Trying to be there for my son's future through exercise


I haven’t been keeping up my exercise lately. My son had a crisis and is in the hospital. He is switchng to Intensive Day Treatment this coming week.

In any case I started back to exercising this weekend, and I do feel better.


Sorry to hear your son is struggling. I hope day treatment goes well for him.

Congrats on working out again!
I know stressful events can really throw a wrench in your routine, but being able to get back to it after some of the dust settles shows a lot of resilience.

I wasn’t doing so great on getting my butt in the gym for a few days. I made excuses about my daily walks being better than nothing, but I know in truth that my efforts weren’t enough to earn my own respect and cultivate a positive self-image. I have to work hard to get those things, and I am the only judge of how well I earn them.
So, I came up with a new strategy to get motivated.
I found some workout videos on YouTube, featuring athletes and powerlifters. While I am keenly aware that I will never make $100 million catching footballs and making magazine covers, it motivates me to see other people working as hard as (or harder!) than I am.
I watch maratoners finish races when I run, cyclists climb mountains when I bike, and lots of ab and squats when I lift.
Knowing there are other people who are determined, committed and occasionally frustrated with their bodies to the point of anger inspires me to keep pushing.

After a few really good visits to the gym lately, I started to remember why I love exercise so much. After years of hard work, I feel like I can shape my body at will.
Calves looking too runner-ish?
Claf raises for days!
Cardio in the dumps?
Treadmill till it runs out of tread!
Shoulders burn out when carrying grocery bags upstairs?
Shoulder press till my arms fall off!

These little disappointments and aggrivations with how I look and feel are totally temporary when my efforts are focused on overcoming them. Soon, every other challenge I face seems like an opportunity to demonstrate my huge amounts of determination and my creativity to generate the kind of outcome I want.
It really does impact my overall perspective on life.

I wish everyone could feel the way I do when I’ve finished my workout and I know beyond any doubt that I gave it my best and tomorrow I will wake up a slightly better me.

Keep kicking butt, @Hummingbird
You deserve to feel good about the hard work out put in for yourself. Your son deserve a Mom who is strong and proud!


@Hummingbird so sorry to hear your son was in crisis, glad he has progressed to Intensive Day Treatment. And really glad the exercising helps you feel better.

@wreklus, I had to pass a walker in the park the other day and found out those fat eating glutes I am working on do real work too. I had a really short window to get the dogs ahead of the walker and I had to go off the path into a field to take the dogs wide around the person (I don’t want people to be afraid of the dogs, we don’t see many people predawn, but every now and then…) I had to burst into high gear to make the pass and it was AMAZING. So much faster, I felt so strong.

Love your video inspiration idea.

I was thinking about adding a back routine and saw that my go-to Leslie Sansone has a back workout with stretchy thing built into one of her walking workouts. Time to work on the back!


That sounds like a really solid trek if you had to strut it out to pass someone!
Passing people on the trails is one of my guilty pleasures, haha! I try to be polite about it, but I can’t help but feel a lot of pride about easily striding past people close to my age or younger.
Regarding back exercise,
There are a few different groups of muscles you’ll probably want to try to isolate with each exercise. Using instructional videos will help a lot, but they don’t always do a great job of explaining the purpose of each exercise.
The fundamentals are:

  1. Trapezoids - which extend from the back of the neck, along shoulder blades and down to the middle of the spine like a pair of triangles.
  2. Latissimus - under the arms, along the side of the rib cage.
  3. Spinal Erectors - like a pair of hamstrings in the lower back.
    These are the 3 powerful sets of muscles that bear most of your body weight and essentially generate all of your pulling power to bring things closer to you (or yourself closer to things i.e. chinups).
    Technique is all the more important when working back muscles because your spine is the focal point for most exercises. Generally, engaging your core muscles and setting the angle of your lower back is key to preventing injury. So, stick that booty out and push that chest up and out!
    Chinups, back fly, good mornings, and dead lift are the primary powerlifting techniques that you’ll want to condition for. Intermediate exercises with resistance bands and simple calisthenics are a great way to make sure your tiny stabilizing muscles and your spine are ready before you start throwing iron plates around.
    You can get a really solid workout just from calisthenics and definitely see results from it, but just like the booty, working toward adding weight inceases the effectiveness of each workout exponentially and starts building power for all kinds of new routines.

