Tag Archives: Gym

Motivation Towards Fitness

Getting motivated and staying in that frame of mind once you get there isn’t easy to do, at least for me. Clearly everyone is different when it comes to this and I’d like to talk about what its like for me.

When it comes to fitness its like work to me. I have to exert myself and work against the laws of physics, particularly the law of conservation of energy where the total energy of an isolated system remains constant—it is said to be conserved over time. To me in this context it means that I’d rather be doing as little as possible and not expend excess effort thus working up a sweat and heating up my body with an increased heart rate. Again that’s too much like work.

However, the physical benefits I gain from exercise do outweigh my desire to do as little as possible. Beating back diabetes has to be at the top of my list of benefits followed by a host of other medical maladies that are associated with being overweight.  Plus there is the psychological aspect of how you look in the mirror as it relates to overall confidence in yourself. I feel a lot better mentally about myself when I see that I don’t weigh 260lbs like I did when I was at my worst 11 years ago.

Getting to the point of my message here is that the motivation required for me to engage in and accomplish fitness goals only comes from within me. Other people find motivation by watching and speaking to others who are at a place they wish to be at, or with friends and family who are on the same journey together to get fit. It could be that others derive their motivation from watching top fitness professionals and amateurs alike on TV, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook et al. and aspiring to be like them. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that as long as the individual sets reasonable goals for themselves that they are likely to achieve. Setting an impossible goal will only lead to failure and disappointment. Mitigate your expectations and take them in small steps, one at a time on the road to your goals and you’re more apt to achieve them.

I’m one of those people who cannot derive motivation from others around me, or on the view screen. Watching others attain their goals or work toward them does nothing for me. I’m happy for them and encourage their continuation toward their goals, but it won’t motivate me to get moving toward my goals. Rather, I have to want the desired effect of fitness more than I want to sit around conserving energy as much as possible. It’s a desire to out balance the benefits of fitness vs. the consequences of obesity and the health risks that come with it. That’s what motivates me to continue exercising and to stay as healthy as I can.

Staff Sgt. Antonio J. Curry, a drill instructor aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot

Nothing short of an actual Marine Corps Drill Instructor will motivate me to do what I need to do to stay fit. Even someone playing the part of a DI, an actor, or a civilian led “boot camp” DI can’t do it for me. I’d have to be in USMC Boot Camp all over again to be motivated by an outside force to do what I know I need to do.

One thing that helps me continue exercising beyond the health reasons I’ve covered already is finding a routine or program that I enjoy doing. For years I was strictly lifting weights and doing bodybuilder type of stuff. The exercises to grow my muscles large and look like the guys at the Mr. Olympia contest. Though, I am not, nor have I ever come close to looking like them, but it was something I was doing as a means to get fit. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with lifting weights and building large, strong muscles. But I was finding that it wasn’t helping me get to where I want to be physically with my body. For a while, on and off, I’d do about 30 minutes of cardio on an elliptical machine before or after my weightlifting routines. I found that when I was doing that combination that I was going in the right direction towards my goals. But doing cardio, the same thing, for 30 minutes straight really sucks. It’s tiring and more to the point, boring. I had stopped doing the cardio portion of my workouts over a year ago just because it was so boring and I hated every minute of it.

About a month ago I finally came to the point that what I needed was a change in what I was doing. While my muscles were getting stronger and bigger with the weightlifting, my body fat percentage was creeping up again. Weightlifting for me doesn’t get my heart rate up high enough, and on the few occasions that it would, its not sustained for any significant period of time. The key to burning fat is getting an elevated heart rate and sustaining it for a while, or short periods with a short break in between, like HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training.

My gym, Anytime Fitness, this year came out with their own Workouts app that is filled with pre-made programs of all types. There is a program for just about any fitness goal one could want and allows you to create your own as well. It’s very nicely designed, elegant, intuitive and easy to use, I really like it. As I was pursuing though it I decided to try their fat loss pre-made routines which, so far, is mostly all body weight cardio exercises and has had no dumbbells or barbells incorporated into it. I’m now into phase two of the plan after a month or so of doing it and I’m quite happy with it and it’s doing what I need it to do which is get my heart rate up, sweat a lot and burn some fat. The numbers don’t lie either as my scale measures weight and body fat percentage and I’m seeing my numbers drop as I wanted them to.

