The Search Continues!

I went to the gym recently. Everything appeared normal as I approached…

Until I rounded the corner and approached the front doors. Normally, I feel a little intimidated walking into the gym.

Doors are heavy!

For whatever reason on this day, I tore my eyes away from my feet. I like to mind my steps, because falling down would hurt. Also, I tend to become easily distracted by attractive and unattainable men.

What I saw when I looked up filled me with a minor sense of optimism…

We’re Hiring!

Well, sure.

Why not?

I went inside, making sure to smile at the check-in biometric machine that was on duty…just to leave a good impression. Then I did my little fitness thing.

When I got home, I went to the gym’s website to apply for my next dream job!

Alas…it wasn’t listed as available. Which means that someone out there has my job!

But I’m going to go back, obviously. When I do, I’m going to keep my eyes open for the person with my job.

If I see them, they’d better hope it’s not near the top of the stairs. Now that I’ve set my mind on it, I won’t be satisfied until I can hold my head high as a member of my gym’s team.

As the Before Model.

The Search Continues!

Fitfy 49:39

Missed these little check-ins from the final year of my fifth decade?

Fret not, they’ve not been pushed far from the front of my mind…they are only a trip past my bathroom mirror away, as a matter of fact.  But, this final week of the third quarter of this trip around the sun for me seemed like a good time to check-in again.

First some obvious accountabilities:  exercise and diet.

Exercise:

I’ve quit my gym.  That may not seem like anything but a big step backward, but I think it’s not.  Sure, this was initially a financial decision, the money I spent on gym membership could be better spent on wine, after all!  

I kid.

What I came to realize, though, was that at this time in my life, lifting weights was problematic.  More of a tether or a crutch for my old fitness mindset of recreating or restructuring my physical self…making it into something it’s not.

I have some 4-25 lb dumbbells at home that I can use for a variety of toning exercises when the mood hits.  Overall, that’s what I want to rediscover: tone.  My arms were as thick as my neck in my 30s – don’t get excited, I’ve been called pencil neck before. My chest and ankle measurements might make you wonder if my “father” was, in fact named Frankenstein.

What happens to that forced physique when you stop feeding it iron plates is not pretty.  Over the past three months, as I’ve changed my exercise regimen up – mostly changed it to “rest” – is that those muscles have softened.  My chest does not have as much in common with a 35 year old man as it maybe does with a 50 year old woman.

And that’s ok…for now.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want either of those racks.  But it’s a stop on the way to slimming down.

So, what’s this new regimen?

It’s more intense cardio based, as far as structured exercise goes.  Spin class.  God bless RevoCycle and the Filipina Fox for getting me back into spin!  I really love it…it’s prohibitively expensive, so I’ve been on a little break for the last few weeks, but the time commitment vs results impact is exactly what I want as I try to return to a slimmer silhouette overall.

The remainder of what I’ve been doing outside of mini weight workouts at home and spin class is lifestyle exercises.  Things designed not to get me out of the house and into the gym, but rather to get me out of the house and outside.

Hiking, mostly.  I live in the Pacific Northwest…God’s Country.  I have 40 miles of trails in Forest Park, a quick two mile urban hike away.  I live on Park Ave – between 8th and 9th St in Portland’s Alphabet District.  My stretch of Park is between Everett and Flanders – do not  stalk me…you’d be gravely disappointed.  Forest Park has an entrance at about 28th and Thurman.  That’s 14 blocks over and 19 blocks up.  

Easy.

Until you see this, anyway.

We all need a little touch up now and then, eh?  That’s what this year-long theme is about!  But I found an alternate entrance a few blocks further up the hill and have had myself a couple of nice 10 mike hikes over the last few weeks.  It rained almost all of last week, but today on my weekend agenda…yeah!  More hiking!  

Now

Diet:

Ugh.

Remember, what I didn’t want to do was overcorrect here and go radical self-deprivation by only allowing myself chicken and broccoli for dinner.  That usually leads to chicken and broccoli for most lunches, too.  And that leads to Unhappy Xtopher.

Also, I didn’t want to not drink.

I wanted to eat real food, have real junk food and get my drink on when I wanted to.  Be that when hanging out with friends or doing a little self-soothing after work.

I’d say the one thing my diet is missing right now is protein.  In eschewing chicken, I’ve become cognizant of the fact that I’m not chewing enough of anything that used to be alive.  Almonds, peanut butter, lunch meats and tuna ain’t cutting it.

Non-Dad-Bod Xtopher needs some red meat.

Shut up, Diezel.

Other than too much pasta in my diet, I’ve been happy with my intake.  Oddly, I’ve found myself craving kale lately.  I should definitely give into that, I bet my body is feeling less nostalgic than it’s actually trying to tell me it needs something.

