January 27, 2012

Tip of the Day: Engage!

Four weeks into this fitness challenge, I have to agree with Julia: this is starting to feel great!

Like Julia, I haven't found it easy. I've been on 15 airplanes this month. I've done 9 of my 29 workouts while on the road, in two different US states and three different Canadian provinces. I'll add to all of those totals in February, no doubt. But I feel good about the fact that a daily workout is my new default mode: early in the morning, late at night, adapting to the location and the equipment available.

Benefit number one is that I'm starting to feel fit again, and I love that. I'm already measurably stronger than I was on January 1. And even though I'm not running very much, today I ran a strong time on one of my standard courses — still a few minutes off my personal best, but significantly faster than anything I've been able to do so far in 2012.

Benefit number two is a more positive attitude in general. That's probably not entirely attributable to the exercise, but I firmly believe that it helps. I'm definitely more motivated and more engaged at work today than I was when the year ended. I've also seen a difference at the rink, where I've got more energy to keep up with my kids and a more enthusiastic and positive approach to coaching.

But maybe the most surprising benefit of the challenge has been the conversation. For me, working out is at heart an antisocial activity. Although I enjoy playing hockey and I enjoy socializing at the canoe club, I don't really like fitness classes or the gym, and I don't seek out running partners on a regular basis. I've done 29 workouts so far this year, and I've done 28 of them either alone or with Kate.

But in the meantime, I've realized that the CKC Fitness Challenge has created a small network of people to share my progress with — and there are many, many more out there. Kate has joined in. My parents (who are both over 60) are three weeks into P90X. By talking about the challenge with others, I've found two more colleagues at work who are also doing P90X, another who has qualified for the 2012 Boston marathon, another who was a spare for the Canadian taekwondo team at the 1996 Olympics, and still another who has a personal objective to work out every day, to improve his fitness and his running times.

So let's keep that conversation going!

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