Just this morning I posted another picture from the gym explaining my workout and hashtagging my goal #25workoutsbeforesummer. Some people cruise by the post and slap a "a like" on it and others pass it by, possibly irritated by another picture of a purple and yellow Planet Fitness workout machine. It struck me that it could be taken as vain or boastful that I am posting about this workout or that, or that it might strike humor in that there aren't a lot of visual results yet (more about that later). So I decided to preemptively answer a few questions about why I post, how I post and the content of the posts themselves.
Question #1: Why do you post your workout pictures, particularly comparison pictures?
Answer: I post workout pictures because it motivates me. Seeing a visual proof of a daily accomplishment is gratifying to any goal setter. It also provides a record of improvement. Let's face it, deciding to shed those extra pounds is a multi part process. The decision to do it is only a fraction of the battle. In this case I choose the quote " the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" as more accurate than Mary Poppins "well begun is half done". Intending to do something like working out and losing the weight ( often while chugging a beer or eating a doughnut) is a far cry from getting up, driving to the gym and completing not one, but many workouts over a given time. By posting a picture of the workout, I can look at distance travelled in a set time or progress in overall time on the machine. An additional benefit is that somewhere, there is a person that follows me that is on that couch, wants to get up and do it and thinks to themselves "If Hugh can do it, I know I can too" If I can motivate even one other person, it is worthwhile to me.
Question #2: Today was such a beautiful day. Why workout inside on the treadmill?
Answer: It was beautiful outside and I did take the bike out this past week. I have entered several 5k runs for later this summer and I will definitely be spending ample time outdoors. Actually, this whole push to get back to the weight I know will be healthier, look much better and allow me to expand my wardrobe back to where it was, started with some very chilly 34 degree walks around the neighborhood in late February. I then worked out at Planet Fitness, albeit with a mask, which quite honestly was tolerable, but barely. When the mask mandate was lifted for vaccinated individuals, I jumped at the chance to get back in there, breathing freely. So back to the treadmill question... I prefer the treadmill during the beginning stages because it allows me to do some intervals ( walk/jog) or (jog/run). For example 3 minute walk followed by a 3 minute jog at a certain m.p.h. It allows me to better time my workout and it allows me to concentrate on time and pace more so than outside. Outside, my tendency is to start at too fast a pace and then struggle to maintain it. The treadmill eliminates that.
Question #3: What's up with the #25workoutsbeforesummer?
Answer: It is simply a motivational tool, a way to countdown and make myself accountable, not just today but for a set length of time. Last year before a Disney trip I used the hashtag #45workoutstodisney and accomplished that goal on the day before the trip. Another great thing about the hashtag is that when I pull it up, all of the posts containing that hashtag come up giving me an additional visual of progress made and goals eclipsed. In this case, I came up with the hashtag to cover the ground between May 21 when I first used it and June 21 the official start of summer. I knew that if I could do 25 workouts in 31 days that I would be well on the way to working out becoming a habit I couldn't live without.
Question #4: What is the "why" for this whole working out thing?
Answer: As a goal setter, I know it is extremely important to know your "why". Reminding yourself to your why is a great way to re-motivate. To paraphrase Zig Ziglar, " People tell me all the time that motivation doesn't last. Well neither does bathing. That's why I recommend you repeat them both." For me, I have a couple of very important "whys". First, I am a high energy, high stamina person who considers age only a number. I have been fortunate in that I have enjoyed good health despite not looking after my body as I should have. I continue to take no prescription medications and have continued to lead an active life. I realize however, that carrying extra weight and not watching what I eat and increasing exercise will not allow me to maintain the good fortune I have so far been blessed with. I intend to continue to stay active and run around with kids and be able to do the things I want to do. Second, I have been pursuing the dream of coaching and mentoring and providing inspiring instruction in the Eight Pillars Professional series which I developed. In my talks, I speak a lot about discipline, saying no to good things so that you can say yes to great things and self-control. My current situation showed little of any of those things, and I realized that had to change. How do I stand up in front of an audience and talk about taking care of yourself, using discipline to make tough choices and become a legacy developer when I cannot even control myself? I am confident that as I complete this transformation ( and I've been on the "weight yo-yo" to know that it is a continuing journey) I can more confidently project the image of someone who has confronted tough goals and overcome. My before and after pictures can be inspiration to a whole group of people with the same goal. That to me, is a total win-win.
Question #5: You throw a lot of numbers out there. What's up with that?
Answer: As I go through the process of working out, inevitably the best advice is to start slow and build up your wind, your strength and your pace. I put numbers such as minutes worked out, total distance, etc as a way for others to build a workout plan to fit them. When I first started on the elliptical, I was 20 minutes at a Level 8 (Planet Fitness machines). Adding five minutes every week was a good goal for me so that now I am at 40 minutes comfortably at a Level 11-14. Next week will go to 45 minutes. With distance, the whole goal is to achieve more distance in the allotted time. For example, again going back to the starting point, my 20 minute workout probably achieved a distance of about two miles. My last elliptical workout was 45 minutes and 5.08 miles. By setting a goal to up that distance by just a little bit each time, it is a slightly bigger push, it builds endurance and there is something very mentally strong about increasing your numbers. Speaking of the mental side, I also do a little game with myself to add 5 minutes to whatever I thought was going to be my workout time. Today for example, I had planned to do the treadmill for 35 minutes. I pushed to 40 not that it was a huge extra calorie burn, but it mentally made me stronger. Again, I would love nothing more than for someone else to become motivated to improve their health through something they saw on my page.
So there you have it, my workout posting explained. I will tell you that your "likes" and positive comments absolutely help me. Having a co-worker and a business associate comment this week was fantastic. Sometimes when you're so close to the situation, you don't see the change. It is easy to get discouraged. Whenever you have a chance to lift someone up- take it! You never know if yours might be the word that gets them off their couch and on to a healthier life.
As for me? Stay tuned. I am ramping up and feeling great. I am motivated to eat cleaner, workout more and in general, just keep moving. All of you who are reading this are with me. You are my team, my tribe. I appreciate your words and I will take every opportunity to give you the same positive encouragement. Keep looking for those posts, watch the numbers climb, every number that is, except the one on the scale.