Recovery Plan: Exercise…How

i’m not a trained gym jock.  i was a goalie in hockey and a catcher in baseball, however, so i’m not a stranger to the gym.  i was 42 when i got into my car accident.  I rode my bike about 10k each way to work.  i went to the gym for strength training three mornings a week, and was active playing and coaching.  i got tons of exercise.

i tell you that, to tell you this:  if you are in terrible physical condition, you and i have a lot in common.  Years of sitting on my ass in front of a computer have taken their toll.  i have had reasons not to exercise.

You and i know the dirty truth though, don’t we?  They are not reasons.  Here is a reason:  “i cannot do handstands because i have no arms.”  Not me, you twit…the example person.  That is a reason.  Notice any person would see that as a reasonable statement,

But you and i do not have reasons.  My parts, rusty as they may be, still work.  So what i have are more accurately called excuses.  So let’s call a duck a duck and be honest with each other off the bat.  They are excuses.

Well…i see reason number one as clear as a bell.  Clothing, skinny people, embarrassed…number one answer?   Body image.  If this is your reason for exercise, good luck.

You may have noticed i am not “buff”.  Don’t know if i’ve ever been called ‘buff” but it probably has something to do with abs.  I know i have at least one ab, or else i would fold over.  They keep us upright.  My suspicion is i have a six-pack, but only one guy is doing the lifting.  The other ones are having a cold one.

Bottom line?  i have a terrible body image.  My body is ok, i suppose, but i was the guy who carried a towel everywhere in the shower room like Linus with his friggin’ blanket.  I started university, the first time, when i was 16, so try to imagine what junior and senior high were like for me.

Those are significant times of puberty for most people.  But even though i was smart, i was still younger than my classmates and other things happened later as well.  That, i think, combined with constant moving (different school every years grades 8-12) made things more awkward.  And let us not forget the feelings of worthlessness many of us carry.  i know i do.


And the porn.  These were the old days and Playboy had wonderful pictures that were mysterious and only showed so much.  But dad had better stuff.  Stuff i am pretty sure was tough to find.  Of course, since magazine dealers kept all that stuff pretty much out of sight, it may have been more common than i thought.

“An entire generation is growing up that believes that what you see in hardcore pornography is the way that you have sex,” Cindy Gallop, an advertising executive, said in her 2009 TED talk on the matter. “Because the porn industry is driven by men, funded by men, managed by men, directed by men and targeted at men, porn tends to present one world view: that this is the way it is.”

That stuff is devastating.  If you are comfy with viewing it, that is your business and i am here to motivate, not judge.  i cannot watch it.  it is utterly ridiculous to me.  Likely having young daughters has something to do with it.

i can tell you, however, that porn has no business being in the hands of young people who are wrestling with their self-image.  Go ahead.  Try to measure up.  These folks are famous for some reason.  And they all looked larger than life.  Enough of that.  Let’s move on.

Body image.  That is an excuse.  You do not have to go to a gym.  We know what happens at the gym for some of us.  A perfect body comes over and helps you learn that you will never have their perfect body.

Most of us have average bodies.  Most of us in this modern age carry a few too many extra pounds.  i have no momentous dreams or goals here, other than getting fitter.  i know the NHL is not going to call me up, no matter how hard i work out.  Body beautiful is out of reach.  Sorry.  Positive Statement:  “i have a beautiful, amazing body already.  i am simply giving it a little help.”  Not there yet.  Body image is a toughie to deal with.

But not as big a problem to solve as far as exercise goes.  You do not need a gym membership.  While i would prefer you go for a walk outside, you don’t even have to do that.

You are sitting on your ass in front of one of the most amazing machines ever invented.  No matter what you are using.   Technology is amazing.  There are free videos of all kinds of exercise programs.  From simple, relaxing stretches to Pilates and  core strengthening stuff.

Any time you want.  Kids?  Let them watch or encourage them to join in.  Nothing like a healthy example to lead them in the right paths.  Body image.  Real issue, but not a reason.  An excuse.

Next “reason”?  Pain.  We all have pain of some type.  It is part of the human experience.  Sorry.  It is true.  You may have different pain, but we share that experience, so it is not just you.

And while my pain may limit me in some ways, it does not stop me from exercising.  I may exercise differently due to limitations, but i can still exercise.

Bet you have done it too.

Time?  Sorry.  i don’t even understand that one.  We all have 24 hours in a day.  Use some of that valuable computer time.  Dance with your two year old.  That doesn’t take long, now does it?

Now let’s pretend we are on the trail of a killer.  Not too far a stretch, because if we don’t get off our asses and start moving something, we are going to die.  Type two diabetes, stroke, heart attack and many other killers are at the door.  We need to pay attention to diet and stuff, but if you do not move, you die.  Unless you have great camouflage.  Even then you need to break cover once in a while to eat.

If we are trying to convict that killer, we need method, opportunity and what?  Motive.  Motive.  Ouch.  Motivation check.  A lot of it comes down to motivation.

Point is to do something.  Start.  Do something.  A inspirational quote is needed here.

How, oh wise one?  What must we do to succeed?  I don’t know what you need to do to succeed, but here are some things which have helped me in my recovery.

Make a plan.  Take some time and think about why you want to exercise.  I like to make a couple of columns and do the pros and cons thing.  Go ahead and visualize how good your body will feel with things like improved blood flow and oxygen intake.  Don’t take too much time thinking about it, but any kind of plan is better than the chaos of no plan.

We have already covered this somewhat, but move your body.  First and foremost, you and i need to get up off our asses.  We need to move.  And here is a practical thingy to help.

Remember that pain is not gain. i have a knee which will have to be replaced and so i have learned if i push it too hard, i end up icing and stuff.  I have a brace i wear (if i remember) and i pay close attention to how it feels.  Pain will knock you out of the exercise game quicker than anything else.

Related the the first, start slow.  If you push too hard, new things moving may react in painful ways.  Make sure you stretch if you do nothing else.  No jerking movements and do not hyperextend your joints.  Keep things a little bent at the end of your extensions or stretches.  Knees, shoulders, elbows…these joints like to stretch, but “taking it to the max” just stresses the joints unnecessarily.   Be gentle with your body or it will rebel.

lan a time.  Don’t have time?  We covered that earlier.  That is an excuse, not a reason.  If you didn’t get it the first time, read it again.  i will wait right here.  Try to exercise about the same time each day.  When it comes to exercise, routine is a friend.  Your body and mind will begin to look forward to these positive times.  My body likes things like oxygen.  Who knew?

Stick to your full recovery plan.  Exercise will not be a lot of fun if you have no fuel.  Go ahead and eat something.  You are not on a diet.  At this point, we are just trying  to get moving.  It is critical.  Move or die.

Love you!

Gym John


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