Year in Review (Pt I)
Friday, August 21, 2009
It's been a year since I technically started to do something about my fitness level. In August 2008, I signed up for a gym membership through my company's wellness program and made the conscious decision to finally get moving again, after what had been a decade long slow down and eventual halt in the care of my body.
I have no idea what I weighed or what any of my other measurements were at the time. All I knew was that I was out of shape and overweight. I didn't want to know how deep in the hole I was or how far away I had drifted from the days when I was a fitness freak. I was wearing 34" trousers. I couldn't run down the block without getting out of breath. And I could maybe do 3 chinups. I was feeling old.
I spent September and October simply trying to rehabituate myself to exercise. My only goal was to spend 20-30 quality minutes exercising at least twice a week. And as modest as that goal was, I failed to do reach it in either month. I'd always have some excuse: usually it was some missing piece of workout gear, like shoes or a shirt. Oftentimes, though, I'd simply forget to take time out of the day to get over to the gym. And it's not like it was a major effort. The club is literally a hundred yards away from my office, just across the parking lot. It couldn't be any easier to get to, and yet 5PM would roll around and I had to be getting home, losing another day available for getting some exercise.
All I would do back in those days was ride the stationary bike for about 20-30 minutes with light resistance. I thought I'd just take baby steps at first, but I was taking baby steps for 2 months, and not very many steps at that. Basically, those 2 months were poor attempts at overcoming the inertia that had set it. Funny, because at the time I wasn't too self-critical about it because I was at least doing more than I had been.
Things changed a little over the course of November and December. I finally did meet my minimum goal of working out at least twice a week. And I started to press myself a little, finding my aerobic zone. I also added the rowing machine to my schedule since I was familiar with the exerise and thought it would give me more variety in the body parts I was working. I wasn't concentrating on nutrition so much, other than simply making a conscious effort to avoid certain empty calories. In fact, I was eating wrong, skipping meals and unwittingly messing with my metabolism by merely limiting calories arbitrarily.
But it did "work," because I began to notice a difference around mid-December. I had more energy. My trousers were looser. I could increase the resistance and pace on the exercise machines. I was patting myself on the back for my progress.
Then, at Christmas, we got a family gift of a WiiFit. My ego at the time felt it was a beginner fitness tool for the rest of the family. I didn't consider it something I would use or need. Ha! Just "for fun" I created a profile and stepped on the scale. Now mind you, I'd gone all these months without knowing my weight, and here I was thinking that I'd improved my fitness level since getting back into a gym routine.
In my mind, I was thinking that I would weigh in somewhere in the vicinity of 155 lbs. 155 had always been the upper end of my weight range, and it was usually at that weight that I considered myself "fat" and in need of toning. I knew I had to have weighed more than that before I started going to the gym in September, but by now, surely I had shed whatever excess over 155 I'd been carrying and was now around 155 again. Right?
Uh...no. I weighed in at 164 lbs and the WiiFit program classified me as overweight. Whoa! And here I was congratulating myself on getting in shape again. What had I weighed before, back in August? 168? 170? I was flabbergasted and humbled. I realized then that what I was doing was barely introductory, and I really needed to ramp things up and get more serious.
And so my real fitness program began in January 2009. Everything up until then had been prelude, orientation, reinitiation...now it was time to set some concrete goals. It had taken me me four months to mentally get to that point.