Saturday, April 27, 2013

A sample workout

After having a hip issue, bad cold and the winter-to-spring blahs for a week I returned to exercising regularly a couple of days ago (I only skipped 4 days or so while feeling shitty) and I think doing so actually helped clear up lingering crud.

Stranger still, I've begun, with little effort, to eat healthy food because I want to. I don't like "healthy food" in general. I like bad food. Food that gets you real fucking fat, real fast. That's how I made it up to near 300 pounds in the first place. But the other day I realized I was enjoying a salad with some Mediterranean dressing and sund-dried tomatoes and tuna. I actually love my habitual breakfast, which is Greek yogurt followed up with Irish oatmeal and sometimes some fruit. I've begun avoiding even more starchy and sugary food than I had before.

It's like I'm some healthier pod-person version of me (I even cleaned house... thoroughly. Creepy.).

Anyway, I realized today that I've kind of liked doing fitness-related blog posts--after not liking blogging for myself (as opposed to doing it as a job) for quite some time. So here's an easy one--the workout I did today.

Strength-wise I've begun targeting different parts of the body on different days. Today was mainly chest, arms and back:

  • Weighted dips x 8--done wearing a backpack containing 30 lbs of weight plates.
  • Kettlebell swings x 12--with my 53 lb (24 kg) kettlebell.
  • Weighted push-ups x 10--with the same 30 lb backpack.
  • Swings again x 12.
  • Kettlebell rows x 8, with the 53 lb bell.
  • Repeat same number of swings.
  • Dumbbell curls--35 lbs, 12/10/8/6/6
I did the circuit above three times, then followed it up with:
  • Regular (unweighted) dips, 12/10/8 (I use The Rack to do dips. It looks like an old person's walker on steroids and is perfect for that exercise).
  • Unweighted push-ups, 2 x 15. 
After all that, I ran a middle-pace mile, walked a mile, ran a slower-paced mile, ended with a final mile at a leisurely pace. So I ran two miles and walked two.

Tomorrow I work on shoulders, core and legs.

I don't recommend anyone copy my workouts because I do and don't know what I'm doing. I basically see what it feels like my body needs and go from there. I'll also work around problems as needed. My legs always need work, strength-wise, but at the same time, some problems I've had since birth require me to approach all weighted leg work with even more caution and care than I do anything targeting the back, where I've had some strain off and on through the years. 

If there's anything I think someone could take from my workouts, if I list more, it's that variety is the spice, as the cliche goes. The main problem I've always had with exercise is the fact I'm both easily bored and have some sort of stupid superman complex, prone to pushing myself that step too damned far, especially where strength is concerned.

As I recently discovered that the paternal line in my family carries a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA than 98% of the human population, I'm gonna blame my inner caveman and leave it at that. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

See, what had happened was...

I had a weird thing happen with my hip, for one thing. I've always had hip problems. From birth. As I have pale red hair I usually joke that it's a sign I'm part golden retriever (they're known for having hip dysplasia) but whatever the case, it rarely flares up and mainly consists of something just feeling wrong--out of place. I stretch a little this way or that and it improves.

I also caught a cold.

About the hip my wife joked that she just called that "getting old" and, well, she had a point. The cold was another animal. It hit as my hip was improving and was kind of bad. I was faced with a conundrum: go ahead and do something exercise-wise or just ride the damned thing out?

If you do as much noodling around reading about fitness on the Internet as I do, you will read advice like (paraphrasing) 'If whatever you have isn't affecting you below the waist (diarrhea, etc), just go ahead and do something.'

It's true, professional athletes might take that approach. I've run with a case of sniffles myself in the past, on many occasions.

Then it hit me, "Dude, I'm 45 and I've been kicking my own ass to get in shape and stop being fat for 2 years solid now. Fuck the gung-ho shit, sit on the couch, drink tea, whine about feeling gross and ride it out."

Basically I decided to take the opportunity of having the cold and getting over the hip issue as a kind of privilege, where my age is concerned. As antsy as I got, when I finally did a workout again last Thursday (kettlebells, weighted dips and weighted pushups) I knew I'd done the right thing by taking a 5 day break. I was still coughing up stuff but my body felt good and it felt like a worthwhile workout. Today I feel about 99.9% and am looking forward to exercising tomorrow.

Not sure what point I'm making, though it's probably this--if you're older like me and not a career athlete, there are definitely times when the smart thing to do is to take a little break. At this point exercise is such a habit I find not doing something frustrating, but I'm also oddly proud I didn't impulsively try to push on and maybe make myself sicker, or become inattentive and do something to aggravate the hip problem. Felt almost like growing up. Go figure.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What I'm Doing

Sometimes I don't know. I just know I listen to my body and sometimes it says "stop." But usually only for a day or so.

Broadly speaking, though, I think I've concluded I may be on some sort of immersive journalism experience here. The effort is to see how far, after losing weight, etc, one dumbass middle-aged cracker who has mostly done jobs requiring me to sit on my ass and think, with a weakness for peanut butter products, can get in developing strength and endurance.

So that's what I think is up, here. More as the story develops.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Crazy Kettlebells!

This is Nikolay Gorn, and he is awesome. Mr. Gorn, as his glorious video will report, posted this when he'd already lost 43 pounds, apparently through a very Mother Russia approach to kettlebell work (they call it Girevoy Sport).

I am not making fun of Nikolay. He could kick my ass and he's a middle-aged beast, which is what I aspire to be. A big part of why I even bother with any of these posts is how tired I am of the messages men and women have always received (generally speaking) about the significance of being in one's forties--how once you hit 45 you're supposedly closer to peepaw picking up his AARP card than your 30-something bro on the mountain bike. Of course your body does change and yes, you are aging--but as Nikolay demonstrates, us forty-somethings still have plenty of inner bear (or bearess? Bearina? I don't know) to spare.

The music and design of his video, though, are Youtube gold standard for the weird kettlebell stuff I've found. I don't know what it is about that particular kind of workout that seems to draw the fixated and strange and then prompt them to make delightful videos of all kinds, but I am not complaining.

My wife says I'm 'fixated' on kettlebells, which isn't really true. I do like them but I'm constitutionally incapable of seizing on one single solution for my fitness needs. Some people, though, definitely find one hobbyhorse--long-distance running, bodybuilding, kettlebells--and they ride the hell out of it. They are often convinced they've found a magic bullet or golden ticket or some third totemic item that symbolizes The Answer. I become more convinced every day that the answer is all the answers, to some degree. Bits of this, pieces of that. Make it up as you go along, but never forget good form and remember sometimes pain doesn't mean gain, it means you have a hernia.

Anyway, the main point of this post is just to introduce you to Nikolay's video. He's the tip of the iceberg for unintentionally funny (though I suspect Nikolay maybe intended a bit of funny) kettlebell videos. I may post more as I find them.

Speaking of funny--I want to be funnier in all these posts. A lot of people who read them come here from Twitter, where they're used to me being a smartass and making jokes all the time. I'm not going to try (that's a sure way to fail) but I am going to take a little extra time working on posts to find angles that amuse me, make me laugh. Weird and dark as my sense of humor seems to be, that approach usually translates better than some artificial attempt to "make the funny."

Now. Watch video! Enjoy girevik, swinging girya! Have the vodka, swing the girya, good times!