Sunday, October 26, 2014

The making of an action hero, Training time

You know all those movie montages where the hero pumps himself up just in time for the boss fight? I love those scenes. The hero grimly suffers through all manner of indignities for his principals. I feel like that right now.

So, 3 weeks into operation meet the Gym and things are going well. It’s easier for me to do 2 hours of exercise 3 times a week than 45 minutes of exercise 2-4 times a week especially when the activity is somewhere away from food, and computer, and books, and distractions. Squish and I are done with our initial orientation. We’ve walked through all the options. We’ve set up a routine.

• Tuesday is weights on the pneumatic machines, abs, and 30 minutes of cardio.

• Thursday is boxing cardio for an hour on the heavy bag, light cardio on the elliptical, and abs.

• Weekend is one day of hard cardio on the elliptical, Clubs, light sparring on the heavy bag, and one other random item if time permits.

I’d be happier with this set up if I had boxing basics down. Throwing a punch is easy. Throwing a punch correctly is complicated. Your stance is really important. You need to keep your wrist straight. You need to hit the bag with the correct part of your fist. Each kind of punch, uppercut, jab, hook, is a full body exercise with specific form. I’ve gone through 3 classes now. I bought my own gloves for added protection—the gym ones smelled terrible and didn’t fit well. My hand isn’t in pain the day after an hour of bag-work—which is good. I’m getting a great workout—which is better.

I have a lot to learn and…I’m not sure how I’m going to learn it. My concern is partly safety related. I don’t want to injure myself using poor technique. I could go easy on the bag, but it’s difficult to do that—especially when you’re not always sure exactly where the target is. I don’t want to go into actual boxing. I do want to use proper technique. I don’t see the point of doing these things half way. Squish has tried to teach me with some success. I may just have to buy some time with an instructor to work on form. It isn’t sexy, but better that than hurt myself.

Oddly, I’ve come to love cardio. Typically I have two responses to exercise. Either I do it because it’s a part of a routine which has an outcome I value or because I love the process. My efforts before the gym definitely fell into the former category. The gym work falls mainly into the latter. When I’m just standing there moving for the sake of moving, I need music to get my blood running. I need something to distract me from the monotony of what I’m doing. There are points such as when I find myself in perfect physical harmony taking a shot on the range, moving at peak performance on the elliptical, or getting the combination right on the heavy bag when something just “clicks.” You become poetry in motion—even if it’s just in your head—and suddenly the physical side of things is less important. I like the tired feeling after a good workout. I enjoy being able to tell people that I really really exercised. Mostly though it’s about striving for that moment, that mental high and making it last. For whatever reason it’s easier to get to that point at the gym than at home.

The best thing I can say health wise is that I haven’t been able to handle this much intense exercise in a long long time. I am stronger, tougher, and in less pain than in the past. The diet thing is still not up-to-par though. This weekend is our eight year wedding anniversary. I’m going to sit down with the brunette and discuss what we can/will eat that will complement our efforts. I’ve given myself something of a pass while I’m adjusting to the gym and she’s adjusting to work, but that only goes so far. Time to pick things up. When the ninjas come for me, I need to be ready.

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