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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts


Posted: January 29, 2011

Not everybody loves working out. It’s tough for me to understand, because it’s fun for me—maybe even more than fun. I guess it stems from me not being able to workout as a kid.

Back then, my asthma was so bad, just about anything at all triggered attacks. They didn’t have much in the way of medicine back then, so the doctors were very cautious. Basically, I couldn’t do anything.

A couple years ago, I had a chance to go back to Angola and do a concert at the same church I grew up in. Afterward, they had a little get-together and I had a chance to meet many of the people that came to the event.

Amazingly, I met my old 3rd grade teacher, kindergarten teacher, and of all things—my grade school P.E. teacher! Here it was, 40 years later, and they were telling stories about me.

It really touched me when my P.E. teacher told me she’d really felt badly for me. The principal had called her in and told her not to let me participate, because the doctors said that if I’d had an attack, it could have been really bad, even fatal.

As it was, I had attacks all the time and just had to tough it out. Back then they didn’t have rescue breathers (inhalers). So I spent grade school P.E. sitting on the sidelines. The other kids thought I had a good deal, but they didn’t realize that I’d of given anything to get in there.

My parents steered me toward music lessons, and I filled up my time that way, but even into high school, I always wished I could be more physical. Once I got to college, I started working out and training in martial arts.

Asthma treatment also improved, but I still had quite a few hospital stays in my early 20’s. Still, I was getting in shape, and ended up getting my master’s degree in exercise physiology.

About seven years ago, they finally came up with medicines that prevented attacks and I didn’t need to carry inhalers anymore. So I love working out. It’s not hard for me to get to the gym. Even if I didn’t have a gym, I’d go find one.

But when I run into people that are here, but really don’t want to be, I feel for them. It can be hard work, working out—especially if you need to lose a significant amount of weight. My best advice is to try and find things that they like to do.

For example, I was just talking with a woman who didn’t like the cardio so much, but really liked doing the machines. She said, “I could do those every day.” So I suggested that perhaps she try splitting up the routines.

Typically, people will do the whole circuit three times a week. You need at least 48 hours to repair your muscles after your workouts. More intense workouts can even require as much as a week before the muscles are fully recovered.

But what she could do is do a little bit of cardio, and then split the machines up into Upper Body movements and Lower Body movements, doing those on alternating days. That way she’d have time to recover in between.

Or, she could split it up three ways: Pushing movements (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps), Pulling movements (Back, Biceps), and Lower Body movements. Then, she could do them on alternating days with a day off after two cycles through.

If you don’t like the weights so much but don’t mind the cardio (walking, jogging, elliptical, bikes, etc…), focus more on the cardio machines. Just make sure you hit a few upper body exercises to keep your arms and shoulders toned.

Some people like classes like Zumba, Step, or Kickboxing. That’s great. Whatever you like, you’ll be more likely to do it—and keep doing it. It’s the doing it that takes the weight off, but it’s the keep doing it that keeps the weight off.

Me, I’m pretty grateful and thank God everyday. I love working out and have a job that lets me do it. In fact, I’ve got to run—it’s time for my workout. I mean, I really have to run—on the treadmill. There’s one open now. See you next week.