Buff DM #8 - Muscular Maintenance
Working out consistently is hard for many of us, especially given our current climate and the pressures of the times.
At the time of writing this, for example, I am currently on vacation.
Not the most relaxing vacation, mind you, but vacation?
We (my wife's family, my wife, and I) have sequestered ourselves in a not-so-suave cabin on a definitive not-resort in the far reaches of tourist trap of Lake George, New York. We wear our masks everywhere we go, brought our own food to cook in our own kitchen, and keep our distance from EVERYONE. And since I don't trust the populace of good 'ole Lake George as far as I can shot-put them (which is certainly not six feet), and, from what I can observe, wearing a mask feels more like a means to get service and not actually to protect anyone, every opportunity to AVOID OTHER PEOPLE has been followed.
Lots of hiking.
Which is wonderful, actually.
Really. If I could stat out myself like a character in my own game (a great topic for Future Adam), I would give myself proficiency in Pugmire's skill of Traverse. I am filled with purpose and energy crossing streams, hiking up stones, running trails. As long as I have food, water, and a place to pee, I would wander the woods for hours.
Which brings me to my first point.
Keep Moving (and get a pedometer)
I have a daily step goal. Yes, I've become one of THOSE people. But a tracking number feels very motivating. It's proof that you ARE actually moving around, and with the flood of information surround some of us, having a running tally that I don't have to track myself feels wonderful.
I don't need a FitBit, or any other overpriced wristband. I have a free pedometer on my phone. Easy enough to setup and no further trouble required. I track my weight-training and steps, and set my goals, knowing that the "calories" they're tracking might not be accurate, nor do I care.
Making sure to move about each hour or so around your house will net you 4-6,000 steps over the course of the day. That's pretty good. An hour walk with a few hills nets me 8-9,000 steps. Not bad.
My daily goal is currently 13,000 steps a day. Some nurses crush that easy in a work day, and I was crushing it back when school was open. But NOW, with online events and distance learning, we struggle to move out of our offices and away from our desks. So a walk, for me, is the most efficient, and the most effective.
Why walks are great!
1) 8-9,000 steps in 1 hour. Lovely! Want it faster? Split up your walk with some jogging and get that heartrate up!
2) We are inundated with media and activism. I try to write something every day. I try to paint *almost* every day. Most evenings I'm running games, and most afternoons I'm teaching lessons. There's a lot going on. But strapping on my mask and walking outside allows me space away from all of that, if even for just a short time. It's time think, time to plan, time to talk to myself; I get to work it all out, and I come back with more structured ideas, new fiction in mind, another drink idea... Space lets us process the world, so we are more equipped to handle it when we return.
3) Vitamin D is good for you!
4) Fresh air is good for you!
5) A change of scenery is really really good for you!
Couple that walk with a few bouts of pacing around "inefficiently putting laundry away" and finding excuses to get up and vacuum, dance in the kitchen, do all of my chores at once, and otherwise be awesome at taking care of the house, and I'll reach my goal easy. And it's okay if it's *not quite* 100% accurate. I know it isn't, so the ballpark still counts!
The trick is to have something that casually holds you accountable. My pedometer isn't going to scold me for not reaching my goal, so the motivator isn't avoidance-based. It's just a tracker; the rest is up to me.
You still have to want it.
If you're one of those people that struggles with getting moving because it doesn't "feel" like you're accomplishing anything, a pedometer is EXACTLY what you need, but start small with your goals. If you're mostly sedentary right now, then your daily goal is 4,000 steps. That's you moving around your house. Do that for a week. Then it's 5000 for a week. Then 6K. Then 7. You get the idea. Start small, and you'll make it. Consistency breeds habit, and habit is your training. ...That also works both ways.
If you have made a habit of giving up when it gets hard... THAT'S your training. And you'll need to train yourself out of it before you can take the necessary steps forward.
Pushups Are King (embrace bodyweight)
Not JUST Push-ups, mind you, but they're a HUGE component in your fitness, vacation or not. In fact, they're one of FOUR key exercises that you need to hone in on to ensure that you always have a gym at your disposal. And by "gym" I mean...at least a 6x6 floor, and something to hang off of.
The Big Four are: Push-ups | Squats | Pull-ups | Sit-ups
Now, each of these have their own variations and branches heading off everywhere (more topics for another post), so let's keep this one simple.
Push-ups: anything that puts you in a plank position (knees are also allowed) where you lower your body down to the floor, touching your chest there, and "pushing" yourself back up to the next starting position.
Squats: standing and lowering yourself (as if you're about to sit...awkwardly) and pushing back up with your legs and glutes.
Pull-ups: anything that has you holding yourself at a hanging position (activating your grip, arms, and back most of all, but also a bunch of other things), and "pulling" yourself up and lowering yourself back down to the next starting position.
Sit-ups: anything that engages the abdominal muscles. Leg Lifts, Crunches, Obliques, Planks, Mountain Climbers...doesn't have a to be a Sit-Up!
I make these my primary focus, especially while on vacation. Sometimes I'll split it up by day, other times I'll have a running track ("do 1000 push-ups this week"), and maybe, if there's a fitness center, I'll make sure to incorporate them into my weight plan too. This time around, it looked more like this:
Monday: 100 Pushups, 100 Abs
Tuesday: 100 Squats, 100 Pullups (ouch)
Wednesday: Rest, walk extra 4K
Thursday: 100 Squats, 200 Abs
Friday: 200 Pushups, 50 Pullups, 100 Abs
Saturday: Rest, walk/run extra 8K
Sunday: (back home) Weight training - back and arms + 50 Pullups
With all the hiking, too, I should be fiiiiiine.
And you can adjust your plans as you see fit. Maybe your tracks are weekly, like I often do while I'm at home. Maybe your plan is just for three days a week. Or two. Or five. Whatever your slice, MAKE ONE AND HOLD YOURSELF TO IT. Your body, and your gut, will thank you. ...eventually.
Of course, I'm writing this while my wife and father-in-law make a list of all the best ice cream joints nearby...
I will be fine.
Get it, nerds.
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Professional Game Master musician, music teacher, game designer, amateur bartender, and aspiring fiction author.
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