Flying solo

I’d recently been following a prescribed routine from my colleague and online workout guru Scott Tousignant, a very knowledgeable trainer/ kinesiologist who is generous with his time as well as the customization of his workouts around his clients existing situations and equipment. I highly recommend his online programs. I’ve been following the workouts pretty regularly for a couple of years. I sort of fell off the wagon during the first pandemic summer and was doing my own thing. I also fell into a bit of inactivity, my house seemed too small, and then when the summer came I was able to stretch out and get back to it.

I like to think of myself as a creative person and as such I do like to frig around with my own workout regimen and also workout on body parts that don’t seem to come along as quickly and others that I seem to be gifted with.

As a dancer years ago I dabbled in weight lifting (although weight training can be tough on dancers’ flexibility, line and coordination). Our dance schedule and my day job schedule were pretty demanding so I was usually in recovery and not hitting the weights. My friends can tell you that I would fall asleep mid conversation around eight in the evening if I wasn’t working at a restaurant or performing. Needless to say weight training wasn’t really on the menu.

I’ve also been an astute rule follower, so when I started to be more focused on training, I heeded the warnings of damaged shoulders, back issues and torn and overworked muscles. I noticed that many guys who worked out focused on their biceps, and there I was, kind of noodly armed and trying desperately to follow the rules––not overdo any particular body part. The sad and happy part of the story is a lot of these guys tried to impress their friends by lifting way too much in the shoulder department, and, where they damaged their shoulders, I was to remain pretty shoulder safe.

Even now, guys will talk to me about working out and it seems almost a hundred percent of the time they admit they torched their shoulder(s) at some point and had to stop working out. Anyway my point is that slow and steady for me has seemed to win the race. I am sixty three and, knock on wood, pretty glad that my consistency has paid off and I am mobile, and injury free. I do need more time for rest and recovery, but that doesn’t mean the dreaded softening up that you might imagine.

So, all that to say I am back to creating my own workouts and right now I am doing an upper body day, a lower body day, a rest day, then a push day, a pull day and a leg day. Five days, sometimes four if my legs are still a little sore. My legs seem to respond well to working out and I tend to have to focus more on the upper regions for symmetry.

The way I divided things up in this workout is to do multi-joint on the first two days (presses, squats of some sort, chin-ups/ rows). The other days I focus on single joint (flyes/ curls/ extensions and some single joint butt work). It makes it interesting and increases my volume across the week and I can do hi energy on at least one of the days and then there is no shame in backing off on the other day, perhaps higher reps, but still close to failure.

I like the extra volume over the week and I like feeling a little tired in the muscles. I get to bed early, get up early, do some yoga stretching, yoga push-ups, a downward dog or two when I wake up and then work out later in the day. In an earlier post I mentioned that I was working out first thing. Now I hit other priorities early and workout in the afternoon.

All this to say that from time to time, see if you can listen to what your body is telling you. Be creative. Take it easy on yourself as well. You’re likely moving and getting outside, so good for you. You don’t have to go from zero to sixty all the time. Gentle days are not to be sniffed at! Enjoy your movement. It’s all yours. Try to think a bit more outside of the status quo and you might find that you are looking more forward to your workout, whatever you may interpret that to be.

Published by: Andrew Binks

I am a writer living in rural Ontario, 2 hours east of Toronto. I was born and raised in Ottawa but spent the last 15 years in BC. Glad to be back. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in 2009 by Nightwood Editions. My website is My fiction and non-fiction have been published in Joyland, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Xtra, among others. I am a past honorable mention of the Writer's Union of Canada's short prose contest, Glimmertrain’s Family Matters contest, finalist in the Queen's University Alumni Review poetry contest, and This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt.” My poetry has also appeared in Quill's “Lust” issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Harvard Square Editions will be publishing a chapter from one of my novels in their upcoming anthology "A Voice from the Planet," this fall. My satirical play, Reconciliation, about Native land claims, Japanese internment, and political corruption, was read this spring in Toronto as part of the Foundry play-reading series. My play Pink Blood received a public reading, from Screaming Weenie Productions in Vancouver this June. I spoke at the AWP conference in New York City in 2008 on the merits and challenges of multi-genre writing programs.

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