Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The New Normal

This is how God tells Jeremy to do Cardio!
With age and physical progress comes a certain "reset" period and the understanding of whether or not it actually is a "new normal" or not. This is very complicated if you are just starting to comprehend what is an honest to goodness "new normal" and what is just a case of wishful thinking. It also depends on how you actually view yourself, and what did, or did not, go into the state in which your body is in, at any given place in your personal history. Of the three types of physical attitudes, the greatest is without a doubt "ignorance" or the ability to look at yourself no matter how you actually look, and feel perfectly fine with that. Then there are the two types which qualify a health enthusiast, overly critical and overly optimistic. I am both of the other two depending on what place in my health journey I am in. I may be crossing the line between critical to optimistic if my own personal experiences can be applied and can replace the voice in my head that actually hates me.

Here's what I know about myself. Last year around this time (well actually a bit later in the year) my ideal, ripped up weight was around 165 lbs. I was able to plump out to about 185 lbs. Then fall below 180 in a couple of weeks, and for the most part watch my weight decline for a couple of months until I was at my goal. My reality right now is that I was able to bulk up to about 195 this year, and it has taken me a good month and a half to fall to around 180. As a matter of fact I have been grumpy with the way I have stayed between 184 and 180 for a couple of weeks now, no matter how I diet. It's frustrating, and I can't figure out if I have finally reached "that age" or I am just slacking and not being honest with myself. Of course there is another explanation that I am pondering today, and I can only do that because I understand myself and have years of trends to back up all of this.

When you understand your body (as I do, and I say that with all humility, but many of you have seen me analyze these things for many years) you know the "feel" of losing bodyfat. I carry all of my extra weight on my waist just like most men (the spare tire) and more over I carry it behind me. I call them my "back boobs" that grow just above my rear end to the point that I could wear a bra with them. It's good in the sense that when I am overweight I can actually hide it, and rely on my big arms, and wide back to hide the girth around the middle. When I finally reach that point where it is time to shrink, then my pants get almost painful around the waist. That used to happen around 185, and this year happened around 195. It never really dawned on me to be honest with you, that all of the extra work I had done on my legs and ass this last year appears to have paid off. As I sit here right now with an extra inch of waist room, and the legs of my pants are very constricting, it should have been obvious.

The moral of this story actually is something I have been saying for many years now, and often. Don't trust your scale. Sometimes heavier actually does mean healthier. In my case if I hadn't realized this (and yes I still need to shred about 5 to 10 lbs) I could have gone into a spiral that would have caused me to diet to the point of losing all of my hard work (the muscle) and not being very happy with myself anyway. Of course my new favorite workout (throwing on a 20 lb weight vest and walking 5K) is probably adding to the shift. Just remember to do what makes you feel better and pay attention to the warning signs that you actually are losing fat. Trust your mirror and not your scale!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 253

Crow's #Gym Vol. 253
The only person you can improve is you. Never follow the expectations of others when you work out, because you may find that you are ignoring what could possibly be your best feature, As long as you can look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say, "Boy you look better," then you are doing your best. Your best IS good enough!

Gym Term of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Term Dictionary ..
Recovery Cycle
The process between workouts during which the body flushes out fatigue toxins, restores muscle glycogen, repairs itself, and increases in hypertrophy. The length of this cycle varies from as little as 48 hours to as much as one full week, and perhaps more. Recovery is enhanced by sufficient sleep and proper nutrition.

Exercise of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Encyclopedia of Chest Exercises ..
Reverse Fly (BowFlex Standing)
Shoulder Horizontal Abduction (elbows stabilized in slight flexion)
Muscles worked: This exercise emphasizes the back portion of the shoulder muscles (the rear deltoids and the rear portion of the middle deltoids) as well as the trapezius and rhomboids.
Pulley position: Narrow only.
Starting position:
• Remove the bench and stand on the platform facing the Power Rods®, and feet flat on the floor.
• Grasp the handles with your palms facing toward the floor and arms nearly straight.
• Stand up straight and then bend slightly forward from the hips (not the spine) until arms/cables are in front of body at a 90 degree angle to your torso.
• Lift chest and pinch shoulder blades together.
Motion:
• Maintaining the same slight bend in your arms, move your arms outward and backward, keeping a 90 degree angle between your upper arms and the sides of your torso.
• Move until your elbows are slightly behind your shoulders, then slowly reverse the motion keeping the rear shoulder muscles tightened during the entire motion.
Key points:
• Maintain a 90 degree angle between your upper arms and the sides of your torso during the exercise.
• For normal pulling /rowing patterns of movement you may choose to allow the shoulder blades to "float" forward and backward naturally with the arm movement, or for increased rear deltoid involvement you may keep the shoulder blades "pinched" together throughout both the forward and backward movements.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Doctor Always Gets Me in the End


