Sunday, March 14, 2010


Three thousand, six hundred and fifty two! That is a lot isn’t it!

A lot of what you may ask. Well that number is actually 3,652 days and that is equal to 10 years – including two leap years!

Okay, so what is so important about 3,652 days or 10 years?

Ten years ago tomorrow, on March 15, 2000, I started a fitness routine. It started slowly. It had to start slowly, as I was very much overweight and really didn’t have the ability to move very quickly or with any agility. I started with five minutes on an exercise bike. Within a couple of weeks, I was up to 10 minutes and gradually added some resistance to the pedals to simulate rolling hills and other increments. I used that bike every day for the next year and lost 40 pounds.

In March 2001, I got my first Tony Little Gazelle. That gave me the freedom to simulate all the walking that I LOVED and used to do for exercise and relaxation prior to 1990. The combo of the bike and the gazelle really helped me to drop some serious pounds. I used both EVERY DAY for the next year. In March 2002, I mixed things up a bit. On one day, I would use the gazelle and then added some resistance training with the bike on the alternate days.

That has pretty much been my workout regime ever since. Of course, the amount of time I spend on the gazelle and the bike have changed over the years. I now do 3 miles on the gazelle which can take between 34 and 36 minutes on any given day. I do 15 minutes of a rolling hill ride on the bike on the opposite days. The bike ride is usually about 3.7 – 4 miles depending on my energy. The days that I do the bike, I also do about 15 – 20 minutes of resistance.

Over the years, the methods of resistance have varied. I have tried several pieces of fitness equipment. Some were better than others. Some wore out in a few months and some lasted for several years. They pretty much all kicked my butt and challenged me to increase my muscle strength.

One of the pieces that I really liked was the Easy Shaper Pro from Fitness Quest. It was a great challenge and I’d still be using it except for one major problem. It has developed a nasty squeak that I can’t seem to fix with lubrication. It needs to be completely taken apart, cleaned and lubricated. I just don’t have the physical and visual capability to attempt that type of a challenge – let alone the space required to keep track of all the nuts, bolts, screws, springs and other fittings. So for now, it stands - folded and covered - in a corner of my living room hoping to someday be of service to me again.

I used resistance bands for awhile, but they eventually wore out. I also used something called an AB GYM which was great, but the bungee like cords that came with it also lost their oomph after awhile which really takes any challenge and benefit out of the product.

A couple of months ago, I saw a new product from Tony Little that almost looked too good to be true. It was called The Easy Shaper Bar. Basically, it is a free form bar with two resistance bands connected to either end. At the end of the bands are loops to either slip over your feet or to grip with your hands. You can increase the amount of resistance just by turning the bar to wrap the bands around it. Each full wrap adds a few more pounds of resistance. Sounds pretty simple to really work right? Well, maybe – except that I had seen a similar and simplified version of this a few years ago and always regretted never trying it.

Fitness Quest is well known for having quality products and I also knew if Tony Little was behind this, then I was making a safe investment. The Easy Shaper Bar was only $49.95 CAN so I ordered it.

I’ve only been using it for a few weeks, but it is everything that Tony says it is! This simple little piece of equipment can really give you a great workout! You can increase or decrease resistance on the fly and switch between various positions and exercises quickly. I used the DVD the first few times to get the hang of the various positions and now do it while watching TV or listening to my own music.

Staying fit hasn’t been easy. To be honest, I have regained about 25-30 of the 100 pounds that I lost in those first 2 ½ years, but I have pretty much maintained my current weight for several years now. Aging and low metabolism makes things more challenging but I don’t give up.

Ten years ago, I made a conscious decision to do something about my weight. I did the research, checked out fitness equipment, bought what would work for my limitations then got off my couch and actually used it – EVERY DAY. It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, I hadn’t done any regular workouts in almost 10 years at that point. I had gained a lot of weight in the years following my retinal detachment in November 1990.

I detailed most of this story in a six part story called “The Journey” back in March 2008. But here are the basics: before 1990, I walked everywhere. I walked about 20 – 25 miles/week. I also had an old exercise bike that used every day. I had actually gone just over 500 days at the time of my retinal detachment. Having to give that up was heartbreaking and I basically gave up. I’d never done any fitness regime for 500 days before. I usually never made it past a couple of months!

So, when I finally got off my considerably large ass on March 15, 2000, I made a promise to myself that I wasn’t going to quit again. Sure there have been days I didn’t want to work out. There have been days that I honestly was sick or that I was restricted from workouts due to medical procedures and recovery times. BUT – and this is the important part here – I have made up every single one of those days that I didn’t work out! I have done double workouts for a couple of weeks ahead of procedures when I knew I’d be restricted. If I knew it was going to be a very hot or hectic day, I did a double workout the day before. I take occasional days off to rest my body, but I make those days up as well, so I can honestly say that I have done 3,652 workouts in the last 10 years!

Tomorrow is day 3,653 and the beginning of year 11.....


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