Speed Bumps

The fitness train has come to a bit of a stop lately.

My schedule’s been a little nuts, and I’ve had more dinner reviews than I’d like of late, which has been a major disruption in my post-work exercise routine. There’s also the fact that it’s so goddamn hot, especially in my apartment, that I kind of want to come home from work and just plonk down on the couch instead of engaging in any kind of physical activity.

A couple years ago, this would have been very disheartening news. I was pretty desperate to lose weight and keep a regular fitness routine to achieve that end. Any time things got to the point where my routine was interrupted, I just gave up. I’m not sure if that was due to the obsessive-compulsive part of my brain that decided anything less than a perfect schedule wasn’t worth keeping at all, or the lazy part of my brain that was just looking for any excuse to keep my ass in one place. In either case, it brought me back to being sedentary.

But I’ve learned from my mistakes and developed a new perspective on fitness. Treating fitness as a destination can make the tiniest pebble in the path seem like a steep mountain, which makes giving up all the easier. After all, if I haven’t even lost 2 pounds yet, how can I possibly hope to lose 15? That’s impossible. My gut’s smaller than before, but it’s still a gut, so what’s the point in pushing myself toward washboard abs? Guess I’d better resume my torrid love affair with the couch.

If instead you view fitness as the path, things get much easier. There’s no frustration about not reaching the end goal, because that’s not the point anymore. Every milestone becomes important, because it means you’re still moving along the path. There’s less inclination to stop because it’s a leisurely (or brisk) walk rather than a mad dash to an arbitrary finish line.

So the little setback that I’ve suffered recently? No big deal. I would ideally like to stick to a workout schedule of 5 days a week with two rest days thrown in, but another rest day or two won’t hurt. I’ll just work out when I can, keep to the schedule whenever possible and sprinkle in activity of some sort throughout the day.

I’d prefer to walk along the path with a smile on my face than sit down in frustration for not reaching my weight goal.


Back to Basics

I couldn’t figure out what sort of workout routine to do last week, so I ended up doing something I haven’t done in quite a while: karate.

Just straight-up karate basics, focusing on simple techniques and stances. It felt like coming home. I mean, I was home. I was working out in my living room, after all. But it felt so good to be doing one of the things I loved again, an activity that I had devoted 5 years of my life to, and which had sadly fallen by the wayside in more recent times.

It was just supposed to be a filler, a break from my usual routine, but I was eager to work on it again the next day. It may finally be time to make it a more prominent part of my workout again. I’ve tried to get back into karate in the past in an attempt to jumpstart a regular fitness routine, but it didn’t last long. Part of the problem, I think, was my own expectation, I was at a certain skill level when I trained actively, and I expected to jump back to that same skill and intensity after a long period of inactivity. Frustration followed, prompting me to push myself too hard to work my way up again, which led to a burnout and put me back on square one.

My expectations are more realistic now. I’m no longer burdened by the skill of my past. It’ a new beginning,in a way. It’s all completely familiar to me, of course, but I don’t let that fool me into thinking that I’m better than I am. I’m approaching the whole thing as a beginner, and I think that’ll help me train more consistently without getting frustrated. Plus, I have my Darebee routines to break things up if that does happen, so I won’t relapse into sitting on my ass again.

Hot and Cold

I’ve been kinda sick this past week. Needless to say, it sucks.

The combination of hot and humid weather, scalding water in the bathroom and a broken-down air conditioner really messed me up. Or maybe there’s just a virus going around. I prefer to blame the weather, since it’s terrible. Summer’s only just begun though, so this just the tip of the sand dune when it comes to heat waves.

Probably the worst part about being sick is that point where it feels like I might be sick forever. Deep down, I know that’s not true. I’ve had colds before, I’ll have them again. But there is that low point of having a cold, the nadir of sickness, if you will, where it seems like this is it. I’m going to be sniffling and coughing and sneezing for the rest of my life, my head always feeling like it’s been stuffed with glue.

Trying to work out with a cold is another fun challenge. There’s nothing quite like that burning sensation in the lungs and throat from trying to do push-ups or a core workout when my body just wants to find the nearest horizontal surface and collapse on it.

And losing my senses of smell and taste so I can’t tell if I’m eating roast chicken or cardboard? Fantastic. In fact, it’s probably my favorite part. I’ll look forward to a dish that I’m making (or ordering) because it sounds absolutely delicious. Boy, it’s gonna make for an awesome meal…and then comes the slow, soul-draining realization that I won’t know if it’s delicious or awful. It’ll just taste like nothing. Plain ol’ nothing.

Ah well. It’s starting to clear out now. In another day or two, I’ll be back in form. The air conditioning’s been fixed and we’re regulating the water temperature. Now I just need to make it through the sweltering heat for the next 4 or 5 months. Awesome.

The Journey Continues

Things weren’t going very well.

I had all but given up on anything resembling a healthy lifestyle, stuck in an endless loop of lethargy. Inactivity led to laziness, which led to further inactivity. Something had to be done to break this cycle.

The solution to my problem came in the form of Darebee, a website run by fitness enthusiast Neila Rey (and formerly bearing her own name). I’ve actually talked about in an old post, back before I migrated my blog to WordPress. The website has ‘themed’ workouts based around superheroes, movies, video games and other popular media figures. Exercise and pop culture references? That’s my kind of workout!

That gave me just the motivation I needed. A Batman themed workout one day, a James Bond workout the next. Once again, exercise was something fun and not a chore that I needed to fit into my day. My old pants started fitting me again and I had much more energy throughout the day. I’m not a believer in diets of any sort, so I still eat pretty much whatever I want, but I try to keep everything in moderation and stick to my regular workout schedule.

I also keep up with martial arts from time to time, though it has become more of a personal fitness tool than the art it once was. I’d really like to find a solid karate community in the near future and re-build that aspect of my life. Now that I’ve settled into a new job and found some measure of stability, I may even work on creating such a community myself.

It’s certainly been an interesting journey from a scrawny, athletically-challenged kid to a college martial artist to an adult who sometimes plans his week around workouts. There have been occasional hurdles and stumbles, but I seem to have finally found a fitness path that I can happily follow. I can’t wait to see where the next stage of my journey takes me.

This is the conclusion to a five-part piece (which was supposed to be just one post, and then a trilogy, and then…) about my relationship with fitness. The other parts can be found here, here, here and here.