Hey dudes + dudettes! I’ve been busy stuffing my face with food all day (no seriously, I really have), so I’ve enlisted the help of one of my very favoritest people to guest post for y’all today – Uncle Tommie Timbertoes (a.k.a. my Uncle Tom). He is one of the best people I know and is a daily, devoted Everythingtarian reader. For as long as I can remember, he has ALWAYS been dishing out wise advice to me including, “If you workout, everything will work out.” More to come on that below. Honestly, he’s just the best, so I thought it only right you got to share his infinite wisdom. Enjoy!
Ms. Holly has invited me to guest blog, and I can tell you I am honored and will do my best to maintain the high quality journalistic style she has exhibited so far for her readers. Who am I? I am Ms. Holly’s 55-year-old Uncle Tommie Timbertoes. Although I don’t profess to have the interest in food that Ms. Holly has, I do have a Healthy Everythingarian interest in exercise and its benefits.
So I have named the theme of this blog a mantra of mine, “If you workout everything will work out.”
I have been in good shape all my life, and I have been in great shape at least half that time. For most people I know, the hardest part of exercising is integrating it into a constant and consistent part of their lives. Over the years, I have developed some unorthodox strategies that have worked for me and which opinionated people, like Ms. Holly, will challenge. That’s okay cuz my goal isn’t to preach or to convert. If they can help you, that’s great. If they don’t “work out” for you that’s okay too.
They work for me, and I believe in the Ms. Holly theory that following someone else’s plan will only get you started. If you want lasting results you have to tailor everything you do to you.
Part 1: “If you workout…”
Of course I can’t talk about the second half of this quote without the first half, just like I can’t breathe out without breathing in. This is the commitment, the wedding vow “I do”, the admission price, the no-secret secret, the foreplay, the understanding that anything worth having comes from accepting some form of suffering to get it. It’s the toughest step for almost everyone. If you find a way to get this going as a lifestyle, you get a free pass to Part 2 . So how do ya do that? I dunno. I only know what works for me.
Here are a few tips to start with in no particular priority…
(1) Find a form of exercise you like to do or that you hate to do the least and build that into the base of your strategy. For me, it’s a bicycle, road bike or stationary bike. For some reason that I’m still trying to understand, I can push myself to exhaustion on a bike. I can’t do that running, walking, playing tennis, swimming, weightlifting, etc., so I have hitched my wagon to a bike.
(2) Screw the stretching. I’m not an elite athlete pushing my body to extremes. I’m just a Joe Schmoe trying to get an aerobically significant work out in a limited period of time. At best, I may spend the first 5 minutes at an easy pace, but then I drop the hammer. The valuable part of exercise is the exertion, not the preparation for a limbo contest. True story:
a. I was at an airport hotel and had just missed the every 30 minute shuttle to the airport. So I took a seat on the bench. There was a couple around my age all dressed in state-of-the-art running gear. They were already stretching before I arrived and spent the next 10 minutes doing it too. Then, they left and before I could get done twiddling my thumbs, they came back and start de-stretching. As I left on the shuttle, they were still de-stretching. So, of a 45+ minute workout, I’m guessing more than 30 minutes was stretching and 15 minutes was real exercise. For me, that’s like ordering lobster, eating the claws and leaving the tail on the table.
(3) Find a reason. Early in my life, it was about being better than you or beating you. It was only much later that it turned inward into being a better me. Really, it doesn’t matter if you start out with the wrong reason as long as the wrong reason gets the right results. Turning your reasons into “awareness” will inevitably come in the same way a raindrop that falls into a river will eventually find the ocean. My awareness’ have come in layers. Here’s a true story about one of the more memorable ones:
a. I was in my mid-20’s, in college, working part-time, dating my future wife Gayle and living in an apartment in a rough part of St. Paul, Minn. Gayle worked at a bar a few miles from my apartment. It was Friday evening – no need to study, no work scheduled, so I was gitt’n all testosteroned up to do 2 of 3 of my favorite things – see my “Poopsie” and have a couple brewskis. At the time, I was struggling to motivate myself to exercise, but I did anyway and went on a 5-mile run. That done, I headed to the bar.
Being a poor boy, I had no vehicle so I did a lot of walking. I headed south on Oxford Avenue with nothing but sugar plums dancing in my head. After about a ¼ mile, there was a gang of teens horse-playing on the other side of the street. As I went by, they started with the name calling which I ignored. Then it got quiet but not in a good way. I looked back and saw a half dozen trouble makers briskly walking about 50 yards behind me. Visions of sugar plums turned into thoughts of a severe ass-kick’n a-com’n. But I knew I was running 6 1/2-minute miles, and the likelihood of any of these yo-yo’s having any aerobic capacity after a short sprint was unlikely. So I jumped into my 6 1/2-minute mile mode. I heard them take chase with all kinds of extremely rude and uncalled for assaults on my character. I remember thinking “How can they say such things when they don’t even know me?” At first they gained a little ground, but one by one, I dropped them and arrived safely at my Poopsie’s bar, out of breath and ready for a beer.
“Why are you so sweaty & yucky & out of breath?” she asks.
“Oh nutt’n really,” I says. “Just couldn’t wait to see you so I ran down here.”
That line eventually got me #3 of 2/3.
So a good night, but the most revealing part of that incident was before this, I was exercising to be better than you. After this incident, I was exercising, because I was aware of a benefit that was hitherto unknown to me. It may seem small, but for me, it reinvigorated the “why” reason I needed to keep committed to a healthy exercise program. I always knew intellectually why exercise was good for me, but now I was “aware” of why exercise IS good for me.
It’s the same kind of awareness some (not all) smokers get when the doctor tells them the x-rays show small lumps in their lungs. That news is enough to get them to stop smoking because before that news they knew smoking could kill them, but after that visit they are “aware” the smoking IS killing them.
Okay, enough said for now, just remember, “If you workout everything will work out.”
What is YOUR favorite way to workout?