Hmmm…now what would I rather do first thing in the morning—sit out in the sun with a steaming hot cup of coffee or sweat it out through 45 minutes of vigorous step aerobics?
Tough choice, actually. While the allure of coffee is tremendous in almost any circumstance, the long-term effects of coffee versus exercise don’t quite measure up. Don’t get me wrong—I like a good caffeine buzz as much as the next tired mother, but the endorphin rush that exercise brings is a pretty close second. To say nothing of the sense of virtue that is mine after the workout is done. (Sadly, the virtue only lasts until the first muffin of the day, but still, it’s a good feeling.)
It’s 6:45 a.m. right now and as you may have surmised, I am writing this as I sit with a coffee, putting off the inevitable. I have had a morning date with Kathy Smith and her crew of perpetually smiling, lycra-clad cuties for the last 15 years or so, though admittedly, with periods of lapse on my part. We meet in my family room. Me, bleary-eyed, lacing up my sneakers, hauling out my big plastic step from behind the couch. Kathy, bouncing her way cheerily into frame, as large as life on the wide-screen t.v. we bought a year ago. Much more persuasive than she was on the 15-incher we used to have, I must say.
Yes, Kathy and I do go way back. I began her step aerobics program soon after Kid #2 was born, and have used her recording so often that I have had to replace devices and media several times. Two vcrs, a dvd player, two worn-out video tapes and I’m on dvd number two at present. I suppose this is a testament to my devotion. (And maybe to poor manufacturing practices too.) I have tried many different workout routines produced by other fitness gurus but I keep coming back to this particular one. It’s great—the warm-up is the right length and level of intensity for me, even if I have just rolled out of bed moments earlier. The workout has several sections, so I can decide how long I want to subject myself to the madness on any given day. And the part about abs…well, it’s an easy fast forward, really. (Truthfully, I feel unqualified to complete this section, not being in possession of any discernible abdominal muscles myself.) All in all, it’s just perfect.
Sometimes I do get irritated with Kathy, though. When she, with her lovely smile, yells at me to push harder, to reach higher, to squeeze tighter. I want to yell back at her to just let it go, for God’s sake. I am older than I used to be and I’m doing my best. She needs to relax. Cut me some slack. I’ll admit that some days, I do vent a little. Give her a little grief right back. It doesn’t seem fair that I‘m getting older, slower, and just a wee bit more tired, while she will smile and bounce her way into eternity, or at least as long as my dvd player functions.
I guess I can suffer this injustice, though. Kathy has done a lot for me over the years. Shaped me, toned me, given me endorphins up the ying yang. She encourages me day after day. I feel better for having spent time with her. I have never once said to myself, “I wish I hadn’t done that workout,” but I have often regretted NOT doing it, on days when I just couldn’t get it going.
So, having given you an overview of my morning workout habit and having finished a lovely cup of coffee in the process, I am at a predictable crossroads. It’s so much easier for me to commit to the workout if I do it when I am still in a semi-conscious state and now I’ve spoiled that with coffee. I guess I will quash those insidious thoughts of a second cup and get moving. Wouldn’t want to keep Kathy waiting…