Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Changed Mind

When I started Couch to Tough Mudder, my goal was very simple: to complete a Tough Mudder challenge within the somewhat-near future. When I created that goal, I didn’t have a plan on how to achieve it. (To be honest, I still don’t, but that’s the fun part.) I also didn’t understand the ripple effect that would be created in my mind by what, at the time, seemed like a relatively small decision.

The more I’ve thought about my quest, the more complex it’s become. I’ve realized that there will be much more to getting in great physical condition than just exercising, eating well, and getting enough rest. I’ve started thinking more about the origins of the foods I eat, and about the types of foods that I want to put in my body. I’ve started reading ingredient labels too, which has been a real eye-opener.

Essentially, I’ve put myself on a whole foods, plant-based diet. I’m not cutting out beef, poultry, pork, seafood, or dairy, I’m just eating less of them. Except maybe dairy, because I drink milk as often as dumb people use the term ‘YOLO.’ I would like to reign in dairy eventually, but baby steps come first.

Yes, I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s books. Yes, I’ve seen Food, Inc. And yes, I do think the science and environmental/ecological arguments make sense. Hippie? Maybe. Healthy? Absolutely.

I’ll expand on this in a day or two. Basic thoughts: the type of food you eat is just as important, if not more so, than the amount; I have to lose a lot of weight in order to compete; designing a training regimen is going to be harder than I thought, but it’s something that must be done.


Workout Buddies, or Assisted Suicide for Dummies

I nearly committed assisted suicide today, and by that I mean I went to the gym with my personal Kevorkian friend Travis.

A bit of background on Travis: I’ve known him since we became friends in college. We introduced ourselves after a hilarious misunderstanding–somehow, an inquiry as to whether I’d purchased a pet was misheard as an inquiry as to whether I’d had sex on a couch in the lobby of our dorm.

Travis isn’t and has never really been a big guy, but over the past two years or so he’s reduced his body fat and increased his muscle. He’s also studying to be an oral surgeon, which requires a hell of a lot of studying of anatomy, which in turn means that he knows the 768 jillion or so micro-parts of your body that move when you’re doing the barbell bench press. Valuable knowledge when you’re aiming to alter your body composition.

We had a chance meetup (at a liquor store) today, and decided that we’d go to the gym together. I usually go to the gym alone or with other friends, and I had never worked out with Travis before, so I was excited. This will be cool, I thought, we’ll go in, do some cardio, and be done after a little sweat.

Dead. Fucking. Wrong.

After thirty minutes of somewhat brisk cardio, we made our way over to the track. I thought that we were going to do some laps walking to cool down, then peace out. Fuck no. Instead, we did some interval training. Walk, jog, walk, jog and try not to die, walk, jog and then jog this lap harder so I don’t have to jog another lap oh my god how am I breathing.

If I were a stupid fuck, I’d say Travis was trying to kill me. But I’m smarter than that, and I know that Travis was pushing me to become better (a side effect being that he nearly killed me). I did laps today that, had Travis not been there to say “no, you can do this, I would never have thought about walking them, let alone jogging them (sometimes at a slightly quicker pace). And I’m thankful for it, because as a beginner I don’t always have that confidence inside me when I go to the gym alone. As a result, I sometimes do a little more than the bare minimum and get out. There might be more of those days ahead, but they won’t come soon, thanks to the motivational kick in the ass I got today.

Thank you, Travis–you physically fit, semi-slave driving, Belgian White Woodchuck-buying trainer-and-prick-in-residence.

Push Through

Today sucked. Today was also huge. A very stressful day at work (combined with a strong desire to drive the 140 miles it would take to see my lady) made for an “off” feeling all day.

By the end of it, I just wanted to go home, push the reset button, and start again tomorrow. I had my gym bag packed and in my truck, but I was thinking about driving past the gym and saying ‘fuck it.’ Thankfully, I was able to guilt myself into going and busting out two miles of walk/jog. I’m very glad I did. Being in an off mood is no excuse for missing a workout, especially when you have the clothes and the time to bust a little ass.

I’m proud of myself for pushing through a mental wall, and making the effort to sweat a bit. I’m better and stronger for it. Fuck waiting–good things come to those who work.

Thick Skin for Scales

Because the workplace challenge I’m competing in requires that I weigh in every week, and because shit has come up in the last month (flu, injury, etc) that keeps from getting to weigh in at the same time on the same day of the week, I broke down and bought a scale. Goddammit.

I bought the cheapest one I could find, which turned to be a bad decision. It’s not digital (those were kind of expensive). It has the old school rotating dial. There wouldn’t be a problem, except this scale I bought is weighing me in at FIFTEEN POUNDS HEAVIER than the scale at the gym. What the hell? Every other scale has been within five pounds, give or take, of what the gym reads. Yeah, that’s a decent bit of variation, but five pounds I can live with. But yet, this scale–which I know is set to zero when I get on–has me in at heavier than when I started. Not good for the ego, let me tell you.

I’m trying not to let it bother me, but I feel that I’m going to have to re-calibrate my home scale in order to keep better track of my weight. I think I’ll go to the gym, make sure the scale there is zeroed out, then weigh myself. I’ll take that number, then come back home and weigh myself on the stupid shitty “Mike is a cheap bastard” scale I bought, calculate the difference, then just re-calibrate my scale based on the math.

This kind of shit is why I hate weighing myself, and why I sought to accomplish a goal–i.e., run a Tough Mudder–rather than hit a magic number. Fuck a scale. Fuck a number. Fuck your number if you have one. It’s not about the digits. How do you feel? If your number was 180, would you really let 181 mess with your mind? I wouldn’t. I’d take a massive piss later and call it even.


Your goal will seem distorted until you get closer to it. Bust ass, work hard, and keep at it.

Flu Daze

Last week, I had a bit of a sore throat. Yesterday, I came down with the flu. I sit at a desk all day, and work was a chore. I kept waiting for 11pm to come so I could go home and kill someone get some rest.

Obviously, this will affect training. I don’t feel well enough to move around the house, much less go run a mile or more. On the positive side, my caloric intake for the last couple of days has been a net loss, and with all the putrid barfing unfortunate sickness, that trend will probably continue throughout today.

The vitamins that will help get me through this crisis.

I am trying my best to stay hydrated, if for no other reason than make sure I have something on my stomach. Dry heaving is the suck. I may venture into the world of actually eating something shortly. At some point today, I would like to make a training program for myself so I’ll be busting ass every day. The April 2013 Tough Mudder is closer than it seems on the calendar, and I have a lot of work to do to get ready for it.

Feel good, Mudder Lovers.