Tag: Workout

Injury Update And Big Boy Pants

It’s been just about a month since I injured my back. Today, I deadlifted at the gym. Not much weight, but a full deadlift. Zero pain. I can’t tell you how happy that made me. I’ve been super lucky through life and have had very few injuries. This was the first time I had to make a conscious effort to figure out pain management, and what to do to fix the problem. I honestly think this could have been one of those things that at my age, had I not been aggressive about PT/rehab, could have drifted into a chronic issue that limited my activities for a very long time.

But it didn’t. Because I put my big boy pants on and refused to give in. I continued to work hard with a good strength and conditioning trainer. I did mobility work on my own. I aggressively used heat and a TENS unit to stimulate the muscles. I think most importantly – I just kept moving. Hiking, walking, riding the motorcycle. With lots of warm-up, I did some mountain biking. Last week I was able to do some (slow) trail running again. I massively upped my protein intake. Continued movement, targeted strength work, and holistic pain management techniques and we’re back in the game. Four weeks of work and I think I’m at least back to where I was pre-injury.

I left the gym today with a pretty good endorphin high. I was just super pumped to be able to do a deadlift pain-free. It gave me all kinds of motivation. I came home and pulled out and dusted off the daily vitamin regime. Drank a crapload of water. What I realized driving home from the gym is that in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take very long to make a change. Four weeks and I was able to rehab an injury and probably come out the other side stronger than I was before. That wasn’t much time.

If I put my mind to it, what else can I accomplish in the next four weeks? Last night I was listing to a Navy Seal talking about the initial six months of training. He laughed and said all that crap you seen on TV – BUDS, Hell Week, etc… are actually the easiest part of the overall training. He said that really all they’re looking for are people who can shut everything else out and just focus on the immediate task. The next ten feet. The next 5 minutes. People who can’t stop thinking about how much further or longer they have to go, fail. That’s it. It’s that simple.

It’s true. We step on the scale obsessively. The idea of going for a run every day seems impossible. I have so much else to do today, there’s no time to get a workout in. I have so much weight to lose, I don’t see myself every reaching my goal. I can’t run 3 miles without walking, how am I ever going to get back to what I used to be able to do? Too much focus on the macro picture, and you’ll fail.

So, what’s the lesson? I’m going to stop thinking about the weight loss number or running mileage. Instead, I’m just going to try to win every hour. Today I went to the gym early. I organized and took my daily supplements. I ate well. Now what? I’m just going to focus on what’s in front of me each hour. Water instead of soda. Intentional calories instead of snacking. Find 20 minutes this afternoon to do some mobility work. I don’t need a beer (or two) tonight. Water instead. Go to bed early. Rinse, repeat. My only goal for the next month is to keep focus on the task at hand. Hour by hour. We’ll see where that gets us in the next four weeks.

I put on my big boy pants, stepped up and paid the man this last month. Now, let’s pay him again tomorrow.

I Got Hurt. Now What?

Back in the stone age when I played Pop Warner football as a kid, I remember getting my bell rung. Full speed, helmet to helmet, I’d made a pretty spectacular tackle. Or so they told me, as I had zero memory of it. I staggered off the field and sat dazed on the sideline, trying to remember where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. The coach came over and asked if I was ready to go back in. I answered that I didn’t know. He gave a deep sigh and asked, “well son are you hurt or are you injured?” I have no idea what I said, but eventually someone stuck some smelling salts under my nose, and I went back on the field. Today I’m sure I’d have been diagnosed with a minor concussion and sidelined for a few weeks.

I was never quite sure what was the worst part in that saying – being hurt or being injured? I think being injured is the worse one. I imagine injured is broken bones or torn ligaments. Being hurt means it’s time to pull your big boy pants up and get back after it. Suck it up, buttercup.

When you get older, getting hurt rarely involves anything dramatic. Usually, it’s something stupid like stepping awkwardly off the bottom rung of a ladder, walking into an open cabinet, or slipping on some ice. In my case it was something even more mundane. I bent over. That’s it. I bent over to pick something up off the floor and BAM, it was like someone hit me with a baseball bat in the low back. Sigh.

