Wednesday, April 27, 2011

special addition: getting started or restarted (with one important addition)

I wrote an email to a dear friend who asked me "how do I get started again?". For me, it was not about getting restarted a year and half was about getting started period. This post is about the exercise part of this journey to date: an overview if you will.

I have never been an athelete, but I have been very physcial most of my life. Doing labor or working hard was never an issue, but running, lifting weights, exercising was never something that was incoroprated into my daily or even weekly life. So, when I got an office job after Carolina and I ballooned up to 350lbs...the physciality of my life was over and it was surreal how I lost myself..and I thought it was all over...but it wasn't. What had to be over was me thinking I could "think" my way out of this without help...and then truly a gift from God (through Ashley, Kristi via Adam and his beloved Kayleigh) happened:

So, for me
#1) "getting started" meant to have "have a desire" to do something healthy and good for myself.
that was "easy" because I was at a point of change or die.
#2) be willing to listen to someone or somethign new and unlearn the things that I thought I knew or had convinced myself about diet and exercise and do it differently
everthing I tried failed. I had to listen. period.
#3) be willing to be patient and take things slowly
this was and still is hard. But I have LOTS of support and love. This has been and continues to be an amazing gift. It is ONE DAY AT A TIME! and daggone if miracles do not happen!
#4) be willing to fail, to not be accomplished from the very begining: practicing "progress not perfection"
By being a day at a time and remembering I am falable and a human (but never letting that be an excuse) I can always recover and be ok.
#5) be willing

It was #5 that was the most important. I had to be willing. I had to let go of my will and all of the notions, ideas and beliefs I had about what was right and wrong with exercise and listen and be open to experts..or at least someone that had training in these areas that could help guide me. Of course, that person came in the form of my now best friend and trainer, master trainer and head of fitness at 02, Adam Freeman.

Adam got me to first concentrate on my smaller muscles, working with lighter weights, and doing balancing buidling up those smaller muscles I was able to do more, safely. I felt "stupid" ( I can remember that so well) with those little tiny weights in the gym with all those "he men" around me. But Adam saw that and help me realize that this was helping me to LIVE and be better. He was right. I could not even look in the mirror at the time I was so ashamed. But I pushed through. I had to be WILLING to believe..Adam, everyone in that gym helped me at that time..Michael at home said how proud he was of me for going...It felt so good and I pushed through on those little weights and amazingly..i was able to do more and more...they/he was right!

All my life whenever I would try an exercise program I would go at it like a bull in a china shop and end up hurting myself..that old notion of "no pain, no gain" was bs...but that was a notion I had to get rid of. This "he man" hurt yourself mess that is happening at certain places in town..nope..I am not going to get hurt..It is about getting healthy and that is what has happened!

I had to also MAKE TIME FOR ME AND FOR THIS! This was the biggest of all! How in the WORLD could I POSSIBLY find an hour to exercise?!! How could I ADD to ALL I DO and have time for everything else that I need to get done? Lord have mercy..oh fiddle dee dee and blah blah blah..well, here is teh deal i am now up close adn personal with. By NOT making the time..but not getting my priorities in line, I was heaving and not being able to breath and get up stairs, was pushing a 54 inch waist..was on three medications: diabetes, heart and cholesterol, was damn near death. Did I have time to LIVE? did I have time to be better? to Honor this life I was given? To feel better? Daggone it..the answer had to be yes..and while I did not feel that way neccessarily at first..I was WILLING to make it make the take the time..and as I made the time..I...not better. If I am going to do the things I love..If I am going to love those that are in my life..I have to love ME enough to show up for this part of my life..and today I can honestly say I do..but Michael, My Mother, My friends..and Adam loved me enough in the begining until I could get to this place..and I thank God everyday...THis is my only MUST..that willingness to make the time..that willingness to take the time. It is essential.

I also had to unlearn the idea that weights were going to take fat off...Nope..that is Cardio with weght as I progressed I had strength building with the weights and cardio to work my heart, burning those calories and helping my endurance..and as I got even healthier there were (as I am doing right now) combining the two to do endurance and strength building on the same day.

Stretching to was essential. How can muscles grow if you do not stretch? It is absolutley neccessary after each run, work out, everthing that is physical. And oh yeah..I am 44..might want to take care of this body..right? Might want to be good to myself while I am working hard...maybe a bath..some relaxation? :)

Form was another biggie I had to learn! Frankly I have learned that if I don't have form right, I might as well not be doing the exercise at all becuase I will 1.) get hurt 2.) rely on muscles that are not part of the target for the exercise 3.) not be getting the benefit of the exercise. Having Adam to show me that form is invaluable.

So...For me...I began on the first it was 10 minutes at level 8 at 4 miles an hour...then 20 minutes..then 30...and I kept building (now it is level 16 at 8 miles an hour). Then we went out and do sprints..I could not run more than 100 feet at a tiem..but then we would run 2 minutes. and walk. run two minutes and walk..then, I was able to run the loop..then a 5 I can run 30 minutes at 5.5 mph on the tread mill!

Cardio is still at 30 minutes for me when I do just Cardio (not the biking or the kayaking). I am not really good at running or elliptical more than that cause I get bored silly. But get me on my bike or on that kayak...I have to be careful not to get lost! :) But 30 minutes on the former burns 300 or more calories. Not bad for an old man! :)

Same for the weight training. Starting out with sometimes 5 and 10 pound using 25lb and 40 lb...on the leg press, starting out with 100 using 300 lbs! But it was slow, overtime progress.

But here is what I committed to, one day at a time, for myself and I love it:

MWF I do strength for an hour in the morning before work
Each person has to determine a routine that is best for them in these exercises, but that can be done easily with a consultation with a trainer. If you cannot afford a trainer each time, you can do a "master trainer" session where they map all this out for you and you do it on your own after they show you correct form.

Tues and Thursday and Saturday I so some kind of Cardio: Run, Kayak. Bike..something fun...
on Sunday..I have a day "off"...

This is a life I love...
But I will tell you..had it not been for Adam....the inspiration of the life of his Daughter that brought him into my life and her short time on this earth..none of this would have come to me. God works through so many ways into and through our lives. It still humbles me.

The Anniversary of Kayleigh's passing is coming up and we are going to do a biodegradable balloon release at the Homewood Suites At MayFaire on May 7th at 11 am. If you don't know the full story of her miracle, check it out at

If you begining or "re-starting" your journey..I hope this helps. I have said and I will continue to say that the gift that was given to me is one a gift as long as i continue to earn it by paying if forward. I hope that it is being opened by someone right now.

Much Love!

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