Monday, January 23, 2006


OK. Enough of all this flippancy of late ... making fun of people who own boats, people who read church signs and some kid who had more balls than me and actually went Laser frostbiting on Sunday. Now that I've pissed off every demographic that reads these ramblings, let's get serious. It's time to return to the real subject of this blog ...

Me. Yes, me. And how to make me a better sailor.

What? You find that a trifle egocentric? Get over yourself. All of us bloggers are essentially under the illusion that the minutiae of our daily grinds and our inner ramblings are of interest to someone else other than our mothers and our cats. You included.

So back to me. A few days I wrote about some ideas for getting fit for sailing. Now my problem is not that I don't know what I should be doing to get fit. It's that I haven't yet established the habit of doing something every day of working on a fitness routine. I'm just too damn lazy.

So what can I do when faced with a character flaw like that? Consult Google of course.

Type "habits" into the search bar and what do you get? An examination into how different people go to the bathroom. Hmmm I don't even want to look at that site. Another site that sells Mr. Old Fart T-shirts. Not exactly what I'm looking for. But in between the sites pushing self-help books, the sites pushing personal coaches and the sites pushing religion ... there is some good advice out there.

For example the Fitness Habit Website has some down-to-earth advice on how to make working out as regular a habit as brushing your teeth several times a day.

1. Favorably alter your environment. OK, done that. I've put my weights, my hiking bench and my books about sailing fitness in the spare bedroom that we just decorated in preparation for selling the house. (Yes dear, I'll put them back in the basement when we put the house on the market.)

2. Monitor your behavior. Meaning keep a log of what exercises you have done. Oh, yes. I know the value of that. I have kept a running calendar for more than a dozen years with daily entries of weather, time, route and minutes run. Obsessive? Maybe, but it does cause some dissatisfaction when I look back and see a week when I've failed to achieve a goal. Not to mention settling arguments with the wife about where exactly we vacationed in 1993.

So I've set up a spreadsheet to record my daily exercise progress.

3. Creative thinking. Visualize myself changing into workout clothes, doing my exercises, feeling good about it afterwards. Aaaaaaaaaaaah. Almost as good as the real thing with a fraction of the effort.

4. Set up an immediate reward system. That sounds good. OK, here's the deal I have with myself. No looking at your blogs until I've done my exercises each day. No, not even you. Or you. You are my reward for my morning workout. Please write something good so I think it's been worthwhile.

Then I've promised myself another reward. If I stick at the program for three weeks then I'll buy myself that MP3 player I've been coveting.

5. Start slow. The whole point is to establish a habit. So the plan is to do at least 10 minutes a day this week, 20 minutes a day next week and 30 minutes a day the week after. For at least 6 days every week. I know that doesn't sound much this week but it's all about getting into the routine. I'll alternate days of working on postural and hiking muscles and hiking endurance with days of working with free weights for upper body strength. At least 3 days a week of each. And I'll run for at least 30 minutes, 3 days a week, and do some other outdoor activity -- walking, cycling, skiing or sailing -- on other days that the weather allows. Then at the end of 3 weeks I'll set some new goals.

I started two days ago. So far so good.

Geeze, how can 10 minutes of exercise make your muscles this sore?


Lucy Stern said...

You don't have to do anything complicated. Just walk! Start with just 15 minutes and do it with a brisk step. When that starts to be too easy, add 5 to 10 more minutes. Walk yourself up to 30 minutes. I have recently been told that two 15 minute walks a day will do the same thing. If you feel up to it, carry some light weights and swing your arms in cadence with your steps...It's pretty easy.

If you just don't want to leave the house, check out I love it.

Tillerman said...

Thanks for the helpful suggestion Lucy. I do actually get out and walk occasionally - actually run - even did a marathon a couple of weeks ago.

Perhaps I didn't make it clear in this post but my legs and cardio fitness are fine. Now I need to work on the very specific core and upper body fitness that I need for Laser sailing.

Good luck with the oxycise.

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