Now in my defense, I had just come home from the gym and a pretty hard back and squat session. But still, a muscle strain bending over – really? Is this what old age looks like? The worst part was that I was scheduled to do a two-day backcountry motorcycle trip in a few days. Determined not to miss out, I consumed a frightening amount of Ibuprofen, applied non-stop heat, and subjected myself to hours of electrical stimulation using a TENS unit set to cattle prod levels. All of that got me on the bike and I survived. Although, sleeping on the ground with just a thin pad and a sleeping bag is not an ideal recovery plan after a full day of motorcycling. Just saying.

So now what? I went to the trainer when I got back, and after a pretty thorough evaluation, he essentially said that the answer was movement. I needed to move, lift, stretch, and move some more if I want to get better. He said that I wasn’t going to hurt anything or make it worse by continuing my activities… it’s really just up to my pain tolerance as to what I can do.

Crap. What I wanted to hear was to sit on the couch for six weeks and let it heal (and eat nachos. I hear eating nachos cures most anything). I have a hard enough time being motivated to work out as it is – trying to be motivated when everything hurts is a tall order. Pulling on a pair of sweatpants in the morning when I’m super stiff and painful is a comedy routine right now. I’m probably going to send myself headfirst into the back of the closet one of these mornings as I try to fling one leg of the pants around an outstretched foot without bending at the waist. I’m sure it’s not a pretty sight.

But I suppose my old Pop Warner coach was right. I’m merely hurt, not injured. Time for some smelling salts and to put on my big boy pants and get back after it. But I will say… this is my first real taste of what old age pain must be like. I can see why older folks are reluctant to move or workout and take large amounts of pain medication. It’s actually scared me a little bit.

I will not let that be my future.

Do This One Amazing Trick

Ever notice how many YouTube videos, blogs, and ads use some form of this clickbait title? “Use this one trick to gain 10,000 followers in a day!” “The IRS doesn’t want you to know about this one trick”. I fell for one of them yesterday while surfing YouTube. I don’t remember the title, but it was something like “Follow this one rule to improve your channel”. I don’t have much of an attention span, so one rule is right up my alley. Convinced I’ll soon be scooping up all that sweet YouTube cash, I clicked on the thumbnail.

It actually ended up being a reasonable video, and the author made a good point that I think translates well to making videos, writing a blog, or life in general. He asked a simple question. “Are you an entertainer or an educator?” You have to pick an approach for your content and stick to it. Whether you’re writing a blog, an article, or creating a video, people will consume your content for one reason. They either want to be entertained, or they want to learn something. They’ll keep coming back to your content if they continue to see that same type of (quality) content. What generally doesn’t work is to post a bunch of how-to stuff, then suddenly post content that tries to be funny.

It almost doesn’t seem to matter what your niche is. How to repair things with duct tape. Heckling pro golfers. The history of manhole covers. It makes no difference what the content is as long as you’re consistent. If I am a fan of duct tape, the last thing I want to see on your amazing duct tape channel is a travel vlog of your trip to Disneyland with the kids. I have a friend who has a YouTube channel dedicated to cowboy action shooting. It’s a bit of an obscure sport and you wouldn’t think there’d be a be demand for that sort of thing. He has 20 thousand subscribers and posts nothing but 30 second clips of shooting matches. It’s all about finding your lane and then staying in it.

And therein lies my problem. It dawned on me that whether it’s writing, YouTube, or life in general… I’m a bit of a lost soul who can’t decide what niche I want to be in. That’s neither good nor bad. It just is. This blog drifts back and forth between trying to be funny, some random political/opinion stuff, and general reporting on the minutia of my daily life. As a reader it’s probably hard to know what you’re going to get (I’m honestly surprised people continue to subscribe). The same goes for YouTube. My pitiful little channel can’t figure out what it wants to be. I had visions of a broader category but keep resorting to the creative path of least resistance (and effort).

