I can honestly say I am in better shape than I have ever been in my adult life.
And it ROCKS!
When Georgia was little, Chris was the primary caretaker. I was off producing something somewhere, most likely in some random town in Michigan. And during that period in our lives, Chris started walking Georgia in the stroller.
Now mind you, Chris and I had already changed our eating habits some years before, which resulted in us both losing a considerable amount of weight. (I got to do it twice since while being pregnant, I gained all of it back)
But exercise was not a real component of our weight loss plan.
So when Georgia got bigger, and it got hotter, Chris started walking fast through the house. Why yes, it was hilarious to watch!
And then last fall we got a treadmill.
At first only Chris used it, cause frankly I was working 16 to 18 hours a day 6 days a week. But once it got a little slower, I started walking.
Then went faster, and faster and faster until I was running, 2, 3, 4, 5 miles day. I just couldn’t help being competitive with myself. Setting arbitrary goals and just seeing if I could go faster and longer. It was really weird but not that surprising considering my personality.
Chris is still a walker but manages to keep at it at least 3 days a week.
So why should you care about any of this?
Cause frequent, challenging exercise is good for you as a creator.
Also, my legs are starting to look really nice, so everyone wins.
But I digress.
I asked a couple of my also exercising pals three questions about their experiences with keeping it fit. Kevin Church, all around super awesome dude and comics writer. And Mitch Gerads, also super cool artist/ colorist extraordinaire.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY/WEEKLY EXERCISE ROUTINE CONSIST OF?
Kevin: Here’s what I’m currently doing: exercising on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. That means I get Wednesday and Saturday off. Wednesdays, I want off so I can go to the comic shop and relax a bit in the middle of the week and Saturdays because my gym is absolutely lousy on Saturdays with weekend warriors trying to catch up on what they missed during the week by burning 3,000 calories over the course of 4-hour death routine.
As far as what I do on what days, I alternate between a weights day and a cardio day because your muscles need that time to recover. I’m not doing a strenuous weights routine, just enough to help develop and maintain core strength that burns more calories and makes the other stuff easier: curls, chest-presses and shoulder-presses, along with the butterfly machine. This takes about 30-45 minutes, and I devote another 30-45 to the treadmill, where I basically just hike, using its speed and incline controls to get the most out of aggro-walking. (I blew my knees out a decade ago, so I can’t quite run, but I’m fine with walking.)
Pure cardio days are 60-90 minutes of hiking on the treadmill, usually while listening to music or watching something on the iPad. I generally go between 3.5-4 mph with a grade that varies between 5% and 8% currently. Considering that I started off going at 3mph and a grade of like 3%, I think that the last year or so has seen a significant improvement in my overall health, especially when it comes to sleeping.
Mitch: I’m no personal trainer so it isn’t very in-depth, but I just make sure that I get a GOOD (3-4 miles) walk or run in as daily as humanly possible. It’s CRAZY important that you take care of yourself and you don’t have to be militant about it. Every minute of a freelancer’s day is important, but guess what? Taking an hour of every day to get outside is healthy for your mind, your creativity, your body, and here’s the kicker: It extends your work day with more energy! Odds are you will end up making that hour back after your body adapts to this crazy thing called exercising.
HOW DOES REGULAR EXERCISE MAKE YOU A BETTER CREATOR?
Kevin: This started off as a weight-loss thing and while that’s been a part of it, I’ve found that exercise gives me better focus when I need to think, either as part of my regular job or as a comics person. It provides a thing that I can do when I’m a bit lost that actually benefits me in a way that video games (which I also love, I won’t lie) or movies (which I super-duper love) can’t. There’s also the fact that I occasionally get ideas on the treadmill and can be seen scribbling a note to myself while sweating my ass off.
I’ve also found that I’m sleeping better and waking up earlier, feeling much more rested and I’m able to get started with my day more quickly. Your body wants to work a bit, and giving it what it wants can benefit your brainpan greatly.
Mitch: You need to get your creativity going and in order for that to happen your body has to be in on the plan too. Trust me. When your body and your mind are in synch your work will be SO much better. Turn off that TV show or movie in the morning to “spark” your mind and hit the pavement for an hour. My newest experiment has revolutionized how I approach pages. I am currently working on a big action packed military book. Whenever I get a new script, I print it out, load up my iPod with a great Action movie musical score, and I go walk around a local lake. Reading the script mixed with the music and the adrenaline of being out there and moving has produced some great storytelling beats and moments. (I don’t recommend this if you’re walking across roads.)
JUST HOW IMPORTANT IS EXERCISE IN YOUR PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION?
Kevin: I need to be strong enough and healthy enough to outlast and then throw my final opponent, Chris Sims, into the purging fires.
Mitch: I have a cat, Numchucks, that attempts to kill me every day. Exercise keeps me alive to fight the next day. I’m the last line of defense people. If I go, you’re all next.
So there you have it folks.
Want a little extra help and motivation? Use a tracking website to keep track of your distance, calorie burn and pace. I use Runkeeper but I think there are a number of them out there.
It REALLY helps keep me honest and set new goals.
Let’s get movin’!