Try And Sleep On It…

I’m no stranger to lack of sleep. I did spend almost 13 years as a police officer, after all. I lost count of the nights where my phone would ring, I’d get yanked out of bed and spend the remainder of my night up. On the flip side of that very issue, I spent nearly 13 years as a police officer… This means that after everything I’ve seen, done and been subjected to, my brain is a hot mess of recurring nightmares\ and an inability to calm myself, which translates to a significant lack of sleep.

Because I enjoy adding icing on the cake, once you throw Type-1 Diabetes into the mix, it gets even worse. Fluctuating blood sugars, circulatory issues, restless leg syndrome… you name it! There are plenty of things that have kept me from sleep over the decades and although I firmly believe that I’ll sleep when I’m dead, I’d kind of like to enjoy the prospect of proper rest while still in the land of the living. But I digress…

There are a number of different reasons why one may not get adequate sleep. One of the biggest culprits, is stress. Stress has a way of creating that tight knot in your gut and keep the gears of your mind running like an exhausted bastard. The result is usually that a person is unable to successfully fall asleep when something pertinent and important is on their mind. There are different ways to address this, including meditation, relaxation and calming exercises and even some dietary aspects that can help calm your mind t promote better sleep.

On the topic of diet, what you eat makes a significant difference in the quality and even quantity of sleep. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol doesn’t actually help you sleep better. You may fall asleep FASTER, but the quality and depth of sleep won’t be there. There’s no harm in having a couple of drinks but drinking to excess where you flop on the bed and pass out won’t provide reasonable sleep. In fact, you’ll likely wake up more exhausted than when you went to bed. What you eat will also prove problematic. If you eat something too spicy or too heavy, it will weigh heavily on your system while you’re trying to sleep.

WHEN you eat is almost as important as WHAT you eat… And I’m likely the worst fuckin’ person for this type of thing. I have this nasty habit of snacking late at night, usually during that last hour that my wife and I are watching a couple of episodes of a show before bed. The problem with this is that sleep is when our body takes the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. If several hours are contributed to digesting the food in your gut that you ate before bed, your body won’t be getting the rest it requires and depending on what you’ve eaten, it may also keep you up.

And since I mentioned binge-watching shows, modern times have made staring at a screen the common thing that binds us all together. Unfortunately. The issue there is that our bodies are designed to recognize that once things begin to go dark, the body prepares for sleep. Staring at a screen fools your body into thinking that it’s still daytime out and it will be more difficult to fall asleep. Most articles I’ve read have suggested avoiding screens for an hour before bed to allow your body to be receptive to sleep.

All of this is great information in theory but not all of it can necessarily apply. Given that some folks perform shift work or work at unusual hours or have underlying medical conditions that may affect sleep, avoiding food and bright screens for an hour before bed may not cut it. It’s important to bear in mind that most forms of insomnia or lack of sleep can linger but shouldn’t last for longer than a week, at most. If you notice that despite all the steps you take and improvements you make, that you can’t get proper sleep, it may be time to consult your family doctor or medical practitionner.

Sleep is integral to good health, balanced blood sugars and proper diabetes control. Taking Diabetes out of the equation, lack of sleep will cause eventual cognitive issues, difficulty concentrating and lead to further medical issues. It’s important to get some proper sleep and if you find yourself unable to achieve that, it should be addressed sooner rather than later. Even something simple, like switching mattresses or ensuring your have a fixed bedtime routine can help to promote proper sleep and by virtue of that, proper rest. ☯️

Weight A Minute, Where’s My Cardio???

After several years of writing this blog, it should come as no surprise to anyone who reads it regularly that I’m a firm fitness advocate. I’m no Olympian or anything (Shut up! I heard that! You know who you are!) but I work hard to try and stay healthy, especially in light of having Type-1 Diabetes for over four decades. It started years ago with karate and slowly evolved into some cardio training and light weights. Like any fighting sport, karate requires that a practitioner have a reasonable amount of cardio in order to keep up with the rigours of martial arts. Some weightlifting is required in order to maintain one’s strength. So that begs the question: which is more important? Cardio or strength training?

