Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's Talk About Health Baby - Volume 1

Well I haven't done a working out blog in quite a while, so here is a stab at it. I do have some interesting information that someone might like, so bear with me during the boring parts {or as some would say 99%} of the blog. Let me preface this for people that are new, that I am reasonable called a body builder, but not freakish as one would usually equate a body builder to be. The terminology “body builder” simply means that I use anaerobic exercise to achieve my goals in the gym. Anaerobic is the use of weight to achieve larger muscles, as opposed to repetitive activity to achieve a higher heart rate which is the basis for aerobic exercise. I have my reasons, but for my body type and experience I do a lot better with the theory that “bigger muscles burn more fat” to meet my physical goals. I also like to be bigger than people.

Let's get another thing out of the way for those that might be in the “that's fine for people like you” camp, who often throw stones at people like me. I don't have any sympathy for anyone that has a poor attitude towards bodybuilding for any reason. I am intelligent {despite what my detractors on the other side of the political isle might say} I have health issues that should preclude me from weight lifting {blown out disk in my lower spine, early onset arthritis, surgically repaired knee} and I completely lack the time that most people would use an excuse to NOT do it {full time job with an hour of driving time each way, 3 kids and NO spouse}. With all that pointed out, I simply can't get into the pity me, hate you, nobody understands attitudes that many spread around, but always try to help out when someone needs it. This is because I also completely understand that we were all new once, and muscle working is confusing on it's best days from those that even know what they are doing.

Now with all of that said, I have always had to answer the question from when I had left college on, as to why I don't earn a living in the health industry. It's very simple actually, because I don't have the temperament required to deal with people on the level that my training entails. I have no problem admitting that failure, because I have no problem admitting ANY of my failures. I simply attempted it for about 2 months and realized that I just don't have it. I moved on to become a factory worker, and I was perfectly happy with getting a paycheck and benefits, because some people are Chiefs and some people are Indians. I personally think it takes a much higher level of enlightenment to admit that you are just an Indian and perfectly happy with it. The problem is that I am still theoretically brilliant about diet, nutrition, exercise, body building, and various other things around the whole gym arena. This sets up a whole new set of issues, because my “lack of professional experience” doesn't give way to my “wealth of practical experience” and in the gym I am considered a valuable resource to most, and make a lot of friends by being cheerful and helpful when asked, but it doesn't translate so well when I am writing about it. On that note I do get props from a few people because all of my experience was cultivated on an important test subject, myself.

Now of course my body building experience goes like this. I worked out to bulk up when I was too small for the college hockey team. Thanks to magazines like Muscle & Fitness and Flex {hey this was the early 90's} I went from 130 lbs of speed {fear of being caught by a goon makes a hockey player wicked fast} to 160 lbs of lean and sinewy muscle. This was when I had decided that “Foods & Dudes” should be my major because it was what I was doing anyway. Two years later I had an associates in “Foods & Dudes” and a few months later I had a Certified Personal Trainer {CFP} certificate. Two months after that I had quit the life of trying to teach people that aren't listening to me anyway to listen to me, and was working in a factory. Simple enough? I was still working out but half ass-edly, and would every year or so go back to the gym to lose what spare tire I had been accumulating, but never anything major. People would either get jealous or impressed by how quickly I could shed weight, but that was again because I could {through instinct} change a diet, and a workout routine in an educated fashion on the drop of a hat and get results. Again, simple enough?

Well let's move along about 12 years and we see a fat dumb and happy Jeremy Crow, married, three kids, 210 lbs and not a care in the world about his health or well being. Sure he knew better but what did he care, he had everything he wanted. He had his air conditioned job, sitting at a desk, trailer home {shut up some of us started small} and a wife that he was going to spend the rest of his life with. Now we need to note that there are TWO major life changing events that required me to place my life back into a different balance from where it had slothily ended up, and there were two distinct reasons for this. Here is where the first came into play, and without getting into the entire dynamics of it, I came down with chicken pox {at 31} and my wife left me for another guy and took the kids. This was all within weeks of each other for those that don't know. This is how I know I was 210 lbs because that was the official weight when I went into the hospital. I came out of the hospital at 190 lbs 2 weeks later, and a pretty good inkling that my wife was cheating on me but I tried to ignore it. It got hard to ignore when she basically told me that she wanted me to leave.

Insanity is a good friend to a bodybuilder. Well actually insanity is a great friend to a dieter, but I use bodybuilding as my diet program so lets just call it that. I had a few problems I had to deal with at the time, pox scars, a shaved head from the pox, and I was horribly out of shape. I was out of shape in two ways, because I was overweight and because I was amazingly weak from the two weeks of Zoster Pneumonia. I hated myself like you couldn't even imagine and not being able to pick up my daughter {who was 6 months old and the only thing she ever wanted was to be picked up} made me feel like less of a man completely. Complete and utter insanity took me from fat, dumb, gentle, and happy to angry, determined, fierce, and violent in about 1 day. I immediately went to the local GNC bought every diet pill they had {the good ones with Ephedra} and started a psycho drama at the gym from the beginning when I looked pitiful bench pressing 50 lbs, weight 190, and dumping diet pills like they were Pez to 6 months later when I had {in between} dropped to 138 lbs and bulked up to 170 lbs, veiny, scary, temperamental, exercise bulimic, and throwing around weight that looked awkward compared to my relative size. I was no better off at all, but I looked good.

