June 26, 2007

And Now for Something Different

Due to certain after work events that I will attend this evening that involve vodka snowcones, I had to reschedule my trainer to let me work out during lunch today.

I don't know if I will ever do that again.

I am completely wiped out.

Usually, I work out with him, go home, eat, and go to sleep. I don't do anything that requires significant concentration or effort. But now I'm sitting in the office and I almost can't make myself focus on anything. I certainly don't WANT to focus on anything.

Oh, but fun fact: my trainer told me today that chocolate milk makes a good after workout drink because it has both protein and carbs.

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June 21, 2007

Too Much Poop

I don't eat very much. I don't know why. I THINK I eat a lot, but I really don't.

I'm trying to gain weight and gaining requires getting more calories, so I made a meal schedule that includes three "big" meals and two snacks. An ordinary day on this schedule might have included something like this:

Breakfast: eggwhites equivalent to two or three eggs. (I don't measure, so I really don't know.)
10am Snack: protein bar
Lunch: a turkey wrap and cottage cheese.
3pm Snack: protein bar
Dinner: chicken breast and veggies

I liked this schedule because I wasn't hungry at all throughout the day, but I also wasn't stuffed to the gills.

Well, that isn't enough food. I started losing weight. When I talked to my trainer he said I need to eat more. He said that I should probably try to get some 2500 calories a day.

Given that the USDA recommended allotment is 2,000 calories in a day and I felt like I was eating a lot, I swore to him that I HAD to be eating at least that much in a day.

Guess what. It's not.

All that food and, if I've figured it out properly, I was probably only getting somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 calories. WHILE doing cardio five days a week and weights three days a week. No surprises there that my clothes were getting baggy.

Fortunately, I don't think I've lost more than five pounds.

So, I tried to eat more yesterday. For my 10 am snack, I had a protein shake instead, which is worth about 600 calories. And for my 3pm snack I had TWO protein bars (180 calories each). Even with my three soysage patties (60 calories each) and the crazy chicken and red sauce with pasta that my roommate made last night, I think I only BARELY got over 2,000 calories in yesterday.

This is very hard for me.

Today, I repeated the protein shake and brought two turkey wraps for lunch. I haven't been able to eat the second one, though, because I feel like I'm about to essplode.

I grew up in a family of grazers. We wander around the house and we eat a little bit here and there. A few baby carrots here, a dollop of ceiling spackle there. We'd have only one large meal in the day, supper, -- IF we had an actual meal -- and that's it. My parents also weren't very big on the "clean your plate" philosophy. We ate as much as we wanted and that's it.

In general, I think we ate pretty well, granted I've always been skinny.

I find that as an adult now, I rarely eat very much in one sitting. I eat a little and rest. Eat a little and rest. Eat a little and rest. And when I'm done eating, that's it. I don't eat more.

So, now I'm trying to force myself to eat and I do not like it. How will I ever eat some 2,500 calories?!?!

And another irritating aspect of eating so much more is that I have to poop so much more. Personally, I do not like to defecate. I don't care if it is an unavoidable fact of human existence. I don't like it.

And eating so much is just putting more stuff inside my body so that it can come out the other end. It just makes this whole process even more bothersome.

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June 18, 2007

My Genes and My Workout

I think I'm going to start running a little bit again. I haven't been running in probably a year. When I do my cardio workouts in the morning, I'm usually on the eliptical, but this morning I hopped on the treadmill and cranked out a little over 5 miles on the "hills" workout without much of a problem.

Then, I went to the locker room to get dressed.

Last fall I bought this skinny black suit. I decided to wear it today because I'm going to this art show at a gallery later and was asked to "wear black" because the dress code is "downtown hip" whatever the hell that means. Anyway, I'm wearing this skinny black suit which has always been, well, skinny on me.

I have sort of big quads due to soccer in high school and then all the running I've done in the last five or six years.

Anyway, I put on my suit this morning and it was big on me. Last week, I noticed that I had to cinch my favorite belt a notch tighter, too.

Even though I'm trying to build up, I take this as a good thing since I'm trying to tone up and burn off a little fat right now.

But one thing I have to come to terms with is the fact that I am not genetically disposed toward having the sort of body that I admire in other guys.

