Yoga la la la

As the muscle in my lower back slowly continues to heal from the “tweaking” it experienced three weeks ago, I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t resume the high intensity workout I’d been doing. It bums me out too. I had surprised myself by keeping up and progressing to a higher level. Unfortunately, it involved too many moves that would only continue to strain the sore muscles in my back and I haven’t been able to pick it up again. And all this comes so soon after I’d been reminded of what a mental and physical boost a good workout gives me. Exercise for me is such a big part of staying happy!

As I was picking up some necessities at Target last night, I wandered over to the exercise aisle to peruse the workout DVDs. Since I had been contemplating yoga, I was happy to see several DVD options. The only yoga I’ve ever attempted was on the Wii Fit, and I can’t say I was either impressed or very successful at it. I’ve got very limited knowledge and experience with yoga, so when I saw a Jillian Michaels yoga DVD, it seemed like the way to go. After all, I had been thoroughly enjoying her Six Week Six Pack workout until the tweaking.

Early, early this morning, I got up and put on some workout clothes. I put my new DVD in the player and rolled out my yoga mat. With the Christmas tree lights twinkling in the corner of the room, I began to learn what to do. And even though I’m not wise to the ways of yoga, I could tell that this version was a little unconventional. But I liked it! It didn’t produce a hammering heartbeat or profuse sweating like the more intense workout I’d been doing, but it felt good and I was able to do most of the moves. I learned that in yoga, the belief is that there is no such thing as perfection. That’s why they call a yoga workout a “practice.” If you can’t quite achieve a move, you just keep trying time and time again. And the more gentle pace was much easier on my lower back.

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Doesn’t look that hard, but I can’t do it. Yet.

There were a few moves that were beyond my ability. As I was following along, I was thinking, “Wow. Some parts of my body are so tight! And not in a good way!” Maybe yoga will make me more flexible and with time, there may be fewer instances of my muscles feeling as if they’ve burst into flames while I’m doing something I always do, like bowling!

When it was all done, I was sweating and felt as if I’d accomplished something good. I didn’t quite have that zen feeling you hear so much about with yoga, but I felt ready to take on the day. Maybe that’s because I was exercising in the glow of the Christmas tree with the sight of snow falling gently outside the window. Maybe zen will come with time. Then again, it’s Jillian Michaels. Maybe zen isn’t included in her version of this exercise. That might be okay. I’m just glad to be doing something good for myself and learning something new.

Before going to work, I went to see the chiropractor for the second week in a row. He asked how I was doing and I told him that today was the first day that I didn’t feel any sharp pains in my lower back and hips, just some minor dull pain. I told him that when it first happened, I thought I’d feel better in a couple of days. I’d been stretching diligently every day and hoping the tightness would loosen up quickly. No way did I expect to still be less than a hundred percent three weeks later. I said that I probably needed to accept the fact that I was getting older.

“No,” he said. “Don’t accept it! Fight it!” That cracked me up. Dr. Dave’s humor is an added bonus to his chiropractic care.

He also said that when you tweak a muscle, it’s already over-extended and aggravated, so deep stretches are really not the best thing for it.

“Oh,” I said. “So I guess maybe I’m responsible for prolonging the problem.”

He said that an aggravated muscle needs time to heal. Give it rest and plenty of ice. And only when I’m feeling about 75% better should I think about doing some light stretching. Light. Stretching. Yep. Wish I’d have known that sooner.

Lesson learned. Also, I shouldn’t have waited two weeks, thinking the muscle would relax on its own before finally making time to see Dr. Dave. He’s a good guy. Even gave me his personal cell phone number and said anytime I needed advice but didn’t necessarily want to make an appointment, I could call or text and he will steer me in the right direction. Dr. Dave is so worth the money I spend to see him!

So, yoga it is!

Getting Stronger

Oh how I hate and love this move!

Oh, Jillian Michaels, how I hate and love this move!

I’ve been really diligent about exercise the past two weeks. I had been in such a slump for most of this year that I didn’t really think I could get back on the bandwagon. But the more I work at it, the more motivated I am to keep it up. I’d forgotten how good it feels to push past my limits and earn that sense of accomplishment for the day. I’d forgotten how the aches that tend to follow are a welcome kind of pain because I know they mean I’m getting stronger again. And the best part isn’t even the numbers on the scale or seeing the promise of the shape in my midsection again, (although I am in no way complaining!) The best part is the mental impact. Strength in the body seems to translate to a feeling that I can handle anything. It permeates into every aspect of the day.

