Lessons Learned at the Gym – Movement Labs

Lessons Learned at the Gym

I wasn’t much of a gym-goer until we moved to Singapore.  Now, I’m a card carrying Fitness First member who, as KMN says, “is really getting our money’s worth” out of our membership.

Over my first two months of membership, one of the things I’ve noticed is that the gym can be an amazingly educational place.  It’s crazy what you can learn while building your aerobic capacity and/or toning your abs!  This appeals to the stingy side of me, because I feel like I’m squeezing just a little extra out of my membership fee.

Delicious Pre-Workout Fuel

Pre-Workout Fuel

Let’s take yesterday, for example.  I didn’t get out for my run during the cool of the morning, so I decided to hit up the gym in the evening.  I grabbed some pre-workout fuel – a thick slice of homemade cinnamon raisin bread topped with peanut butter & jelly – and ate it on my way to the MRT (subway) station.  I think I got a few funny looks, chowing down on an enormous piece of bread as I hurried down the sidewalk.  I don’t care.  My name is Holly, sometimes I eat on the go, and this little snack was completely delicious.


My IT band was feeling a bit tight, so I started off by spending a little quality time with the foam roller:

Holly on the foam roller

Keeping that right IT band happy…

That thing is absolutely amazing. It’s my new BFF, which is convenient, since I’m still a bit low in the local friends department at the moment.  We’ve been spending plenty of quality time together lately (perhaps explaining my lack of other friends?).  But my IT band feels brand new when we’re done hanging out, which makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Serious, brow-furrowed face

Repeat after me: I love this, I love this, I love this…

Pained smiling face

Smile, dangit! You love this!

So after some rolling, I hopped onto the treadmill for a short (~30 min run).  And the learning commenced:

Lesson #1:  Apparently, I was giving off bad vibes last night.  I ran for ~30 minutes, and during that time, no fewer than three people (3!) took up residence on the treadmill next to me, ran a (tiny) bit, stopped, and left.  I swear that my shirt was clean, I wasn’t wearing perfume, my breathing was under control, I didn’t have gas… (in short, I was obeying SUAR’s 6 Treadmill Rules).  Still, no one stuck around.  But hey, if any locals are looking for a treadmill running buddy, the space next to me is usually open!

Lesson #2: The TV show “The Million Pound Drop” has nothing to do with a weight-loss competition.  When the title and intro popped up on one of the TVs at the gym, I silently complimented the channel-chooser for selecting a motivational fitness show (my brain hadn’t yet touched on the thought that a million pounds is a LOT of weight to lose).  Then, I realized the show was British, and the word pound took on an entirely different meaning.

In case you’re wondering, MPD is actually a gameshow where trivia and gambling collide.  Contestants start with $1,000,000 pounds (literally, in bound notes), then are asked a multiple choice question.  They have one minute to physically divide the money onto spaces representing each of the choices, depending on how sure they are of the correct answer.  They get to keep whatever money they “bet” on the correct answer, and move on to the next round.  There are 8 rounds, and I suppose they keep whatever is left at the end, but I’m not sure – I didn’t watch that far. The show much be a minefield for social psychologists.

Lesson #3: Don’t bother taking photos to document your workout while you are actually running on the treadmill.  It’s a waste of time, you look like a weirdo, and the photos look like this:

Very blurry picture of Holly

Best picture you’ve seen so far, right? Are you feeling a bit motion sick yet??

After my run, I plunked down for a quick stretch.

Lesson #4:  You can learn about basic surgical procedures.  The gentleman beside me was chatting on his cell phone, rather loudly.  “Do you know what a episiotomy is?  Well, it’s when….”  I quickly decided that I’d stretched quite enough, and I booked it out of there.  Because honestly?  I’m not queasy about most of biology – but there are some things that hurt just to hear.  [So I guess I didn’t learn anything, exactly.  But if I didn’t know what an episiotomy was, I would have learned.]

I finished off my gym session with 1,000 meters in the pool – an easy, stretching swim.

