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For those who exercise. Setting exercise goals in ER ?
Old 05-11-2012, 09:21 AM   #1
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For those who exercise. Setting exercise goals in ER ?

So, I may or may not have mentioned it here but I come from a line of males with a high mortality rate (most die circa 50yrs of age) and once I decided to ER a few years ago, I decided to really start working on improving my health. I've since lost 70 lbs and have about another 25 to go (yes, i was a fat b***ard)
I run a lot and bike a lot. Did a 100KM bike ride last summer and just finished my first half marathon on the weekend.

With that background gibberish out of the way, do you find it helps to set exercise "goals" in ER and is it easier or harder than during w*rking ?

I ask only because I find that without a goal to work towards, I get lazy and just go through the motions during exercise. Weight maintenance/loss becomes hard and no real fitness gains are made.

I'm a little worried that during ER it will become much to easy to be lazy without the structure of workweeks and I will slack off sitting on the porch instead, drinking rum, listening to Jimmy Buffet and eating bags of doritos.

Do you set goals for yourselves ? Races, events, bucket list items (AT trail, the Camino, etc..)
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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I know people who seem to stick with exercise without goals (runners high, clearing the head, social connections, being outdoors, solitude, etc.), but goals are essential for me too. After my first and only marathon, within a week I stopped running entirely, it was pointless for me to train without a goal. Entering runs and rides (hoping for a new PR) kept me running and biking for sure. Having a weight, BMI and/or composition goal keeps me doing resistance training too.

I think you just have to figure out what keeps you motivated to stay healthy, like with most things we're all different...
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:17 AM   #3
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For me it's primarily a fear that if I slack off for a day or two, it will be the beginning of the end (that is, the start of a slide towards not exercising). OTOH, I've been exercising regularly for so long, that I now feel that's extremely unlikely.

Yes, training for a long run or ride, definitely makes me exercise more, and I enjoy it more, because I am working towards something, but the problems for me are:

  1. I don't like to pay for something that is free (e.g. $120 if Lena and I both participate in a big ride).
  2. The foods are part of the fun of an organized ride/run, but they are generally sugary and high-carb foods.
  3. The socializing is a big aspect of an organized event, and I'm not into that.
  4. I usually have to travel a long way to go to something like that, involving staying at a motel the night before, and worrying about getting enough sleep, and consequently not getting enough sleep.
  5. I will probably train more than is healthy, that is, past Midpack's intersection of Risk and Reward.
Here's my overtraining for a century last year:

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Old 05-11-2012, 10:53 AM   #4
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I'm not yet ER, but my thoughts of ER always include finally having enough time to exercise. I love to run, and have run several Marathons and many Half Marathons.
Registering for a race always gives me incentive to get out there on those occasional days when my desire is flagging (it is very tough, after a day of work, to lace up and go for a run. This is especially so in the cold, dark nights of winter).
I can't imagine exercising less once I ER. You may want to try registering for a race/cycling event to help you keep up the motivation. Another tried and true approach is to make sure you mix in some variety - don't do the same routes, even if it means driving a bit to get to a different place to run/cycle. Changing the intensity or length of the exercise also helps keep it interesting. Congrats on your weight loss!
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:29 AM   #5
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I enjoyed competitive team sports in college and HS, and casual competitive tennis and squash afterward. A big change came along when an hip injury led to some osteo-arth in that hip. I need to be careful, and my main goal is to preserve my lifestyle of rambling around my neighborhood and the larger city. So my exercise today is purely for health, and indirect social benefits I get from looking good. Like Al, I would never travel to go to meets. If I am going to drive somewhere, and if my hip can take it, I'll head the short distance into the mountains, or go trout fishing along the creeks.

I do however have exercise goals, based upon my best reading of the scientific literature. I think I should be regularly, moderately active. To me that means daily at least some meaningful walking, and 3 or 4 times /week row at least 10K. I turn it all into kc/day expended in continuous exercise, and try to keep a runing 7 day total above 3500kc, which I have done pretty comfortably since I formulated the goal. What I like about it is that it gives me a frequency-daily, or at most no more than one sedentary day/week, a required duration, usually >=1 hour/session, and a way to carry it out without too much disruption. Unless I have had a long walk on a given day, I'm going to be on my rower and logging 10k or so. Although my hip may feel tired after rowing a long while, it never hurts. Also the rower, unlike running or walking, does do muscle work on the entire body.

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Old 05-11-2012, 11:38 AM   #6
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I don't enter races often, partly because I've always been slow. But when I do, my goal has always been simply to finish in the top half of my age group. That approach is self-adjusting as time goes by, and I'm still doing it successfully.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:08 PM   #7
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I just compete with myself for my personal best. I also exercise for an hour three days a week, which is almost (not quite) the same amount as our required P.E. back in high school. In high school we had an hour and a half four days a week, but part of that was dressing in our gym tunics and talking and messing around. So, I think we probably were active for about an hour four days a week. I never miss a gym day because F. is my "gym buddy" and we go together.