My alcohol consumption is steady, I know you were worried.

I find that my drinking has become less…binge-y and more consistent.  Neither in a bad way.  When I was drinking before, I’d drink for several hours, ignoring the fact that I was setting records with how many drinks I could consume in an hour.

I’ve gone from drinking 2-3 drinks an hour for several hours to drinking 2-4 drinks a night.  Maybe I drink 5-6 nights a week versus 3-4 nights a week, but I’m not waking up groggy after and I find myself deciding to have another beer versus just giving into habit or simply being handed one by an attentive bartender.

All this came to the front of my mind during last week’s acupuncture appointment.  My Needle Man had been diagnostically probing my abdomen and when he was done, instead of quickly pulling my shirt back down and making a comment about covering my shame, I began absent-mindedly playing my belly like a drum.  He smirked at me and when I realized what I’d been doing, smiled sheepishly and apologized.

He made a comment about enjoying seeing such self-acceptance in today’s body shaming culture.  Someone just innocently enjoying their body without realizing it – literally, in my case, he said – was refreshing.

I told him that I planned on enjoying my body in not so innocent ways later, which gave us both a chuckle.  That may sound a bit depraved to you, but we talk about my sex life almost as often as we talk about my digestion.

If we’re gonna talk shit, nothings off the table.  Plus, there’s a couple of treatments he does that have a great reproductive side effect.  It may not be strictly necessary in my case, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be appreciated!

The conversation eventually led to – well, directly led to – how self-acceptance was kind of the theme of 2017 for me.  I described how nothing I did physically replaced running in my life, how I could run in the rain but cycling and hiking in the rain were no-goes for me.

“Why don’t you run anymore?”

So, I gave him the back story and then short-handed it to “bone density issues in my lower legs”.

I’ll short-hand his response to “There’s a needle for that”.

Me:  Do not get my hopes up.

Not at all, he told me, cautioning me that it will take time and be something I have to build up to, but there’s probably no reason I shouldn’t count on running again.

So, as I enter the last quarter of this Fitfy (mis)adventure, I find myself looking forward to an unexpected and welcome gift for my 50th birthday…an evening jog to close out my work day.

It’s just what I wanted.

Fitfy 49:39

Fitfy: 49.33

I originally set out to make this theme a weekly check-in for this final year of my 40s.  The larger goal was to motivate myself into finding a balance between a reasonably healthy physical self and mental and emotional satisfaction with how that state of physical being manifested itself.

Y’know, to ditch the body-negative mindset that I’ve been emotionally kicking the shit out of myself in pursuit of for the last 20 years or so.  I didn’t quit this theme so much as I took a hiaitus in order to refocus on that goal when I found myself falling back on the same habits that had delivered me to where I found myself on Jan 22 of this year: injured, eating emotionally, physically and mentally depressed…your basic nightmare.

So, that’s what I did.  I put down my phone, walked away from the laptop and WordPress app – at least as far at Fitfy was concerned – and focused on collecting myself mentally to re-engage with diet and exercise.

I addressed diet first.

Before it addressed me.

Also, because I’d gotten comfortable being physically lazy.

I’d been having a real challenging time at work with a really unhealthy emotional situation with Capt Can’t.  I’d been drinking too much and too often to self-soothe instead of dealing with the situation.  I went 29 out of 30 days with more than four drinks in me.

In addition to the drinking – as if that much alcohol wasn’t enough of a red alert – I’d been eating crap.  Candy and coffee for breakfast and chips or popcorn with my alcohol for dinner.  

It’s a wonder I survived the month.  Luckily, I had my righteous rage to sustain me.

But, changing the diet was hard.  I needed some crutches.  Like sharing my bottle of dinner wine with the Silver Fox instead of hiding out in my living room overfilling my own glass.  

See?  That’s a 50% reduction in consumption right there.

Ok, 60/40 since I’m kinda tricky.

Fine!  70/30 because he’s more disciplined than me to begin with…but, still – a reduction in consumption!

Other nights, I would switch to a diet soda overdose to distract my way through a couple days of not drinking.

Then there was reintroducing real food to my diet.  I focused on significantly reducing my “reward days”.  Actually, the goal was more to flip the ratio of healthy meals with bullshit junkfood reward meals by 180 degrees.  I had to be willing to allow myself to waste food while doing this, because normally I will resist cooking at home under the auspices of not liking leftovers.

Step one here was a win-win because I challenged myself to cook food that created leftovers I can tolerate eating, like Italian food.  The bonus here was that I had a couple days of lunches afterward.

What I was most proud of with this first step was that I was eating friggin’ Italian food.  This isn’t something I would have entertained back in June after slipping back into my old food punishing ways of plain grilled chicken and broccoli for dinner.

