IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO GET IN SHAPE?
It’s been a very long time since I was in decent physical shape. Not since my last physical conditioning course in college have I undertaken such a course of action that’s just getting underway. I’m talking about my new workout routine at a local gym and this post is about how that came to be and why.
We’re all different, with individual limitations and abilities. No two people are alike – this isn’t news to any of us. However, I mention this because a good number of us -especially in the US- are…well … fat and lazy. There, I said it.
Many of us in my own age strata (late 50s) eagerly embraced the McCulture of fast food and processed foods. As a result, many of us became overweight, lethargic, hypertensive, and prone to categorizing that next Big-Mac-hand-to-mouth action as an informal biceps workout.
LET’S AGREE TO A DEFINITION
But here is how I define getting in shape…
“Noticeable body changes resulting from regular fitness activity.”
If we use this as our working definition, then I think it’s safe to say that almost any person can get in shape regardless of their abilities. Now it goes without saying that some are limited by physical and medical issues, but even these folks, with the right guidance, can effect some changes if they are able to participate in appropriate levels of exercise.
THIS IS WHERE I GET REALLY HONEST
About two weeks prior to leaving on my three-week motorcycle ride crisscrossing the US, I joined a local health club. The $34/month membership that included the workout gym, free weights and machines, as well as use of the lap pool, free swim pool, and the sauna and steam rooms, sold me in about five minutes. It’s located just a mile from my house and I figured it would be a great way to begin a fitness routine.
Let me say at the outset that I’m not a big fitness guy. I would rather have a root canal than run a few miles and the thought of a cardio burn makes me run to the pharmacy in search of Solarcaine spray. (But cardio will become part of my plan…in time….after much weeping and other childish behaviors that will undoubtedly arise.)
However, my doctor has been pestering me for three years to start strength training to improve my core strength, build muscle mass, and in the process maintain adequate testosterone levels. I take medication once daily for hypertension (high blood pressure) and need to lose some weight – ideally about 30 pounds. I weighed myself at the gym today and I’m at 234 pounds. 😯 That just makes me sick because there is absolutely no reason for it.
I’ve eaten a mainly vegetarian diet for a few years but have now shifted to a high-protein nutritional plan with more eggs, fish, and chicken (I still won’t eat pork or red meat because they make me feel a bit ill). I’ll also still include lots of fresh vegetables, but no bread or complex carbs. I don’t consume much dairy (only Half-n-Half in my coffee), and I generally don’t consume ice cream or have a craving for sweets.
The last time I observed such a nutritional plan, I lost 30 pounds with only some mild walking thrown in for exercise. I expect on this experiment that I will lose some fat as well, while simultaneously gaining muscle mass. Therefore, the overall weight loss might be less that the thirty pounds. However, I will not be stopped.
MY OVERALL PLAN AND MY ‘UNOFFICIAL’ COACH
My plan is work steadily each day toward a better, healthier me. While I visited my cousins in Memphis, Tennessee, my cousin Bob -who is my fitness guru- offered to coach me and provide me with a structured plan for the first 12 weeks of my fitness journey. Both of these guys are pure gold and I love them beyond measure.
This week Bob sent me a very detailed spreadsheet with a Monday-through-Friday (I nearly fainted when I saw that) workout plan with isolated days for arms, legs, back, chest, and shoulders ( as well as abs every day…thanks, Bob 😡 ). He also included links to YouTube instructional videos for me to learn proper form. Is that over-the-top customer service or what! Really, thank you, Bob! 🙂
I was telling a friend recently that I’m not really a guy that sets a huge goals and goes after it full throttle. It might seem that way because of some of the things I’ve accomplished in life, but generally I back myself into a corner with only one escape route – that just happens to be in the direction of my goal. That way, my journey forward is goal-oriented and occurs each day.
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED
I have declared jihad on my obesity. I am as committed to this course of action as any freedom fighter in the history of revolution. Every Monday-through-Friday, for the next 12 weeks, I will be at my gym at 6a to workout. After the 12 weeks are complete, I’ll get a new workout schedule and plan and keep it going.
On my personal Facebook page (click here to Like and see updates), I’ll be posting weekly live broadcasts from home, the gym, anywhere I happened to be on Friday mornings.
WHY THIS IS NOW POSSIBLE
It’s ironic that for the last eight years I worked in the corporate setting, there was a free weight room available to me and I only used it one time. Now, at age 58, I find myself caring for my aging parents who need continual in-home care. My gym opens at 05:30 and I can get my workout completed in an hour each day and be home by 07:00 to start the medication, cooking, and work routine that I’ve created for this phase of life.
The truth is that this was always possible, but I didn’t make it a priority.
Now with my life spent about 60% on caregiving and 40% on my own business/personal pursuits, getting in better shape is now much more of a priority; not to mention that my cousin-coach Bob is a big reason for my success thus far.
IS AN EXTRAORDINARY YOU POSSIBLE?
Where are you in your fitness goals? Do you work out and/or exercise regularly? If so, I applaud you. I’ll admit that probably doesn’t mean much coming from such a noob like me, but you have my admiration and respect, regardless.
If you’re like me in that you want to get in better shape, I have some recommendations for you to check out online. These are websites dedicated to getting in the best shape possible and provide encouragement along the way. I’ve been a subscriber to all three sites for over a year and recommend them highly:
SingleFitDad.com – SFD is run by my buddy, Steve Roy. He’s a class act and offers not only in-person fitness coaching, but online coaching as well. If you’re a single, divorced dad like I’ve been, you’ll find Steves writing on these topics to be encouraging and motivational. I’ve known Steve for a number of years online and no one I know has a bigger heart for helping dads get in shape for the right reasons.
NoMeatAthlete.com – No Meat Athlete was founded in 2009 by Matt Frazier, at about the same time he went vegetarian. Six months later, Matt qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:09:59 at the Wineglass Marathon, over 100 minutes faster than his first marathon time seven years prior. I like Matt’s focus on vegetarianism and physical training. I get a lot of my nutritional information from Matt’s awesome site. Check it out, too!
NerdFitness.com – Along with Steve and Matt, Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness is another hero. Steven combines a love of Star Wars nerdy (the best kind, btw) and fitness into a unique blog that provides both entertainment and encouragement and support for your fitness journey. I think you’ll love Steve’s style as much as I do. His focus on using the equipment available to you is refreshing and unique. Visit Nerd Fitness today!
top photo: david chow