Most of my workout is on the weight machines because this is something that I like and enjoy. I try to sneak in some cardio when I want a little variety, to spice up my workout.

When I have cut back on the weight machines for whatever reason (for example injuries, sickness, cardio making my workout too long), then at some point I have to try to work back up to where I was on the weight machines. I usually have sub-goals of raising the weights on each machine another 5 pounds. Nothing special or magic about that, I guess. I feel good about my progress if I have managed to lift the same or better. I would never feel good about a workout if I wasn't striving for another five pounds, and dripping wet (sorry if TMI) when I finish.

If I am at my personal best and doing that regularly and easily, it is exciting to me to think that I am ready to increase my weights even beyond that and establish a new personal best!! Wow, what a rush. Makes me feel strong and young. This is very high motivation all by itself.

I don't have an ultimate goal at which point I would lean back and not work so hard at my lifting. For me it's all a process.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:16 PM   #8
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Sounds like you already have a goal, lose another 25 lbs and be overall heathier. I don't know that this should necessarily be translated to improving ones time in the a marathon (although thats one possible way), but remember the road to good health is a journey, not a race. Having a weekly plan (cardio, resistance, stretching) and being persistant, plus eating healthy are the keys to your success. Tracking your results also makes a lot of sense to me. Once you achieve your goal, set a new one or at least maintain what you have achieved.

Not retired yet, but plan to place more time/effort on the above when I retire.
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Old 05-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #9
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Yes, I like to enter races, and it does help motivate me to run more than when I don't have a race ahead of me. I share a lot of the problems TAl stated, but some is alleviated by doing many of my races close to home. One difference is that I like the social aspect. On trail runs its safer to have a group or at least a buddy, just in case someone takes a bad fall or has a health issue or takes a wrong turn.

It was tougher to fit it in when I was a full time office worker, but it got a lot easier when I went to telecommuting with a pretty flexible schedule, then a bit easier as I went to part-time, and then retired.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:19 PM   #10
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Yes, I like to enter races, and it does help motivate me to run more than when I don't have a race ahead of me. I share a lot of the problems TAl stated, but some is alleviated by doing many of my races close to home. One difference is that I like the social aspect. On trail runs its safer to have a group or at least a buddy, just in case someone takes a bad fall or has a health issue or takes a wrong turn.

It was tougher to fit it in when I was a full time office worker, but it got a lot easier when I went to telecommuting with a pretty flexible schedule, then a bit easier as I went to part-time, and then retired.
Kind of what I was hoping to hear... that it gets easier with more time on your hands as opposed to excess time being an excuse not to.

DFW: actually, losing the last of the weight isn't a "goal" so much anymore as a nice side benefit of gaining fitness. As I have been exercising 3 to 5 days a week over the last 3 years, I have found I prefer getting fitter and fitter and better at those sports I enjoy rather than being focused solely on only losing weight. That is a finite goal that will run out in time once it is achieved and leave me with nothing to work toward. I prefer having goals I can reset time and again (ie: races or trips, etc..) that will keep me challenged and engaged for the rest of my life.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #11
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One really nice benefit is that I can often plan my day around my run or exercise, instead of working it around my work day, or times when I had to be in meetings or otherwise available when I had more flexibility. I can look at the weather, and run early on hot days, mid day on cold days, before a predicted afternoon thunderstorm, etc.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:38 PM   #12
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I started running/ biking in my mid 20's, but slacked off in my 40's and early 50's and gained 30 lbs. About a year ago, I decided to lose the 30 lbs and get in shape. I started running, biking, and swimming every day, and signed up for a sprint triathlon. The triathlon was a good goal because it gave me an extra goal in addition to losing weight. I've run a few 5k's since, and training for these has been helpful in my goal to lose weight. But the best goal for me is my quest to exercise at least 45 minutes every day and make the lifestyle changes to stay healthy.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:44 PM   #13
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If you want goals, you would be a good candidate for a Fitbit. It's a device that clocks the steps and stairs you do, then transmit the results via wifi to your account online.

After certain milestones, you get "Badges" for the best day for steps or stairs, or when you read certain milestones. I find it useful to show me when I've been more active (need more sleep) or not active enough (cut back on eating!).

IF you choose to, you can take advantage of the social media side and make friends and share goals. I don't do that, but I do check out the Facebook page and ask questions there.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:44 PM   #14
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With that background gibberish out of the way, do you find it helps to set exercise "goals" in ER and is it easier or harder than during w*rking ?
Do you set goals for yourselves ?
I find that the only goal I really need is "Show up".

When my daughter and I were training for our black belts, 95% of it came from just showing up for the practice and doing our best. Every few months (OK, some were more than a few) we'd advance another belt level.

