walk to the left, pushup. It engaged both my shoulders, arms, and core. They’re so challenging that I can really only do three on each side, if I’m lucky.
What many sites have recommended is installing a pull-up bar above a door frame. I reject this for two reasons; one, it costs money. Two, it doesn’t go with my decor. That’s right, I said it. My apartment is so girly that a massive door pull-up would just look atrocious. I may change my mind eventually, especially since I want to train for a Sprint triathlon, then a Half Ironman, but for now, it SO does not match the coasters.
So right now, I have but one solution; hit the playground. Doing body weight exercises ain’t gonna cut it, so it’s time to go back to school. I’ll be hitting the monkey bars with the vengeance of a 23 year old longing to redeem herself from a past filled with monkey bar misadventures. This time, I’ll walk away the victor.
Only problem: my neighbourhood is filled with families, and children actually use the playgrounds. I don’t want to show up, game face on, and start grunting like a warthog as I try to do chin-ups, while horrified children and parents look on. Neither do I fancy a midnight trip to the playground, especially with the recent shooting in my neighbourhood (what can I say, it keeps my rent down, and if you haven’t been shot at in Toronto, you must be a tourist! Just kidding, mom…)
So I think I may do a run-by scouting of the local playground; if it’s covered with children actually using the equipment (heaven forbid!) I’ll come back another time. If it’s free, I’ll do a quick set of pull ups and chin ups and walk away like nothing happened.
Does anyone have any ideas for other exercises to do to target my biceps? My goal is Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.