The end result for both blogging and YouTube is something that I’m clearly not terribly passionate about. As an example, for some reason still baffles me, 90+ percent of the subscribers to this blog are fitness related. I find this amusing and slightly embarrassing. I am not a fitness person. I am not fit. I’m not making much progress on my fitness journey at the moment. Because of that, I’m not very motivated to write anything about fitness. But anytime I even mention the word fitness… the views go way up, and I gain another handful of subscribers. So, I realize that I could probably focus 100% on fitness and diet topics and rapidly acquire readers. But is that really me?

Similar with videos. I like motorcycles and it was easy to crank out a few videos about some trips I took. But I didn’t have any desire to be only a motorcycle travel vlogger. The motorcycle only occupies a small portion of my life. But as it turns out, those motorcycle trips are what people watch. Do I stick with what gets views, or try to figure out what will motivate me to make lots of content rather than just an occasional video when I go on motorcycle ride?

It’s sort of an interesting life question. Everyone knows the old adage about working – “pursue your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I’m not sure that’s realistic advice. As a young man my passions were surfing and being angry at the world. I’m not sure how successful I would have been focusing solely on that. But who knows? Maybe I would have gone on to launch a surf clothing company that featured anti-establishment slogans that made me a gazillionaire.

The reality for most of us is that through luck and circumstance we stumble into something and end up doing it for long enough that you actually get good at it. Is it a “passion”? Maybe, maybe not. But it pays the bills and gives you an identity and a focus. Maybe these creative outlets should be the same? I stumbled on a couple of things that attracted a few folks willing to read/watch my nonsense. Perhaps I should just embrace it and focus on what works. Really dive in and enjoy the niche I accidently found. I never thought I’d be a software engineer or an RN either, but I got pretty good at both.

But the other adage about creativity is that you should create for you first. Who cares if anyone else likes it? If your creativity comes from passion and happiness, people will recognize it. There are followers for every sort of niche. If you put out good content, those followers will find you. At the end of the day, what’s the point of being creative if it’s not your passion?

Interesting questions. I’m not sure what I’d tell a young person going out into the world today. I’m not sure what to tell myself. That’s some deep stuff to ponder on a Tuesday morning. I think I’ll go get my workout done and think about it…

The Struggle Is Real

Who knew that the hardest part of being an adult is figuring out what to cook for dinner every single night for the rest of your life until you die

Today, I stepped on the scale for the first time in a month. Why so long? Because I knew what the number would be. I’ve been going to the gym faithfully and am seeing significant gains. The range of motion in my chronically injured shoulder is hugely improved. Flexibility and proprioception are better than they’ve been in a very long time. Overall, I feel much better. But… I can tell that my waistline hasn’t changed, so I’ve intentionally ignored the scale. Oh, I look at it every morning. I tell myself that tomorrow I’ll step on it for sure. But I don’t really want to know the number because it’ll force me to accept reality. So I put it off for another day. And then another. And another.

I do see some positive physical changes with all the gym work. Shoulders seem a little more defined. I can tell the abs and trunk are stronger. The legs feel stronger from all the squats I’ve been doing. I tell myself that if the number on the scale went up, it’s probably because I’ve added muscle mass. I optimistically told myself that the bodyweight number won’t have changed, but muscle mass will go up and bodyfat will have gone down. So, I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale.

I gained a pound, muscle mass went down and bodyfat went up. Shit. How is that even possible?

I really am tired of thinking about food. The worst part is that my diet isn’t horrible. It’s not like I’m eating at McDonalds and Taco Bell every day. I’m not snacking on chips, doughnuts, or eating pizza every night. I don’t drink soda. I usually eat two meals a day. Mid-day I have a few pieces of cheese or some popcorn. Dinner is a protein and a vegetable. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a dessert. We eat out maybe once a week.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know exactly why I don’t lose weight. The biggest culprit is the volume of food. I may only eat two meals a day, but they’re 50% bigger than they need to be. I don’t just put a little sauce, dressing, or butter on something, I put a LOT on. There are too many empty calories from alcohol consumed. The snacking, while not bad foods, happens more times during the day than I want to admit.

