Someone asked me how much time I spend in a gym the other day. Today I am a bit lighter and thinner than I was a few years ago. It wasn’t that I didn’t exercise, but I did what most people do; weight training, spin class and some jogging. Then I came to Switzerland and the old Mr. Switzerland, and every gym here, is not interested in short term memberships- they wanted $160 USD for a month in the gym.
I thought back for a second to my executive gym in Charlotte, that charged a similar rate, had few people, your own locker, laundry service, and anything else you could want. That was well worth the cost. In Switzerland, you paid that rate to go to a gym that might be worth $29.95 a month. I just couldn't justify the cost vs benefit after going to gyms around the world (the funniest was osaka where they had cigarettes in the lobby you could sit around with the other members and smoke your brains out after the workout)
Frustrated, I left and thought “ok, I am in Switzerland for a bit, what can I do for exercise? Running is fine, but the body needs more.”
I Googled bodyweight exercises and came upon several programs, some of which you had to be a yoga master or Olympic gymnast to do. Then I came upon a guy named mike Whitfield and his online infomercial of sorts advertising. I think he wanted $20 for some fee, and compared to $160 a month, I figured what do I have to loose?
So I downloaded the program and thought, “what is this? I wasted money. I only work out four times a week? This looks like the high intensity training we did playing American football.”
Then I went out and did the first workout and immediately realized all the time I spent in the normal gym over the years, basically had left me perhaps large, but with such a reduced overall core strength.
Frustrated, I keep doing the program in the book. It was as if I had to get my body balance back in place. Struggling to get through what mike calls finishers, I realized that I was in terrible shape, I had been neglecting many parts of my body and I had been going to a gym yet, wasting even more time, despite doing concentric -eccentric training with 30 second waits between reps. Even the one thing I really came to enjoy with spinning was taking its toll on my knees.
As I progresses, I bought more things from mike. What I kept looking for beyond his original book was a series of workout and plans that one could expand upon and grow with. He sold things called finishers, and then sprinting books. These are all great, and for anyone that thinks they are too old, you can actually sprint after 50 years of age. You will just be about ½ as slow as you were in your prime.
While I miss resistance training and how it makes the body feel, I have to say that the bodyweight only with some biking, swimming and occasional jogging has been great for my physical health.
Granted, part of it is living in Switzerland where the quality of food seems to be much higher than in the states and people tend to walk much more and not rely on the car but public transport. But my neighbors probably laugh at the funny American outside in the weather working out for 20 minutes a few times a week.
All I know is that it works.
I asked mike to stop sending me his advertisements, as in his effort to make a living, a group of fitness people all banded together and started cross selling with each other. I simply got fed up with my inbox being filled with mindless messages. I kept writing, do you have any more of these plans, but I guess as a customer, the service area of their business really meant little or was something they hadn’t gotten around to yet. I don’t know.
There is a common misnomer that as we age, we have to simply sit down and act old. When I saw an old couple of perhaps 90 walking up a mountain in the Alps at an adorable snails pace, I thought, “look at them, still able to walk up a mountain. Amazing.”
I think that was the week I tried to sprint. Yes, there were a few times where muscles pulled and strained because as you age, you really don’t realize how inelastic your muscles and tendons are. It is also that you simply didn’t stress the muscles they way you did as a younger person. But over time, you build up and can actually run again.
There is that day you also are sprinting and think; “wow, that was fast” and you look at the time, and eventually just laugh. While one might have once run and jumped like a deer, you are simply happy to be able to still run at an age you thought was "so old" at one time.
I have 2 more kilos to loose to get to the weight where I played American football. I find it funny how little time one has to put into being healthy as they age. So if you are a few pounds overweight, or once exercised and gave it up…. http://bodyweighttorch.com/
Mike likes pancakes. I found his love of pancakes annoying. I wanted new variants and programs. C’est lavie. I will drown my sorrows in macaroons and the Swiss variant, Luxumbergli (they are one little bite, less calories!)
the twisted irony is tomorrow, they close the gym where they wanted $160 a month.