I dropped all fitness excuses when I started this weekly column back in March. While it’s been demanding, I’m seeing results I haven’t seen in years! This time last year, I could barely do 22 rows in one set, and now I’m averaging 165.9 rows per 5-minute set. It’s not all physical, either. I have more mental focus, resilience, and I’ve made some friends along the way. Let’s drop the excuses and get inspired to exercise more!
Isn’t it boring that the English alphabet only has 26 letters? Isn’t it boring that rowing only has 4 positions? The more often I row and write, the more often I think hitting a solid rowing catch, drive, finish, or recovery position can compare with hitting a solid word choice, sentence execution, provocative thought, or decisive document. Is it boring that one letter can change everything or not hitting the right position can ruin your rowing flow?
I’ve been steadily getting heavier after I stopped rowing heavier 5 minute rowing sets. Starting in late March, I weighed 267. Using only the fortnightly titles, here’s how my weight progressed: 260, 256, 255, 254, 253, 252, 251, 249, 247, 250, 246, 248, 250, and I weighed in at 253 pounds on Tuesday morning. Now that I have exacting data showing that I need to burn more calories, or consume less calories, I can use that information to make the necessary changes for my fitness. Fortunately, it isn’t all doom below.
“They have one of those in the back.” Most gyms have rowing machines. It’s just they’re hidden in plain sight because they’re not glamorous devices. Running is sexy. Rowing is… not. One treadmiller had rested his backpack on the sole rower at this one gym, and when I motioned that I wanted to use it, while courteous, he seemed surprised that someone was going to use it. See, I don’t like rowing being my secret.
It starts small. I’ve been eating more and exercising less. I started including a second scoop of peanut butter in my oatmeal, so now I have a one scoop limit. I’m planning to row for longer sets again. I’ve been ordering the healthier items on menus, and now intend to be more picky with removing the unhealthier bits; I didn’t eat the mayo-drenched shredded lettuce and bun on a fish sandwich this evening, for example.
I gained 5.7 pounds since last week. How is that even possible?! It was probably stress, decreased exercise, overeating, and general malaise over the last few days. That regresses my progress at least a month or so and probably isn’t healthy. Fortunately, the weight’s dropped off a little since yesterday, so it probably won’t last too long. Just goes to show quickly this health thing can change. At least I’ve made good progress in some areas.
You constantly face adversity when you exercise. Adversaries include: feeling like it, not giving your best effort, and exercising itself. Exercising hurts, even with properly stretching and practicing good form. Yet when my rowing machine teaches me figurative exercises in overcoming physical and mental adversities, in a controlled environment where I can stop exercising whenever it becomes too overwhelming, I can use these exercises to break free from old molds that don’t fit me anymore.
Weight is the easiest fitness goal to measure. Saying, “I’ve burned off a solid 20 pounds since March,” feels good and inspires others. Disengaging from stressful situations is harder to measure. Plowing through those cortisol circumstances, where I might subconsciously need to overeat/overindulge as a coping mechanism, and instead funneling that negative energy into exercise or rewarding myself with positive activities for doing my best. Maybe there is a way to measure that? At least casually?
“Find inspiration in your work” because there are plethoric excuses for skipping exercise and most have validity. Fitness is perhaps the truest forms of work ethic. You can’t accidentally become fit. You can be born into money; you can’t be born into fitness. Earning wellness daily includes continual inspiration. When I see muscles develop, notice my increased agility, or when others ask me for fitness advice, that’s my inspiration to keep finding time to exercise!
Repetitious consistency is boring. Rowing is repetitious, and unless you’re in the mindset to constantly reproduce consistent results with each row, it’s also boring. So is taking vitamins, eating healthy, reading books, meditation, resting, and doing things that don’t have immediate results. Since I’ve shifted most of my mindset toward delaying gratification over the past year, as I keep the same consistent “1-2-3 pace” in everything I do, I can eventually achieve the “98-99-100 results” I crave.