Feb. 16th, 2012

I was asked recently about how exercise is coming along. It went south over October and November, although I kept the PureGym membership and occasionally went to make heavy things move.

Over the past three months, I've improved. One of my co-workers is a personal trainer and martial artist, and with his help I've started kickboxing after a fifteen year hiatus - and I seem to have kept most of my earlier flexibility. It's utterly punishing stuff, with incredible emphasis on conditioning and cardiovascular work. By the end, I'm uncoordinated, tired and weak - and in pushing on, in spite of the dizziness and drenching in sweat I'm learning to enjoy it once more. It's weirdly rewarding. I keep walking out feeling like a million bucks; like I'm accomplishing something.

In early February, I hired my co-worker as personal trainer (at a considerably less expensive rate than I got from the gym) for an hour a week. In these sessions, I've been pushed for more conditioning, and learning how to handle kettlebells correctly. They're excellent for combining resistance training with gasping-for-breath cardio work. I seem to be blessed with buttocks of old mutton and iron. My lower back isn't thanking me, but it's the good kind of tired muscle pain, which is easily resolved with a good stretch. Not to be confused with the "AAAAARGHCANTGETOUTOFBED!" pain that requires Vicodin. I've gotten myself two steel kettlebells from left-over birthday money, do a short circuit every morning and I'm already looking for heavier ones.

In a moment of madness and their £29/month promotion, I've joined Edinburgh Leisure - mostly because I like Leith Victoria's swimming pool - and it's easy to sneak in a swim most days after work. Again, I've kept most of my skill from fifteen years ago, even if I don't have the puff to do much more than the occasional front crawl sprint.

Speaking of puff, in spite of several attempts (most of which annoy the shit out of my Twitter followers), the delicious fags remain. There is no excuse. I've been supplanting them with electronic cigarettes, the kind that make my mouth smell like a packet of blackcurrant Tunes. All hail helping me breathe less easily.

I pulled out the old pull-up bar from the closet (probably bought years ago on a dare), and combined it with a Pilates resistance band tied to the frame and using the band on my foot as assistance. This way, I'm training myself to handle the load, and I'll decrease the assistance from the band. Using a stool to assist in pull-ups requires me to split focus from the pull-up movement itself, whereas the bands are passive assistance.

So. Nothing much has changed. I'm still unfit; every session remains a challenge, but the real difficulties in keeping the routine remain. How do you all keep yourself motivated?

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