The thing with any form of exercise is that one always believes that their way is the best way. People who focus on resistance training will always assume that resistance training is the best. People who focus on cardio will assume that whatever they do, running, cycling, swimming or whatnot, will swear that cardio is the only way. Realistically, karate is the only best way… (see what I mean?) But seriously, people will always assume that their direction is the only one but the reality is simpler than that. Proper and effective fitness will require both.

If all you do is weight lift, you may gain some static strength but it will have no practical application. Unless you’re trying to body build professionally, weightlifting is usually best done in moderate doses. The larger and more rounded your muscle groups become, the less flexibility and range of motion you’ll have. Picture those huge body builders who can’t remove that post-it note from between their shoulder blades. That’d be pretty easy shit for a person with normal muscle mass. That’s why in general and especially if you do karate, you should limit your strength training to developing actual strength and not necessarily increasing your overall size.

If all you do is cardio, you’ll have great stamina, great endurance and be able to hold out under your own body weight for extended periods of time. But you’ll need to run, if someone strong tries to get their hands on you. The caveat is that intensive cardio training will actually contribute to a bit of strength training. You can’t be a long-distance runner or a marathon swimmer without some strength thrown in there, right? But ultimately, you’ll still need some strength training included in your overall routine. Here’s where I get to brag a bit and mention that karate promotes and provides both of those things.

No matter what type of workouts you prefer, you should always work to include all types. You need some cardio. You need some strength training. And if you do martial arts, you need them both. Whether you integrate both aspects into one workout or do them separately… I like doing a routine where I’ll do my weight sets with a couple of minutes of high-intensity cardio in between. It keeps my heart rate up and makes the workout all the more challenging. If you’re doing cardio as a standalone workout, it’s important to remember that besides the normally-expected benefits of cardio, getting that heart rate up and increasing your blood flow will also help with muscle recovery from your strength training. Food for thought… ☯️

A Little Sweat Does You Good…

Last Tuesday, I enjoyed my usual routine. this routine entails working through my lunch then making my way down to my office tower’s gymnasium to make use of their cardio machines. Last year, I found a neoprene hoodie in the clearance section of a local sporting equipment retail shop. The tag boasted increasing the body’s core temperature to shed excess water weight and maintain muscle warmth. I purchased my size online and received it a short while later, performing multiple cardio workouts and loving the increased sweat and burn I got from wearing it.

The concept is pretty simple; the garment increases your core temp, causing excess sweating and shedding water weight as well as an increased level of toxin elimination. On this occasion, I ran the elliptical until I started feeling faint. The beauty of this garment is it kind of holds everything in place and prevents all 2,000 parts of my dad-bod from joggling around violently as I run. I only put in 4 kilometres but it was enough of a sweat to tire me out for the night. The increased blood flow brought on from doing cardio work also allows for quicker recovery when taking a break from resistance training.

This garment was a bit on the costly side, having been ordered online from a discontinued product line. But you can find them quite easily in most sporting goods stores, as well as from your local big box retail locations. They won’t all fit snuggly like mine does. In fact, some of them will almost seem like you’re wearing a couple of large garbage bags over your body. But the benefits can be plentiful, so long as you remember to replenish your body’s fluids as you lose them. ☯️

To Gym Or Not To Gym, That Is The Question…

Good health & fitness habits can and should be considered a life-long commitment. Although I’m certain some people do, one should never sit back and say, “I’m no longer exercising” and let their health and fitness go completely to the wayside. The effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be seen and felt over an extremely short period of time and for someone with Type-1 Diabetes especially, it can cause damage to the body that will not only make life difficult but could potentially be deadly, as well.

That’s why it’s important, whether you have Diabetes or not, to maintain a reasonable level of fitness in one’s life. It can get difficult at times, with the stresses and rigours of life often getting in the way. The irony is working out will usually help to alleviate some of those concerns and stresses. But like the little engine that could, getting oneself started can often be the issue. However, once you get started and have a healthy combination of workout types, the rewards can be phenomenal. W

hen I say workout types, I mean that everyone should incorporate resistance training and cardio somewhere in their routine, despite what some diehard fitness folks may say. Weightlifters will obviously swear by resistance training, runners, swimmers and the like will swear by cardio and martial artists will swear by karate classes. And although that’s a normal instinct, everyone should have a bit of everything, despite what they “specialize” in. So, that raises an important question: What’s better? At home or at a gym?

