FIRE.098 Gym 1000 weeks

As my blog post count nears the 100 post milestone, I am surprised that I hit another HUGE milestone last week. 

If you read me, or know me, it’s no surprise that I keep track of things.  I plan, I track, (I sometimes do nothing with the previous information), I fine-tune, I like to know how things have been going.

I tracked my weight loss when I was 29-30.  I’ve tracked my weight over the years—for a decade I tracked my calories throughout the day.  After I hit my goal weight, then after hitting my dream weight, I joined the neighborhood Gold’s Gym.  Did you catch that, “after” I hit my goal weight, I joined the gym.

Running Challenge

I don’t seem to do anything like other people.  I somehow, almost magically, hit my dream weight—actually beyond my craziest dreams.  I decided then to set a new goal, to run a 10k race.  I knew nothing about this but that seemed like a common distance people raced, according to all the flyers and advertisements.

So to learn how to run 10k—I figured out that was 6.2 miles—I made a plan to train for that distance.  The best way I could learn to run an actual mile was to use a treadmill to measure the distance.  Strangely, it never occurred to me to run around my neighborhood.  In retrospect, it seems like I needed the calculation function of the treadmill to make sure I was on track.  I’d never run a mile before so this was all new.  Yes, I played sports, but never ran anywhere…what for?

So the first day at the gym I did the run-a-minute, walk-a-minute until I hit 1 mile.  Then a couple of days later I did the run-two-minutes, walk-a-minute.  On the third day I was running my third minute and just decided not to stop until I hit 1 mile about 7 minutes later.  10 minutes wasn’t too crazy hard.  A couple of weeks later I ran two miles straight and was amazed.  Actually, I was beyond amazed.

One hour of running:  So here’s the most interesting part—I was able to work my way up to running 6.2 miles on the treadmill in about an hour.  Let’s be clear, running on a treadmill (in Arizona in Oct) for an hour makes almost no sense to me now.  Get outside and explore. 

So about a month after joining the gym—in Oct 2000, to learn how to run—I ran my 10k with maybe 10,000 people and met my goal of finishing in less than 1 hour.

The Start of the Series

Very early on with my gym membership (in the first couple of weeks) I started weight training at the gym.  I decided to do full-body “activation” workout two times per week.  My logic is simple, I want to engage all my muscles and let them know they need to move, strain, and be prepared for action.  Since I like keeping my heart rate up, I do supersets (push/pull, or legs/arms) and keep moving from exercise to exercise.

After a few months, I went back to the beginning of my membership and started tracking how many weeks I’d been going to the gym.  At the end of 52 weeks in a row, I was amazed.  At the end of 104 weeks in a row, I started thinking that I was on a good track. 

I’ve ALWAYS found a gym, or workout room, or exercise stations (South Beach Miami) no matter where I was in the world.  I recall so vividly the gyms in far-flung parts of the world (Chennai India strange, Luxembourg bathhouse/pool loft, Frankfurt Germany old school German hanger-warehouse type place, Cleveland basement, etc —have been very interesting).  There is not a single trip I’ve been on that I haven’t search out my workout options.  It’s usually right after I buy my plane tickets, and part of my hotel/location considerations. 

Surprising Enhanced Awareness

In addition to recalling strange gyms, I also recall my runs through different towns/cities in great detail.  It’s like my mind process the surroundings differently when I run than when I’m walking around with my wife.  Runs must allow some kind of heightened awareness or something.

Lessons Learned

The point of this post is twofold: one I accomplished an amazing amount of consistent fitness/health activity.  Two being a detailed tracking person sometimes provides you with unplanned validation rewards.  So back to the title of this post—I’ve completed 1000 weeks at the gym, twice a week, without missing a single week in 19+ years.  When I was logging weeks 984, 986, it didn’t occur to me that I was almost at 1000.  I think because I was looking back at my success (consistency) and not looking forward to having to go to the gym X more weeks to hit a goal.  The goal/success was in the past, not in the future.  The rewards should come in the future.

Don’t always look ahead at the goal/finish line, turn around and look at the path of success behind you and savor everything you’ve done to get to this exact moment.  This moment is temporary and only happens once…then it’s gone.

*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice.  I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be.  You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice.

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