Just pick one day a week, and that’s when you can drink. If that sounds too hard, then you can have two, okay, Tipsy? Think you can handle that?
If not, then you have bigger problems, and I can’t help you. But if your biggest problem with staying in shape is that you keep getting derailed by even a couple of beers at happy hour, that’s what you have to get through your head. You get one or two days a week, no more. If that’s giving you the shakes, then get yourself some help.
Now, the two days you’re going to drink – make absolutely certain you do your workout those days. The whole point of the two days isn’t that drinking will derail your workout, it’s that even the mildest hangover will. So you’re definitely going to skip your workout the day after you drink – don’t skip it that morning.
That’s the drunk in me, always derailing my regime. I’ll get going pretty regular, and then three or four different people will call me up and invite me to three or four different events which all seem to call for a cocktail, and what can I say? I’m weak.
No, I don’t want to hear about how you’re going to go to all of the events and only have a beer at two of them. The moron in me used to convince me I’d play it that way every time, but I’m not wired for that. I like an icy cold beer, and if they’re all over the place, I’m having one or five. I have to pick my two favorite excuses for a beer each week, and toss the rest out.
A similar moron inside me is inclined to give me way too much credit in terms of exactly how grueling of a workout I will stick to. Those P90X programs you can order off the television really will get you ripped, except the problem is, you won’t do them.
If you’re not already working out on a regular basis, then you’re not going to suddenly start sticking to the most grueling workout imaginable. Tell yourself that you will do the P90X after ninety days of doing something much easier.
First, go run. No – I don’t want to hear about your shoes or anything like that. You’re going to buy those pretty quickly, but go run right now. You want to get out of the habit of talking yoruself out of it, and sitting around thinking about whether or not you are running correctly usually seems like an excellent excuse not to do it.
Your healthy, marathon-running friends are going to give you all sorts of tips about running, and you need to ignore them. Unlike you and I, these marathon runners you know are not inclined to behave like drunks or morons, that’s why they’re marathon runners. Their tips and pointers and critiques about running are all accurate and are all important, however they can distract you from the single most important problem with your running right now.
You aren’t running. That’s the problem. Go run, and then later your marathon runner friends can take over, and tell you how to fix your running. Right now they’re irritating and discouraging – everything you’re doing is wrong, so why bother?
Forget about them. You might even want to block them on Facebook, if they keep trying to help you.
Just plot a mile course around your neighborhood by driving around in your car. Then go home and park your car and get out and start running.
The first time I did it, I made it a quarter of a mile, then I nearly collapsed. I’d been using an exercise bike in the workout room for a year, so I’d thought I was going to make it much farther than that, but it turns out exercise bikes are for old ladies. Turns out that’s common knowledge.
So fine, I walked the rest of the one mile course, and then the next day I went to run it again, and then this time I ran three more houses. Still ready to collapse and not even a half a mile, but farther than the day before. I added approximately three to six houses every time, and I was up to four miles in a month – though I did buy a decent pair of running shoes.
Meanwhile, all along, marathon runners kept telling me to stretch more. I ignored them, because I am a moron. The good news is, your body will eventually give you very helpful and specific instructions with regards to which muscles need stretched, and you’ll end up on the floor doing that as the weeks go by.
Then do some pushups. Just do about six sets of them, as many as you can do, even if it’s five. Get used to doing that at a certain time during the day – I like to do it about a half an hour after I run. Also get some barbells, and it’s not rocket science, curl them, lift them, etc. You know how to lift weights, just do a little of each kind, and maybe keep track of it on a list, to make sure you do it. Again, later you can have a physical trainer tell you what you are doing wrong. For now, just doing it at all is as right as you need to be.
The number of pushups you can do in each set will increase over time, and the amount of weight you can lift will increase over time. Throw in some stuff from gym class – jumping jacks and squat thrusts and toe-touches. It’s so easy, I can’t believe none of this occurred to me until I was thirty-seven years old.
It’s actually turns into a pleasant experience if you don’t sign yourself up for some kind of grueling ordeal. As long as you’re not aiming for six pack abs.
I’m just aiming for Reasonable. I’d like to look Fairly Reasonable. If that’s all you want to do, then good news – you can achieve this and you still get to act like a drunk and a moron once in a while.
I like to watch Burn Notice while I work out – and that’s the only time I watch Burn Notice, so I kind of look forward to it.
So then you have to watch what you eat, but nothing crazy. Two days a week, you can eat whatever the hell you want. Try to go easy on bread and cheese, so eat a lot of fruit and granola and yogurt. Then eat a reasonable dinner, and take a walk afterward. See how you’re not going to do all that if you’re half in the bag all the time? And see how easy it sounds, if you’re sitting around sober wondering what to do with all this extra time?
For me, when I get out of shape I find myself eating a lot of fast food, and then when I start to get back in shape, fast food starts to sound kind of gross. So I don’t have to diet so much as I just don’t feel like eating garbage anymore. The healthy food starts to sound very tasty, the healthier I get.
And then again, you can wreck a plate of chicken wings and go to sleep chewing on White Castle on your free days. You’ll be fine. I’d love to sell you a video, but that’s the whole program, right there.
That’s what keeps me looking and feeling Reasonable for about eight months out of the year.