Needing A Lift

I thought exercise was supposed to be GOOD for you! (Image taken by David Gay, with permission to use for as long as credit is given to the owner)

As previously mentioned in my job search video series, “David Needs A Job!” and also in this blog, a friend of mine that I will refer to as “Red” suggested rebooting instead of rebuilding what I lost from being out of work. This includes trying new things that could work in my job search and throwing out old habits and strategies that no longer apply.

Since my arrival in Kitchener last November, I’ve always kept an open mind regarding that suggestion by applying the approach of “I’ll try anything once”. The flyer job I did was one example of that. This is especially important when dealing with the hurdles I face right now in finding a job: a lengthy unemployment period, a jobless recovery, not knowing enough people to form a network that can assist in finding employment leads, and so on.

One new challenge that I have to grapple as a part of the reboot process is physical prowess. I was never a jock in school, more like one of those computer nerds you see getting stuffed into a locker by the bigger kids. I never had interest in exercise, and wasn’t any good at sports.

As I got older, I realized I had to take better care of myself, starting with the weight I packed on during my 20 year Information Technology career. While changing my diet by eating better and walking and climbing the stairs to burn more calories whittled my weight down from 188 pounds to 145 pounds, it did nothing about the spindly things that pass for my arms.

This wasn’t a problem in the past, since the heaviest thing I had to lift and push in my Information Technology career was a mouse, keyboard, or monitor.  After coming across a common qualification in entry-level job openings such as the following below, however:

“.. be able to lift, push and pull up to 54 kg (120 lbs.) with assistance on a regular basis.” – from an advertisement by the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.

“..  move items weighing up to 50 pounds without assistance.” – from an advertisement by Lowe’s.

“Must be able to lift 50 lbs.” – from a Culligan Water advertisement.

“Ability to lift up to 50 pounds.” – from a Lids advertisement. (fun fact: Lids is a company that specializes in hats — just how heavy is a baseball cap anyways?????)

I realized I needed to get my arms in better shape if I wanted to be considered by companies like Culligan or Lowe’s as a potential hire.

I did some research on various fitness places in the Tri-City area, and discovered the average cost for a fitness membership is between $45 and $55 per month in Canadian dollars. That’s pretty steep for someone not working full time, plus there is also the psychological abuse from the more fit participants as they tease me during my attempts to lift and curl and press weights with my skinny twigs (d’hurr hurr hurr, lookit dat old guy trying to work out. Do you even lift, bro?).

So, erhm, no, will not try that avenue, yet the problem remains unsolved.

I went to the source of the reboot suggestion (“Red”) for inspiration. I asked for her advice via Email, while stating the cost of a gym membership. Her reply, in typical Red fashion, was the following:

Please. PLEASE. You can pick up a pair of weights at any sports store, or even Target. Google “arm strength exercise” and you will get a set of routines to target both the lower and upper muscles in your arms.

Gyms are a scam.

I Googled using those search terms, and was rewarded with a lot of helpful links for beginners. The next step was a trip to Target at the Conestoga Mall to look for weights. Once there and finding their sports section, I tried some of the weight sizes to find out how much I can lift (a fact I never wondered about until now). 5 pounds? Too easy. 10 pounds? A little bit of weight there, but still easy to curl.  I then tried the 20 pound one. Ouch. Yeah. I now know what my maximum lift is per arm. I also found my left arm was weaker, since I am right-handed.

I picked up a single weight since it cost over $30 Canadian. If I get more temporary work, I’ll buy a second one if they are still around.

A 20 pound weight can get heavy after a while of carrying it around.  I cheated a bit getting the weight home by using an empty seat on the bus and, after stopping  my sister and brother-in-law’s dog from licking the steel grip, tried a few exercises with each arm.  It’s tough at first, but if I keep at it and don’t push too hard, I’m sure the exercises will get easier.  I’ll also start making less of the face you see in the embedded picture.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks for reading!



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