Workout Work-Arounds

 Perhaps your reliable ol' gym just closed for construction.

Or maybe you fell down and broke your crown, or alligators and brain-eating amoebas have infested the swimming pool at the local Y, or your favorite Zumba teacher just converted to a religion in which ass-shaking is strictly prohibited.

What happens when you are forced to switch to an entirely new way of exercising? Some people quit, that's one option.  Others figure out a way to suck it up and forge on ahead.

Cranky Fitness regulars know that I've written this same "take lemons and make lemonade" post 90 bazillion times before. Whatever! When life stops with the lemonning, I'll shut up about the lemonade.

So what recent trauma inspired these latest musings on how to deal with messed up workout routines?

No, I haven't injured myself again, thank goodness!

The source of my frustration is...

The abomination known as Windows 8! 

Yep... I've been forced to deal with the new operating system the last few days, as I am replacing my old f--ked up computer before it dies completely.  The old computer which, come to think of it, I just used in another tortured exercise analogy recently!  Computers are on the brain lately, lucky readers. And um, yeah, talk about "first world problems?" 

Anyway, so these Workout Workarounds are inspired by the Evil Windows 8... mainly because I wanted an excuse to rant about it for a few paragraphs. But bear with me and we'll get to fitness stuff sooner or later.

You tablet people are probably fine with it, but are there any other "regular" computer people forced to make the switch who are also wishing they could  kick some Microsoft Executive ass?  Sigh. I know I need to chill.

OK, that helps. Realizing that those responsible for completely derailing my online productivity (such as it is) are really just poor little monkeys doing the best they can!  Strange though, that a company as large as Microsoft couldn't afford to hire or consult with actual humans.

You Mac people may now giggle and gloat all you want.

OK Now, Since this is a Fitness Blog: "Windows 8 as Gym" Metaphor!

To explalin the Windows operating system changes in a fitness-friendly way, lets pretend that the computer is a health club and you are a member.

And say this facility was closed for remodeling and expansion, and it opens up again and you're all excited! So the first day you go there and what do you find?

Well, it is sleek! They've put in some nice looking sparkly tiles.

But wait...everything you have ever used before and liked is gone!

Instead, all that is available for you is a very small collection of items someone else has gathered that you would never choose yourself.

Since this was touted as a big improvement, you are pretty darn sure at least some of the old stuff must be around somewhere, so you go to the front desk to ask for assistance.

But there's no front desk!  Having "help" available where you could find it was too cluttery looking. There is no directory you can discover that lists where the gyms "programs" you used to participating in are now happening, or tells you how/when the facility shuts down or opens up again.

You randomly wander around a little and sometimes see a glimpse of something hopeful, but then you try to get back there again and you can't find it again.  The doors even seem to lock behind you so that you can't just go backwards one step to return to where you just came from.

Oh, and then you finally do find a few things that work for you, hooray! But you have to travel through many, many different areas to get to the same stuff that used to all be one one place.  It takes you five times as long to accomplish the same thing.

You think seriously about quitting this "remodeled" gym and finding one just like your old one, but when you go out looking you discover that... none of the laptops at Costco at $600 or less run on Windows 7 anymore! And yeah, ok, enough with the freakin' gym analogy.

Work-Around Tips:

So now that I'm finally settling in with the new computer, let's pretend that the lessons I learned have something to do with how to deal with the mental trauma of a brand new unwelcome exercise routine. And hey, how about some more strained computer/fitness analogies, illustrated by turning the camera around on myself and random objects found in my immediate environment? Because lets see... perhaps the Futuristic High Tech Cranky Fitness Multi-Media Production Studio is not quite yet open for business?

1. Rant and Scream and Complain Bitterly

Whether it's a computer of fitness issue, most of us need to vent for a bit before we get all plucky and resourceful.  If you don't have blog readers to torture, try talking it out with friends or loved ones.  (Note: duct tape and rope and/or shackles may be required to ensure a receptive and cooperative audience).

2. Overthink Every Aspect and Research Alternatives To Death and Pretend You are Not Just Procrastinating:

Again, works well for either computer problems or fitness!  Keeping your brain busy thinking about your dilemma is a lot more fun than doing anything about it.  But, as a bonus, you may actually discover new approaches or resources.

3.  Incorporate Favorite Aspects of the Old Familiar Experience.

In the case of the sinister and malevolent Windows 8, the most awesome thing I discovered was the existence of free "shell" programs like Classic Shell that will take you back to whatever previous version of Windows you desire.  You can proceed to ignore the horrid new interface unless you accidentally hit a key you didn't mean to.

As to exercise, alas, I do not believe you can download a shell program to make a safe-for-your-joints pool resemble a favorite running trail, or turn a cross fit gym into a downhill ski run.

However, what do you most like about your workout? Is it a convenience thing, an outdoor thing, a competitive thing, a interesting mix of cardio and intervals and endurance, a chance to wear cute clothes or chat with your workout buddies?

Try to see if you can take something from your preferred environment into the new, more sucky alternative.


4.  Take Mind-Altering Drugs or Otherwise Bribe Yourself

Any of a number of legal or illegal drugs may help with computer problems; I suspect with Windows 8, especially for those not using shell programs, use of long-term heavy psychotropic medication may be required.

As to exercise, if you do not suffer unpleasant side effects from caffeine, consider temporarily quadrupling your customary intake of coffee or tea or other energy-enhancing concoctions to get through the initial "this sucks I hate it" phase.

It's amazing what you can endure while so buzzed you feel like your head might explode in a pleasant burst of rainbows and flowers and fireworks and fluffy kittens!
Alternatively, motivate/spoil yourself in whatever other manner you think appropriate.

5. Phone It In

Transition periods are tough; do NOT expect the same level of performance, enthusiasm, follow-through, or kick-ass heroics while you are trying to get used to a new computer... or a new workout.

6.  Keep it in Perspective.

Remember that the quests to become fit and productive are lifelong, and that along the way there will be many roadblocks, whether they be injured body parts or hilariously awful computer programs. They may loom large in the moment, but chances are you'll barely recall these tragedies years from now.  So don't waste too much time stressin'!

And while most of the inevitably unflattering photos of me from long ago are hidden in a basement box in Provincetown, a high school yearbook turned up on the west coast recently! It served to remind me that I used to play tennis in my youth, something I would totally suck at now if my foot problems would even allow me to try.  On the other hand, back then I couldn't have done a pull-up to save my life.  Accomplishments come and go and come and go!

(And goodness did I have crappy posture back then!)

So, have any of you had to endure a workout or computer or other disruptive transition?  How did you cope?

Photo credits:
 Lemonade: SomeEcardsT
Windows 8: Somewhere off

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