Well, I’ve Kept The Gym Up For A Year Now

11 June 2015 | 2 Comments

A year ago I started back to the gym after more than 10 years of not going. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d do. I mean in the past I’d start back and then quit. This time I just tried to make a habit of it and never let it get to the point where it felt like work. I mean walking 12 blocks in the freezing cold in the dead of winter wasn’t fun, but I did manage to keep it up. I’m averaging going at least 3-4 days a week.

Improving how I looked was only one of the reasons I went back. I was seriously worried about my cardiac health. My father (who’s in his 90s) has had all sorts of problems and I saw myself repeating his health history. I’ve been on meds for hypertension for 12 years now. I got winded too easily (e.g. going up stairs). And there were little things like really cold hands and feet in winter that made me think my circulation isn’t as good as it should be. And then I read that erectile dysfunction is a sign of heart health problems. Anyway, I needed to take care of my body or I wasn’t going to have a very good next few decades.

At first I was hitting the gym pretty hard and doing rather long workouts that completely wore me out. As I was studying workout technique videos on YouTube I realized that I’d do better if I did shorter workouts. Some guys were saying never do more than 12 sets in a workout – and that is about the time when I start hitting the wall. Then I realized that >20 min of cardio actually can start burning muscle and so I reduced cardio as well.

The results the past year aren’t nearly as dramatic as even 6 months of working out when I was 29, but there is progress. By the numbers I haven’t changed all that much… I’ve only lost 1.9 pounds in the past year. BUT that’s made up of 2.4 pounds of fat (lost), and half a pound of muscle (gained). AND, more importantly, I stopped gaining weight.

So here are the before and after pics…

Before going back to the gym 1 year - frontal

Before pic after one year - angled

The change is more dramatic in person than it is in the pictures. People are saying I look different – more athletic. I can fit into medium t-shirts that weren’t an option before. The mediums are tight, but they’re an option. And I feel a difference –here’s just more muscle under all that fat than there used to be, and my cardiac stamina has improved. But even the pics show things like the lines that were defining the bottom of my gut are going away, and my waist (the narrow part just below my rib cage) is getting smaller.

My goal at this point is to be fit by the age of 50 (in 2 1/2 years) and do it in a way that’s completely maintainable. To quote Richard Simmons I want to “live it, not diet”. I was hoping I could get there by now (after a year), but that didn’t happen. At least I’m going in the right direction.

So little by little I’m getting there…