Co-Pilot update

The first month of co-pilot (not sponsored– if you want a discount, wheezy waiter is sponsored) seems to be going fine. I’m doing exercise exercises for 15 minutes 3 days a week and stretching for 15 minutes 3 days a week and I take Sundays off.

I started out with two weeks of calisthenics because I was traveling the first week and I needed another week to get used to the new program (also my person likes doing two week sets).  These were two days of cardio and full body strength and one day that I would term “leg day.”  The first two workouts were about the right level– I was left sweaty and breathless but didn’t feel like dying.  My first time I did leg day it was too easy, I guess because my legs are in better shape (from walking) than the rest of me, so I let her know.  She calibrated a bit too much in the other direction to fix it the next week but it was still doable.  Each task is ~30 seconds (a few are longer if they’re based on number of reps, and some of my stretches are a full minute) with a 20-30 second break in between.  It keeps things interesting and doable.  (Note:  YMMV– DH does things longer for longer because he started out in better shape!)

Then I had two weeks with weights.  This time I had a full body day, an arm day, and a leg day.  These were a bit harder than the calisthenics were, but still doable.  My arms definitely felt much weaker after doing these exercises, but by the end of the two week set, the exercises had gotten easier and my arms had gotten stronger.  But it wasn’t like I was feeling stronger right away– I definitely was feeling weaker and more tired with the exercise, even on days I didn’t exercise.  I assume this is the whole muscles tearing and rebuilding thing going on.  For all of these, I would do some warmup (always including arm circles for some reason), then a set of exercises, then I would repeat that set, and then I would end with stretches.

I currently have a 4 week set going where she’s breaking up things a bit differently.  I have a day of upper body then lower body, then full body, then the next week it’s a different upper body, lower body, and full body.  These also don’t have the thing where I do a set of exercises followed by a repeat– instead it’s a longer single set in the middle of warmup and stretching.  The first arm day was a little too hard so she adjusted one of the exercises to make it doable for me.

DH’s trainer and my trainer have different personalities.  DH’s is very business-y and pushes him.  Everything is very matter-of-fact.  Mine is more chit-chatty and doesn’t want me to ever feel bad exercising.  She came late to exercising and understands that I don’t know what I’m doing.  Any pushes for me are gentle.

I have not yet gotten any magical increases to willpower.  Exercising is not a real habit yet even though it’s the first thing I do in the morning, and it does seem to take some of my willpower away from other things I would normally do in the morning.  Infinite things cannot be added to my day.  If something goes in, something else goes out.  That may change as it becomes an actual habit and I start doing it without thinking, but for now it becoming a priority has displaced other things that had been priorities.

One thing that does seem to be magically working better– she asked if I had any stretches that I wanted to do on alternating days, and I was like, what do you have for people who spend their days sitting at the computer?  And she was like, I’ve got you covered.  So now I’m doing a set of really great stretches, including this leg thing where I roll my knees to one side and then the other that “loosens my hips” — I did not know my hips were tight until said exercise.  DH also told me to suggest that she add another back exercise where you alternate toe touches while lying on your back, which she did because that’s supposed to be really good for strengthening your back for people who sit at the computer a lot.  And I do seem to be able to sit at the computer without my back hurting.  I think my posture is a little better too, though I don’t know if that’s a side effect or just coincidence.

If you’re wondering if I’ve had any weight-loss, the answer is no.  I am currently weighing more than I did any time in my life except when 9 months pregnant.  Fortunately weight-loss isn’t a very good measure of health, and as they say, muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less space.  I don’t know that I’ve done anything spectacular in the muscle area (unlike DH whose 40 min 3x/week for over a year has given him lovely definition from his shoulders to his calves), but it’s a good reminder that health and weight are not equivalent.

How’s your exercise routine going (or not going)?

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20 Responses to “Co-Pilot update”

  1. Michael N Nitabach Says:

    I’m glad to hear you are enjoying learning about your hips! IMO & IME, the hips are equally important to overall “core” strength & resilience as abs, obliques, and back muscles. I work all of these areas once a week with pilates & it’s going great. (My impulse is to proselytize pilates, but I will refrain… 😹 😹 😹)

  2. Steph Says:

    I spent a last academic year dealing with some joint problems that finally got rehabbed in the spring. So I largely stopped working out while I was dealing with that, aside from PT exercises. This summer I started playing Pokemon Go again, as motivation to walk more. And it’s working so far! (If anybody else plays and wants to be friends, my trainer code is 7003 3079 4043)

    I did weight-lifting for a year or so during my postdoc, and really enjoyed it. I moved away from my gym and then covid hit, so it’s been a while now. But it felt great, and I’m glad you’re enjoying your weight training too.