Over the decades, I’ve had the opportunity to do both. I’ve had fitness equipment at home, I’ve done karate at home and I’ve paid tuitions and fees to do either of those at professional locations outside my home. I often go back and forth like a balanced scale rocking from one end to the other, and I’ve come to find advantages and disadvantages to either one. And now I’m going to share some of them…

1. Cost: Obviously, there’s a certain amount of inherent cost to joining a gym or karate class. And with the rising cost of everything these days, membership fees and tuition costs are going up as well. Without accounting for inflation, I spent thousands of dollars on karate tuition over the decades, and in recent years, I would have knocked out the same amount over a period of about five years instead of twenty. Training at home means you don’t have to pay for the locale and can work out at your leisure, on your own schedule and when you choose. But working out from home may lack a few things, bringing me to my next point…

2. Resources: There’s no arguing that your local gym will have equipment that the average person would likely never have in their home. I stand by the concept that one can get a solid sweat by doing a body-weight-only workout, but there are definite advantages and benefits from using specialized equipment that either helps with certain lifting techniques or promotes better growth. Of course, the caveat is that depending on how long you train for, you may be able to invest membership fees into purchasing your equipment, which you then own.

3. Environment: I’ll be honest; training in a dojo is far superior to training at home, alone. Besides the fact that there’s only so much you can do by yourself (kind of hard to fight with no opponent), there’s also the ambiance to consider. Training around other people can be more pleasant than training alone and certainly rewarding. Especially if there’s aspects of your fitness that you need help with. Google can’t always answer everything, right?

4. Autonomy and Cleanliness: One thing that can get annoying when training or working out at a commercial location is the possibility of others using the particular piece of equipment you need/want. This is especially annoying when they’re not really using the equipment but congregating next to it in order to chat. You wouldn’t think so but this same concept happens within a dojo, depending on the class. At home, you don’t have such disadvantages. And lastly, working out at home allows you to use your own shower without the fear of whoever else’s funk you may get on you, using public facilities.

So, there you have it. There’s some good and bad to either method of training. Working out from home or in a public facility has some good, some bad and some ugly. No matter which method you choose, it’ll likely cost you SOMETHING and will require a significant commitment on your part. ☯️

Commando: A Review (Heavy Spoilers)

It feels like I’m writing a fair bit of reviews on films and television series… And that’s because I am! No big secret, I’m a fan of a god flic, especially something that was aired in the good ol’ 1980’s. There’s just something about that decade that’s near and dear to my heart; likely the fact that my formative years took place during that decade. But there’s something about watching a solid action film that doesn’t stress out too much about the script or even the plot points and focuses on plenty of action and explosions. 1985’s Commando, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is no exception.

Commando tells the story of a retired Special Forces commander named John Matrix who lives a secluded, quiet life with his young daughter, who just happens to be played by Alyssa Milano. I was a HUGE “Who’s the Boss” fan, so Milano is just the icing on the cake. Their lives are disturbed when members of Matrix’s team are systemically killed and the military assumes Matrix is next, and warns him. Matrix’s daughter is kidnapped and Matrix is blackmailed into performing a heinous act to get her back. Of course, instead of complying, Matrix becomes a one-man army of vengeance as he works to getting his daughter back.

I’d like to say the movie still totally holds up to modern times. The truth is that I likely only think so because I was a child of the 80’s. Most people nowadays likely wouldn’t get the references and comedy behind all the violence. Basically, Matrix makes his way back and enlists the help of an unwitting flight attendant who not only helps him gear up and get equipped to rescue his daughter but ends up being a key point to the story. It should be noted that the girl’s mother is never mentioned or referenced during the movie.

