Friday, July 23, 2010


About six weeks ago I began an exercise program which for me is intense—forty or so minutes of curls, push ups, sit ups, pulls and pushes against large elastic belts that offer resistance, lunges and squats with a 40 pound weight vest, extensions of this and that.  There are about 25 exercises in all and I’m feeling pretty good about it all, even as I try to figure out why, this time, the regimen took.

Because this is not my first attempt at this; I’ve been wanting to do it for more than a decade and over time have bought and resold treadmills, workout benches, weights, strange contraptions to help tone my non-existent abs and pecs. And I’ve given up after a day or two. Many years ago I practiced martial arts and went at it three days a week, three hours per session and I loved it. My ambitions then were to become a sort of Franco-American Bruce Lee/Jacky Chan but that didn’t happen. I was a slow learner and the intricacies of the katas´tgook me years to learn and one day I got hurt and my enthusiasm waned. Then one day I got hurt and my enthusiasm waned. I folded my gee never put it on again.  

Now my ambitions are different. I plan to become the envy of men half my age, with an eight-pack stomach and as-yet unnamed muscles defining my front and back with grace and elegance. Though there’s a good chance that won’t happen either, it keeps me going. Half of the exercises are done outdoors in my backyard, and I use a weeping willow as a stationary post for the pushing/pulling stuff. I get bitten and stung by wee bugs as I’m huffing and puffing, but this simply strengthens my resolve. The neighbors look at me strangely as they barbecue and I grunt.

I don’t necessarily enjoy the exercising but I do like the aftermath, the sense of accomplishment even if it is small. I can’t notice any change in my body yet, but my butt seems to fit better in the bucket seat of my old Porsche. I am told that it takes about 90 days for the body to react to a change in behavior—longer if you’re older—and I’m willing to wait. I’m patient, this time around. I’ve also heard and read that it takes about 21 days to establish a new habit, so it appears I’m over the hump. Check me out in 45 days. You'll be amazed, or so I'm told.

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