Witness the Fitness: Working Out for the Aspiring Writer

You may have gathered from the small smattering of photos around here, that your man Jordan is a bit of a husky gentleman.  What you might not have known is that I am a significantly less husky man than I used to be.  About three months ago the Lady and I made a renewed effort to get ourselves back in shape and to eat better.  Thus far, I’ve lost somewhere around 35 pounds, and actually did two actual manly pushups the other day, for the first time in my life.

This is not new.  People do this all the time, with better results.  But, as someone who tries to be a writer in his spare time, finding time to work out can quickly seem like a pain in the ass.  How do  you find the motivation for the thing you don’t want to do, when you can barely find the motivation for what you do?

I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, because it isn’t.  But it’s got to be done, because you’re not writing your first drafts on a treadmill, you’re writing while you sit on your ass, and if you’re like me, when you’re on a roll, you’re sucking back cokes and coffee while you smoke in your bathrobe on the porch.

Romantic, certainly. But not good for your body or your craft. The better care you take of your body and your health, the more energy you’ll have, and the more energy you can bring to your work. Because let’s be honest. Chances are, you don’t do this for a living.  You work another job, you want to come home and do some writing, but your ass is tired, and if you get anything down on paper at all, it’s not up to your standards, and you’re brain is turning to mush and you can’t remember where you wanted the story to go anymore.

So find the time to work out, because it’s really not as difficult as you think it might be.  It’s not as difficult as I thought it might be.  One of the biggest factors that kept me from working out til now was the fact that I thought you had to spend three hours at the gym every workout, which is just not the case.  Look, friends, I’m no trainer, I only know what I know, and what I know is I’ve seen results on about an hour per visit, three-four times a week.

I keep it simple: 25-35 minutes on a cardio machine like a treadmill or an elliptical, followed by a weight circuit.  My gym offers a series of numbered machines that work out all your muscle groups in order: core extension, front and back leg curls, back rows, seated bench press, shoulder raises, bicep curl, tricep curl and ab crunch.  One set of 15 reps on each takes about another 20 – 30 minutes.  Not the most throrough workout, but it was more than you were doing before, wasn’t it? Couple that with some ‘eat this-not that’ dietary choices, and I swear, you’ll actually notice differences.  Switch to diet coke, choke back a V8 once in awhile, eat a damn apple, order the veggie burger.

As for the matter of getting off your ass to do it, that I can’t help with.  I’m no life coach, I hate going to the gym even after I’m already there, but I always feel it was worth it when it’s over.  And I have enough energy afterwards to do things like write blog entries for all of you at 11:20 at night. And when I go to bed, my sleep will be deeper and more refreshing, and I’ll wake up early and do it again, so I can spend my afternoon working on fun stories for all of you.

But what it really comes down to, is the better shape you get in, the more time you’ll have.  And most of us are going to need all the time we can get.

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