I'm not talking about those crazy, 'roided-out, bubble bodies. I'm talking about bodies like Antonio Sabato Jr. in that Janet Jackson video or like Brad Pitt in fight club or... well, lots of guys.

Here's the thing, though: I have narrow shoulders and a long, lean frame. I seem to have more slow-twitch muscle fibers than fast twitch. Building muscles with any noticeable bulk is rather difficult for me.

I'm sure that if I worked at it really hard for a long time I could build up a nice amount of muscle and a body that is of the sort of body that I like to see on other men, but the fact is that I would have to work at it more than some other men.

Instead of aiming for some crazy standard that isn't really "natural" for my body type I'm trying to develop in my mind an image of how I want my body to be that is consistent with how my body CAN be -- without an insane amount of work. (Emphasis on insane, there, cuz I'm not opposed to doing a significant amount of work.)

Anywhoodles, an inquiry was also made about what my workout consists of.

I work out with my trainer two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we do different things. In order to keep my development pretty steady and make things exciting, my trainer and I cycle through different sorts of workouts on a 6 to 8 week cycle. (I think it's 6 to 8 weeks. He keeps track of all that stuff and I just do what he says to do.)

We do a cycle of lower weights with repetitions of 12 to 15. Each exercise usually consists of just two sets and we move pretty quickly from exercise to exercise. This cycle also includes lots of exercises that I generally categorize as "jumping." In actuality, it's a bunch of aerobic and plyometric exercises. We do a lot of things with one arm or one leg at a time, too. And there's a lot of standing on one leg, too, which I hate. I usually end these workouts by collapsing on the floor in a panting puddle of sweat. It's good.

Right now, we're in the heavy weight cycle where we do three sets of exercises with high weights and few reps -- six to twelve depending on the exercise and how well I handle the weight. My trainer likes to get the weight to where the 10th rep is my limit and I am almost about to drop it but not quite. We usually do fewer exercises during this cycle, too, because we rest for up to two minutes between sets.

During both cycles, we focus on different muscle groups. Right now, Tuesdays consist of Legs and Shoulders. Thursdays are Chest, Back, and Arms. On Saturday, when I work out by myself, I hit my entire upper body, Chest, Back, Shoulders, and Arms.

All of my workouts start with 4 to 7 minutes of cardio to warm up and some kind of ab exercise.

So, our Tuesday workout might look something like this:

1 legged leg press - 3x10 - 240lbs
Weighted Lunges - 3x20 - 60 lbs (30lb dumbells in each hand)
Shoulder PNF - 3x10 - 20lbs
Hack squat machine - 3x10 - 540lbs
Shoulder press - 3x10 - 40lbs (40 lb dumbbells in each hand)
Seated calf raises - 3x10 - 90lbs
Wall sits - 3x1.5min to 2min. Sometimes I hold a 25lb? bar out in front of me, but I've only managed to hold that up for about 40 seconds.

My shoulders do this weird thing where, when under stress, they will briefly pop out of the socket. It's mildly painful and terrifying to my trainer, so we're always doing things to try to strengthen the muscles around my shoulders and rotator cuffs.

On Thursday, we might do something like this:

Bench press - 3x10 145lbs compound set
Bent-over rows - 3x10 60 lbs

One arm Lat pulldowns - 3x10 100lbs? compound set
Push ups - 3x20

Skull crushers - 3x10 60lbs compound set
Standard curls - 3x10 25lbs

Something like that.

And then on Saturday, I try to do 8 to 10 different exercises that cover all of the major muscle groups in my upper body. I follow the same 3x10 pattern Trainer has me do. I really like compound sets, so I do a lot of those, too.

I'm terrible about keeping track of my exercises and weights. Trainer does all that and I never seem to be able to remember what we did. He also changes things every week, so we rarely do the same exercise two weeks in a row. I should really start writing them down or something so that I can keep track.

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June 17, 2007

My Workout Schedule

Reader Tom Rexton writes:

Anyhow, you work out six days a week? What workout philosophy are you abiding by? Because from what I've read you need about 2 day(s) of rest between workouts for each muscle to allow time for recovery and growth. In effect you don't exercise a particular muscle or muscle group more than three times a week, else you produce adverse effects, including injury and slow hypertrophy (muscle growth). So I do a split routine and workout three days a week.

