Tag Archives: fitness

Ratcheting It Up After a Slow Afternoon

Yesterday I cycled 42 kilometres.

That’s the fifth time I’ve ever bested 40km in a day. It felt pretty awesome, because it’s the first time out of all those times that I managed to Finish Strong.

Fitness, for me, isn’t just about health. It’s about proving things to myself. It’s about saying now that “That can’t beat me anymore.”

It’s about saying “I Win.”

There was a time when cycling a round trip of 7 km to my bookstore job would add about 40 minutes to my day. It once took me 74 minutes to cycle 12km home from downtown (with about 4-5km uphill), not including “catching my breath” breaks.

Now I can do it in about 34 minutes.

Being athletic isn’t about where you start, it’s about where you make it go. It’s a mindset, a way of life, a credo, and a pursuit. It’s about taking control of your health and dominating something, ANYTHING, in life.

Me? It’s been a long, long time of slowly improving and constantly setting new goals. “Okay, I did that. Now what?”

The only problem I run into, though, is who I was versus who I am.

I wrote once about how Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of The Tipping Point applied to me, personally, with my weight issues. Gladwell asserts it takes 10,000 hours to gain expert proficiency at any one thing.

Well, I spent 218,000-plus hours chasing the “expert” status in Being Fat. I mastered that shit. I came pretty close to being The Funny Forever-300-Pounds Friend.

Now, with all my weight-loss efforts, I’m probably over the 10,000-hour mark for Kicking Ass and Taking Names, but the 218,000-plus of fatty-school hours did some pretty intense conditioning to this Bear of Little Brain, I tell ya.

This week, though, I measure myself and learn I’ve lost 2 more inches off my hips and 2 more off my waist. Somehow, there’s this band in between that isn’t yet giving, but hey, movement in the other areas is fantastic. I’m closing in!

Today I’m learning about diabetes, and I’m reminded just how preventable that disease is.

I’m loving that exercise is such a major factor in how likely you are to prevent or reverse its occurence.

I’m loving that I can now describe myself, most weeks, as being “active”.

I can’t tell you the satisfaction of yesterday doing a ride that killed me years ago — when I used to do a 20km shorter version of it, and tackling on an extra 10km on an already-50%-longer route for the hell of it because I had “more left in me”.

It’s with a great deal of smugness I can casually state what I’m capable of doing these days, when the opportunity to talk about it comes up — only because I know how hard I’ve tried to get here. I’m the one on the other side of painkillers, ice bags, chiropractor appointments, and everything else I’ve had to learn to use to my advantage as I suffer through the acrimony of Becoming UnFat. I’m the one on the other side of asthma.

I don’t know.

I don’t know what I want you to take from this, why I’m writing it. I guess I ultimately hope that anyone who’s out there who’s not fit or active can learn what it’s taken me a long time to work through — that you don’t need to remain who you are today, that exercise does hurt but it’s supposed to, and it’s in that struggle and pain and recovery that we become new, better, more confident people.

Even if you’re “skinny-fat”, inactivity kills people every day, and the lack of self-esteem from being inactive cripples people every single minute of every day.

My athletic accomplishments make me stronger in every single life experience I face, because I know the mental fatigue I can overcome, and the physical strength I’ve shown. I KNOW it now. I’ve proven it to myself.

It’s not about filling 30 minutes with walking because the doctor says to do so. It’s your opportunity to set a goal and kill it.

If you’re not huffing, puffing, sweating, and wheezing, then you’re simply not exercising hard enough — whether you’ve got 10 minutes to do it or an hour.

Leave everything on the floor, and you’ll know it.

And a few hours later, then a few weeks later, and then a few months later, you’re gonna increasingly love it.

Today, I’m recuperating a little. Soon, after a healthy meal, a healthy snack packed, and hydrating a little more, I’m off to ratchet up at least another 25 km today.

Come Tuesday morning, I want to feel like I won the Weekend Warrior challenge.

It’s the athletic version of the old saying “Why do I keep hitting myself in the head with a hammer? Well, ‘cos it feels so good when I stop.”

