Tag Archives: goals

A banner week around Chez Bastard

I had a great week this week. Among the highlights:

  • Did three sessions in the weight room
  • Deadlifted 176 lbs, a new PR
  • Benched 123 lbs, a new PR
  • Ran 3 8ks, despite foul weather, fatigue, and general grumpiness.

Altogether, a successful week for me. The strange thing is that when I first started running and going to the gym, I had to talk myself into getting there. I’d have this mental dialogue with myself and it went as follows:

“Yes, body?”
“We took a vote down here, and we think this whole running thing and gym time is bullshit. We’d rather sit around eat cake.”
“Now listen, you guys aren’t in charge. I’m the brain. I’m in charge. I say we go out for a run.”
“Lefty says that’d be a bad idea.”
“Who’s lefty?”
“You know, lefty — the left leg.”
“Why would it be a bad idea?”
“Lefty says he’s a bit sore, and that maybe putting him up on a pillow would be nice. He also thinks we should have pie, not cake.”
“Lefty is fine. We’re all fine. Now quit bellyaching and get moving, you idiots are too lazy and nobody’s paying you to eat cake.”
“But — ”
“If we don’t work out, we’re going vegan. No pie, no cake, no bacon.

Nowadays, things are different. Twice, I’ve gone through the mental conversation, and have really just been telling myself that maybe today is the day to slow down, and take a break, and maybe I don’t really need to go hit the gym or go for a run. Here’s the weird part: both times, while having this conversation, I was walking to the gym, or getting my running gear on. Both times, despite thinking it’d be not a horrible idea to not run, my body wouldn’t have it: the habit kicked in, and I still hit the gym, or went for the run.

It’s fun reaching the point where working out is easier than staying in. I don’t know if it’ll last, but for now, I love it.

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Monday Morning Wake-Up: Training for Tomorrow’s Story

This is another reason we train, and also why we go to work. Welcome to monday morning.

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Keeping fitness interesting: milestones and new challenges

This was a week of progression and change for me, exercise-wise. Each one of these milestones is just a small step towards the larger goal of becoming the healthiest bastard around. But to reach that goal, I need to keep it interesting and vibrant; that’s where milestones and new exercises come on.

I hit my first milestone hit on Tuesday, where I managed an 8k run. I’m super proud of it because it’s another distance milestone for me, and a long way off from that 1km run I had to walk after, back in November. All these weeks of running, pushing through the tiredness, and just going, no matter how cranky it makes me feel are slowly paying off. Check out the run right here.

Also, yesterday, I started in on the second set of new weight exercises for weeks 5-8 of my workout plan. This was a good suite of exercises, dumbbell squats, decline pushups, lat pulldowns, bent-arm lateral raise and external rotation (tough, wow, even with light weight), and finally, the dreaded single-leg side plank, which I could barely achieve. Even with all the planking and side planking I’ve done already, this was barely doable.

Finally I managed 30 minutes of jogging on the treadmill in the Vibrams yesterday, as cooldown for the workout and as a big part of my ongoing efforts to train my feet towards minimalist running…though I intend to do it slowly. Very slowly.

Each of these changes are what makes the process of fitness fun, and not a boring punishment: I’m either hitting a goal I had my eye on before, like the running distance milestone, or the vibram times, or I’m trying to master a new skill, like single-leg side planks. By shifting my focus from trying to achieve specific actions, rather than just doing the same thing, over and over, I keep my brain engaged and keep the mind ready to keep going. It’s not a bad way to train, I have to say.

This will be a quiet weekend of exercise for me, as I’m heading out to a cabin in the woods for a stag party. I’m sure there’ll be hiking, and maybe some disc golf, but exercise-wise, it’s going to be a long two days until Monday. But I’m looking forward to Monday already.

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Healthy Bastard’s Road to Fitness Part 3: Tracking & Numbers

How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are? While this seems like a simple question, it’s amazing how many people start out on a fitness regimen without a clear idea of how they’re going to track their body changes. For most people, they are going to rely upon nothing more than the number they get when they stand on a scale: body-weight. Worst number for fitness tracking ever.

HB's Running data

The reason your weight is a bad number to track is because it fluctuates according a lot of variables; your fat stores, your muscle content, how much water you retain (which is, in turn, affected by factors like salt in your diet), hormone levels, and so on. People end up freaking out and losing hope because after three weeks of steady downward numbers on the scale, they’re faced with a three to five pound uptick. They instantly feel like all their work has been wiped out, and start to wonder why they’re wasting their time. Of course, they’re not wasting their time at all. The uptick was progress, but they didn’t recognize it. So what’s the solution? That’s pretty easy, measure your fitness, not your fatness.

When I started losing weight a few months ago, I wanted to have something concrete beyond the scale to work with. I knew that, in the past, relying solely upon the scale to track your fitness just doesn’t work. Losing weight can be bad, because you can be losing muscle, not fat. Similarly, gaining weight can be good, because you can gain muscle at the expense of fat. ‘ve heard more than a few people say that what they find frustrating about running is that they decide to be a runner. So they go out, they run a few times a week, but the instant they miss a day, they feel like a failure. The problem is not that they “failed,” per se, it’s that they didn’t do three things: benchmark themselves, set goals, and measure progress. So how do you do that, exactly? And what other things can you track that will give you a real idea of what your body is actually doing?

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Healthy Bastard’s Road to Fitness Part 2: Exercise

I’ve been having a discussion with a friend of mine  who is a new father and was an avid runner until he became a father. However, life being what it is, he has found he has little time for running anymore, and is slowly getting out of shape. So he’s planning on getting back into shape, but doesn’t have a lot of time to do it.

We’ve been talking a lot about it over e-mail, and he’s been recently interested on what I have been doing with myself lately. So what -have- I been doing with myself lately? In a nutshell, I’ve been exercising since about Nov. 14th. But what does that look like, given that i was totally sedentary at the time?

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Interrupted routines and how to survive them

This last week was a busy one around here at Healthy Bastard. Exams to write, social engagements, the constant work of life…it can get overwhelming. Because I had procrastinated earlier this month, I was under some deadlines for school, and I had to choose between the gym and my education.

I chose education. That meant I missed three days of my routine this week, two lifting days and one running day. Oof. Does this mean that I’m no longer a gym goer? Does it mean I lack discipline? No, it doesn’t.

One of the things that everybody runs into when changing their diet or their exercise regimen is interruptions. So here you are, you have this great plan to eat right every day of the week, to hit the gym three or four times a week, without fail, and to keep it up. No excuses! No retreat!

We all talk like that, either to our friends or just to ourselves. But the reality is that eventually, life will outpace you. You will not be able to hit the gym on Monday morning, like you have been doing for three weeks. You will not be able to go grocery shopping and start your week off with a full meal plan and your fridge stocked up. Sometimes, life just gets busy.

I’ve been the guy who has started and stopped routines in the past. You work so hard, for weeks or months, and then you get knocked off your game, your streak gets wiped out, and boom, that’s it; your motivation is gone. This is the point where many people quit; where they say, “Okay, I’ve had enough. I’m just the sort of person that can do this.”

And every time, they’re wrong.

You see, even the best athletes know that discipline isn’t about never falling down; it’s about standing back up again.

Photo Courtesy Severin Sadjina

So what do you do when your routine is a mess, you’re behind on your meal plan, or you’ve just blown your calorie limit?

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