Why was it so easy to forget how good this is for me?

All summer long I set my alarm clock to wake me in time to do some physical activity before I had to get ready for work. As the weeks wore on, that alarm would go off and my body would sleepily protest. My eyes didn’t want to open. More often than not, the weariness inside would win and the alarm would get postponed for another hour. Still, I couldn’t ever seem to get caught up on my sleep. I felt mentally and physically drained so much of the time.

My turnaround came slowly. A couple of months ago, I attended a birthday celebration for my former morning gym buddy. Near the end of her pregnancy, her gym visits had dwindled. After her baby boy arrived, there were a few months when escaping the house at 5:00 am just wasn’t possible. The night of the birthday party, she informed me she was back in routine and was hoping I’d start joining her again. Working out with a friend always makes the work feel so much easier! I started getting out of bed with the alarm and going to the gym to meet my friend a couple of times a week.

A few weeks ago when I began to set weekly goals, exercise was a big one. Just having set the goal and telling others about it went a long way in pushing me to follow through. And seeing my parents’ health issues take their toll is a painful reminder that exercise isn’t just a nice thing to do for myself, it’s necessary to keep the effects of aging from coming on too soon. The more I work out, the more I want to work out, the more I want to eat better, the more I believe I can be healthier. I’m climbing out of the slump and it feels so good.

Life is Good – 2/2/2013

Life is GoodIt’s that time of year that I knew would inevitably come, when winter feels as if it’s been here long enough already and there’s no end in sight. This kind of winter is what I know, gray days and bone chilling cold at times. It’s not the season itself that really bothers me so much. It’s what I let it do to me. When I can’t seem to stay warm, I slow down. I stay inside, doing still and quiet things, like reading books or watching movies. My motivation  to get these muscles moving fades away. I can’t seem to get enough sleep.

These aren’t bad things, when I allow them in moderation. And lucky for me, I always seem to recognize when enough is enough. And this has been that week.

I’ve been guiltily joking about falling off the exercise bandwagon lately. Sure, there were contributing factors in the past couple of months – varying illnesses and a back strain that left a weeks-long ache in my hamstring muscle. But those things have long subsided. I said I couldn’t run outside. It was either too cold, too icy or too snowy. And as for the treadmill in the nice warm gym, it was getting boring. And the gym was packed with new bodies anyway. I felt crowded by all of those enthusiastic exercisers hell-bent on honoring their new year’s resolutions. And each day that’s gone by without any attempt by me to keep my body strong has gradually added to my pile of guilt. The guilt became too much this week, but I knew I needed something new, something to make me enthusiastic again.

I’m exploring the world of yoga! Thank you, Cable T.V. for your on-demand fitness programs that are tailored for everyone from beginner to advanced. I am once again starting the day in a healthy way. And don’t worry. I’m not giving up running – just taking a little break.

The good mojo seems to have worked its way into my work life this week too. I’ve found myself steadily busy and productive, just the way I like it. There’s been no word from the CEO about the headline contest, but he did send me another assignment yesterday. Seems he wanted a press release for a new product that’s up and coming. He gathered all of his thoughts and ideas on the subject and spewed them into an email which he then sent to me. He asked me to give it a good work over and “tighten it up” and I found myself with company approved time to just sit and write.

Brad Diploma 2Things are all good with the family. Our winter laziness has at least inspired Mark and me to do a good amount of home cooking, which feeds right into my ongoing goal to eat better.

Brad received his college diploma this week and sent me a text message to let me know. “Turns out I graduated after all,” he said. The day of graduation, he was joking that he might be cutting it close and wouldn’t know for sure until days or weeks after the graduation ceremony. I never doubted it though, and I told him so.

Kacey texted me several times this week from school. Once was to let me know that two of her friends had mentioned they were craving some soup that I’ve made on several occasions. It’s nice to know that my cooking skills are adequate enough to generate requests for a repeat performance.

Kacey also texted me to let me know she and her friends have signed up to do the Polar Bear Plunge – a fundraiser to support Special Olympics Minnesota athletes. Kacey and her team will be gathering pledges and in order to collect on them, they’ll be taking a plunge into Lake Calhoun on March 2nd – which means they’ll be taking a plunge into a hole cut into the ice and dipping into the frigid water! I think they are brave, and I am proud!

