Tag Archives: working out

Mile 1871: The Stages of Pizza Deprivation

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“If it was up to me
I would’ve figured you out.”
–Coheed and Cambria, “The Suffering”

Miles Since Last Time: 130
Total Miles: 1871

At the start of the “Just Say No” 21-Day Challenge two weeks ago, I was feeling pretty smug with my flawless argument that pizza is not a fast food. The next day, someone pointed out to me that pizza has white bread, which I can’t have anyway during the challenge. So there’s that.

This realization was a bit depressing to say the least. My affection for pizza is such that you might almost call me a human version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—except I’m not a teenager, I’ve never come into contact with radioactive material (besides my cell phone), I am not acquainted with the ninja arts, and I’m not amphibious. I mean, you could say that I have a shell, but that’s really more of a figurative thing.

Anyway, I like-a the pizza. I have no problem admitting that it’s probably an issue I should be concerned about, and I’m not surprised that I’ve gone through what I’m calling “pizza deprivation” over the last two weeks.

Flat-out Denial
But…but…pizza crust isn’t considered bread, though, right? Even that pizza with the pretzel crust? I’m kind of on the fence about it anyway, but maybe—no? Oh, okay.

Recognizing Your Limitations
Maybe I could make my own pizza without white bread! No…no…I’m probably not going to do that. Cooking is pretty stressful.

Disproportionate Rage
THE ONLY WAY TO CURE A STUBBED TOE IS PIZZA EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

Remembering Your Childhood
Times were simpler then. I could just sit and watch Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers—hey, why isn’t that on Netflix by now? Or Gargoyles? Or Talespin? Or Doug? Or Darkwing DuckIf there’s room for Super Mario Bros. Super Show, there’s definitely room for all of those.

(I may or may not have wanted to be Gadget as a kid–not that I’ve grown out of it or anything.)

Obsessive Counting Down Until Pizza Can Return to Your Diet
Seven days…

Yes, it’s been rough, but I think I’m going to make it. The prognosis is good.

I’ve also retained enough sanity to realize that the return of white bread needs to be a reduced return. I’ve lost six and a half pounds in the last two weeks, so I think that’s what my body is trying to tell me anyway. It only makes sense.

Pizza and I will just have to rethink our relationship.

 

Mile 1560: A Bug’s Life

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“Nice to meet you.
Now go away.”
–Weatherbox, “Pagan Baby”

Miles Last Week: 59
Total Miles: 1560

At my gym, the cardio equipment faces a line of windows. On Saturday mornings, there’s really not a lot to look at other than the guy cleaning the litter out of the parking lot and birds scavenging for a meal.

Yesterday, though, I spent much of my elliptical-ing watching a beetle on the sidewalk outside. (There’s really not a lot to look at, okay?) This particular beetle’s back leg on the right side stuck out an angle I could kindly describe as “wrong,” and the poor thing was having trouble balancing its little black body. After I noticed it, the beetle took a few wobbly steps and promptly tumbled onto its back.

Now, I am not typically sympathetic to the plight of the beetle. (I have sort of a ‘live and let live’ philosophy about a lot of bugs. As long as they stay outside and leave me alone, we’re cool. If they come inside or into my space, then we’re not cool–unless they’re across the room and I don’t want to get up. That’s okay, I guess.) But I couldn’t help but feel sorry for that disgusting little creature on the other side of the window as it waved its uninjured legs around frantically, fighting to correct itself.

And it did. I’m not sure how, but it pulled itself upright. That lopsided beetle took approximately three tiny steps before it toppled again.

Then it got up…and fell again. This up-and-down went on for a while. So long that I lost track of (or, if we’re being honest, interest in) the ongoing struggle, but a grasshopper sat in judgment about two feet away on the sidewalk–you know, as grasshoppers do.

By the time I finished working out, the beetle was gone.

If this insectile parable is not a metaphor for a lot of things in life, I don’t know what is. You wobble around, take a tumble, flail around blindly, get up, make a little progress, and fall over again. Meanwhile, some douchebag grasshopper is watching like, “Oh, I never fall over because I’M A GRASSHOPPER and my legs are far more stable than yours.”

I’ve never seen a grasshopper on its back–I’m assuming their legs prevent that sort of thing–but I have seen several fly into windows, which probably isn’t much better.

I digress.

The point is, if a physically unbalanced, five-legged beetle can make it in the world, so can the rest of us.

 

Mile 1501: Butthurt

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“Well, these days I’m fine.
No, these days I tend to lie.”
–Imagine Dragons, “Amsterdam”

Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 1501

Last month, I graded myself after finishing the 30-Day Ab Challenge. This month, though, I don’t have to go through that charade to know that I failed July’s 30-Day Butt Challenge. Actually, I didn’t even do the last week, so I guess I get an Incomplete.

So, for those keeping track, here’s my report card so far:

Planking=F
Abs=C
Butt=I

During the three challenges that I’ve…attempted (I can’t even say completed)…I’ve noticed two things.