Thanks to the miracle drug called Celexa my doctor managed to get me to mellow out. Granted, I had to be arrested for killing a person's dog {pit bull that actually attacked me at the beach, charges were dropped but the police were a bit worried about the self righteous attitude I portrayed .. go figure} I managed to bridge the insanity and start carrying on with my life. I started slipping away from my 3 hours of gym time a day, and other things came up that interfered with Jeremy the Freak. Namely the custody battle for my children. Long story read the past blogs, but it changed my time constraints. As a couple of years progressed I had managed to get myself healthy but reasonable. This was when I managed to get a whole pile of life lessons dumped on me, that brought me back to the gym, and this time it was against my will.

I happened into a new job out of desperation of losing the job before it {I hated it and in a temper tantrum quit .. how's that for honesty} and after being unemployed for a month, which is a VERY long time for me, I ended up with a all back and no brain job, which I was always good at anyway. To make a long story short, the brain wasn't used and the back gave out. I herniated a disk in my back really badly and reported it to my boss. He sent me to the “Sports Medicine” facility that they use instead of a real doctor, and they didn't have an appointment time available, and I got sent back to work. Brilliant huh? Through the wonderful method of “do it or don't have a job” I was given “light duty” jobs for the rest of the day until I could get to the appointment for my emergency. Let's get something strait here but the back is a very complex part of the human body, and what might be “light duty” for a broken hand, or a sprained ankle isn't exactly feasible for a herniated disk. By the end of the day I had fully ruptured the disk in my spine and one of my vertebrae was now out of joint and rubbing against my spinal cord. I went to the idiot {yes idiot} at the Sports Medicine facility who X-Rayed my spine and then showed me how the disk was missing, and it was because I smoked. He sent me back to work.

The next day when I woke up I was paralyzed from the waist down. I called into work stating that I wouldn't be in because I was paralyzed. Think about that? The HR director called me back {seriously think about this?} and said that if I didn't come into work I would lose my workers comp because the Doctor {idiot} said I was fine to go into work. I called her every name in the book {and trust me she is a militant feminist so this is unacceptable} and told her I was calling a lawyer. Her attitude changed all of a sudden? I was wisked away to the Sports Medicine facility again for an MRI where the new Doctor {also an idiot} discovered that my disk was completely ruptured, he painfully adjusted my spine which made my legs work again painfully and the smoking caused it. I started calling a lawyer on the spot with my cell phone and after a chat with the doctor he decided that perhaps some of what had gone on the day before might have caused it. Then the “punishment” phase of my treatment began.

Very angrily I was forced into a physical therapy program with the “Sports Medicine” people that my own education told me was wrong mostly. Every step of the way my job and my insurance was threatened if I didn't complete the program. The company then took away my job, and made a new position for me as the company janitor, which immediately made me dreadfully ill on top of all the other hell. Cleaning when you don't actually know what you are doing will give you all kinds of bacterias and whatnot. After a while the insurance company demanded that I get the stress testing to find out what level of health I could attain, and despite my insistence that it was WAY TOO EARLY, they went through and I was labeled as permanent medium duty with a maximum lifting requirement of 65 lbs. The HR director immediately made all of the job qualifications for any position in the company a minimum lifting requirement of 70 lbs, and then capped the salary of the job I was at at company minimum. Well I got even with all of them along the way so I won't go into that here because it is written out in other blog entries, but this is all important to the story here so I bored you with it. Where I was at at this point in my life was crippled with 3 dependents and no real choices, so I made the best of it. Within 3 years I was again fat, dumb, and with the caveat of being miserable instead of happy.

Of course my “writing” career had taken off during this period, so that is a plus. My griping about how unfair the world was intermixed with good cheer and humor about it all was at one time very appealing to a lot of people. I was still miserable because I was pathetic looking, lonely, and without any hope. Again it was more anger than insanity that made me start looking into various legalities around my whole situation. By being the good person, lacking the sue happy mentality that most people have I had lost any legal reprisal that I really had in it all, but to be honest with you I still hate the thought of suing my way to happiness, but I had also found out something else that fell under the same cloud. They had no legal ramifications against me either. Thanks to my “permanent medium duty” status I was a “protected handicapped individual with tenure” and they couldn't dictate my out of work behavior, even if it went against my “work restrictions.” I had said before that I had gotten revenge on my forced poverty and actually am one of the overpaid people in the company now, so I had no intentions of quitting, but I had every intention of changing my status as a pathetic out of shape “half man” as I saw it.

Back to the gym I went. As I was now approaching 40 I thought of it as a diabolical style experiment with a lot of bodybuilding theories that I had when I was younger, like “regeneration” theory. Younger people have to work out harder because their cells regenerate so fast that they can deal with muscle damage before growth is necessitated. Us older folks don't regenerate so fast so with about half the effort we can get better muscle gains. Guess what? I was right! With a simple 45 minute a day split system I get musculature gains that make the younger folks in the gym quite jealous. Neener neener neener. More importantly I had gone from a 195 lb shlub with a belly and 33” jeans down to a svelt 160 lb macho shlub with a 30” waist in about 2 months with NO diet pills. Again it IS easier for me because I know what I am doing, but it is still impressive. After 18 months of being faithful to my workout load and experimenting with my supplementation, I am at 190 {still with a 30” waist mind you} and still getting impressive results as long as I stay faithful. My ego can get out of control at times, but yanno what? I earned that with hard work and perseverance! For those that are there when I screw up, you can screw yourselves when I don't and want my kudos even if I am only giving them to myself. I think from here on out I will incorporate more health and bodybuilding articles into my blogs for anyone that wants to read that sort of thing. There's no real reason to hoard knowledge and experience, and there is no real excuse to not learn from those that share it. Sometimes I do yearn to be an actual power of example and not just a negative one after all.