This is a series of blog posts that describe how I got into the best shape of my life.
My First Nice Bike Ride
Yesterday, I decided to start riding my mountain bike in the morning, when it’s cooler outside.
I think we were going for a walk when I came up with that idea. You know, as I was out and about…I always get good ideas. When morning rolled around and I was drinking my coffee, let’s just say I was less enthusiastic.
Even thought I was still groggy, I stuck to my word. I got on the bike and started to ride. For any of you out there who have ridden a bicycle for any amount of distance, I am sure you will agree with me when I say it is great exercise. I already knew that, but was reminded of it as I was struggling to get up the first hill. For those who know what “the Hill” looks like, this hill reminds me of that one. It’s not nearly as bad here, but when I was on the bike, it sure felt it.
I had planned on doing the 3.7 mile ride, but when I got to the end of the road, I decided to make a left and do the 5 mile one. I am glad I did, because I keep talking about doing it. There are tons of downhills and uphills. The uphills are much less fun, but my legs got a great workout.
This area is really great for recreation. I am very pleased that people take it so seriously around here. On the last part of the ride today, I had to go through the woods. That was fun because I got to “get some air” off a few rocks. You know what that means, I think I might need to get a helmet.
How To Develop Stamina
So, I think I am having a little issue.
I had another tennis lesson yesterday with Mike. About 20 minutes into it, I was huffing and puffing away. Mike was too, but I am far more obvious. As he continues to play just a little slower, I toss my hands in the air, walk off the court and gasp for breath. My question is this: Why in the world am I still out of breath when I exercise more than anyone I know? It’s not even a gradual decline. It’s all good one minute and the next, I am completely exhausted and totally finished.
When I was a little kid, I was able to run a lot in short bursts. No one could catch me unless they could run a longer period of time than I could. By the time I got myself all tired out, I was too far away to reach. That’s the way it’s always been. In school, when we used to go out to the track during gym class, I could usually only jog a half lap. The rest was half jogging and half walking. I don’t think I came in last, but close to it. While I was the one who was at home riding my bicycle, running around and climbing trees, my friend who sat on a beach chair eating bologna sandwiches and devil dogs all day was beating me in a race around the school track. Strange. I will admit that I did pretty well in the 50-yard dash though.
I’m not sure if this is a typical experience, or if I am just weird.
As an adult, it’s hard to find out if this type of thing is still happening. When I do exercise and get out of breath, I just say, “Boy, I am out of shape” and chalk it up to being lazy. I know I need to get out there and work out more often, but it is just difficult to do without someone pushing me. That’s why I like to play tennis, but at once or twice a week, it’s not enough.
I woke up a few days ago with a goal. I told myself that I am going to work on my stamina once and for all. To be honest, I would really like to know what it feels like to be able to exercise for a long time without stopping. I envy those people I see jogging down the road for miles. I don’t know how they do it.
I ordered some crazy “beat me up” workout DVD this morning. It’s supposed to be pretty good. I’ll let you know how that goes if I do it more than twice. I fear being my own motivator.
I have been hitting the Bowflex again. It feels really good and I am mixing it up with a bunch of different exercises.
I have been in an all-out search for a local to semi-local “exercise” studio. I have something perfect in mind, but just haven’t found it yet. I visited a few places and talked to a few people, but my socks haven’t been knocked off yet. I am not sure I am going to write about this one though.
Let me tell you a funny little story. As I was standing out in the driveway yesterday, Laura walked out with her jump rope in her hand. She said, “Hey, why don’t you try this; it’s real hard to do.” I’m like, “Yeah right, it’s a jump rope.” She handed it to me with a smirk and let me “jump rope” about 20 times. I nearly fell over.
Okay, for all of my adult readers who are saying, “C’mon man, get up off that lazy butt of yours and jump that rope,” I say, “You try it. I bet you can’t do 100.” I just did 100 out in the driveway and my throat still hurts from all that huffing and puffing.
Jumping rope these days is a little different than when I weighed 80 pounds and was skinny. I would say the main difference is instead of lightly hopping up and down, it’s now like a cement block being dropped 100 times. It ain’t pretty. As I was jumping the rope a few minutes ago, a kid walked by and waved. I waved back and felt like a fool. I bet that kid could totally embarrass me at that activity. I am sure I would win at hopscotch though.
My point is, how in the world do I finally get in shape? Is there a “in shape?” If someone gets in shape, do they know it?
Boy, I really need to find a place to start working out. Some classes would be nice, but I don’t want to be the only guy in them.
Jumping Rope For Exercise
This is getting really frustrating, but I’ll get into that later.
I woke up today with every intention of playing a tennis match this afternoon. My buddy canceled, so I needed to find another exercise for the day. I played tennis yesterday, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. Although, I didn’t go to the tennis clinic this morning because of the afternoon plans. Whatever.
