Archive for September, 2010

The things we tell ourselves

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been a little discouraged. My workouts have been infrequent: once a week at crossfit, 3-4 miles of walk/run during the week with push-ups, sit-ups and squats in-between. Yes, it’s better than your average couch potato, but I’m dissatisfied.

It’s not that I’ve gone off the wagon. Aside from being treated to Morton’s Steakhouse by a friend celebrating my doctorate degree, my bread intake is low. I immediately turn away bread at restaurants; I ask for bunless burgers; I go for the wrap option if everything else has gluten. I did have some avocado fritters the other day as a cheat. But it’s not a half a pizza.

So I called my friend Matt, who has been my distant inspiration. We used to workout together back in divinity school. I admired the focus, intensity and intelligence of his choices. Even then he suggested the Zone diet, when I was a bit skeptical.

He reminded me that I don’t need to lose 40 lbs. I need to lose one. That these take small steps; that there is some joy in the discipline. He had given me some helpful advice several years ago: don’t watch Letterman – get out there.

Matt had reminded me about the philosophy of Kaizen. About two years ago I read a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life. I applied it successfully, using it to train for my first triathlon. I would walk every day, and run for one minute. Then two. Then three. By the time of the triathlon, I was able to do a 11 minute mile. I had started running slower than I walk. After eight months I was enjoying running – 20 lbs lighter, and able to sprint.

Then Matt pointed me to this article. The question to be asked: is it awesome? Is it awesome to spend my days on Facebook? Or to do Crossfit? Is it awesome to have a hangover? Or is it awesome to write the novel? Is sleep awesome? It’s almost like a 21st century “WWJD.” It’s the occam’s razor of getting off your ass and doing something.

The second insight I got today was from a woman in my crossfit class. She is in phenomenal shape. We talked a little about paleo. I said that my main issue was my intake of wine, beer and other spirits. She said, “yep. I gave it up. Even the glass of wine. It just didn’t make me feel good.”

I replied, “I understand that. I keep thinking I’ll reduce or do the 30 day fast again, but I’m in a drinking culture. It’s the relationships.”

“Yeah, well. I go out and drink water. And when they ask me why, I simply say that’s how I have this body.”

End of argument.

There was no hint of arrogance; no judgment of her friend’s weaknesses. She gently reminded me that we make choices. Is drinking another beer awesome? perhaps. But it is definitely less awesome than feeling good and looking good. I feel just a little more able to reach my goals, and hit them because of these two people.

Today: 5 sets of 3 deadlift 225 (I finished strong, also, with encouragement from Andy)
400 m run (1200 total)
Ring pulls (for the back)
Ball Slams (15 lbs)
Squats (35 lb KtB)

One of the guys paced me outside on the last 400 m run. It was a big help – otherwise I would have walked it. And during the last set everyone was cheering me on. Sometimes it helps to know I’m not alone on this.

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