My spouse's "50 and fabulous" program requires three workouts a week. I'm not required to join her, but of course I'm shamed into doing so. Once I "show up", I usually get into it. My personal challenge is to finish my calisthenics during the 30 minutes that she's on the treadmill, and then to finish my elliptical/treadmill time before she finishes her calisthenics. It keeps me from laying on the floor panting in a puddle of sweat for five minutes between each set.

There are days when, believe it or not, I don't really feel like surfing. (They usually involve some combination of being sore from last night's workout, whining about "cold" water, and "only" two-foot waves.) On those days I take my 10'0" (easier to paddle and catch waves) and promise myself that I'll try for 20 minutes. Of course once I "show up" and drop my core temperature a few degrees, I'm usually there for a couple hours.

When I was ramping up pushups & situps for the black belt test, I started keeping a workout log. That habit has turned out to be very useful in getting me to "show up". Even though I don't really do anything with the data, I can't stand to see a blank piece of paper where a workout should be logged. For you military types, I use a scanned printout of the general record card "Appointment Schedule 14ND-GEN-5050/1 (3-68)". It only offers about a square inch per day, but that's enough to log a few details and see some progress.

During our last taekwondo workout, it was business as usual. At the 30-minute point we finished our forms and started practicing our kicks. There are five basic and five advanced TKD kicks, and we do 10-20 reps of each. After eight years, you tend to move pretty efficiently but there's always little fine points of technique that will improve your power, speed, & accuracy. This time, our instructor stopped the class about a minute into the kicking session and "gently" reminded us not to just fall into the same ol' routine of moving from one kick to the next. He expected us to work on a specific aspect of each kick and to improve it.

His announcement was a surprise to me, because ever since I've worn a white belt I've always been trying to improve something on my kick. (There's a lot to improve.) Even at this stage of my training I can move my center of gravity a little further forward, or twist my hips a little faster, or control my recoil better. It's honestly never occurred to me to put my brain in neutral and just kick, kick, kick. So I guess another goal of "show up" is to leave the workout at least a little bit better than you started it.

My latest source of inspiration is the training posters on MANteresting.com. When I'm feeling particularly snivelly, I can always refer to this guy's example:
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File Type: jpg No Excuses motivation.jpg (30.8 KB, 8 views)
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:07 AM   #15
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My latest source of inspiration is the training posters on MANteresting.com. When I'm feeling particularly snivelly, I can always refer to this guy's example:
Simply awesome!

Found these two quotes in my gym this morning which resonated with me:

When Muhammed Ali was asked how many push ups he could do; the answer was I don't know, cause I only start counting when it really starts hurting. No pain, no gain.

“You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short- range failures.” Charles C. Noble
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:34 AM   #16
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For me it's primarily a fear that if I slack off for a day or two, it will be the beginning of the end (that is, the start of a slide towards not exercising). OTOH, I've been exercising regularly for so long, that I now feel that's extremely unlikely.
+1

Exercising must become something that you just do.........an automatic part of your day.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:01 PM   #17
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I'm still w*rking - and have to do the mlitary fitness test - uhhh, that will wake you up to pass that - I like to get the 90 or more so I don't have to redo it at 6 mos.....to me the max out points portion are challenging - I do well on strength categories, but the cardio is OK. However, I was talking with one of the fitness gurus who does testing and she told me some of the young whipper snappers had poor running times....much worse than mine - I didn't feel so bad, then.

*However*, I do look forward to doing something besides running for cardio stuff.....I've decided I really don't like running anymore - prefer other types of cardio, but the test is for running.....sigh.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:31 PM   #18
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*However*, I do look forward to doing something besides running for cardio stuff.....I've decided I really don't like running anymore - prefer other types of cardio, but the test is for running.....sigh.
Then train for the test by running. Cardiovascular fitness measured in one way is best trained in that exact same way. Specificity is always present in training. ( I think your post says this same thing, but I was not certain.)

Ha
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:10 AM   #19
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*However*, I do look forward to doing something besides running for cardio stuff.....I've decided I really don't like running anymore - prefer other types of cardio, but the test is for running.....sigh.
To reinforce what Ha said, here's an interesting anecdote from the book Body by Science:

A company had a fitness test that was to be executed using a stationary bike. A sedentary, out of shape guy trained on that exact bike, riding in the same way that the test would be executed. He did much better than his colleagues who frequently ran long distances. Some of the latter even failed the test.
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:07 PM   #20
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No exercise goals here.

Nearly 5 years retired. Do workout 2 days per week. I also figure skate, kayak in the summer, walk a 1/2 hr most days. It is just stuff I do 'cause I like it.

Play Ju-jutsu on and off for nearly 45 years now. Still do when willing partners show up, or I feel like traveling a bit. I particulary like good throws and being thrown with skill. In addition to the mental aspects. Landing gives good vibrations throughout the body, literally.

You might say, I do physical stuff as a matter of habit, and the habit is enjoyable.
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