The movie reaches its climax when Matrix flies to a remote, private island where he absolutely decimates an army of opposing soldiers who are guarding the antagonist holding Matrix’s daughter hostage. Although I’m sure there are plenty of forums and discussion threads that would identify the impossibilities or inconsistencies of what takes place in this movie, sometimes it’s important to just sit back and enjoy the ride. This movies does just that, providing a gratuitous amount of action scenes while managing not to take itself too seriously.

As one would expect from a classic 80’s action movie, matrix rescues his daughter, annihilates everyone in sight and manages to kill the bad and save the day. The movie ends on a pretty cheesy note, with matrix marching down to the beachfront where U.S. Army forces storm the beach and somehow immediately recognize Matrix as a friendly, despite the fact that majority of them likely never served with him. He’s permitted to simply walk away and fly off with his daughter and newfound “associate,” without any debrief or information on what went down during his time on the island.

Honestly, it’s a pretty fun thrill ride, if you can get past the dated format of the movie and its plot points. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, worthy of being included among classics like Conan the Barbarian, Predator and Red Sonja (yeah, I said it! Fight me!) I know not many people were pleased with Brigitte Nielsen’s portrayal of the famous, red-haired comic book heroine, but I think it totally stands up. If you’re looking for something action-packed, fun and easy to watch on a Saturday night, Commando is currently streaming on Disney+ and I highly recommend it. ☯️

There’s No Gym Like Home…

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a certain level of fitness within my own home. Over time, I accumulated enough equipment that I could get a decent sweat going in my home. Due to different circumstances at different times, my workout areas have been taken apart and dismantled. A few years ago when my basement shifted and I had to have it demolished and braced, i moved my workout area to the garage. That was okay for a while, but colder weather made it problematic. Plus, everything that was in the basement had to be stored somewhere.

When the basement was completely braced and secure, I bought a bunch of floor matting and created a makeshift dojo in my basement. Once again, when the time came to renovate and rebuild the basement (it was down to bare concrete) I had to pack up the floor mats and I lost my workout area once again. Given that I was stuck at home and contemplating a job back in New Brunswick, I sold off most of my equipment in anticipation of moving away. When that didn’t happen, I found myself in a position where I didn’t have many options at home. Body weight workouts will only get you so far.

Last year, I learned that one of the benefits of my job is a flex benefit that can be used on anything fitness or health related. Although I used that flex benefit on my karate tuition last year, I didn’t need it for that this time around. Instead, I chose to use it to purchase a bunch of fitness equipment for my newly-renovated basement. As you can from the photo above, we have new flooring, newly-drywalled walls and a drop ceiling with recessed lighting. A full bathroom with a standup shower is included. Listen to me, I sound like I’m advertising my basement for rent.

I started with a simple curling bar and some weight plates. From there, I got the bench, straight bar and more plates. The half bosu is useful for lunges, squats and developing balance. 10-pound ankle weights, a weighted vest and a set of kettlebells completed the set-up. I also grabbed some heavier dumbbells as the ones I had were starting to lack a certain, shall we say, challenge. Combining all of this has given me the opportunity for a number of different workouts while keeping everything fresh and new. The small table in the corner holds my phone cradle that allows me to play music while I exercise.

I don’t think I need to stress the importance of exercise and proper fitness to someone who lives with Type-1 Diabetes. Proper diet and blood sugar control aren’t enough. You gotta keep that engine revving. It’s like the simple formula of life that I discovered, decades ago. Life brings movement. Movement brings energy. Energy brings life. Eliminate any of those three and it’s a recipe to end one’s life. Good movement is integral to good health. And working out at home is awesome! There’s no better gym than the one you create for yourself. Food for thought… ☯️

The Little Engine That Couldn’t…

Have you ever noticed how finding the motivation to do something is usually difficult, if not all-out impossible? Why do you believe that is? If it’s something one WANTS to do, it would stand to reason that motivation should almost be self-fulfilling, right? But it never is. And there’s a genuine reason for that, that most of us don’t think about. You see, most people go through life assuming that motivation comes first. You’ll often hear one saying, “I need to get motivated to do this…” But that isn’t the way motivation works.

