After long months of intermittent exercise brought on by family craziness, business trips, bouts of novel writing and a dozen other excuses, I'm finally getting back to a consistent exercise regime. I had been getting to the gym and pool intermittently over the spring and summer, but for the most part, I've been slacking.
And it shows.
I’d settled into a good routine. Get off work at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., go to the gym, and then get home by 6:00 to 6:30 in time for dinner with the family. Take care of the kids – giving them baths and cleaning up the house – and help herd them into bed by 8:30. Then my wife and I would have the evening to ourselves. That was the theory, and it was also the practice for a good long while.
And then Luke became a toddler.
I look like death warmed over. There are deep bags under my eyes, my neck muscles are vise-tight despite a massage on Saturday, and my face has that hang-dog, puffy look that comes from one too many nights spent sleeping far too little.
This is actually an improvement.
Things were worse in December and January, which were hell on sleep in the Newquist household as the kids forgot how to sleep through the night, family emergencies smashed our piece of mind, and a nasty stomach virus had my wife and the baby fighting to keep food down. And while it feels like we’ve been under siege for the last three days fighting this virus. Not all of my sleep deprivation is family induced though. There was a marathon session of Civilization IV of Saturday night, and more than a few late night DVD forays to watch the two Resident Evil sequels, the first two discs of Doctor Who, Season 3, and the Futurama movie Bender’s Big Heist.
Some days, I’m my own worst enemy.
So that plan I had for GenCon to hit the gym every morning before my games started? Yeah, that didn't work out so well. Combined with 11 days of family vacation including lots of good food, but not a lot of hard exercise, GenCon saw me gain six pounds.
I ended up not making it to the gym on Thursday, but I did walk to work so I got some exercise. I made a concerted effort to get there on Friday, despite it being Game Day (which usually end up being frantic to one degree or another) and road a stationary bike for a half hour while listening to the Dungeons & Dragons Podcast.
It used to be that after a tough day at work I'd sit on the couch and play some Halo or slaughter a few hundred undead in Diablo II. A few years and two years later, I'm finding that going to the gym is what relaxes me now.
Astounding, isn't it? Today was a rough day, mostly because of a mistake I made that I should of caught. It wasn't an end-of-the-world sort of mistake, but it was aggravating. Because Sue and I were juggling our schedules so she could go to yoga, I had to skip the gym after work, but the itch was still there, made worse by a frustrated state of mind. So when Sue got back, I headed down to the gym and worked out for about 40 minutes.
I made it to the gym two days in a row. Excellent. This time around it was the treadmill on intervals for 25 minutes. I also walked my commute today, for another 20-25 odd minutes of exercise. On the downside, I had coffee and a brownie for lunch, but you have to pick your battles.
After a dismal week in which I only made it to the gym one day out of seven, I'm redoubling my efforts to do better this week. I'm shooting to get to the gym five days this week, partly to make up for last week, partly because vacation's coming up and I need to get in as much exercise as I can before gorging on beer and steak at GenCon, and partly because I bought my first pair of waist 36 jeans in 10 years ... and I'm hyper-motivated.
It's been a crazy summer, with a major project that threatens to consume all my working hours, and myriad home improvement headaches around the house that have been eating at my free time (thus the lack of posts around here last week).