Personal Fitness

El Fiji Grande

Proud TNPer
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Introduction

Personal health is something I hardly ever discuss here, but it's something that's increasingly on my mind as I carry on with life. I used to have a superb metabolism and considered the world my oyster. I could eat anything I wanted, in any quantity, and I'd only get taller. I hated PE class, and didn't go to the gym, preferring instead hiking, cycling, and swimming. By mid-high school, PE was no longer a required class, so I stopped taking it. I was still hiking every weekend, but once college hit, that started to fall by the wayside too. I spent more of my time studying and participating in engineering organizations, only hiking when I found time or felt like it. Now that I have a job, I do very little physical activity during week days, and partake in only occasional hiking on weekends. Part of that's moving to Wisconsin, where there's simply a limited availability of mountains to climb, oceans to swim, and forests to explore. Part of that's scheduling, given my work hours and board gaming hobby. Part of that is that a lack of fitness means those activities require more exertion, and are therefore simply less fun.

I've always been one for lofty dreams, and I like chasing them. I want to explore the world, and I want to spend more time outdoors. I always try to see the world from another perspective, and I enjoy being challenged. In fact, I have a lifelong goal of someday becoming an astronaut. While the odds are (pardon the pun) astronomically low, no one can stop me from trying. For me, it's always been a matter of personal determination and work ethic.

Loathe am I to complain without acting upon these goals. I'm doing this for myself, and this blog will help keep me accountable and focused. I'm starting to become concerned with my body image for the first time in well.. ever. That's not a good thing, and it's something I intend to reverse by putting in the effort. So here goes nothing.
 
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El Fiji Grande

Proud TNPer
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3/26/2020

I always feel terrible if I don't get the chance to get my blood flowing at least once per day. It degrades my focus, drains my energy, and reduces my motivation to do...anything. It's kind of counter-intuitive that pushing myself to get moving at the start of each day actually gives me more energy to get through and enjoy the rest of it. For instance, I hate the act of getting up early, but I never fail to get more out of each day when I do.

Having endured the Wisconsin winter, working from before dawn until after dusk, I realize I've been lazy. It's too easy to try to pass off my worries for another day, or encourage myself to just find time on the weekend to go hiking or to get outside. I've had opportunities each day to exercise, but I've passed nearly all of them up. That's on me, and can't be scapegoated on Wisconsin, on work, or on anyone else. After reevaluating how I prioritize my time, I've concluded that spending at least a few minutes each day on fitness will make a big difference.

It's an odd time to start. With the second day of the stay at home order in Wisconsin, gyms are closed, and more people are encouraged to spend more, if not all of their time inside. Perhaps it's already getting to me. I felt like I had to do something. So I attempted to run a mile for the first time in three years. Didn't go so well. Not only could I not keep running the whole way, but I got the worst mile time in my life: 11:53. My second worst was 10:04, some years ago. My best time ever was just under six minutes. I generally consider an 8:00 mile time to be alright. It's nothing spectacular, but it's also achievable. It'll be a long up-hill battle back to eight minutes. My first goal will be to keep running the entire mile, no matter how long it takes. My second goal will be to get the time under ten minutes. My third goal will be under nine, and fourth under eight. I'll be keeping track of mile times above.
 
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El Fiji Grande

Proud TNPer
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3/27/2020

I woke up today earlier than usual, feeling hungover. I'd gone to bed in the wee hours of the morning, and had dreamed of nuclear powered flying ocean liners. Naturally, that meant I was beyond drowsy. Since I'm now working at home, I have a little more flexibility with my hours, so I decided to go on a morning run this time instead. I plotted a new route, this time on more level ground. Yesterday's run had two slight uphills and one large downhill section, and I'd prefer to keep it flat, at least for now. Secondly, I donned swim shorts instead of the jeans I had worn yesterday. Weirdly, I discovered I don't own a single other pair of shorts anymore, besides the swim shorts. I also decided to bring a small water bottle with me, though I ultimately didn't need it. As I started on my run, I felt the crisp morning air against my face, and I thought about how good it was to be alive. While I didn't keep running the whole way, I made it substantially farther before I slowed down. Towards the end, I put in a sprint to finish it off. 10:03. My third worst time ever. I really don't think my running ability has improved at all since yesterday. Rather, I think I removed many of the disadvantages I had in yesterday's run, and made this route more comparable to miles I've done in the past.
 

El Fiji Grande

Proud TNPer
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3/28/2020

I hate doing pushups. More than most people. Even back when I was fit, I recall having noticed that pushups placed a ton of stress on my wrists and elbows in ways that made them particularly unpleasant. However, I recall situps being slightly better. While they didn't have the joint paint of pushups, I recall the disturbing sensation of feeling each of my vertebrae rhythmically impact the mat or gym floor. I could do 35-40 situps reliably, with 47 being the most I ever did in one go. I think the most pushups ever is something like 25. I know, I'm a wimp.

I've decided I want to do situps as part of my routine. Problem is, I discovered this morning that I am now incapable of even a single one. How is this possible - I'm 22 and can't do situps?! I'm not even close. I strain against my weight, and I can barely manage to get my head above the carpet. Even cheating, and using my arms to build momentum to pull myself up is strenuous. I need to work back to this. As much as I like to equate fitness to my mile time metric, even I can't ignore that that's an incomplete picture. So I'm going to start doing other exercises. My idea is to start small and work my way back into things. I'd rather see continuous improvement than making a huge effort all at once and losing motivation.

Having failed situps, I instead did repetitions of like 1/8 situps, which is as far I could go. It's been misting all morning, and while my flight lesson was cancelled, I still have to do some work today despite it being the weekend. I've got some big deadlines on Monday, and wasn't as productive during the week as I'd hoped. But while I feel an obligation to stay near home to get that done, that's no excuse not to get outside. I started this morning with the Harvard Step Test. The reason I selected it is because it has really quantifiable results that will serve as a good metric over time. It also doesn't require any special equipment (just stairs and a stopwatch). I'll keep track of results above.

[further updates pending]
 
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