Loosely defined, because I LOVE to loosely define things, motivation means the general desire or willingness to do something. An easy example would be to say that I am motivated to learn karate or motivated to lose some weight and get in better shape. However, contrary to what the average person believes, motivation will almost assuredly never come first. Motivation comes as a result of success, and one can’t have success unless they make a start. Only then will one be motivated by their goals and achievements.

If I use myself as an example, I started karate at a tender young age at what feels like an eternity ago. When I first walked into the dojo, I wasn’t motivated. I wanted to be there, don’t get me wrong. I had goals and ambitions to achieve by starting in it, but I couldn’t rightly say I was motivated by karate. As I started to train and began to see some change brought on by my efforts and started achieving goals, I became motivated to continue, motivated to train harder, motivated to pop my clutch and study like a man possessed, which came about as a result of my success in learning some of the art and becoming proficient.

Had I not experienced that success, I likely would not have been motivated to continue with my training, which is what frequently happens to many people who join. I use this an my example because it’s an easy one, and one that I’ve experienced myself. But this concept applies to just about anything one does in life. Let’s say you decide to want to cycle 55 kilometres in the coming summer. You won’t be “motivated” to reach 500 kilometres; you’ll set the goal for yourself and become motivated to reach your goal once you’ve started to gain mileage and start seeing how your cardio and overall health is starting to increase.

It’s important to think of motivation a bit like momentum. If you try to run, you can’t leave your starting point at full speed. You need to get yourself moving and build up your speed through your own strength. The product of the runner’s mass and speed is what is considered momentum. Much like momentum, motivation can’t be achieved from a starting point; it needs to be fed and grown, and will only be experienced once you’ve reached a certain momentum in your goals and achievements.

Hopefully that makes sense and I haven’t muddied the waters. Too often, I’ve spoken to people who have said, “I’m just not motivated to do it, anymore…” Of course, you’re not! Because you haven’t achieved any of your goals or seen any progress. You won’t be motivated until you do. So if you feel yourself “unmotivated” in any particular thing you’ve undertaken, don’t believe that this is a reason why you should be determined to stop or walk away. A shout out to my friend, Ricky, for the idea to write about this! ☯️

Mother Nature Sure Loves Flippin’ You The Bird…

The changing seasons are a bit of an odd duck, since we al know they’re coming, we all expect it but yet it somehow still feels like a shock to the system when we wake up to that first blanket of white bullshit in the front yard. Winter has always been the less-preferred season for me. I know that for the most part, summer can be tougher because you can only wear so much less clothing before you have to deal with some of my former colleagues, if you go outdoors. At least in the cold, you can add layers until you’re adequately dressed for the weather. Winter stuck its middle finger up at me when it decided to strike with a vengeance, last weekend.

While some friends and family back in New Brunswick were posting photos of 22 degree weather and fire pits back home, we were experiencing -10 and storm-level winds and snow. It started on Saturday and carried on well into the night, which was brutal. Blowing snow, howling winds and thick, two-foot deep snowdrifts by morning. The light bless my next door neighbour for using his snowblower on both our driveways. I honestly don’t think I’d survive the winter without the help of neighbours. But Sunday was supposed to involve a quick trip to Costco for me and my toddler, followed by a couple of hours of fun and play at an indoor climbing gym. I don’t get to spend a great deal of time with my toddler, since my older son usually monopolizes most of my time.

When we hit the streets on Sunday morning, I found cars and even city buses stuck in massive snow drifts. By the time we had driven a third of our way to Costco, I realized I should have turned back and gone home, if turning around wouldn’t have likely meant drifting off the road as well. We made our way to Costco but came straight home afterwards. Winter is upon us and I don’t think we’ll see any signs of it leaving until next spring, which is why it’s important to remember a few key points as it relates to health & fitness, as well as proper control of type-1 Diabetes.

It stands to reason that effectively EVERYTHING affects blood sugar levels. There are multiple reasons for this, which I won’t try to explain in this post. But if you’re walking or spending time outdoors in colder weather, you need to be aware that it may cause your blood sugars to drop. You can add to that, if you plan on shovelling or pelting your son with snowballs. If you’re shovelling and have reached an adult age, it’s important to recognize that shovelling heavy snow can cause cardiac issues. Stay hydrated, take breaks and don’t overexert yourself.

