LGN 18: Why I still don’t look good naked

Ladies and gentlemen. America.

I’ve learned some things during this whole LGN thing. The most important is that getting in shape and/or losing weight is not a linear process.

What do I mean by that?

Well, losing the first 20 lbs. or so is easy. It’s like, math works. Eat less calories, lose weight. Good times.  You could even eat like that “Twinkie Diet” guy and lose weight for the first month or two.

After that, not so much.

The second point is that exercise — intense exercise — complicates the effort. Big time. If you’re on Facebook you may have seen all of the mountain biking and hiking I did this year (up until about September) since I shared it via EveryTrail. I was diggin’ it except for all of the mtb mechanical issues. Lots of exercise, calorie counting and so on. I was on the ball, people.

Strong, yes. Aerobic fitness was pretty good and improving. Yup. Didn’t lose a single pound, though, and according to my scale — hate that guy — didn’t lose a single percentage of body fat.

According to DailyBurn I should have been losing at least two pounds a week. At least. Still, I was feeling pretty good except for shin splints and various tweaks and such. I was holding the line. I managed to get some kind of tennis forearm/elbow type thing from biking practice. Haven’t been right since. Thus, the mountain biking season ended abruptly.

And then … along came Winter.

Click here to see all of my LGN (I want to Look Good Naked) posts.

Did you know that during hibernation, bears don’t eat or drink. For, like, three months. They also don’t urinate or defecate. According to the “Nature” episode I was watching their waste is converted to protein. Not only do they burn fat as they hibernate, they build muscle.

I ain’t no bear.

When it gets cold and the days get short, I crave heavy foods. Outdoor exercise becomes more untenable. The cascade of atrophy begins.

Emotional Health and Fitness

It was a tough year.  From October 2009 through October 2010 I had to have Leika euthanized, a friend was murdered and my father passed away.   I learned things about myself in the process.  I’ve always been stoic, which can be a very good and a very bad thing.  The key word is “detach”.  Or “compartmentalize”.

I would wake up and not feel like doing anything.  I wouldn’t feel like getting out of bed, say.  Then I would think, “Man, what’s wrong with me?  I’m feeling much more anti-social than usual.”

And then I would think, “Oh right.  My dad’s funeral was yesterday.  I’m allowed to be depressed and withdrawn for a while.”

It’s that same compartmentalization that makes me good at overeating.  That detachment from one’s own internal workings.  It allows you to observe yourself from a distance.  That kind of internal distance makes it easy to ignore things like your body telling you, “Hey.  Okay.  That’s good.  No more food, please.  Okay … stop.  We’re good down here.”

There was definitely some emotional eating going on this Winter.  It didn’t help that I was introduced to Famous Dave’s bread pudding.  Pizzeria Uno’s is even better.

During the Winter, Spring and Summer of 2010 I was doing a lot of emotional exercising.  I prefer the latter if I had to pick.

I considered doing the food photo thing.  I count or estimate calories now, which is indispensable.  Including photos of what I’m ingesting may help reconnect the eyes and appetite.

I bought a NuWave oven.  Those TV widgets — I don’t know how long it’s going to last but it’s great.  I would use it every day except I don’t need to.  It makes it so much easier to prepare a meal and have enough for lunch the next day.  The teriyaki chicken jerky wasn’t bad.  I’ll have to experiment with that.  Your mileage may vary.

Up Jumped Spring

Magically, as the days started to get longer my motivation level jumped.  Time to … do things.  I’ve been looking for classes of various sorts and figured, what the heck, I’ll try some fitness things.  Then I remembered meetup.com and started searching around.

I’ve taken two (so far) “My Body Don’t Bend Like That”  yoga classes.  It’s eye opening.  Not as beginner as I thought it would be but what the heck.  What is.

I see why yoga classes are mostly occupied by women.  The American fitness version, I mean.  To generalize for a minute, I think men have no patience for situations in which they feel incompetent.  And there’s nothing worse than feeling incompetent in front of a room full of women, in particular.  It’s also an activity where muscle mass doesn’t make it easier.  Not to mention general chunkiness.

