I’m not going to lie to you guys, the gym is a little intimidating. You see, before I joined Virgin I was a member at a tiny Southern Suburbs sports club named Kelvin Grove. While it was delightful, I’ve seen more advanced gym equipment in open air gyms on the streets of Lusaka. This was also about five years ago, and since then I’ve kept it strictly out of ‘the pit’. Swimming pool, bikes and treadmills. But I’ve got something to confess. The only thing I really know how to use in the gym is the plumbing. Continue reading
I don’t want to jinx myself, but I may be back in a proper gym routine – if cycling, rowing and running in the gym can be called a routine. I’ve been keeping it regular, and I’m not letting hangovers fly as an excuse, in fact, if I’ve had a bit too much the night before, I extend my run by 10 minutes – it’s not a lot, but it makes me think twice about throwing shots into the mix.
A few things have helped me keep to my minimum of four runs a week. I keep them short. 30 minutes mostly, with an odd 40 minute vibe thrown in. I keep my visits to the gym within the Golden Hours – 11am or 3pm. Less people means less things to piss me off, and no issues with space. If I’m angry I go to the gym straight away. Bad morning? Hit that 11am slot. Bad afternoon? Row it out at 3. Although I’ve found the more time I spend running, the less annoyed I’m getting. And finally, equipment.
I’ve never been a big one for getting the best equipment, especially when it comes to gym. I’ve been plodding along in the gigantic running shoes I did my first two half Two Oceans in, about five years ago. They’re massive, wide, and uncomfortable, but I stuck with them, because why bother. Gear wise, I’m a bit of an old shirt guy. I’ve never really gotten into those super light weight breathable shirts. I’m no pro athlete, and besides, my old thick cotton shirts makes me sweat more, which helps me rid my body of the previous nights poison. And then I got some new shoes.
It doesn’t sound like much, but a new pair of trainers has made the world of difference. I wasn’t even supposed to be running (after my back op last year), and it’s been incredibly uncomfortable for a while. The new Adidas Bounce numbers I got have changed that all. I can’t even compare them to the New Balance I was using. It would be like comparing ski boots and slops.
Everything about me fights a gym routine, but making a lot of small changes has made it easier and easier to get into one again. Earlier nights, eating better, picking the right times, using gear that is comfortable and developed specifically for what I am doing. All of it makes it easier for me to say ‘yes’ whenever the idea of gym or a run pops into my head, instead of ‘let me just finish this email’, etc, etc, etc. I’m still sticking with my old shirts though.
When it comes to getting into the gym, up the mountain or in the water there are two major factors that get in my way. Two factors that I have been ignoring for a long time. Fatigue and screens, and both are linked. Late nights, early mornings, falling asleep to series and cramming too much into one day. If I’m going to find more time to get fit I’m actually going to need to shorten my days. Work smarter and sleep longer. Continue reading
In my seemingly never-ending quest to get fit, or at least ‘in shape’, I’ve tried many things, some of which have worked, some of which have made things worse. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the new activities I’m trying out, it’s that I often lack the motivation to stop what I am doing and do them. My first hike up Lions Head scared me enough to find more motivation, but I still have those mornings or late afternoons where I can easily talk myself into more work, or a few more clicks of the snooze button. Continue reading
So the other day I found myself cruising down the beach road on a Vespa, girlfriend hanging on the back, in the midst of a scooter gang. Well, a self titled gang. I’m not sure what the requirements are to call yourself a gang. We hadn’t killed anyone, sold drugs, or provided muscle for a the Russians. We just rode together, and would probably have died together, if we were all taken out by a jackknifed petrol tanker that rolled over us and then exploded. Anyway, we formed the gang because we were looking for a bit of adventure, something out of the ordinary for us. During the ride we decided to come up with a bucket list. A list we could work off to ensure we actively tried new things, things that would improve our lifestyle. Our list is below. Continue reading
If there was ever a time to look good with hardly any clothing on, that time is now. Summer in South Africa is all about wearing as little as possible while looking good. Of course, as Christmas approaches and your time on the beach increases, your time in the gym will most likely decrease. This doesn’t mean you can slack off though. During my years as South Africas top lazy mans sports scientist I conducted a a fair amount of research into beach exercises, and which ones yield the best results in terms of fun and fitness. Make up for your lost gym time this summer with these professional part time athlete endorsed exercises. Continue reading
