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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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As I reminisced, I started the year out of shape, overweight, and unhealthy. Three months in, it would be misleading to say that I’ve addressed any of those issues. With that said, I have made some progress.

M’s been going to a gym and working with a trainer once a week for well over a year now. I decided to join the fun in late January. As a result, I’m working out at The Norwalk Edge Fitness Club. It’s a typical mega-gym with no perks. There’s a functional locker room and a bunch of equipment. It seems like way too much equipment except when wanting to use a particular piece, in which case it seems like far too little. Load on the gym is increased since NYSC’s vacancy of a nearby location years ago. The place isn’t a dump or overtly dirty, but it’s definitely a no-frills mega gym. Going forward, my preference will likely tend towards a smaller boutique gym in the future, but this suits my needs for now.

The membership is inexpensive and comes with the usual horrible terms and conditions. I’ve had several gym memberships in the past and they were never in and of themselves particularly effective. What’s different this time is that I’m also paying a personal trainer.

Three times a week for half an hour, I work with a trainer, in addition to anything I do on my own time (usually interval cardio after training sessions). All in, then, my monthly gym bill is about $500. Independent of any results or intrinsic motivation, the staggering cost is enough to keep me working out for, at minimum, half an hour three times a week.

Compared to fumbling around on my own, professional training has me doing a lot of different things. I’m not in any sort of regular routine as much as a program. There are certain common themes at this stage:

  • Building core strength
  • Balanced approach (e.g. should see equal focus on shoulder pulls as bench presses)
  • Working up to squats and deadlifts

And about all I can guarantee is that virtually every session involves planking. I hate planking but this has also been an obvious area to observe progress: I can regularly plank for a minute now.

In combination with this program, I’ve been generally reducing my carbohydrate intake. Meals generally focus on proteins and vegetables and I don’t often have sweets. I’m not attempting to get to zero carbohydrates, but the key has been making the smart trade-offs when an options is available. The vast majority of my carbohydrate consumption now comes from wine, beer, and alcohol.

In combination, being more careful about my diet and working out has been my longest concerted effort to improve my health, ever.

I am still not healthy or in shape, but there is progress. Weight is down about ten pounds. Muscle mass is increased. The changes are minor, but I have to start somewhere. My goal is for body fat percentage, resting heart rate, and blood pressure to be in a good shape by year-end. What that means is anybody’s guess, but I’ll know it when I see it.

I don’t know that any of this has helped me sleep better, given me more energy, or improved my mood. I don’t look forward to going to the gym, but it’s something my body has developed a desire for – I don’t feel right when I’m traveling and miss it. I even ended up working out on vacation because it felt right. So that’s weird/good.

By year end I should have a better sense for how I feel about the effort, expense and progress. One asset of the training program is learning more things I can do on my own, but I suspect my motivation to keep doing those without the appointments would wane. If stuck in a rut, it’s hard not to recommend.