five friends dedicating 100 days to getting into the best shape of their lives.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My routine so far

Needless to say, I have definitely been the odd one out with regards to posting on this blog. My apologies.

Here's my deal: I've had a workout routine and diet routine for a while now. But I also have two problems: the first problem is finding the motivation to do it and do it well, and keeping up with it in a disciplined manner, and the second is actually building on my workout and improving on it, rather than getting stuck in a holding pattern.

I think the second problem is the more pervasive one, and it sort of feeds the first. I have a habit of running the same three and a half mile stretch every day, getting bored with it, becoming lazy about stretching, pulling a muscle, and then slacking off in general.

That's the situation I found myself in with this blog coming online. Last week was when I started getting back into my routine. Right now, it's a 3/3.5 mile run around the U.C. Berkeley campus. It's good because the terrain varies constantly, making a lot of it uphill and a good workout. It's bad because it's also crowded, and if I go too close to a Friday or Saturday night then the drunken undergrads are out and can be seriously irritating. But I basically ran all last week, except for Thursday, when my muscles just weren't responding. I think that this past week (minus yesterday and today) was a way of re-establishing my routine, and now that I've done that I'd like to build on that. I'd like to accomplish that by running longer distances on the days that I do run, and then alternating those days with bike rides on the other days so that I don't constantly wear down my joints and muscles.

My diet is, honestly speaking, a bit trickier. Long story short, my work schedule is a bit off-kilter due to two part-time jobs; nothing dramatic, but not 9-5 either. In fact, 5 is when I have to be at work, and I usually don't get home until at least quarter to nine. This is right during the dinner hours, and initially I dealt with it by eating something during the afternoon, always while out and doing something else, and then either coming home and cooking a big dinner or giving into hunger pangs and just getting something junky on the way back. Mondays are even worse: I leave before 9, stay at work all day, travel across the Bay and then go to my other job until 8 at night.

And yet, the big challenges also present big opportunities, right? Today was one such day, and I dealt with it consciously by packing fruit to tide me over during the day, a sandwich (spinach/cheese) for lunch, and leftover quinoa with zucchini and eggplant that I intentionally made a lot of the night before. And then...I went to my other job, at an Arabic school, where I encountered a tray of Kanafeh. Kanafeh is a dessert, popular in Egypt, Turkey and the Levant, made from cheese and a shredded wheat-type grain and drenched in syrup. As with many other desserts from the region, its relative lack of manufactured ingredients is more than compensated for by sheer fat and sugar content. So...up until then, I was eating pretty well.

But I think that's the point: I can get into the habit of not only improving what I eat, but really planning what I eat when, and the net result is that I feel better, have more energy, and don't feel quite as guilty (justifiably or not) indulging in a chunk of dairy which is literally basting in sugar. And, I can build a stable exercise routine that can itself be built on, feel great after, and take a day off knowing that I genuinely earned a day of recuperation.


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