Monday, October 13, 2014

Time to Get Our Workout On

Now, if only I could remember where I put my pants.

A typical day in the gym for Char and I goes something like this:

Char – So, what do you want to do today?
Me – I don’t know, what do you want to do?
Char – I don’t know, maybe some cardio and some weights…
Me – Yeah, I suppose. Here grab these kettle bell things and swing them around a bit.
Char - Ok. What's this giant box thing for?
Me - I think you're supposed to jump on and off it. But first, walk around the weight room with this heavy medicine ball, and make sure you’re sweating and breathing heavy when you do.
Char – Why?
Me – ‘Cause that’s how people know you’re serious. And while you do that, I’ll grunt and slam this giant bean bag into the floor so everyone knows we’re not messing around over here.

Too Much Weight?
30-90 minutes later we’ve stumbled through a hodgepodge workout of CrossFit-ish moves, weight training, and some other made up stuff. We’re not really focused and no closer to our personal fitness goals than we were before we started.

Used to be, we could just walk in and dream up a dozen or so things to do to get a decent smoke session out of ourselves, but the last month has had us in so many different places and with gyms that don’t have the equipment we’ve come to expect (talking about you Fort Meade, where are all the medicine balls?) and we’re running into the gym rat version of writer’s block. Our workouts are becoming mediocre and boring. Oh, there’s some sweating and some grunting going on, but if we really want to pursue our physical goals seriously, it’s time to come up with a plan.

It’s time to get serious.

So, we’ve come up with a menu of options for inflicting pain and suffering on our bodies in pursuit of physical progress (or prowess; depends on how I feel when I wake up). Each day has a specific focus, with different options that we put together for each focus. For example, choose Weight Training for Tuesday and then pick the Dumbbell Destruction plan from the list; get ripped. Should be simple enough and yet satisfy the Choose Your Own Adventure Book desire embedded in both of us from growing up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Mondays (Endurance Cardio):
Trail Runs (Fort Meade and Maryland are covered with short and medium trails for running)
Lap Swim
Spinning (The apartment complex has two awesome spin bikes with selectable workout videos)

Tuesdays (Strength):
Weight Training
Yoga (as a recovery or second workout option)

Wednesdays (Speed Cardio):
Track Intervals
Swim Intervals
Spin Intervals

So, um, basically it’s an interval kind of day.

Thursday (Strength):
Weight Training

Thursday has the same focus as Tuesday but a different workout.  So, whatever we do on Tuesday, we can’t do on Thursday.

Friday (Makeup Day):
Fill in the blank with whatever you feel you need.

Each day was chosen and built around our plan to build a fantastic fitness foundation (alliteration!) while in Maryland. The intervals help build the speed that we both struggle with in cycling and running. The CrossFit helps Char learn how to jump onto something taller than a toaster oven. The swimming satisfies my innate desire to become the world’s hairiest triathlete. All of this while avoiding the distraction of actual races and organized events and building the foundation in the three core areas of fitness that I often use to judge my health: strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Weekends are adventure days where we choose something fun and exciting. This is a huge change for us. Before now, the weekends were filled with long cycling or running sessions, but we don’t have our bikes here in Maryland and chose not to commit to any specific long distance events in the near future. We can finally use the weekends to explore the local sights, history, culture, and even make up some crazy adventures to combine our fitness with what’s available. 

Stay tuned for the National Mall Scavenger Hunt Adventure that we’re currently working on.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bicycle Detox/Withdrawal Day 22

Yesterday I caved in and went to a bike store. I couldn’t help myself.  Char and I were already shopping in the area and saw the signs pointing to the store. They looked so innocent at first, colorful and inviting. Before I knew it I was knee deep in embrocation and chamois butter shelves, surrounded by the smell of rubber tires and the feel of moisture wicking spandex. The friendly proprietor invited us to their weekly rides and their upcoming indoor trainer sessions for the winter months.

I cried inside a little thinking of my bike, disassembled and packed into a wooden crate somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean.

And the withdrawal symptoms are starting to surface. This is what I get for becoming addicted/obsessed/hooked on cycling while trying to become a well-rounded athlete.

But alas, it will be another 4 months before I can unwrap my carbon fiber steed and unleash the monster upon the romantic countryside. There was only so much stuff I was allowed to pack into the Jeep for the trip to Maryland, and that was limited to what I absolutely had to have for the school here, what Char and I needed to survive, and what the pets needed to be taken care of. Everything else was shipped ahead of us to Italy, where it will hopefully be waiting in one piece once we arrive.

Until then, I will have to make the most of the spin bikes in the neighborhood gym room. Also, I suppose this is the time to focus on other areas of my fitness health, to build a foundation of strength, endurance and flexibility without the distraction of trying to get in enough miles to feel accomplished. There are plenty of beautiful woods around the area and must be a few trails to explore.

So, expect the next few months to be full of other fitness related topics, whining about not being able to bike, and anything else loosely related to my pursuit of terrific triathlon training. Though, Char and I might be making some special trips back to the Twenty 20 bike store to satisfy my itch, just a little bit.