So, I know exactly how to fix the problem. The issue is that I’m sick of thinking about food. I’m tired of thinking about calories, eating something and then feeling guilty and mad at myself afterwards. I’m tired of having to plug every morsel into a food calculator to see where I am on calories. I hate the feeling of going out to eat and having the internal struggle with the menu. I should order a salad or plain fish, but a burger and fries are what I really want. I restrict and starve, then eat too big a portion, do a bunch of cardio and then have three beers that night. I resolve to eat something really healthy and then make a salad the size of my head and add a full cup of dressing, cheese and bacon. I eat dinner every night like clockwork, even though I ate three chicken pieces a few hours earlier and I’m not really hungry. I’m just tired of agonizing over food.

I wish I understood why food is such a struggle. I resent having to obsess over the almighty calorie. I’m pissed that I’ve basically written some version of this same post probably a dozen times over the last few years and yet, here I am again. I fear I’m starting to sound like a teenage girl with an eating disorder.

Sigh. Ok, end of rant. Back to figuring out some sort of sustainable meal plan. And cardio. Need more cardio. The struggle is real.

That’s Going To Need A Patch

  • The weather in my part of the world was perfect this last weekend. Mid 70’s and no wind. The ideal conditions for a motorcycle ride. As I may have said previously, I’m generally a rule-follower. So for motorcycles that means ATGATT (all the gear, all the time). So getting ready for a ride is like those movie scenes where the astronauts are being dressed in their spacesuits by a team of helpers. My gear includes big heavy boots and an armored riding suit that weighs approximately 45 pounds and is made of some sort of magical Kevlar (affectionately referred to as the Fat Elvis suit). Once dressed, I clomp out to the garage and perform my pre-ride inspection as I was instructed 30 some-odd years ago in my first riding class. I checked the rear tire pressure with my cheap tire pressure tool and got nothing. I checked it again. Still nothing. I cursed myself for buying cheap tools and went and found another pressure gage. Still nothing. I’ve ridden for so many years, yet I’ve never had a flat. It never even dawned on me that the tire could be flat. Sure enough, there was a huge screw embedded in the tire. Sigh. There went the days ride.

    After stripping off all the gear, I now was faced with figuring out how to plug and repair the tire. I’ve carried the tools all these years, but never actually used them. Several YouTube videos later, one ruined tube of glue, some four-letter expletives, and the tire was patched and actually holding air. In the big picture, this was actually a good thing to have happened. I now know I can fix a tire in the field if needed. I learned a few things about some of the tools I’ve been carrying around. And I’d wanted new tires anyway, but had been dragging my feet on figuring out which ones. Even though this event ruined my weekend ride plans, I’ll view it as a net positive. What else are you going to do?

  • Speaking of YouTube, like many of my hobbies I had a burst of creativity last summer, swore I’d crank out a bunch of videos, then promptly forgot I had a channel. Then this week for some reason I got a massive influx of new subscribers and some comments (massive means six). It’s funny, it doesn’t take much to get me excited about things. I’m re-re-re-vowing to make videos again this spring and summer.

  • The internet is a blessing and curse. Pre-internet, to figure out something like what tires to buy for your motorcycle, you’d go down to the shop and ask them. If you were really into research you might go buy some magazines and read a few reviews. That was it. Now you have an unlimited amount of resources – blogs, YouTube, forums, etc… A billion different opinions on what is the best tire. If you’re not familiar with motorcycle tires, there’s a massive array of choices. Tires are rated on street vs dirt ability, longevity, mud vs dry dirt, sound level, and on and on. It can easily become a black hole of analysis paralysis. I bravely sorted through all of this, watched 127 hours of YouTube reviews and settled on the Motoz Tractionator GPS for those of you keeping score at home. Now I just have to wait for the supply chain shipping gods to deliver the new shoes.

  • It cost me $100 to fill up my truck yesterday. Let’s Go Brandon!

  • The trainer at the gym yesterday had me do these weird plank circle things on top of an exercise ball. Today my abdominals hurt so bad it’s hard to get off the couch. I’m making progress and it’s good to see, but this is why getting started with a workout routine is so hard. Pretty much any new movement causes DOMS and makes it hard to be motivated to do it again. It will be nice to get back to the point where I can blast through a workout and not be destroyed the next day.