That makes the yoga learning curve a pretty steep ramp.  The instructor handed me some blocks last week.  Not sure what to do with them but they helped.

I think that yoga and anything like it (Pilates?) is amazing.  Full body, challenging, but you’re concentrating holistically.  So even the discomfort and strain of a position is momentarily offset by focusing on breathing or the goal of getting your hands under your toes.  Or not falling down.   Or not passing wind.

It also takes a lot of concentration to ignore the female figure in exotic poses.  It is my goal to not be a creepy yoga guy.  In all seriousness, I don’t want any of the ladies to feel self-conscious because there’s a guy in the room.

Kettlebell training is next on the list.  That should be interesting.  General, non-isolated strength training.  That sounds right.

I joined some hiking groups on meetup.  They’re good ones.  Very active and organized.  I went on a 6 mile hike today and realized that I’m slow and I’m either very out of shape or … I don’t know what’s going on.  My lower legs feel weak.  Twitchy.

Gots to get movin’.

Back on track, folks.  Let’s get on it, my friends.

Addendum: Kettlebell Class

I wrote all that on Saturday and scheduled it to be published automagically by WordPress at 12:01 am tonight, which is technically tomorrow.

I just got back from the screening for the kettlebell training class.  I was nervous about it all day today even though I didn’t know what it meant.

FAIL!

I have some things to work on, apparently, even though I’m not sure what that means.  Am I not allowed to sign up for the classes until I meet those goals?  They mostly had to do with flexibility and symmetry.  My lower legs are EXTREMELY tight.  Not sure how that happened but that’s the way it is.  My shoulder mobility is poor.  And there was one other thing I can’t remember.

He, the instructor, did let me do the warmups with the class.  Whoo boy.  How are my legs a little rubbery just from the warmups?  (In all fairness, I did a much-brisker-than-I-would-have-done-on-my-own 6 mile hike with a hiking group on Saturday, which resulted in some soreness.  And my legs were still a little wonky from yoga last Wednesday.)

My left side has less mobility than my right.  I’m supposed to do some exercises and stretching to deal with that.  And he suggested massage.

So we’ll see what happens with that.   I kind of enjoy the fact that the room intimidated me.  The equipment and the people in the class.  None of them bulked up but strong and fit.

Because I was ridiculous and late I didn’t get my hands on any kettlebells, unfortunately.

Hopefully I can get myself together for this thing.   Gary no like rejection.

Oh.  And I need some handsome exercise pants.  Not these slovenly sweat pants I’ve been wearing.

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2 comments

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  1. jannamo

    Have you checked out CrossFit? That’s my latest thing and I am loving it. We do stuff with kettlebells but also lots of other stuff. And it’s fun and the people are supportive and cool, and it’s really freaking hard, but it’s totally cool to modify to whatever level you’re at, as long as you say so when you write down your workout achievements at the end of the day.

    I know I’m new-fad-a-week girl over here, but this one is pretty great. I haven’t actually lost any weight, but my clothes are fitting differently (looser) in just 5 weeks from gaining muscle and I assume losing fat.

    One of the other things I’ve been reading about lately is the dangers of too much mid-level cardio. Like you stress your body out and end up eating muscle leaving you more tired… or something like that. The alternative being working out a lot less, but at higher intensity.

    I’m gonna blog some more about it.

    • garyarthuryoung

      Heya.

      I did look into that a little. Online mainly and I watched some videos.

      I think the class/training I’m doing is similar. Well, maybe not. But it’s the same general idea. Higher intensity workout with free weights and other interesting fitness props: kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, ropes, walls, machines, body.

      It’s kind of amazing the workout you can get with a little guidance.

      Yeh, I’ve been finding that the longer treadmill workouts were mostly tiring my shins. I sure would like to know what it feels like to run/jog/sprint with, like, 30 less pounds to slog around. Because I’d like to do intervals to improve my mountain biking performance.

      Well, actually, I think this kettlebell thing with its — what do you call it — with the varied rest intervals definitely keeps the heart rate up and is an all around workout.

      I so dig it. But it is frakkin’ tough.

      Oh well. Weakness leaving the body and all that.

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