My Relationship with Exercise

I’ve always been pretty active, but I can’t say that I’m one of those people who run/jog every morning.

Here’s a quick recap of my activities over the years:

  • Ballet: from 1st grade to 8th grade (8 years)
  • Basketball: 6-8 grade (3 years)
  • Volleyball: 7-8 grade (2 years)
  • Crew/rowing: high school (6 mos.)
  • Taiko: college (3 years)

It’s been about 3 years since college and only now am I building up a regular exercise schedule. I think that in college, participating in Taiko (Japanese drumming) really kept me in shape. In my last year for taiko, I was exercising every single day. Practices were 3 days a week, 3 hours a day. Practices for the gigs were about 2 hours long and interspersed throughout the week, sometimes doubling up on practice days. Gigs on the weekends lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour of performance time. We held a recreational class at the campus gym to teach other people to play (for fun). Each year, we held 3 performance concerts. And that doesn’t include extra practices that we did on our own to help each other learn the songs and techniques better. We were constantly practicing…in our dorms, in the shower, sitting around…everywhere and anywhere.

I guess I was a bit obsessed, but it was because taiko was fun and I didn’t think of it as exercise. Banging on a drum and jumping around…that’s not really exercise right? But then you take into consideration that we’re always moving during our 3 hour practice, we’re holding 8 inch sticks of oak or 14 inches of maple, and we’re in defensive position most of the time. Plus in one song, you’re practically doing an ab workout for it’s entirety. So maybe it gets intense.

Here’s one of the songs we played to get an idea of what taiko is exactly. It’s a bit old, but at least you can see what they’re doing a little closer than the other videos. (I’m in not in this vid btw)

Here’s the one with the ab workout, though I don’t think I ever played it as fast as these alum. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing since playing slower means the song lasts longer.

With that increase in exercise, my appetite ballooned. I ate like a champion and I worked out like one too. Everyone saw that I ate a lot, but never quantified it. One of my friends, a 6’1″ boy, challenged me to an eating contest in the dorms, plate for plate. We ate about 10 plates of food and in the end, we were tied. He didn’t feel so good afterwards and I went on to pick up some hot chocolate and dessert.

These last 3 years, I’ve been riding on that last big bout of exercise and I haven’t gained weight. However, I have lost a lot of muscle tone and strength. I’m flabby.

But at least, I’m getting back on track and though I may never exercise as much as I did in college, at least I’ll stay active. If I build this habit now, I won’t have to worry about it later.


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