I’m just going to say it…I LOVE to workout!!! If I could be a gym rat I totally would. Every bit of it I enjoy…well not every bit…I hate to stretch, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve needed to add that in. Free weights and Cardio are totally my jam.
The Early Years
Video games were in their infancy as I came to age as a kid. Sure I had a gaming console, but if I had my choice, I was OUTSIDE playing. Baseball, Football, street hockey, riding bikes, basically whatever, and whatever the weather. That activity served me well. As an active kid in my high school days, I played sports, and was always on the go. I could eat whatever and whenever I wanted…nothing says I’m a high school guy like eating a large sub sandwich from Sub City (shout out to my Carl Sandburg days) at 10pm on a Friday or Saturday night. I was always a big eater, I grew up in what I’ll call the clean plate club, with a Mom who cooked enough for another family or two to come eat dinner. I made it through College with working and going to school, mixing in some “weightlifting” classes for credit. Really it was like 4 or 5 different classes, each worth a credit or two, that even though they were named differently, it was really code for go to the gym for credit. Once college was done, and I began to work full time, my diet caught up to me. Fast food for lunch everyday, not exercising…the weight started to appear. I’ve thankfully been lucky over the years that with a little exercise, usually running, I can lose some of the gut. I remember vividly, going for runs the week before I got married since my tux pants all of a sudden felt a bit too tight.
Gina and I have had kids as part of the marriage equation forever. We were married in June of 1994, Anthony was born in July of 1995, Becca soon thereafter in March of 1997. So my wife did not grow up in the clean plate, make enough for 5 meals household (mostly because I know my father-in-law hates leftovers). She’s also a picky eater…but when she was pregnant…some of that changed. Nothing sounds better than a Pop’s beef sandwich and fries at 9pm on a Tuesday. So when she would crave it…like a good husband…I went and got it…and some for me as well. Let’s just say that Tony Fremarek was getting a little large.
The Day of Rekoning
Oh how I remember this day…It was my cousin’s wedding day. I had not worn a suit in I can’t tell you how long…well, it took every bit of sucking it in to get my pants on…then I had to stop and buy a belt on the way, since mine no longer fit around my waist. I had grown to a not so healthy 225 +/- pounds. Gone was the 30″ waist of my high school days, replaced with something larger. That for me was the day I decided I needed to start eating better, and exercising.
So I joined a gym. I instantly enjoyed it, I started the routine of exercising before work, literally rolling out of bed with my bag packed the night before, and was usually at the gym I joined at 5:30am when they opened. That became the new routine. Another motivator was traffic, I worked in DesPlaines, and lived in Plainfield…I quickly learned that traffic at 4:30am was considerably less than traffic at 6:30am. This was my first experience of the gym, and I enjoyed it. I made some friends, the guys who like me worked out every morning before work. We were mutual spotters for each other, and did the chit chat of sports every morning. For years I was the member of a gym, small gyms, larger gyms, Lifetime Fitness (by far my favorite of gyms), and the local Y (on more than one occasion). When I say years it was easily 15+.
Working from Home / Home Gym Time
As I started to work from home more often, going to the gym took too much time. The 15 minutes to the gym, the 5-10 minutes getting settled in, working out, then showering, then the drive home. Soon what had been great when I was beating the commute, became a fact that I felt like I was losing hours in the day, and needed that time for the rest of my life. That was when I decided to start my home gym. Gina had already been an at home exerciser, so we already had a treadmill and an elliptical machine. So I quit the gym, bought the Bowflex 1090 weights and an adjustable bench. My love of exercise was even more now…since weather no longer mattered, I didn’t need to battle rain or snow to trudge to the gym, plus my time was spent actually exercising.