You’re progressing really well!
Targeting areas you want to change is the bread and butter of a long-term fitness plan. Keep it up!


@wreklus Thanks for the muscle description - this is good stuff - really nice of you to take the time.

I am a bit of a plodder when it comes to my running. More of the slow and steady sort of distance tortoise. Decades ago when my brother first heard I had was running, he challenged me to a race. I quickly agreed as long as I could call the distance. He said “name it” and I said “5 miles”, he quickly declined;) Now a days, I just run 2 miles - my dogs are too old for more. I do run the two miles faster and ladder my speed and strides for a better workout.

Yes, I understand the pleasure of passing people - some times the cross country coach brings his freshman team out to the park at dawn the first week of practice to kick off the season. Always fun to pass the young stragglers while hoping that being passed by an old lady doesn’t put them off running.

What annoys me is the one mile people who run all out to pass me by surprise (music) and then stop their run before I have a chance to actually kick into gear and race.


Don’t concern yourself with the “short burst” type runners. They probably just have bigger than average lung capacity and they probably never really improve if they’re going to a set of trails to do sprints.
There is nothing wrong with plodding. Sustaining an elevated heart rate is absolutely productive toward your goals and also very demanding!

Anyway, it is tempting to compare our fitness and the intensity of our workouts to others. It’s important to remember that everyone is a work in progress, and often we’re only seeing a small part of someone’s overall effort. Likewise, other people only see a small part of ours.

Glad my Man-Splinations are occasionally useful.
I really do want to read that you’re smashing your goals and feeling good about yourself!

An update for myself:
I pushed it really hard today. Sadly, my ability to do work is kind of limited from having adopted a very lean diet and then eventually taking it too easy on myself for about 4 or 5 months.
I managed to match my record max heart rate on the treadmill. I really wanted to beat it, but I just didn’t have the explosive force I needed to move my legs any faster. I guess that means my cardio is pretty good rifht now, if my muscles can’t exceed my wind power.
But damn if it isn’t frustrating to want more and not be able to get it!
I’ll need to adjust my workouts to focus on more squats. No matter how much I’ve done that, I still feel foolish when I do squats. Funny, because it’s so fundamental and I love the results. I’ll just have to suck it up and feel like a fool if I want my run to improve.

My new habit of watching motivational videos while I work out is really helping!
Today, I watched a Lingerie Football League game. I really dislike the fact that those women can’t just wear serious, full uniforms and pads like NFL players. But they do a good job of putting microphones on all the players and coaches now, so it’s really great to hear the audio clips of people who are just as demanding of themselves as I am ( or moreso, I think it’s fair to assume).
Proven fact that men work harder around people they find attractive, so I decided to embrace that instinct and use it to push myself harder. Since the gyms I go to are usually empty, or close to it, LFL seems to be that extra motivation I need.

When I think about the long term goal of being healthy and active when I’m an old fart, I feel like I’m doing pretty well. I always imagined myself as being much stronger and athletic in my early 30s, but I’m still no slouch. My sin has been inconsistency. Knowing what I’m doing wrong is the most important step in getting what I want. I think I’m getting there!


I have been tracking and noticing stronger days as you had suggested and I do see there is a connection between what I have eaten and my strength. Also - that weekend away where I didn’t work out, but did eat out, resulted in visible muscle growth. Glad I jumped right back to working out and didn’t drift away.

Really hate the days where I want to feel strong and its not there.

Inconsistency is the most difficult struggle for everyone. The hardest part for me at first was finding workouts I wanted to do and setting up a calendar to balance them.

My husband would be all over your LFL inspiration idea. I would have to remind him that he has given up watching football since the NFL refused to acknowledge lifelong concussion damage - maybe the LFL is more careful.


LFL is a conflicting subject for me.
The commentators can be very condescending sometimes and the uniforms are a bad combination of push-up bras and face shields.
But overall, I like the intensity and the shorter pauses between plays.

If you’re working out more days than not, you’ll probably find that occasions like your brief intermission do actually tend to result in a more powerful workout immediately afterward.
I think this is more due to giving your body a chance to recover fully, rather than actual gains. However, the point still stands that taking a few days off occasionally won’t ruin your progress at all. Also good to note if you have a really big physical day coming up, like helping someone move to a new home. Two days of rest gives your body plenty of time to heal and also store up some extra calories.
I do this before a PT test. Showing up well rested, well fed and healed up makes setting new personal records easier. But it’s artificially inflated.