If you don’t know that feeling, isn’t it time you started?*

*The first 3 weeks will suck. The best antidote to stiffness and sore worked-out muscles is to do it all over again. Ice. Advil. Whatever the common prescriptions are for overcoming training, go for it. In a few weeks, they’ll not be necessary anymore. You, too, will be a fitness machine, grasshopper. If I could do it? SERIOUSLY, you can.

There’s A Post-Injury World I Live In

And it’s somewhere in between Uncertainland and Hopeville.

Most of it is of my own doing, too. Having burnt out with EVERYTHING last July, I just walked away from most of my obligations, organized  fitness, and social life. It’s been EXACTLY what I needed to do, but my back has been iffy from time to time as a result.

Fortunately, I’ve always sort of maintained my core to the bare minimum, and have had a lot of improvement with my back. It’s better, FAR better, now than it was last July when burn-out hit me.

I’m back, baby, and my back’s considering coming back too. I began last week with the simple goal of being active daily — not much, just enough. I’d started inconsistently the week before, but last week did honour my commitment to doing something physical on each day — even if only for 15 or 20 minutes. By the week’s end, I seized the day and had an 80 minute cycling adventure.

The last three days have been filled with uncertain moments for my back, though. Twinges and tightness, pricks and pains. I’ve been so looking forward to chiro. I’ve also been torn — do I rest this, or do I work it out? Resting wasn’t really working out for me, so I decided to pick up the weights. Continue reading

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I started the Bonus Resolution plan for FREE and I get a whole extra month of kicking ass and taking names! My 2010 started on December 1st!

It’s the Olympic year in Vancouver, you know. “Citius. Altius. Fortius.” Faster. Higher. Stronger.

Considering a couple years ago I weighed 65 pounds more, couldn’t run a block, do a single push-up, and was 8 sizes larger, being faster, getting higher, and becoming stronger than I already am will be a challenge. And I’m so up for it!

Continue reading

The Desire to be Spent

It’s before 7 on a Saturday morning. The naive plan was, I’d get up and go swimming. I’m up. My body tells me I’m a fucking fool. Sleep, it says.

So, I’m going to. I’ll go back to bed in a few. And I’m all right with that.

The reality is, though, that I’m starting to realize between last night and today, just how much this not-working-out thing is killing and deadening my soul.

It’s worse than not getting laid. Far, far worse. Continue reading

How to REALLY Do Kegels: Things I’ve Learned In Rehab

PLEASE READ THE COMMENT DISCUSSION ON THIS POSTING, SINCE THERE ARE VALID CONCERNS BEFORE FOLLOWING ANYTHING IN THIS POSTING. Let me be perfectly clear: This is NOT a posting about how to heal back pain. This remedy is for MY back pain, conjured after a few hours of one-on-one time with a physiotherapist who took $65 an hour for his diagnosis. If you have back problems, go to a professional because there’s no way you should be self-diagnosis, ‘cos that could seriously fuck you up.

THIS is about the proper way to do Kegel exercises, why getting the technique is right, and a bit of a warning about doing them wrong, as I’ve learned from personal experience.

Again, got back problems? There are professionals you need to see, not laypeople’s blogs because you think they know their shit, right? Okay. Good. Disclaimer done. Here you go:

________

Well, I’m seeing a physiotherapist for rehabbing regarding my sorry-ass back after blowing it out in September. I’m apparently on track to be “healed” sometime in February. No, seriously.

Despite losing 50 pounds via cycling a couple thousand clicks and climbing some 45,000+ steps and yoga and shit, my back just up and died something fierce. Apparently all that activity is precisely why

Physiotherapy’s interesting when you have a good practitioner. I landed myself a geek who recognises the smarty-pants geek in me, and he’s breaking down very clearly all the ways my body works so I understand the mechanics behind what’s failed inside me, and how to circumvent such failures in the future.

Part of this means I’m learning about my body in a very new way.

Ironically, the number one thing I’m supposed to be doing in order to prevent this injury from ever, ever returning? Kegel-based exercises. As I wrote on Twitter, at the end of the next three months, I’ll have the strongest, most powerful twat in the world. Why? Because I’m to do 360 Kegel-based repetitions a day. Yes, 360 vagina-clenching excercises. Not like I was Little Miss Stretched-Out in the first place, either, so I’m a little daunted by the extent of these, urm, repetitions. I shall be She of the Vice Grip, I tell ya. Continue reading

We Interrupt The Regularly Scheduled Broadcast…

…to inform you that there’ll be no regularly scheduled broadcast.

