The good side of breakdown?

For weeks I have been on a zero movement regime in my life. This wonderful regime included taking the bare minimum steps needed on workdays, and if possible, also on other days. I strived for less than 2000 and succeeded on most days where I home officed and would not need to leave the house. Obviously I also encouraged myself on becoming a hermit throughout this process, so I would not even like leaving the house. The pandemic has been extremely helpful. In addition, I overloaded myself with work, so that I would always find a good reason to bring my son to daycare by car, and certainly do the weekly shopping by car. On top of that I always insisted that I had an excuse not to do any form of exercise outside work hours. Exhaustion, child care, writing, watching TV, Twitter. So many excellent excuses to be found. I have successfully gained about twelve kilograms of body weight over the past two years, so you could argue that my approach has been wildly successful.

It’s also fucking unhealthy. And never really a goal of mine obviously. It was, however, a result of the past year, and one that just sort of snuck up on me and gradually got worse.

I’ve struggled in this pandemic to keep moving. In the first year, I did yoga almost every day. Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube helped me through life when I was at my most miserable (meltdown January 2020). But then my physical and mental health state improved. At some point I even felt good. I was really getting into shape. My wife even told me all the time. I don’t know why, but it felt that the goals had been met, and I started looking for excuses. Like my wife’s pregnancy yoga – also on YouTube – replaced my routine, and became an excellent entry into the excuse cascade. From there, of course it went into a downward spiral. Since the baby is there, I’m just exhausted all the time. I never feel like doing any moving anymore. I used to boulder a lot. Also gave that up since the pandemic. I’ve turned into a slug. And although I know it’s terrible, I postponed any action.

But then our car died last week. As I wrote yesterday, this will be expensive and I hate it. But it also forced me to dust off my (excellent) bike, and the slippery German icy winter roads also forced me to dust off our (excellent but heavy) children’s trailer. For three days now, I’ve been doing everything by bike, which is not that special obviously. However, I also drag with me a trailer that either has a child, work material, or groceries in it. In the hilly town of Freising this is a surprising exercise. I was actually dreading the whole experience beforehand. I was sure that it would be awful. I had told myself for two years that this trailer was terrible and that cycling in Freising was not optimal (this is still true, coming from one of the most cyclist-friendly countries in the world).

Now I’m three days in. Well… I hate to admit, but I’m somewhat enjoying the experience. The inner Dutch likes cycling a lot (heck, I’ve done several cycle trekking holidays). Having no other alternative pushes me to go this way, and it feels quite good to cycle up and down hills with heavy cargo. As there’s no other alternative, work has to wait, so in a way it’s even good for some breaks that include physical exercise. Maybe I’m back on an upward trend? Who knows?

I’m gonna get ripped!

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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