OK, so it’s been a while since I last blogged. Things have been very busy and hectic on my side, but amidst all this, I have found my ideal form of meditation, my zen if you will. Our story begins some months ago though…
To begin with, having done body building in my past life, I have a very dense body mass. As a result, I weigh more than most people my height does, or are supposed to. Duh, muscle is heavier than fat right? J Because of this little fact, I was never really surprised to find myself falling into the “Overweight” category on Body/Mass charts. True, I had gained a few pounds over the years, but I never really considered myself badly overweight. Of course it so happens that I was putting on my jeans one morning and found that I had… um… shall we just say “outgrown” them. Mmm… time to go and buy jeans another size bigger I thought to myself. That was the plan, but then I weighed myself and happen to cross reference my weight to my height on one of those charts again. The result shocked me to my core. I was right on the line between “Overweight” and “Obese”. What the hell?! No way! There is no way on God’s green earth that I allow myself to fall into the “Obese” classification. That’s when “the plan” changed. I decided that instead of buying a size bigger jeans, I was going to lose weight and fit my butt pack into my existing jeans. That was the “new plan”. Along the way of this new plan though, I discovered so much more…
So like any person determined on shedding some pounds, I jumped on the treadmill right away. At first I thought I’d do it three times a week, but then I’m much too impatient for that to take effect, so I just did it every day. I was up a 04h30 each day anyway so I might as well sneak a 30 minute treadmill walk in there somewhere I thought. Just like any other over eager person starting out, I made the mistake of not stretching before I started on the treadmill. On top of that I didn’t do a warm up walk or a cool down walk either. So it was not surprising that within three days, I pulled a muscle in my right knee. Now this is where those self doubts come into play. Actually, this is where the lazy ass version of self comes to the fore. You begin to think. Mmm. I pulled a muscle. I better lay off the treadmill for a couple of weeks to allow it to recover and heal. Thankfully, my logical mind took over and drove such thoughts out. I assessed the pain and decided it wasn’t anything major. Putting on my military toughness hat, I decided I was simply going to push through the pain. If the knee hurts, I will keep exercising until it stops hurting. So that’s what I did. Religiously every morning, I did my 30 minute walk. I also decided that I wasn’t sweating enough on the treadmill so I upped my walking speed for 3 mph to 3.5 mph and then eventually to 4 mph.
Now I burn about 350 calories in 30 minutes at 4 mph. One day I got to 30 minutes and thought I’d push for 500 calories instead and so 500 became my new daily goal. Before long I was doing an hour and 700 calories and then one day I thought it would be cool to push for 1000 calories, so I did. Given that my weight was only starting to come off at about one pound per week, the 1000 calories became my new daily goal. That was how I got into my current routine of 90 minutes per day in the morning on the treadmill.
You’ll be amazed at just how “loose” you are after that. Stress truly just burns off and I found that I have so much more energy during the day. I don’t like to exercise at night because if you have a long or bad day, then you don’t feel like it and end up not doing it at all. Nope, I exercise in the mornings. You always feel about the same in the mornings so there aren’t many excuses to not do it and besides, the 90 minutes fits perfectly between 04h30 and 06h00. J After that first muscle injury, I started spending a couple of minutes stretching before I start, 3 minutes working up to my speed and 3 minutes cooling down from my speed. I would start at 3 mph for a minute, then 3.5 mph for the next minute, then 3.8 mph for the third minute and finally bump up to my normal 4 mph speed. When I’m done, I would slow down to 3 mph for 2 minutes and then finally 2 mph for a minute. Then I’d do some more stretches just to keep everything good and limber and then it’s shower time.
OK, so I exercise. Big deal. What’s this “War Room” I’m talking about?
I discovered the War Room quite by accident. I found that staying on the treadmill for 90 minutes every day was hard. About half way through, you start thinking about stopping. Not good. So like every other person with an exercise regiment, I looked to music to keep me going through those halfway blues phases. It worked too, but I found that not just any type of music worked right. For me it was better if the music I was listening to had a good beat that I could “march” to on the treadmill. I guess it’s a holdover from my Air Force days when we marched in pace. Anyway, I began scouring my music collection for songs that actually had the right beat. Believe me, it wasn’t easy to narrow down the list, but I managed to do it. That beat is different for everyone because it depends on your leg length and your walking speed. With my shorter, stronger Afrikaner legs and walking at 4 mph, I found my ideal backbeat to be about 150 bpm. Not all my songs are at that beat. Some are faster and some are slower which actually forces me to adjust my walking pace sometimes taking faster, smaller steps and sometimes taking longer, slower steps. This is a great change of pace, but the secret was that I was able to adjust to the backbeat of any song in my special playlist, well, automatically… without really thinking about it. And that’s when I discovered the War Room.
