mental health · Uncategorized

Recommitting

I opened this blog as spur of the moment thing, believing I would take the world by storm (or something like it). Things did not go as planned, my mania did not last (like it never does) and the blog died. I tried to write several blog posts, but none of them felt right and life got in the way.

The thing is, I have not being having a great time lately. Last summer my normal summer high did not come until august, when it was almost time for my regular “low” period to set in. It sort of carried over to this year, and I try my best to keep my schedule but I fail terribly and my gym-life suffered for it (Though I did mange to get a Gym Instructor certification over the summer).

However, I have sat myself down and had a talk with myself, and I have decided to give this site one more go, and commit to it. My commitment might be minimal, but it is a start. The commitment I made to myself is that I will try to the best of my ability to write one blog post a month. So let us see how September goes.

Keep taking it one lift at a time.

fitness · mental health

Sacrificing my social life for the gym.

 

 

I had an interesting conversation related to working out, wellness and the absurd amount of alcohol that seems normal for people to consume. It might have much to do with where I live, but the favorite pastime of my colleagues might be getting hammered at the bar, or the party or the other party, or the thing that doesn’t really have anything to do with alcohol but we still drink.

Of course I am in no way implying that my life is filled with alcoholics,  because I am sure that these are 100% working, functional adults.

I completely get that going out, having fun with friends, drinking, partying and dancing is great. It is fun. It is social. It is friendly. And it is nothing wrong with it. Speaking from my own experience through, I have an awful time managing my mood swings if I go out drinking. First thing: I am not supposed to touch alcohol with the prescription pills I am taking, second; alcohol is a depressant and me being prone to depression it is not a good combination. Therefore, I have found a different outlet for me to be social, out of the house and alcohol free; the gym.

The gym brings me back to topic. During the discussion it was mentioned that one might not want to sacrifice their social life to go to the gym. This had me thinking, and I can understand that a lot of people would feel like that. Being me, I slightly overdo it, maybe, heading to the gym sometimes 7 days a week. It doesn’t have to be like that, you don’t have to do what I do. To be honest I am trying my best to write to encourage you to go to the gym, but I tend to get off track.

Getting to the gym is actually the easy part. Signing up and paying for a membership is easy. The hard part is to keep going. To come back. The hard part is to go to the gym, even though you have to walk half a mile in the rain. When you are at the gym, it is actually rather easy, you do not have to do much, and if you are just starting out anything is better than nothing.

Here are some generic tips for how to keep going to the gym: 

  • When you are starting out, have a goal to go to the gym fewer times than you think you can handle. If you think you can go four times a week, let it be a success if you go two times a week. Don’t burn the candle in both ends by deciding to go everyday right away.
  • Chose a gym with classes, look through their classes and sign up for something that sounds fun. If you are signed up for a class you are more likely to go, plus classes lasts for a specific time you will know you do not have to stay longer than planned.
  • Get yourself a program. You do not have to get a personal trainer, but have a look on the internet, find a program you like, tweak it if you need to. Having a program or a plan will help you to get to the gym.
  • Do things you think are fun at the gym, when you are starting out. If you do not like running, don’t force yourself to run, lift some weights instead. If you do not like lifting weights, run or row or do what makes a gym session tolerable to you.
  • If you have the money for it, get yourself a personal trainer. A few years back when I was first starting out, I got myself a personal trainer and it is one of the best investments I have done for my health. When you choose a personal trainer, make sure to get one who enjoy what they do, sound enthusiastic about training and listen to what you want out of your gym sessions. Get a trainer who can help you reach your goals but also one that keep your goals realistic.
  • Get a measuring band and start taking body measurements, it is more accurate than checking your weight all the time.
  • Keep it short. A full body-workout does not need to take more than 45 minutes

Hopefully these tips will help someone somewhere.

The gym, despite what a lot of people believe, is a social space. After going for a while, the other regulars will recognize and acknowledge you. Not long after it will be normal for you to strike up conversations with people you see there regularly, especially if you are weightlifting because you have to rest between sets no matter how strong you get.

And strictly speaking, if you do not want to, you don’t have to go more than 2 – 3 times a week. I know that 2-3 hours a week might seem like a huge sacrifice to some. I get that you might have to pass that bear or skip that dinner outing, but we are talking about as little as 2% of your weekly waking hours (given that you are a perfect person who sleeps perfectly 8 hours every night. Can you really say that 2% of your time, is sacrificing your social live rather than investing in your health and well-being?

Speaking for myself, the hours I spend at the gym, give me so much that I am willing to give much more of my time. Going to the gym helps me keep my mood under control, it helps me keep my eating in check, it helps my social life and it benefits my health. My gym sessions is my investment in me.

mental health · Workouts

Recovering from recovery days

Weightlifting is a crutch I cling to, for better and for worse. However recovery days are a necessary evil, and my serotonin level drops without daily exercise.

I had a hard work out regime last week which ended with me needing a recovery day. Normally I work on a three split program which means a recovery day is not necessary because each muscle group gets two days recovery while I work other parts of my body. However, in a length of time, even if I change-up the exercises, this regime gets repugnant and I hit a plateau. This is why I chose to do the 4000 reps in 4 days program even though I knew I would need at least one recovery day afterwards.

Thursday was my last day on this hellfire program and Friday was my recovery day. I planned to have one recovery day it turned into three, because I simply lost the motivation to go back to the gym.

My serotonin levels were not stimulated on Friday which meant an immediate drop i my mood and Saturday was even worse but I just could not bring myself to go back to the gym.

When you have bipolar disorder, routine is everything. I have learned this over the last couple of years, but I still mess up because I feel like I am better. Routine puts an order to everything, I go to work at the same time, I go to the gym after work and I go to sleep at the same time. I skip one of them and all three gets messed up.

This means that on Saturday since I had not been to the gym in two days, I struggled to get to sleep at a reasonable time, which meant that on the time I am usually at the gym on Sunday I was still sleeping. When I woke up on Sunday I just did not see any reason to go to the gym, because it was in mu obsessive mind “Too late.” Weekends are troublesome to me anyhow, because I only work some weekends, and I have a weekend schedule: I go to the gym by 12 pm at the very latest. This makes sure I get up in the morning, the earlier the better.

Luckily today was Monday and everything resets: I go to work in the morning, I bring my bag with me and I hit the gym. I am back on track. I wish it was as easy as it sounds, but I almost did not go to the gym today because I was still feeling a constantly low mood which comes with my persisting depressive episode.

Now after working out, I already feel better, and I will go to the gym again tomorrow taking it one lift at a time.