And lunch.

I was making fun, carbolicious food that felt like a mother’s hug in my belly.

It was a treat, but still healthy-ish.

It wasn’t popcorn.

There were a few nights I’d steer myself away from eating take out for dinner and cook up some tasty red meat protein at home, not great for me…but good enough.  Yet on other nights, I’d order that pizza and then only allow myself one reasonably sized meal off of it.  No eating the entire thing in one sitting or breakfast pizza the day after.  Wasting food isn’t my favorite thing, but I needed to force some discipline into my diet while fending off a potential binge by making myself feel deprived.

If a few slices paid the price, so be it.

Ok, enough of my public diet shaming…it’s making me crave chips for dinner.

The other piece I needed to address was exercise.

I’d already gone butt-wild at the gym early this year and ended up reinjured for my troubles.  The healing break that caused in my gym goings came at a not awesome time:  right on the heels of my Capt Can’t work stress and subsequent medicinal regimen of booze and comfort food.

I think I put on 15 lbs in 30 days.

That also didn’t help with my healing – carrying around a bunch of extra weight.

So, coming off the bench, my mind was set on cardio to slim down versus focusing on those gay muscles.  A nice chest and arms is aesthetically pleasing, but I’d have to look pretty hard to find anything darker than a dotted line between my Fitfy Mission Statement and chesticles.

Complicating the matter, the cardio machines at 24hr Fitness tended to tweak my knee injury pretty easily.  This is something I wished to avoid.

Cycling, it was.

Sadly, I wasn’t getting home from work until around 5 each day, which made getting on the bike for a couple hours hard. Particularly when you factor in that I’d need to come home, shower, make dinner and hopefully be in bed by 8 for work the next day.

I was averaging one ride a week.

No bueno.

Fortunately for me, The Filipina Fox had just started her new spin instructor gig at RevoCycle, just a few blocks from my house.  She taught Tuesday and Thursday nights and encouraged me to use the first two free gymcentive – Chrisism – to try the gym out.

I was skeptical.  

I loved the results that spin produced as a workout, but these classes are in the $13-18 range.

Too rich for my broke ass and its paycheck to paycheck existence.  I’d already let my 24hr membership lapse in arrears, though, so in this particular moment, “free” was just inside my price range.

Of course, I loved the workout.

It was all the usual good stuff about a spin workout: intensity, intervals, instruction, motivation…but their equipment was unique, too!  Their bikes are free-wheel affairs, like a real bike versus the typical weighted wheel you usually find on spin bikes.  The free-wheel meant no added stress on my knee.

Being able to walk pain free the day after class:  priceless.

After my week of free classes was up, it was time for an overdue vacation and time with the fam.  I swear, I will get around to writing about it, but for now, just know that I spent plenty of time on my bike.  And, my parents being the awesome folks they are, they slipped their broke ass boy some walking around money before putting me on a plane.  I swear, this whole “walking around money” phenomenon that happens in my family before someone gets on a plane?  I’ve always been a little jealous when I’m not the one traveling. 

But, thanks to the parentals, I had a few shekels for some spin classes.

And that’s where I’ve been putting my exercise effort, 2-3 times per week.  It’s nice, most of the classes I take are 40 minutes of spin and 20 minutes of what they call body sculpt.  Basically, that’s a 20 minute barre class…which is just enough to finish kicking my ass.

It’s been a great few weeks – this is the last week of my pass, so someone start a GoFundFatty to raise money for my next pass!  I’ve dropped enough fluff to fit quasi-comfortably into my 33″ waist shorts.  That’s a nice benefit…one that doubles my shorts wardrobe, too!  I’m still closer to 200 lbs than I’d prefer to be, but I’m moving in the right direction and I also know that some of my weight loss is camouflaged by lean muscle gain as I begin to regain leg muscle that has eroded over the last year of poor exercise.

It’s nice to see some definition peeking out from the shorts I now fit into again.  I call those muscles my eighths but people who are not cursed with chicken legs would call them quads.

Best part?

The last month of exercise has been largely pain free!  Like I said earlier, I can walk without soreness the day after class. That’s a huge plus.

My one instance of suffering was not so much a result of my exertion in class as much as it was a side effect of my usual gracefulness.

I’d been pushing myself hard in this particular class.  It was my second of the week and I’d noted the drop off in performance compared to the first class of the week earlier in my month-o-spin and wanted to push through it.

Mostly, I succeeded.

Mostly.

We were doing climb intervals.  Slowly increasing resistance until you were forced out of the seat to finish the interval, then repeating the process – the climb, if you will – about three times during a song.

It was the second song, second climb.  I already felt like I’d left it all on the last climb, so I was struggling…but determined.

