Armor for the soul
I had a question from one of my readers: “How do you manage to push yourself to go to the gym so often? Have you always been in such a great shape or was it a result of grueling workouts?”
The answer could serve as a conversation starter for at least 10 late-night talks. For now, I’m going to keep it brief. Let’s start at the end.
- First up is genetics. In his younger days, my dad used to eat beer with sour cream. The things he did to put on weight, all to no avail. Beer with or without sour cream didn’t work on me either. 2 kilograms gained with such difficulty disappeared in the blink of an eye at the first sign of stress. Everyone is blessed with something. Someone’s cuticle grows slowly, but the hair is horrible. Someone was born in a wealthy country, but seems unable to find one’s calling. Someone’s Bentley is sitting in a heated garage, but for some reason there’s no one to take for a drive, and it’s no fun to drive alone.
- Sport for me is a chance to relax. A fitness club is a place I turn to when I need to unwind in the company of good people. I am obsessed with music, so to every workout I bring a meticulously selected playlist full of my favourite tracks of various genres that I choose based on my mood. They help me get the job done. If I have to do 15 push-ups, listening to my favourite song I can easily do 20-25.
- It’s not my intention to set Olympic records, so I never go to extremes. 10 minutes of walking or running (depending on the energy reserves that are available by the time I hit the gym), then a 20 minute upper body workout. Pay extra attention to the neck, back, and arms. The same amount of time is devoted to the lower part of the trunk. I make adjustments based on my well-being: if I have recently overdone it with the legs or if my stomach hurts, I spent more time working on my back and vice versa. 20-25 minutes should be spent on a bicycle, again based on your condition. If you have a lot of energy left to spare, then you might as well spin the pedals for 40 minutes. If you feel exhausted, then cycle for at least 10 minutes. It’s better to do little than nothing at all. On top of that, I follow this up with stretching exercises, as I move towards the goal of doing the splits.
- Nutrition. It’s one of the most important points that deserve our undivided attention. I am grateful to the Creator of the universe for providing me with this armor for the soul (a body), thanks to which I can get up in the middle of the night, eat half the cake and quietly go back to sleep. But I haven’t done it since my student days, when I began to feel sorry for my body. The owner is sleeping, while the body is working non-stop, doing damage control after a serious offense has been committed. At some point, it may refuse to do so.
I try not to combine proteins and carbohydrates in one eating, so as not to clog the digestive tract. Eating meat with potatoes is not the best idea, meat with vegetables would be way better. I almost never eat bread, pork (the meat is too fatty and I keep in mind what the animal ate), hot dogs and sausages (I love them so much and suffer without them, but I only indulge myself overseas), mayonnaise, milk chocolate, ketchups and sauces, any kind of fast food, eggs and milk. In an age of sanctions, the trip to the store turned into a challenging quest, ceding the field in order to constantly improve the daily consumption product line.
- In theory, why would you work out, if you were blessed with a good figure? At age 32, I am much more satisfied with the state of my health and body than when I was 22. An athlete always sees another from afar. For example, on the beach like-minded people start to flock in no time: “Hey, let’s get acquainted. You also exercise 4-5 times a week, don’t you?”
- I have a passion for studying biographies and listening to interviews with champions. An Olympic champion in rhythmic gymnastics said something that was obvious to everyone else. But you can fully appreciate the meaning of the phrase only when you train 3-5 times a week. “Through sport you have always known growing up that if you weren’t able to do it today – you can always try again tomorrow. If it doesn’t work out tomorrow, you will try again the day after tomorrow. If the day after tomorrow yields the same result, you’ll certainly be able to do it in three days. Couldn’t do it in three – you’ll do in a week. You just have to apply this principle with everything else.”