It’s been about six weeks since I stopped working out regularly. My little corner of Idaho (the whole state, actually) got hit by the worst series of winter storms in almost 35 years. It was cold with plenty ice and snow. Dangerous or at least difficult to drive in. The parking lot of my work turned into a skating rink.
Plus it’s dark at four in the morning. It’s dark at six in the morning.
It’s nice and warm in bed.
So I haven’t worked out regularly in six weeks, and haven’t worked out at all in about three.
Boy, I’m a mess.
Way back in August of 2015, I wrote a blog post called What Happens When You Stop Exercising?.
The first thing you lose is your stamina, your oxygen uptake, your endurance. It doesn’t take as much or as long to get your heart rate high, high, high, but it takes a lot longer to get back down to your resting rate afterward.
The second thing you lose is muscle mass and strength.
Today, I went back to the gym.
Actually, my wife and I motivated each other.
In a few weeks, she has to go to a wedding in Canada and except for her walks, she hasn’t been exercising. No resistance training at all.
So she said she needed to go back to the gym and I said we should go together today.
That was the good news.
We hit the gym around noon. Nice, gray, rainy Saturday.
It felt good until I actually got on the Elliptical. My stamina was gone.
Roman chair back extensions and mat leg lifts told me my strength was gone, too. Maybe not all of it, but a heck of a lot.
I plan on doing squats and overhead presses tomorrow at eight. I mean it.
I’m going to be pathetic.
My wife’s talking to one of our sons about the power of uplifting self-talk. It’s a Jewish value. So calling myself “pathetic” shouldn’t even be on the table.
But my brain remembers what I could do, and that doesn’t jibe with my current physical limitations.
At least some of my excuses are gone.
It’s still really dark in the morning, but it’s warmer and it’s just raining. No snow, no ice, no danger walking across a frozen parking lot.
I can tell that my middle has grown significantly. I can feel the roll of ugly fat when I do leg lifts. It sucks.
But the missus is right. No matter how much I’ve lost, I’ll lose even more if I stay stagnant. If I denigrate myself, it will keep me stagnant. I’m not going to walk around telling myself I’m Superman, but if I built myself up once, I can do it again, or I can at least try.
The other motivator is that I don’t workout just for physical health but for mental health, too.
Yesterday, I took a short walk on my lunch hour and I was surprised how good it felt, not just the activity, but my outlook brightened a bit and my stress was reduced (I had a really stressful day at work on Friday).
It’s time to come out of hibernation. It’s time for the old bear to drag himself out of the cave and get moving again.
You are unique. You are the only person in the world who is exactly who you are. The Almighty has not made anyone else like you. Only you have your unique genetic makeup and your unique life circumstances. No one alive now, and no one who ever lived before, and no one who will ever live in the future was, is, or will be just like you. You are the only person in the world with your unique positive qualities and challenges. You are the only person in the world who has your particular life mission.
You, like everyone else alive right now, are a work in progress. You have a multitude of positive choices you can make throughout each and every day. Choose life! Choose positive thoughts, words, and actions. With every positive choice you make, you build yourself. Keep making positive choices.