Wednesday, January 27

Charlie VS The Abdominal XL1400

You all know I am neurotic. But ‘ya love me anyway. Thank heavens.

Because after torturing myself exercising at the YMCA yesterday morning, I think that I should address some of my deepest fears, and I can only do that knowing full well that you love me unconditionally. And that maybe you might be a little neurotic too. That helps soften the blow. Ok, so the fears. They are, in no particular order…

1. The sound of knocking on doors. It freaks me out and makes me want to toss my cookies.

2. I am not afraid of spiders or mice. I am terrified of rats and dogs.

3. I am afraid of my bra straps breaking in public and needing liability insurance to cover the damage. (Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. I almost lost an eye once to a snapping strap. It’s a serious fear!)

4. I am afraid of scary exercise machines. Big ones that pinch body parts.

5. I am afraid of other women judging me. (again, a completely justified fear)

6. I am afraid of pain.

One of the wonderful things about this blog is that I have learned not to care so much about the whole “other women” aspect. In fact, I have gained much ground in this department! I am learning that conversations with one or 2 other girls is a blessing for me. I get to practice my “Charlie being normal” skills, and create deep friendships that hopefully will last a life time. In fact, when we finally do get to move out of our teeny crappy house, my goal is to open up times when women can drop in to talk. About weight, about life, about fears… whatever they need. No appointment necessary, just come on in and talk to me. That’s the plan, and I will let you know as soon as I get to that point. It will be my less than glamorous gift to society and to the greater Vermillion County area.

But till then, my goal is to meet women out and about. And yesterday I had that opportunity when I met an old friend Micky and good ‘ole Lee Ann at the YMCA for a Tuesday morning of working out. Micky has been one of those people in my life that I have never NOT known. She and I grew up together in a small country church. We always got into all kinds of trouble- I was the one with a plan, and she was the one with the guts to do it. Or the sensibility to know if we got caught and it was a spanking worthy crime- she would talk me into doing it. Some of my most adventurous childhood memories are with her. And she fits right into our little group.

And of course- Lee Ann. My solid rock, the one who you can always count on to be there cheering for you. And doing things right next to you. She faces fear head on- even if it’s not pleasant at first- but she gets the thang done.

So, we started off on the treadmills, talking and walking. I wasn’t showing off, but I figured if I was there, I was going to work my body. I know not everyone can do the things that I do, cause I have a year of weight loss and **cough* * exercise experience under my belt, which is questionable at best. I bumped the speed up to 4mph and power walked. It did get me warmed up all right, and pretty soon I was huffin and puffin. So I turned the speed down to a reasonable 3 mph (a good walking pace- about what we do at the mall) and cranked the incline up to 11. No, really, I did. It actually goes up to 12.

After we walked and talked for about a half hour, we decided to hit the “easy, girl” machines. Those are the ones that are very simple to use, where you don’t actually see the weight you are working. It just has a pin that you push in to increase the weight. Again, with Micky and Lee Ann there, I felt compelled to push myself. Mostly because it did feel good to know I could still pull off a good workout. So I really tested my strength with the machines. I even got the shoulder and back machine on the highest weight setting for about 8 reps. I couldn’t do it after that, so I eased it up a bit and kept repeating the movement. And I did the all the machines.

Except for the sit up bench. I HATE SIT UPS. Although, we all know how I feel about my tummy. So sit ups should be my best friend.

But hey! There’s a machine for that!

And now, I would like to introduce you to the Abdominal XL1400.

She’s a beast, ain’t she?

So I walked over bravely to the ab machine, and once Micky was done with it, I hopped on. And I thought about my icky tummy, and decided I wasn’t going to cheat on this machine.

Now- machines are not built specifically to people with certain body types. They are built to serve the average build of the population. I am anything but average when it comes to my body style. Here’s the run down of my body:

I am aerodynamically incorrect because of the huge ta-tas.

I have shorter arms than most people.

Because of the size of the ta-tas, much of my abdominal section is devoted to mammary glands, and I have very little actual length in the torso.

I have short legs.

So you are supposed to sit on the Abdominal XL1400 and put your chest against a cylinder of foam while holding it from underneath with your arms, hook your feet under the foot rests, and push forward, like you are sitting forward, or in essence, doing a sneaky sit up.

Problem is, the free rolling foam that you are supposed to push your chest against was hitting right where the bulk of my boobs were. And between the gravity induced pliability and flexibility of the boobs (even harnessed as they were), they kept rolling right off the foam cylinder and I couldn’t get it comfortable. Or stable. If I wanted to hold it from underneath, it would have required an extra 8 inches in arm length. And about 5 less cup sizes. There was no way I could reach around and get a tight hold.

Add to that the fact my stubby little legs didn’t quite reach the place I was supposed to brace my feet. So I would try to push forward and my legs ended up losing their hold and slipped out and flew upward.

I know it sounds confusing, so picture it this way. Charlie is sitting on a bench holding a 70 pound slippery fish trying to push it forward and her knees kept jumping up to her eyebrows.

That’s pretty much how it looked.