1.) The numbers increase very quickly. Sure, you start out at 5 lunges, but then, just four weeks later, you’re up to 125. On each side. Plus three more exercises. That’s kind of a lot.

2.) The exercises start to take a long time. I’m just saying.

It’s not that I couldn’t have at least tried to finish the booty challenge–I just sort of dropped out at the end. The time-saving part of my brain won out and reasoned that I already average over 8.5 miles a day six times a week and, really, that should be enough sometimes, right?

Which is why I fail July. (I mean, “Incomplete” is basically code for “we just haven’t given you an F yet.”)

It’s also the inspiration for the August challenge–you know, since I’m doing these every month now. This is not an Internet-sanctioned challenge. It’s one I made up. Take that, Internet! I don’t need you…this time…

I’m calling it the 15-Minute Challenge, and it works exactly the way you would expect. Devote fifteen minutes a day to some exercise of your choosing. By my calculations, there are two big benefits to this particular test.

1.) Simplicity. You don’t have to worry about complicated things like calendars or counting. Just start the stopwatch app on your phone and go.

2.) FREEDOM! For this month, at least, gone are the shackles to one section of the body. I can lift weights. Do cardio. Have a leg day, an arm day. Paint my face blue and pretend to charge an army–whatever. But I’ve pretty much decided that it’ll probably mostly be upper body stuff.

Shootin’ for an A on this one–or at least finishing it so that I have a 50% completion rate.

Mile 1443: So You’re Feeling Discouraged

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“[guitar riff]”
–Muse, “Plug In Baby”

Miles Last Week: 50
Total Miles: 1443

It happens to everyone. You have a bad day (or week or month or whatever). Maybe you have a bad workout. Or your car dies while you’re driving eighty down the highway. Perhaps you think you might be recycling blog topics but are too lazy to look back through your archive. Or you’re not at San Diego Comic Con so you decide to coat everything you eat with cheese and dip it in ranch. You know, basic stuff.

For whatever reason, you fall into a rut. You feel down. You start to lose hope. It’s okay. Like I said, it happens to all of us.

There are lots of regular ways to try to pull yourself out of a funk (Think positive! Change your routine! Put a smile on your face!), but here are a few methods that are not so much in the ‘just be happy’ vein:

1.) Repress.
Just don’t think about it. Push any negativity down and deal with it in therapy in a decade or so, after it’s sent you into an emotional tailspin. When all else fails, procrastinate.

2.) Vent.
Okay, repression probably isn’t the most effective way to process your feelings. Have a good venting session with a sympathetic friend. Ice cream in the flavor of “stereotype” is optional.

3.) Drink more water.
As far as I know, there’s no scientific evidence that drinking more water will help your mood, but your increased trips to the bathroom will surely distract you from little things like emotions.

4.) Make something.
Write. Knit. Photograph. Paint. Construct. Nothing banishes discouragement like creativity.

5.) Take a nap.
Maybe you’re not discouraged. Maybe you’re just tired. Have a siesta.

6.) Have a cupcake. It won’t kill you.
Unless it will–in which case, don’t.

7.) Look at GIFs of British dudes.
I’m just saying…it makes me feel better.

Source

Tom Hiddleston’s famous snake hips. Source

Yes, there are lots of ways to feel better pull yourself out of a rut. However, it is important to remember that “looking at Comic Con tweets and pictures” is not on the list. That will just make you sad that you missed it again.

Oh, look–Cumberbatch.

 

Mile 1393: The Plight of the Uncoordinated

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“Tighten up on your reigns.
You’re running wild, running wild. It’s true.”
–The Black Keys, “Tighten Up”

Miles Last Week: 57
Total Miles: 1393

Can someone please explain to me how to do a proper squat without falling over?

For a couple of days over the last week, I’ve replaced lunges with squats to add some variety (ahem, to save time) during the booty challenge.

I’m familiar with the concept of the proper squat: back straight, thighs parallel with the floor, and knees not to extend over your toes. I just can’t seem to do all of this at the same time.

 

But really, how is she not falling backward? Source

But really, how is she not falling backward?
Source

If I keep my thighs parallel with the floor, my knees extend over my toes. If I keep my back straight, my thighs don’t stay parallel to the floor. If I keep my knees from extending over my toes, nothing does what it’s supposed to.

It’s like workout whack-a-mole.

Doing lunges is even worse. I look like someone trying to fake her way through a sobriety test in the wee hours of a stereotypical New Year’s morning.

Such is the lot in life for the massively uncoordinated. Normally, I’d just shrug and accept that I would never do squats or lunges perfectly,  and would your knees extending over your toes be the worst thing to happen, anyway?

But form is important–so is not falling over. After all, if you don’t do exercises correctly, you can hurt yourself. No one wants that. Sometimes you just have to suck it up (or in, as it were) and do it til you get it right.

It’s probably a core thing, right? It seems like it might be a core thing. Pretty much everything is a core thing.

Don’t make me go back to planking. I won’t do it.