I made that “Fitness” category last month, so I guess I should probably make use of it, eh?
I don’t type “eh?” all that often. It looks weird.
But that’s besides the point. Working out! I’m doing it! Sort of.
See, I’ve always lived a pretty unhealthy lifestyle. Not making a point to exercise, eating more junk food than anything, just generally not caring about my body. This had never really been a huge issue before. In school, I was young and my metabolism was naturally high enough to keep me from becoming a fat pile of gross. Then high school ended and I took on a string of moderately physical jobs. Toys R Us especially was great for me because I was on my feet for eight hours a day, pushing, pulling, lifting, and building. I could basically eat whatever I wanted and still remain In pretty good shape. I used to wear super-tight t-shirts because I was proud of my physical form.
Then I moved to a desk job. Started spending all my free time with a girl. Got married. Got complacent. Didn’t change my habits to compensate. And I got fat. Not really fat-fat, but chubby enough that most of my wardrobe needed to be replaced and I did not feel good about myself. My thighs ballooned up to massive size, my gut and man-boobs became prominent, and love handles appeared, as if out of nowhere. It was terrible. For too many years, I’ve had an exceptionally poor body image.
So now that I’m a free agent again and I’ve got all the time in the world to fritter away, I’ve been trying to dedicate more time to getting myself in shape. Not to the point where I look like some sort of Hercu-man, but to the point where I feel comfortable with my body again. I want to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. I want to be able to wear my got-danged Goonies t-shirt again.
My exercise routine has been scattershot at best, however. Routine, in fact, is a terrible word to describe it, because there is no rhyme or reason to what kind of exercising or when I do it.
It started with Wii Fit U. I still log on once in a while when I’m looking for a more structured workout, but it’s not the most effective solution to my woes. A great place to start, mind you! But eventually you have to grow out of it and move onto some more intense, self-directed workouts. My favourite activities are the hip-hop dance and the 15-minute rhythm boxing. They’re both aerobic exercises that don’t push too hard, but get you pumped and work up a bit of a sweat. Of course, I like to mix some yoga and strength training in there as well, but my Wii Fit sessions definitely focus on aerobics.
The elliptical machine that resides in my home (for now) is also getting a decent amount of use lately. A couple times a week really doesn’t seem like “enough,” but it’s a heck of a lot more than never. It was tough to get into, and I still haven’t made it a regular habit, but I’m trying to force myself to do 30min+ at least twice a week. The problem is that the elliptical is more of an annoying way to watch TV than anything else, and if I’m not really feeling it, I can’t be bothered to keep going for more than ten minutes or so. When I do get in a full session though, I end up sweating buckets, and I can only assume that means I done good.
I’ve also been working on getting better at jumping rope, which I do nearly every day. Not for very long, mind you. I can currently make it to about 120 before tiring, but I’m getting better at the exercise, that number is up from about 40 when I started, and my coordination still needs work. I have a difficult time jumping and keeping the rope spinning, as odd as that may sound.
There have been some rinky-dink little 2.5lb dumbbells living in my house for a long time, and while they’re good for adding a little resistance to shadowboxing, they’re worthless for lifting. So I jumped up to 15s. I was a little concerned that I was putting the cart before the horse there, but they seem to have been a perfect starting point. Eventually I intend to pick up a barbell, too, though that may still be a ways off (I just don’t feel like incurring that expense quite yet).
And that’s more or less what I’m working with over the last couple months. I throw push-ups and planks in there for good measure, and I go for a lot of long walks. I don’t really feel like I’ve made much progress (at least visually), but the proof is in the pudding: I used to have to squeeze my gut to reach the third notch on my belt, and now I use the fourth notch very comfortably. If I’m wearing tighter pants, I sometimes even reach the fifth. Many of my work shirts are definitely too big on me, so much so that I’ve been buying new ones that are down a number of sizes. And I just feel better overall. Like I stated before, I don’t really think that I look any better (to my own hyper-critical eye), but I certainly feel less like a worthless lump.
So, we’ll see how well I keep up and where it takes me. Hopefully I can maintain a certain level of physical fitness form this point on. I really just want to be able to wear skinny jeans and fitted t-shirts.
Got that, Future Ryan? I swear, if you let me get fat again, I’m going to find a way to reach into the future and sock you right in the kisser.