Ah My Gym! Both Torturer And Friend

So it’s Friday here in sunny southern California, which seems a bit crazy to say after all of the rain that we have had.  (Or really it’s Thursday afternoon as I am typing this up.)  We have been inundated with storm after storm, pummeling us throughout the state, and we have finally gotten a reprieve.


Now we are back to crazy hot, in March.  It’s not even spring officially yet.  But truthfully, what we are getting now is more like the norm here.  It’s always 85 degrees and sunny.  If any of you have seen L.A. Story with Steve Martin, imagine the weatherman who just throws up sun on the weather map for every day of the week.  That’s us!  Because we outlawed the rain here, as well as watering our lawns, and common sense, according to some.  (After all, we did elect the Terminator as Governor of the state.  Twice!)  But it looks like it’s getting back to normal, which doesn’t mean that I have any intention of doing so.


The New Normal

Wait!  That came out all wrong.  I mean that I am starting with a new normal.  Ok!  Maybe I don’t mean that either.  What I am saying is that I have been in the process of changing my habits in order to be healthier.  And so here I am, on week five of a twenty-one week goal to be able to change my health as well as my fitness habits.  It’s been very instructional about how difficult it can be to actually maintain something of a workout regimen.


Consistency’s Wrecking Ball

Habits are bred over time and consistency, and having kids is like having the ultimate wrecking ball to the building of consistency.    As I am starting from scratch, imagine someone trying to lay the foundation of a building as wind and rain beats about you at odd times and at odd hours.   Then the sun comes out.  Just when you think everything is good to start again, it’s like having a tornado rip through.  And what seemed like a couple month project can take years and years.


Impossible? Never! Insane? But Of Course!

Nevertheless, as any good parent can attest, I am attempting to do the insane.  Don’t I mean impossible, you say.  Did I say impossible?  No.  I said insane.  Insane people keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.  And as a parent, that defines who we are.  DC may have the Suicide Squad.  Parents should be part of the Insane Squad.  Maybe we should have our own outfits.  I’m just warning you that I don’t look good in red and blue hair and a pair of booty shorts, despite my daughter’s protestations to the contrary.


My insanity extends to the idea that I am going to come up with a regular schedule to be able to work out.  I know that when I was married, I got up at 5 A.M. and I worked out around the house.  But that was a different life.  My daughter’s mom would be looking after my daughter during that time.  Ok, looking after is a bit of a stretch.  Unless you believe that mothers can see their children through their closed eyelids.  I know many children believe that, and I won’t disabuse them of that notion.  So I began with 5 A.M. again when I started here.  What could possibly go wrong there?  I would say that five weeks of not being able to make it to workouts for four days a week taught me that I was going to have to vary up things a bit.


Also, being sick kind of threw me off schedule.  So suffice it to say, it has been a challenge to be as consistent as I would like.  I really do appreciate all of the sweet comments that I shouldn’t be too upset by not being able to make my schedule.  I do realize that I cannot get down on myself.  And I know that if I get too caught up with failing, I will never succeed.  After all, the diets that have been the most effective for me have been the ones that said to plan for failure.  And so I have a vice that I won’t give up, even on a diet.


A Letter To My Vice

Dear diet soda, I promise I’m not giving you up.  I know that people tell you how wrong it is of me to drink you.  But I just cannot give up that refreshing bubbly taste as you smoothly go down my throat.  I know that it’s kinda weird that you can clean a penny in your delicious goodness.  But I don’t hold that against you.  So does Taco Bell Hot Sauce and that saved someone’s life.  I actually think it’s kind of awesome.  Just promise not to do too much damage to my tummy.  Upset stomachs are the worst.  (Seriously, I have lost 85 pound before even while drinking diet soda, so I’m not stopping now.  And as vices go, it’s one of the less harmful ones.  There is, after all, no such thing as second hand diet soda-ing.  At least I haven’t heard of that activity just yet.)


My Fitness Week – Doing A Happy Dance

So before I lose complete track of what I am talking about, on to my week.  What did I do this week?  Oh that’s right.  I’m money this week.  I’m so money and I don’t even know it.  I actually made it to four workouts this week.  What does this all mean?  It means next week it will be seven workouts, followed by two-a-days, concluding with me being a muscle-bound vegan with an attitude.  Maybe, not the attitude, or being a vegan.