A few months back I found myself on a porn star's Google + page reading her posts. It's not like I am a stalker or anything (although her G+ page is a lot better than her Twitter or Facebook page, and her LinkedIN needs a lot of work) but she had a long post about the prep that she has to go through before she can do an anal sex scene. Amusingly enough what fascinated me about it was that it was the exact same procedure that I have to go through before my colonoscopy. I felt a little bit for her, because at least they knock me unconscious before they start inserting things into my rear end. All in all I also only have to go through this every three years.

At 46 years old and just having undergone my second colonoscopy, I probably don't have to tell you what they found in my last colonoscopy. For the record if you haven't gone for one of these yet, when they say "sign here if it is ok for us to dispose of anything we find" don't be an idiot and sign. Some things just can't be unseen. Well with that being said the last time they were in there they found a rather large pre-cancerous cyst that I had been ignoring for a few years despite the fact that I was bleeding out my rear end for pretty much that entire time. Thing was actually taking up a lot of room too, so needless to say it is a lot more comfortable on you when they get those things out of there regardless.

This put me on the "three year" plan for doing the whole porn star prep procedure, and it sucks quite a bit. Don't eat nuts, seeds or raw vegetables for three days (the bulk of my diet) don't eat anything for 24 hours (people who have seen me eat realize that alone is torture) then start dumping laxatives, gatoraid, mirolax and anything else that will flush the system for that 24 hour period. Then no liquids or anything whatsoever for three hours prior. By the time I finally get into the surgical center I am so dehydrated that my throat hurts, my lips are chapped, my eyes are swollen and of course I get the last surgery of the day, and it is over an hour late when I get in there. Another fun Friday for me, but at least I did this at the end of a two week vacation, so it was slightly less painful.

On a brighter note to all of this the doctor got in there and found absolutely nothing, minus a few hemorrhoids (oh bite me we all have those) and was not only able to write me a clean bill of health, but put me on the 5 year plan like the rest of the adults. Thankfully this will get me past 50 where my colonoscopies are completely paid for by my insurance (who said 21 was the last good birthday). Yes I got to pay 300 and some odd dollars for the ordeal because I am under 50, but then again I was under 50 with pre cancerous cysts in my ass. The ramifications of that, if I hadn't taken the right course could have been permanent, and extremely awful. I've had to watch a few family members die of colon cancer, and I assure a little discomfort every few years is worth the avoidance.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 252

Crow's #Gym Vol. 252
You're never to fat to get fit, and worse yet, you're never to fit to get fat. I have remade myself so many times that it isn't really that much of a challenge for me anymore, but with age comes a longer period of changing. Alas don't let the fact that you have gotten out of shape get in the way of getting in shape again. Hell, you know how to do it after all, so all you have to do is start doing it!

Gym Term of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Term Dictionary ..
Quality Training
A type of workout used just prior to a competition in which the lengths of rest intervals between sets are progressively reduced to increase overall training intensity and to help further define the physique.

Exercise of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Encyclopedia of Chest Exercises ..
Triceps Kickback (BowFlex Indy Arm Upright)
Muscles worked: This exercise emphasizes the triceps muscles located on the back of the upper arms.
Pulley position: Lat tower.
Starting position:
• Remove the bench and stand facing the Power Rods®.
•Grasp a handle in each hand with your palms facing downward..
• Keeping your elbow bent, bring your upper arm to your side, and your forearms parallel to the ground.
Motion:
• Straighten elbow while keeping your upper arm completely still.
* Unlike a push down you will need to drive your arms behind your back creating more pressure on the triceps.
• When arm is completely straight, slowly return to the starting position.
Key points:
• Maintain spinal alignment.
• Keep your arm at your side and your wrist straight throughout entire motion.
• Tighten the triceps throughout the exercise and control the motion.

Monday, December 12, 2016

#MotivatedMonday Revisited


Well folks a three month round of depression is hopefully coming to an end. On my vacation I was shocked to find out that I am a whopping 30 lbs overweight now, and it is time for me to kick it up a notch. I did it before and I can do it again right? Well ok we have all seen me do it several times over the last couple of years so all I have to do is get with it. Today is day two in a row. You have to start somewhere?

