Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Saga of Frankentoe

About six months ago, I bent back the nail on my left big toe playing basketball. It was shockingly painful. The colors it has turned and fluids it has expelled since are indescribable. Today, though, the story took a turn I hadn't anticipated.

An article I read soon after the injury mentioned that the dead portion of the nail would fall off, leaving the nail bed of my toe exposed. This never happened. Instead, the nail raised up a little, other things happened (let's just leave it at that), but it was always covered. I felt lucky. I was wrong. As I trimmed the nail today, the reality set in. I had two nails. Two toe nails on one toe. And unfortunately there's no easy way to say this: the dead one just peeled off, leaving mostly good nail underneath with a little bit of exposed bed. The event left me in real, actual shock. I've grown fond of Frankentoe over this last half year. He's a badge of honor, and I'll miss him in, say, another six months when everything is completely normal again.

I started this blog hoping to motivate myself and perhaps stoke a creative fire that once burned within me. Instead, my writing and working out has been pretty much nonexistent. Luckily, my new job has brought with it many opportunities to fix the working out issue. I'm taking swim lessons and also participating in a kinesiology class, which basically amounts to having a student personal trainer for two months. My trainer is a great young guy, and he's helped push me at each of our sessions. Here's to keeping it up.

That's what she said.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Only Solution

For years (around seven) of struggling to get back to my 200 pound self from early ‘04, I’ve talked about “how I did it back then.” I briefly succeeded then, so stubbornness implies that that’s the only way I can do it again. There’s truth and fallacy in this assumption.

Working out, eating right, research, research, research. Welcome to the modern day warrior, those who choose to take care of themselves, and those who at least try. The one thread that winds through any research about what activities to do and what to eat revolves around rejection. Take in what you are reading, reject what doesn’t make sense. Everyone thinks they have the answer, myself included, and everyone is wrong. And everyone is right. So how do you know what to listen to? I suppose you have to rely on common sense.

Fads is a four letter word for a reason, much like cash. Since my mind works in numbers, I’ll break it down this way: fads + cash = bullshit. Just about everyone selling something with regard to health isn’t selling a product, they’re selling fear. Purchasing means success, keeping your money means failure. We tend to view this as all negative, when in reality there is truth in every product, and true value in simplicity. Thus the only real fact is that we all need help, but true success comes from doing the work, and doing it naturally.

Dr. Atkins took a grain of truth and turned it into a suffocating beach of hot sand. Limiting carbs is good. Limiting simple carbs is better. But a nation swept up in “Meat fest ‘01” (I wouldn’t google that if I were you) is terrible. Remember when fat was the worst thing in the world? Turns out that is simply not true. The reality is that much like carbs, we need fat. Yes, in moderation, but we still need both.

So the truth always lies somewhere in the middle. Everything in moderation. I found reputable sites back in ‘04 and still had to wade through a lot of protein junkies (I fear for their livers) to create my 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fat diet that helped me lose 67 pounds. And ever since, I’ve been telling myself that I just have to get back to all of my old ways to be successful. I couldn’t be more wrong.

We have spent the last two days going to the gym before work. My wife has requested this as our plan for as long as I remember, and I’ve always rejected it. Morning is not my friend. I used to get off work at 7pm “back then” and still had time to eat relatively well and make it to the gym. But in a moment of clarity, after our first morning workout, I realized that I was younger then. And single. And frankly my food intake wasn’t actually as healthy as I would like it to be now. We need to focus on fresh, real foods. Good tasting, actual food. Most of what I find easy to eat these days is packaged garbage, and that has to stop.

The morning routine has won out over telling myself over and over that I’ll go to the gym in the evening. No matter what happens, even if I fall off the wagon, I’ll know for a fact that working out before going to work is the best and only way for me to succeed. I’m not gonna be one of those protein junkies I mentioned earlier and say “if you work out at night it’s not really helping.” Work out whenever and wherever you can. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong if you’re at least doing it. Morning works for me, and may not work for you. So take in what I’m saying, reject what doesn’t make sense, and learn for yourself what finally rings that butt-moving bell in your head. At some point the excuses and questions fall away, and all you’re left with is giving up or finding out what actually moves you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What a weekend

It was a great weekend. It was exhausting. Trains, no sleep, rollercoasters killing my neck, baseball, sun sun sun sun sun sun sun. Today it was amazing we made it to work on time. So errands and work means no workout. I didn't even come up with a plan. But sleep comes early, and tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

OK, pants, I'm listening

I get it. I appreciate what you're saying. When you say "riiiiip" what you really mean is "perhaps you should eat a salad for lunch and take a walk tonight."

I promise. I'm listening.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Song of the Day

I'm going to try and link to songs that I like to run to (or plan to incorporate into my mix in the future). I like to workout to all kinds of music, and this first song may seem a little strange. But once you get past the awesome but slow first three minutes, it really kicks in. The Airborne Toxic Event is awesome. I see some light yogging in my future:

Day 1

The pain isn't radiating quite so much this time. The muscles above my knees are hurting, but 36 hours after spin class I can walk and even climb stairs without wanting to cry. Our Saturday flirtation with the class nearly three weeks ago was both uplifting and destructive at the same time. It took me 8 full days to recover.

I've flirted with regular workout routines for the past 7 months, but I just wasn't prepared for balancing on tiny pedals and pumping my legs for an hour. The pain will come, but apparently not so crippling as before. And regardless it's the right direction.

Kacey and I decided to do a sprint triathlon. August 2012 in Luray is the end of this painful goal. My friend Joe has done it before and has been very encouraging. We've met people from all over the state who mention how beautiful and exciting a sprint it is, and also how difficult. Wait, what?

So here's how it breaks down: A 750 meter lake swim (that's British for about a half mile, mate), a 16.5 mile hill hugging bike ride, and finally a 5k. The bike ride should be manageable for me by then. I plan lots of spin classes and weekend outdoor rides. I'll start training on actual hills soon. But my foot has been flambee'd recently with Plantar Fasciitis, and my ankle injury from April derailed my wogging adventures.

Also, I can't swim.

So that's why I've decided to write. My struggles with consistency both working out and eating, displayed for all 3 readers I'm sure to get, will hopefully be motivation for myself and all three of you (hi Mom, Kacey and whichever one of our cats learns to type first).

My current plan is to start simple:

1. Eat an actual breakfast every morning. Today it's vanilla almond milk and organic cereal. Tomorrow it will likely be something like vanilla almond milk and organic cereal. I swear I'll mix it up soon.

2. Do something every single day. It doesn't matter what at this point, but the minimum is a 30 minute walk. Lifting counts, walking counts, spin class or swimming. Pretty much anything that involves at least half an hour of exercise, 7 days a week, is OK. I most look forward to fall Ultimate with my friends. But instead of trying to remember what to do when, I have a simple goal to keep in mind: DTDT. It doesn't matter what or when, as long as it's 30 minutes or more every single day, just Do The Damn Thing.

3. Blog at least thrice weekly. That may also be British, so hopefully James will read this and correct me. Maybe this will help me with eating, hopefully it will help me with working out. Either way, let's start writing, shall we?

4. Have fun. If it's not fun, it won't last. So have fun. Use the energy, use the hate, use the sloth against yourself. That's my plan. But do it, uh, funly.

5. Figure out a word that means funly. Then I won't sound stupid on the interwebs.

6. Learn how to really swim this time. I'll likely start with adult classes at JMU in September.

So thanks for reading this. Please feel free to comment and keep me in line. Anyone interested in challenges let me know!