(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Gym Workouts

I go to this mega-gym.  I mean, it has everything.  All sorts of rooms and machines and programs, a few pools, literally, something for everyone.  The owner is an entrepreneur, and to his great credit he always is innovating.  What started out as a small place is in certain ways a tribute to fitness.

Except there is one problem.  I tend to think that many are working out the wrong way.  There are the muscleheads who lift and look swollen but who do zero cardio and zero flexibility work.  There are the cardioheads who do only cardio, and even then they do not do it right.  I think of a friend with a sizeable gut who goes onto an elliptical with all of the force of a saunter in the park on a nice spring day.  He goes at one slow pace for at least a half an hour, but what does that really do for him?  And then there are the minority of flexibility types, who do things like yoga but only yoga.  No cardio, no resistance training.

I am not an expert on fitness or diet, but my doctors tell me that my heart is in good shape and my numbers are good, that my bone density for someone in his mid-fifties is fine, etc.  So I must be doing something right.  I don't want to preach to you as to what to do, except consult one of the fitness experts at your health club and get on a program that combines all three aspects of fitness.  Do some cardio, but interval work designed to get your heart rate up and staying up for say 20-30 minutes.  Do some resistance training, but make sure to balance upper and lower body and the anterior and posteriors of your body (i.e., front and back, as many just focus on the front).  And do some dynamic stretching, so that you remain flexible (feeling stretched out also is a stress reducer).  And change it up every now and then so that you do not get bored.

You will feel and look better.  You must be patient -- the hardest thing is to start and stay with a routine until it starts to feel good.  But if you are going to work out, try to get some good advice and try to do it right.  I see too many people in the gym who are out of balance and, in the end, could be doing more harm in the long run or, better but still not good, not doing much that really helps them.  Some go for social time, some go to tell themselves that they are doing something, and others really work it.  That means pushing and pulling yourself hard, breaking a sweat, lifting heavy weights, pulling heavy weights, stretching and going hard on an elliptical, treadmill, arc trainer, what have you. 

Don't just show up.  While showing up, of course, is key, have at it.  Make the most of your time at the gym, just don't tell yourself that you are working out and simply feel good about the act of showing up and going through the motions.  Remember, at times the biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves.  The questions you should be asking are -- is this a good workout for me, is this covering the risk areas for someone my age, and am I pushing myself enough to get into good and better shape.  You might not like the answers initially, but keep challenging yourself so that you use your workouts to maximize your health.

You will be glad that you did.


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