Two days, two salads, four yoghurts and a couple of protein shakes. The real ordeal has been in the sleeping pattern that I changed to placate someone who really doesn't care when it gets down to it, so I needed to go back to the sleeping pattern that someone who does care about me (meaning me) likes to be on. I just don't function in normal time and I am happy to re-admit this. I need to get up every day, workout, eat a healthy breakfast and then go about my day. No more of this get up, eat crap I pick up on my way to work (in a hurry of course) and hopefully work out in the afternoon. That is if I wasn't too exhausted to do so. It was all bullshit, and I am not playing the game anymore.

Here's to what has been a great today, and after my last night of bowling league tonight I will be settling back into my normal, healthy pattern of getting up at 3am and throwing weight around. It's me against the world folks ...

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 251

Crow's #Gym Vol. 251
As soon as you learn the difference between the various types of "junk food" the better you will feel. Seriously, there are certain foods that are wholly unnecessary, but a lot of different "junk foods" will make your life easier, and even add something to your health. Let's not go into the benefits of a quick and easy snack and just talk about how you feel. Something as easy as those greasy corn chips, can set my digestion straight a lot quicker than any supplement I have ever found. Of course moderation is needed, but feel free to test junk food, even if it is just to put a smile on your face.

Gym Term of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Term Dictionary ..
Quadratus Lumborum Muscle
The quadratus lumborum or QL is a common cause of back pain which is to one side and comes on after lifting or twisting.

Exercise of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Encyclopedia of Chest Exercises ..
Upright Row (BowFlex Standard)
Scapular Elevation (with elbow flexion)
Muscles worked: The primary muscles emphasized are the upper trapezius and associated smaller muscles of the region. Also Anterior and Medial deltoids, Biceps, Brachioradialis
Pulley position: Narrow or wide.
Starting position:
• Remove the bench and stand on the platform facing the Power Rods®. Reach down and grasp the handles with the palms facing each other or facing backward, as comfort dictates.
• Let your arms hang extending in the direction of the pulleys.
• Stand up straight with a slight bend at the knees.
Motion:
1. Pull the handles directly upwards towards your chin, bending your elbows out to the sides until your wrists are level with your neck.
2. Hold for a count of two; then slowly lower the handles back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your hands very close to your body throughout the movement.
• Make sure you do not sway forwards as you lift the grips.
• At the top of the movement your elbows should be level with, or slightly higher than, your hands.
• Lower the grips slowly, resisting the weight.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: Vol. 250

Crow's #Gym Vol. 250
Do you get a little self conscious at the gym? Find yourself waiting forever for equipment? The best advice I think I can give anyone when they are new is to pick the right time to go to the gym. If you show up at 5 pm or 6 am then you have picked the best times to wait, be crowded out in the locker room, and for the most part be completely frustrated. Unless of course you are one of the people who just like to go to the gym to socialize and check out the opposite sex. Find a way to get to the gym at the off hours and it will be a much easier time for you. Especially when you are new and timid.

Gym Term of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Term Dictionary ..
Pump Set
A high - rep set, usually in the range of 15 to 20 repetitions, of a basic exercise which is done after a peak weight has been handled in that movement. Usually a pump set is the last one done on a particular basic movement. A pump set is also sometimes called a down set.

Exercise of the Day from The Health Whacko Gym Encyclopedia of Chest Exercises ..
Row (PowerBlocks Single Arm Kneeling)
Target Muscles: Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, Infraspinatus, Teres major and minor, Biceps, Posterior deltoids
Starting Position:
1. Hold a PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) in your right hand, palm facing your body.
2. Bend forwards from the hips, placing your left hand and knee on a bench to stabilize yourself. Your back should be flat and almost horizontal and your right arm fully extended.
The Movement:
1. Pull the PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) up towards your waist, drawing your elbow back as far as it can go. Keep the PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) close to your body.
2. Allow the PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) to touch your rib cage lightly. Pause for a count of one; then slowly lower the PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) until your arm is fully extended.
3. After completing the required number of repetitions, perform the exercise with your left arm.
Tips:
• Keep your lower back flat and still- do not twist your trunk.
• Make sure you row the PowerBlock (or Dumbbell) to the side of your rib cage - do not pull the PowerBlock (oe Dumbbell) up to your shoulder.