A Long, Slow Journey

Day 27 – I went to the gym late in the day today and being Saturday, not many people were there. That was a good thing for me. I had access to just about everything. Plus, I didn’t feel rushed to get out of someone’s way. So I stretched my time out and worked slower. That didn’t bode especially well for the cardio part of my workout, but it did give me the opportunity to concentrate on form.

Apparently, I concentrated a little too much because I came away with a strained muscle in my low back; not a lot of pain, just a pulling sensation that I know is not normal. I did my 1,000 crunches, stretched a bunch, lifted weights and walked some.

I came away today thinking the habit is now established. Going to the gym is neither an anticipation or a dread. Now, it’s just what I do–again. I hope this mindset stays with me throughout the Spring and Summer months. It’s mighty easy to skip a workout when the sun is shining and it’s warm outside.

The problem is that when you skip what is necessary you end up doing what is not and often what you shouldn’t.

Living In The Here & Now

Day 26 – As much as my mind dreams about the good ole days when I was thinner & quicker, my body needs a lot more rest these days. I’ve never been a heavy or long sleeper, buy now I find myself going to bed earlier so I can still get up at 4 AM every day. Doing that requires a more strategic choice of workout times.

On days like today, following a major workout session yesterday, a morning gym time is pretty much out of the question. Add to that systemic soreness and I wondered if I’d even feel like doing anything today.

So, I went to my new fallback. . .you guessed it, extensive stretching. It keeps me from getting stiff, it works out a lot of the muscle kinks, and allows increased circulation to relieve the nasty soreness.

It’s certainly not exactly the same as going to the gym and stretching on the mats, but it’s close. In some ways it may even be better. I don’t feel rushed, all the equipment is always at my disposal at home, and I can stretch multiple times a day without going out the door.

That’s been a big adjustment for me because my mind says you can only do gym work in a gym. I really do know better. It’s a mind game, for sure.

For now, I’m going to take a nap. . .before I go to bed. That’s what old people do.

Run Forrest, Run

Day 25 – Running is in my blood, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s still in my bones, especially my feet.  I love to run. More precisely, I love to sprint. Distance stuff is very hard for me.

I have new running shoes–so it was time to run. Laced them up tight, stretched myself out, walked a few laps to warm up my legs, and off I went. Wind sprints, my best friend for getting the heart rate up quickly and my worst enemy for shin splints. Today, I got my fair share of both. My new Saucony’s fit perfectly and with a good pre-run stretch, I was able to increase acceleration significantly. On a 1/16th  mile indoor track, ACceleration is not really the problem; DEceleration is.  The wall at the turns come into view quickly.

And still, I run. It feels good to get these old bones in motion. It feels good to still have a little kick left. And it feels good to have a much younger runner come by and pat you on the back with a smile and encouragement.

So, I run. Every time a little uneasiness begins to appear in my shins and feet, I think maybe it’s time to stop running. But, no, it may be time to slow down or run less often.  This one thing is true. . .runners run.

Soon, it’ll be warm outside and the days will be longer. I can’t wait. Then I’ll do some of that stuff I say I don’t like.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world. . . Romans 1:20 [ESV]

Another Day, Another Pain

Day 24 — Today, like most other days in this quest, I worked about as hard as I can work. Maybe, if I were still working with a trainer, I could work a little harder, but I doubt it. I’m pushing myself almost to the edge of my capability. No complaint here, unless talking about strain and pain is complaining. I don’t believe it is because it’s just a report about what happens to a senior adult body when you push it like a person much younger.

Oh, but I forgot–when I was a teenager and it was a football or track coach pushing me, it hurt then, too. And when I was in my 20’s running up and down the hills with my running partner, it hurt then, too. And when I was in my 50’s with a heart about to explode because I weighed too much, my cholesterol was too high, and my nutrition was horrible, it hurt then, too.

Now I’m in my 60’s, working harder than ever on nutrition and fitness and–it hurts.  I’m not hurting because I’m lazy or abusive to myself, I’m hurting because my muscles and bones are responding favorably to the work. And, I assure you, that’s a very good thing.

So, I’ll keep stretching, lifting, and running as long as I’m able. Maybe I’ll get to live to see all my grandchildren graduate and start their own careers and families.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6 [ESV]

It’s A Hard Life, At Least I Hope So

Day 23 – Have I mentioned that gym life is difficult? Yeah, at least a few hundred times, I think. The upside is better health and, for some, a better looking physique. I pretty much gave up on that last part a good while ago.

I have noticed, though, that the harder I work, the harder I get. Some muscles groups are responding well, others not so much. . .yet.  Any lack of fitness training leads to loss of tone. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a few days, a few weeks, or much longer.

