Thursday, May 28, 2009

Every Night?

Someone asked, following a recent Blog, “Do you really go to the gym every night”?
Well maybe that is slightly overstated.
I have Ballroom Dance Lessons on Wednesday and to be strictly honest I have missed some nights but try to get to the gym at least six days a week.
I go mostly at night but on occasion the early afternoon and even the early morning. (I have never made it at 5:30AM like my wife)
I have discovered that if I miss a day or two I start feeling bad.
A “lethargy” kicks in and it becomes harder and harder to find the motivation to go back.
I even try to find a gym while on vacation to stay on routine.
I have exercised on a cruise ship and every hotel has an exercise room so there is no excuse for missing this critical activity.
It is not hard to find the places to exercise but if you really like yourself and want to keep living you will have to find the TIME.
I hear so many people say, “I just don’t have the time to exercise”.
But your time is yours to appropriate.
Unfortunately, it is usually easier to “start tomorrow”.
I guess most would find this routine of almost daily exercise, “boring” but it gives me more energy, makes it easier to keep my weight and cholesterol in check and I always look forward to another night of sweat and pain.
Besides the gym has become my second home and the people familiar friends.
Now I need to find the will power to take off the next 25 pounds.
The diet is easy, limit the calories.
I am amazed at the number of infomercials promising instant weight loss, pure abs with only 4 minutes of exercise three times a week, pills that reshape and burn calories and promises of eating anything you want and even little electrical gizmos that cause your muscles to contract while you sleep.
It sounds too good to be true and probably is.
The reality, it is hard work.
The next reality, it is never too late to start.
The last reality, every night, mostly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


“Go get a set of dumbbells. We are going to do shoulders.”
Where did the term “dumbbell” come from? I have often wondered this even as I walked over to pick up this instrument of exercise torture.
It seems in the past a “Nal” or Indian club was originally used for weight training.
The “Nal” is one half of a modern dumbbell. It is much longer and may be as much as four feet in length with a heavy weight on only one end.
Later on, English weight trainers used hand held church bells for weight lifting.
To be able to lift quietly they removed the clapper: Thus the “mute” or “dumb” bell was born.
So what are shoulders?
This is an exercise that involves picking up a weight in each hand and then moving that weight up and down through many different repetitions.
It sounds exceedingly simple.
Ten repetitions, in front then ten more in front with thumbs up, then ten more with arms at an angle to bringing the weight to shoulder height and then ten more with thumbs up and then ten from the side and then ten more with thumbs up and so on and so on until you have completed one hundred repetitions.
No problem, you say.
Depends, I say.
First time pick a light weight maybe two pounds. You will feel burning in your muscles even with this little amount of weight.
If you must, go ahead and pick up six or eight or even ten pound dumbbells and try to go through the routine.
Eight pounds and the pain is insane. Can you finish? Every muscle is screaming. Block it out. Keep going, only 10 more, nine, eight, etc. etc.
“Go ahead and put them down, we’ll do one more set in a few minutes.
NO WAY, your brain screams! Can I sneak over there and get some three pounders
I guess the term “Dumbbell” could have been invented for the people that really thought they could do “shoulders” with the eights.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Old Man Is Cheating

“You will all keep punching until I see someone’s hands hitting his jaw.”
The eyes, even looking at me from the mirror, peer deep into my brain and suddenly my fists begin meeting my jaw line.
“He’s using 6 pounders for the shoulder exercise.”
“Yeah, that’s true but he is also slinging them using his hips.”
The eyes again seer the back of my brain.
Am I moving the hips?
There apparently are actions initiated by me that are below my awareness but come under the intense scrutiny of the Trainer.
So I keep trying.
Don’t swing the arms. Do the slow movement, feeling each muscle fiber slide over the other.
Run the steps, ignore the breathing pattern and the gasping for air, think only of the legs going up and forward.
Find the patterns of the punches. They are already painted in the subconscious. Just go in and bring them out.
Find the rhythm; it is there you just need to hear the drum beat.
As my Dad once said, if I catch you cheating, you will surely rue the day.
I guess I am subconsciously cheating or maybe it is just being older and not wanting to admit it.
I still see myself as 62 going on 25.
Am I going to rue the day?
I don’t think so.
I have noticed that sometimes it is necessary to “cheat” to get through an exercise or move to the next weight but after a while the “cheating” fades away as I begin to own the routine or the weight.
So in the end the only thing I guess I am “cheating” is premature old age and/or death.
I may not make it back to 25 but I think I might get back to 50.