Every now and then I’ve been making mention of not feeling well. Truth be told, this has been ongoing for a long time — months. This weekend, everything changes. I’m making some radical lifestyle changes because I’m tired of feeling like I’m drifting through life. As a result, I’m probably about to enter some pretty heady spaces, and postings might be interesting over the next week or so. Most of the lifestyle changes are dietary. No sugar, no dairy, blah, blah. For a foodie like me, you might as well just instruct me to climb on up and nail myself to a fucking cross, ‘cos that’s about how it feels like. Still, I’m excited.

Motivation is hard to come by when it comes to making drastic changes. I used to always joke that, “Well, I’d love to quit smoking dope but I just can’t seem to find the motivation.” Hardy-har-har. Same thing with diet. I’m the kind of person that’d rather haul my fat ass 30k on a bike than give up the brick of 5-year-old cheddar taking up space in the fridge.

[SFX: SCREAMING]: “Not the cheese! Anything but the cheese!”

“Oh, my God, Harry. I never thought I’d see this. Is this what I think I’m seeing? Death by cheese slicer? Shit, man. Hey, can you pass me a cracker?”

But, I’m pulling a Marcellus Wallace and I’m about to get medieval on mah ass, baby. What does this mean to you? A disconnected Steff for a couple days, but ultimately, a new, improved, better Steff! Now comes in cherry flavour, too!

My mind’s been in a fog. Back when I was smoking dope chronically, I could blame the dope. When you quit being chronic, though, and you’re still in a fog months later, you need to ask questions. Me, I’m a crystal-clear kinda gal. I’m used to being razor sharp, able to argue anyone on anything, always ready to go. THIS feels weird. I feel like one of those people you see underwater, trying to talk. Bubbles come out but sound’s a murky mess, just tonal variations, and nothing with any semblance to clarity.

Ever notice that; that how you feel drastically affects all your relationships in your life? You’re less able (less wanting) to communicate how you feel? Less able to put a finger on it? More muddled in your speech? More easily confused? Check, check, check, and check.

I know what’s good about my writing, I think — or at least I know what it is that I like, and it’s my tendency to be open, introspective, and astute. I don’t feel like I’m able to be those things these days, so how I’m feeling is literally changing who I am. And the funny thing is, I’m not falling over sick or anything. I’m not debilitated, I’m not chained to a bed, or taking tons of drugs. I’m just “off.” It’s time to flip the switch.

I guess that one of the hardest things we can do in our lives is admit that we’re not happy with who we are. I’m more or less content with who I am, but these days I’m not happy about it. It’s not a negative thing, this feeling I have now. This is really freeing, actually. Realizing where your problems or lack of satisfaction stem from can be a means of unlocking yourself and promoting change. I feel like I’m on the verge of exciting times. I feel like all this grief I’ve been going through has been solely to remind myself that there’s something better around the corner, but I need to motivate myself to bridge that distance. Like I say, finding that motivation is always a challenge, but when it hits… whoomp, there it is.

And it doesn’t matter what you’re hiding from — maybe you drink too much, maybe you smoke too much, maybe you’re dishonest with friends — who cares. Deep down inside, you know you’re fucking up. You KNOW you’re the source of your own problems, but admitting it’s like stabbing a fork in your eye; you could do it, but why the fuck would you?

Of course, I’m not advising you stab a fork in your eye, but a little honesty with the self’s not a bad way to start a day, you know. What do you least like about yourself? Why? And is it so hard to change that? What’s the obstacle? Is there a way to change the difficulty factor in that?

I like me. I’m a good time to be around when I’m on my game. These days, I’ve been flat and listless and I just feel a world away from the gal I know I am. It’s a diet thing. Tomorrow, a hardcore detox begins for a few days. This means, I’m gonna be unpleasant. Expect rants. Expect grumpiness. And then, I’ll be back in black, back to cool, all that I wanna be, and more. I’ll be like a fucking Army ad, man.

Know what I love most about self-analysis, though? I save myself $120 an hour. Fuck shrinks. I own a mirror. Have an awesome weekend. I’ll be sitting over here, jealous, drinking lemon juice and wishing it was a beer.