  • This weekend we went to a music festival my city puts on every year. Five days and hundreds of bands of every possible genre, scattered through the city. It’s a fantastic event for the city and I love seeing that there are still places where this sort of thing can take place without riots, protests, and other general idiotry taking place. Of all the bands we saw, my favorite was some young kids (doubtful they were even 21) playing hard-core hair metal. Not generally my go-to music, but the lead guitarist was a young gal who was awesome and crazy energetic. It’s unusual to see a women as the lead guitarist, let alone in a metal band. Makes you wonder how she got interested in that sort of music at such a young age?

Song of the day: Veruca Salt – Seether (Glastonbury ’95)

I Might Be A Viking

  • We’ve been watching the Netflix/BBC series “The Last Kingdom“. It’s pretty good, and worth the watch if you haven’t seen it. Similar to Peaky Blinders, watching with captions turned on is recommended due to the heavy English accents. I joked after one of the episodes that, being of Swedish ancestry, I might actually be a Viking. Mrs Troutdog walked away laughing. I was a little hurt. My family is from Sweden. As a young lad I spent my time surfing, sailing, and scuba diving. I love the snow and embrace the cold winter sports. Those things pretty much define what we think of as characteristics of the proud Norse people, right? I did a little bit of reading, and it turns out that the Vikings weren’t very nice people. Raiding and pillaging villages, taking people as slaves, and other unmentionable acts were pretty much the hallmarks of a Viking visit to your hometown. Fearsome warriors, the Vikings occupied much of Europe during their heyday. Ok, I admit I’ll probably never be tossed in the fearsome warrior category. But don’t worry, I can write a scathing email if my back is pushed against the wall. Continuing my extensive research, I stumbled upon a link describing Viking hairstyles. It turns out the “Viking look” is an actual thing right now. Hmmm, I kind of like the look. The problem is that I can’t grow a beard, look terrible with long hair, and Mrs Troutdog would never let me shave the sides of my head. Oh, and that’s probably not a look an old man can pull off anyway (unless you’re a 300-pound powerlifter). Oh well, I don’t really like pickled and salted fish and I’ve never actually been to Sweden. I suppose no radical hairstyle changes are in my future. But deep down, in the dead of winter, I may still have a few small daydreams of being a Viking.

  • Our next Supreme Court Justice, when asked to define what a woman is, replied that she can’t because she’s not a biologist. Her fear of saying anything that goes against the progressive narrative tells you all you need to know about her probable judicial leanings. It doesn’t matter, it’s all political theater anyway.

  • The weather this week will be turning warm. It’ll be in the mid 70’s by the weekend. Glorious warm sun and dry trails. I find myself paralyzed with indecision about what I want to do. Mountain bike? Trail run? Golf? Motorcycle ride? Winter is officially done.

  • Along with warm weather comes… yard work. At the start of winter, I boldly declared that I’m perfectly capable of maintaining the yards and got rid of the gardener. It’ll save us some money and won’t actually take me that much time. Now that time has arrived and as I’m surveying everything that needs to be done… I’m slightly regretting my decision. No matter, I shall rally and become the gardener that I was always meant to be! Stay tuned for frequent garden updates.

  • The Ukraine scenario continues to be awful. It’s horrific to see the suffering. It is a confusing mess in every way imaginable, with no clear or positive outcome. But for all the folks calling for U.S. intervention, you should first define how many American casualties are you willing to accept. How many young men are you willing to let die or be permanently maimed in the name of defending Ukraine? 50? 100? 1,000? More? 100,000 in small tactical nuclear strikes against U.S. bases in Poland or elsewhere? As is clear by the footage we’ve seen, this is not a video game. “Intervention” has consequences. Own up to what you think acceptable losses are – and intervening with zero losses is not a realistic answer.