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, now I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but I’m pretty sure they are very similar to me. Late nights and early mornings are something I’ve become accustom to. They never proved much of a problem, not after a couple of Myprodol and a few cups of coffee, but I’ve changed now you see, well a bit. The late nights I can’t avoid, but to keep up with this swimming thing I’ve had to put my hardcore available-over-the-counter pain killer days behind me and opt for something more healthy, a good breakfast. And as far as those go, this one is hard to beat. Nash’s Veggie Omelette. Continue reading
It’s the 8th of November , in case you were not aware, which means we’re pretty damn close to the December holidays and a lot of time on the beach. Most of us seem to be doing something about the fact that we’ve done nothing but gorge ourselves on winter food while sucking down beers for the past six months, but are we doing enough. Let me put it into perspective for you. I leave for Thighland on the 16th of December, that means I only have 6 Saturdays left until I go. Suddenly all that time I had to convert this drinking machine (my body) into that of a retired Greek god has vanished. Continue reading
It’s 12:21am in the middle of nowhere, aka Christiana, and I’m sitting on my hotel bed, hungry and wide awake after my accidental three and a half hour power nap after a late lunch which involved a lot of chips, some tasteless calamari rings and a rubbery steak. I won’t sleep for at least the next two hours, and I need to be up at 5:30am to catch the first runners set off. I also need to my get my daily recommended allowance of vitamins, cut down on carbs, swim, and lose about five kilos. I wrote off the last two weeks to work. It’s an easy excuse, ‘no time to train’. But I’ve been surrounded by triathletes for the last few days, my excuse is looking a little frail.
I very rarely get into things half arsed, so when I got into swimming I, for lack of a better phrase, dived right in. I slip into routines quite easily, and I’d found a great one when swimming. It also forced me to eat better, which I believe is 95% of the health battle. Once I’m in a routine I tend to get very annoyed with myself for stepping out of it, so once in training becomes something I want/need to do rather than a mission. Once I’m out of routine though, it’s more challenging to get back into it.
It takes at least two weeks for me to break out of something, so after a very busy week and a half, as well as a week away (adding to this week away), I found myself eating badly again and pushing swims out, firstly to later in the day, then to the next day. I haven’t been in the pool for nearly three weeks now, and I can feel the difference. By the time I get back to Cape Town it will be just over three weeks. A month of missed training. A month behind beach schedule.
It’s frustrating, but so easy to get caught up in, especially this time of year when all everyone wants to do is drink. So the question is, how do I find this balance again. When work requires boozy nights and long days missing that thirty minutes in the pool is so easy. But it’s only 30 minutes, 45 in and out. People motivate themselves in a lot of ways, for me it’s frustration or annoyance with myself. I’m pissed off now. With myself, and that’s going to be enough to get me back in the pool.But then what?
But I can’t keep going in cycles like this, train hard, fall off the wagon, get angry, get back on. Repeat. So I’m going to make it into a competition. I’ve done a bit of googling, but haven’t found any relevant swim training schedules. I’m thinking time based will be the best, rather than discipline training. How many lengths in a certain time. Simple. Hopefully it get’s me hooked again, or it’s back to the drawing board, and the bar for another pint.
I’m sitting at my desk as I write this, trapped upstairs with too few supplies. I got roped into a Flexi-Sport session on the promenade this morning and as a result I can’t walk, never mind negotiate a flight of stairs. For the time being I’ll be fine, but hungry will set in and all I have up here are the dregs of my morning coffee and a few Chappies, which will only keep me going for an extra twenty minutes or so. I have my wallet, and there is a window in front of me. I’ve already devised a pulley system using my computer cable and laptop bag so I can order food. I’ll need to get a drink with it though, something in a large cup, because the toilet is at least twenty metres away and there’s a carpet along the way which will most certainly catch in the wheels of my office chair.