Category Archives: Fitness

Setbacks and Moving Forward

I’ve been building a home obstacle course the past few weeks which I have been calling my “mini-Ninja” course, inspired by the show American Ninja Warrior.  When it’s done it will look like a grown up version of a kid’s jungle gym.  The problem I have been facing is that the darn thing is so heavy it’s difficult to assemble on my own.

That came home to roost last Sunday when the structure collapsed while I was trying to raise the taller of the two end pieces.  I managed to dodge most of it, but I torqued my left forearm a little trying to stabilize it before I saw the futility of that effort.  I admit, looking at that pile of timbers an pipes I felt more than a little discouraged.   I may even have sung a few choruses of “the old four letter serenade”.

There thing is, it’s not a bad idea-it may even be pretty good!  It’s the execution that has been problematic.  So I have come up with a new idea for stabilizing the two end pieces in two directions at once to help keep them standing.   Instead of trying to man-handle 12 foot long 4 x 4 timbers into place in brackets to connect the two ends, I’m going to use two 12 foot long 2 x 4 timbers which will be much easier to maneuver and will accomplish what I need just as well.

The upshot of this is that when you suffer a setback, it’s OK to get angry and annoyed.  Go ahead and vent-I sure did!  But get it out of your system and get back to what you were doing.  If you need to, rethink the process and come at the problem from a different angle.  Just don’t give up.

Here is my revised plan-bracing in two directions!

Here is my revised plan-bracing in two directions!

I Refuse To Act My Age

I’m 57 years old and 60 is fast approaching.  I was recently told that I don’t act my age when I showed someone a home obstacle course/jungle gym I’m building.  This was meant as a good hearted rebuke, but I take it as an affirmation.  I freely admit I don’t act may age because I’m not convinced that age is a limitation.

There are plenty of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond who don’t “act their age”.  Daniela Barnea, 73, recently won three gold medals in swimming.   Jacinto Bonilla at 77 competes in CrossFit and even had a WOD named after him.  Paul Tetrick, 85, has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial Championships.  A quick online search will turn up so many “seasoned” athletes it will make your head spin!

Growing older is inevitable barring illness or injury.  To my knowledge there is no law that says we have to grow old in our spirits, though.  Certainly there is nothing that mandates allowing our bodies to fall apart from disuse or misuse.  I honestly do not see myself growing old with anything approaching complacency.  As Dylan Thomas wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I plan to go down kicking and screaming until I draw my final breath!

It’s almost finished!

My Happy Habits!

I admit that I am a creature of habit. For the past year or so I have been getting up at 5 AM Monday through Friday. I started doing this so that I could be more consistent in doing my workouts. When I was doing them in the evening I found I was being inconsistent. Not wanting to be fat again, I knew something had to change. Thus, I began going to bed an hour earlier and getting up an hour earlier.

Now I am very much in the habit of getting up early and streaming my workouts on my laptop. As a side benefit, I found that doing my workouts early in the day made my mornings much more enjoyable, even at work. Plus, I also stopped watching the morning news (unless there’s a winter storm and I need updates). Instead I listen to classical or worship music, or jazz, and I relax for a while before I head out to work.

Even if you are not inclined to exercise at oh-dark-thirty, I encourage you to adjust your schedule an hour as I did. If there is some really great TV show you don’t want to miss, DVR it or stream it a couple days later. Take the time for a leisurely shower, do some reading or writing, and relax with a cup of coffee while you watch the sun rise. The thing is, by giving yourself a little breathing space at the start of the day you can reduce your stress because you aren’t blasting around at warp speed from the moment your feet hit the floor.  Try it!

It's 5 AM and time to work out!

It’s 5 AM and time to work out!

No Resolutions for Me, Thanks.

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for 2015?  I did not, nor do I plan to do so for any forthcoming year.  Let’s face it, the custom of making and breaking resolutions has gotten to the point where the concept of making resolutions at the beginning of the year has become a threadbare joke.

Between you and me, I have better things to do with my time and energy.  That is why I made myself three promises for 2015.

I promise to cut back on refined carbohydrates.  I freely admit that I love bread in all its forms, and pasta too.  I’m going to start things like using the cauliflower pizza crust I have seen online, and I’m going to get a vegetable mandolin so I can make veggie “pasta”.  I will also actively avoid any carb that is not whole grain, with a preference for organic items.

I promise to be more diligent about working out six days a week.  The past month or so has not been conducive to my usual 7:00 PM workout schedule.  Between various church committee meetings, holiday outings, and a cold my schedule was all messed up.  So I am going to start doing early morning workouts-which I frankly hate-on those days when I know there is an evening conflict.  Now, to be clear, I’m not saying I’m doing the toughest or longest programs in my library but I will do something.

I promise to accelerate my decrappification and simplification efforts.  I need to make a concerted effort to catch up on my self-imposed program of eliminating that which is unnecessary from my home and life.  That being the case, I am going to do a room each weekend when I can devote uninterrupted time to the process.  I will use the “three pile” method: keep, sell, and donate.  Once I’m done in any particular room, nothing that serves no purpose will be allowed in.

For the record, when I make a promise it is as good as kept.  So, you can take these three promises to the bank!

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year 2015!

I Need a New Habit

I struggle with certain aspects of my time management.  Specifically, I have gotten into the habit of doing  my workouts in the evening, after I get home from work.  Lately though there just seems to be far too many days when I missed a workout.  Some of them were because I had a really nasty migraine, and there is just no getting around being sick.  Some were due to unexpected life events-not much you can do to anticipate them by definition.

But I have had a lot of days like today.  Too many, to be honest.  I have a church meeting that starts at 6:30 PM, and will run a couple hours.  It will be rather late by the time I get home, well past my normal workout time.  Even so I’m going to do a short workout just so I’ll have done something today instead of skipping it altogether.

From now on when I have days like today coming up in my schedule, I must be better about compensating.  The best solution would be to get up a bit early and do my workout at the start of the day.  I’ve tried in the past and I can honestly say that I truly am not a morning person.

The thing is, I have decided that this is no longer acceptable.  I am going to establish a habit of getting up at 5:00 AM and getting in a workout in the morning.  I don’t recall where I read it but I did once read that it takes 21 days to establish a habit.  So for the next 3 weeks, I’m habit building!

Exercise in the morning before your body knows what you are doing.