It’s okay to be frustrated with performance when working out. I actually think that’s a really good thing sometimes. I know it’s good for me personally, I want that hunger and that drive to push me.
The end result is a body that doesn’t disappoint outside the gym!

Today, I am feeling the pain of having taken it too easy on myself in the recent past. My hip flexors and spinal erectors are still tired from my run. I revel in it, because I know this feeling very well. It’s the pain of goals coming nearer.
But damn if I can’t get comfortable in my chair at work! Haha!

I’ll be picking it up this weekend. Come Saturday, my gym time will be dead serious work. For now, I need to ice my knees and drink more water!


You are probably right - gosh it felt great.

My flexi-band for my back workout wasn’t available at the local stores -did find one on Amazon - currently I plan to use the band with one of the Leslie Sansone walking workouts that incorporates it into the walking workout. So lazy of me, I am good to add it to a walking workout that features it, but not interested in finding its own workout - yet. I suspect once I see back muscles change it will be a different story. Yes, as the muscles show up, it does encourage more - but still I am sticking to just 60 minutes a day.

Now I am thinking about adding some sprinting into my run - just short bursts, really, really sort bursts, probably just 20 seconds each. Probably means I am about to find out just how long 20 seconds really is…

Bad leg cramps today during Pilates - husband says lack of hydration on my part:(


I’m in I find living in Texas it is so hot I have relapsed in exersize. So I skip TV and set my alarm. Need to be out the door at 7:30 at least. Walking and no sugar or processed food white flour willl help you loose weight.


I’m in Texas too, yes, we have to get out early to beat the sun. The indoor walking workouts by Leslie Sansone that are free on youtube have been quite the lifesaver of my workout goals.


Great plan to try to add some sprints!
It’s a slow process to build up running speed because there are so many links in the chain.
I have found many weak links in myself with running, diaphragm, heart and legs. It was tough to strengthen each of them as they took turns becoming the weak link!


I apologise for the double post here, but I really don’t want this thread to die.

My girlfriend and I have renewed our determination to make fitness a priority! Woo!
It’s really awesome to have a reliable gym partner and not have to lean on motivational videos to push myself. Proven fact for me that having a woman nearby when working out makes me instinctively work harder.

We put together a plan to track baselines in the same way the military would do:
1 mile walk finishing heart rate
1.5 mile run time
1 minute max situps
1 minute max pushups
Body Mass Index

Today, we completed the 1 mile walk. Sounds like the easiest one, but walking for max heart rate without running for a mile is definitely not easy. We both did well, completing the walk in a very reasonable time and put together goals for reduced heart rate at the same speed in the future. This metric would track efficiency of the heart to push blood through our bodies harder with a single pump.
After the walk, we did an ‘easy’ weightlifting routine (in quotes because we really don’t take things easy ever).

She was proud to have spent about an hour exercising after work. Probably not going to be the norm, but 20 to 30 minutes a day isn’t crazy to build up toward.

If anyone is curious about the rules and methods for taking a fitness baseline, I’d be happy to post what I came up with.
Just keep in mind, the baseline I am using is meant for generally healthy young adults and probably not appropriate for a large part of the population. So, don’t injure yourself. Nothing sets back fitness goals like an injury!


Isn’t that the truth? Love that you and your girlfriend are working this together - that is really, really, nice.

I was holding off on posting until I hit the 3 month mark. Now I am there - whew! Has not been easy at all to keep the 60 minutes going with the new issues coming up around here. The good news was that I only come up short one day.

The glutes are showing up and are probably the cause of a 3 pound weight gain. That gain has caused an issue with my wardrobe. I keep reminding myself to relax about it and let the muscle growth work on the muscle to fat ratio. I have to give it more time as I can still see proof there is less fat. Just more me. I keep telling myself - give it 3 more months be patient!


Wow 3 months! Congratulations!
You are totally right about staying the course and trusting that another 3 months will bring even more satisfaction.
I know that as you continue to exercise regularly, it will become easier to pick and choose what parts of your body change. It will also cause calories you take in to stop “sticking” to certain parts of your body so stubbornly.
Of course, genetically there will always be specific places that take more work to really sculpt into your picture of “ideal”. But it will get easier to do.