Additionally, since I don’t want to lose too much muscle mass while doing all this cardio-type exercise, I’ve incorporated a second program from the Workouts app with kettle bells. It’s a lot of cardio exercise as well, but with strength exercises too. I’ve never used kettle bells before and I’m finding that I really love using them. It’s vastly different from dumbbells and barbells in how they feel and how to use them. Best of all I can do these exercises at home without having to go to the gym. Obviously that means I have to have my own set of kettle bells with which to use. I’ve been slowly building up my kettle bell collection and it’s coming along nicely. My gym does not have any kettle bells there which I think is unfortunate, but that’s the way it is. So what I’ve been doing is the fat loss program 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and then kettle bells on the other 4 days of the week. I go to the gym on the fat loss program days because there are some things there that I need which I don’t have at home. There are also a lot of exercises that require me to be jumping up and down. I live on the third floor of my apartment building and I don’t wish to be rude to the neighbors by jumping and making a lot noise while I workout. Lastly, there are my gym friends that I like to see and talk to while I’m exercising and that’s why I go in several days a week too.

The combination of body weight cardio exercises and kettle bells is showing dividends for me and is steering me on the path that I want to be on towards my fitness goals. These programs take the boredom out of exercise that I get when I run on an elliptical for 30 minutes and helps time pass more quickly as I punish myself in the gym, or at home.

According to the Achievements app on my iPhone, which is paired to the Apple Watch, I am now at 28 consecutive days of exercise of 30 minutes or more. In a few hours from now I’ll make 29 days in a row.

In addition to the changes in my workout routines, I’m also tweaking my diet a little here and there so that I can get to where I want to be. A proper diet is essential to the whole fitness thing. You can’t out train a bad diet as they say.

My motivation comes from my desire to be healthy verses my desire to do as little as possible. Having an exercise routine that I enjoy helps that a lot and having a flexible, but sensible, diet also contributes to my successful motivation.

New Digs

A couple of weeks ago I moved from the old farm-house I was renting to an apartment in the town where I work. I had several reasons for moving after 6.5 years in the same place. Most notably, the rising fuel prices. In March, I spent over $500 in gasoline, and that was just driving to work and church. For the last several years I haven’t driven much extra than necessary in order to conserve fuel and consequently, conserve dollars.

I had a few other reasons as well that contributed to the decision to move. Where I was I couldn’t get any Internet service faster than a Sprint cellular air card. While it was good for general web browsing and email, it couldn’t handle any heavy downloading or uploading, and it couldn’t stream video or Netflix. Also, as I have mentioned in an older post, Gooser Monkey would harass me about the use of the air conditioning in the summer which even if the temperature outside was in the 80’s, he didn’t feel it was hot enough to run the air conditioner.

I also had a bit of an issue of him bringing the skunks and their babies into the house in the spring to help them “get used to people” and stink up everything for weeks. I have a difficult time accepting skunks in the house; call me crazy!

Then there were the sheep. They probably have about 75% of the 10 acres to roam and graze, yet he would allow them in the front yard to eat a small amount of grass. This would then give them access to the driveway which he would have to close the gate. Plus they could wander into and around the garage near my vehicle. Then I would often have to dodge sheep poop to get from the house to the garage. This never made me happy.

In the winter the Gooser Monkey would go south and would leave me to care for the animals. He would cut me a nice break on my rent for these months and it was always gratefully appreciated. However, I have grown weary of having to go out in the cold and snow to care for the sheep, skunks and pheasants. Also, I had to feed an outdoor wood burner 2-3 times a day to heat the house. This was installed to save him money on propane. While I didn’t mind too much in doing all of this, it does get tiresome, especially after working all day, spending time at the gym exercising and then going home to do chores.

Despite these grievances, I am very grateful to the Gooser Monkey for allowing me to stay at his home all these years and to provide me with a very reasonable rent. He has been a real blessing to me and I pray God continues to bless and keep him.

Now on to the new apartment. It is only 2 miles from the office and I am getting a bicycle to ride to work on nice days, further saving money on fuel. The apartment complex is over 30 years old, but my apartment has been almost completely redone. The previous occupant was handicapped and had a wheelchair and motorized scooter. Both of them tore up the tile in the kitchen and bathroom. They also tore up the interior doors and drywall. In addition to that, the occupant was a heavy smoker and lived here for 7 years. So the complex managers had to replace the carpet, fix and repaint the drywall, replace the tile in the the bathroom and kitchen, and replace all the interior doors. They also put in new vertical blinds and replaced the electrical outlets, their covers and the light switches and their covers because they were stained with nicotine and tar.