  • I had jury duty this week. I dutifully drove downtown, parked, and made my way to the courthouse. Checked in, found a hard plastic chair, and began the waiting process. Eventually we were sorted out by red and green badges and lined up by number to proceed into the courtroom. Just before we entered the Jury director came out and said that everyone with a green badge is being dismissed, our case was settled. Hallelujah! Interestingly, in my county you’re still on the hook for the remainder of the week and can still be called in. Fingers crossed for me as I call into the jury selection recording number each night, to find out my fate for the next day.

  • I’ve been seeing a gym trainer twice a week for almost two months now. I’m starting to see progress. My range of motion is improved, balance is better, and core strength is significantly better. For the first time in a long time, I’ve been able to play golf or lift and move heavy patients at work without my back hurting the next day. I’m not quite ready to say I look forward to working out, but I’m actively making sure I don’t miss or find excuses to skip any workout sessions. This is a big change for me. Stay tuned…

Song of the day: Kaskade & Skrillex – Lick It (Official Video)

Secret Gym Confession

I discovered something about myself today while at the gym. I honestly had no idea. It’s probably because I haven’t really pushed myself before, but regardless of the reason, I didn’t know this about myself. It turns out I’m a… grunter. The trainer had me doing some weird lunging, take a step, and twirl a barbell plate over my head thing. I’m pretty sure it was about the 75th rep and every part of me was shaking with the exertion. Out of the corner of my eye I caught one of the other gym-goers giving me a funny look. I took a step, lunged (or was it lunge and then step? I don’t know, I was too exhausted to think) and caught myself letting out a loud grunt. Not a delicate exhale, but a deep, loud, uugghha-whoosh sound. Like the sound an angry apex-male silverback gorilla would make as he ripped the hind leg off a helpless deer.

Ok I’m pretty sure gorillas are vegetarians so maybe that’s not the best analogy, but you get my point. It was loud. And I was doing it with every step. Now in my defense I was winded and gasping for air. But I will concede that it was a bit dramatic for the little five-pound barbell plate I was swinging around. Naturally I immediately tried to stop doing it, but all that happened is that my breathing got screwed up and my cheeks turned all purple because I wasn’t getting any air in or out. The trainer gave me a funny look and asked if I was ok.

I was perfectly happy with whatever I was doing, and now I’m going to be all self-conscious about breathing. Reminds of something similar I was doing when running. Back when I did a fair amount of trail running, I was always pleased at the positive vibe I got from other people. It seemed that everyone I passed would give me a smile or wave. Gosh, everyone is just so friendly here! And then one day I went running on the street and caught a glimpse of myself in a window. I was putting a reasonable effort in and breathing pretty hard. Turns out when I breath hard my mouth opens up in a big sloppy grin, plenty of teeth showing and my tongue flopping around like a goofy Labrador retriever. People have been smiling at me because they’ve been seeing this big oaf lumbering past them with a ridiculous grin plastered across my face.

Here I am thinking I look almost exactly like an intense Kilian Jornet and in reality, I’m a bit closer to Special Officer Doofy in Scary Movie. Oh well. That I can live with. I don’t see many people out on the trail anyway. And a guys got to breathe, right? Besides, I probably couldn’t change that habit even if I wanted to.

But the gym grunting. That’s probably not cool. Maybe if you’re deadlifting a small Volkswagen, but certainly not when you’re lunging around with a silly plastic foot slider on the carpet. It’s a small gym. And it’s usually full of ridiculously fit people. I’m sure word has gotten out about the old grunting guy. I’m going to have to do something about my breathing before I get pulled aside by Biff the manager and encouraged to maybe go find an outdoor gym. The problem is that there’s a distinct possibility of my passing out if I try to hold in the grunts. And that would be embarrassing.

Sigh. Why does there always have to be so many perfect fit people at the gym? They never make weird sounds and certainly don’t sweat or lay on the floor gasping for air. I think I need to join that Average Joe’s Gym from the movie dodgeball. At least I’d fit in with my baggy, ripped sweatshirt and ten-year-old workout shorts. The fitness struggle is real people.

How’s Your Mood?