Last but not least, don’t forget about our good ol’ friend, the sun. People tend to forget that even if it’s freezing cold out there, the sun’s rays are still hitting you and exposed flesh will still burn. If you intend on being outside in the elements on a sunny day, even during the winter, applying sunscreen is a good idea. There’s no getting away from winter (especially if you live in Canada), so it’s important to remember to be prepared. Check your blood sugars regularly (you should be doing that anyway), stay hydrated, mind the sun and keep yourself warm and dry. That way, we can get through the next six to eight months unscathed. ☯️

Walking Off Into The Sunset…

When people think of quitting something, they usually associate it with giving up. On the extremes side, people associate quitting with cowardice or abandoning something they should keep hammering at. That’s why we always see little quips like “winners never quitting” and such. And while I can agree that one should never quit something if it will compromise one’s goals, there are circumstances under which walking away from something is not only acceptable, but ideal.

When one decides to undertake something important in their life, it can become all-consuming. For example, if you decide to work on your fitness and get into shape, there’s a lot of perseverance and sacrifice that needs to happen. Quitting will prevent you from reaching your goals and it’s important to work through the obstacles and difficult aspects of that particular goal if you expect to achieve it. This can be the same with work goals, dietary goals and any achievement-based art, such as karate.

When I joined karate in the late 1980’s (Yes, I’m old as time. Moving on!) I did so with the intention and motivation to save my own life. Type-1 Diabetes was consuming me and I had complications that put me in very real danger of losing my life. My goal in joining the martial arts was two-fold: increase my overall health and learn to defend myself. I can admit that over the past 34 years, I have not only accomplished those goals but I’ve exceeded them in ways that I never would have expected.

What’s important with something like karate is that you CAN’T quit if you expect to progress and learn the art. But you should only be doing the art if it lights a fire inside you and you’re passionate about it. If that fire goes out and the passion dwindles, it becomes tedious and almost onerous to try and continue, and it can lead to being more of a hindrance to the overall art than contributing to it. It is at that point where one needs to take a serious look at oneself and consider that walking away may be the viable solution.

At some point in life, and I’m specifically referring to myself, one reaches an age and state of physical being that also no longer accommodates the stresses and rigours on the body required to actively participate in the martial arts. Granted, I never assumed I would reach that point in my 40’s but Diabetes is a hell of an inhibitor. Recent injuries and health matters have brought me full circle to where I understand that maybe fighting people half my age in the dojo is no longer a goal of mine. I’m still passionate about the martial arts but I fear the fire inside may have gone out.

At some point, this happens to all martial artists. Even Sensei, decades ago, had a point where he simply stopped coming to class. The dojo was managed by a couple of the senior belts in his absence. It was a scary time, since none of us knew if he’d come back. Eventually, he found his perspective and renewed sense of purpose and came back. In my early 20’s, I gave up and quit karate for several months as a result of my body no longer keeping up with the same speed as I had in my teens. I went back, of course. But if that was in my 20’s, can you imagine what my body feels like now?

I guess the point is that nothing in this life is ever truly over until one chooses it to be so. I may be walking away right now, but I will never truly QUIT karate. I can’t. I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s in my blood and part of my DNA. This is proven by watching how my 3-year old throws a punch without ever having been taught. So, who knows? Maybe after a period of reflection and contemplation, I will see fit to return to the dojo and train with others. I’ve been walking this journey alone for so long now that maybe the dojo is no longer a suitable environment for me to train. Time will tell.

A person’s reasons are their own. If you feel the need to quit something, whether it’s that job you hate or a sport or hobby you no longer wish to participate in, be true to what you need for yourself. My karate training will continue. The arena in which I participate will simply be different. I’m not fading away, I’m simply walking away; potentially to start a new chapter. ☯️

Mornings Suck…

Does anyone ever really like getting up in the morning? It’s one of those things where many if not most people dislike the prospect of hitting the Sacco when they could watch that “one more episode,” or read another chapter, finish a hobby they’re working on, etc… But once we’re in bed, assuming we’re able to get to sleep, rising for the next day can be a tedious and bothersome affair.

