It’s nearing the end of February, and judging by the crowd I encounter on the evenings I hit the gym, people are still keeping up with their 2014 new year’s resolution to get into shape. I’m not one to make resolutions, as I believe goals should be made when a person finds the desire and is ready to do so. I don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to stop smoking, start eating healthier, start exercising, etc. If you know you should stop drinking two liters of Coke a day, and you’re ready to take that plunge on December 8th, then do it on December 8th.
Ever since I turned thirty and grew a muffin-top, I knew that I would soon have to undergo some lifestyle changes. No longer were the days when I could eat fried chicken, pizza, eggrolls, and pan-fried noodles to my heart’s content without worrying about my waistline, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. But I wasn’t ready to take that next step to getting fit. I wasn’t ready to drink kale juice and enroll in bootcamp classes.
Until the summer after I turned 34 last year.
In last week’s post, I discussed my admiration for blind athletes. This week, I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing in my own exercise regimen to live a healthier lifestyle and, maybe if I’m lucky one day, lose my spare tire.
I must preface this, however, with the notion that I am not one of extremities. That is, I vacillate a lot before applying full-out change. Knowing myself, I know I do not function well under cold turkey pressure. That being said, I am not going to suddenly give up all fatty foods or carbohydrates and attend spin class three times a week just on a whim. After all, I’m a Taurus, and we bulls are stubborn and deliberate.
Over the years, I picked up a little cycling, mainly because the hubster rode the MS150 for three years. I used to practice yoga, but getting to a studio is difficult when: (a) you don’t drive, and (b) you don’t have nearby friends who consistently go. (But I’m eagerly awaiting for YogaOne to open up their new location in my neighborhood, and then I’ll be a regular again.) As of six months ago, I began personal training bootcamp once a week. The sessions are hard (oh, how I hate burpees!), and for the whole hour I’m working out, I want to punch my trainer in the neck, but I do feel good afterwards. (And just when I thought my endorphins were dead.) I wish I could do these training sessions twice a week, but they can get quite hefty on the wallet. I’ve even recently picked up rock climbing (that’s me in the photo), thanks to a friend who’s into minimalist sports.
As my trainer said at the beginning—and as I now wholeheartedly believe—the first step is always the hardest. I’ve read that generally it takes 21 days of doing something for it to become a habit, and Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of doing something before you can call yourself a master. I admit I could barely do four push-ups from my knees when I began training with him back in September, and now I can do at least ten proper push-ups. (Still, the sad thing is I used to crank out push-ups like nothing back when I played tennis in high school—man, how age really affects your body.)
It seems much of the sports I pick up (aside from yoga) are because the hubster or friends are doing them. This also goes for my picking up snowboarding a couple of years ago. One thing that I cannot get myself to enjoy or get into, though, is running. The hubster and a girlfriend have run a 5K together, several other friends have done the half- and full-marathons, many run on a daily basis. But no matter how many times I get out there on the jogging trail, I never have a good time. I am constantly miserable. Where the hell is this runner’s high they all speak of?
I think part of the problem is it’s boring. Because I can’t see, there is no scenery to enjoy. And also because I can’t see, I am stressed out the entire time running, even with a sighted running guide. Sometimes I hold on to their sleeve or arm. Other times, I just rub their elbow or follow their verbal commands. But I haven’t done it enough times to get used to it, because I’m constantly worried about tripping over roots or running into people. Sure, there are tips on how to guide a blind runner, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to call myself a runner.
A partially sighted 50-year-old marathoner once told me she didn’t enjoy running until she could run three miles straight. I really wish I had the drive to run, but I just don’t…which brings me back to my original notion that you will only do something if and when you’re ready for it.
What do you do to get in shape or stay fit? Do you have any tips for the visually impaired individual if he/she wants to try your sport?