OK!  Not really the two-a-days either.  What it really means is two things.  One, I have finally got myself into a place where I have accomplished what I wanted to.  And second, it means that I have been better at adapting to what I could and could not do.  I didn’t overestimate what I could do, and I didn’t underestimate it.  I planned it just right.  (Why does that make me sound like baby bear?  Is there a girl with golden curls out there who is eating my food?  No one touches my food . . . except my daughter.)


Gym Routine

This week, I can say that I was able to get through at least four complete hours or workout sessions at the gym.  This means one more hour than I did the weeks before.  And seriously I do hope to add to these four hours eventually, but for now I am going to appreciate the accomplishment.  Because if I can’t celebrate my wins, who else is going to celebrate them?  Hooray me!  Go me! Hooray me! (Bleh!  That sounded too conceited, even for me.)


As far as what I did at the gym, I worked my way back to the complete half hour of cardio before doing a half hour of weights.  The half hour of weights has been a rotation: first upper body; then lower body; then core.   I know, or at least I think I remember being told (because thinking you remember something is always a good sign right?), that you don’t want to wear out any muscle group.  I should know from experience that when I have pulled a muscle that getting back to the gym was the last thing I would want to do.  Eventually, I would quit.  Now, I know I could go to just doing cardio, but somehow not being able to lift my arms up to my shoulders discourages me from going back to the gym.  Go figure!


So I have made it four days out of the seven, I rotated getting up at five or at six in order to get good sleep and make it to the gym in the mornings before work.  I tried to get to bed a little bit earlier on the nights I knew I would have to be up at 5:00 A.M.  And I feel like I had a pretty good week as far as exercising went.


Calories – The Bane Of My Existence 

But as far as calories goes, I just can’t seem to get the will to count them for the life of me.  So I am going to stop pressuring myself to do so.  I know that if I haven’t gotten into the rhythm of doing it before now it will take a police officer, six IRS officials, my ex-wife, my ex-mother-in-law, two Band-Aids, and an Ice Age to get me to do it.  Although I suppose maybe just the Ice Age would suffice.


Hence, I am going to give up trying to force this and realize that I just don’t want to do it in the interim.  That being said, I am going to shift my goals and move it to drinking eight glasses of water a day, and at least one home cooked meal.  Either I will be more motivated to do the meal and the gym water, or I will be sufficiently embarrassed enough to start counting calories this next week.  I figure that is a win win.


Odd Ends And Everything In Between

Aside from that, I am going to think about increasing the time at the gym on the days I go. This may be hard on the mornings I go when I have to work. I don’t know. We shall see.  If I prepped my clothes for the gym the night before it would help as well. But that would take planning and who needs that? Oh right. I do.


On a side note, I have been increasing my weights at the gym. For some of the machines, it means I’m only half way there. For the abdominal machine . . . waaaiiittt.  It means I’m a super stud. Or so I would like to believe. I’m at the bottom weight limit. Either Planet Fitness is trying to make me feel good, or my stomach is rock hard. Wish I could tell that to the fat around my waist so I could make it go away more easily. Ah well.


My goals for next week are as follows:

At least 4 one hour sessions at the gym

8 glasses of water per day

One home cooked meal per day.

Increase each weight machine by 15 pounds.

Speak to a trainer about setting up a routine.


I think if I do these things that my week will be a success. And then I will have to do another happy dance. I won’t be able to do it on here now. Purchasing the higher plan would be required for you to watch. I will have to do it either at Instagram or Facebook.  If I do it I promise to let my friend film me doing the happy dance and post it.  Be afraid! Be very afraid.


Actually, I’m thinking about moving to hosting my own webpage. But I’ve only been doing this for just over two months and if I attempt another massive change to go along with my gym routine, I may be needing to find a psychiatrist.  (Anyone know of a great one who takes Cigna? No? Hmmm… never mind.)

Continue The Conversation

So this is another week that went by and I was able to get one of my goals done this week. I would love to hear of some of your goals.  This could be a writing goal, a travel goal, a parenting goal, or a goal in your soccer league, preferably not in your own net.  Let me know what a goal you accomplished or just drop me a line and say hi. You can use the contact form for asking other questions; ideas for future blog posts I should do; or if you all would be interested in a newsletter, I will figure it out and get one out to everyone on my contact list.


Thanks for joining me again on this journey. And until the next time, this is me signing off.


David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life


Previous Friday Fitness Blogs:

Week 0: Not Another Fitness Blog

First Week: Week One

Second Week: Two Down. Nineteen To Go.

Third Week: Forced Reboot

Fourth Week: I Just Adore Four