Once that second climb ended and the Filipina Fox gave us permission to return to the seat…I sat.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t just sit, I fucking sat.

Hard.

Right on poor little lefty, if you get my drift.

No idea what he was doing hanging out back there, but I’ll tell you this…I didn’t pedal right for the rest of the class.

Meh.  It’s ok, though…it’s not like I’m using those muscles anyway, so I guess it could have been worse.

Fitfy: 49.33

Fitfy: 49.11

Nothing to see here, folks.

Move along.

Not only did I skip an entry last week – after my finest week of the year, too – but I compounded that by quite nearly doing nothing to report on during the week past.

I am a big believer in down weeks to let your body rest and also create a bit of a jolt to get you past a plateau when you resume exercise that next week, but let’s face it…I’ve hardly been doing anything consistent or impact-worthy that my body would need a down week.

Yet, here I am.

That said, I did manage to drag my old ass to the gym yesterday after my standing coffee date with The Silver Fox.  I had planned to lift and then do cardio, but his Foxiness is not back to lifting yet, and when we don’t both follow similar routines, it’s difficult to sync up our arrival/departure times.  Not that our routines are mirror images.  He prefers to do cardio and then lift, I am the opposite.  But time-wise, it marries up well.  If I lift and he doesn’t then I usually only get a half hour of cardio in before he’s ready to leave.

Which is odd, since I would normally prefer to avoid cardio altogether.  But, after a down year, my body needs cardio to burn that fat.

Anyhoo.

When we go for an hour of cardio, we generally try to grab side by side machines.  There is exactly one set of our preferred machines that fit this side by side mold, so it’s not always possible to make that happen, which was the case yesterday.

I walked upstairs while he grabbed a locker and our sweet spot was half occupied by a woman on the treadmill he would normally use.  Instead of conspicuously grabbing the machine right next to her when there were eight of the machines I like sitting empty in a row, I went to the opposite end of the row.  This had the added benefit of allowing me to watch The Masters while I huffed and wheezed instead of some new channel showing the batshit craziness that is haunting our White House these days.

Of course, my machine had some sort of hitch in its giddy-up and I could make out some weird click-snap-pop on the right side as it articulated, even over my headphones – Annie Lennox, in case you were wondering – but I was just glad it was the machine and not my body making the noise.

I turned up my music and huffed merrily along.

I looked casually over twenty minutes into my workout, longing for the silent companionship and smooth-working-sussurations of my normal Fox adjacent machine only to see that The Fox had somehow taken up residence.  It’s unlike me to move from one cardio machine to another during my hour, especially if it’s only from one broken down machine to the exact same model that is in full working order, and this was no exception.

Hey, I can commit, ok?  Just look at the embarrassment of romantic riches in the broken down boys I have dated in my life.

So I stayed put, texting The Fox, “You were a great white whale when I walked by that machine earlier” or some equally angry for no real reason other than to point out that I had at least looked to see if our machines were available when I came upstairs.  I then began text-complaining about how lackluster my workout felt.  Probably because of the wonky machine.  Also because a breakfast of iced latte just wasn’t giving me the energy to exercise with my normal faux enthusiasm.

Also, Annie Lennox isn’t an artist that inspires a lot of moving around…lesson learned.

Of course, this morning The Fox indicated that he hadn’t slept well last night, which usually means we are just grabbing coffee and not working out afterward.  Which is fine since I woke up with a soreness in my usual knee and an added return of an old injury in my left toe.

Gotta love waking up with random injuries.

Sometimes I miss the good old days when I would wake up with a disco related injury on a Saturday morning from the prior evening’s goings on.

Who knows?  Maybe I’m sleep dancing now.

But, not going to the gym after coffee gave me time to come home and pop out an exercise blog entry about – basically – not exercising.  Now, the big question…to post a retroactive entry about my best week of exercise year to date or just go to the gym and do something constructively physical to close out the week?

Facebook seemed to be suggesting that I day drink by posting this photo of me doing just that five years ago in Seattle with my one worthwhile ex-boyfriend…

But I’m really trying to balance my work-night drinking, and tomorrow is my Monday.

Ugh.  Big-boy decisions…guess you’ll have to check in next week to find out what I decided!  (Hint:  it’s probably Netflix on the couch!)

 

Fitfy: 49.11

Fitfy: 49.8

It’s time for a dry week.

A)  I don’t think I have had one this quarter/year, or at any rate, actually completed one in quite some time.

B)  Fitfy, I realized this morning as I was taking my weekly recycling progress pic to monitor my alcohol consumption, that this blog could also be called “What I’m Drinking” since it seems to be composed of equal parts sweat and booze.

