November 2012 - Before ShotLet’s face it, there can be a flip side to all this workout stuff. It’s a bad part of my character that I tend to be contrarian. Watching Rich get fitter and fitter has the reverse motivating effect on me, in that it motivates me to want to flab out on the couch with chips, and leave the fitness to my better half.

So in the past couple of months I’ve kind of let myself go, and the results are not pretty: a growing Buddha belly; low energy; a nagging backache and a weird urge to grunt when bending down to pick something up off the floor. At 46 am I finally reaching middle age?

I haven’t always been this pathetic. In the past I’ve seen pretty good results from the amazing Cathe Friedrich – and I will always remain a fan. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running, done a good amount of yoga, and worked on my swimming in the summers. But something has always stopped me from reaching that next level of fitness, and the instant I stopped working out I completely lost all the fitness gains. Perhaps I never had true fitness. Perhaps true fitness is completely unattainable, and is this just a fact of life that the fitness industry banks on to keep people on those treadmills trying to get to a place that doesn’t exist.

For this round I’m going back to basics, and building my fitness layer by layer from the ground up. When I’ve achieved goals in the past it’s always felt like “oh, I can do this # of pushups, or I can run this # of miles” but somehow it felt like a trick and not real. I could run faster and further, but I was huffing and puffing and in pain. I could do more pushups, but was I doing it right or taking a shortcut with bad form?

I look at Rich, and his fitness routine is simple: pushups and running. Sometimes he mixes it up with tennis or yoga, but his go-to is pushups and running, pretty much every day. He’s looking great these days, and this fitness requires very minimal equipment and no gym membership.

But here’s the trick: when he runs he nose breathes, and when he does pushups they’re “Perfect Pushups.” Both of these take the simple acts of running and push-ups to new heights of challenging. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself! Run a lap breathing through your mouth, and follow it with a lap breathing through your nose. Not easy!

I’m going to break my fitness plateau by following his lead… screw my contrarian nature! As the months go by I’ll update you weekly on my progress, and I’ll be honest each day with how the workouts go.