Getting In Shape

Last modified on September 10th, 2009

Strangely enough, most people in Vancouver probably don’t remember me as ever being super skinny. For whatever reason, I’ve always had a bit of meat on my bones. You can chalk it up to a slow metabolism, or crappy genes or whatever, but there are not many times in my life where I’ve been rail thin.

The first time I came close though was probably around grade 11. I was playing three sports at the same time, getting lots of rest, and for the most part, lived a pretty stress free life. I couldn’t tell you what I weighed during that period, but looking at old photos I definitely think I looked fairly athletic.

For the most part, I stayed relatively skinny during university. I’ve always sort of oscillated plus or minus ten pounds fairly regularly, so I’m sure there were times I was a bit chubbier, and times when I was a bit skinnier. I remember in second year university I was going to the gym quite a bit (mainly because it was across the street). I had a professional body fat assessment done, and the results came back at 13%, which is in the athletic range. Strangely enough I was 197 lbs at the time, which on a 5’9″ frame is quite a bit of weight. You do the math, but I guess that means I was carrying quite a bit of muscle, at least from a weight perspective.

When I moved out to Ottawa, everything kind of went to crap for me. I was commuting two hours a day, constantly tired, and had a fairly stressful job, mainly because of the crazy dot-com boom that was going on (which translated directly into long hours for me and my friends). I was drinking a pile of coffee each day, most of which was sweetened with a ton of sugar. I didn’t own a scale during that period, so I really didn’t notice the gradual shift upwards until I had left Ottawa and came home. Needless to say the first thing I did when I got back home was to sign up for the gym.

Without a doubt, I’m always in my best shape whenever my stress levels are low and my ability to do outdoor activities or hit the gym is high. After Ottawa, I spent the next two years doing my master’s degree, and managed to not only shed all the weight I had picked up in Ottawa, but overshot by a long margin. When I ended that fitness regime, I was a tiny 178 lbs, which on my frame almost made me look sickly.

After leaving school for the work force, I once again entered into a high stress job, and didn’t really get many opportunities to hit the gym. I know that seems like a cop out, because in a lot of ways it is, but given the pressures at work at the long hours we had, hardly anyone in the company seemed to have time for that kind of stuff. Couple that with a pretty traumatic event in my life, two surgeries, a super bug, and hospitalization for pneumonia, the end result is that the pudge monster returned.

One of the main reasons I moved out in the country here is so that I could actually have time to hit the gym and eat normally again. For the most part, the ball has been in my court for quite a while now, but I haven’t pulled my racquet back to start a proper volley. So as of today, I’m going to start making a concerted effort to get back in shape.

I have a monthly gym pass already, and as of today, I’ve been at the gym twice in two days. So hopefully the hard part is over. To encourage myself to keep it up, I’m going to try and post weekly if I can. I’m also making this a dedicated series for ease of use.

The hardest part for me is not really having a gym buddy. Getting up in the morning and hitting the gym would be a lot easier if I knew someone was waiting outside or out front for me. But lacking that, maybe I can get a few virtual buddies for support. So if you’re also trying to improve your fitness level, then drop me a comment (*cough* Jennifer Stoddart *cough*), and maybe we can virtually encourage each other. Anyways, day two’s in the bag.

15 responses to “Getting In Shape”

  1. I recently discovered the joys of intervals and integrated them on my morning running routes. Aside from completely exhausting me, they’re awesome ways to shake up cardio routines and burn more calories.

    For example, I ran about 3km this morning before hitting the steps, three sets of ten reps with alterations of one or two steps each rep. It really beats the 30-45 minutes on steady, straight cardio and keeps things somewhat fresh. I got this after a one time personal trainer session at my gym (who also introduced me to and kicked my ass with Burpees).

  2. Duane Storey says:

    Oh man, I remember Burpees. We used to do those for Rugby practice. I think two people barfed on day one of Rugby season.

  3. curtismchale says:

    Dude I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. I do a lot of paddling but still find that between working fulltime freelancing on the side I am a bit stressed and don’t get out for the exercise I once did. I used to ride my bike back and forth from Abby and Chilliwack. Not once this year and only twice last year.