Today the apartment looks and smells brand new. It is very nice and enjoyable to live in. I plan on taking a video and making a virtual tour and will post it here online.

I prayed a lot prior to and during this move asking God to make it easy and bless my action; and bless He did!

First off, the complex managers cut $200 from my security deposit as a discount. Then to bring a pet cat into the apartment it would have cost me $20 per month more on my rent or a one time fee of $300. I prayed and then called the veterinary office and had them fax me a copy of my cat’s medical records showing that he had been castrated and declawed. I planned on bartering with managers and asking to pay only $150 since my cat cannot spray or scratch. When I did, she looked at me, paused a minute and said “I’ll waive the entire fee.” I got to have my cat live here for free!

Then because of all the renovations, I couldn’t move in on time and had to wait 2 weeks longer, they decided not to charge me for the remainder of April and thus I paid my security deposit and the rent for May.

I had wanted a first floor apartment on the south or west side of a building so I could get plenty of sunlight. When I asked, they had only 1 apartment coming open that was a 1 bedroom and it just happened to be on the west side a building; just like I wanted.

God blessed me very much in this move and I am very thankful for it.

Also, last summer when I went though my minimalist phase (which continues) I cleaned out and sold a lot of things in the summer yard sale. That made me a good amount of money and also made it much easier to make my move as I didn’t have as much stuff to carry around.

Now I have high-speed cable Internet access at 25Mbps which I have seen burst to over 50Mbps at times. The upload is only at 3Mbps, but its a lot better than I what had with Sprint. Now I have Apple TV with Netflix for $8 per month. This is very nice as I can stream endless amounts of movies and TV shows over the Internet for only a few dollars a month. I can now play XBox 360 online when I want and not worry about lag, though I don’t play very much at all. I turned it on once so far just to make sure it worked and connected online.

Here you can see the slow speed I had with Sprint.

Sprint Speed Test
Sprint Speed Test

Now here is my fast speed with Charter Cable. In this test, it had bursted to over 50Mbps for a second then leveled out at the 41Mbps you see.

Charter Cable Speed Test
Charter Cable Speed Test

I have 750 square feet of living space with two big walk in closets, one in the bedroom and one near the entry door. I have a good-sized living room and a nice area for the dining room which I use for my computer desk. There is a nice storage room and a big bathroom, because this is a handicapped accessible apartment. The kitchen is a bit smaller than the one at Goosers house, but has an 8×8 breakfast nook which is nice. The bedroom is a good size and is comfortable to sleep in.

I also picked up a couch and recliner that is Amish made for only $150 and they’re still like new. Then I had spent $400 on an end-table set, 3-lamp set and a table with two chairs from Bed Bath & Beyond. Then I bought a TV credenza from Wal-Mart for $120.

All in all, I am very pleased and thankful for everything and I have a very nice apartment.

Finished a 12 Week Fitbook Period

I have this little exercise tracking book called a Fitbook and it runs through a 12 week cycle and I just finished it. I started it on April 24, 2010 and finished it yesterday July 19, 2010.

Fitbook
Fitbook

Stats that I keep track of on my Bobybuilding.com page and in my Fitbook are:

Height: 6’0″
Weight: Start 212.4 End 194.6
Body fat: Start 17% End 15% Body fat percentage is so hard to get right and be consistent especially when trying to measure by yourself. So I am not convinced that any of my body fat measurements are completely accurate.
Chest: Start 45″ End 41.5″
Arms: Start 15.8″ End 15″
Hips: Start 40.3″ End 37.5″
Waist: Start 44.8″ End 39″
Thighs: Start 25″ End 23″
Calves: Start 15″ End 14.3
Forearms: Start 12.8″ End 12.3″
Shoulders: Start 51″ End 49.3″
Neck: Start 16.8″ End 14″

Not too bad I think. I beat my weight goal by several pounds. The body fat percentage thing is a bit hard as I mentioned so I am not really sure about my stats there. I am still working toward my overall goal which is to have a flat stomach again and I still have a way to go. This is by far the toughest part of all the diet and exercise: getting a flat stomach! I’m not looking for a six-pack abs or anything like that, just a plain ol’ flat stomach.

I start my new Fitbook today and will go for another 12 weeks. We’ll see where it takes me!