After rolling around on the foam part, I finally realized that the only way I would ever get this machine done was if I scooted to the very edge of the seat, with my butt on only an inch of the intended place, threw my arms OVER the foam roller thing, and hiked my bra up so my boobs were sitting on top of my shoulders.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Sitting there in the middle of a packed gym, I adjusted my bra to the highest setting, and laid them on top of the roller thing. All the old man working out next to me could see were my eyeballs and the butt of my cleavage shoved between my trembling arms.

I got my feet close enough under the foot brace that if I hung on with my toes, the legs would stay put. It was awkward and uncomfortable, but it was still better than conventional sit ups.

And I pushed forward like there was no tomorrow. Once I finally got the placement of all body parts right, I figured out I could do a whopping 80 pounds on that machine! And it impressed me. Of course, most of that was the sheer force of the boobs pitching me forward, but I didn’t care. I had bested that machine, and I was proud of myself.

Today, I can’t move. Not really. I can keep my elbows at my side, but it hurts to lift my coffee cup to my mouth. And walk. And breathe. And be productive.

But we can say it loud and proud! We worked out yesterday!!!!


Anonymous said...

Oh, Charlie, you make me laugh (all as I sit here contemplating what to do to make my too tight clothes feel more comfortable - other than going and taking the bra and pantyhose off!) And I kind of have that attitude, too - who cares how sore I am - I worked out yesterday! Well, I didn't, but if I did, I would be shouting it from the rooftops!

Wendy said...

OMG you crack me up girl but yet inspire me. I know the pain you have with the ab machines; they are a pain in the butt for us short armed, big boobed, vertically challenged women. I might not know you peronally but i thank you for sharing your adventure with me because you do inspire me to get up and move and lose this weight that i so need to do :)

trimadsco said...

Oh my Lord, my co-workers think I have lost it sitting here in my office laughing out loud at my computer! If only they could read what I'm reading! (nope, not sharing the link with them, this is MY fun place to go alone, LOL!)

I feel your pain! And your fears! Except for #2 & #3 - you listed all of my fears! (I AM deathly afriad of spiders & mice!) and well, I have no ta-tas, just fat everywhere BUT there, so teh bra strap breaking probably wouldn't even be noticed! I am totally afraid to go to the gym b/c I have no clue how to use the equipment, am so out-of-shape that I probably couldn't do it even if they showed me how, and can not stand the thought of people looking at me & judging me!
But, I am so proud of you for working out, and if I had the guts to do it, I'd make sure everyone knew about it! You keep on going girl, and sharing your experiences with us! I might actually *think* about considering possibly maybe debating whether or not to join the gym! LOL

Anonymous said...

Way to go girl!! I choose to join Curves to avoid out of self protection!! Three weeks ago I got mad enough that I added a 2mile run on my treadmill(at home, again, for self protection) and I am sure it's a funny sight! I walk like a peguin and now your picturing one running right??? Yep that's how I look, but I am determined to get rid of the last 10lbs. I am enjoying these...perks up my day and my weight journey.
Tammy Step

Autumn Mist said...

Oh Charlie, you do make me laugh! Wouldn't it have been easier just to do the sit-ups? (Mind you, I read your yoga story to hubby the other day, to howls of laughter, so maybe not!)

Shari said...

I have almost the same problem, I am not built proportionally for a lot of the equipment, being 5'10", I have to scrunch up to use it..

Although I did look at the machine, did you raise the seat and the arm? It looks like from the pic that it moves...

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Oh my! I actually like weight machines, but I'm with you on dogs. Don't like 'em.

Danielle said...

Ooooh! Okay, I just got an ab work-out from laughing so hard!!

You delight me.

I have been on that machine before and while I've never tried the 'over' position, I coudln't get it right either. I gave up and went to just doing crunches on the floor or on the stability ball. Have you tried one of those yet? Heee! I would love to be there for that. I wouldn't laugh at you... maybe with you though.;-)

The gym I go to has two other ab machines and they are a whole lot easier. You sit in them also, but you hold onto bars at your sides/closer to ear rage and pull forward. Does that make sense?

Anyway... Go you for pushing yourself!! I played Wallyball on Tuesday and I thought I was dying yesterday! I could barely move and we won't even talk about the fact I thought my inner thighs had been given a work out like never before.

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

Hysterical! I can see you as a fish on that dreaded machine. I am so proud of you for rockin it, though! You tell that machine who's boss!!
And what if I showed up knocking at your door with my dogs? Would you still let me in?

megaptera1969 said...

Another great blog Charlie! I am glad to see that I am not the only short, fat, big chested, short armed woman around. :) Thank you for putting a smile on my face and filling my soul with joy and laughter picturing your taking control of that machine. Well done!

Linda P. said...

You crack me up. Well you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. I have issues like that with my boobs also. They tend to get in the way all the time. My husband and his family are big golf nuts. I have tried it -- but my boobs are always in the way of swinging so it doesn't work out very well for me. You are right, those exercise machines aren't comfortable for that reason also. Keep it up anyway. I'm sure you will find it will be well worth it in the end. By the way for your tiredness have you ever had your thyroid checked. When I was extremely tired like that -- it turned out it was my thyroid under active and anemia. I was also gaining weight. Now I am on meds and the weight gain has stopped (I haven't lost any though). Not as tired -- still don't have a great deal of energy -- but better than before. I know a lot of women with thyroid problems. It is much more common than one would think.

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