De' fliengde Vuogtlänn'r

Observations, rants, etc. from a guy who really gets around.


How To Get Fit In 6 Days Or Drop Dead In 7.

At no time in my life have I ever been what one would call an "athlete". But at times, I've been in better physical condition than others. From kindergarten thru my junior year in high school, I walked to school almost every day. I could probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I got a ride. And the only reason I drove during my senior year was to give my sister a ride (and she needed the walk more than I did). Any time she didn't go to school, I walked. My two years in Germany were spent walking or riding a bicycle.

When I got back, I still did a lot of walking, partly because almost everything was within walking distance, and partly because I wanted to.

Then I entered the Air Force.

Right off the bat, I got sick (sinusitis). They pumped me so full of meds, I felt like a walking pharmacy. This seems to have screwed up my metabolism a bit, and I started putting on weight. After a while, I had a bit of trouble fitting into my uniform. OK, so I cut out midnight chow and all desserts until I got my weight back down.

One evening, I had dorm guard duty, which consisted of standing at the front door and making sure no one entered who wasn't authorized. Dorm Guard was a two-hour shift, but we used to hire ourselves out at $2 an hour to anyone who didn't want to do it or had something else to do. I had the 10-to-midnight shift, and took the midnight-to-two shift for a guy who had a date. Needless to say, this is not the most exciting part of military life. To put it mildly, I was bored out of my gourd.

And a bored mind is a dangerous mind.

It occurred to me that I had some time on my hands and had nothing to do the next day. I got the idea in my head that if I did 10 push-ups every half-hour, I could do 70 before my shift ended at 2 am. So, starting at 10:30, I did 10 push-ups every half-hour. The last 10 were pretty tough. By the time I got to bed (in the upper bunk, of course), I could barely drag myself up into it.

Next morning.... well, let's not go there. Let's just say that I wish we had had Ibuprofen available back then. Stupidity can be painful.

By the time I got to tech school at Sheppard AFB, I was pretty out of shape. One of the first things they did with me was make me do the annual Aerobics Test, which consisted of my choice of either a 3-mile walk or a 1½-mile run. I chose the walk. I came in two seconds off the squadron record. No, not the fastest -- the slowest. I did it in 16:24, which was only two seconds faster than the record-holder and six seconds under the time limit.

When I got to Maxwell, I decided it was time for drastic action. At first, I started walking the 3-mile course on the perimeter road. Then I marked out a 4-mile course on the old unused part of the flightline. At first, I simply walked it three days a week. After a while, I started wearing 2½-pound leg weights. By the time I left 5½ years later, I was doing it at least three days a week with 5-pound leg weights on. I was in pretty good shape.

In addition to that, I learned how to do isometrics. This put a lot of power in my muscles without adding bulk. Over the years. I've tried to keep it up, but it isn't always possible, especially when I'm on the road a lot.

While I was at my sister's place during the summer of 2004, I knew I needed to get back in shape, so I started walking. It was a 3.3-mile route, and I did it once in the morning and once in the evening. (It wasn't until just before I left that I actually measured it.) In addition, while watching TV in the evenings, I'd do either a set of 15 push-ups or a set of 15 sit-ups. Of course, I started out slow and worked my way up. At first, it was only sets of 5, then 10, then 15. And I worked my way up from a total of 20 or 25 to a total of 135.

Last December, when I arrived back in Chattanooga, I knew I had gotten out of shape and decided to do something about it. At first, I would just do a lap around the place where I'm living (again, during the commercials). After a while, I added the leg weights back in; something I hadn't done in a couple of years. Unfortunately, I overdid it one evening and got myself sick. By the time I had recovered, I was on my way back out to Albuquerque, where I really slacked off for about a month and a half.

In late April, I arrived back in Chattanooga, but got lazy and then hurt my upper back. While recuperating, I decided to start walking again. At first, it was without the leg weights, and not very many laps, as almost any movement at all caused pain in my shoulder and upper back.

Now that I've pretty much recovered from my back injury, I've started back -- this time with the leg weights. I went out and took some measurements and did some calculations and discovered that 20 laps around this place equals just about 4.4 miles. Not bad for an old man. I've also started back with the push-ups, first at 60, now up to 75. But I only do it on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Of course, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.... well, let's not go there. At least, theses days I have Ibuprofen and Aleve.

If I can keep this up long enough, and lose two pounds a week, I'll be down to my target weight of 175 in just 20 weeks. Right now, I'm down to 214 from a high of 220. I'll have to post progress reports here, just to give myself an incentive to keep losing.


At 02:02, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

jahn, If you are going to use the leg weights the M-W-F schedule is ok. I have heard that any time you use weights, you need to skip a day. The muscles need to heal. Good luck with your excercises. Let us know how it goes. Hey, check out If you really want to lose try out the oxycise method while walking.

At 10:07, Blogger T. F. Stern said...

Keep it up forever. My grandfather did his everyday, walked several miles just to pick up his newspapers, racing forum and walk back. He went to his doctor one day after injuring himself. His doctor could find nothing wrong other than some pulled muscles. During the interview the doctor tried to determine the cause of the injury, had grandfather done anything out of the ordinary.

Grandfather, (everyone called him Unc) shook his head and told him no, nothing. He told the doctor that he did his morning walk, done his sit ups , push ups just like he'd always done, since WWI. He then went body surfing before picking up his newspapers and walked home. Unc was 93 years old when he pulled the those muscles. The doctor couldn't have done 100 sit ups, or the 60 push ups that Unc was doing everyday.

So, enjoy your chance to walk or do some light sit ups and push ups.

At 10:12, Blogger Jahn said...

I should note that it took me three years(!) to go from 3 miles with no weights to 4 miles with 5-pound weights. I'm feeling pretty sore today, after yesterday's work-out. I think the heaviest things I'm going to wear on my feet today will be flip-flops.

Unc sounds like my kind of guy. People at Robins looked at me like I was crazy because I'd walk a quarter-mile to the BX.

And I'm down to 213 today. :-)

At 13:10, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Jahn, Good for you. Did you check out the website. When I was walking and doing the special breathing, I would loose weight pretty good. Most of it came off in the stomach and rear.


Post a Comment

<< Home