For someone with Type-1 Diabetes, waking up in the morning is a like a bowling ball balancing on the head of a pin; depending on how the previous night went and how much sleep one has obtained, waking for the day can be downright tortuous and can fall in either direction. It always seems to be worse when I’m trying to plan something that should, theoretically happen during the morning hours. This is a hard lesson I learned last weekend. and of course, now I’m going to tell you about it.

“What A Disgrace It Is For Man To Grow Old Without Ever Seeing The Beaty And Strength Of Which His Body Is Capable.”

– Socrates

Recently, I’ve come to a certain number of negative realities that I am unhappy about. The biggest is that in 2009, I left my home Province to come out to Saskatchewan to protect the public as a police officer. Although I chose this career path for a number of reasons, including reducing people’s overall suffering as much as I can, there’s no denying that these choices did some damage that can never be repaired. Most namely, I have no school of Uechi Ryu in close proximity, meaning I’ve been training in karate mostly on my own over the last decade and a half.

Given that I’m slowly crawling my way towards an older age, not that I’m quite an old man yet, I’ve started to notice certain things. These things include the fact that I’ve slowed down significantly from how I used to be, especially within the dojo. I’m taking strikes where I would have blocked and countered with ease, even just a few years ago. I also take much longer to heal, which is a real pain (pun intended). Recovery time can cause delays in training and can make it really hard to get ahead.

By virtue of this and the fact that I’m tired of being unable to breathe when I lean over to tie my shoes, I spent several hundred dollars on fitness equipment for my home, last Saturday. Almost two years ago, I had a significant amount of fitness equipment in my basement, which I sold due to our basement being demolished and renovated and because there was some thought that my family and I might move back to New Brunswick. Obviously, that never happened but now that the basement is brand-spanking new, it was time to revisit getting some of that equipment back.

Because my motivation was anger-based, I may or may not have spent far more money in one sitting than I reasonably should have. I purchased a curling bar, weight plates, heavy dumbbells, a step-up bench, 10-pound ankle weights and a floor mat. There are a few other things that I grabbed as well that I just can’t think of, right now. I got back home with all of my expensive wares on top of the few items my wife had asked me to pick up, and got to work setting up everything, which included a storage shelf to hold everything.

Once I had everything set up, I had already worked up a sweat and it was discussed that my wife and I would perform a respective workout the following day where I would get to play and try my new equipment. Early in the Sunday afternoon, after getting home from doing our weekly groceries, I put on some bitchin’ music and hammered out forty minutes of my best, sweat-filled workout. It was glorious. It also prompted a “good” idea on my part…

I decided that I would start setting my morning alarm 30 minutes sooner than usual so that I could perform a brief resistance workout in the morning before going to work. It sounds like a good idea in concept. I wake up, hammer out a brief weight circuit, grab a shower and throw lunches together before rolling into the office with the glow of post-workout bliss to get me through my morning… Sounds promising, right? Life rarely cares about one’s plans…

On Sunday night, we made our way to bed a bit late by virtue of laundry and certain chores. Then, my wife and I both tossed and turned throughout the majority of the night. I also had low blood sugar at one point. Then, when i finally fell into a deep sleep, my pump alarm went off. It seems as though fate conspired against me. By the time the morning rolled around, we reset alarms to eat up the half hour we would have woken to exercise in favour of a bit more sleep.

On Monday morning, any thoughts of working out went out the window. And this is something that happens quite frequently, thanks to good old T1D. Luckily, I was able to hammer out a workout in the evening, once I got home. It dawns on me that, given the requirement to keep my blood sugars balanced and the need for proper rest, working out in the morning may not be a viable option for me. This sucks, because I frequently have karate classes in the evening that would prevent me from using my equipment at home.

Fitness is a delicate balance of time, effort and physical capability, all of which will affect blood sugars levels in some given way, shape or form. That’s why it’s so important to find a time and a method that works well for you. Every person is different. As much as I would love to work out, first thing in the morning, it just doesn’t seem feasible, given the chaotic nature of how my nights run. I’ll just have to be satisfied with the occasions where I can work out on non-karate nights. ☯️