Do you even lift, bro? – Why I started working out

A little over a year ago, I bought a house which was a big change for me, but it led to a much bigger change. I joined a fitness center/gym and started working out. While I have toiled with working out in the past, it never lasted more than a couple weeks at most and normally ended with me hurting myself. So, why the change?

Before I get into that, let’s get some back story. When I was in high school, I was 6’2” (I am now 6’4”) and I was lucky if I weighed 125lbs at the time. I was tall and freakishly skinny. I had always been under weight (I will talk about my weight another time). I had no interest in working out or sports. I was awkward, uncoordinated, and anyone stuck with me as a gym partner did not hide the fact that they hated it. The one day we went to the weight room for some reason, I couldn’t even lift an empty barbell (an Olympic men’s barbell without weight weighs 44lbs, but most people in the gym will say 45lbs because weights are in increments of 5 or 10lbs normally).

When I joined the military, I had issues with breathing (five years later finding out that I had asthma which led to me being medically discharged, but, like my weight, that is a story for another day) and developed knee, wrist, and shoulder problems. I was able to do enough to get through basic, barely. I had to do a mile and a half run in eighteen minutes. I did it in eighteen flat. I did do basics like sit-ups and push-ups and light jogs that kept me in the service, but not much more than that as I was limited on what I could do by doctors while they tried figuring out what was wrong with me.

After my medical discharge, I was not active. I did weigh 160lbs but that dropped to around 130-135lbs within months of getting out.

I liked to walk around places which I something I did a lot when I was stationed in Tokyo, but nothing big. I tried P90X a couple times but would either have issues with my asthma or I would pull something because I didn’t know what I was doing. I also started putting on weight which was good, but it was fat weight which was bad.

Then I bought a house and decided I needed a bog garden.

Building a bog garden was pretty easy. It involved digging a big hole, laying down a pond liner with some slits in it, and filling it with a combination of perlite, peat moss, and SAND. The sand is the key to this whole thing.

The sand was sold in 100lb bags and, as I tried to illustrated, in high school I couldn’t even lift an empty barbell. Now this is 18yrs later, but not a whole lots had changed other than adding knee, wrist, and shoulder problems to the mix. I ended up calling my little brother to help get the sand bags and build out the bog garden. That was a huge hit to the ego.

Luckily, there is a fitness center about five minutes from my house and next to the grocery store I go to regularly. I joined up and, knowing I didn’t know anything, I signed up for sessions with a personal trainer.

A year later, I no longer have a trainer, but I am working out 6-7 days a week. I am not trying to bulk up and look like Arnold, but I have traded some fat for muscle. There is definitely a visible difference in my appearance. I am still trying to lose the belly fat, but that is more because I like too many foods I shouldn’t be eating. I feel better about myself and have fewer days when my wrists and knees hurt.

The funniest thing is that I hate not being able to work out. Even on my rest days, I go in and do cardio. If you were to tell high school me this, I would have died laughing at you. And that is why I started working out.