it's a vain pursuit but it helps me to sleep - Bulking up
Jan. 8th, 2014
08:04 pm - Bulking up
Actual textual content! I know. Be still your beating heart.
But not too still; this post is all/just about fitness and exercise.
Moving to California has been awfully good for that. I doubt I would have run 10K yesterday if I were still living in the heart of the polar vortex. Also, here in the Socialist Worker's Paradise of Berkeley, there is a free-as-in-beer gym just down the street from us, which I have been frequenting for the past sixteen months.
Most of which were spent at what I had grown to considered my "usual" weight-training plateau; but over the last few months, something odd has happened. I have gone from bench-pressing 10x155 to 10x185 (a lifetime maximum, incidentally.) From 15 vertical leg lifts to 15 while holding a 15-pound weight between my feet (which may not sound like a big difference, but I assure you, it certainly feels like it.) I can still only do ~6 pull-ups, angled or straight...but given that I weigh 200 pounds nowadays, that seems like progress too.
And, heck, that progress is actually apparent to the naked eye. I'm visibly more muscular than I used to be. 200 pounds used to be my "danger, Will Expandison! No more morning muffins for you!" weight, 190 pounds my target, and 180 my fighting weight; but given that I'm pretty sure I've added at least 5 pounds of muscle of late, I may need to adjust those.
Fortunately my knees are holding up to my new bulk surprisingly well. I ran a half-marathon across the Golden Gate and back in November, and although I was awfully slow (2:15 -- I blame my inability to train in the Philippines heat) my legs were fine, and while my left knee's a bit twingy from yesterday's 10K, my traditionally-wonky right knee held up sans pain. I reckon I'll run Bay to Breakers again this year.
I've also been going to yoga once a week (power/ashtanga) along with occasional bouts at home. It remains grueling but great. I'm not sure it's helping my left wrist, which has been aching after bench presses of late (probably due to poor form, which I need to pay more attention to) and also after late-in-class downward dogs (again, probably due to poor form, which in turn is due to exhaustion.) My new strength is pretty helpful; I'm thinking about beginning to tackle inversions again, although due to my fundamental lack of any flexibility whatsoever I have to kick up into them, which is ungraceful at best.
For the first half of last year I was biking pretty regularly, too, but that ended when my bike was stolen (from inside our apartment building!) I bought another in August, but as expected it did not survive the desert. Am gonna pick up another soon, now that we have secure bike storage; the bike trails around here are, as you might expect, generally mouthwateringly great, and go on forever.
So basically, fitnesswise, things are terrific. But I miss my Montreal boxing gym. Like, a lot. I have gone though sufficient of the stages of grieving that I can now just accept that it was the finest boxing gym in the world and I will never find its like again; so instead I'll just locate somewhere around here where I can go beat up on bags from time to time. There's a likely-looking candidate in Oakland, off Lake Merritt; the only downside is that I'll have to drive there, but hey, we've got a car now. ("My parents drove it up from the Bahamas." No, actually a battered but trusty VW Golf.)
I'm no longer working out twelve times a week, like I was for a while in my late 20s, but I'm very glad that I hooked myself on exercise back then. The older I get, the more it seems like pretty much the panacea, for both the body and the mind.