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I Can't Move My Arms - Irrationally Exuberant [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Danny Adams

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I Can't Move My Arms [Jan. 19th, 2015|10:46 pm]
Danny Adams
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[Current Location |Closer To Where I Want To Be]
[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Current Music |"Pleasant Valley Sunday" by the Monkees]

That's not a reference to A Christmas Story (though I was tempted to take a picture of myself bundled under three or four coats), but rather that I finally got back to the gym today for the first time since before I moved (that is, before last April).

I'd been telling myself that I'd get back for...well, never mind that. But it was particularly intense over the past couple of weeks, except I let my time-gobbling duo of writing and doing house-related things (125,000 words on No Word in Death's Favor as of this past Saturday, by the way) gobble time that could otherwise have gone to working out. But today I was determined to get there, since I was starting to feel my resolve slipping again.

And more to the point, I have an active summer planned, which will include a maniacal amount of sightseeing involving an equally maniacal amount of walking, plus hiking with some treading up to the tops of giant rocks. I anticipate having a great deal of fun this summer, so naturally I do not want to cut it short in midstream with a heart attack.

At any rate, the hardest thing for me about working out is not the exercise itself, but making myself not compare where I am now to my 2009 peak of one hour workouts four days a week, when I dropped several inches off my waist, could run a couple of miles without breaking a sweat, and lift the highest settings on the campus gym's weight machines one-handed. That was after several months of intense exercise, and honestly I'm not sure if I could reach that level of intensity again. But what I would like to do is get rid of as much of the gut as possible, build back some arm muscle...and of course, not die of a heart attack (on vacation or any time in the next few decades thereafter, preferably).

I broke down today's workout into my old standard non-intensive plan:

I started with the elliptical, doing a mile in about 10:30 - no record-breaking there, but breaking the no-workout streak was all I cared about. I did another half mile in almost exactly five minutes, then a cool down.

Then the weight machines, and the titular loss of movement in my arms. While I was smart enough to not try the same weights I was doing even when last I worked out, I was naive enough to think I could do the same quantity. After seven ten-sets of pull-downs (with the machines set to 7 out of 12 on five of those, and 8/12 on two), I knew I was done with lifting for the day - especially when an 8/12 machine pulled me back into my seat on the last tug.

Then a mile on a stationary bike going 55-100 RPM, with a third-of-a-mile cool down.

This is the point where I pointedly tell myself not to remember that my original workouts would've added jogging three laps around the gym, a number of push-ups, an extra one-half mile to one mile on the elliptical, and at least twice as much weight-lifting. Right now I'm just pleased that I got to the gym at all, so I'll go with that.

What I need to figure out now is why I have so much trouble keeping up this exercise habit, while in 2009 I was kind of obsessive about working out and stopped only after (1) a doctor told me to quit exercising for a month after my nearly-lethal spider bite, and (2) my car died. I suspect if I can figure this puzzle out I'll at least get back to something close to fighting shape.

Or walking miles a day shape. Either way I'll be happy.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sartorias
2015-01-20 04:00 am (UTC)
O tempe o mores!
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[User Picture]From: madwriter
2015-01-20 04:02 am (UTC)
And Tempus fugit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sartorias
2015-01-20 04:08 am (UTC)
and fugit and fugit and fugit . . .
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[User Picture]From: madwriter
2015-01-20 04:12 am (UTC)
Ita vero.
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[User Picture]From: thetalkingmoose
2015-01-26 03:09 pm (UTC)
I've accumulated enough experience in taking unplanned sabbaticals from my exercise routing that I've got a pretty good sense of what I can actually accomplish when I return to the gym after any kind of layoff. It really is amazing just how little time you body needs to start losing strength and stamina.

As for maintaining the exercise habit, it was never been an easy one for me. Even during those periods I was maintaining a proper workout regimen for months on end, many days it still took a major effort to force myself to the gym. I truly don't understand those people who say that they don't feel right if they miss a couple workouts in a row. I know that I would be perfectly content to never step onto an elliptical motion machine again.
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[User Picture]From: madwriter
2015-01-30 04:00 am (UTC)
I was probably about halfway to the "not feeling right" myself at the time I was working out four days a week - but that was usually a physical thing. As in I could tell the difference in my body when I missed a workout.

Exercise has always improved the way I feel physically and in my mood, so I've never been certain why it's so hard for me to get up and do it most days.
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