PUMPING IRONY: Tomorrow’s Another Day

The key to maintaining a solid fitness regimen is to not get too disappointed when an entire week goes by and you basically fail to do much of anything that you’ve committed yourself to doing.

The key to maintaining a solid fitness regimen is to not get too disappointed when an entire week goes by and you basically fail to do much of anything that you’ve committed yourself to doing. That’s sort of what happened to me this week, but I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to beat himself up for this. Tomorrow’s another day, right? Here are my notes from week two of my fitness challenge.

Day 4: Monday, 9/12
It’s quite surprising how much a little run can affect your aging physiology when you’re not used to running. I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. By the time I hauled myself out of bed, I barely had time to wolf down some breakfast and climb on my bike to get to work. No zazen, no workout, no stretching. I was happy to be able to climb over the edge of the tub and get into the shower. My left knee, which felt so strong yesterday while I was jogging down the street, was achy and my whole body was stiff and sore.

This whole fitness challenge thing is not going to be easy.

Day 5: Tuesday, 9/13
The cool thing about working for a health and fitness magazine is that you often stumble upon really interesting workout routines that you wouldn’t ordinarily encounter. I was editing a piece last night about something called Girevoy, which I think is Russian for kettlebell sport. The idea is that you grab a kettlebell in one hand, swing it between your legs, bring it up to your chest and then hoist it above your head — as many times as you can in 10 minutes, switching hands once midway through the routine. So, naturally I had to try it this morning with my puny 20-lb. giri. I was careful to do a little stretching first, as my old bones were still a little stiff from Sunday’s run. But once I launched into this Russian form of personal torture, it became pretty clear pretty quickly that this is a killer workout. Not only are you taxing your arms and shoulders, but each downward swing activates your core, your quads and your hammies. I forgot to count how many reps I was able to complete in the allotted time — I’m just not that competitive — but it was enough to leave me with the distinct impression that you probably shouldn’t mess with Russians at the gym.

Day 6: Wednesday, 9/14
OK, sometimes things just don’t work out at as planned. I needed to sleep awhile longer than normal this morning, so I had no time for a workout. Then I had to work awhile later than planned tonight, so by the time MLW and I had dined and cleaned up the dishes, it was after 8. I suppose I could’ve pulled on my sneakers and jogged around the block a couple of times as I had promised myself last Sunday, but it just didn’t strike me as a viable activity. Reality intervenes. The good news? My old tennis buddy, The Baseline Machine, is back in town and ready to rumble, so tomorrow I’ll make up for today. Right?

Day 7: Thursday, 9/15
A brief kettlebell circuit this morning and then yoga in the afternoon. We did a few sun salutations, which JS told us would allow us to live forever if we did them every day. I told her that I already have lived forever (in the sense that this particular moment is on the outer edge of the current time frame of the universe), but she suggested that there were other ways of looking at longevity. Anyway, we had a lovely session, my hammies are gradually loosening up, and I’m actually figuring out how to breathe — which is more important than you might think. Work obligations prevented me from reuniting with TBM for our proposed tennis match this evening, but she didn’t seem that disappointed, frankly. We’ll tussle again soon enough, I’m sure.

Day 8, Friday, 9/16
I’m all about functional fitness, so the two or so hours I spent tonight cleaning the house in preparation for the imminent arrival of my daughter (AKA The Boss Mare) and a friend from Michigan I think definitely counts as a workout.

Day 9, Saturday 9/17
A reprise of my Handyman’s Workout this afternoon with MLW. Much digging up of weeds, shoveling of dirt and pushing of the loaded wheelbarrow. I also climbed on my bicycle later in the day for a cardio-pumping ride to our neighborhood Target store to buy MLW a birthday present: 2.5 miles there, 2.5 miles back; uphill and against the wind both ways (don’t you hate when that happens?).

Day 10, Sunday 9/18
I’m going to call this a recovery day, since I didn’t do anything.

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