Even though I work out pretty much every day, I am subject to energy slumps. I would say it’s old age but I’ve been subject to feeling more fatigued than I should my whole life. Poor me. But you know what, I bet nearly everybody feels the same way. I’ve come to the conclusion that the energy is in there, but our life styles lock it up because it’s difficult to convince our bodies we need access to it. So feeling invigorated, alert, energetic, whatever you want to call it, is a rare, wonderful, and fleeting experience. It’s so sad that we can’t feel that way all the time.
But at least I’ve found a way to feel it a lot more.
If you’ve read my other posts, you know I’m in the habit of jumping rope or lifting weights after work to burn off the day. Or another way to say it is to take back the day, or at least the evening. Years ago, in the seventies, when I used to go in early to work to beat traffic, too early to clock in, I would use the company gym. On those days I would start the workday feeling great, which was probably a factor in my starting to ride a stationary bike every day after work to get the energy to study for computer school a few years later.
I just have to share with you how wonderful those days were. I was in production scheduling at Redken Laboratories in the Valley, and I would be at my desk with my ten-key multi-function calculator, my inventory stock status and every other ‘report’ I needed on green bar computer paper, my cup of coffee and my cigarette. Life was good. Part of that was the caffeine of course, and there may have been a danish involved from time to time; a few hours later it was all over, but not before I had drunk too much coffee trying to keep it going. And I know the cigarette was bad. I knew it then. But allow an old man to reminisce.
Continuing to reminisce, I just gotta say, at that moment when I sat down to start the day, I was happy and I knew it. Not so on the days when I didn’t workout. Young people do so love sleep in the morning; some days I just couldn’t drag myself out, and on those days, for a few minutes (probably) more sleep, because I now had to allow for traffic, I sacrificed feeling just about the best I was capable of feeling in those days. I actually used to drive in on Saturdays to use the gym just to get that feeling – and have steak and eggs at Coco’s afterwards. Roscoe Boulevard, we love it!!!
But I digress. My point is that in both cases it was a one-shot deal. I got to feel really good once a day. Years later, when I was working at home, I started working out more than once a day. Usually in the late morning at the first slump and then at the end of the day, the second one. And that’s how JumpRock came about. I got tired of riding a stationary bike twice a day and I happened on jump rope after reading an article in Business Week. Which is really bizarre because I never read Business Week. I happened to see the article when I visited my parents. It was about a jump rope entrepreneur.
Anyway, here’s my point. You don’t have to restrict yourself to feeling good once or twice a day. Sitting at the computer, programming, I can find myself in an energy slump two hours after I did weights. I don’t want to do another workout, but I also don’t want to endure living life in a fog, for lack of better words, when I know the energy is in there.
So, I decided to do one exercise, but not just any exercise. Some exercise that I can’t do very well. The problem with exercises you can do well is that it gets tedious to do enough repetitions to make a difference. And years ago, when I started trying to learn to jump rope, my sessions probably didn’t last over five or ten minutes because I was so terrible at jumping. But after I took a shower I got pretty much the same result in how I felt as from thirty minutes of riding the bike. So I knew if I did something that would take me down quickly I could be done in just a few minutes.
And it works!!! It’s enough to release that invigorated feeling. Not the same as a full workout, but enough to burn off the fog and make you look forward to the next hour instead of just enduring. And if you want to enhance the feeling, finish off with a cold shower. The first workout of the day I take a hot shower and then turn it cold at the end. For the rest of them I just use cold water. It’s a lot easier to go from hot to cold water than it is to go directly under cold. And now the weather is turning cold – a few months ago I could stand under full cold. Now it’s just a few seconds. But that’s enough to make you feel even more invigorated. Don’t stand under if for a long time, even if you can; you don’t want your body to burn off the energy trying to warm itself up, you just want to release it.
The other benefit is you get better at exercises you’re not very good at. I started out with clap push-ups which I could do hardly at all, and push-ups which I could do, but it didn’t take many to wear me out. Now I’m pretty good at clap push-ups at least up to eleven. And I can crank out twenty push-ups so well that I’m going to have to find a different exercise, because after twenty it just gets tedious. Guess I heard “Front leaning rest position!!! Assume the position!!! Push-ups!!! Many of them!!!” to many times in basic training.
Anyway, give it a try. It works. Take back the day as many times as you need to. You’ll enjoy life a lot more.