This was my 4th summer post heart transplant. Due to our crappy weather in this part of the country that seems to last about 8 months, I don’t go to the gym often in the summer. I get my cardio work in outdoors, walking our parks or neighborhoods all while enjoying the outdoors, the weather and life in general. I also try to be very active in the yard and garage, as well as around the house. This helps me maintain weight and hopefully a good healthy heart.
First, you have to want to workout. Not an easy task. Each morning I see the scars ……. on my chest (by-pass and transplant surgery), both sides of my groin (ECMO post transplant) , and along my left leg (saphenous vein removal) ……… that helps drive me!!
I started back in the gym, in earnest about 3 weeks ago. I needed to get back into my routine. For me, getting back in the gym is bittersweet. It tells me that summer is waning and snow & ice are not to far away. But, I enjoy going because I can actually see my results on the counters (speed, time, distance, weights, etc). And, I will great after a good workout. Maybe tired, but I feel good.
The gym I belong to is a small place. In the afternoon it is usually inhabited by retired people. Most are older than myself and I often tease my wife that she’s the youngest person there. The people are great. The usual cast of characters would include Ralph, 79; Joe, 67; Gino, 75; Jerry, 72; Bill, 66; Bill(2), 81; and Rudy, 78. Quite often Pete and Mary are there. I don’t know their ages, but they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past winter. Filling around these are the occasional folks, sometimes much younger. All in all, a very nice group of people. However, soon after I joined this gym I saw that there could be an issue trying to get my work in and get out the door.
The issue is these folks LOVE to talk. They will even lean against your treadmill, elliptical and yack away for the entire time I’m there. I’m all for socializing, but I want, no I NEED to get my work in and I want to focus on what I am doing.
Enter, the MP3 player ……. loaded with many songs that are important to me alone. I have everything from hard rock to opera on that little music machine. I wrote a post a number of months ago in regard to the music that I ENJOY and you can read that here ~ My Life Defined By Music.
My secrets are as follows ……… I fire up that MP3 player BEFORE I walk in the gym. Once inside I immediately put the ear buds in my ears and crank up the volume. I’m talking to a level so high that if you had your car stereo cranked up like that, I’d give you a pice of my mind. Then, I go to work on the bikes, treadmill, elliptical, Nautilus machines, etc. I learned that the socializers respect the music, and let you work. Now, there are days where I am waiting on an important call from my transplant center or a family member and I leave the MP3 player at home. The socializers will take up residence and hold on and talk away. It never fails. The music blocks out the world and allows me to focus. 45 minutes into my workout, feels like 15 minutes.
I started back in the gym 3 weeks ago and nothing much has changed. Bill(2) has a bum knee, but everything else is status quo …. I get my work in all the time I’m rocking out ……… save my good byes and idle chit-chat for after my workout.