Here We Go Again

As you may or may not know, I’ve spent most of (read: all) of my adult life with serious confidence and self-image issues. I’ve no doubt that some of these stem from my overall mental health problems that have plagued me for as long as I can remember (although I seem to be battling back my demons ever further these days), but I’m the kind of person that hates to take his shirt off, even when it’s boiling, or does his best to turn the lights off when getting changed.

Last week, I spoke to the doctor about a patch of facial hair that simply stopped growing a month or two ago, and has been spreading ever since. After looking at it, I was told I have what appears to be the onset of alopecia. Now, if there’s one thing I’ve always been confident about, it’s my hair – that’s why I’ve shaved it all off for charity not once, but twice.

The last time I shaved my head for charity!

The thought of losing my hair, or at the very least my choice to grow facial hair, kind of kickstarted me. I may not be able to control what happens to my hair, but I made a silent vow to do everything I can to improve my own self-image.

That’s right, folks – it’s time for me to get fit again.

In truth, I’ve not done badly. Between being a father, the deputy editor for a rapidly growing website, and a freelance writer trying to run my own business, all while in the middle of a global pandemic, my natural fitness is pretty good. I’ve been running a couple of times most weeks along the seafront, but it’s getting a bit boring running the same 5K over and over.

I went back to my gym as soon as I could, but I’ve been having trouble properly motivating myself to go – when I’m juggling a dozen different things for work, it feels almost negligent to take time away from my desk, despite being encouraged to by my colleagues.

So, I spoke to my good friend and bandmate James, and worked out a rough schedule.

The Dad Workout Plan

Me today.

Since time is a factor, I’ve dropped specifically targeted workouts for the most part. That means no more back and biceps, no more chest and triceps (sob), and no more shoulders and legs. Instead, I’ll be doing a push and pull session a week, essentially targeting the same areas, with increased weight but fewer sets to ensure I can be back at work in a reasonable time.

Then, there’s legs. I’ve got a very iffy hip flexor on my right side, and it’s essentially put me off of working out my legs. I figure if I have a large upper body and skinny legs, I’ll look like an action figure at the very worst. Still, in the interest of pushing myself to do better, I’m going to do one legs session per week.

I’ve also grown so bored of running along the seafront and around the local parks that I’m going to aim for two running workouts a week on the treadmill. Sure, it doesn’t offer much in the way of scenery, but maybe I can put a movie on my phone while I rack up the calories burned.

So that’s three gym sessions and two runs per week, and then I’ll allow myself a day of rest on Saturday to spend relaxing with my family. Then, Sunday will be all about father and son time as Jax and I go on our long walks!

Lifestyle Changes

Anyone that knows me, knows that I very rarely drink. Sure, a nice cold beer on a hot day is lovely, but I’ll often go six months without any alcohol. I just feel like I’m more fun to be around without needing a drink, and it doesn’t feel right guzzling what is, ostensibly, a depressant while I’m on medication that’s supposed to have the opposite effect.

That said, my big vice has long been fizzy drinks. Now, I should note that these are almost always sugar-free, but that doesn’t stop them causing bloating and just a general lethargic vibe. So, energy drinks are out, and I’m allowed up to two cans of Pepsi a day (soon to be one).

I’ve also started experimenting with supplements to boost my workouts. Whereas before, I’d go to the gym, workout, and then come home and feel like my arms were going to fall off the next day, I’m now taking better care of myself.

I got a pre-workout (it’s energy drink flavour, no, I’m not kidding) that makes me feel as though I’m about to rip the roof off the flat. I use that before weights sessions to give me a kick, especially because I’ve cut down on what I eat.

Next up, I have an all-in-one protein shake mid-morning as a snack, and again post-workout. It does a great job of helping me recover ready for the next day.

Of course, time will tell if I can stick to it, but I’m feeling very good about myself after a few days of working hard.

I’ll try and keep you updated on my progress, in any case!