I hate working out.
These are words I’ve uttered to myself and others for years. I graduated high school ten years ago, and in late high school and early college I was between 165 and 170 pounds. Later in college, and then especially when I started working and traveling, I started consistently gaining weight every year. Working inside on the computer all day doesn’t help either. I probably gained between 3 and 5 pounds a year for seven years.
The most I’ve ever recalled myself weighing when stepping on a scale is 208 pounds. Physically, I’ve felt pretty miserable the past couple of years and I’ve never been able to stick to a workout routine, because you know, I hate working out.
I came to the realization that if I was going to get into shape I needed some kind of class that I could show up to that will kick my butt. Around Birmingham, crossfit is probably the most common method for that, but I’d done a “bring a friend day” to our closest crossfit gym and it just wasn’t my style.
A few weeks ago I decided to call another place I’d seen a few times driving by, but I was skeptical. I mean, it’s a kickboxing gym. I’ve never really had a desire to kick things or do martial arts.
But I liked talking to the owner over the phone so I showed up the same day for a trial class. I liked many things about it. It kicked my butt. It was a relatively small class with all sorts of people. The instructor taught me technique (and so did the advanced classmates) but was not an “in your face” kind of guy. The workout was really diverse — with a crossfit-esque “warmup” followed by a kickboxing routine they call “the Gauntlet”.
After the class the owner offered me another free class Wednesday. I did that one too — same awesome experience. Friday I joined for four months. Yesterday was my 7th class and I’ve been working out for about two and a half weeks.
I already feel so much better. My body started shedding pounds like nobody’s business — like it couldn’t wait to get rid of some of it.
I’m not dieting
Just how I don’t like working out, I don’t like the concept of a diet either. But I do understand the importance of a balanced diet. So I’ve made two relatively easy and subtle diet changes.
One is that I try to avoid eating as much bread as I used to. I was eating bread for lunch every day and often times dinner on sandwiches.
Second, I had created a routine of drinking a beer after work nearly every day, and then at least one day on weekends I’d have somewhere between 3 and 5 drinks (especially during football season). This change has come more naturally. Weirdly, I don’t desire an “end of day beer” the same way I did before. I’ll still have a beer, but more like one or two nights a week, and limit weekend beers to two instead of 3 or 4.
Neither of these changes are drastic, or really that hard. And I don’t want to call it a diet, because I’d like for these short-lived habits to stick. The reward of losing weight and feeling better makes it more enticing as well.
Getting fit again
I played golf growing up. It may not sound like a good workout, but walking 4 to 8 miles a day for years can keep you pretty skinny. Combined with a child’s metabolism, I never struggled with my weight and I ate like a madman.
I’ve come to terms now that I’m just going to have to work at it to be fit again. Thankfully, this gym is close to my house and I’m having a great time. In 7 workouts and 16 days I’ve gone from 205 or 208 or whatever I weighed that first day to 195 pounds this morning. I’ve lost weight. I can already feel muscle gain. I have more energy. And I’m excited about going to the gym.
I don’t hate working out now. I look forward to M/W/F and my opportunity to go sweat off hundreds of calories and punch/kick stuff (even though I’m a hilariously amateur kickboxer).
Other than M/W/F classes, I’ve had this weird desire (seriously I don’t desire these things typically) to get some form of exercise in. So I bought a jumprope, because we warm up at our class with three minutes of jumprope. I learned on day one that three minutes of jumprope is not an easy task.
Now I jumprope every day to practice and it takes only three minutes to get sweating. The longest I’ve made it without stopping or screwing up is two minutes, so I’ve got room to improve for sure. I’ve been following that up with a quick 12-15 minute jog and I’ve been able to run most of the way without really running consistently; the kickboxing has upped my endurance for running.
I don’t have a number goal
I don’t want to set some kind of number for a goal weight. Now that I’m 28 and not 18, I don’t know if my ideal weight is 160 or 180. It probably depends on a lot of factors, including muscle mass. And I don’t want to hit some goal and then feel warranted to stop.
My goal is to get in shape and feel healthy by eating / drinking responsibly and giving my body consistent workouts. If I can make that a regular part of my life then I will have succeeded.
For anyone curious, the gym is called Gauntlet Fitness in Homewood. It’s just a mile or so from my house.
Hopefully by writing about my experience the last few weeks, you guys can help me stay accountable going forward. Next time you see me, make sure I’m still going to the gym and investing in my own fitness.