Exercise! Exercise may be the hardest demon to slay in the new year. I have friends who work out every morning and seem to dig it, but it’s definitely my ugh moment between getting up and going to work.
I have an extended metaphor for it that I need to record with special effects and music at some point called you are a wizard in which I basically explain that you’re a wizard, and you can cast a spell that makes you healthier and more confident and better looking and your clothes fit better and people think more highly of you. But you have to perform the ritual for 30 minutes every morning, and the ritual is physically demanding.
You’d do that, right? A magic spell that delivers all that stuff, in exchange for a paltry 1/48th of your day every day?
You’d be nuts not to! And that’s exercise, baby.
Despite even having that kicky metaphor rolling around in my head, and my go-to list of motivational phrases, it is still harrrrrrrd some days to kick it into gear.
I’m doing it, though! I have to. I’m on this path to getting where I want to be in 2019, and I’m not deviating. I didn’t eat chips yesterday at game time (had some fresh fruit, though). I’ve successfully been a non-snacking mofo for two straight weeks. I can lock this down, I just have to do the work.
Added a couple of charts to the 2019 Tracker, so hopefully those trend lines will help inspire me in moments of despair.
Spinning! It’s HARD! I knew that already from previous spinning — I even went to a drop-in class once, and my wife was an avid spin studio member for about a year. We bought a high-end-of-the-low-end bike for Christmas 2017.
It’s been a while since I’ve spun, and holy DIVER. I set myself up for 20 minutes of mixed speed and resistance, and those shuttle jump-up-and-down things. At Minute 12, I had to stop because I was legitimately getting a bit worried about a heart attack.
And, I mean, that’s cool — something every day, and that was certainly something. But a good lesson that I can’t just leap back into things I was once good at (or reasonable at) like it ain’t no thang. I’m’a have to add a minute to every session til I’m back up to 20, then 30.
I just went through 2018 looking for my longest streak. 20 uninterrupted days of logging. Only 20! That surprised me, as well as how absolutely terrible the back half of the year was for logging and fitness in general. I chalk it up to some work issues, which were resolved before the end of 2018, and I now have a streak to break: 20 days. Three weeks! One already down. No sweat.
The last few days, I think I’m through the easy weight — whenever I get back on track, there’s kind of a four-or-five pound drop that happens almost immediately. I don’t know if it’s just water weight that I’m carrying due to eating garbage that happens to be salty, or if it’s mind over matter, or if focusing on my health makes me poop more — whatever it is, there’s a quick rush of “easy weight” that always makes me, well, overconfident.
I ran out of easy weight a couple of days ago — I think I’m into the grinding work of this now, which is fine. Everything is fine.
It does get harder from here, though. I think — again — this is almost a job for Sober Brain, where I need to take the same determination I apply to not drinking and just turn its unblinking eye on following the program every day come hell or high water.
It’s a good program; it works. Even if I didn’t know I was doing it, I spent two years developing it through trial and error (and error, and error).
It’s not yet a week into the new year so I’m not about to throw myself a parade yet, but it’s been a pretty good week.
Weight is down modestly (and safely), I’m now using the body fat scale to track body fat (which I haven’t done in five years of owning this body fat scale — I read some early “ehh, it’s inaccurate things and thought ‘bah’. More recently, I’ve come around to “even if it’s inaccurate it’s probably consistently inaccurate, and I’m in lousy enough shape that those readings will probably be positive over time”).
The news is NOT GOOD! But it will be getting better with time.
My headline today is I set myself an ambitious 30-minute row, sat down, and after the first two minutes was all “you know, I only promised myself at least 10 minutes a day of exercise — I can nope out of this after 10 minutes.”
But then I did the “think like a 175-lb. man” exercise. What would that version of me do? What willthat version of me be like?
That guy’ll do 30 minutes on the rower happily.
So I did.
And after a while it felt pretty good. Exercise without music — part of the whole “flow to the door” thing is I try not to use the phone except for logging my weight until after this is done — is hard. It’s harder than I thought it would be. I think I may need to add an “attention span” component to this project. But I did it, and I’m glad I did.
Today was a good test of the “10 minute rule” for exercise — one of our cats somehow got her sanity reset at 3 a.m. and decided the other cat was Enemy Cat; they were on the bed at the time, so this involved my wife getting her face scratched and a rolling battle over two floors of our house as the older cat tried to straight up MURDER the younger one.
It’s settled down a bit now, and no permanent damage to my wife’s face, but we were up from 3-4. I used that time to pre-pack lunch, but then back to bed and up late — this is exactly the kind of day where 2018 me would have said “no time to exercise”.
2019 me says “there’s always a little time to exercise.” So a quick round of pushups/situps and just 10 minutes on the spin bike. Is it a workout? No. But it’s a tetch of exercise every day, which is the important thing. Gets the blood going.
I have time for 10 minutes a day (15 with faff on either side) to exercise. I must. Most days I’ll do more, but I’m determined to not do less.
All right — slept late again today. But! I’m slooowly trying to think like the person I’d like to be, rather than the person I don’t want to be, so what’s next?
15 minutes of hard labour.
It’s not a long ‘sentence,’ but I intend to get up from here, put on some headphones, and get a bit of hard exercise in. It’s going to make me really race to get out the door, but I need to shake myself up and show me that I can get this stuff done.
Arrgh! Exercise eludes me, and only one day back. Up at 3:30 for peeing, then cat-in-Christmas-tree related reasons, took forever to fall back asleep, so back to late sleep. Now I have to do the Tiniest Gallery, which I’m a few days overdue for, but the November artist wants her art back (which is fair!) so I gots to get the new display up this morning.
I feel bad about the not exercising. I’ll compensate through low food and a brisk walk to and from work, but it’s irritating not to get that done.
Back to work tomorrow, and 300-plus emails await me… I shouldn’t have peeked. Time offline was great, but it’s nice to be back online (in moderation).
Exercise was the big loser this week, but we’ll be back on that tomorrow. Food? Not terrible. Sobriety? Locked down. Sleep? Excellent. It was a great week for sleep, aside from the “no digital life, weird busy brain” issue getting to sleep. But waking up naturally, no alarm, naps… it was a good sleep week.
So back to exercise, food tracking, the whole nine yards tomorrow. I can definitely credit the “no digital” days for the best staycation ever; I feel like I’ve actually vacationed, instead of just having a long, weird weekend.
Probably the first solid workout I’ve had in two weeks today, with being sick and ramping back in after that. A solid workout is great! It’s solid!
That’s a nice way to start the day. I’ve got a training thing today and tomorrow — I’m taking a process management course for work — so I need to rocket out the door and get to work early to put out some fires before moving on to training all day, then off to volunteer stuff in the evening.
I choose to do these things! I choose them!
This is about the threshold for me, though. The exercise helps with stress for sure; I’ve been sleeping through my wife getting early so no more Back To Bed in the morning. There’s a certain crush happening right now, but once my course is done (three weeks) things will lighten up a little.
What would exercise look like, if I were exercising ideally? What kind of shape am I in?
About 175 pounds. My best-ever fightin’ weight mid-20s count-the-abs self was 165. 175 is probably fair in my mid-40s.
Exercising every day but Sunday. Getting in around 300 calories of exercise; this is deliberate hard work, not walkin’ to work and around the building and stuff. Long walks can be exercise! But commuting walking and work-walking isn’t.
Strength and core training, not just cardio.
Gym? Nah. Even perfect me doesn’t want to spend the money, and gym has never really worked out for me in the past. I think that’s still a home-based activity.
With intention. I’ve had a huge problem with this in the last several months — getting it in, but also phoning in.