Starting to start exercising! How I’m investing in myself.

Girl doing pushupsI’ve started exercising! Although I use the terms loosely. It’s probably more correct to say “I’m starting to start exercising again.” Either way, it’s a long overdue step in a journey to a better me. I thought I’d write out my plans and routine so that I’ll stick to them.

If you are considering to start exercising, check with your doctor or at least get advice from a professional trainer.

Why?

Although I didn’t state it as one of my goals this year, investing in your health is just as important as investing your money. I’m sure I don’t need to spell out all the benefits of being fit, so I’ll just say this: While your body is an amazing and wonderful biological system, it’s the only one you have. So, look after it.

It’s just that in this case, exercising is cheap in financial terms. The real currency being spent here is Time.

Objectives

Exercise is like investing in that you should have some kind of objective and plan in mind. My objectives are pretty simple:

  1. Become more flexible.
  2. Have better balance.
  3. Tone my body: lose 8lbs (reach 150lbs) and lower my blood pressure.

I’m not putting any timeframe on this, I’m just taking it slow and easy.

What kind of exercise?

Like investing, there are also so many strategies and types to choose from. Is DGI better than Passive Investing? Is Weight-lifting better than Yoga? How much stocks vs bonds? How much aerobic vs strength training?

As with any online research, my advice is to consider the source of what you’re reading. A site selling kettle-bell training courses will no doubt have a lot of reasons why kettle-bells are the most efficient. Consider more alternatives before deciding. Of course, you don’t have to follow just one method. I think it’s more important just to start and learn. Almost any exercise regime will be beneficial compared to none.

In my case, I’m going to start with an approach I used about five years ago, that I got on well with. It involves Bodyweight exercises along with Pilates. I stopped after moving to Detroit when I was pre-occupied about buying a house and starting a new job, and never restarted.

The great thing about both styles of exercise is that I don’t need any external equipment, or a gym membership. I just need me.

Bodyweight Exercises

Bodyweight exercise means using your body for resistance instead of relying on external weights. I favor this approach because I’m older so it places less stress on my body, and because I’m not interested in gaining bulk muscle mass. I’d rather have a leaner body like a gymnast than a weight-lifter.

The good thing about bodyweight training is that the exercises are more biomechanically inclined. They reinforce the natural movements that your body was designed to do. This aligns with my objectives in building flexibility and balance.

The specific exercises and progression that I’m following is from the book, Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade.

It covers six core exercises: Push-Ups, Squats, Pull-Ups, Leg-Raises, Bridges and Handstand Pushups. Each exercise has a lengthy progression (ten levels that start easy and become progressively harder) so it takes a lot of time before you’re even close to doing the named move as advertised. Which is good because I’m not capable of doing a handstand anytime soon!

Now, I’m pretty sure that the one-handed handstand push-up touted in the book is physically impossible, but I’d be happy just to reach level five in that particular set of exercises.

Pilates

I’m also using a subset of Pilates, which is a fitness method developed by Joseph Pilates. Pilates focuses on your core abdomen / back and includes some stretches for flexibility and improves standing posture. This article describes 16 health benefits of Pilates and additional starting tips.

I use only the mat exercises which I can do on a yoga mat (though a padded one works better) or even on carpet if needed. Running through the routine now takes about ten minutes as I’m only starting with the first five moves.

I’m starting with the Beginning Pilates video above which contains ten basic exercises. The Pilates Body book by Brook Siler describes all 34 of the mat exercises but some require a level of flexibility and strength I don’t have yet!

More advanced versions of Pilates use external equipment, but I’ve had good results just from the mat exercises in the past so I’m sticking with that.

Aerobic

I’m not planning to do a lot of aerobic exercise yet. I’ve started by using the stairs at work instead of the elevators and I park my car a brisk ten-minute walk away from my office building so I get exercise that way too. Though if it’s too icy or snowing I’ll wimp out and take a shuttle.

I do seem to walk a fair amount in my job anyway. The building I work in is huge by itself so I try to have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon walk during breaks. And the team is split across three buildings on campus so there’s a fair amount of travel back and forth during the week.

Schedule

Here’s the schedule I’m following:

Day Exercise
Mon  Push-Ups + Leg Raises
Tue  Pilates
Wed  Bridges + Handstand
Thu  Pilates
Fri  Pull-Ups + Squats
Sat  Pilates
Sun  REST

The chart doesn’t include the progression / quantity of the exercises but I track that in a spreadsheet. The push-ups for example are currently done standing up against a wall, and I’m only doing three sets of ten. Once I’ve built up to do three sets of fifty with good technique then the exercise advances to doing push-ups on an incline to continue building up strength, then goes to kneeling for level three and so-on.

What I like about this approach is that it’s quick to do and helps me form a regular habit. It’s also encouraging seeing the progress through the progression.

Metrics

1. I’ll monitor my weight, heart-rate and blood pressure at home daily. I use the EatSmart scale for measuring weight and body fat, plus an Omrom Blood pressure monitor.

2. I’ll update my progress in a post each quarter.

Image by nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Quote of the Day

It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.

18 thoughts on “Starting to start exercising! How I’m investing in myself.”

  1. Dividend Life,

    You have some great thoughts on exercise and the work out program you have outlined, at first glance, will satisfy all your objectives upon completion. Taking the steps at work is something that is highly underrated. Many people at my work rarely take the steps, and I’ve made an effort to take them more often than not.

    “Every time you choose the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, becoming the type of person who does what’s easy, rather than what’s right.” – Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning

    Looking forward to hearing about your progress!

