At my tallest I was about 6'3" but I've shrunk a bit. I was mostly unathletic in college but played basketball or frisbee or whatever. I was pretty skinny. I was a reasonably good surfer.
When I got home from Peace Corps in 1976 I was half-starved & full of parasites and weaker than a kitten. I weighed about 160lbs. I started an exercise regime with a lot of running and some weightlifting. When I got married in 1980 I was in the habit of running about 20 miles/week & I weighed about 180.
20+ years or so years ago, when I was in my late 30's (Gawd I'm old), I got in the habit of working out with weights & I got pretty strong. I benched about 220lb on a flat bench and 350 on a decline bench. I looked reasonably fit but not like a muscleman. I weighed about 220. I never found much time to workout when I was at home, but I was spending a lot of time on the road for my job, and so working out with weights in my down time was my main hedge against loneliness.
Then Real Life intervened again & I stopped traveling so much. I never became completely sedentary, but I was getting flabbier. I got up to about 230lbs.
2007 & 2008 were pretty rough years. I spent a lot of time taking care of my brother who was dying of ALS & his wife who developed acute leukemia. I was also preoccupied with the suffering of my sister, who died of brain cancer shortly after my brother died. I lost my job. My three children all had major, unrelenting, health crises. We flirted constantly with foreclosure; nearly lost the house a few times. My main recreation/stress-reliever became beer. In May, 2008, at the time of the memorial service for my brother, I weighed 278lbs. ( I didn't feel that fat or think of myself as fat, but I weighed 100 pounds more than I did when I met Betty and 120lbs more than I did when I got home from Africa. Yikes!)
So that scared me & I got serious about bicycle riding & by January 2009 I was back down to 238lb. There I stayed until October of last year when my father died. Without realizing it I had really upped my beer & food intake. By January 2014 I weighed 250.
This time fer sher
Every year since 1980 I've told myself that "this year I'm going to get in shape for surfing" and every year since then, come August, I've been unable to surf well because I wasn't in good enough shape -- too weak or too fat or not enough cardiovascular endurance to paddle through the waves. I always started working out in earnest in late spring but I never quite made it to my goal -- for three main reasons: starting too late, exercising too little, and beer.
This year, by gosh by golly, I motherfucking AM going to be in shape for surfing by August.
Where I am now
I walk at least 5 miles/day and average about 5 miles/day on bike. I work out at either the weight room at the fire station or at the health club at least 4 days/week, usually 6 days/week. I mostly do HIT circuits with body weight or low weight, but sometimes I use heavier weights for chest & back exercises. I bench about 150. I joined the health club mainly to get access to the "dip/chinnup assist" & lat pull-down machines. since I'm not strong enough to do a pull-up or a dip. I also like the bigger range of lighter dumbbells, the cleaner floor & mats for stretching etc. But I still do most of my workouts at the fire house. It's much less deluxe, but I feel at home there. Plus, if there's a fire I just go get in the truck; I don't have to figure out how to get from the gym to the scene.
The pull-up-assist machine lets you go through the motions of a pull-up with your weight counterbalanced. Pathetically enough, I require a counterbalance of 100lbs in order to do 10 (palms out) pull-ups.
When I do HIT -- high intensity training -- I mimic routines I've found on youtube -- cycles comprised of lot of whole-body exercises like jumping jacks, pushups, clean & press, burpees, etc done with no rest between individual exercises in a cycle. Some of these routines use (lighter) dumbbells or barbells; some use no equipment.
I stopped drinking beer two months ago and have cut my intake of other carbohydrates in half. I eat oatmeal for breakfast & raw vegetables for lunch. I weigh about 225, down 25lbs since January.
My goal is to be in shape for surfing by the time of the annual Sundman Family Reunion in New Jersey during the 1st week in August. Subgoals:
- Weigh 205 lbs or less.
- Bench 205 lbs or more.
- Do 3 unassisted pullups.
- Complete 15.67 mile bike ride (on my mountain bike) in 1 hour. This is a proxy for aerobic fitness, which you need to paddle through surf.
Next week I start my new job as a construction laborer (working for the same guy I worked for in 1999). That can be physically taxing work & I'm concerned that I'll be tempted to punk out of my regular exercise because I'll be too tired from work. Also concerned about what I'll eat for lunch on the job. You can't lift heavy stuff when you're weak from hunger, but the temptation is to over eat because you're starved by lunchtime.
Finally, my questions
- Is my basic approach OK?
- Should I use a pre-workout drink (with creatine, etc)? If so, what kind?
- Should I bother with recreational/exercise bike riding at all? I already use my bike for my main mode of transportation around town. I reside 1 mile from stores, 1 mile from fire station, 2 miles from Dear Wife's office at the library. Can I get enough cardio from HIT ( which takes less time than bike rides & also builds strength), or do I need to incorporate rides of 10+ miles at full exertion into my routine?
- I take my dog on a 2 mile walk over hilly terrain about 4 times/week. This takes about 45 minutes. I took dog to vet yesterday for regular checkup & she's overweight. Should I increase my dog-walking mileage? This would be good for the dog, obviously. I know walking is good for me but it's the least intensive of the exercise modes.
Comments welcome. I suppose I should do a poll but I've already spent too much time writing this up. Cheerio!
|< The Case for Reparations | The internet has everything. >|