Lesson #5: I found the one outside place where I can get goosebumps in Singapore!  I was still sweating from my run when I changed into my swimsuit and climbed the stairs to the rooftop pool.  I try to obey the “shower before swim” request, especially when I’m already sweaty from a workout.  And after a quick rinse in the outdoor shower, standing on the breezy swim deck at sunset, I broke out in goosebumps (!!!).  That alone is almost reason enough for gym membership.  I found outdoor goosebumps in Singapore.

My swim was glorious: smooth, easy, relaxed – just me (and a few fellow swimmers), buoyed by the water, flowing through a few slow, steady, stretching laps under the darkening sky.  I left the gym feeling quiet and peaceful.  I always feel good after a workout, but usually in a pumped-up and excited sort of way.  But the dark and quiet swim left me feeling contemplative and calm.

Since everyone else was out for the evening (KMN at work, our guests enjoying shrimp noodles and the sunset by the water), I nurtured my feeling of quiet contentment with a go-to comfort meal:

I love 'two bowl meals', and this is one of my favorites: Salad & Pastina!

I love ‘two bowl meals’, and this is one of my favorites: Salad & Pastina!

Our friends came back, and we talked about their day’s adventures, while munching on some local fruits (yum!). What a delightful end to the day!!

Learned anything interesting at the gym lately?

Anyone else loving on two-bowl-dinners?

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  1. Sarrilly January 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    haha, when you started talking about goosebumps, I at first thought you were going to talk about the view. 🙂 Cuz a rooftop pool sounds so cool!! 🙂 Glad you’re getting more than your money’s worth at the gym! 🙂

    • Holly KN January 17, 2013 at 12:58 am - Reply

      Hahaha! OK, so, it IS pretty cool, because the sides around the pool area all clear, so you can see straight out…mostly over downtown. Which is kinda cool, but mostly looks like a city. One day, I’ll remember to bring my camera up to snap a shot. 🙂

  2. @therunginger January 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Singapore!? How cool! That would be pretty warm though!

    I really gotta get a foam roller! I saw a team at the gym using them, and I continue to be inspired. I learn a lot from the gym by watching the trainers and obviously-in-shape people do work.

    • Holly KN January 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      Hey Tyler – Thanks for stopping by!

      Indeed, it is rather warm here – but after awhile, you just start to get used to it. And I lived in Rochester, NY for 7 years before moving out here, so I do give thanks for every morning that I don’t have to clean off or shovel out my car. Additional bonus: Less volume of workout gear to wash!

      You are right – I wrote this post as a funny, but you *can* learn a lot of serious, useful things about fitness, just by opening your eyes at the gym. And I like the roller for very specific spots (mostly my IT bands), but default to The Stick for most general self-massage. 🙂

  3. Swim & Soya Bean Curd | Run With Holly January 17, 2013 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    […] but certainly not gallons.  In fact, the rooftop pool at our gym is the one place in Singapore where I can get goosebumps.  Plus, rooftop pool?  Heck […]

  4. Elena Tartaglia January 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    Pastina and butter (and egg yolk) is also my favorite comfort food. I could eat it every day if I let myself.

    • Holly KN January 17, 2013 at 11:53 pm - Reply

      Egg yolk? Where/when/how do you get that in there??

      • Elena Tartaglia January 19, 2013 at 3:40 am - Reply

        Just stir it in right before you eat it so that the yolk doesn’t scramble when it hits the hot pastina. I usually drain the pastina, mix in the butter in the bowl then crack and de-yolk an egg and stir that in last.

  5. sarrilly January 18, 2013 at 12:50 am - Reply

    I had a 2 bowl dinner last night and thought of you!!! Salad and Korean spicy veggie fried rice! Weird combo but delish 🙂

    • Holly KN January 18, 2013 at 1:02 am - Reply

      Not weird at all! I almost always have a salad in one of my two bowls. 🙂
      I’m mostly just glad you’re eating, girl! And that you make time in your busy schedule to cruise over here and check things out. Even if I mostly talk about things that aren’t so interesting to you. You be the best. 🙂

  6. […] to the gym regularly, you’re bound to see some strange things.  I’ve already written a post about weird things that I’ve learned at the gym. But recently, I seem to have witnessed more “warm and fuzzy” moments than weird […]

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