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I hate to work out.
When talking to gym-addicts, they love to tell me things, “oh, you’ll learn to enjoy it over time.” I chuckle.
I don’t think so. I hate knowing that it’s time to go work out and I hate the actual workout.
“Yeah, but you feel so much better once you’re done, right?”
Um, no. I’m glad it’s over, but no, I don’t feel better or refreshed at all.
Look, I’m just keeping it real. I do it because it’s healthy and something I should be doing and that’s about it.
And honestly, it was the first thing I’d always cut out of my day when in a time crunch… which happened a lot. It’s all about priorities and it really wasn’t one for me.
I’d tell myself that once I was no longer working and had more time, I’d focus on getting in shape. Not only that, but I was looking forward to it… not the actual workout per se, but being in better shape.
Well, here I am one year into retirement… did it happen?
Starting off strong
I retired from my job at the end of 2018. A couple of weeks into January 2019, I started working out – sometimes with Lisa and sometimes by myself.
We were living in an apartment in Ohio at the time as we were wrapping things up before our move to Panama. That worked out well because the apartment complex had a fitness room. I call it a room because it was just a handful of pieces of equipment in a room about the size of a regular living room. Nonetheless, it worked well enough for us!
I was planning to do another backpacking trip with a friend in early summer so I was putting the pedal to the metal for the first few months of the year. A lot of walking on the treadmill with a full backpack…
Additionally, I was lifting some dumbbells each time I was there.
Falling off the wagon
And then things started to go downhill.
The backpacking trip ended up falling through. That was nice though because I was able to lose the backpack while walking on the treadmill. Holy cow, that was so wonderful!
Buuuuut… once that end goal was gone, I started to get off track. I didn’t have the same motivation anymore and slowly started missing some workouts.
And then late spring rolled around. We were selling more stuff for the move through different apps like OfferUp and Nextdoor. That meant meeting people here and there and everywhere (part of the fun of getting rid of everything you own!).
This might surprise you, but moving to another country is a little bit of a change. It throws off your routines slightly.
So that was rough. Even though I’d find an opportunity here or there to get in some exercise, I think we should just call it a failed mission. I’ll say that I lost about 3 or 4 months of working out… ouch.
Time to work out again!
Now here’s the great thing… the gated community we moved into has a full gym as an amenity. It’s just under a half-mile walk to get to it from our apartment and it’s 75 degrees out every day. There are rarely more than one or two people there and this place has every piece of equipment you can imagine…
Seriously, I don’t have any more excuses not to be in shape!
I’m going to pat myself on the back for staying consistent for a couple of months in the fall. But then we went back to the U.S. for a while and I slowly let exercise go by the wayside again.
Now that we’re back in Panama though, I’m hoping to stay the course and go to the gym about 5 days a week.
Before you start reading on, know that I really don’t know what I’m doing. I probably should do some more research or get a trainer just for a little bit to find out what makes the most sense for my body and my goals.
But for the time being, here’s what my small workout consists of while I’m at the gym.
Exercise #1 of the Work Out: Pull-ups?
I put a question mark next to pull-ups because I don’t know what you call them on this bar. Chin-ups have your palms facing in and pull-ups have your palms facing out. What do you call it when you’re palms face each other on the bar?
Anyway, this is the first exercise I do each time.
Right now, I can do about 10 reps in a set. Not bad, but I’d like to get that up to 15 or 20.
Exercise #2 of the Work Out: Abdominal crunches
Like a lot of men in their 40’s, I’ve developed a slight gut. It’s not huge, but it’s still something that I don’t love seeing in the mirror. And because I do like an occasional beer or seven, I need to do something to keep that in check.
For a long time, I was doing sit-ups. The problem was that they hurt my neck when I’d do ’em.
Eventually, my fallback became leg lifts where I’d lay on my back, lift my legs maybe 8 inches off the ground, and hold that position for a bit. That worked well and I could feel my stomach muscles at work.
But then, when I got to this gym, I ventured across this awesome piece of machinery for abdominal crunches. I could set the weight to whatever I wanted and not have to deal with pressure on my neck like sit-ups.
I like this machine a lot!
Right now, I have it set to 80 pounds and slowly do 15 reps in a set.
