Guyside: Buddy, can you spare some time?

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in physical fitness | 1 comment

I am a wonderful avoider of exercise. When it comes down to it, part of me believes what Neil Armstrong said: “I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises.”

Last month, I wrote about winter and weight. Well, it’s winter — no doubt about it. Polar vortexes (vortices?!), snowmageddons, flight cancellations by the hundreds, North America has been walloped by winter this year.

And between the weather (which has seemed to swing like a pendulum between mounds of snow and temperatures just above absolute zero), a nasty virus that laid me out for nearly a week, and the holidays, my winter exercise resolutions are already getting tattered.

Bicycle in a rut

Ruts are dangerous things.

So what’s a guy to do if they’re feeling behind the eight-ball? In my case, I’m gonna recruit me a workout buddy. I have some experience in knowing that the buddy system works. When I went to university about a million years ago, I nearly flunked calculus. In fact, I was severely flunking it. But luckily for me, I knew a guy in my class who was struggling as hard as I was. Jeff and I became study partners, and while we weren’t exactly prizewinners by the end of the course, we made it. Jeff was a bit of a gym rat, too, and I became a gym buddy for a while too. Not enough of one to change my body shape, but better than I was.

Years later, I was encouraged by my partner, whose self-discipline and dedication dwarf mine, to take out a family membership at the local Y. And for quite a while, we were regulars there together; she’d do cardio & I’d do weights, or vice versa.

And as a cyclist, having people who will call you up and say “Hey! You ridin’ this morning?” is a very good thing. Of course, that is only really going to help when spring begins to spring.

So as I contemplate my fitness state, I know I need a fitness buddy. And researchers who have examined the Kohler effect have found that the “buddy system” works. So I have three strategies I’m gonna follow.

#1: I am a cyclist first and foremost, so step one is to get some spinning classes booked. Once I’ve spent the money on them, my cheap side will make me go, and the combination of people I’m stronger than that I can beat and people that are stronger than me that make me want to beat them will be a good motivator.

#2: I have some friends who are in similar need of breaking Neil Armstrong’s rule about heartbeats, so I’m going to talk to them.

#3: Since neither my partner and I are skiers, we’re going to try snowshoeing. The skill level should be a little lower; the cost of buying in is definitely lower; and we’re close to some lovely nature trails. And she’ll drag my sorry butt out of the house when I won’t do it for myself.

What are your strategies for breaking out of the exercise rut?

One Comment

  1. 1-8-2014

    Bob, you’ve taken the most important step, which is deciding that this is important enough to you to make a plan! For me there are a couple of things that help me stay out of the rut: 1) Stress relief – as all of us do, I’ve got my share – job/kids/about to turn 50/recent death in the imediate family/the list goes on and on — my exercise time is (I am pretty sure) saving me emotionally 2) Accountability – different people take different approaches but I am accountable to 500+ people on AND I have a virtual coach — our “team” is about 200 strong and our private Facebook Page is a place where we keep each other accountable, support one another, and find friends (and a lot of humor too) 3) I think I’ve covered it in 1 and 2 (for me at least) but if I had to pick a 3rd, I want to be around to watch my kids grow up (or at least get past the “OMG you embarrass me please don’t be seen with me phase” of teenagerhood! Look forward to hearing your updates!

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