A month ago, I made the commitment to start going to a strength and conditioning coach. I tried to join the military to get that free bootcamp training, but the recruiters couldn’t stop laughing. I think that was a no. I wanted two things out of my training – someone who would promise to make me look like Daniel Craig in six weeks and someone who would come to my house and yell at me at 05:30 AM every day to get my ass up, put down the doughnut, and drop and give me twenty. I did find a trainer. Even though he ignored my first two requests he had all the right certs and degrees, so I decided to give him a chance.

Week one was pretty humbling. I was sure we’d start out with deadlifts, tire flips, and kipping pull ups. After doing an assessment, he said “uh, well, I think we should get a little foundation work in first”. Which is secret trainer code for “my eighth-grade girl clients are stronger than this guy”. It’s an absolute miracle that I’ve made it this long skiing without blowing out my knees. The stabilizing muscles for my knees are so weak, a few lunge type movements have my legs quivering like Jell-o and unable to maintain any balance or coordination. My core was mush. Planks, dead bugs, and bird dogs leave me shaking and lightheaded in just a few minutes. This is all a good thing. We’re making progress.

The best part though has been the motivation. I can get motivated to do anything for a short time. But being human my attention span drifts, and I find reasons to stop. Take this morning for example. I had a particularly hard shift yesterday and got home late. I was still tired this morning and had zero motivation. Left to my own devices I definitely would have bailed on any sort of workout. But I’d scheduled the trainer already, so I’m paying for it regardless. I would have felt guilty making up some excuse to not go… so I went.

And surprise, I felt great afterwards. I always do. The endorphin surge you get after a workout, a bike ride, a run, a ski, or any sort of exercise makes you feel good. It’s a natural mood enhancer. Every single time. I know that, yet still find reasons to be lazy. We humans are strange creatures. The amount of resistance and energy we put into avoiding something that will make us feel better is ridiculous. A little sun and a little exercise are probably the only prescriptions the vast majority of the population need to be happy. Screw big pharma, right?

Now, if I can just find a service that will come to the house and slap that doughnut out of my hands, I’ll be golden.

Never Miss Twice

I stumbled upon another piece of advice a few weeks ago that I really like. It applies to diet, exercise, and being a secret agent ninja sniper. Nobody has perfect discipline. At some point you’re going to go over on your calorie count because you accidently fell into a plate of nachos. Or you’ll miss a workout because you left your muddy shoes on the porch and didn’t feel like putting on cold shoes in the morning. It happens. That’s ok. You’re human. The key is to not let it happen twice in a row.

Unless you’ve inadvertently joined the military and a drill instructor is yelling at you 24/7, it’s hard to be strict. Life happens. You travel, the folks in the office invite you out for drinks, someone has a birthday, holidays… there’s plenty of reasons you fall off the diet and exercise wagon. I’ve been having a love/hate relationship with keto for that very reason. For me, it works. I also hate how strict it is and rebel constantly with a burger, and then berate myself and struggle to get going again. The key is to not beat yourself up. You ate half a bag of Fritos and skipped going to the gym to binge watch all 103 seasons of Beverly Hills 90210. That’s bad, but not fatal. Just don’t repeat it tomorrow.

The habit killer is to do it twice in a row. My favorite justification is “starting on Monday”. It’s obviously ridiculous to start a gym routine or diet on a Wednesday. Who does that? You start on Monday. Everyone knows that. It’s now Thursday and I just ate Taco Bell, so this week is clearly ruined. Since there’s no point in starting now, I’m just going to eat bad through the weekend to get it out of my system. After all, I’m starting my workout and diet on Monday. Sound familiar?

You’ve blown it. Either by accident or by choice. Just don’t do it twice. A pretty smart guy I follow advocates what he calls “Fat Loss Sprints”. He acknowledges that very few people have the discipline to eat at caloric deficit every day for three or six months. But that’s what we set ourselves up for – I’m going to lose this much weight by summer. And several weeks into it you look ahead at four more months of restricted eating and get discouraged. What he likes instead is creating diet “sprints”. Be super strict for three weeks for example. Hit that goal and then take several weeks off and eat at a maintenance level (which doesn’t mean nachos every day). Then do another diet sprint. Several weeks is doable. Months are too overwhelming. Sure, the weight loss may be slightly slower, but it will be a sustainable lifestyle.

