Ritualistic Exercise: One Year and Counting

Since the 26th of September, 2020, I have been exercising daily. 🥳

I’ve been working out off and on to the illustrious Shaun T as well as doing the plank daily for 8 months in 2016 (see Basic Exercise). In mid 2019, I even went to the gym for a few months to work the barbells (squat, dead lift, bench press, overhead press, and clean). I never got to the clean but it was really fun getting the squat up to 75-80kg, my body weight.

I got rather frustrated going to the AI and Theorem Proving conference in Aussois when spontaneously hiking to Le Rateau d’Aussois (3131m). With zen-like patience step-by-step and many breaks, I made the 1600m ascent but really wished I could leap and bound up like a fit person!

Thusly, I was highly motivated to start working out to be in better shape next year.

One of the big challenges I face is what I consider the holy grail of sustainable fitness. I seem to get progressively bored of a fitness routine as well as increasingly frustrated with spending some hefty block of time on working out, say 30+ minutes, rather than just diving into my activities for the day.

Thus this time I decided to try doing two sets of exercises each day:

  1. Basic Fitness for a few minutes consisting of stretches, yoga poses, or other things I can easily do almost anywhere.
  2. More involved workouts for at least 10 minutes that’ll get my body into better shape.

Hopefully even on lazy days (1) would be no problem and I could choose simpler activities for (2) some days, too, as the ritualistic sustainability is desired. Moreover, on Sundays, I decided I’d only do a minimal (1) as a rest day. On Saturdays, I decided to do yoga as I want to maintain flexibility.

1. I was inspired by someone I know to try out The Five Rites written about in The Eye of Revelation:

They’re basically 7 yoga poses and one is advised to do 3-21 reps daily for longevity. A bit more enticing than the sun salutations I know with their first and second warriors. I tried adding in pushups at the end but that felt off. I pushed the number of reps up to 21 on some days and eventually gravitated toward 5-10 on normal days and 3 reps on Sundays. At the moment doing the pigeon pose and butterfly pose at the end works pretty well. Maybe I’ll slip the plank back in. Who knows ;- ).

One of the ideas is that perhaps this will evolve into a more involved but still light and sustainable daily fitness ritual, dropping (2) in the long run.

I observed that jumping out of bed to exercise first thing in the morning feels better than putting it off, however, I jump with the most enthusiasm on Sundays when (2) is not awaiting 😋.

2. Generally I started out with Shaun T. Focus T25 is a bit intense for me but it’s regular. Hip Hop Abs and Rockin’ Body workout videos range from 10 to 48 minutes, which is longer than I’d like to invest in daily fitness. I eventually decided to financially support Shaun T’s “Team Beachbody” with an annual subscription. The service is pretty crappy and is streaming only (without the app). I diversified to do some courses on there, however:

It was quite fun learning and finally memorizing an 18 move Tai Chi sequence and charming to see it done from the fitness junkie perspective. Learning some country dance moves as fitness was also pretty cool but it wasn’t as dancy as Shaun T’s stuff. Finally, in May, Shaun T released a new program consisting of 16 dance routines and 4 dumbbell workouts that are consistently 30-35 minutes!

Let’s Get Up is a lot of fun! Shaun T clearly learned from his previous experiences to deliver a highly compact package 😍🥰.

There was a yoga week near the beginning, which was pretty tiring and interesting. I started off doing yoga in the style of Sri Dharma Mittra, my mother’s teacher (about 45-75 minutes). Later I diversified to yoga videos on YouTube and gobbled up many of the 15-25 minute videos of Yoga With Adriene’s before trying various others. This is probably my ideal time range for more involved workouts (tho “yoga is not fitness“™️). Sometimes I just do a bunch of yoga poses as feels appropriate from memory ;- ).

At the moment, I’m being really lazy and only doing the Tai Chi sequence on each side for the (2) exercise, which feels good for basic mobility and is fairly sustainable. Well, I’m still exploring.

I went to this year’s AITP and fortunately was able to stay an extra day for hiking to the Pointe de l’Observatoire (3015m). I was still fucking tired for the 1500m of ascent. It appears calisthenics don’t quite prepare one for so much going up, up, up! Go figure :- p. While I was tired, I didn’t feel as exhausted or pushed to the limit, however :- ). Also to my disappointment, the ‘peak’ point is literally just a rock, so it’s a bit cramped.

The mist that day was amazingly beautiful. A cloud eventually enveloped me as I sat on the top in lotus. In town, there was a cloud snake moving by town really quickly.

It seems I’ll want to get in more hiking as well as sustainable daily fitness . . . 🥾⛰🤠