Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Friday, May 14, 2010

That does it, I quit.

I've been fighting it for a long time, but I've decided the time has come for me to just give in and accept it. I'm getting older and my physical attributes are in decline. I have to in denial, that is!

I have to accept the idea that if I want to continue to surf I need to start working out and cross training. Ugh. I hate "working out". Exercising for the sake of exercising. It seems so mindless. But, the alternative is to start gravitating toward even bigger boards and shorter sessions and even longer recovery times. Now I don't mind the getting older part or the idea of being eventually forced into bigger boards. I'm actually looking forward to the learning curve that goes with surfing a longboard well. But I'm still having fun on the sub-6ft (fattie) boards and I'm not looking forward to leaving those behind just yet.

Lucky for me that my son (he's 27) has entered into a period of introspection in his life. It seems that, having married and settled into being the adult and being the dad of a pre-schooler, he's put on some weight and he's no longer the skinny kid who can inhale a 1500 calorie carne asada burrito without feeling bloated for a week. He's put on some pounds and the strategy that worked for him a couple years ago (cutting down on his wife's pasta) isn't working so well for him this year.

Yeah, on a certain level I *AM* gloating, 'cause I know what's in store for him after 30. And 40. And 50. It was just a couple years ago he was giving me a hard time for dieting - he's not laughing anymore.

Since none of his buddies are available to workout with him he hit me up. I guess you could say I was his last resort. S'okay, because I wasn't all that anxious to volunteer in the first place. But, having been drafted to provide him with some external motivation I reckon I should consider this an opportunity to see him more often and maybe do something for my fat ass in the process.

So today we hit the gym. Now, having avoided the gym for most of my adult life, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had some preconceived notions about gym culture, but as it turns out the family gym wasn't as meathead-heavy as I had expected. Little old ladies, middle aged guys who are even more obese that me, a couple moms and everyone in between. Okay, so maybe I don't stand out too badly.

We found a couple of the elliptical machines, which interest me because I don't have to worry as much about my knees or the repetitive striking motion of running. Since I hadn't brought my reading glasses with me my son had to read the fine print on the instructions for me. Classic, right? We decided on a 30-minute interval and I entered my age and weight and hit the "cardio" button. It took me about 3 minutes to hit my target heart rate of 134/minute and I ended up running about 145-150 for the duration 'cause I was afraid it would get harder if I slowed down.

I did break a sweat, and I did finish without collapsing, so I guess I can call it good. After that we hit a couple of the abdominal machines and took a look around and that was that.

As it turns out it wasn't so bad. I wasn't completely bored, I didn't end up being real sore and I didn't overstress anything - which was what I was really concerned about.

Maybe I can do this after all. While I'm at it perhaps now is a good time to get back into limiting my starch intake. It would be nice to drop 20 lbs (or more), and I'm sure a weight loss like that would help me extend my current level of surfing for a while longer yet.

Maybe next time I'll try to add a couple more exercises, just to see how it goes.


  1. oh man, I can so relate! Elliptical - we bought one. It fills our small living room, but its worth it. Can exercise while we watch TV. I do 100 cal's, 30 situps, 20 pushups. A good day, I'll go several times a day, a bad day once. Walk on a regular basis, and hit the gym every once in awhile. Its not enough, but its a start! I find myself building surfboards when I should be building muscle and stamina - arrgghh!

  2. I've been down that gym route and for me the input required just did not produce the expected boost to my primary activity, surfing, that I would have expected. IE alot of pain, boredom and the odd injury for very little gain!
    That is when I made the decision to become a waverider rather than merely a surfer.
    This has resulted in my getting stoked way more often and enjoying a vastly improved level of overall fitness.
    I achieved this by expanding my quiver to include a SUP, bodyboard, handboard and lately a surf mat so it is rare I do not get out a fun session.
    I also moved nearer ( 6 minutes ) to a more consistent break so I can easily physically check the conditions a number of times during any given day.
    I have never enjoyed myself more than I do now having made that decision.

  3. ..............out for a fun session!

  4. Hello! We can relate, too!

    Cross-training for surfing has been a fact of life for some years now, as I wanted to continue to ride shorter boards through my 50s and into the 60s. I'm grateful to a kind friend who invited me to join a swim group at the local YMCA about 25 years ago. At that time I had a herniated disk in my back. The injury kept me out of surfing for about 9 months. As I was recovering from the injury, I was able to swim the last 4 months of that time and the swimming helped keep me limber, and fit. When I was able to get back to surfing, it felt so good, so grateful and blessed.

    For the last several years, Steve and I have been walking the hills by the ocean nearly every morning at dawn. We surf different boards that we love and enjoy riding our mats. Wow! the mats are a full body work out.

    Keeping the Hubba and Stoke going!

    Much Aloha, Cher and Steve