Obviously, sweat and booze would be diametric opposites as far as how they contribute to the physical goal of this blog theme, and I have had a week where I pretty much skipped the gym…so this only seems fair.  Also, beneficial.

That said, here’s the recycling pic from week 49.7.

Not pictured: a growler of beer.  No, wait..two.  But they were shared.  Although, I admit to being the better lubricated of my growler companion (The Silver Fox) and I.

Now, witness the results from this past week – excluding the Monday Night Supper Club wine from last night, since my week seems to be running Sat-Fri.  I know!  It used to be a Friday-Thursday thing.  I’m a procrastinator.  Now, look…I’m publishing Sunday.  Where will it all end?  Also, yes…I know that last night was Saturday, not Monday, but Monday Night Supper Club has moved and I don’t have a set acronym-slash-name for the new night.  Diezel and I are working on it.  

I’ll take two bottles of wine and not quite a six pack as a week over week improvement.  Also, I was too busy/tired to excel at drinking last week.

Ok, enough of the negative – see also:  therapeutic – from last week.  Let’s get on to the exercise portion of this accountability blog.

My work-week was chaotic, to be sure.  But, in all that work mayhem, I still managed to clock 32.7 miles of schlep-walking while at the airport.  I call it schlep-walking since I’m generally pushing a cart or rack of something as I make my frenzied way around PDX between my five locations there.

BTW, for all of you curious about my sleep walking, I can report no further incidents.  But four nights in a row was plenty for this bout.  My sleep walking PR, as best I can attest.

Anyway, schlep-walking gets me a pretty good sweat and heart rate, especially since PDX has got to be the best heated airport ever.  But it’s nothing compared to what I accomplished at the gym this week with my cardio.  I made friends again with my favorite machine, I’ve been steering clear of it while my knee healed – and I’m still a little wary, but I just couldn’t resist.  It’s as close to the ballistic feeling I got from my running workouts, and I need that.  Not just physically, but mentally, too.  That pounding rhythm I experience in running just clears my mind.  Mental shit just bounces off of me when I run, and well, this machine closely emulates that same effect.

There’s barely any time to ogle cute guys working out near me when I use this machine, it focuses me on the goals so much more than the other cardio machines.

But don’t take my word for it.img_1887

800 calories in just under an hour?  Yes, please.  That knocks a bottle-plus out of my recycling bin!

Don’t judge that 2-setting.  I prefer the longer stride – obviously, with these ostrich legs I’ve been given – to the stair stepping motion of the higher 5-setting, but I do mix it up during my workout.  I was so motivated and proud of that 800 calorie burn that I went back the next day for an “or die trying” repeat.

Took a few seconds longer to accomplish, but I pulled it off.  I admit, I was a little distracted by a guy on to my right in the row ahead of me.  But it wasn’t just that he was a HGN (Hot Gay Nerd) but his workout was a bit odd and I was trying to figure out his rhythm.

Outside of those two Festivus-unworthy visits, my week at the gym was pretty lackluster.  I told ya, I was busy at work!  Sheesh.  Let it go.

I did feel the physical and mental changes missing the gym created in me over the course of the week.  To keep them slightly at bay, I did a couple of dumbbell mini workouts at home, just for the little endorphin push.  They even included some ab work, which I desperately need.  I’ve been avoiding my abs as my back pain hasn’t completely subsided and I know I cheat with my back when my abs fatigue.

But, I think my back pain has crossed a line.  Now, instead of my back pain being exacerbated by the cheating I do when working out, I think the pain is equally – if not wholly – due to the overall weakness of my core.  It’s a phys ed catch-22.  My Needle Man has been encouraging strengthening my core, so this week I caved.

Back still hurts.

The last accountability factor from last week is food.  It’s so good!  Why, why must it be so good?  While being busy and drinking less might make one suspect that I ate more emotionally, I have to say…that wasn’t the case.  Sure, I failed to take lunch to work with me last week, but what I ate was slightly better than basic burgers and ‘za.  There’s that, I suppose.  But also, I just ate…less.  Eating more is essentially where that emotional eating takes place.  It’s never more salad.  Maybe salad dressing shots, but not more veggies.  It’s always – and I hate using emotionally charged words like that – but it is always chips and popcorn and crap like that.  Last week, on my one emotional eating evening, I managed to pair my wine with hummus and carrots instead of chips.

So.

There’s.

That.

Less booze, better exercise, less and better food.  I’ll call 49.8 a win.  Now, it’s time to lather, rinse and repeat that bitch.

Off to the gym before dinner at #DanweiCanting with the parentals.

Fitfy: 49.8

Fitfy: 49.2

Well, what a week.