And I actually saw Jake this week and spent time with him for about an hour, while he was wide awake and in good spirits. He’s been working a lot, so time with him is often hard to come by.

And this morning, after a long, dreary, cold week… it is still cold, one degree outside as I write this. It was snowing as I left work yesterday afternoon, big, fluffy, lazy drifting flakes. The snow continued into the evening and left the landscape clean and fresh. It’s the weekend and the sun is shining.

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Temperatures are predicted to rise up into the teens today. It’s better than single digits. I’ll take it. Life is good!

Off to a Decent Start

Two days into January and I’m happy to report that I’m making good on all of my resolutions so far this year! I only hit the snooze on the alarm clock one time this morning. Resisting the temptation to give in to the desire for an extra hour of sleep, I ventured out from under a pile of warm blankets and warm dogs and braced myself for the cold morning air. I got dressed in my workout clothes, pulled up my hair, grabbed the iPhone and some ear-buds and drove off to the gym.

There is typically only a handful of vehicles in the gym parking lot when I arrive at 5 am. Today there were many more cars than usual. Normally, I recognize the same familiar faces during my early morning gym visits. Today there were new and ambitious faces. Said my friend Scott, who chats with me for ten minutes or so while he warms up on an elliptical near my treadmill before he heads off to the weights area, “It will be interesting to see how many of these people come back tomorrow or even next week.”

I knew he was probably right in his expectations but I secretly hoped that the New Years Resolutioners would stick it out. I remember how hard it was for me to keep going back at first. Some sort of encouragement would have made it a lot easier. I think everyone should have a friend at the gym to help keep them motivated. Maybe there should be an online service to match people up with a gym buddy. You know, you never feel as awkward trying to figure out how to adjust a foreign piece of weight training equipment when you have someone there to feel dumb with you or to laugh with you as you give it a go and realize just how out-of-shape certain muscles are.

 

I'm here to PUMP you UP!

I’m here to PUMP you UP!

 

I didn’t run today since I’m still nursing a pinched nerve or muscle strain or whatever it is in my back that I am impatiently waiting to move on. So far the ache has only moved down the back of my leg. But it felt good to move while I was moving, even if it felt tight and painful again as soon as I stopped. I hope I’ll be running again soon. And since I’ve yet to try out my new racquetball racquet, and since my pal, Lori just got one for Christmas, we’re both anxious to get back to our new sport.

As for doing more reading, I read a good bunch of a new book before going to sleep last night. My blog pal, Kimberly McKay recently published her second book, Facing Redemption and kindly sent me a copy to read. So far, I’m loving it and plan to post a review here when I’ve finished reading it.

And I cooked! Well, technically I cooked. As we drove home from our joint chiropractor appointments this evening and spying the golden arches, Mark said, “Should we just swing through McDonald’s and grab something to eat?”

“Eh,” I said as he turned the corner.

“Do you want McDonald’s,” he asked?

“Not really,” I replied and so he drove on by.

At home, without a meal plan and it already being dinner time, I offered to make pancakes. He turned me down. I offered to make omelets. He turned me down. (All this turning me down and yet he offers up no suggestions as to what he would actually like to eat. Typical. And what is wrong with breakfast for supper? I love breakfast any time of the day!)

But since Mark was turning up his nose at all my ideas, I went to the downstairs freezer to browse the selection of foods within. I spied a container of White Chili that I’d made and frozen a while ago. I hollered to Mark, “Do you want chili?”

“I would eat chili,” he agreed.

“You’d better,” I warned him! And so I cooked heated up the chili, sprinkled on some shredded cheese and added some heat and eat dinner rolls smeared with butter on the side. And it was way better than McDonald’s, I’ll just say.

Two days down. Only 363 to go!

Smashing into Walls

Lori and I had another racquetball lesson tonight. There was still the occasional episode of cowering in corner in a corner in  fear and one interminable stretch when I kept running and running, trying desperately to get out of the way of another player or racquet. But I dare say we’re getting better! We’re learning to anticipate where to meet the ball and getting a better idea of how to hit the ball to our best advantage.

