Exercising was absent from my life until I was 31-years of age in spring 2011. In many aspects a new chapter was turning in my life back then. Breaking up from a longtime relationship with my girlfriend brought to my surprise a time period, which can only be best described as “the summer or my life”. It meant discovering yourself again and falling in love with life. You know, that feeling, when every sunrise just looks and feels so unbelievably fantastic. When every breath you take feels like it’s lighting up every living cell in your body in a completely different way than before.
I started exercising with my Belgian Shepherd with long and continuously lengthening walks, which soon turned into ~10 km (~6 mile) runs. Simultaneously I started going to my employer VTT’s gym (without any specific goals or workout programs). I also stopped smoking. You could say that what happened was a complete overhaul in the way I was living. A strong desire to be the best version of me emerged. I describe this as a positive upwards going spiral as exercising intensifies the good feeling one has. And this is still the main reason why I exercise and why I do it so versatilely and in meaningful ways to myself.
Inhaled influences from parents
As a child I enjoyed school’s sports lessons although I wasn’t especially good in anything. I was mediocre in everything and always eager to participate and play, also during breaks. My memories might have improved over time, but I swear that I gave the baseball a long hard hit when I was in elementary school. And I remember the long, non-stop ~10 point volleyball pitching turns and the heroic efforts to fetch balls that were going at least 10 feet over the rear boundary with knees burning against the floor surface 😀
Any kind of exercising culture was non-existent in my family. I inherited only a critical attitude towards my own body. My parent’s weren’t athletic at all. They were always overweight, always on a diet and always unsatisfied with the way they looked. I learned from my father that athletes are stupid and exercising is useless. And apparently laying on the sofa was some kind of high culture.
We all digest the way we talk to ourselves and look at our bodies from our parents. Inevitably that is where my thoughts have been conceived. I have a demanding and critical attitude to things that matter to me and this also shows in the way I think about exercising. I’ve had to learn how to speak kindly to myself, to be graceful, not to “perform”, especially because circumstances aren’t always for you to decide. Still, it’s a work in progress.
I’ve never been “fat” or overweight, but doing nothing starts to show on your appearance at the latest when you hit the 30+ mark. Together with slowing metabolism the receipt for visceral fat absorption is ready. I woke up to reality for the 1st time when I started to wonder why my motorcycle suit had shrunk during the winter time. I weighted around 74 kilos (163 lb) at “worst”, which wasn’t that bad for a 172 centimeter (5’7″) man. However the type of body composition was wrong.
Planned workout routines
After “waking up” my body (endurance and muscle strength) for a year on my own starting from spring 2011 it was time to take the next step. I started a planned workout routine in 08/2012 at my then neighbouring gym Vocatum (Kynsilehto). I had a 2 day split weekly routine at first, which soon turned into a 3 split workout. A big thank you to my personal trainer at the time, Laura, for very adequate workout programs which I’ve refined ever since. My goals are still the same what they were when asked 4 years ago: “fit body which has muscle definition and is good for all kinds of sports.”
I went to the gym 106 times in the first 12 months and the results started showing. Vocatum was a very pleasant gym, quiet (no music) and equipped with the newest and latest TechnoGym’s products. I learned that when the gym locates near your home you tend to visit it more often and easily!
The next gym after Vocatum was EasyFit (Ritaharju) starting from 08/2013. It was very similar to Vocatum with the difference that the lower monthly fee didn’t include the use of personal trainer services.
With the relocation to Oulu city centre I continued my way from EasyFit to Health Club Hukka starting 09/2014 and there I am still (though not without long pauses due to different surgeries). Almost all my friends go to Hukka as well. It’s by far the most versatile place to exercise as it has everything starting from fitness classes, four tennis courts, badminton courts, many gyms, etc.
My 35-year old body’s “peak condition” was in late 2013. After that I started accumulating my own share of “athlete’s don’t see a healthy day” stories (more on these in later posts). A the time my body composition measurements looked very good. Body fat percentage was around 12-13%. I had both strength and endurance (and in a proper balance). My resting heart rate was 40-45 bpm. And most importantly the best measurement of all, the mirror, gave good results and was to my liking. I was exercising 10 hours a week at minimum, more than often even 14-15 hours. In addition to gym workouts I played football, futsal, floorball, badminton and disc golf, did 8-15 km (5-9 mile) walks and cross-country skiing. My weight didn’t change that much, it’s been in the 67-69 kg (147-152 lb) range ever since I started exercising, but the body composition had altered (fat / muscle ratio).
At the current moment I have an over 6 month long rehabilitation period behind me after a hip surgery. My exercise amounts have now been restored to pre-surgery levels and I’m not even that far away from my previous peak condition. I could even dare to go for a new InBody body composition test 🙂