Friday, January 6, 2012

Slow Start to a New Year

I am still getting up at 4:40 (yes A.M.) and heading off the gym.  I missed several days over the holidays but instead of giving up because I didn't do it perfectly, I decided to just regroup and get myself back in there.

The slow start is really working for me.  When I first made this commitment to my friend Colleen, I determined to do it differently.  I decided that instead of rushing in to the gym, staying an hour and a half and working myself to bits, that I would start slowly - committing to 30 minutes.  I've done some other things differently too;  my first days I did the elliptical machine and I did not monitor my heart rate or try to do intervals or anything.  I just worked hard enough to sweat and when my time was up, I'd stop and go home.  Sometimes I have worked up to 20 minutes longer if time and interest allowed.  I have not been worrying about optimal burn, tracking calories or anything up to now.  I have just been doing my cardio and leaving it at that.

Likewise, I decided to start my circuit training right where I left off when we expanded our family almost 2 years ago.  I figured lifting little children all day had probably kept me pretty strong and it had!  I was able to pick right up where I left off (to the best of my memory, anyway) and even add weight on a couple of machines.  I have already added an extra set of repetitions and when I can get through 3 sets, I'll add weight again.

I've stopped being so picky.  For instance, I've lost my iPod.  Typically, I'd refuse to exercise without it, but I've let go of everything having to be "just so."  I think it is a set-up for failure.  I grab whatever water bottle and towel I can find and I am just trying to keep it simple.  I started with the commitment of getting to the gym 5 days each week.  Now I am also committing to 2000 calories burned each week. If those two things line up so that I actually burn more than 2000, I'll be happy, but I don't have to keep increasing it every week.

It's ironic that in the face of my New Year's Resolution to "set higher standards for myself," sometimes that looks like being saner about my standards.  I am 52.  If I can successfully exercise 5 days a week for many years to come, that will be a big boon to my long-term health.  In order to reach that higher standard of a healthy old age, I needed to lower my standards for my daily activity to a more reasonable level. 

This week, I decided to start Couch to 5K again;  the difference this time will be that in slow-start mode, if I'm not ready to advance to the next week because the week I'm on is still very challenging, I won't advance.  I will wait until I can get there without getting so discouraged I quit.   I love C25K but it does get challenging at the end.

So it is fair to say that I am starting my new year with whisper instead of "shock and awe" -- maybe that will keep it from turning into "shock and flop"!  Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Knights' Mama said...

You're my inspiration! So glad our system is working for us both. I really like what you said about the ipod. I forgot mine one day this week and then realized I didn't have a hair tie. I know it's not a big deal, but in the past not having those 2 things would have been enough to have me turn around and go home. But I did it without music (the gym is amazingly quiet and peaceful in the early am)and with my hair driving me crazy, but I did it.

Here's to reasonable resolutions!