Phases of Improvement: Brainwashing My Way to a Six-Pack

Health, fitness, wellness, whatever you want to call it, is an iterative process. You don’t get from point A to point B by just piling on ad nauseum. You have to be methodical about the process.

If you’re just going blindly, you run a few risks. First, you could really hurt yourself if you add too much too soon. Second, you could just burn out on the process if you overdo it. Third, you might get nothing because you don’t really have set goals for what you want to accomplish. Fourth, well, I don’t have a fourth thing. Fifth, you’re going to be inefficient in your process. Hey, I guess I had a fourth thing after all.

Recently, I’ve upped my effort again. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to maintain it, but I know I’ve got a better shot right now than I had at the beginning of the year.

I thought I’d walk you through the process. It worked for me, but it may not be right for you. It’s a very slow build, which may drive some people nuts. At the same time, there are people much busier than me who may not even be able to sneak this in.

I guess you’d say the base started after moving and doing yoga twice a week. I’d injured cartilage in my chest about 9 months prior to that, so my workouts had been derailed in that time. This was a nice intro back into physical activity for me. This was also when I dropped 10 pounds. This was about a four-month period. Toward the end, I started realizing that I needed more overall activity, so I started parking farther away at work and began contemplating the Super Awesome Year of the 5K.

This gets us to the next stage: adding running. For about the next five months, I was doing three to four workouts a week, mixing running and yoga, with running taking priority. Just adding running had a big impact on my personal time. I was already noticing I had a lot less of it, and running could leave me wiped and unable to actually enjoy that time on many occasions.

Then in May I added weights at the expense of yoga. I was doing four to five workouts a week, mixing running and lifting as best I could. Because they both can be pretty impactful, causing a good deal of soreness if I pushed too hard, I had to be careful with both. I still threw in some light yoga every now and then, but I wasn’t nearly consistent enough to consider a part of the routine, and it usually only lasted a few minutes, enough time for me to basically stretch out achy muscles.

And now, we’ve gone off the deep end. I’ve been recommitting to yoga, which means my week can have up to 6 workouts (2 of each), depending on my schedule and timing of 5Ks. I’ve actually worked it so that I have 3 rest days, which is nice. It means I know I’ve got a couple of days that are going to eat my lunch, but I also know that once it’s done, it’s done. The trick with this schedule, especially early, is that I can’t push very hard in any individual workout. I’m trying to get a good balance, but if I tweak a muscle in one, then the other two workouts are in jeopardy and could lead to more injury.

So far, so good in the new routine. I’m being very careful with how I manage my time and how I fuel and rest so that I can keep up the pace. At some point, I’m sure a curveball will come in and send a week completely astray, but the longer I can maintain, the easier it will be to get back in the cycle when I fall out of the cycle. And if I survive this, I’m going to look freakin’ awesome. Like seriously. Reality show producers will want to follow me just to bask in my awesomeness. They won’t even want to film me because they’ll know my level of awesome is simply unattainable for mere mortals.

But yeah, so how is all this working out for me? Well, the 10 pounds I dropped last fall were pretty much it. I’ve fluctuated some a little above and a little below that, but that 10 pounds has pretty much been it for weight loss. Now because of the increased activity, I’d at least like to think there has been some weight redistribution that’s occurred.

Now there is one caveat to all of this: No matter what, adding more workouts means you lose other leisure time. This is something I’m really struggling with. I like to play guitar. I like to read. I like to veg out and watch TV shows occasionally.

These things have taken a serious hit over the past year, and aren’t going to get any better in the coming months if I maintain my workout regimen.

I’ve had to get more creative. I watch TV as I eat, do dishes, etc. I sneak in reading time whenever I would otherwise be goofing off on my phone at odd moments (thank you e-reader apps). The guitar hasn’t really been helped, but I do try to be more mindful to play on the days that I’m not swamped with work or workouts.

So that’s that. I’m trying push myself a little further without getting crazy. Who knows? Maybe I’ll push myself easily enough and far enough that I’ll be in great shape without even realizing what I did to myself.

Party on, Wayne.




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