I mean, for me…it wasn’t that big of a deal, or anything.  Not compared to the week our country has had.  But, for me it was simply a much needed good kick in the butt.  Who knew I was flexible enough to do that to myself?

Fine.

It was a figurative kick in the butt.

I came back from the gym all high on endorphins last Friday and tapped out the first of what looks like a 52 entry commitment – from the guy who couldn’t successfully complete a tryptich blog entry.  It surprised me how much input that first installment received across all of my social outlets.

The support was motivating.

I am happy to report that I was able to complete my accountabilities last week, returning to the gym to lift the next day and even making it through an hour-long session of cardio during the week.  But it was a much more cathartic and ever so slightly entertaining week than just accomplishing those goals.

As I mentioned, Saturday I made it back to the gym – after coffee with the Silver Fox, natch – and did back, biceps and legs.  A good follow up to the prior day of chest, abs and triceps.  I’ve always enjoyed splitting my workouts up by muscle groups or push/pull rotations.  If I did full body workouts, back to back gym days would be inadvisable.  The whole goal of this fitfy adventure isn’t to bulk up so much as get fit (aka:  trim some of the fat) and get comfortable with the white ape looking back at me in the mirror every day.

He’s so judgy.

Splitting up my lifting days by muscle group will just allow me to go to the gym more frequently to lift versus going and plugging into a cardio machine, something I still hesitate to overdo because of my knee.  That said, getting out of bed at 3 am on Sunday morning for work was…a reminder of both why I need to do this and why I dread doing this.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

My poor chesticles.  I was a little stiff in the back, which isn’t entirely abnormal after a good 8 hours of sleep, but my chest.

Oh, boy.

Raising my arm to pull back the shower curtain and then again to wash my hair?

So tight.

It felt like fire.

It was awesome.  Crippling, but in an awesome way.

To add to the delight of rising early Sunday morning for work, the Silver Fox and I had indulged in some Chinese food for dinner the night before to celebrate the Lunar New Year.  To say it was a tasty treat was to downplay the yum factor of a food I don’t indulge in too often…generally eschewing the walk to Old Town/Chinatown to get my Golden Horse for the walk down the stairs of my building to get some Thai.

The added delight?  A Make So Good hangover.  One that had me up to use the bathroom and hydrate myself three times during the night.

But, by Monday afternoon, it was all pretty well settled.  The DOMS and the MSG hangover…luckily Monday wasn’t leg day, though.  No need to tempt fate.  Recovery after a workout is motivating in and of itself.  So, Monday afternoon I leave work and go to the gym.

I hate Mondays at the the gym.  Pretty much Tuesdays, too.  Everyone is there paying for their weekend sins.  I hadn’t had any – aside from the Chinese Food Fiasco – this particular weekend since I was in bed between 7 and 8 both nights so I was particularly not looking forward to the Monday/Tuesday gym bunnies.  The gym starts getting busy by 3 those days and I was aiming to get there before it got really bad at 6.  The Fox had planned to go at 3:30, but when I told him I was leaving work at a reasonable time and planned on getting to the gym at around 4:30, he decided to wait and go with me.

It wasn’t too busy when we arrived.

At 4.

You know, this Silver Fox guy…never late.  Definitely never late.  Usually because he’s early.  So when I tell him my plans, I can usually expect him to follow up in what would be considered timely if it weren’t so preemptive.  At 2:35-ish, I get a text that says, “I’m dressed for the gym”, which of course I have to respond to with the observation that he’s just gonna be chilling in his gym clothes for two hours.

Alas, this is The Fox’s way.

So, I’m completely unsurprised to get another text at 3:45 saying, “You must be getting close to home”.  Yeah, yeah…sure, sure.  I was, but I was also writing a blog on my way home, so I had back burnered my bestie and put him on mute while I finished it up.

Like I said, though…we arrived at the gym at 4:01 on an original E.T.A. of 4:30, so I forgive myself.

alien-cardioThat earlier arrival was still not early enough to merit two cardio machines next to each other.  He likes the traditional treadmill and I prefer this machine that kind of reminds me of that hydraulic lifter that Ripley uses to fight the Alien queen in Aliens.  Well, but for the legs.

We have an unmatched pair that we can usually get together, but not today.

Monday.

It was really fine, though, that machine is a little more stressful on my knee than I wanted to endure, so I grabbed an elliptical.  I was surprised by how well I performed after a long break.  The hardest part of cardio for me is usually shutting my brain down for an entire hour.  I’ve never figured out how people actually read while working out on an elliptical, so I am stuck listening to music and watching whatever is on TV without and sound.  It’s hard to not get bored.

And watching everyone else exercise.

