Thursday, November 4, 2010

3 Hour Workout

I think we've become different people. OK, yes I'm now in the Mr Mom role, so of course a lot has changed.  What I didn't predict is that I'd find myself instigating the purchase of gym equipment.

In my view, gymnasiums are places of torture and boredom, reserved for the incredibly vain and the terminally undiagnosed victims of the modern world.  An extreme view perhaps, so I'll try to explain.  I love exercise when it's social and uplifting and outside.  Inside, it starts to lose it sheen and the only way to keep the fun is to add playful competition - stopping short of actual competitive sports of course, which becomes tedious and meaningless to me.  To mindlessly slog away on a gym bike or elliptical, for me constitutes exercise with all enjoyment removed.  Sometimes, when I've been really down or overly self conscience, I tried using a gym, but even a 40" and expanding waistline never motivated me to ever go more than once a year.

In the UK, I was getting fatter every year.  I tried to add more walking in my day, attempted to eat healthier and was frankly desperate to reverse the trend, but somehow nothing really worked.  An unhealthy work pattern, too much travel and hotel food was taking it's toll.

Here in LA, it's a different story.  Sort of.  Initially, I lost a little weight which was probably just the effort being a new Mr Mom in a foreign land - I still had no time for any additional exercise.  Eventually though, I found some time and started to cycle a little around the flat San Fernando valley, then I discovered a book called Day Hikes Around Los Angeles.  This was a revelation for me, in the UK we'd probably call this hillwalking and it would normally involve goretex clothing, ugly boots, flasks of tea and stunning views of green hills and valleys.  Here it involves sun cream, cool cross training shoes, reusable water bottles and stunning views of an epic scale that are somehow familiar.

This summer swimming was a revelation, suddenly I had an exercise in my own backyard that I could do in 30 minutes and also build my confidence in an activity that I had never truly mastered in the UK.  I even found that I achieved something like a kind of meditative state whilst swimming.  I found that I could swim without really thinking about what I was doing and that gave me a time to clear my head and concentrate on what I wanted to achieve with my day.  In fact, swimming is pretty much responsible for me starting this blog.  I thought I'd keep swimming no matter how much the pool chilled.  I was wrong.

I decided I like my new 36" waistline - even though the stores here lie about the sizes of their clothes, my belt is now 4" tighter than when I arrived.  I seem to have gotten busier and if I get a job it's only going to get worse.  I need a means to exercise quickly and now that I'm sooo thin, I don't have the warming fat reserves that would allow me to swim the icy waters in our back yard.  Well that's my excuse, but it would seem silly to move to a place that has 95F temperatures in November, only to dunk myself into a Scottish winter experience every morning.

So here I find myself.  I've just completed a 3 hour workout on a new elliptical machine that is now in our garage / gym.  I've only stood on the machine for 2 minutes though - it took me 2 hours 58 minutes to build the darned thing!

I took great care building this machine of torture, after all I want it to be obviously in good working order when it appears on Craig's List in about 6 months time...