Category Archives: Outlook

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.

/rant

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

The World Made Me Run

Sometimes, this world of ours can piss us off. Other times, it can do wonderful things for us. On rare occasions, it do both at the same time. This morning was one of those occasions.

Last night, I fell asleep a bit earlier than I usually do. I actually passed out on the couch while watching something on Netflix. My bedroom is at the back of the house, but falling asleep in the living room (which happens a good bit–I like having the TV on, and there isn’t one in my bedroom) puts me at the front of the house, closer to the street. At around 9:30 this morning, I started stirring awake to the sound of my roommate leaving for work. For about a minute I considered rolling over, calling today another rest day, and heading back to Dreamland. At the end of that glorious minute of consideration, when I was getting ready to show my handstamp to gain entrance back to the land of Nod, the world’s loudest jackhammer started running right in front of the house next door.

For a minute, I was pissed, but after a brief rage moment, I was incredibly motivated. Just this week, I thought, I wrote about the importance of getting back to the gym after a rest day–am I really going to be mad that the world decided to make sure I kept my motivation today? I decided that, even if I didn’t like what the world was doing, I at least had to respect the effort it must have taken for Mother Nature to conspire with both a local construction crew and an international web-based movie service to make everything come together. And so it was, out of respect for both the world and you, Reader, that I woke up, had a tiny breakfast, and got my happy ass to the gym this morning.

It turned out to be a great workout day. There were only two other people at the gym when I walked in, and one of those was a staff member. I’m not the kind of guy who always wants a clear gym, but it’s nice when it happens. Today was a run/walk day, also known in my head as a “fuck no, I don’t want to do this” day. As I mentioned in my very first post, I don’t run often. I never have. In order to complete the 12-mile, 25-obstacle, ice-water covered, fire-spewing, electric-shock-inducing beast known as Tough Mudder, however, I will need to be able to run at least five to six miles straight without turning into liquid shit.

After a five-minute warm-up walk, I busted out twenty minutes of interval training using a 90/60 split (90 seconds walking, 60 seconds running) I found at the Cool Running website (they’re in my blogroll, so you know it’s good). As much as I want to say I hated the workout, I’d be lying if I did. I actually enjoyed it. I kept looking forward to each running segment. At one point, I’m pretty sure I went all Rocky III on the treadmill, taunting it by saying, “You ain’t so bad, you ain’t so bad!” (This is but one of the many reasons why I appreciate an empty gym.)

After the workout, I headed straight home for a post-workout green smoothie.

 

In closing, folks, don’t let the world piss on you. Also, don’t try to fool the world, because it is a vengeful mistress, and its jackhammer is louder than your whining.

Gym Hate and Endurance

When the worst part of your day is that you forgot your post-workout drink at your office, which is only two miles from your gym, it’s safe to say you had a damn good day.

Today was supposed to be a cardio day, but my legs workout yesterday (read: the first legs workout I’ve done in forever) left my quads and hamstrings a little sore (read: I was so angry at the slight pain, I wanted to kick a puppy, but I didn’t because that would have caused even more pain, which would have led to more puppy kicking, and more pain, etc.). So, for the sake of my legs–and to keep PETA off my back–I went for a chest/triceps routine. Here’s the routine, for anyone curious:

Seated Chest Press: 4 sets, 8 reps, 75 lbs
Pec Deck:  4 sets, 8 reps, 18 lbs (yeah, that’s light, but the last set had me good and sore)
Seated One-Arm Tricep Extension: 4 sets, 8 reps, 35 lbs
Standing One-Arm Tricep Extension (side): 4 sets, 8 reps, 25 lbs (this form was a  bit harder, and felt great)
Tricep Rope Pushdown, Two-Hand: 3 sets, 8 reps, 25 lbs

Not a particularly heavy workout, but the key to completing a Tough Mudder (TM) won’t be strength–it’ll be endurance. Not to say there’s anything wrong with being strong. I would love to be stronger than I am now. But, a guy with endurance is going to finish a TM event, while Mr. Chachi McUpperbody will be breathing heavy on the sidelines.

I’ll talk more about endurance another day. Right now, it’s time to ice my legs, and keep my broke ass away from puppies.

Consistency Wins Championships, Unless…

As most men are, my dad was a huge sports fan. Basketball, football, baseball, MMA–he’d watch it all. One of my earliest sports-related memories: my dad came back from the video store with the very first UFC competition, just for my brother and me–much to my mother’s chagrin. I believe I was nine years old.

This exposure to sports continued on into my adulthood. During my trips home in college, it was very normal for Dad to catch me in the kitchen and say, “Hey Mike, come in here and take a look at this.” I’d head to the living room at around 11:30PM, and we’d stay up watching [insert any sport here] until 3AM or so.

Another thing Dad had in common with most men was that he didn’t pull punches when it came to giving the commentators hell over saying something stupid. Generally speaking, there are times during any sporting event when it seems the guys doing the talking are just saying words to hear how great they sound. And for this, we men gladly make fun of them. Dad was one of the best at it–incredibly witty, and always ready to make an ass out of somebody. There was one time, though, when something Dad initially said as a jab actually turned into a discussion that has stayed with me to this day, and will continue to be a motivator. The initial exchange went a little something like this:

Commentator: “Consistency is the key to winning championships.”
Dad: “Yeah, unless you suck ass. Then you just suck more ass.”

We had a good laugh at that one, but not because what the announcer had said was stupid. This might not make sense, but it was funny because what Dad had said was incredibly true. You can be consistent and do the same thing every day, but if the thing you do is losing–well, then you’ll be a loser. Dad and I talked about how it wasn’t being consistent that was key, it was about being consistently good.

If you sit at home every day, you’ll never get in shape. If you eat the same shitty foods, you’ll have the same shitty body. On the other hand, if you hit the gym/track/trail consistently, make the effort to put good food in your body, and put forth the same effort each time you work out, then you will succeed. My personal observation is that, just by walking through the gym doors, I increase my motivation and my chance at success by more than double. The hardest part, then, is actually getting out there and putting in the work. Making the effort to make the effort.

Don’t settle for being consistent; make the effort to be consistently good.