Posted in Stories

The people in workout videos never change.

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

Most of my home fitness exercise is done with streaming Beachbody workouts. I’ve done Insanity, Insanity: Asylum 1 and 2, P90X, P90X3, and most recently, p90X2. When you stick with a program for several months, you get to know the people working out in the video. I know everyone’s names and what they do.

Just recently I thought, “These folks never change.” They never improve. They always use the same weights and do the same number of reps. On the other hand, the more workouts I do, the better I get. I increase my reps and my weights and improve. I’ve never actually gotten better than any of the cast. But I am closing in on them.

So in one sense, these are real people doing real exercises on a set somewhere. But they aren’t really there. They aren’t really exercising with me. I’m in a room of people who exist in a different dimension. You know what? It’s like they are living in eternity! They never age, never die, never get injured, never get sad, and never get sick. They are always enthusiastic and laughing. In their world, I don’t exist. They don’t know my name. They don’t know I’m exercising along with them. Our existences never intersect.

Except on the internet. I can search for and usually find them on social media. I learn about their real lives. Guess what? They really do exist! They have full names and families and friends and careers. They’ve aged since they made their exercise video. Just like me.

Posted in Stories

I’m only falling ten inches!

P90X2 is not a new workout program. But it’s new for me. Tony Horton and Beachbody released it ten years ago. I did P90X. I followed up with P90X3, which involves all thirty minute workouts. Just recently I decided to go back and see what P90X2 was all about. It’s been a good, challenging workout, combining strength and balance on an inflated stability ball and a variety of medicine balls.

Some workouts are push ups or side arm balances on two med balls. Otheres are pushups on four med balls. Tricep dips or mountain climbers on three med balls. Plyo pushups onto a ball or two or three. Some of these skills I have mastered. For others I roll onto the floor. Each day I am able to do a few more. When my wife comments, “You’re going to kill yourself out there (in the garage),” my reply is, “I’m only falling ten inches!”

You’ve got to find something which will challenge you in new ways. These workouts are doing just that for me.

Posted in Stories

This fitness journey just keeps going

In 2018, my wife heard about a Crossfit box in our town and decided to try it out. She liked it and got me to try a class, too. The coaches were nice, the workouts were challenging and different than I had done before, and the other folks there were also fitness and wellness minded. So I did my onramp initiation and made Crossfit my main fitness regimen.

Though I could do pushups and pull-ups and run, I had a lot to learn about box jumps, double-unders, handstands and olympic lifting. The warmup stretching was good, I learned some lifting and rope-climbing skills, the metcons were challenging, and as you can see, I picked up a lot of vocabulary words, too. Since I made it to the box three or four times a week, I gained some fitness I hadn’t had before and made a lot of new friends.

I also picked up a few injuries. In my quest to do kipping Crossfit pull-ups, my shoulders got sorer and sorer. I had more and more trouble doing pushups and benchpress was nearly impossible. I was really afraid that I had injured my rotator cuffs, so I became a student of shoulder stretches and rehab. These provided some relief, but then in my zeal to get back up on the pull-up bar, I felt and heard something near my left elbow pop. That same day I was spotting a friend doing a back squat, when the bar rolled off his back and jerked that same arm down at an awkward angle, rupturing the bicep.

An orthopedic doctor took a look at my arm and said, “It’s mostly cosmetic. Once it heals up you can do what you want.” I decided I would change what I wanted to do. I think my muscles could handle the workouts, but my 62 year-old joints struggled. Plus, we started feeling the impact of the monthly fees, much more than we were used to paying. I know, I know, everyone said it was worth it, but we were trying to scale back our expenses rather than increase them up as I began to consider retirement.

So we decided to ramp up our home workout capabilities in the garage. We invested in a Concept-2 rower, a Rogue air bike, a box to jump on, some Crossover Symmetry cables, and a barbell with a few weights. I hung a pull-up bar from the ceiling, we put down some thick stable mats on the floor, put a TV up on the wall for streaming or DVD workouts, and got a big garage fan. We already had a set of adjustable weight Bowflex dumbbells. I was able to find lots of CrossFit-esque workouts online that we could do at home, and Beachbody Live provided all of our favorite workouts and a lot of newer ones, too.

We had all that in place when COVID hit, gyms closed and everyone was quarantining. We were set, with all kinds of workout possibilities in place. Over the past year, we’ve added jump ropes, some elastic bands, a couple of kettlebells, some med balls and an inflatable stability ball.

And we got our Peloton back, too. My wife saw one a few years ago and we ordered one so she could do some spinning bike workouts at home. We had lent it to our kids last year, but they stopped using it, so we brought it back home and I gave it a try. I like having this option for a non-impact cardio option a few times a week.

I am currently working through Beachbody’s P90X2 workouts with Tony Horton. Plain old pushups and pullups and situps get new life with seemingly infinite variations, even balancing on med balls and stability balls. I never get injured doing body weight exercises, so this is definitely my speed as I close in on my sixty-fourth birthday.

So our main philosophy right now is to keep on moving. Do something each day to work on strength, flexibility, mobility or endurance. I’m pretty much a first-thing-in-the-morning workout kind of guy, while my wife likes the afternoon hours.

Having written three entries about fitness and two about running, I realize we’ve spent a lot of time exercising in one form or another. It’s part of the fabric of our lives. When we start doing more camping, we’ll have to figure out the best way to do this on the road. Our journey will continue.

Posted in aging, Life

That little voice never ages!

Molly Hogan, an 82 year old cross-fitter from Boston said in a recent interview, “You know that little voice inside that talks to you? It doesn’t age!”

From my own experience, I’d say she is spot on. Even though I’m now in my sixties, I never fell like I’m sixty. I think and speak and interact with people as if I much younger. Like thirty years younger. Every once in a while though, little reminders yank me back into reality.

Like when I need an extra day of rest between workouts. When I was younger, I would pound out the miles running, sometimes working out ten or more days in a row. I can’t do that anymore. Every two days, I need to recuperate.

Or when I suddenly realize I’m the oldest guy in the room. By a lot. I forget that when people look at me, they see an old guy with lots of gray hair. Most of my workout buddies see someone the same age as their parents!

My kids always want to be sure I’m OK. I feel like I did when I was their age, but they have begun to consider me someone to keep an eye on if I’m alone or driving late at night or on a ladder doing some painting. I appreciate their concern. I forget that I was concerned about my parents in the same way.

It’s cool that part of you never ages. It’s that little voice!