  3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I’m managing ten minutes of walking regularly every weekday morning but that’s the only regularity I have right now. Sometimes it’s followed by an hour of walking around outside with Smol as they explore, sometimes it’s 20 minutes of weeding. Totally irregular though and as much constrained by schedule issues as by my physical ability that day to move.

    I’d love to try that knee/hip stretch, I wonder if it has any recognizable name.

  4. Lisa Says:

    I may have mentioned this before, but I got into “PE with Joe” during the early days of the pandemic because it seemed like a great way to get the kids moving. They weren’t into it and stopped joining in pretty quickly, but I really enjoyed it and kept going. Joe Wicks (British YouTuber) HIIT workouts, I do them 2-3 times a week and have been for over 2 years now. Most of his stuff is 20-30 min long and 30-40 seconds of exercise followed by 20-30 seconds of rest. I’ve enjoyed it because I can do almost anything for 30 seconds and there is a lot of variety. From the bodyweight exercises early on I noticed an increase in general stamina and practical fitness (carrying grocery bags, etc.). I’ve since added in dumbbell/kettlebell workouts and am starting to get RIPPED! (For a very lazy middle-aged woman!)

    The things I love about it are how quick it is (20-30 min 2-3 times a week is manageable for me), how great I feel after working out, and the fact that I never get sore from anything anymore. I can do a long hike and may feel plenty tired during the hike, but won’t be sore afterward.

    Even though I’d been doing this for ~2 years, I also hadn’t lost any weight, and in fact had gained a bit. Some was certainly muscle, but probably not all, and my doctor advised me to focus on proteins and veggies and limit other things a bit last time I saw her to avoid the never-ending weight creep of middle age. So I’ve been watching what I eat a bit and trying to pick protein/veggie snacks, and have finally lost ~5 pounds! I’m planning to keep up the exercise + careful eating because I’d love to lose the fat that is preventing my RIPPED muscles from showing! ;)

  5. Cloud Says:

    I’m still loving the rowing machine I bought this year and I’m having good luck keeping my Friday afternoon rollerblades going. I am also trying to add in some strength training but need to up my game on that and am just being lazy about buying better weights.

    I desperately need to restart my yoga practice – that helps keep my days in front of a computer from causing too much pain. Finding a good yoga routine may be my next fitness goal. (I find I do best if I pick one goal and focus on that until it becomes routine.)

    I think my regular rowing plus a switch to paying attention to glycemic index in my “staple” foods – breakfast cereal, regular lunches – has helped me drop a few pounds. More importantly, I fit back into my favorite shorts so I don’t have to go buy a bunch of new clothes.

  6. Debbie M Says:

    I’m making it a point to keep my (world’s ugliest) bullet journal at the top of the pile so that I actually look at it daily. And one of the things in it is a chart for showing all my calisthenics. That’s step 1.

    I’m getting pretty good at keeping track of my bullet journal but have only just started actually doing any calisthenics. I’m now actually doing some sometimes, and I just need to (greatly) increase the quantity, which I do still think could happen.

    I am also getting in 5,000 – 6,000 steps per day on most days, which is the right amount for me at my current weight.

  7. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I drag myself to the gym at 7am three times a week to lift weights/ climb the stair torture machine/ etc. I don’t love it but it keeps all my joints from giving up on life (I have a genetic condition) and probably prevents me from doing a murder. I, too, could stand to lose some pudge, but one thing at a time I guess.

  8. Alice Says:

    My exercise is getting back on track after about 10 days of nothing/reduced due to a respiratory thing (tested negative). My general energy and motivation are not high at the moment.

    The motivation is currently a bigger problem on the food front than on the exercise front. I worked my weight down from February-July and was in a good holding place. But right now… I’m dragging and I’m not eating all that wisely. I’m hoping that getting this bug further out of my system will help me feel more energy and forward momentum.

  9. First Gen American Says:

    I have backslid. My mom is needing more care and I’m getting much less sleep at night, it’s led to eating badly again. Tiredness causes eating sugar/ carbs. I’m also battling joint issues. My knee swelled a lot after my last bike ride so I am trying to walk more. It requires constant vigilance and I just don’t have it. I’m thankfully not at my Max weight but maybe if I can lose the 15 I put back on, I can do more stuff without pain.

    I also have the hardest time figuring out food portions when I have super active days and do tend to overeat then too.

    I just have to keep trying til it clicks again.


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