2015-04-29

The Calisthenicist

Bear with me as I attempt to keep my blog alive.

When last we met, I was once again exploring the wild and wonderful world of calisthenics. I continue to do so. Of note today is the fact that, despite my haphazard - and some might say lackadaisical - approach to working out these days, I am now beginning to see some gains. I have a long way to go, but my frame is once again beginning to take the shape of man - and not just Slenderman.

How did I do it?

One successful theory I have employed recently is my old concept of incremental fitness. This has been absolutely indispensable to me in light of my limited time and exercise resources (read: longer daily commute to/from work and no current, active gym membership). When I have time to exercise, I do it. If I can steal a few moments to do some squats, a wall press, a few push-ups, whatever, I will take the opportunity. It doesn't matter much if there are people around, or if I can only do a set or two. I take the opportunities as they come. What I've discovered is that the opportunities come constantly. There is no shortage of excuses to take the stairs, or to quickly get in a few push-ups on my way to taking my lunch break, or to do a wall-press while chatting with a group of people, or whatever it might be. Indeed, these opportunities present themselves to me all day long. Having the wherewithal to actually make use of them is the grand (not-so-grand) innovation here. And it really works.

The other part of the incremental fitness approach these days is making a conscious effort to increment-up. I don't allow myself to do the same number of repetitions of the same exercise every week. I'll never make progress that way. So, more reps, or more sets, or a more challenging variant of the same exercise, or some combination of those.

The next ingredient I've been happy about recently is obtaining my standing workstation in the office. This has made an immediate and positive impact on my blood sugar, so that means it's obviously working, at least according to one bio-marker. On top of that, though, I've noticed that standing all day makes me more conscious of my posture. That, in turn, makes me straighten  my shoulders, engage my abs, engage my lower back muscles, and generally adopt a healthier, stronger stature all day long. This must be the reciprocal of the factors that make sitting all day so deadly (not to be sensationalist or anything).

Finally, for the first time in my life, I've started using my eyes as a guide for my workout regimen. I can see how small my shoulders have become since I stopped lifting regularly. I can see the changes in my abdominal muscles and triceps. Because I can see these things, I can address them directly with exercises intended for their benefits. This isn't really spot-training, since I typically do calisthenics and not isolation weight exercises, but it is still targeted. (And, hey, even if it is spot-training, I'm old enough and experienced enough to have earned a few mistakes, okay?) I can also see the impact of my recent workouts and so I know what isn't getting enough of a workout.

Long story short, I'm feeling good and I have a path forward. I'll continue along this way for a while, but I am anxious to get another gym membership and start keeping myself healthy in a more formal way.