    Add to that my wife is an amazing cook and baker.

  4. Duane Storey says:

    I think I’m gonna try going for a run down by the river tonight. Despite being only half a km away, I’ve never been running along there.

  5. Jason says:

    Yeah, the wife and I hit the river regularly. She runs, I bike. Highly recommended.

  6. Duane Storey says:

    @Curtis – ping me if you ever want to get out. My brother in law is game for upping the fitness level too. I think there’s a web developer spring calendar looming on the horizon.

  7. Tom says:

    Great Goal Duane, Keep it up. Offer yourself a little reward at the end of each week 🙂

  8. Lyndsey says:

    Wow!! We must be on the same wave length..I was finding myself extremely restless the last couple of months and know damn well it’s because my body is screaming at me to do something (!!)
    Had been feeling very uncomfortable in my own body and haven’t been sleeping well, and I find my temperature fluxes like I’m menopausal…By no means am I fat but, I have never felt this way before.

    Having a desk job is the worst thing I could ever imagine for the derriere, I may add…Oh and…working for Food Services..Yeah.

    So I just started last night, (somewhat)did a short stint on the elliptical (interval), then I did some crunches and then sat my ass in the steam sauna. Baby steps.

    But I am the same as you, if I had someone to do this stuff with, it would sure motivate me a whole lot more. =( I used to be an athlete and played everything you can think of, so going to the gym for me is totally lame. i hate forcing myself to do something I hate. I rather go out and play volleyball or softball for 10 hours straight, at least i am having fun, ya know?

    I keep saying, “today, is the day”..but after I leave work I feel like going straight to bed. But I need it more than ever, looking back on photos when I was about 10-15lbs lighter, thinking, I can be like that again.
    I just wish I was a better friend to myself =)

    Anyway, if you ever wanna take off and go hiking for a weekend, gimme a ring!!

    PS I’ll be checkin in on you, so you better keep it up Mr.

  9. I’ll be your virtual cheerleader if you’ll be mine!

  10. no need for the gymn, but more power if you can do it, i can’t 🙂 and neither can the rest of the world

    walk or bicycle 5 days a week for 30 minutes or more e.g. on the way to your fav internet cafe 🙂 in the morning or after dinner and you will be fine, something we have forgotten in Canada, USA, Japan and Western Europe but not the rest of the world

  11. Duane Storey says:

    Yah, walking is doable. I’m not sold it does anything though. I used to walk more than an hour each day in Vancouver. I’d like to do some biking. Unfortunately the whole not having a bike thing makes that hard to do.

  12. Lyndsey says:

    Oh Duaner, totally get a bike! I am finally getting mine tuned after it sitting on the balcony in the rain for a year, getting a damn helmet and gonna find some place cruise around, ha. When i used to bike to uni, it started as a 40 min thing and then as I got in better shape, shaved my 5-7km ride (on a steady incline) to within ~15min. Lost 12lbs the first month, from just biking to school. Unfortunately, I still drank like a fish at the time,so results may have been even better.

    Fresh air, scenery, great cardio exercise and an awesome core and leg work out when on an incline… In fact, it toned EVERYTING! It’s worth it, you should try =)

  13. Beth says:

    Having someone to exercise with is such a good motivation. Unfortunately for me, my running partner got knocked up, so she’s not training with me anymore! And it’s so much easier for me to skip a run when I know that she’s not there counting on me to show up! Thankfully hockey starts this weekend – that way I’ll have a whole *team* of people to get me out there!

  14. i’d wager that if you truly walked an hour a day rain or shine 5 days a week in Vancouver then your problem in Vancouver wasn’t exercise related but diet, stress and other parts of your lifestyle related

    no matter, looks like life now i sooooo much better, you seem a lot happier and that’s wonderful!

  15. Duane Storey says:

    Oh, I had lots of problems in Vancouver! Diet wasn’t that great for sure, and stress was pretty high. I’ve corrected both of those mostly these days.

    Yah, life out in Cow Town is pretty good, I gotta say.

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