After I shared my soul-searching post, members of my community suggested that exercise is definitely a thing I should continue doing. This makes sense of course – it has all kinds of health benefits, and it’s a great form of self-improvement. But my gut feeling is that fatigue from gym workouts was a big factor in my breakdown. What to do? I thought long and hard, and here’s what I decided:
I’m going all-in on the gym. Starting today.
But – and this is crucial – I’m going to manage the other factors so I’ll have more energy for exercise. (I’ve already covered one, and I’ll expand on the others in due time.)
Three reasons come to mind:
- Reward. Exercise is a strange beast. Depending what you read, it takes anything from three weeks to three months for the body to get used to it. Until then it’s kind of miserable. But you have to go through it to get the benefits. Since the novelty of joining wore off, I haven’t exercised with any consistency, and I’ve been stuck in the miserable part. My mission is to break through that barrier and start reaping some real rewards.
- Habit. They say it takes 66 days to form a habit. I’m going to test that theory. Today is Sunday, 27 May. So by Wednesday, 1 August, hopefully I’ll know if it’s worked!
- Commitment. I’m terrified of commitment of any form. My mind likes to continually seek something new and abandon the old. Because of this, I don’t like to promise anything beyond the short-term for fear that I’ll lose interest, break my promise, and let everyone down. But I know that without commitment, I won’t gain anything from the gym. It’s scary – but it’s the only way. So this is a test for me. I’m out to prove, to myself and to the world, that I can commit to something.
This is my weekly exercise program. It’s my commitment – to you, dear reader, and to myself.
Three weights sessions, one cardio session, and one yoga class per week.
Here’s the day-by-day plan. (I reserve the right to rearrange this.)
- Monday: Yoga
- Tuesday: Weights
- Thursday: Weights
- Saturday: Weights
- Sunday: Cardio
Weights is a 10-part circuit devised by a trainer, focusing on the upper body and core.
Yoga is a 75-minute, fast-paced class in a heated studio – conveniently located inside the gym.
Cardio is an hour-long spin or 45-minute run. If it’s nice out (unlikely at this time of year), I might take this outdoors.
I’m a tall, scrawny guy. My body is naturally suited to running and cycling, not lifting and pulling. This routine is firmly aimed at covering my weaknesses rather than building on my strengths. It’s supposed to be a challenge!
This may come as a shock, but I don’t have any specific goals in terms of “I will be able to lift x kilograms by time t”. Right now this is more of a mental game. But there are some boxes to tick along the way.
- Break through the initial pain barrier
- Work up from 2 sets of each weights exercise to 3
- Reach a point where the starting weights feel too easy, and up them
- Learn more exercises and mix them into my routine for variety
- Graduate from the beginner weights machines to bars
- Form that habit! I want the gym to feel like an extension of my home, and not the big soulless barn it feels like now.
I’m not putting a time limit on these, but I trust that they’ll come in due time if I put in the effort. Maybe later on when I figure out how this stuff works I’ll set an actual goal! For now I’m just doing what the trainer told me to do, getting a feel for it, and taking it as it comes.
It’s all well and good to talk about committing, but another thing to actually do it. To that end, I’m making one more commitment: Weekly updates on this blog. If I skip a workout, you’ll know – and there’ll be a black mark on my blog for eternity. If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is!
It’s day 1. I’m off to the gym for a spin. I’ll let you know how it goes.