Always forward. You’re going to trip. You’re going to stumble. But you keep putting one foot in front of the other. The cumulative effect of diet and exercise over the long term is more important than any one day or meal. Had a moment of weakness? Just don’t repeat it with the next meal. Skipped the gym in the morning? Go for a walk after dinner, and don’t skip tomorrow.

Never miss twice.

I’m Sick Of Diet And Food

I’m frustrated. I’m depressed. I’m angry. I’m absolutely sick and tired of thinking about diet and food. Here’s why…

In the last 7 days my activities have been as follows:

  • 3.7 mile run
  • Initial meeting with personal trainer, mobility, and strength assessment
  • A day of alpine skiing, 13 runs, 9.7 miles
  • A day of cross-country skate skiing, hills, 4.2 miles
  • Two 13-hour workdays, on my feet, walking an ungodly number of steps

My diet during this time:

  • Only two meals a day
  • One meal a day on the workdays
  • Out to dinner with friends but had only a salad
  • Had a burger one night but did salad instead of fries
  • Three total beers during the week
  • My only snacks were almonds and parmesan crips

Not bad, right? I jumped on the scale this morning and… I gained a pound and a half. Fuck!

It’s so demoralizing. Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly why. The meals were pretty high calorie. I ate a LOT of the snacks. Salad is not low calorie when you add gobs of blue cheese dressing. Beer is 200+ calories each. I know I ate too many calories. But I thought for sure that amount of activity I did would at least keep me at break-even. It’s a horrible feeling to be thinking about calories non-stop, to worry all week about getting enough activity in – and still gain weight. I’m tired of thinking about and dwelling over the number on the scale. It’s enough to want to just give up and eat whatever the hell I want. I’m getting old. It’s not like I’m trying to be on the cover of Vogue magazine or become a competitive cyclist. Why should I care anymore?

I’m so sick of thinking and stressing over food. I’m tired of keto. I want to be able to have a beer from time to time. Or a burger. Not every day, but once in a while without feeling guilty about it. I want to be active and exercise so I feel good about my long-term health. I want to maintain my balance and mobility so that I’m not afraid to stand on a stepstool when I’m in my 70’s. But constant worrying about exercise in terms of “did I burn enough calories today?”, is making it a chore that I have to do – not something I want to do.

Having to maintain a diet is not enjoyable. Having to move to the XL side of the clothing rack and skipping fun water activities with friends because you’re embarrassed at how you look isn’t fun either. Both things suck. I keep telling myself, a bit of short-term pain to get to someplace I’m comfortable is worth the effort. Then I can work on a maintenance level of calories rather than a constant deficit. But the daily grind and internal analysis just gets old.

At my age it’s clear that the only way to lose weight is extremely strict calorie restriction. There are no “cheat meals” allowed. I need to track every bit of food I consume. I can ramp up my activity a bit more, but not enough to compensate for the calories I ate this week. Every single thing I put in my mouth has to be weighed, measured, and counted against the daily and weekly calorie budget. I know this. And it pisses me off. Like the national debt clock, I need a continually running calorie clock so I can make appropriate decisions about food intake. I need to stop ruining reasonable food choices by tripling the portion sizes.

I know myself. I struggle with choice. When forced to choose, I often make bad decisions. I’m the type of person that needs to eat the same thing every day. The same breakfast, the same snacks, the same dinner. A known set of calories that doesn’t waver. And once in a while when out with friends, have a burger. But eat only half. I don’t need to consume the entire two pounds of burger, bun, and condiments. Eat enough to satisfy the taste craving and be done. And yes, I can up the activity intensity a bit. I know I’m capable of more than I actually do.

I know what the answer is. I know how this week happened. I know what to do. I just needed to vent a bit. To have a bit of a pity party. Now I need to pick myself up off the floor, dust myself off, and get back after it. I will keep the XXL velour track suit with the elastic waistband and the “all you can eat” buffet at bay.