The Fitness

So I’m into week number two of the fitness. My plan was to make it in to the UPEI Sports Centre three times a week; I managed two days last week because Wednesday was a snow day, and I had a sort of hybrid half-workout half-lesson day today as I had an appointment to receive my format “fitness program” for the next five weeks. But so-far, so-good.

While my activity to date has consisted, other than the initial fitness baseline, entirely of 15 to 20 minutes on the treadmill, tomorrow I’ll add something called “circuit training” into the mix: 20 to 30 minutes of work on the various weight machines, switching through upper, lower and middle-body workouts every three days. Stan my fitness man and I ran through my starting weights on each of the machines this morning, and while I think I’ll be able to pull off my scheduled circuit and repetitions, if last week’s tentative dip into the world of the machines is any guide, I may be temporary rendered motionless from the after-effects, at least for the first week.

I have, I’m happy to report, found the locker room, and thus have been able to have a bona fide change and shower experience rather than changing in the fitness centre washroom, which was not only weird, but also tainted with scent of poor hygienic practise.

With apologies for the intimate imagery, I’ve also realized that proper (or at least practical) protocol for a boxer-shorts-wearing man like me, when faced with gym shorts that have a built-in lining, is to not try to somehow squeeze the boxer shorts into a place they’re not made to fit. These are the kind of daunting practical questions that can only be answered by doing it the wrong way a few times first.

Although I’m happy to have found the locker room, it’s not exactly a Shangri-La of cleanliness, especially compared to the “you can eat off the floor” cleanliness of Reykjavik’s public pools, where not only do you remove your muddy shoes at the door (and place them in specially-provided bags to avoid locker soiling), but there are strictly-enforced “you must try off completely before leaving the shower” regulations too. The UPEI lockers are old and rusty and covered in filth, the floor is muddy from the slush of many boots, and the aesthetic is more “modern dungeon” than “spa.”

But it’s a university, and it serves the purpose, and I’m not really complaining.

In terms of the actual fitnessing, I’ve managed now to overcome almost all of the fears from the early days: I no longer fear the muscley people in the free-weights, nor the lithe people on the elliptical machines, and I can happily jog along beside intensely fit people without worrying about them turning to me and saying “hey, you’re not one of us.”

Aforementioned upcoming arduousness aside, I’ve also come to realize that, like they say, 90% of fitness is just showing up: the rest pretty well takes care of itself. Which is to say that it’s something of a minor miracle that I’ve managed to work out the logistics not only of going to making my way to class three times a week, but now tacking on a fitness elective onto the site. Once I actually get myself there, doing the fitness is easy.

Well, at least until tomorrow morning’s lower-body workout. Stay tuned.


Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on February 11, 2009 - 01:21 Permalink

Keep at it and keep us up to date. You might inspire me to get out there and do the same thing. I lost 180LBs a couple of years ago but never took the time to tone up and stay in shape. I should have rewarded myself by becoming an overall healthy person and not just a skinny guy. I had my priorities twisted.

You mentioned you no longer fear the muscular people. The first thing I noticed when I first went to a gym is that the muscular people seem to keep themselves in front of a mirror so they can check themselves out. They do not notice people like you and I.

Shawn's picture
Shawn on February 11, 2009 - 04:41 Permalink

Actually Peter, once we reach an age above forty we don’t care that much about looking macho — we just want our shoulders to work better and stave off hip and knee replacement surgery! The six pack abs of the twenty somethings give way to the “lose the belly fat and live longer” club. The vitality that comes from working out isn’t wasted on we old people, it actually comes in handy! Youth have a natural energy that is taken for granted, but when older the energy that comes from an increased metabolism is very noticeable.

Note: Since I still think young, anyone over forty is old (yes, I am old!).

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on February 11, 2009 - 18:08 Permalink

Follow-up: Well, I made it through morning one of the program: 20 minutes of running, alternating between 1 minute at 80% and 2 minutes at 65%, followed by two circuits of five of the upper-body machines. The only place I faltered was on the shoulder press, where, on the second circuit, I could only make it through 9 of 12 reps.

Everything was much less arduous than I thought it was going to be, although the length of my time in the gym increased by about 3 times.