To make up for the loss, I decided to do a little jump rope outside. I now do this activity after dark, so I don’t look like an idiot to people who may be passing by. I’ll give it a few weeks to jump rope in the daylight again. I thought that some jump rope and a little Bowflex would be just fine.
I went outside to the driveway and got started. Now, if you remember back, the last time I tried jump roping, I did it about 100 times and was totally exhausted. This time, I did it in five sets of 25. I thought that little breaks in between sets would be better. I’ll tell you, it was slightly better, but I still had to walk up and down the driveway with my heart pumping out of my chest. I really don’t understand what the problem is here.
I suppose I am doing better than a year ago when I did absolutely nothing at all. I guess we walked, but that doesn’t raise the heart rate (for us, anyway). It basically doesn’t do all that much. I thought it did, but now that I’m trying to do real things, it has become apparent that we don’t put enough pep in our steps when we walk. That’s going to have to change.
I am aware that this whole thing is going to take some time, but as I said above, I’m getting frustrated. Here, take a look at what’s causing it. I ask: How in the world do these people do it? I just have to keep going. It’s just that it seems so effortless for them.
I will say this; for the past few days that I have been exercising more than I normally do, I have a lot of energy. I’m not sure if it’s from the exercise or the mean cranberry cocktail that I have been drinking.
A Nice (Chilly) Morning Bike Ride
Sticking with the strategy of doing at least one cardio and one strength training activity per day, I decided to go for a bike ride this morning. Well, I decided this last night after one of those beautiful warm spring days. Unfortunately, this morning is a bit chilly and windy. It’s supposed to rain over an inch tonight. That’s okay, because I aerated the lawn again yesterday and the rain will wash all those little dirt plugs back into the ground.
Back to the bike ride. Since one of the areas I really have to work on is my legs, I thought a bike ride would fit in nicely. The legs have some large muscles in them that, if toned, can really help with overall fitness. I absolutely hate working on legs and pretty much avoid it if possible. Doing that doesn’t do me any favors though, so I try to at least do something that I don’t hate too much. That’s bike riding.
The ride I took covered about five miles. There were a good amount of uphills and downhills. Remarkably, I plowed right through all of them. The first big hill is usually the one I have to stop and walk a little on, but this time I just rode right up it. I wasn’t even that tired. I think it might have something to do with the weather though. It’s a heck of a lot easier to breath in cool weather than it is in hot, humid weather…and that was the type of weather I had to put up with the last time I tried to climb this hill.
Today’s ride was really good. I actually focused on my breathing, which helped. One of the things I always get yelled at during a tennis lesson is to “BREATH!!!” Umm, yeah, I guess oxygen would help.
The first 4 7/8 miles were on pavement and the last 1/8 of a mile was through the woods. I had to be a little careful while riding through the woods because there are those round rocks hidden under the leaves. If you go too fast, whoops.
Overall, the ride felt great. I am probably going to mix riding in with all the other cardio activities I have thought of over the past week.
Working Out With Budokon
Today was a great first day to try out an exercise DVD. We have a pretty well stocked library of them, so I thought it might benefit me to get going. I knew I was going to play tennis in the afternoon, so a morning workout would be nice. I had to do it. If there is nothing I hate more, it’s sitting around at night time wondering why I didn’t do what I had set out to do that day.
Let me tell you, the biggest challenge with getting more “fit” is motivation. I mean, what in the world is going to stop me from sitting around and being comfortable when being comfortable feels so damn good? Yeah, I really want to get up and jump around into an ugly sweat. I guess I just have to get past that. I do that with other stuff I do already, such as mowing the lawn. How is exercising any different?
I pulled out the Budokon DVD because it’s pretty well rounded. I am really going for flexibility, stamina and strength. As we get older, each one of those areas fade. I have never admired muscle heads or people who do yoga all day long. Or, those who just run on the treadmill for that matter. A nice combination of the three is nice.
The instructor, Cameron Shayne, is pretty awesome. He isn’t just some guy who can’t do what he is telling you to do; he can really move.
As I got into the program, I quickly realized that the yoga section was first. I also quickly realized that yoga is really difficult. I think it will just take some practice, but those moves are pretty straining. I liked the cardio section more than the yoga. Partially because I was in the mood for some aerobic exercise and partially because there was less burning of the muscles.
Proudly enough, I completed the whole workout. I sweat like a pig, but I did it. My heart was pumping for a full half hour which felt really good. Later on, I met a friend up at the high school for a quick tennis set and now I’m back. Strangely enough, I feel full of energy.
I can’t wait to move on to more DVDs. I ordered one from Amazon the other day and after I complete it, I’ll let you know about it. This one is totally different and I bet will be more humorous for you to read about. I’m not sure I’m going to get through this next one.