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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

From Free Spirit to Creature of Habit to Slave to Routine

The road less traveled is perhaps the most mythical land in all of the American imagination. We’re a land of rugged individualist, of lone wolves, of iconoclastic nonconformists, or at least that’s what we all think. The truth is that everyone has heard of this road less traveled but few have been there and no one can give you directions. I’m almost certain that your phone isn’t going to be any help at all so just put the damn thing down already.

This past week I sat down to think about what I had done in my life that even remotely strayed from my cast-iron routine. Nothing. The only thing that I could think of was how on my bike ride last Saturday I had made a few random turns while pedaling through the villages outside of Valencia. I realize this is pretty stupid but compared to the rest of my week this bit of meandering on my bike was an adventure worthy of Captain Cook. I know the formula to make every day new and exciting but I don’t feel like selling all of my possessions, getting on a plane, moving to the other side of the world, and starting over from scratch…again. At least I don’t feel like doing that right now.

So how do you keep things fresh, new, and interesting while plodding along on your path of keeping yourself fed and beer in the fridge? For me it’s a new training regimen thanks to Primal Endurance. Another day, another fitness fad program to follow. The basic tenet of this program is to slow WAY down to a completely aerobic level (target heart rate of 180 minus your age which for me feels like crawling at 20 KPH). This means building an 8 week base of aerobic fitness which means getting passed by every old man, old woman, and kid with training wheels on the bike path.  

This guy has a LOT of top athletes on this program as you can hear on the podcasts. The main thing is that it teaches your body to burn fat instead of sugar which makes you more efficient. I just know that how I train now isn’t efficient and I am breaking my body down on some of my more grueling rides with little benefit other than it’s fun. As I said, it’s hard for me to get passed on my rides but that’s a small price to pay. I need a new heart-rate monitor with an alarm to keep me in my zone.

He also emphasizes that you can do lots of little mini work-outs throughout the day as you go about doing what you do. For me this means slowing down on the bike-share bikes as I hump around town. Last night after work, when I normally don’t work out, I had a leisurely ride around town before heading home, all of it in my new sissy-boy fat-burning zone. This pace is what I would normally use for walking around an art museum. So at least that was something outside my usual routine and it was a gorgeous evening in Valencia.

After a while you get faster and stronger at this lower heart-rate which is how you gauge your progress. I have to do a circuit on my bike while keeping my heart-rate at the recommended zone. After eight weeks I do the circuit again to compare. I just need something to help motivate me or I get bored and complacent. He stresses the need for a proper diet with low carbohydrates (something I know works for me).

So I’ll still be a slave to routine but at least it will be this new fitness rut. 

P.S. I dug out my old heart rate monitor, replaced the battery (.75€), and it works fine. Saved myself about 80€.

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