My routine has evolved over the last decade and a half. I have not always been good about it. There have been fits and starts. Probably the most important takeaway from my experience, is to treat it like a permanent life change, not a project that ends at some point and allows you to return to your old life.
I am neither a doctor nor any kind of a qualified health professional. I am a 49 year old IT consultant with a blog. Keep that in mind. We all have to find a way to push ourselves and not get hurt. Be safe. Walking is never enough, but don’t end up like Jim Fixx either. Find the balance.
Truth be told, I have lost 50 lbs, gained 40 back, then lost 25…which is where I am today. Treating it like a project was the key mistake I made. Losing 50 lbs over 9 months then kicking back to maintain and celebrate; only to have to start all over again. Granted I have significantly more muscle today than 15 years ago, but still there was a lesson to be learned.
My current exercise routine
- CARDIO – 30 minutes of real cardio 3x per week. Run, bike, kayak, jumping jacks, racquetball, rowing machine, elliptical…whatever keeps my heart rate above 140 for 30 minutes and makes me out of breath and sweaty.
Don’t fall into the ‘walking is enough’ trap…
I understand the need to begin with walking. When I started, I couldn’t even run ¼ mile. I worked up to 3 miles over a period of 6 months. Today, I run 11 – 12 miles a week (3,3,5).
In the beginning. I had a lot of good rationalizations which led me into the trap of thinking that a 30 minute walk 3x a week as my permanent exercise routine was going to be enough. It wasn’t. Until I hired a trainer who taught me to push myself, I made zero progress. (A trainer is expensive and not necessary to be successful, but I needed a kick in the ass.)…btw the trainers are just as expensive as the escorts, but much less fun.
- Strength – at least 30 minutes of strength training 2x per week. I have alternated between free weights and body weight (meaning, pushups, situps, pull ups, etc). There are a billion choices out there. It doesn’t matter what I choose, as long as it is strengthening arms, legs and core at one point or another.
- Wary of Fitness Marketing – I didn’t go out and buy a fitness program or a bunch of gimmicky equipment from an infomercial. That stuff can certainly work as supplement to my routine. However, The trick is to have a routine that the equipment fits into as opposed to the other way around. For example, I needed more variation in my cardio and also to keep building my core. My trainer started putting me on a rowing machine at the gym. I used it so much that I bought one for the house. Conversely, my brother-in-law bought a machine from an infomercial. He rationalized that having it in the house would take away his excuses for not going to the gym. When we helped him move 5 years later, he left it on the curb, because it didn’t fit on the moving truck. It was in near mint condition.
Remember, this is a permanent lifestyle change. It is not a project or diet. The moment I stop and revert to my old ways, the shit all starts coming back…so I have chosen food and exercise levels that I can live with.
Ok, this post has run on way too long. I’ll get off my soapbox now. I am far from perfect. I just want to be better.
Feel free to email me with questions.