I suppose before I get into this next post, I should probably apologize in advance to all the parents and/or patients that I provide dental care for; this post will likely feature way more about your dentist than you ever wanted to know or see. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way…I wanted to dedicate this post to one of my (few) hobbies and pastimes, physical fitness.
I started working out probably in my late teens, early twenties. In fact, in my early twenties – a time when my body actually knew how to properly metabolize food – I remember getting a free body fat percentage check and it was pretty much in the range of where male athletes typically fall (i.e. 6-13%). Of course, I had youth on my side, no family at the time (i.e. less responsibilities, arguably less stress), a strict vegetarian diet, and I recall going at least three to four times a week (immediately after work) to the gym. I looked and felt great.
Unfortunately, you will have to take my word for it. You see, back then, smart phones had not yet been invented and I am pretty sure the term ‘selfie’ wasn’t even coined yet. Even if it was, it would have been such a pain to take regular 35mm film photos of my shirtless self, hope to God they weren’t blurry, drop them off to be processed, pick up the prints in the typical 7 to 10 day window, put them into my super slow flatbed color scanner, and all that – for what? To place them onto social media websites and dating apps that hadn’t even been invented yet? No thanks.
We obviously live in an age of information overload. We have so many fitness diets and workout programs, P90X’s and Pelotons, and a slew of Youtube training videos all guaranteeing 10-minute abs. CrossFit is all the craze, tons of Zumba zealots, and people are quite passionate for Pilates and of course Yoga routines. I wish I could tell you that I have tried a number of these programs; and offer you a list of the ones that have been most effective for me. The truth is, my family and work schedule are not conducive to my attending many of these classes, and frankly I am too cheap to subscribe to anything I cannot fully commit to.
In that same vein, let me take a moment to caution my readers that I am by no means a fitness expert. I have never recruited the help of a personal trainer, have no professional education in physical fitness, have never met or spoken with a nutritionist and/or dietitian, and essentially possess a basic understanding of the anatomy and physiology of our body.
Temporarily ignoring the messy counter-top, the filthy residue on the bathroom mirror, and the stack of laundry on the tub behind me…that was my body in late 2018. Back then, of course, there was no such thing as COVID-19 and therefore, I was not hyper-paranoid about avoiding the gym. Honestly, I never controlled my diet; but I exercised routinely, drank WHEY protein shakes on occasion, and would try my hardest to power through a good workout session.
Fast-forward to 2021. Interestingly enough, three years later, and the nasty mirror residue and messy counter tops are still there! The big difference being, I am now quite noticeably way more gray up top. Anyways, since COVID is still very much a threat, I have invested in a small home weight rack (from Costco), and I work out to Youtubers like Heather Robertson and Midas. Also, lately, I have been making a conscious effort to cut back on processed foods and minimize my sugar intake. Finally, I try to be careful to drink plenty of water and get solid sleep every night.
My workout goals right now are to get more definition in my core region, rid myself of that stubborn belly fat (i.e. lose the love handles), and build muscle (without bulking up too much).
I am only a few weeks into a regular workout regimen. Three or four times a week, I wake up early and try and work either back/biceps, chest/triceps, shoulders, legs, and/or core and abdominal muscles. Already though I feel a boost in my self-confidence and mood, I feel more energetic throughout my day, and I feel overall just healthier. Ugh, I love that rush of endorphins at the end of a good workout!
The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow.– Unknown
For anyone starting to exercise and get fit (again, I am no expert); I would encourage you to set achievable goals for yourself, simultaneously control your diet and calorie intake, and be sure to watch your form so you avoid injuries. For me personally, the hardest part is just starting a routine after a long hiatus of not exercising; overcoming that initial laziness, doubt, and mental fatigue. It definitely requires self-determination, hard work, discipline and sacrifice.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am not afraid to admit there is still so much I need to learn, and welcome any advice you are willing to share. If you have any specific questions about my own routine, I am always happy to share. I will continue to keep you all posted about my progress on this journey, and hopefully I will get around to cleaning that bathroom counter and mirror!