My heel started aching in the final 10-15 minutes, but otherwise, it was a nice, successful 5 mile and 600-ish calorie return to cardio. The next day was my acupuncture day, so I felt like I could make it past the heel pain.  In addition to my acupuncture to treat my general decrepitness, I’ve been trying out a pill that is an herbal blend that reduces lower body pain.  I had been off of those for a full week and figured that they could be a useful crutch as I transition my body out of healing mode and into a more active mode.  Ironically, I was shoving this cardio session down my own throat simply because I wanted something to bridge the days between working out on my days off.  I walk a frantically paced 5-8 miles a day at work, so I get my cardio unofficially in on a weekly basis.  But my heart fitness and waistline don’t particularly match up, so more equals not worse in this case.

After the gym, The Fox declares he’s going to the Safeway to get some stuff for dinner.  I tag along, but only after lamenting that I hadn’t brought my wallet with me.  He promises to front me, so I tag along intent on getting some chicken for dinner.

I go butt wild while we are there.  I’ve been resist-attempting to take my lunch to work.  I started at the new year – the other one, not the lunar one – with salads, but ended up eating them for dinner the night before and buying lunch at the airport.  Still, I was eating salad.  At Safeway, I decided to take a page out of my boss’ book and try taking a sandwich.

Or two.

I end up owing The Fox $60, which I discovered last night he has forgotten about.

Tuesday morning I spring out of bed like a near 50 year old who thinks he’s 30 and get to work by 6.  It’s a close call…my 6 o’clock mornings start at 5 am and are pretty much a carefully timed routine that gets me reasonably presentable and on the 5:39 Max to the airport.  I call them my 6 o’clock mornings, but I get there at 6:10.

Sue me.

The amazing part of this isn’t that I managed to cram some barely competent sandwich making into the 39 minutes between my alarm going off and hearing “The doors are closing” on the Max…it’s that the 5 minutes that took had reduced my normally fast paced 9 block morning walk that I allow ten minutes for to a frantic and awkward 6 minute jog.

Which, of course I bragged about to my Needle Man that evening.

So, here I am…telling him that I’m working out, eating slightly better and experiencing much less pain.  Actually able to jog, FFS.  I think he was proud of one of us.

Maybe both.

Maybe surprised?

Wednesday begins much the same, but my sandwich making game is much improved.  A moot matter of pride given that my boss declared he was taking his assistants out to lunch that day.

Chinese Buffet.

<gulp>

I rallied.

Fat, old Xtopher can knuckle down when the going gets tough.  I managed to keep it to a respectfully packed two plates.  Plus, I could eat my sandwiches on Thursday.

Speaking of Thursday…not to brag, but I had a kombucha.

I don’t know what’s come over me.

Kombucha is a pretty tough sell for this E.O.G. guy.  After trying it and absolutely hating it ten years ago and then watching Rib make it in our kitchen when we lived together…well, I come by my lack of enthusiasm pretty honestly.  Despite the olfactory flashbacks to smelling the fermentation happening in our kitchen and seeing the floating “mother” in our fridge and assorted kitchen cabinets as Rib moved his concoction from place to place, I suspect just to catch me off guard, I graciously forced myself to try another ‘buch last summer…and liked it.

When I showed up on Thursday to one of our vendors bringing in samples from the same brand that I had tried last summer, I figured it was a safe endeavor.  It was a different blend, but still drinkable.

And did I die?

Nope.

Not all week.

Only 50 to go…I guess that makes this T-minus 50 to 50, eh?

Fitfy: 49.2

Fitfy: 49.1

In true procrastinator’s fashion, I’m getting around to executing my New Year’s resolutions about the time everyone else’s start to crumble.  But, to be honest, I’m not a fan of the New Year’s resolution…nevertheless, I had committed to myself to find a fitness balance in my life in this last year of my 40s.

Well, my birthday was last Saturday, so it’s time to get that party started.  The 2017 snowmageddon is behind us, the flu to beat all flus did not kill me before my birthday…so, I’m left with no choice but to honor my commitment to myself and get back to the gym.

I knew this was coming.  I took most of the end of last year off trying to let my myriad piddly injuries heal up in so-called preparation for this effort.  I finally sought treatment for my physical maladies in actual preparation for this year of embracing my physical self before the big five-O.

Nothing left this morning but to just do it.

I went back to the gym.

I probably should have called ahead to warn them so they could evacuate, since the collective intake of shocked breath as I re-entered the building nearly collapsed the walls.

There I was, though, ready to get my fitness on.

Wait, I should back up a little.

Back when I started working at PDX, I was pretty fluffy after a few months of inactivity.  I spent many days at work sweating through my clothes as I put about seven to eight miles in walking at a breakneck pace around the airport each day.  My focus being Human Resources, I was a little surprised at how much time I spent schlepping merchandise between my warehouse downstairs and our five stores in the airport.  Being a retailer for 30+ years, I enjoyed every second of it.  I was looking forward to the HR training I needed prior to diving into my primary focus, while secretly worried I would lose out on the opportunity to indulge in the physical side of retail I so enjoy.

