What Inspires Me to Work Out

English: weight lifting

I am happy to take inspiration anywhere I can get it. Seriously. Years ago my pattern with exercising would sometimes be that things got hectic at work and in the rest of my life and I stopped doing everything physical. Those breaks sometimes lasted as long as six months. Thank goodness a friend and I started walking about 4 miles together in a local park on Sunday mornings. I think we’ve been doing that about ten years. One absolutely crucial effect of this routine is that it keeps me from getting into one of those no-exercise phases. There were times when the weekly walk was the only exercise I did. More recently it’s often icing on the cake. The New Rules of Lifting for Women calls it “active recovery” I believe. That is, something you do that’s not actually strenuous enough to be exercise but is good calorie-burning activity that allows you to be ready for more weight lifting the next day.

The fitness efforts of friends real and virtual also inspire me. From friends that are making great strides with their own levels of fitness and sharing awe-inspiring lifting, running and biking accomplishments to those whom I see looking great as they change their body composition in positive ways. Someone tweets that he’s at the gym or someone posts that she’s hit a new PR, that helps me feel inspired to hit the weights myself.

I also find it helpful to work on a program. I am quite capable of coming up with exercise routines for myself but I find that I do better when I have the guidance, structure and variety of routines put together by experts.  I know people are sometimes surprised to learn that I work out by myself in my basement and that I do keep at it. Ironically, for me the need to tear myself away from home to go to the gym would at this point in my life be a de-motivator and not a motivator.

Probably the biggest motivator of all is seeing results. This is especially motivating at first when one is making initial gains but one needs to be satisfied with more subtle progress as one goes farther on the fitness journey. A friend of mine recently introduced me to stickk.com which uses a combination of things to get one to set goals and stick to them including making donations to charities that one doesn’t like if one fails to meet a goal, having referees and friends to support the effort. This all coming from the results of a Yale study on what helps people stick to goals. I am not using it yet for that but the possibilities seem intriguing.

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My Legacy Dumbbells

About 20 years ago I lived in the region of the country near York, Pennsylvania.  During those years I began a collection of York dumbbells starting with a single set of 5lbs.  There may be nicer ones on the market but I love these.  Eventually I added 8s and 10s and 12s. The last purchase was a set of 15s. Frankly it took me years to have much I could do with this last pair though now I use them regularly.  York still sells this style of weight. They’re called “legacy” dumbbells which is a synonym for “if you own these you were probably born long ago.” I’ve now put together 16+ and 18+ pounds sets from plate weights, little threaded weight bars and collars. I’ve been wondering if it might be time for a set of 20s from York.  An alternative course would be taking the plunge and buying a pair of those dial-controlled adjustable dumbbells. I gave a pair of these to my dad as a gift last father’s day. I guess the best gifts are the ones we really want ourselves… For him it was a good idea because he has access to a good gym at work but seemed to have pretty little equipment at home. I was hoping mom might take advantage of them also. For me the benefit would be that my house is tiny and all the separate weights take up more room.  That said, I must confess an emotional attachment to my weight set. It would probably be hard to give them up.