Mechanical

Discovery

I ran three miles today. Ever since I sprained my ankle and knew I was out of the running, so to speak, for the marathon, I seem to have lost motivation. Running, instead of being a fun activity that I look forward to, has become a bit of a chore. I'm trying to turn that around now.

Since my legs have developed so much, I've been trying to work on my upper body. I've always been physically weak, so this is a first for me. My first try at push-ups was an embarrassment. I did four. It hurt. Yesterday, I managed 25. I also did 10 good reps on the ab roller and 100 bicep curls (50 per arm) with 10 pound weights. I also started working on my triceps. I did 20 tricep pulls with 20 pounds. Today, my upper body is very sore and I noticed that quite a bit during the run.

I've no idea what to expect from this. Physically, the results are rather predictable. Psychologically, they're not. When I was 19, I was studying kung fu quite regularly and was in the best shape in my life -- though I still didn't have an upper body. I did that for about two years and became moderately competent. I discovered that in learning how to fight, the desire to do so left me. As I became more confident, the guys who used to harass me stopped. A similar thing happened during my marriage. For five years, the "pressure" to meet someone was gone. As a result, I found it much easier to meet women. When my wife and I separated, I suddenly had no problem meeting women.

Today, I enter into this with no expectations other than becoming physically fit. Life is good and I've no serious problems, so I'm wondering what I will discover this time. Still, I can never quite get past the skinny bookworm who was always more interested in science than in sports and I was never, ever, a team player. When I finally started getting into physical activity, it was martial arts or biking -- solitary activities where my success or failure depended on my alone. And, of course, if I failed, I didn't take anyone down with me.

At 38 years old, I'm trying to discover what I was missing for all of those years. One person has asked me if I'd be interested in joining a dragon boat team in November. That's a bit scary. I might let others down. And they might let me down. Aside from work, I'm not used to that. There is no "I" in team but there is in "win." I do not like to lose.
All I know is that you are one hot 38 year old! You have been losing alot of weight too sweetie...a bunch of us chicks have commented on how great you have been looking ;>
This is a little weird, perhaps, but if you've seen BATMAN BEGINS, you might remember the scene where Christian Bale gets up out of bed and drops to the floor right into a set of pushups.

Oddly, that inspired me. I doubt I'll be able to drop from a standing position and catch myself before bashing into the floor, but every day I start my morning with some pushups.

About a month ago I could barely do 20 in a row. Now, I do two sets ... first a set to exhaustion (right now it's about 35 or so), then a set of crunches (my girlfriend suggested this, and it's tough because I hate ab exercises), then a second set of pushups (usually about 20 more). My goal, I guess, is to be able to chug out 50 in a row, or maybe 75-80 total.

The results are really motivating. I have never been athletic or "built," so it's incredibly gratifying to see the results from the pushups. Gradually, I am seeing shape and definition develop. Plus, doing it first thing in the morning helps wake me up, and makes it easier to build a habit out of it. I haven't missed a single day since I started.

Thanks Batman!
How odd. That Batman scene is what motivated my push ups, too. I think guys all across America scrunched down in their seats and hoped their partners weren't glancing over at them.

About "haven't missed a single day": I keep reading that it's better to do exercises on a particular part of the body every other day because that day off helps the body heal and you build up faster. You've been exercising long enough that I suspect you heard this, too, so I wonder why you do them every day. Is there something I'm missing?

Also, does your chest touch? I try to go down just enough so my elbows are at right angles, but I wonder if that's "cheating."
I've heard that too, but isn't it more with respect to bulking up rather than toning?

To me, I think the most important thing is establishing a habit, because my will power pales in comparison to being a slave to a routine I've developed. Maybe if I found another exercise (like sit-ups, ick), then I'd alternate. If I skipped a day, I'd be scared of quitting entirely (it's happened).

My neck gets sore if I try to keep my chin parallel to the ground, so I face the ground and let my nose or forehead touch.
Chin parallel? Do you mean "keeping your face forward?" If so, ouch! I can't imagine doing that. I'm facing the ground when I do them. Or are you inclining your head forward? I'm confused.

And I've never heard about the bulking/toning issue. I'll have to see if I can find some information on that.
OK ... my nose or forehead touches the ground before my chest does. I'm probably keeping my head a little bit inclined forward? I think I was thinking that to touch your chest first, you'd have to be facing forward / chin parallel. My mistake.

(I just now did a few pushups to see, in the office, and one of the secretaries walked by.)
I think I was thinking that to touch your chest first ...

If you were touching my chest first, you're definitely doing your push ups wrong :)

(Though there are some ladies I wouldn't mind encouraging ...)

That Batman scene motivated me, too - only I was motivated into fantasizing about a completely different sort of physical exertion with Christian Bale. Mmmm...
For fast results, you might try...
The "Body for Life" workout plan. Fast, efficient, reasonable. Results are gained quickly. No special equipment, and just uses common sense. It also provides moderation so we don't overwork to get what we are looking for.

Off to work.

B
Re: For fast results, you might try...
My friend ntnrmlgirl is doing that too. I heard some good things about it. Is that what you're doing? I'm curious to know more.
Re: For fast results, you might try...
I picked up the body for life program after I had first lost about 40lbs. I thought, since I was getting that kind of results just from riding my bike instead of driving my car (in 3 weeks), I should try something structured. This seemed like a simple pragmatic approach (plus, the workouts are short).

Overall, I have lost over 100lbs, and my muscle tone is *very* good. I still have about 45 more lbs to lose to be at my "ideal" weight but have been slacking for the last 7 months or so. I've been happy with my progress and with the plateau. My shape is good and I hate shopping for new clothes! ;)

Check out the book. Look at the before-and-afters. You won't believe it, of course, but if you follow it, you will see it's possible.

I had a hard time getting through all the cheerleader-type, enthusiastic, motivational language in the front, but was determined to get to the meat of it before I decided.

Let me know how it goes.
(Anonymous)
I did twelve yesterday i used to be able to do 75 but then I got fat and alzy so now I am trying to get back into it
yay! go you!!! I've been a bit blah lately because my cardio has been hampered by my foot hurting (my left arch started bothering me when I started to add more jogging to my workouts). I've still been riding the exercise bike, or walking, and doing weights (though admittedly I've only been doing about 70% of what I should due to b-day outings and such)....BUT, I've gone from size 14 pants back to my size 10's and have increased my weights from semi-struggling with 8-10 lb dumbbells to using 12-20 lbs each arm. And I end the set with my arms SHAKING (BFL is 6 sets - 12,10,8,6,12,12, the low reps at the heavier weight.) I feel alot better even going at this pace, lemme tell ya! and this is only 3 wks into it...time to pick up the pace! ;)
I think the solution is to have at least two sexy women around to work out with. Goolie and I could certainly bypass happy hour and traffic to help put that weight bench to use!

Also, which wine pairs well with a carrot cake Cliff bar?
Hi Tami. I didn't know you had a LiveJournal.

Sure, you two are welcome to come over and enjoy the "weight bench" whenever you want. First, though, you need to tell me what that captivating arrow says on your icon.