Working Out: A 2006 Resolution
In order to inflict upon myself all the mental anguish that I deserve, I have again this year resolved to workout more faithfully than I have in the past. I bought a "Get 18 months for the price of 12 months" deal at the local AnyTime Fitness that had gone in just down the road. It was meant to replace my membership to the YMCA, which I had stopped going to because the most direct route to the YMCA was blocked off for a long time. Yes, it is a feeble attempt at rationalizing not working out, but its the only excuse that I have. I don't want to leave you with the impression that I went a whole lot, but my son and I would go there periodically and he would go play in the Jr. Gym while I went to the weightroom. Another strike against the YMCA is that Burger King was between it and my home, so we would grab dinner there most of the time, an act that is fairly counter-productive. With the bridge out, it required me to go the other way around and that was the straw that broke the camels back. Then I noticed AnyTime Fitness going in at the local stripmall and it was an answer to my prayers. At the YMCA I primarily used the weight machines, but some time I would use the walking track and racquetball courts, but not enough to consider it essential. The AnyTime Fitness had all the machines that I needed, it wasn't a creepy place, and had the added benefit of being open 24x7. One thing that I didn't get with the YMCA is the ability to work out late at night, when I have the most motivation. I also like working out late at night because I don't have to stand around and wait for machines. I have a pattern and a rhythm and other people definitely get in the way. I bought the membership and I was on my way. I went about as frequently as we were going to the YMCA, but that pattern was broken when summer came and our travel schedule filled up. I just got out of the rhythm and my trips there were far and few between. That is until I resolved to do it more faithfully.
That takes me to my new resolution. I started faithfully on January 1st, braving icy streets to get there. I almost waved off because of the icy roads, but decided that I had put it off enough and had made too many excuses. I wasn't about to start that up again, so I went. I commenced my standard workout regime, a set of machines at weights whose sequence I had tuned carefully both in my YMCA days and the few times at AnyTime Fitness. The regime alternates upper and lower body and puts the most strenuous exercises in the beginning, when my energy is the highest. It works for me and my fitness level and is unlikely to fit anybody else. Part of my design process also has to do with speed. While it isn't the most healthy of attitudes, sometimes I am in a hurry to get the workout over with and back on the road. I haven't been as much in a hurry yet this year, but who knows. Anyways, I started my first workout of the year and it went very very well. I had tons of energy, having eaten at just the right time before the work to maximize energy. I went through my entire usual regime and still had energy to spare, so I added some time on the stationary bike and free weights. I realize that this extra energy is the sirens call to serious pain, so I didn't answer the entire call and walked away with energy left over. The two minute drive home finished off my success. Having been down this road before, I dutifully took Advil before bed to handle pain in the morning.
Day two was a different story, I ate too early for my workout and I was dragging, even without any tiredness from my previous days workout. My mind was enthusiastic, but my body didn't share that quality. I did about three-quarters of my usual workout and was happy with that. Its going to take a while to get back into things and pushing it too early would likely mean injury and setbacks. I again took Advil to take care of the aches and pains. After all, if there aint aches and pains, you aint working, or so my Scandanavian work ethic tells me. I woke up in the morning early to get my son on the bus for the first school day of the year. I was met with pain and agony. Unbeknownst to me, the workout fairies had slipped into my bedroom while I was sleeping and beat me from head to toe with baseball bats. I was thoroughly tenderized and ordinary tasks became adventures in pain. The pain would be low and dull, right up until the point that I made some atypical movement, in which case the workout fairies would sneak up behind me and stick me with a shiv. The act of reaching to change a lightbulb was punished with an ice-pick to the Latissimus Dorsi. Having greater than a room temperature IQ, I took this as natures way of saying "you might want to sit out a day, bozo". I listened to my body and skipped a day. It was a day for walking around gingerly and making no sudden movements to be punished for.
I went into the third workout in four days with sagging energy, but once I started my workout the energy returned. That's really good news and bodes well for my resolutions. Stuff that hurt before no longer hurt and I was happy to find that somehow the exercises were using the muscles that they are supposed to use. Let me explain. During the first two workouts, when I would do the benchpress, I would feel real tightness and pain in my lats. While they are clearly involved and important, I hadn't felt that before and thought it a little strange. The third workout, all work was being felt in right places, namely the deltoids, pecs, and triceps. I did a full workout and very nearly added some more components to the workout, be decided not to tempt fate.
As I go through this adventure in fitness I will write about my progress, some stuff about motivations and techniques that I use to help me out.