I Can Weight

July 17, 2014

I’m pretty excited about this. Please do not read on if other people’s exercise regimens are not on your list of interesting reading. (As with so many blog posts, I wrote this for my own record.)

Tuesday, and again today, Igor, the fitness phenom who leads classes and does personal training over at Hideshi’s Fitness Garage, came over. I had hoped that he could help me design a weight routine that would be:

a. manageable (not too crazy rigorous, not too time consuming)
b. doable on an ongoing basis (like, 3xs/week,forever)
c. comprehensive in terms of a full body work out, in order to be toned and strong overall and avoid injury

Backing up for a moment, here’s the deal: For optimal body health and fitness, we need to make sure we deal with four major areas:  1) get regular aerobic workouts for cardio, 2) maintain muscle tone and strength by doing some kind of weight training , 3) maintain flexibility and range of motion, through stretching and/or yoga, and 4)  do something to preserve balance, I guess by challenging ourselves with balancing exercises to maintain corrective muscle memory. And, you know, eat right, drink a bunch of water, get tons of sleep, and I even like to include regular bodywork to keep things all aligned…but for this summary, I’m focusing on just the fitness stuff.

It’s a little insane what it takes to keep it all working. Like, who’s got that kind of time?

Nevertheless….am I forgetting anything?

I pretty much do most of that, especially lately, since leaving full time work.  But it’s not a perfectly sustainable program.. so I’ve been fine tuning the whole regimen–for years–simplifying, getting real, modifying here and there. It’s a work in progress, but I may have taken a great step this week in perfecting it.  Here’s how it currently breaks down.

Aerobic: For years, I’ve been walking around the arboretum (approx four miles) twice a week. Totally sustainable because it’s also about talking with Vicki and a luxurious post-walk au lait and muffin at Mishka’s. Not hugely aerobic, but it’s over an hour of walking. Also on those days, for the last few years, I’ve gone to the Fitness Garage for hour-long Core & Balance classes, which include a fair amount of aerobic exercise. Though I’m mostly a fair-weather bike rider, which in Davis is a lot of the year, biking somewhere gives me pretty good bursts of aerobic exercise, so I count it. We walk downtown at least once per day, most days, so that’s another mile at least and oughta count for something. Finally, I recently traded in the elliptical at Davis Swim & Fitness for Jim’s garage Stairmaster, which is the most perfect 45-60-minutes-of-seriously-sweaty-and-breathy-aerobic-exercise-that-goes-by-so-fast-because-I-play-Spider-while-I’m-doing-it-and-listen-to-NPR.  Kind of kicking myself for ignoring this option for the last 20 years out of a weird aversion to working out in our messy garage, but I’m over it. Have discovered in the last six months what Jim’s known forever: the garage Stairmaster is incredibly aerobic, is ridiculously efficient and effective, and it’s right here. Saves a ton of time and money not having to go to some club to work out. It can be done just about daily, which is Jim’s practice, and now mine, which is awesome.

Muscle tone and strength: So, over the years, I’ve had a variety of hodge podge workouts, some better than others, that I’ve designed and which I’ve done in my office. I’ve acquired tons of weights, balls, rollers, pads, bands, bars, etc and have had mixed success using them. A year ago, I decided to join DSF to use their machines.. far simpler: show up, do the circuit, be done. A rotation through the machines takes about thirty minutes and has felt reasonably comprehensive. But, I’ve had to drive there, and it costs a bunch of money which has seemed silly since I have so much stuff at home. Recently, Peter got a huge weight system that lives on our back porch, but it was way too intimidating to use.. plus it was his, plus I had DSF. But… then I got this great idea: Invite Igor over to assess the machine and all my weight lifting paraphernalia and design a comprehensive full body workout that meets my old lady needs. And that’s what we did this week. Jury’s out as to whether this time the home system remains doable and enjoyable (like the Stairmaster thing). But wow, I am encouraged. The difference this time is that Igor created this set of exercises, divided by body parts in a much smarter way than I had in the past, with weight choices and reps that are better suited to my objectives than what I may have come up with… because, you know, this is what he does. Gotta do it a few times, make some adjustments and then institutionalize it. Then, like the Stairmaster, do it regularly. I’m hopeful.

Stretching: Yes.. just have to do it. Have the routine (about 30 minutes), have the stuff right here at home (pads, bands, etc). Can do it in my office. Should do it most days.

Balance: Well, I don’t go to great lengths on this one, since we do a lot in the Tuesday/Thursday Core & Balance workouts at Fitness Garage, but I do have one thing I do at home: Stand on an inflated disk for two minutes twice a day while brushing my teeth. Sometimes on one foot, sometimes with eyes closed. Yup.

Sound good?

Here’s the weight machine.  Now that I’ve personally straightened the area and cleaned all the equipment, it feels less abstract and far less intimidating. Since taking this picture, I’ve done more to organize it. I can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow.



Here’s Igor. Amazing athlete, extremely fitness-savvy, and a super patient, kind fellow.