Point of order 1

The women at Underground Athlete (and such) have ruined me for other women.

I was at the grocery store in the checkout line the other day.  I generally avoid looking at the magazine covers.  One of them had a woman in a bikini on the cover and I thought to myself — true story — she’d be hot if she had some muscle tone.  Some workout clothes and pressing 44 lb. kettlebells.  That would be something.

Granted, I’ve always been put off by the overly photoshopped fashion photography that distorts the features and bodies of stars and models (removing any thing like skin texture, making waistlines impossibly thin, elongating arms and legs) into various versions of Cherry 2000.  Plus the lack of diversity.  Beauty and sexy come in a lot of different shapes and sizes and complexions.

I don’t know who’s in charge of these images that we see but they need to leave their spaceships or undersea fiefdoms or skyscraper penthouses or never-landing private jets or something.

How’s the saying go?

“Strong is the new skinny.”


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

No Excuses

I had one of my brain flashes the other day.  My weight has been bouncing around and flirting with my phase 1 goal of 200 lbs. for weeks now.  It’s annoying and frustrating.  I starting logging my food again.  I don’t weigh my food, but I pay attention to any food labels and weights and all that.  Scan the barcodes of any packaged food or beverages with the DailyBurn iPhone app.

I realized that I was making a lot of excuses.  In my own head, I mean.  I wasn’t being proactive about eating and actively recovering from workouts.  Slipped back into “do what I feel like” mode.  Unacceptable.  I had a brainflash.  A new campaign.  The “NO EXCUSES!” campaign.  I was going to post it on my Facebook wall.

I went to the fitness room the next morning ready to do some steady state of some sort.  I wanted to see if I could do — or how much suffering I could achieve by even attempting — an 8 minute mile on the treadmill.  There was a notice on the door that said the fitness room was temporarily closed.  But that didn’t stop me from using my key to go inside.  And the treadmills were still plugged in.  Still operational.  Nice.  But…

All the carpet had been ripped up and the baseboards cut out because of flooding from that evening we got deluged.  Mold.  The TV had been left on by someone who had recently finished a workout.  But my mama didn’t raise no fools.  I’m not messing around with mold.  Certainly not going to put myself in an enclosed room with less than ideal ventilation sucking copious colonies of mold spores deep into my lungs.

I stood there.  Looking around.  Thwarted.

I walked outside.  Looked around.  Went back to the apartment, took a shower and went to work.

That was a failure.  My “no excuses” campaign fell apart just like that.  There’s really no reason, thinking about it later, that I couldn’t have done some kind of workout outside.  Other than the fact that I don’t like running or working out outside.  Especially not when it’s cold.  Other than hiking and mountain biking, I mean.  I could have done lunges, sprints, whatevers.  Could have dug through my things and found my Nike+ sensor and jogged outside.

Got to get it in gear.  Winter is a dangerous time for me.  SAD and carb cravings.  But this will be the first Fall/Winter that I get leaner and fitter.  The first ever.  I’m very excited about that.

When Will You Be Done?

Every once in a while someone will ask me how long I’ll keep working out.  As in, you’ve lost weight.  When will you be done.

Whenever someone compliments me I always say the same thing, “I’m working on it.”

Two points:

1. When I started this, I had no idea how out of shape I was.

2. I had no idea how fit a lot of people are.

Every time I step into Underground Athlete, I’m humbled.  I’m always impressed by my fellow trainees and the people taking the classes.  They’re amazing.  I’ll see their Finisher times on the white board every now and then.  (Then I’ll see mine.  Oy vey.)  I’ve witnessed the mental toughness class.  It is intense, people.  It scares me, to be honest with you.

That, of course, means I have to do it.

Every once in a while I’ll catch a little of the coaches’ workouts or hear about them.  It’s a whole ‘nother level.  (CrossFit is a different thing altogether, but it’s become popular enough to have annual CrossFit Games on ESPN.  Watch that some time if you’re ever feeling smug about your physical awesomeness.)

Even when my body fat gets well below 20%.  I’ll be happy to get it down to 15% but even if I get down to 10% with the abs package, I’ll still be … well, that’s just it.

I don’t just want to Look Good Naked anymore.

I want to be fit.  And functional.  Hell.  I want to be able to keep up.

I picked up a 72 lb. kettlebell last night.  Just to see what it felt like.  I was going to try to jerk it but … I didn’t.  I could feel my shoulder saying to me, “Alright.  You can try it if you want to but if you don’t get it right, I’m popping right out of the socket in the most brutal way possible.  I hear collarbone fractures are extremely painful.”

Justin said, “Imagine one of those in each hand, doing this, for ten minutes straight.”

That’s what he did in a kettlebell competition.  70 times.   I think that’s this video.

Speaking of Diversity, One More Thing

I was watching videos online of Tough Mudder and the Spartan Death Race and others.  Madness.  I’m pretty laid back.  I’m not competitive.  I don’t like to lose, of course.  No one does.  But … meh.

I was noticing that there are very few black people doing these things; fun, creative, interesting and brutal physical events and challenges.  That’s my perception.  That doesn’t mean none.  But few.  There needs to be more.  Just culturally.  I think as time goes on, fitness and health will become priorities to other epidemiological segments of society.  Read, minorities.

I thought of something I heard on one of the Angry Black Man radio shows/podcasts.  The commentator was kind of complaining about the fact that the vast majority of Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy _____ participants are young, white people.  He went on to imply that they weren’t making efforts to be inclusive or culturally sensitive to black people.

How do I put this.  I thought, “Nigga, please!”

If you look at that, as a black man, and see too few black people then get your black self down there.  If it’s important to you, get involved with it.  It just seemed like some people are trying to find stuff to complain about.  Like they need to call at least one thing racist or have some Richard Wright “Invisible Man” racially existential crisis per day in order to feel like they’ve accomplishing something.

Then my finger pointed back at myself.  If my perception is that not enough black people are doing these various races and runs then maybe I shouldn’t be sitting on my arse watching YouTube videos of (a former) said event LITERALLY while my friends/colleagues/compatriots are participating in the event.

So I’m thinking that maybe 2012 should be a year of participation.  Weenie words aside.  I could start simple.  With a 5K.  Work my way up from there.

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