When I’m on the treadmill, my mind begins to wander. Now you might think that you should contemplate “important” issues and think about your day etc. during such a time of meditation. Don’t be tempted! Simply get into step with the beat and let your mind wander. Let your mind lead you, not the other way around. You’ll be amazed what your mind begins to think about. Now my mind changes direction quickly and frequently as well, so it was really interesting to see what happens when I just let it go. In the process, I discovered that my mind was dealing with things I wasn’t even aware of, thinking of things I didn’t even consider. This helped me get crystal clear clarity in my life. It helped me determine and work out exactly what it was that I wanted from life. Well, maybe not exactly as that changes all the time, but I began to get a very clear picture of me, my life and my future.
The mind’s ability to work things out by itself without you actually having to direct it or “think” about it, is what I discovered. The answer to every problem is already in you. All you have to do is find it. By tasking the body with rigorous exercise, yet giving it a backbeat it can harmonize to, the body’s too busy working to interfere with the process. That frees the mind and I find that I just pick a spot on the treadmill or the wall and stare at it. Just a blank, 1000 yard stare like we had in the military. Before long, the process ignites and wonderful things happen.
It’s this whole ritual, which I adhere to religiously every single day, that I call my War Room. That’s where my subconscious mind comes into touch with my conscious mind and together they hash out and resolve any and all problems in my life. You should try it some time. If nothing else, just discovering what your mind wonders to is pretty exciting. You might be surprised at the outcome! J So here’s my regiment.
- Stretches to loosen the leg muscles.
- 1 minute @ 3.0 mph for warm up.
- 1 minute @ 3.5 mph for warm up.
- 1 minute @ 3.8 mph for warm up.
- 84 minutes @ 4.0 mph for zen time.
- 2 minutes @ 3.0 mph for cool down.
- 1 minute @ 2.0 mph for cool down.
- Stretches to keep the muscles loose.
My song list is a really mixed batch and looks like this:
- Always on my mind – Pet Shop Boys
- Bad case of lovin’ you – Robert Palmer
- Breakdance – Irene Cara
- Dirty deeds done dirt cheap – AC/DC
- Edge of a broken heart – Vixen
- Everybody have fun tonight – Wang Chung
- Fame – Irene Cara
- Fight for your right – Beasty Boys
- Get ready for this – 2 Unlimited
- Gloria – Laura Branigan
- Good girls go to heaven – Pandora’s Box
- Hit me with your best shot – Pat Benetar
- Hungry like a wolf – Duran Duran
- I’m gonna getcha good – Shania Twain
- I’m too sexy – Right Said Fred
- I drove all night – Cyndi Lauper
- I hate myself for loving you – Joan Jet
- I need love – N’Sync
- I think we’re alone now – Tiffany
- I was made for lovin’ you – Kiss
- If you love somebody set them free – Sting
- Invisible touch – Genesis
- Jump – Van Halen
- Just can’t get enough – Depeche Mode
- Just like paradise – David Lee Roth
- Lay all your love on me – Abba
- The lion sleeps tonight – Robert John
- Losing my religion – R.E.M.
- Missionary man – Eurythmics
- Mister big time – Jon Bon Jovi
- Money – Beatles
- Money for nothing – Dire Straits
- Nothin’ but a good time – Poison
- Oh yeah – Yellow
- One vision – Queen
- Physical – Olivia Newton-John
- Rhythm is gonna get you – Gloria Estefan
- Rock this country – Shania Twain
- Sex as a weapon – Pat Benetar
- Since u been gone – Kelly Clarkson
- Strong enough – Cher
- The sun always shines on TV – A-ha
- T.N.T. – AC/DC
- Thunderstruck – AC/DC
- Up – Shania Twain
- Venus – Bananarama
- We got it going on – Bon Jovi/Big & Rich
- Welcome to the jungle – Guns n’ Roses
- When the going gets tough – Billy Ocean
- Y.M.C.A. – Village People
- You shook me all night long – AC/DC
So now, I just turn on my music in shuffle mode every morning, do my stretches and warm ups and then I just put my body on cruise control and let my conscious mind connect with my sub conscious mind and start solving my problems. Of course, the little side benefit (I now consider it a side benefit even though it was the inspiring factor to begin this in the first place) is that my weight has come off in chunks.
Alas, it seems I might not be able to escape the need to buy new jeans after all… only thing is… having just lost 28 lbs in 10 weeks, I’m going to have to buy jeans a size SMALLER instead. 😀
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