Anne’s journal entry (or entrée) this week featured the Deep South’s finest chefs here at chez Palmer. Wendy, Marge and now Danielli, provide nutritious as well as delightfully delicious meals and an enticing array of yummy baked desserts. The diners must provide the self-control or as Anne suggests at the end of her entry, trips to the gym will be a necessity.
Admittedly, my diet here is very different from that at home. Part of that is due to the lack of fresh fruit and veggies. Yes, some of it has to do with the see a new batch of cookies, eat a cookie syndrome that has plagued my every season. So in order to enjoy guilt-free that cookie (or two!) a day and more importantly, to not out grow my drysuit, I visit the gym just about every morning.
At home my routine is to get up early and go for a swim, run or bike before work. I do weights several times a week afterwards mostly to stave off that natural tendency towards muscle loss after reaching the magic 4-0 age. Weight work has also helped strengthen my core making my back less susceptible to injury hauling around the heavy dive gear. So really, I go to the Palmer gym to maintain a fitness base and satiate my addiction to that endorphin/exercise natural high generated – fresh baked cookies are a nice bonus.
The gym is located on the second floor of the back building known as GWR. The acronym stands for the building’s 3 main functions: Garage, Warehouse, and Recreation. Palmer’s gym is small but well equipped. The major machines include a treadmill, lifecycle and an elliptical trainer. A ridiculously huge tv (with surround-sound speakers) is positioned in front of this trio. (This is a hand-me-down unit from the lounge next door. A larger screen was installed for use with the weekly science PowerPoint talks.) Some folks like to put in a movie to watch while running or riding in place. Others blast motivational tunes out the impressive sound system.
There is also a rowing machine and small trampoline that can be pulled out for use. A stack of stairs in the corner gets regular use by the step aerobic fans. There are free weights as well as a weight bench and assorted upper body and lower body specific devices for that crucial strength work.
The most outstanding feature of the gym I think is the view. Few facilities I bet can boast harbor views beyond the sliding glass doors or glacier views while running on the treadmill. However, now with winter approaching and the days getting noticeably shorter, I now get to watch the day dawn from the gym instead of from my bivy. I am considering altering my gym time, but with field work in the daylight hours, it is hard to guarantee I will have the opportunity to get in a workout.
A few times, I have not gotten to the gym first thing and have been surprised to discover how many other folks have routines. Since the support folks work a fixed 0730-1730 schedule with an hour off for lunch, folks like me with a flexible schedule leave the gym free at noon and in the evening. I have gone late morning a couple of times and have met Barb, the instrument tech there. She takes her lunch hour early and uses the treadmill. I chase her on the elliptical trainer. After Barb finishes, Heidi, the birder Anne introduced, appears for her quick run. Marge goes from her breakfast/lunch cooking duty to the gym most days at 1500. We are all creatures of habit, finding a system that works and then sticking with it.
I probably will stick with my early morning routine – it works for me. I do reserve the right on especially pleasant mornings to forego a run or ride and remain cozied up in my bivy or bed. I refuse however the right to indulge my sampling a new cookie batch syndrome!