Bill warned us he was going to hit the ball short tonight. He said he wanted to get us off the back wall and make us learn to chase it to the front of the court. This was a challenge. We laughed a lot and Bill’s patience persisted. I told him that I knew where I was supposed to go, it’s just that the signals from my brain seemed to be traveling too slowly to my feet. Every movement seemed like an afterthought. I wondered if I am just too old to be starting to learn this game now.

But eventually, my feet began to catch on. In fact, they got a little over-enthusiastic a time or two. While running to where I expected to meet the ball, I was looking back over my shoulder. I had the ball in sight! I was almost there! I was going to get it! I could see where the ball and my racquet were going to connect! And then…

BOOM!

That wasn’t the sound of my racket hitting the ball. That was the sound of my body hitting the wall. My elbow kind of hurt.

Ouch!

It may not look like much right now, but I’m telling you, there’s going to be a bruise there tomorrow!

Did I mention how after our last lesson, at work the next day, Lori and I were talking at my desk. She was complaining about her fat lip. I was complaining about how the whole side of my body hurt (from my first meeting with the wall!) The woman who sits behind me peeked around the wall of her cubicle and eyed us curiously.

“Did you two get in a fight or something?”

“Nope. We’re just learning to play racquetball,” we told her, laughing.

“Oh, FUN,” she encouraged us! “John and I have racquets we will probably never use again. Let me know if you want me to bring them in for you.”

In spite of the slow feet and smashing into the wall, I think I’m going to take her up on her offer. We are having a lot of fun! And even if Lori and I never get good at this game, we’ll still burn calories chasing that little ball around the court and laughing at ourselves!

Dorks Playing Raquetball

I had my first racquetball lesson tonight. It was good!

My friend, Bill plays racquetball. My friend and coworker, Lori had suggested a while ago that we give the game a try – you know, for a change of pace from the fitness classes and running and stuff. Bill said he would be happy to provide instruction.

Leaving work tonight, I asked Lori, “So what are you going to wear for racquetball tonight?”

“Oh my gosh, I was just going to ask you the same thing,” Lori said.

I don’t know why we were concerned about what to wear. I see guys playing racquetball at the gym. They’re not concerned with their attire. As it turns out, I wore a tank and capris. I should have worn shorts. I sweated more than I thought I would.

First Bill passed out racquets and safety goggles. Then he talked us through the basics, like where to stand when you serve, and when and where to hit the ball. Then we started playing. He showed us how to hit short balls and how to deal with the long ones. During the two hours we played, we started to get the hang of it.

And we also missed a lot of balls! I mean a lot! Lori said she thought there was a hole in her racquet.

When the ball was in the back of the court, we’d be in the front.

When the ball was in the front of the court, we’d be in the back.

Bill remained patient and maintained a sense of humor.

I rolled my ankle and fell flat on the floor. When I opened to my eyes to see if Lori and Bill were laughing hysterically at me, I saw that Lori was on the floor too. I’m not sure how she got there. Bill told me he fell on the floor once or twice before too.

I slammed my body into the side wall. My right shoulder and elbow are going to hurt tomorrow.

And Bill had to keep reminding us that when the ball is coming hard and fast, you’re not supposed to cower in the corner in fear of getting hit. You’re supposed to watch the ball and attack it! He also had to remind us not to be so polite because if we both step back so the other can play, then no one is going to hit the ball.

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But I managed to get the hang of a serve that just rolls back along the side wall where it’s really hard for someone to hit it back. And we hit a lot of balls. And Lori is really good at the back hand. And we laughed our butts off – which felt SO good because it has been a very long, very trying week.

And to anyone outside the court looking in, I’m quite positive we looked like newbie dorks with no clue how to play this game. But Bill is willing to commit to another lesson. And we had fun. So we’re gonna do it again!

Runner

Early morning sky

I’ve always been an early riser. I especially love when I’m awake early enough to see the sky come to life.

Lately I’ve been going outside a few mornings a week to run. I gave up running over a year ago because I just couldn’t figure out what it was that I was supposed to like about it. It certainly wasn’t the lack of stamina or the side aches. And that runner’s high thing? Never felt it. So I quit. Recently I began feeling that I wanted to give running another try, but I didn’t know if I’d be any more successful this time around than the last time I tried to be a runner. It’s been a couple of weeks now and I’m doing it. I’ve found a route that I like with an even mix of uphill, downhill and level stretches. I’m not fast and I haven’t conquered great distances, but there is no doubt. I am running!

