January 09, 2012


Technology is your friend. Or else it's your nagging conscience.

Well, that hurt.

Still hurts, actually, when I climb the stairs. Or sit down. But the worst part of the start-up suffering should be over, so maybe now is the right time to share a few perspectives on my new fitness challenge.

For 2012 I am joining Julia Rivard and 19 other members of the CanoeKayak Canada family in making a New Year's Fitness Resolution. My resolution is to work out every day from 1 January until the day of the 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony. That's a total of 224 Workouts, as Julia has noted in her new blog about the experience.

Why are we doing this? I suspect that each of those 21 people had their own reasons for joining in. Julia's launch introduction is an eloquent statement about finding a way to reconnect with and pay tribute to the athletes on our Canadian team, and to join them in their quest for excellence. I also think that being an Olympian should come with a lifelong committment to physical fitness. And although I have not been entirely consistent in my own committment on that front, I'm looking forward to getting fit again. I did something like this once before, sticking to a once-a-day committment for 2008 and the first half of 2009. Perhaps not coincidentally, that was a great year and a half of my middle-aged life.

For days 2 through 91 of the challenge, I'll be doing the P90X "Classic" Program, with some minor customizations that I will probably mention at some point over the coming 13 weeks. This will be my fourth time through the drill with Tony Horton and friends, but the third time was quite a while ago. I start the program at 201.5 pounds, and (according to the black magic hidden in my wife's bathroom scale) a disheartening 20.5% body fat.

I am now safely through Week 1 without dropping the ball, although the week was not without its challenges. On January 4th, I departed for Ottawa at 7:15 a.m., worked until 5, worked out in the company gym, raced to the airport without showering, and arrived home just before midnight. Fortunately, I was upgraded to business class, so my neighbours didn't have to get too close. Jan 5th and 6th I started my workouts after 11 pm, for various reasons; that's not my favourite way to get this done, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

In case you are wondering what I did on Day 1, I executed my Alternative Minimum Workout (AMW), which is my own personal benchmark for whether I give myself a check in the workout box for any given day. Yes, I admit it: I find Julia's hour-a-day standard too strict. I am simply going to admit up front that I am not going to get that done every day. My personal AMW benchmark is a 4.5 km run that starts and ends at my house. On New Year's Day, in something less than peak physical condition, I ran that course in 21:30. By summer I will be doing it in under 19 (strenuous) minutes. I'm not going to shrink my daily exercise to that level, but I do think that counts as a workout.

The map for the AMW run can be seen here, courtesy of MapMyRun and my Garmin Forerunner 305. Since I tend to travel more than a little bit these days, I get to run in some interesting locations. I'll post some of my more unusual routes on this blog as I go. I'll also post here about the P90X program, my progress on the challenge, and some of the fitness technology I like. I know that this fitness venture is a bit of a change of direction for this blog, but then again it's been dormant for almost two years. I hope I can come up with a few interesting things to say. Who knows … maybe with my new fitness I'll find the energy to write a few things about Olympic and amateur sport again!

P.S. It turns out that today marks 200 days remaining in the countdown to the Opening of the 2012 Olympic Games. And a CanoeKayak Canada Olympian, Kristi Gauthier, was at the British Consulate in Ottawa to help the High Commissioner mark the occasion. Go Kristi Go!

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