Monday, September 16, 2013

September Fitness Update

Well, it's been close to five months now that I've been using a resistance band as part of my regular workout. Still using the same band, the black band, with 15 to 20 pounds of resistance, from Black Mountain Products. Though I am noticing a little bit of wear and tear on it, and the way things look I doubt it will last longer than a year of regular use. Which is unfortunate, but because I'm really enjoying the workout I'll probably replace it when the time comes so that I can stick with it.

I have not missed a single week since I started. I usually do my resistance band workout three days a week, but there have been a couple of times when I only did it twice, and one time, when I was sick recently, that I only did it once in an entire week, but more often than not I have been sticking with it consistently, doing it three and sometimes four times per week. Where I do between 2 to 4 sets, 10 to 20 reps, per exercise. But I do not do every possible exercise, I just focus on four upper body exercises, namely: bicep curls, front lateral raises (for the shoulders and forearms), chest press, and rows.

I really enjoy resistance bands, I like the fluid motion, and the fact that it exercises strength, flexibility, and cardio all in one workout. But you're not going to get super strong or ripped from using resistance bands, at least not the ones I'm currently using. They are really good for toning, though, and that's always a good thing.

So if you're looking for a lean, muscularly toned body, without getting really big, and just moderately strong, they work really well for that.

It's also fun. And it's easy, in the sense that it doesn't take a lot of time and the exercises are really simple and straightforward to do. And it's also really safe. I think it would be very difficult to injure yourself using them, in terms of straining yourself or using improper form, as is the case with heavy weights, other than the rare case of a band snapping and hitting you in the face. But if you want to get really strong, and into the absolute best shape of your life, you have to do other things too.

Which I do, to some extent, but I'm just not pushing myself really hard, because of how hot it's been, I haven't had the energy.

I also still use a set of 10 pound dumbbells, mostly for shoulder strengthening exercises. And for everything else, I do body weight exercises, squats, crunches, triceps dips, etc., and I still walk a lot, occasionally ride my bike, and even less occasionally I jog. But as the weather gets cooler, things will pick up, and I'll do a lot more.

My push-up program has once again fallen to the wayside. I mean I still do a few once and awhile, but have dropped it from my regular routine, the things I do no matter what every single time. I guess it's because I was doing push-ups regularly for a few weeks without seeing any significant improvement, where my body was feeling more and more like a dead weight, even though I should have been getting stronger, that I got so frustrated with it that I gave it up. I thought to myself, this, feeling exhausted for nothing, is not worth it. I think it's the heat though. The weather is my handicap! I think if it was like 30 degrees cooler, it would be a lot easier for me. Which means like 60 or 70 degrees.  Because lately, even though I'm sticking with my other exercises, I often feel like I'm chronically fatigued and overheated, like I can't cool down, and it's very difficult sometimes to find the strength and energy to exercise at all.

But I do it anyway, as much as I can, at least. I feel a sense of urgency about it, possibly even more than anything else: that no matter what I do, wherever I find myself in my life, as far as where I'm living, where I'm working, and how things are going, whether things are good or bad, that no matter what, I will never let myself go. That I will never allow myself to get fat and flabby and out of shape and old before my time. That I will never allow myself to consistently engage in unhealthy eating habits. There may be occasional moments of weakness, of engaging in bad habits, junk food, fast food, getting drunk, smoking (not that I do, but just saying for the sake of example), that if I mess up and make poor choices, if I do something I ordinarily swear against, knowing it to be wrong, unhealthy, unwise, that I will correct myself as soon as possible.

That I am dedicated 100 percent to health and fitness, to eating healthfully and exercising regularly, and this is something that I vow to remain dedicated to for the remainder of my life.

Why do I exercise? Why do I seek to improve my strength and stamina?

I exercise because it's good for my health, it makes me look and feel more attractive, it boosts my confidence, improves my mood, helps me think more clearly, and it just basically makes me feel better all around. But I'm also thinking about it in terms of survival, about increasing my life expectancy, and also in increasing my chances of surviving any kind of an accident, disaster, or attack. All kinds of things could happen, where you may need to run for your life, swim for your life, climb for your life, carry a heavy weight for your life, or fight for your life. Without strength and endurance, you will be less likely to survive challenges that depend on physical fitness for your survival. So I'm always kind of looking at my exercise regimen in those terms, whether it's lifting weights or running, that maybe someday it will help save my life, or give me the strength needed to help save someone else's life.

That's how I look at it. Though at the same time, I know my limits. I know what I'm not, and I also know what I don't wish to be. I am neither an Olympian nor a Triathlete. I am strong, but I could be stronger. I am fit, but I could be fitter. And no matter how strong or fit I become, there will always be someone stronger and fitter than I am. It's not a competition. I don't think about it in those terms. I am somewhat of a competitive person, but when it comes to fitness, it's not about that for me at all.

Yeah, it's about health and survival. But I don't overdo it. I stick to a regular exercise regimen, where my progress has been slow, but steady, and anything more at this time I feel it would likely be too much, resulting in sickness or injury. So even though I may have a long ways to go before reaching my ideal level of strength and endurance, I'm building up my health and fitness a little bit everyday, and so I would say that things are good. As long as I stick with it everyday, I'll get there eventually.

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*This is post 8 of 20, part of my 20 Posts in 30 Days challenge.