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Work-Out Update: Closing out 2010

It’s been a year since I took a look at the amount of time I spend working out.

Figures for 2009: Worked Out for an hour plus 220 times or 4.23 times a week – averaging 18 times per month.

Figures for 2010: Worked Out for an hour plus 206 times or 3.96 times a week – averaging 17 times per month.

So… a slight dip from the previous year. There are a couple of reasons that might explain that dip. I was out for a week in June due to injury; some type of pulled muscle and pinched nerve. My entire left side kept going numb on and off, and I had a sharp pain in the back of my left shoulder; I couldn’t lift my arm over my head. All together, I missed out on 5 days when I could have worked out due to injury.

Also, I went on four vacations this year: San Francisco, Duluth, and Las Cruces. The fourth vacation was a mandatory week off from work during the holidays. This year they went so far as to shut the gym down during that time period. All together that represents 11 days I missed out on due to vacation time.

Still, not bad. But not great.

I don’t count any of the hiking/walking time that I put in, figuring that is part of routine life and doesn’t really count as exercise. On the weekends or during holidays, I never exercise, except for push-ups and a few dumb-bell exercises – but only if going out somewhere where my upper body would be scrutinized.

There was a considerable difference in my workouts this year. I made a pointed effort to change things up every 3-4 months in order to alleviate boredom and challenge my muscles. I attended classes (aerobics and strength/core training), did quite a bit of work on the elliptical machines and stationary bikes, and developed a core/aerobic workout that I call “boot camp” which I did once a week for four months. The boot camp work-out is now my fall back routine: the work-out I do when I don’t feel like doing anything at all.

My typical weight/strength workouts concentrated on a given area of my body each day: chest, legs/gluts, core, lats/shoulders, and arms. Each day’s work-out typically began with a series of stretches (incorporating what yoga I have managed to pick up), a minimum of 40 consecutive push-ups, 50 glut maximizers and 100-200 crunches of various types. I really got into doing squats this year, jumping rope, jumping in place, and added running (indoors) during the past two months.

Still a creature of habit, I tend to get into routines that quickly become ruts, but I did my best to get out of my comfort zone and mix it up. It’s my plan to continue to do so this year. I also gave myself permission to drop back on the amount of weights I was lifting on days when I was not feeling my best. On several occasions when there were others in the gym watching me, I purposely made myself lift less – choosing to concentrate on form rather than simply striving to impress others – really trying to get over that whole macho mindset that more weight means you’re more… male?

I’ve started to bring mix CDs and play them on the gym’s sound system so I don’t have to worry about dropping my I-Pod. That has been very freeing. The only time I still use my I-Pod is when I am on the elliptical machines or run. On my I-Pod, I recently discovered the play option for songs, rather than having it on shuffle. By using that setting I can pick anyplace in the alphabet to begin. Hopefully, eventually I will hear everything on my I-Pod. I actually seem to be listening to more variety this way, although I still have to find the time to upload some newer music.

This year I discovered the lost and found box at my gym. After three weeks items are up for grabs. Needless to say I have a new pair if sneakers – well, new to me – and some interesting underwear. I still can’t bring myself to wear shorts at the gym. My legs are simply not impressive enough. Perhaps pumping up my legs is something I should concentrate on at the gym this year

I’m okay with my body. There are contours I never appreciated or noticed before, but my problem areas remain. The concentration on working my core is helping with those, though it is a long, slow process. Given the strides I have made this year, I wonder what I will think of my body next year. One of the benefits of working-out consistently for the past two years has been the number of comments others make about my body, most of which are complimentary. This summer, on one of my first days at the prairie when it was warm enough to walk around in just a pair of shorts, I ran into an acquaintance from the previous year. He immediately commented on how much my body had improved and was particularly impressed with the change in my mid-section. Again, thank you core work-outs!

Speaking of the prairie, it may well serve as the lone beacon of light to help me navigate this bitter, snow-filled winter. Only a month and a half into our snowy season, I’m already battling my tendency towards seasonal depression - working out definitely helps. So does the sex. But I yearn for the days when I will be able to escape into the woods, strip down to next-to-nothing and hunt me some strange. My skin sure misses the sun and moisture, while my soul misses the sanctity of the woods; the strength and majesty of the trees.

As for an update on my sex stats, that will happen in March. I have to say, I struggle a lot with myself about the type and amount of sex I’m having. This may be the last year where I keep track of the stats – mainly because I’m concerned about the influence the recording of those stats is having on the sexual choices I’m making. What exactly am I trying to prove? Sex certainly eats up a lot of my time and energy. It also seems to add a lot of anxiety to my life that I would be much better off without. Then again, without sex and the possibility of sex, would I be so diligent about my work-outs? Faulty thinking? House of cards? Perhaps.

Recently I reread the entry I wrote last year at this time. It mentions a lot of things that I planned on pursuing, such as working on a new musical, taking my dogs for more walks, and seeing my friends on a regular basis. Guess what? I failed pretty badly on all fronts. I also never made it to Chicago or the club I mentioned. Eh, someday.

One of my New Year’s resolutions has to do with playing the piano an hour a day. That has yet to happen. I would also like to get back into writing music again. Playing guitar. But something tells me at this time next year I will be commenting on how those things failed to take root and blossom. Granted, the year is young. I could surprise myself.

I frequently do.

By the way, the pics included in this article are, in fact, me. I’m not ready to share my face with the world. Once you see it, I think you’ll understand my trepidation. Well, that, and the fact that in order to be forthcoming while writing this blog a little discretion is necessary.

Happy New Year! And welcome to 2011. Let’s all have a great one.

Well, time to hit the gym.

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