Exercise #3 of the Work Out: Dumbbells
Back at the apartment in Ohio, I was lifting dumbbells in the fitness room. Once we hit the road, I started using a great yet inexpensive resistance band set I had bought.
When we settled in the community where we’re at in Boquete, Panama though, I was able to go back to using dumbbells. Am I using a lot of weight? Not so much.
Right now, I’m at 20-pound weights and I’ll probably increase it a little more over time. But I’m not looking to get huge – just to get toned up with a little bit of muscle.
Shout out to Pete at Do You Even Blog for the most comfortable shirt I love to wear everywhere! He gets more free advertising out of me with this thing – I need to get on the payroll!
Anyway, my set is 15 reps and again, I try to do them slowly with good form to get the most out of each lift.
Exercise #4 of the Work Out: Leg extensions
I probably don’t need to do work on my legs too much considering how much walking and hiking we’re doing here. Nonetheless, I have leg extensions in the routine just to mix it up.
I’m currently doing 15 of these in each set. With 70 pounds of weight for this, sometimes I feel like that might be a little much for me, but no pain no gain, right?
I’ve also just started toying with replacing this with the seated leg press instead.
All I do is 15 reps of each exercise (10 for the pull-ups) and then move onto the next one. Once I get done, I start from the top and do it again. In total, I’m doing 3 sets with each exercise. I spend about 30 minutes in the fitness room plus the 0.4-mile walk there and with an occasional jog back to our apartment from there.
Is that enough? That depends.
It’s good that I’m doing something and I’m glad that I’m not just sitting on my keester every day.
Am I going to get ripped from this? Haha, no way.
For all you gym-nuts out there, if you have recommendations on what I should be doing instead, feel free to let me know. If there’s something that makes more sense to do based on all the equipment we have here, I’d be happy to switch it up. The key though is that I need to keep it simple.
My goal is to find a happy medium. Remember when I said that I don’t like going to work out? Well, if I start adding more time and complexity to the mix, I know me. I’ll start making excuses to periodically skip going until eventually, I’m not going at all.
I’m not looking to get huge though, I just want to be in better shape with a little definition.
And bear in mind that in addition to the time in the gym, we spend a lot of time walking all over town since we don’t own a car. And in between, we’re going on regular hikes, swimming, and playing some racquetball.
The “before” and the “ongoing work of art”…
Ok, you’re about to see a before and after picture of me with my shirt off. Hopefully, this doesn’t blind you or scar you for life!
Also, keep in mind that this could easily be referred to as a “dad bod” so try not to make fun of me too much…
Hmm, not as good as the before and after pictures you see on the commercials, right? In fact, not too much noticeable difference in my before and after at all. And, yeah, yeah, I know – get a tan!
But still, look at this gun!
Ok, you’re right – not very impressive and a two-year-old could probably kick my @#$.
Regardless, I do feel like I’m on the right track. I’m at least doing something and not sitting on my butt in an office anymore wasting away – I hated that!
My struggle has been all the changes over this past year. Between our fun summer, everything involved in the move to Panama, and our visit back to the States in November/December during holiday time, I really went downhill on this stuff.
However, we’re pretty much settled completely here in Boquete, Panama now. If I stay on track here (which shouldn’t be a problem), I should be on a roll over the first half of this year.
And when we head back to the U.S. in June for a month, I think I’ll be able to stay consistent on my fitness regiment. I’ll pack the resistance bands that I brought here to Panama. I got them from Amazon last spring and like the set a lot…
I’ll also head to our storage unit and pick up the portable pull-up bar I have there. It’s very similar to this one and it’ll allow me to keep the routine rolling with some chin-ups every day…
Plus, it should be nice out during that time of year which will make it a little more encouraging to get outside and walk.
Again, I apologize for you having to see pictures of me with my shirt off. I’m no Matthew McConaughey yet!
But the takeaway is that retirement can provide that extra time to work out and that’s a great benefit. I’d like to say that I would have done it more while I was working, but it just wasn’t a priority. Now it is and I’m going to keep at it and make it a regular part of my day.
Do you put off working out because you’ll do it “when you have more time”?
Thanks for reading!!