So, it’s been 74 days since I began my journey to self-improvement and so far, it has been great. I am feeling more and more in control of my life as the days go by. As I’ve mentioned, I began by building a habit of taking a cold shower as a way to start my mornings. I feel like now it’s becoming automatic, I don’t really have to make myself do it, as a matter of fact I now crave it before I start my day. With that said I am ready for habit #2. I plan on making exerciser my next challenge.
The plan is basically as follows:
exercise at least 4 days a week on a bad week, and 6 days on a good week.
I am not going to join a gym, here’s why: My intentions are not to build muscle, I’m not in it for the esthetics of it. I’m in it to build my discipline and to make exercising a part of my life for years to come. In the past, I’ve joined gyms and always tried to make working out a habit; always with the idea that I want to get the six-pack and look good. Yet, I would always end up quitting after a few weeks and justifying it by saying “If someone is going to love me, they won’t care about my body” and “I’m not vane, besides brains beast brawn every time anyway, so I rather read a book” My point is that, the esthetics of working out was never enough to keep me motivated. However, working out for the person I will become if I am able to make it a habit, is much more rewarding. Also, I know that if I am able to keep at it, my energy levels will increase, my mental and physical health will improve, and the esthetics will only be a bonus.
Also the way I look at working out has changed. I used to see it as this big insurmountable mountain that had my inevitable failure waiting at it’s feet. I would always become overwhelmed thinking about losing weight, or getting in shape, with all the different workouts, diets, and regiments. I just never truly saw myself doing it. Recently however, I had an epiphany. After working out I was thinking and I realized that it is so much easier than I ever thought. It’s so easy I don’t need to be smart, I don’t need to be talented, I don’t even need lift heavy weights. All I need to do is push myself to the next rep. That’s all, nothing else matters. All I have to worry about is repeating the same motion till my muscles feel like they can’t, and then just push a little more. When I looked at it that way I realized “I can do that!, who cant that?!”. I realized that the body I always wanted is just one more rep away, all I have to do is get out there and get it.
As I mentioned before I want to make exercising a habit, I am going for gradual growth, I’m in it for the long run. There will be a point where body weight won’t be enough and I’m going to need more weight. At that point, I will consider a gym membership but I need to get there first. Side note, as a beginner it could be a bit demoralizing walking into a gym and realizing how weak you are, specially when the weight you can lift looks so small. On top of that, doing heavy weight when you’re not ready for it makes you crazy sore, which I’m sure you’ve heard is a good thing, but if you can’t move the next day it’s just not practical. It’s hard enough adding working out to your daily life, now imagine not being able to move while you’re working, parenting, and every other thing on your plate. Besides, if you can’t do ten push-ups, then you’re probably not ready for the gym. What I’m trying to say is that don’t overwork yourself when you first start, because if you workout so hard one day, that you become too sore to work out for the next three days, then it’s going to be harder making working out into a habit.
I’ve been exercising for the past two weeks, I still get sore and I’m still building muscle, but I’m not so sore that I can’t move. I am focusing on calisthenics as my means to working out. There’s tons of information on the subject out there, and if you want me to go into more detail on it, or share my workout plan let me know in the comments. My goal is to keep at it, keep increasing my reps, and continue getting stronger. My strategy goes as follows:
- I’m going to make goals based on the number of reps. As of right now I’m doing all my exercises till failure so I can know where I stand and I can push my limits each time. The reason is because the first few days I had assumed I can do 5 sets of 10 push-ups adding up to 50 push-ups total. At first I was sore but after a few days I was able to do it and I wouldn’t feel sore the next day. Intensity is important, so increasing the number reps is crucial for growth. The only way to do that is to push your own limits every time. So now I do each set till failure, four to five sets, and that’s really getting me sore the next day.
- I’m also going to make goals based on my percent body fat. Though I don’t believe the methods for calculating percent body fat are very accurate, I think it will serve as a reference very well. For example, if I calculate 20% body fat, whether it’s accurate or not I can use that number as a reference for setting, for example, the goal of lowering my body fat two percent in two weeks, or simply tracking my progress. You get the idea.
I’ll leave you with this: Don’t get overwhelmed, and don’t pile so much on your plate that you end up walking away from the table. Remember, you’re not going to see gains right away so pace yourself, its better to take longer to reach your goal, than to quit the first week.