Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Return of the gym rat

It's sort of interesting how my physical activity goes in cycles.  I was fairly active, including going to the gym and jogging (but no biking) in undergrad, while I basically only jogged right after I graduated.  At U Toronto, I swam a bit and was ok about going to the gym (and I was in a recreational soccer league, but mostly ended up on the bench, so ultimately I quit).  Interestingly, it was while I was going to Northwestern that I really got into quite good shape, since I was biking from Rogers Park into Evanston on a near daily basis, plus going to the gym and jogging and swimming.  Perhaps it is not too surprising that I have never quite gotten back to that level of fitness.

After I got a full time job in Chicago, I stopped going to the gym, though I started riding my bike downtown and I probably did at least a bit of running.  After we moved to New York, I stopped biking, though I jogged (most of the way to Coney Island a few times) and went to a gym about four blocks away.  I didn't go as much as I should have, of course, and the consultant lifestyle did start catching up with me.

In England, I basically only biked to work, though I did that year-round which was nice.  Actually, now that I think about it, I played soccer after work with my co-workers, though I really had trouble playing a full-time game that one time we had a serious game, playing against our Dutch office.

Back in Chicago again, I returned to the biking but somewhere along the way it seemed I developed bone spurs, so I stopped jogging.  I tried to keep up with the gym and swimming, but it was 8 or so blocks to the gym, so just beyond the threshold where I could keep up with it on a regular basis.  (We also had two small children, and this certainly impacted my ability to slip away to go to the gym...)

In Vancouver through early 2013, I had a long bike ride to work (with challenging hills) and I did a fair bit of swimming.  I still remember this pool (and hot tub) with an amazing view of the mountains.  That was pretty blissful.  But then the office moved to a remote location, and I just couldn't bike to it.  That was probably the moment things fell apart for me.

Moving to Toronto actually meant that I could start biking to work again, though I don't do it year-round.  I tried to keep up with swimming at a local community centre, but the hours for lap swimming are generally inconvenient, and it really isn't the nicest facility.  I've occasionally gone to the Regent Park Aquatic Centre, and indeed I hope to go tomorrow after work, but it hasn't been a major part of my routine.*

What has happened is that a gym opened up about two blocks away from me, and it was so inexpensive that I felt I had to try to see if I could start going again.  I was really good the first three weeks, averaging 3 times a week.  While I have fallen off that pace, I am still going twice a week (and in my defense, I have been able to bike to work 4-5 times per week, since August has been fairly dry while July was so wet).  So my level of physical activity is actually on the high end of the scale (for me), yet it still feels sustainable.  (My main beef with those weight-loss shows is that they end up putting these people into completely unsustainable routines, and they inevitably fall off the wagon and gain back almost all the weight.)

One thing I ought to do, however, is to have a doctor look at my arm, as it does feel like I sprained it, which means that I don't do as much with the weights as I would like when I do go to the gym.  My heart rate seems pretty good these days, though I still haven't lost as much weight as I would like.  I also think my blood sugars are a bit better balanced, though I haven't actually had them tested.  I'm trying not to get too discouraged.  I think if I keep at it, and make sure that I in fact do go to the gym more after I stop riding my bike for the season (usually around November), then I'll be closer to where I want to be by next spring (and should be able to drop at least one shirt size).  It usually is the winter that is the real killer for me, so I am grateful to have better options to stay in shape this winter.  I just have to take advantage of them.

* I did after work, though I only swam a very few laps, since I am out of practice.  Still, better to try to get back into it than to just give up.

No comments:

Post a Comment