My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned on this journey. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

First of all let me start by restating something I said in an earlier post. In high school, I would have faked PMS to get out of gym class so I was not a big fan of exercise. I always believed exercise was a jock thing and I was definitely not a jock. In gym class, when we played soccer, I was always put in goal. Not because I was good but because I filled up most of it.

Once I started on the weight loss journey I knew exercise would have to be a part of this whole thing. I started by doing what I could, which wasn’t much. I would walk, and I used Richard Simmons Sweatin’ to the Oldies videos. Later on as I lost more weight I tried to do more.

Then came the day I thought I should join a gym. I went to a local location of a chain of gyms (no names mentioned) but all thatfitness-over-40-freefever happened was I saw all these size 2 people in spandex working out. My first thought was “Where does a fat guy go to get in shape?” because I felt I had to get in shape and THEN go to the gym.

The instructors didn’t help because all they were interested in was selling me a membership. Never once did they ask what I wanted out of the whole journey, what were my goals (fitness or weight loss) etc. Then I found a one location private gym. Their trainers help me learn my way around a gym, and the equipment.

This particular gym had a smaller gym with mostly cardio machines and some free weights and then they had a bigger gym I referred to as the Schwarzenegger room with serious body builders lifting some serious weight. My trainer kept telling me I should try that big gym. I kept saying no because I was so intimidated, but when I did try it I was shocked to find those big guys were the most supportive. They helped me with form and taught me 2 important things: 1. Form is more important than the amount of weight. If you don’t lift right, you can really hurt yourself and 2. The only person I have to compete with is myself. Those became valuable lessons. We moved out the area of that gym so I had to find another place.

My local community centre called The Edmonds Community Centre in Burnaby did a complete renovation and expansion. When it reopened it had a lap pool, regular pool, hot tub, multiple gyms, a weight room and more. The best part was that the equipment was all brand new or almost as I understand was left over from the Olympics held in Vancouver in 2010.

Do I like getting all grunty and sweaty? No, but I know I need to do it. Do I still have a problem comparing my progress to other people’s? Yes sometimes I still do. The point is I keep going.

Some of you reading this blog may be at the start of your journey, and still don’t think you can go to the gym. You may be wondering what you can do with minimal cost as you may be on low or fixed income. Some of you may think it is too late to do anything.

Let me say first it is never too late, and I wish I had really kicked myself into gear years ago. So what can you do? Start with walking. Not marathons, but around your neighbourhood. Do you live in a split level home? You have a free stair master! Just walk up and down the stairs. Turn it up a notch by putting on your favourite music and just dance.

There are many home workout ideas you can find online. I taught a class once to my TOPS group on a water bottle workout. Google it. You fill a water bottle with water or use a can of soup as a small hand weight. I am also a big fan of resistance bands. I always take one with me when I travel because not all the hotel I stay in have gyms, though if I have anything to say about the hotel, I try to find one that does. Sometimes clients book the hotel and that is not an option so the bands are always handy. Even when I fly I take them because they way next to nothing.

Buy a set of hand weights. Even Wal-Mart sell them in their sports section and they are not expensive. Start small and learn the form. I have sets of 2 pound, 5 pound and 10 pound and want to add a set of 15, so I am not trying to bench press a volkswagen. What I am doing anyone can do.

Do you have a gaming system? Check and see what exercise programs are available. I have a WII and used a few programs like the WII Fit and WII Fit Plus, the EA Active and EA Active More Workouts, UFC Trainer and more. Some are better than others and some will really kick your butt!

Do you have a smart phone? There are tons of apps (a lot of them free) that will help you workout and give you tips on healthy eating. It’s like taking a trainer with you.

Winter won’t last forever, and when the better weather comes, make a good upbeat playlist on your IPod or phone, throw on some headphones and get moving!

I like going to the gym but sometimes I just can’t work it in. It doesn’t mean I have to miss working out though. Between my weights, stand up punching bag and workout games, I have a gym right here at home. No excuses.

One last tip – schedule your workouts like any other appointment. People always say “I don’t have time”. I used to say that too. That is a load of …. well it’s not true. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We have to FIND the time. Schedule those workouts. I try to workout one way or another (gym, home, outdoors) 3 times a week. I have set it on my calendar with those annoying popup reminders.

I do mine first thing after breakfast before I even begin my day. Don’t forget to follow up your workouts with water and a SMALL snack containing protein to start the rebuilding.

Simply find exercises you like. Walk, play badminton, golf, dance – whatever it takes to get you moving. Find tons of free resources online, and talk to your local gym or community centre. Don’t put it off. As I said I wish I had started years ago because of how I feel now. I still don’t like the process sometimes but I sure like the result.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

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