I go the gym twice a week. It's become a fairly regular activity. When I first started going to the gym a couple of months ago, I did a bit of running and a lot of cycling, in about a 4 to 1 ratio. These days, I'm only cycling, and for a longer period of time. Twice 35 minutes is my current workout. I can keep it up nicely at a medium to high pace. But I've reached my limits, and I cannot surpass them. Not with the amount of time I've got, anyway.
Last year, cycling through Japan, being on the bicycle for 8 plus hours each day, I was improving. There is a certain point of change, under which you slump back into being what you are now, and above which you will start to improve yourself. Given my build, my current weight, and the amount of time I make myself available to train, I am unable to improve myself. Simply put: I'm quite fat and I have a weak heart. The counterpoint to that is that my muscles are strong. Whereas most cyclists seem to do very high rpms to decrease the burden on their muscles, I prefer to burden my muscles and decrease the load on my heart. Whether this is to blame on genetics giving me a crap heart or lifestyle and lack of self control making me fat, fact is: my muscles are the most reliable part of my body. Yet I can't improve them.
My lack of self improvement issue very evident my the modern machinery they have available in the gym. I know exactly how much calories I spent, what my average rpm was and what my heart rate was like during the exercise. Knowing that it's very easy to tell myself: "next time I'll just do a constant 10rpm more"' or "next time I'll increase the load on my muscles". But I've tried that, and I don't improve. My performance is as constant as the massive puddle of sweat under the fitness machine after I've finished exercising.
Time is the key factor. I know I'm slow at improving, especially when it comes to physical matters. But I simply don't have enough of it. To surpass that point of improvement, beyond which I will see tangible results, I can't reach my goal by just spending 1 more hour each week. It's not that easy. I need 8 hours or more. This is an absolute and unchangeable fact I have come to understand about myself over the years. I have a full-time job, a 1.5 hour long commute, a girlfriend, and many hobbies that I enjoy very much. Exercising more means neglecting other important parts of my life, not just because of the physical effort, also because of the mental effort (and tired mental after-state) that accompanies it. Therefore, I must remain mediocre at best.
Until my next cycling trip, that is.