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it's a vain pursuit but it helps me to sleep - Bulking up

Jan. 8th, 2014

08:04 pm - Bulking up

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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.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:coyotegoth
Date:January 9th, 2014 05:39 am (UTC)
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Do you have a recommendation for a good bike store? I know there's a zillion around; just wondering if one stands out (more for affordability than absolute high-end gear).
[User Picture]
From:rezendi
Date:January 10th, 2014 06:16 pm (UTC)
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I'm planning to buy a used bike from a rental shop, on the grounds that it'll be durable and well-maintained, but I haven't figured out where exactly yet. My last bike was from Target, cheap, and perfectly acceptable.
[User Picture]
From:desperance
Date:January 9th, 2014 06:44 am (UTC)
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If you cycle down as far as Sunnyvale, let us know. Lunch can be provided.
[User Picture]
From:rezendi
Date:January 10th, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Will do. And likewise should you make it up to Berzerkeley!
[User Picture]
From:digitalsidhe
Date:January 9th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
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...there is a free-as-in-beer gym...

This phrasing just makes me wonder: what would a free-as-in-speech gym be, anyway?

I'm very glad that I hooked myself on exercise [in my late 20s]. The older I get, the more it seems like pretty much the panacea, for both the body and the mind.

*sigh* Wish I could get myself hooked on it. it'd do me some good.
[User Picture]
From:rednikki
Date:January 12th, 2014 07:15 am (UTC)
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This was awesome to read. :-)
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From:nigita
Date:January 19th, 2014 03:08 am (UTC)
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Take care of those joints! You're going to put at least another 50 years on them, and you really, really need them not to pull any tricks on you when you're trying to stay fit in your 40's and beyond.