I checked the pedometer after the last run I did and it said I went three and a half miles. I’m happy with that. I haven’t mentioned the running much to anyone, mostly because I was afraid I would only be reminded again that I just couldn’t do it. But I talk to Joe at work about it. Joe finished the Twin Cities Marathon last year and he inspires me. Joe says he runs simply because he enjoys the physical act of running. I found that intriguing at first, but am starting to get what he means. Joe is very encouraging too. He suggested I read a book he just read and loved, Born to Run. He said it is sure motivate me to run even more. I’m putting it on my to-read list.

Another coworker who is an avid runner overheard Joe and me talking one day. I was telling him that I’d run enough times and with enough success that I thought it justified buying a new pair of shoes.  Our coworker asked what we were talking about. Joe hitched his thumb toward me and with a big smile on his face, simply said to her, “Runner!”

I was sort of surprised and wanted to argue with him, but I realized that if Joe thought I was a runner, maybe it was true.

So I guess I can admit that I’m a runner. And I look forward to going out while it’s still dark outside, with just a hint of dawn on the horizon. And by the time I get back home, I can take a few minutes to sit out on my deck and enjoy the exhilaration of the run I’ve just finished while watching the sky bring on another day.

And I Ran

While at the gym on Thursday, I overheard someone say that the Saturday classes were going to be cancelled. I was disappointed. I’ve fallen into a good workout routine and I especially love the Body Works class. It’s a nice mix of weight training with some cardio thrown in, not to mention the abs. I hate doing abs and can’t be counted on to work on them on my own. I go to Body Works several times a week and always on Saturdays.

So I awoke early on Saturday debating what to do. I wanted to do something to stay in routine. It’s too easy to get lazy. I looked out the windows and the sky was overcast with a good promise of rain. I decided I was willing to risk it.

There are a handful of people I know who are runners. And these same people regularly ask me if I’m still running. My answer is always the same. “I gave it up. There’s just not a runner inside of me.”

I’m not sure why, but this answer never sits well with my runner friends. It’s as if they think they know something about me that I don’t. But I know it. I tried to be a runner for more than a year and I was just really bad at it. I just couldn’t seem to develop the stamina to run a good run. Ever. Eventually I admitted defeat and accepted the fact that I am not a runner. I’m at peace with it for the most part, except for an occasional nagging little feeling that as bad as I am at running, I still might like to do it. And this is the feeling that overtook me as I stepped outside for a “walk” yesterday morning.

I did start out walking, but after about two blocks, without much conscious thought, I began to run.

And I ran. I told myself to just go as far as I could go. No expectations. It was peaceful outside except for the occasional car passing. There’s been enough rain recently to make the grass thick and lush. Trees are getting full with leaves. Lilac bushes are blooming and fragrant! I locked eyes with a rabbit as he watched me pass him by. I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I slowed to a walk only a couple of times, but picked right back up again soon after. I ran the last mile for sure without stopping to walk.

Time flew by, not dragging like it used to when I was trying to learn to be a runner. I found my pace, albeit a slow one. I was running. I recognized that I was in a good sort of place in my head and I was careful to stay in it.

When I got back home, I saw that I’d only gone just over two and a half miles. But I think I ran more solidly than I ever did before. And two and a half miles isn’t bad for someone who hasn’t really run for more than a year. Maybe the fitness classes have helped. True, I’m stronger because of them, but bigger than that, I think it’s a psychological thing. Those classes have helped me believe I can do this stuff. I can get stronger. I can push myself. Maybe there is a runner inside of me after all.

Throwing Punches

I really wasn’t feeling right yesterday. This not-right feeling had been building since the weekend and as I drove to work, it suddenly occurred to me what it was. Anxiety.

The night before, I’d called Kacey at school in response to a text message she’d sent me, asking if I could make a doctor appointment for her. Her back has been bothering her for about six weeks, but she couldn’t quite decide if it was bad enough to see a doctor. While she was home on spring break, she seemed to feel better. So no doctor. Now that she’s back at school, the pain has flared up again. When I called her Tuesday night, she was in tears. She said she’d simply been walking down the hallway in her dorm when she began to feel shooting pain down the back of her leg. By yesterday morning, she was making arrangements with her instructors to be excused from her classes and Mark went to pick her up. She’s since been to the chiropractor twice and is feeling a bit better.

