Ouch

Edgar Rojas and I discussed excercise on an episode of the PVC Security podcast. He was coaching soccer (football) and being mobile while counting his steps. He was getting healthy and losing weight and feeling good.

I talked about my challenges with exercise. To sum up: I do not like exercise. Even when I was at my peak active in high school and college, playing sports and such, I did not like exercise. I loved competition, but not exercise. I never got the “runners high”, even when I ran cross country as part of baseball preseason training.

Over the years I tried other plans for health, the 7 minute workout and yoga and a walking desk. Only the last one stuck, but as much as I walked I laid plywood down and set up my tall chair.

Health wise, the event that caused the greatest benefit was when I was laid off in 2013. I was over 260 pounds, 118 kilograms, from stress and travel (2 out of every 3 weeks on the road) and a crazy sleep schedule to support my global operations team. I got down to my current 96 kg, 211 lbs, pretty quickly but since platoed at that weight.

A recent health scare got me re-evaluating my general health. I cut back drastically on my alcohol intake. I moved to a largely pescitarian diet (though cheese remains a delicious challenge). I go vegetarian or vegan as much as possible, a challenge in Japan. The theoretical needle on my digital smart scale barely registered the changes.

I hit the gym.

Living in Japan means, among other things, that daylight savings time is not a thing. Around the Summer Solstice the sun is up before 04:30. I long ago preferred an early start to my day. 04:30 is a bit extreme, yet that is when I wake up without an alarm. I might “sleep in” to an incredible 05:15, but it is a rare day I sleep past that.

What to do?

I hit the gym.

My building has a gym in the 2nd sub basement past the bicycle parking garage. In the gym there are three treadmills, two cycling devices, and four weight-type machines. There is another space for yoga and 7 minute workouts and such.

I hit the gym after waking up. I press start on the coffee maker and head out the door. Being Japan, I wear outdoor shoes to transit from my apartment to the gym, then change into my workout shoes (and yes, I did originally type tennis shoes because I am of a certain age).

I like the machines. I like the weight machine were I can work out my upper body three different ways that all hurt different. I like the machine where I can do something like row a boat or pull down a … I do not know … a dead body? I like the machine where I can work out my legs while on my back and then while on my front. Even the treadmill, the foundation of my walking desk, gets new found respect in light of the other gizmos and gadgets.

These are early days, but I hit the gym 5 of 7 of these early days.

The weirdness is that there is no direct competition. If I had a brother or sister or friend to compete against, I can see it. But I do not. I wanted to work out today, but I know there needs to be a rest and recovery day. Even cross country running for baseball in high school, I did it more to beat my friends and teammates than to be healthy or anything.

Will I sustain this?

I do not know.

What I do know is that I am feeling the cognitive benefits. Combining it with the concept of Deep Work means I get serious work done before I get mired in meetings to a certain extent. A lot of my meetings involve the US and Europe, so a 06:00 or 23:00 conference call happen.

When my calendar is clear, using the time for deep work after a workout seems, based off of a short term anecdotal bullshit, to do me good.

Will I sustain this?

I do not know.

I know that I want to sustain this. I also know that no one sabotages me like I do. I am my own worst enemy, as we all are to ourselves.

I like that I seem to like those damn machines. Maybe that is enough.

What about you? Does any of this ring true to you? Share your thoughts and comments.