The older I get, the more I know I need to work hard to be able to maintain simple things like balance. Good fitness and nutrition leads to stronger bones, better digestion and metabolism, and even better rest.

I worked hard today at the gym; I felt better when I finished. Now that my mind is getting back into the habit of regular physical training, it is much easier to do the work and enjoy the results.

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Day 22 – Last week, after BODY STRONG & BODY ROCK, I talked about the benefits of stretching. I am more convinced than ever that if I had stretched, like I should all the years, I would’ve been injured less and felt better after every workout.  Now I’m learning to do good warm-up stretches before I start working out.

Today, I did another stretching session at home and it really gave me relief all over–especially in my back. My favorite kind of stretching is done with a foam roller. It’s great for finding knotty muscles before gym time and very good for dissipating muscle lactic acid afterward.

I’m hopeful that I’m setting myself up for a better experience tomorrow. We’ll see.

Back to the Steps

Day 21 – BODY BASIC Stepping Class is going to be a favorite of mine this year. It’s kind of weird staying in one place with a routine that’s not terribly difficult on the one hand and one the other hand is brutal if you really get into it. I’ll jus t tell you that after 20 minutes of stepping to the beat, I was dripping wet–worn out and feeling great right before leading a bible study. Thankfully, no one gets very close when I’m teaching on Sunday evening. I’m pretty sure I stinketh.

BODY BASIC Stepping Class, just in case you are interested, is at TCALF (The Church At Lake Forest) on Sunday evenings @ 5 PM in our fitness center. Anyone can come, there’s no charge, and it’s a lot of fun and hard work. As the year progresses, the routines will be longer, quicker, and a little more difficult. But, as always with our classes, you just work at our own level.

Later on in the year, we’ll add some combat training and Tai Chi to the mix just to keep things moving along.  I’ll tell you what I tell my students–do the best you can, don’t give up, and keep on moving.

Breakfast with some crunch

Day 20 – This morning, I had the joy of having breakfast with the old guys from TCALF, my generation. I’ve been trying to spend some time with each generational group lately to hear what’s on their hearts and to encourage them as they walk with God. And, of course, I throw in a little fitness encouragement to boot.

This biscuits and gravy at the old country store were tasty and that set up my Saturday morning workout at the gym. I  was stretched pretty good from Friday so I did a short prelim stretch and went straight to the elliptical for some quick cardio and joint return. After that, I did a few hundred prone crunches and spent some time with free weights before closing out with some more cardio on the stair master. That thing is a beast.

Afterward, I spent some time with Deb and we just hung out together for the afternoon before I retired to my office to get ready for Sunday. That’s  when the foam roller came out and went under my feet while I studied. Wow, that was good.



Day 19 – Thursday night was a huge, sweaty success and it did a number on my muscles, especially the ones in my lower back. You probably already know that if your back hurts, your tummy is likely involved and if your tummy muscles hurt, you probably have some back issues. Either way, I was tight this morning when I got up.

I’ve learned a lot in this latest quest to be consistent in my fitness and nutrition. One of the best lessons though, that I should have been more sensitive to all along, is the absolute need for plenty of stretching.  Much of the time, when I have opted to stay home from the gym in the past was because of “tightness.” Ans sometimes I’ve gone on to the gym to workout only to make things worse by not stretching before I hit the track, weights, and machines.

Today, I started to get a clearer picture of stretching’s importance, so I opted for an elastic band and foam roller workout at home.  By the way, if you do this stuff right, it ain’t easy–but man is it ever beneficial.

A forty-five minute session on the floor did wonders for a sore back, tight calves, quads, and hamstrings. When this 30-day thing is over, stretching days will be a regular part of my program.


Day 18 – I’ve been waiting on this one for weeks. The IFIT strategy is full of good stuff — IFIT Fundamentals — I WILL BE Faithful, Intrepid, Teachable; IFIT Journal — 12 months of scheduled bible reading, meditation, and writing and — IFIT Fitness — a three part, completely gym quality physical fitness program.

Back on Day 14 (Sunday) we did BODY BASIC, a beginner level class; this go round we’re doing a step class; after a few weeks it will be an insane 30-minute workout.

Tonight, we restarted BODY STRONG & BODY ROCK. Body Strong is a 30-minute nonstop core training class utilizing a mat for floor exercise, a 10-pound plate for strength training, and an elastic strap for stretching. BODY ROCK is a class that. . .rocks!  The Body Rock circuit is 24 separate exercises that rotate to challenge the body with extreme weight training, jumping, balance, and endurance. We have brand new equipment, a new look in our fitness center, new music mixes, and a fresh commitment to overall fitness.

I am so tired and still excited to be leading this. I love to see the young people and the senior adults working hard to be FIT.

. . .do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you; whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 {ESV]