Long ago, I used to have abs. But I was skinny. Then I joined a gym, started drinking protein shakes, bulked up (my pecs were large enough that a girlfriend used to tease me for having bigger boobs than her) and unfortunately, got a paunch. I quit working out a while ago, other than the occasional month of consistent pushups. And even though I am not muscular anymore, I still have a slight paunch. It is only visible when I've had a big meal or I am not wearing a shirt. I am vain enough to determine to get rid of it. Part of the determination is due to having free time. Moving to Abuja from Kaduna, I live alone without family constraints. So my time is virtually all mine. I had initially planned to join a gym because I really enjoy lifting weights and working out. However, I decided to defer registration for 2 reasons:
1. It will be Ramadan by April. Ramadan is the month in the Islamic calendar where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. If I start working out now, any progress I make will be lost during fasting because I lose weight easily. I cannot work out, or rather, I do not want to work out during the fasting month because during the day I will be too weak and after eating, I will be too full.
2. I decided to lose my paunch first before joining the gym. When I was lithe and sexy, I used to quietly snigger at the paunches of men who would join gyms to lose weight. They would spend so much time doing crunches and sit-ups and then slowly stop coming when they do not look like underwear models after 1 month. I do not want to be those men in case there are sniggerers like me. Also, most of my reading about weight loss says that losing belly fat is best done through cardio.
So, in pursuit of abs, I have been jogging semi-regularly since November 2020. I would have preferred saying I was running except that I think of running as going at full speed, like what the characters in Temple Run do. Also, I have never experienced anything similar to the stuff described in this node. When on the road and if I start feeling sick or get an ache, I stop. My pace is measured, although I have improved significantly because the distance I used to cover in an hour, I now do in 30 minutes. So I have been increasing the distance.
The most difficult thing for me is the discipline to do it regularly. I tell myself that I would jog every other day, but then I would jog for just 1 day in 1 week and then 5 days in another. 1 reason why I fail to keep to my schedule is sex. I tell myself that vigorous sex is good exercise and I further tell myself that I do it vigorously. So, when I have sex, I do not go jogging. And despite what I tell myself, I know I am not so young and strong now. So, I take an additional day to recuperate from my activities. And before you know it, the week is half gone.
Another discipline issue is that on some days, I just do not feel like doing the exercise. I force myself to go out and I just cannot motivate myself to keep jogging. So, I walk. And I feel like a failure. Because even if I walk the same distance that I would normally jog, I feel it is not the same thing. In fact, I only feel really accomplished when I jog the entire distance. In addition, I like the way my thighs feel pumped and my calves ache after the run, I would have to walk a significantly longer distance to get the same feeling. That is the only runner's high I have ever felt. The run itself is always hard work and when I am going up a slope, I have to keep talking myself into putting another foot forward and into remembering that going down is easier.
A third thing that I find difficult is the timing of the jog. I prefer to go early in the morning, say 5am; because there are fewer people about. I like going out that early because there are fewer cars, and that makes me feel safer, less chance of someone losing control and hitting me or even doing it deliberately. There are fewer people, either going to work or also exercising, so I can run without having to dodge anyone or be otherwise conscious of other road users. Thus, if I cannot go out early, I just do not go. Recently, I started going out earlier and earlier. This morning, I went out at 3am and jogged till 4.30am. There was a time that if I had to drive to another city (I shuttled a lot between Jos, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina), I would not leave until say 11pm or 12am. I enjoyed those night drives because there was no police harassment and fewer cars on the road. And driving through the small towns and villages on the route was faster because nobody was about. I do not do that anymore because of nationwide insecurity and because my work does not require it. Now, being in Abuja, with its wide, well lit streets and their equally generous sidewalks, I feel safe despite the timing. I would not do that in Kaduna, partly because everyone would nag me no end about the dangers of going out at that time. While acknowledging the serious insecurity issue in my country, I am also foolhardy enough to think nothing can happen to me. Also, the knowledge of the differences between the realities of men and women got really reinforced. A woman doing what I am doing is at real risk of harassment, assault or rape. Possibly even by the police.
Jogging on the road is in a way much easier than on a treadmill. I just choose a road and decide to go to its end and find another way back. It is easier to run a route that I am unfamiliar with and whose length I do not know. I do not measure the distance because fitbits are for pussies, poseurs and those whose motivation is tainted by the current culture of broadcasting the minutae of one's life in the mistaken belief that such stuff is interesting. I suppose people are interested otherwise the thing would not be so prevalent, but, I said what I said. I know such information can by useful first for motivating oneself (and possibly others) and second, the importance of data analytics. But I am just concerned with my run, and when I want to go long or hard, I just keep going. I do not need to know how far I have gone or the calories I have burnt or my cadence or any other thing. 1 of the advantages of a treadmill is that one can see information about one's run. I think those advantages are negated by the boredom of that mode. If I need to know the length of my route, I can always use the car's odometer.
Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad, Poor Dad said that 1 reason he liked jogging was that it enabled him get information about real estate opportunities in his area. Considering I have lost money in practically all my real estate ventures, I have not benefited from that nugget. The most interesting thing I have observed in the early morning is 2 clubs that seem to be active every night of the week. I have never been a clubber but I am attracted to one of them because it seems to play nice music and it is in a respectable looking mall type building. The other one seems rather seedy and I imagine the people there would be cheap, skanky, tough and have pidgin English as their default tongue. Pidgin is a big turn off for me when girls speak it.
Another thing I have observed or become more aware of is the number of uncovered grates and manholes on the road. When driving, one is careful of them because they could seriously damage one's car. When on foot, the danger is even more, because putting a foot into 1 of them could lead to a serious fracture. The lack of covers could be due to either the contractor not putting them in during construction as a way to cut costs or people just stealing them and selling them for scrap. Both scenarios are plausible.
It is possible that were I to join the gym, I would stop running because there would be a swimming pool. I would swim instead. And if I choose to keep running, I would do it even more sporadically than I do now.