liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
So, day 16 of my newfound gym habit, and I haven't missed a session yet, in spite of the worst weather and the busiest week this year. In fact, I've even added in some extra sessions, including letting [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy talk me into getting out of bed for a swim on Saturday morning. (She came over for lunch and political debate and boardgames afterwards, making for a highly enjoyable day.) I'm generally feeling better for it, while only a little resentful of the time taken from sleep and fun.

Yesterday evening I had my induction session; I had thought it was going to be about a trainer yelling at me to keep pushing on when I wanted to stop, but no, he was very friendly and helpful and just showed me in a bit more detail how to use the machines. The initial programme he set up for me is more or less what I was already doing, but a tad more intense. This isn't because I'm particularly clever, but because [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy had done a good job of showing me the basics so I could get started right away and not wait for the official induction. But not knowing how hard I should be pushing myself is one of the big reasons why I needed professional advice. So last night I did a full session: 10 minutes of rowing machine at a gentle pace, 15 minutes on a treadmill at 6 kph with varying slopes, 10 minutes of exercise bike on a medium setting, and 5 minutes of the evil "X-trainer", which is supposed to represent cross-country skiing but feels like running with weights. I didn't really take more than a few breaths of rest between these either. I know that's not very impressive, but I feel good that I can do that much more than I expected to be able to manage. So I have to do that twice a week for the next few weeks to accustom my heart to hard work and adaptation to exercise, and after that they'll give me something more interesting to do.

An unexpected thing I find comforting about the gym is relaxed, non-sexual nudity. They have a strict policy against cameras of any kind in the changing rooms, and although they do provide private cubicles, most women just get changed in the public areas. And there's something very very cheering about seeing real people naked, all ages, all body types – even the slim, toned, bronzed young models and athletes don't look like the airbrushed images that bombard your eyes from posters, magazine covers, screens and so on. Swedish women tend to take a casual attitude to nudity, (I should recount the incident of the convert who shocked her Beth Din (rabbinical court) by bounding out of the mikveh stark naked and rushing into the room where they had carefully sequestered themselves to protect to her modesty...), but it's often too cold for removing clothes, and I didn't have much exposure to contexts where nudity was reasonable. So the place I really associate with treating bodies as just bodies, not something to be covered up and hidden away, is Israel. I miss that, and the gym changing rooms are giving me something of it back. Plus, watching people transform themselves from someone who rolled out of bed, grabbed a tracksuit and headed to the gym, to a beautiful, immaculately made-up and groomed and well dressed woman is just fascinating.

So, yay, gym is a happy thing at the moment. I'm going to take a break over Christmas, but I have three more workouts planned before then, and I'm not even dreading them any more!

Anyway, I think what would improve my gym experience is something to take up my spare attention which I'll enjoy more than watching MTV, or mainstream TV with subtitles. (I suppose I could regard my gym subscription as partly a subscription to TV channels I wouldn't bother with at home, but honestly I don't much see the appeal of most of what's been on, especially with no soundtrack.) Does anyone have any recs of working out music? Or even audiobooks (I'm not sure if I could concentrate on an audiobook while treadmilling, but I want to give it a try.)

While I'm filling up my media players, what are you digging in terms of general music at the moment? And can you recommend me any novel-length (or at least >10k word) fanfic? I know about Harry Potter and the methods of rationality, but what else good is out there? The sort of thing I'm after is:
- Firefly, though not spoilers for Serenity as I haven't seen that. I ship Inara / Kaylee, but really whatever.
- Harry Potter; I don't really care about spoilers, though I haven't actually read past about a quarter of the way through book 4. I've picked up enough from general culture that I can follow fanfic, and I don't particularly need to be shocked by the twists in the later books.
- Classic children's books, though preferably gen or stuff set after the characters grow up, cos I don't really want to read about kids having sex.
- Sandman
- Inception
- The matrix, especially Neo / Morpheus (does that ship even exist?) I haven't seen the sequels, but don't particularly mind spoilers.
- Star Trek, mainly TNG, but I'm not averse to TOS or the reboot film. Haven't seen DS9 or Voyager

I'm interested in any pairing, OT3 or more, any combination of genders. I'm happy with kinky stuff but I'm not into dubcon and I'm not sure how to describe the line in my head between playing with consent and pain, and the sort of thing that would read as rape to me. (I hope that's not too unhelpful or kink-shaming, I'm trying to talk about what I like to read rather than making moral judgements about what anyone else should read.) As I said, I'm not interested in any kind of underage sex; can cope with 16-year-olds if it's fairly non-explicit, but generally I find adults much much more hot. Again, no offence to Harry Potter fans or anyone else! Also, I'm definitely interested in gen stuff that explores relationships or characters or aspects of the story which aren't sexual.

Also any good podfics or non-fictional podcasts? I want to get into those genres but have no idea at all where to start!
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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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