I didn’t need to worry, as it turns out.  I probably spend two full days involved in my HR responsibilities and the other three are mine to support the platform pretty much however I want – or in true retail fashion, however the business dictates I must.

In that first month or so before I went to Boise for HR training, I probably walked off a pant size.  Less fluff, hoorah!  Over the holidays and my birthday, I probably put a good chunk of it back on.

Such is life.

See?  I’m already finding balance.

Last week, I was at my acupuncture appointment and chatting with my Needle Man about my physical self as I got weighed in, as is the norm at this clinic.

194.

Again.

Fully clad in my winter coat and shoes, I feel compelled to add.

Defensively.

My back pain had gone from a “waking me up at night 6-7” on a scale of 1-10 to an occasional 1 on that same scale.  My knee pain had gone from a feeling that it might buckle walking up stairs to an awkward ability to actually walk up friggin’ stairs.  My heel pain had been the last injury we started to treat and was still present, although was no longer the type of pain that made me worry that I might fall over when I put weight on it while getting up in the middle of the night to pee.  My hobble is much more infrequent, even though the pain is still probably in the 2-3 range.

Beats an 8, though.  I seriously did not know how I kept walking, other than simply telling myself that I had to just keep on doing so.

After that recap last week, I proudly (cautiously) declared to my Needle Man that I was ready to get back to the gym that weekend.  His response was to move into how my sleep was.

Ok.

Well, it was great.  I had been sleeping a good seven to eight hours each night, even though I was still getting up around 2:30 to pee each night.  The good news is that I was able to get to and from the bathroom without much pain and able to get back to sleep afterward.

Good, he says, transitioning back to my statement about exercise by recommending that I keep focused on resting up for another week and get back to the gym after the Chinese New Year, which is this week.

Hey, I’m a procrastinator.  It doesn’t really take much more than that to keep me away from the gym.

But then there’s this looming commitment I made to my favorite person…so, I wait another week for the Chinese New Year, but not until after the CNY per se.

The Silver Fox was over last night and mentioned that he wanted to go to the gym and I figured that was as good a sign as any that I had waited long enough.  Coffee in the morning followed by the gym after was the plan.

I woke up at 7:00 and zombie-walked around the house for a couple of hours before texting him that I was getting ready.  We made a plan for coffee at 9:30.

Dressed for the gym, he stressed.

Yes, mom.

And we did it.

Each of us with our individual old man pains, damn them all…we went.  I lifted while he found a cardio machine to make his bitch.  I had entered with the caveat that I wasn’t doing cardio, just lifting, and even then would probably only be there a half hour.

He expressed his surprise at my planned short stay.  I defended myself with the fact that – optimally – I only needed a half hour to lift.  All things not being optimal wasn’t going to change that.

No need to overdo it.

We both made it to about the 45 minute mark and left…planning a return tomorrow, which I take as a good sign.  I shared that the only discomfort I felt was emotional, not physical.  Specifically, that I felt fatter than ever around all of those fit folk.  Those folk that used to be my people.  Of course, he p’shawed that and told me that they didn’t matter.

I know…I know.

Trust me, if I’m ever judging an overweight person…it’s certainly never at the gym.  At least they showed up.

Today, I showed up.

I had told The Fox at coffee that I had decided the way to keep myself accountable to my commitment was to post a weekly blog update on my progress.  So, that is the naming paradigm you see in the title here; each Friday’s post will have a new 49-point-whatever week it is in my 49th year.

49.1 was the less than glamourous return to the gym.  I did chest, triceps and (fl)abs.  My plan is to return tomorrow for legs, back and biceps and to find at least one evening next week to get on a machine and do some sort of cardio.  I’d like to take that fully clad 194 and drop it by 10.

That will likely be the toughest commitment to keep…cardio.  Simply because of timing.  Not that there isn’t enough, more that the most optimal evening – midway through my work week – is Tuesday and that’s my acupuncture evening.  I think Wednesday is my newly minted “whine evening” with the Silver Fox, which we all know he’d gladly change for me if I asked.  Thursday is my Friday and I have no problem going that night, but then I’m basically at the gym three days in a row, which isn’t ideal.

That leaves Monday evening.

I hate going to the gym on Mondays…it’s so packed and the only thing that gets a workout is my rage – er, my early onset grumpiness.

I guess I’ll let you know what happens next Friday in 49.2.

Oh, and I had pizza for breakfast today.  Woo!

 

Fitfy: 49.1