mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Of half-marathons and half-hearted workouts...

So it's been a few months since I started adding some strength training to my workout routine. So how's it going?

I really don't know. Probably not as well as it should. When I started out, I would do about 20 minutes at the gym every day, and probably another 15 minutes or so at home. I've dropped the home stuff, although I'm hoping to re-add it. I've been kind of busy with taking care of the parents and with my side eBay/hamfest businesses and haven't devoted as much time as I should be to keeping in shape. I need to get back to putting in the time and effort if I actually want to make any gains. I've also found myself shaving 15 minutes or so off my cardio workouts on occasion, a habit I need to get myself out of, and I need to get back to watching what I eat.

That isn't to say that I haven't been doing some strength training, and it's probably had at least a tiny impact. I can't say that I've added enough muscle for anyone to notice, except myself if I squint real hard and use my imagination. But I can set the weight a little higher than when I started, so I've gotten at least a little better - and I've noticed when I need to carry, say, 50 pounds of kitty litter into Casa De Mad (for Nibbler the cat to poop on!) it's not quite as taxing as it used to be.

The hardest thing about trying to build muscle, as opposed to losing weight, is that it's a lot harder to set goals and measure. I guess if I was really serious, I could be one of those people who keeps a notebook of how much they lifted and how many reps they did every day, but I haven't been. I also didn't, say, measure my biceps before starting. Weight loss provides a pretty easy and fairly immediate feedback - you weigh less than you did the last time you weighed yourself, so you are succeeding. It's easy to set a goal - lose x per week, lose y total - and know pretty quickly if you are on the right track to getting there.

When it comes to strength training, I'm not even sure what I'm trying to achieve. If i just want to be a little healthier and have an easier time lifting stuff, I'm doing OK. If I actually want to look good and build a lot of muscle, I'm pretty sure I will never succeed - I just don't think I'm dedicated enough to put in the time and effort it takes to look "ripped". It doesn't help that almost all of my coworkers are very serious lifters, so pretty much every day I'm reminded how much more dedicated and less lazy they are compared to me, and how that as a result I'll probably die alone.

That is, if I don't die while "running" the Baltimore Half-Marathon next month. I had thought about doing it, in the same sort of "things I've thought about but almost certainly will never do" way I've thought about quitting my job and going to law school or of buying a used 1987 Bentley Mulsanne off of eBay. But I was killing time online while babysitting my parents last month, and visited the website - and noticed that the half-marathon was almost sold out. So I signed up. At least I'll get a t-shirt out of it. I've never done anything resembling running, and routinely get laughed at when I try. So I don't have a lot of hope. I figure I'm probably going to be walking it more than running or jogging, and I'll be happy if i manage to finish in the 5.5 hours before they start kicking people off the course. I probably should actually try to do some outdoor running, given that the closest thing I've done is my daily 90 minute Precore workouts, which take place in a climate-controlled gym full of TV's, and fall several miles short of 13.3 miles. But I figure it's one of those things I should try once, and maybe I'll actually enjoy it or not completely suck at it - but I doubt it, since I generally suck at almost everything I've tried doing.


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