So there was that.

And then there was some work stuff involving somebody being arrogant… involving a power-struggle that really had little to do with me but affected me none the less. And it made me worry. Because that’s what I do. I worry about things.

By the end of the day, I was wound tight as a drum. My friend Lori said, “Come to the gym with me. You’ll like this class I’m going to.”

So I did. The class was called Club Boxing Circuit! :-)

This class was more intense than anything I’ve ever done. For the first half of the class, we did heavy-duty cardio. We lunged. We kicked. We ran. And we did it all over and over again. Then we got to punch bags! Lori said it might be good for me if I pictured the face of someone on that bag. So I did. I got to wear boxing gloves and I got to punch that bag over and over and over again. Jab! Hook! Body! Upper cut! Faster! Harder! I punched and punched.

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 Man, that felt good! I mean REALLY good. And the reality is, I got so “in a zone” that I literally forgot about my trying day. I forgot about difficult people. I just punched and punched until all the fire had gone out of me. I was out of breath. I was drenched in sweat. By the time I left the gym, I felt like a wet noodle. And when I crawled in to bed after a nice hot shower, I drifted off effortlessly. I slept like a baby, and I woke up feeling renewed.

I highly recommend boxing as a form of therapy. I can’t wait to do it again next week!

Underwear? Under there?

This is what I love about girlfriends: You can ask them things that in polite conversation would probably cause raised eyebrows.For instance, in polite conversation, you can’t just ask someone if they’re in the habit of wearing underwear or not. But in girlfriend-conversation, you can ask, and they’ll answer honestly and not even think you’re strange for asking.

I went to the gym this morning for Step Aerobics and Body Works classes, as has become my Saturday morning routine. Upon entering the room, I spied my friend, Lori. We chatted a bit, talking about weekend plans. She’s having people over tonight. This being my loner weekend when the husband works all night and sleeps all day, my plans are a bit more low-key. I’m going to start watching the DVDs Lori loaned me – Mad Men Season 1 – so I can participate in the Mad Men conversations that happen during lunch break. Because clearly I do not watch enough t.v. to keep up with the lunchtime conversations.

Soon enough, the class began. We stepped and kicked and mamboed for an hour.  (Yes, we did the mambo! That was fun!) And we sweated our butts off.

After Step Aerobics, there was a fifteen minute break before Body Works began. Lori and I grabbed some hand weights and waited for the class to fill up. While we waited, Lori looked around at the others in the room and remarked that we were all wearing Easter colors. For some reason that reminded me of a gym-wardrobe question that had been plaguing me.

I asked Lori, “See everyone wearing the yoga style pants and capris like mine?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you supposed to wear underwear under those?”

For the record, this is NOT my butt.

Lori didn’t bat an eye. She looked at me and said, “I wear underwear when I have a looser style on. But when I wear those kind, I don’t. I think a lot of people go without when they wear yoga pants. But I think it’s a matter of personal preference. Why?”

“Well, I was noticing at home that if someone were to look at my butt, they could probably see the outline of my bikinis underneath. When I look at my butt in the mirror, I can see the outline.”

Not that I was studying my own butt. Okay, so maybe I was. I’ve been working hard. I might have wanted to see if it was getting toned. This is when the underwear line dilemma was discovered. I’ve also been known to do that body-builder pose in front of the mirror to see if all this work has had any sculpting effects on my arms and shoulders. It has, but it’s only really noticeable so far if I flex. Oh well.

Lori shrugged, signalling that I was worrying needlessly about underwear.

“You’re probably right, I said. “Not that anyone is probably looking at my butt while we’re busy working out, anyway,” I  was trying to make myself feel better. It didn’t work because clearly I was checking out other ladies’ butts to see if I could see the outline of their undies. And believe me, in many cases, I could not find one!

“Well, I don’t look at your butt,” Lori laughed, swatting me playfully on the arm! “But I’m gonna now!”

And then Body Works began and I was almost too busy lunging and lifting my weights to worry about whether or not the outline of my underwear was visible to others. So there’s one worry I can check off the list of many. And I can relax now that I know that going commando is an acceptable practice at the gym.