So I’m going to be doing physical stuff every day, but I have no intention of posting every day. . . Sundays are the rest day, so I’m just going to do the weekly update then. The irony of picking the laziest possible way to do my workout updates didn’t escape me. Just so you know.
The General Approach
I’m not too concerned with how I look. For me, working out is about getting stronger and being more fit. I want to be able to outrun bears and punch out mountain lions, not model underwear. I don’t mind looking good and I figure that will follow being strong and fast, but it’s a secondary goal. On top of that I’m helping my friend Chase train for the Air Force spec ops CCT tests. They don’t look hard, but they are. Chase is in pretty good shape, but teaching him to swim is like teaching a dolphin to jog. He”ll get there, but there will be a lot of flopping around.
We’re both, as we discovered working out together in college, very competitive, which is both great and, well, dangerous. We could use a third person to follow us around and remind us that we have to do this again tomorrow, and it’s going to suck.
The next bit is through Tuesday Nov. 19th, when I started writing this.
I’ve decided to go for a general fitness routine. I’m not doing just one thing, I’m doing all sorts of things. It keeps things interesting. At least for this first month, a lot of what I’m doing is going to involve helping my friend In the meantime, I’m sore. I’ve been learning the military sidestroke, which has been fun, but my upper body just isn’t up for it yet.
The first bit week has been swimming and trips to the gym. The immediate lesson is simply that I need more energy. My tanks are empty about halfway through and it leaves me feeling dead in the water. Not to mention nauseous. So I’m looking at adding a lot of protein and carbs to my diet, and hydrating better.
Went hiking on North Mountain, which is a huge mountain park in the middle of Phoenix, with a friend. We ended up taking the wrong trail down, and spent an extra hour wandering through a nice neighborhood in Phoenix before finding our way back to the right park entrance. It turned a fourish mile hike into an eightish mile hike, but it was good times. My boots are still giving me blisters, unfortunately. A real disappoint compared to my old pair. This was, to my mind, enough for one day of working out.
It was a beautiful day, mid-70s with nice and cloudy with just a spit of rain now and then. Really, the best of all possible hiking weather.
Looking towards Piestawa Peak.
Started out the day with a trip to the gym, swam 750m practicing the military side stroke. I’ve been trying to help Chase learn the stroke, and he’s been making real progress. We’re shooting for finishing the 500m swim in less than ten minutes. That’s thirty seconds for each 25m trip across the pool, and it’s not an easy pace to keep up for either of us over that distance.
Anyway, we were pretty tired from that, so the second trip to the gym for pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups (which are on the test) to failure, and then various free weight exercises later was brutal. . . There’s that feeling you get in your muscles when they know they should be able to lift something, but they can’t.
I skipped swimming. Everything hurts. We hit everything else even harder, though. Sit-ups and push-ups we’ve separated by muscle groups so we can do more. This means we do crunches to failure, rest for 30 seconds, then do the upper half of the sit-ups to failure. Then repeat twice. The push-ups follow the same pattern, just with wide, middle, and diamond hand placement, again three sets of each, to failure each time.
We threw a medicine ball around until our arms gave out, working on core strength and endurance (which is needed for every exercise on the fitness test) and managed to get 50 pull-ups done. . . over the course of lots and lots of sets.
Today was an easy day. We headed to the pool for sprints. We swam a pyramidal set, so 50, 50, 100, 100, 200, 100, 100, 50, 50 meters. We were both feeling fine at the end of it, so we’re going to add in an extra 200 next time, to bring the total to 1000. The swim on the test is only 500m so that should take care of any endurance issues. The minimum average lap pace is 35 seconds per lap (across pool one way). I’m well under that up until 200m but I’m pretty done by the time I get that far. My fast 50m so far has been :57 and I’d like to be maintaining a pace of :25 second laps for 500m by three weeks from now.
Sunday Weekly Review:
Today is our planned rest day, so that’s when I’ll be doing my weekly update, as I said. I’ve decided I might as well include pictures so people can see if anything’s changing. What’s the point of saying I’m getting in shape and not actually providing any evidence? Anyway, here I am. I’m just standing there, no flexing, no sucking in, partly because that defeats the purpose of this, and partly because I’m not sure it would make any difference anyway.
Here I am at the beginning of the week.
And now for the stunning progress:
And here I am a week later looking EXACTLY THE SAME, because isn’t gratification only happens when you get the blue shell in Mario Kart.
Anyway, my energy levels have skyrocketed over the course of the week. I felt like slow death after 350m on Monday, and Saturday I swam 800m without coming close to the bottom of the tank. I’m probably eating about twice as much food as I was a week ago. So far I’ve deviated from my usual getting-in-shape experience as far as weight is concerned. Normally, I drop about ten pounds in the first week or two as I slim down, and start slowly gaining mass. I’m more focused on cardio than I’ve ever been before, so I was expecting a similar pattern. I’ve actually gained a couple pounds.
There are a few possible contributing factors. The first is that I was a fair bit more muscled six months ago before I hurt myself, so my body may be more primed to start shoving resources into muscle again (I’m going back over old paths instead of clearing new ground). The second is that I ramped up calorie intake fast, so I may not be relying on burning fat as much as usual. The last is simply that this workout is less about isolated muscles and more about a full-body experience, and all the small muscles being worked out at once may be gaining mass as fast as fat reserves are getting burnt off. Oh, I suppose all the running I did over the summer may have left me with a lower fat percentage than I expected, as well.
Anyway, one week in I’m loving this. I’m improving very quickly, I’m feeling good. Next week I’ll be keeping better track of exact numbers, and every week or so we’re going to give the full test a try, just to see how it goes. I’m still waaaaaaaaaaaay slow on the 1.5 mile run. I need a 9mph pace, minimum, and that’s simply faster than I can run that far just yet without taking a break to throw up. We’ll see if I can fix that in the next week.
Check back in next Sunday for Round 2 of the fitness blog!