    Erik

    1. Hey Erik,
      Yes I go crazy if I’m stuck at my desk for too long so I like to walk around if I can. My company is moving towards a “sit anywhere” kind of concept which also encourages that style.

      I like the quote you added – it’s always easy to do nothing instead of something, yet that doesn’t get you very far.

      Thanks for your support!
      -DL

  2. There is no better time than the present. I’ve also just written about this topic on my blog. Seems a lot of us do this time of year (whoops!). Maybe it’s all the extra food that we take in over the holidays? Anyways, thanks for the great read. I think you’ll be successful with your plan. I’ve found that really all that matters is a good program and sticking to it. Consistency is key when it comes to conditioning and gaining the results that you want. Take care!

    1. Hi DividendReaper,
      Yes I enjoyed reading about your Yuma challenge – it’s certainly a cool idea to virtually climb mount Everest! I’ve been walking up the stairs at work for a couple of months now but I’m usually out of breath when I’m carrying my laptop bag. So that was a trigger point for me to start getting more serious about fitness again.

      I agree with you that it’s following the program that matters more than the program itself.

      Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to following your progress on the climb – have you thought about a graphic showing your position and the various base-camps etc?

      Best wishes,
      -DL

  3. Good luck DL. I am in the same boat getting older. 16 years of carrying babies around has left me with arthritic spurs in my lower spine. Babies and not excersing that is. If you don’t keep your musles in shape, more pressure is placed on your tendons and bones causing spurs. I need to drop 15 but it is still a challenge. I have started by weights and counting calories as I do every year. Hopefully I can keep at it.
    Cheers,
    DFG

    1. Thanks DFG! I have terrible posture when I sit so I hope one outcome of this is a stronger back. I hope your exercising and dieting is paying off.

      What I’ve been struggling with is why I stopped in the first place. If you’re considering to stop at any point, perhaps it’ll help to write down and think about why? I’m becoming increasingly more aware of Time as I grow older and I think that’s part of my motivation. But you have to make time instead of hoping to find it.

      Best wishes,
      -DL

  4. Hi DL,

    Best of luck! I’ve recently started on a similar journey of my own. Creat job creating an plan I find I procastinate and end up doing nothing maybe making a concrete plan is the way to go.

    Thanks for giving me some ideas and much needed motivation!

    Cheers
    Rohan

    1. Hi Rohan,
      You’re welcome. I hope you start and continue on a fitness plan. I like to write things down – I think it’s more real and motivating that way. But whatever works for you; even ten/twenty minutes a day can make a big difference and encourage more exercise.
      Best wishes,
      -DL

  5. Hi DL,
    I admire your plan to become fitter and healthier. You also seem to have a pretty well laid out plan on how to achieve your fitness goals. Sounds like you are on a mission and I hope you succeed, which you will.
    A while ago, (2015?) there was an article in the Financial Times titled “You can’t outrun your fork” or something similar. It was really good and referred to the intake of calories vs burning them. Maybe you can also do something with that side of the medal.
    Either way, you inspired me to hit the gym myself again. My bag is already packed and tomorrow I will be at the gym before work.
    Thank you for sharing this post.
    Regards,
    DIB

    1. Hi DIB,
      Hey it’s great that you’re motivated to start working out again! Take it easy and enjoy it!
      I appreciate the advice too. I was quite shocked when I learned how much exercise you need to do to burn off 500 calories or so. In general I eat pretty healthily so my weight typically hovers around 155-160lbs. But I do need to start thinking more about nutrition e.g. eating more fruit etc so that’s a good point.
      Wishing you all the best on your exercising – keep it up!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment,
      -DL

  6. Congrats on that healthy move! So important to be healthy and to become more confident in ourselves in the meantime!
    I also love exercising because it clear my mind, gives me more energy and fight back the tiredness.

    Keep focus!

    Cheers,
    Mike

    1. Hi Mike,
      That’s awesome. I definitely need to start using something other than coffee to fight tiredness, so that will be a nice benefit too!
      So far, so good and I’m enjoying the routines that I’m doing.
      Thanks for your support and comment!
      Best wishes,
      -DL

  7. I think this is an area of life that’s very important for those of us who are planning to retire early. Gotta stay healthy if you’re going to enjoy all those years for as long as possible and working out and eating right is a big part of that. Make sure to stick with it!

    1. Hi timeinthemarket,
      Yes, there’s no point being financially independent if you’re not in a state to enjoy it. So far everything’s going well and I’m enjoying it!
      Thanks for your support!
      Best wishes,
      -DL

    1. Hi BHL,
      Your comment made me think about gym companies, not just healthcare. But it seems there aren’t many publically traded gym companies – Lifetime Fitness was taken private, leaving I think just Planet Fitness (PLNT) which at a P/E of 60+ isn’t attractive. So fitness stocks seem to be more about sports clothing, but possibly diet / vitamin companies might count too.

      It’s certainly an interesting idea though!
      Best wishes,
      -DL

  8. Awesome job getting back into exercising. I am a huge fan of bodyweight exercises. I actually joined a bootcamp at my local gym which focuses heavily on bodyweight exercises. I’ve only been doing it for two months now but I am feeling fantastic and actually am looking forward to the workouts which I can’t say I was before. Keep up the awesome work!!!

    1. Hi MSM,
      It’s awesome that you’ve started already and include bodyweight exercises too. I’m certainly enjoying it and starting to build up into longer routines but it’s still a lot of fun and I look forward to my routine. Today’s my day of rest though and it’s quite needed since I was sore from yesterday’s routine.

      Thanks for your support and I look forward to reading about your own progress!
      Best wishes,
      -DL

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