Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Don't Like to Exercise

I am a reasonably active person.  For eight years through my late thirties and early forties, I bicycled everywhere.  I love to hike and to backpack.  When I plan a hike, I tend to suggest things like, "let's go over those three mountains, drop down into the valley, and then come back to the parking area the long way round."  (It always takes longer than I think it will in the morning.)

I think I'm in relatively good shape.  As I said in the original post, I certainly don't think of myself as obese, and to tell the truth, I think that whole BMI thing by height is a little off. When I imagine myself weighing right in the middle of those charts, 155 pounds or so, it seems scary.

Still, I need to push my weight back down in that direction, and all the websites I follow and the books I read mention exercise.  Specifically strength training and short bursts of intense activity like sprinting.  Jogging is supposedly out, and I'm going to tackle that topic another time.  I somewhat enjoy jogging.  I have absolutely no interest in sprinting.

So I'm trying to do some strength training.  With all of the bicycling and hiking, my lower body is in very good shape, but it segues into a somewhat soft upper body.  I tend to think if you cut the picture off around my rib cage, the whole picture would have a somewhat mushroom effect.

I have to say I'm no fan of strength training either.  I associate it with vanity and with body building.  I don't want to be muscle bound. I just want to have less fat on my body.  Of course I wouldn't mind looking better.  Everyone likes to be attractive.  I just don't want to look like I've been spending time in the gym trying to look more attractive.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a guest post on Mark's Daily Apple by Al Kavadlo.  He's a big fan of calisthenics and using body weight instead of weights and kettle bells.  I prefer simplicity, and I've never wanted to exercise at a gym, (doing so brings back nightmares of being the shy asthmatic kid in the middle school locker room).  More importantly, Al does not look like a body builder.  Ironically, when he first started out, he was trying to look like one and spent a lot of time trying to bulk up.  I want to bulk down.

I bought his book, Pushing the Limits! Total Body Strength With No Equipment, and I've been trying to work some more exercise in to each day.

When I started, I found that I could only do six pushups.  He doesn't include crunches in the book, at least not as far as I've read, but I can do about fifteen of those.

I'm not being whole hearted about it, but I'm trying to work toward his recommended beginner workout:

Pushup 3 sets of 20 reps
Full Squat 3 sets of 20 reps
Split Squat or Lunge 3 sets of 10 reps (each leg)
Lying Leg Raise 3 sets of 10 reps
Straight Bridge 3 holds of 30 seconds
Headstand 3 holds of 30 seconds

For now, it seems like a good enough goal to get up to 20 pushups.

As the title of the post says, I don't like exercise, and to find joy in exercising, at least in this fashion, is going to take some fundamental shift in the way I experience myself.

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