Today was another win at the gym with my girlfriend!
She is more comfortable with voicing her unhappiness with her image, which is just one phase in attaining new fitness goals. So, that’s progress from my perspective.
I expect that 3 months from now I will be hearing a lot of shouts of triumph from you, hope, myself, and my girlfriend! What an inspiring thought that is!


Really hoping that the shout you hear from me in 3 months isn’t me upset about having to buy new pants!



@hope That is funny. That happened to me. I wanted to drop some pounds so my clothes fit better and now they are hanging off me (some of them - like pants!) Sigh. We did a step challenge at work in Sept. I hit at least 10K on all but one day. I’m keeping up the trend in Oct.


I’m right there with you on the step challenge!
It’s definitely a great habit to maintain. it’s really good for overall health and gives me time to think.

I am certain that day will not be an upset one, but one full of pride!
Keep targeting those areas you focus on in the mirror every day and they will obey your command!

These days, I am finally starting to see a really good balance of strength and cardio. I am definitely no athlete, but I’m finally beginning to approve of my body again.
I am readjusting my goals to maintain cardio as is and begin bulking with seriousness again. Only problem is that I don’t have a membership at a gym with proper powerlifting equipment at the moment.
I have a plan to attack this speed bump:

  1. Continue maintaining cardio and start building muscle through lower rep, higher weight exercises.
  2. Commit to cooking meals at home when I start my new job. This will prevent me from ordering delivery / pickup and help reduce my food expenses overall. The goal here is to reduce overall cost of living by $50 a month.
  3. Use that $50 / month to buy a membership at a “big boy gym” (as I call them).
  4. Become a regular at new gym and seek gym partners with similar goals.

I realize that the plan isn’t so straight forward, considering I also want to do workouts that are more tailored for my girlfriend. They aren’t necessarily opposing goals, but convincing her to step foot in a temple of iron is going to be a challenge.

Looks like I’m going to end up doing 2-a-days!
One early morning workout and one evening workout.
Woo! Bring on the challenges! I’m excited to build a new lifestyle.


@DianeR - Yowza Diane! That is a lot of steps - I was just reading about fit bits - it does some sort of sound or buzzing when you hit the 10k mark each day, correct? You and I have ended up with the opposite problem in regards to our pants situation - so funny! Wow you, making it every day but one, that is amazing.

@wreklus - Whenever we have had to go through what we call an “austerity” budget period, we have found that food budgeting can make the biggest difference for us. I have friends who keep no food in their house at all - when they had to buy groceries due to a space between jobs, they said they hadn’t been in a grocery store their entire marriage, they had no idea where to start. When my husband and I travel we are so excited about having so many restaurant options. Rural living is different. We joke with the other folks who used to live in cities and now live out here that we all have to hitch up the wagon and head into town for supplies. Thank goodness for Amazon - it has made rural life easier for us - its a big enough day to drive into a city for a Costco/Sams without having to drive around looking for odds and ends.

2 a days - sweet! So glad you are considering your girl friend’s needs. Hand weights come in such great colors and don’t take up much room - they are such a good place to start.


Luckily, my girlfriend has helped tremendously in getting me to lean more heavily on home cooked meals. Generally left to my own devices, I eat 2 meals - a home cooked breakfast, then something picked up. It’s not a very healthy habit at all. I’m going to be needing more calories if I stick to my workout plan. As you said, better eating habits will have a big impact on budget.
I can imagine that you have to plan your excursions into civilization well. Nothing worse than forgetting butter or trash bags until after you get home, worse if it means another hour or longer adventure back into town!
I am looking forward to the ability to pick and choose where I buy certain items. Canned goods are always cheaper at places like Walmart, but they lack good selection of fresh meat while veggies are hit and miss. I am certain that I can chop at least $25 per week off groceries alone buy getting non-perishables at some place less… Highbrow… Than what my girlfriend prefers to shop. (Teaching her the art of frugal indulgence is an ongoing mission).

We will see if I can do both my own plan and my girlfriend’s. It’s a big challeng, especially in addition to all the other challenges I am holding myself to. As always, I’ll do my best, change and adapt often.