Of course I'm no weight training guru, so I'm not going to stand by that as a scientific law. :P It's just what I've gathered from (lightly) reading about weight training and the theories behind muscle growth.

I would add that one needs two days between workouts to enjoy being sore. :o)

Here's my workout schedule:

Every weekday, I do 30 minutes of cardio and a few sets of abs before work. That's 5 days a week right there. On Tuesday and Thursday, I workout with my trainer after work on weights and on Saturday, I do another workout by myself on weights.

Tuesday nights are legs and shoulders.
Thursday nights are chest, back, and arms.
Saturday is all upper body because I'm trying to focus on building that up.

So, there you go.

I'm in the gym six days a week getting some kind of work out, but it isn't six days of weight training. My trainer seems to think that two days of rest are necessary, too. He says I can do arms and abs every day if I want, but he doesn't like for me to do other stuff unless I have a full day of rest before I work out with him.

Well! I need to get moving. I skipped the gym yesterday because I woke up late, so I'm going to get my Saturday workout in today.

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June 16, 2007

Steamy Sexy Times

I'm about to get out of bed and head down to my local NYSC (New York Sports Clubs) gym. I'm running kind of late because I'm tired. For the past two weeks, I've been at the gym six days a week. That's a lot to me.

Right now my shoulders are sore and I have to actually force my shoulders to relax down and back or else I will just sit here with a permanent shrug.

I guess I could go get a massage, but that's expensive. It'd be nice to sit in the steam room for a little bit.

I've never been in the steam room at NYSC before. The reason is because I usually work out at the one on 41st and 8th and it's a moderately cruisy gym. This means there are many gay men there and they have sex in the steam room.

This bothers me. I do not want to have to fend off advances. I do not want to accidentally sit or step in a puddle of semen. I don't want to sit in the dark and listen to or watch two men having sex who cannot separate the fantasy of lockerroom sex from the reality of the lockerroom.

Real Jock: Sex at the Gym: Harmless Fun or Just Plain Wrong?

Some days guys go to the gym for a full strength-training and/or cardio workout. On other days, they may only have time for "a Hollywood" (just a steam). Either routine can help them relax. But some gay men say they need more than that to de-stress, which is why they go to the gym not only for a workout, but also a working over. And this "gym sex" is causing a rift at gay gyms between those who point to the rule of "consenting adults," and those who think that sex in the sauna or steam room encroaches on the rights of other people at the gym.

Apparently, it's a problem everywhere.

I will say this: it's not a violation of my rights for other people to have sex in the steam room whether I'm there or not. It's a violation of the rights of the gym owners who have explicitly stated that sex in the lockerroom or steam room is not allowed. They've permitted these people to come into the gym on the condition that the follow the rules and they refuse to follow the rules. That's why their memberships get revoked.

If I don't like the fact that people are having sex in the steam room, I can, as I have, simply avoid the steam room. We might argue that it's rude, but it's not a violation of my rights. But the owner of the gym is the one who makes the rules and it's their rights which are being challenged by these people.

Well, I can't go to the steam room at NYSC today because the steam room at BOTH the gyms I go to have been closed by the Health Department. (I don't think it's the Health Department's business, either.)

I don't know how long they will stay closed and I don't know how long my ears will wait before getting a restraining order against my shoulders, either. All I can say is that I'm annoyed by this.

Update: They've re-opened the steam room at my gym on 41st street. Now it has good lighting and you can see what people are doing through the little window in the door. I still didn't go in.

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June 15, 2007

Awwww...

Someone brought in donuts for everyone and I had to turn it down because it's too much carbs and sugar.

But, you know what? Forgoing a little temporary pleasure right now will pay off for me down the road.

I'm gonna go flex in the mirror for a little bit or maybe go military press a toyota or something.

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June 02, 2007

Vacillation

I'm supposed to hit the gym this morning, but my arms and back and chest are sore from my workout on Thursday. I slept a lot last night because all this week, I stayed up past my bed time.

So, I'm very reluctant this morning.

But my trainer said that I need to get another chest, arms, and back workout in on Saturday.

If I go, it will mean that I've been to the gym five days out of the week and had a total of seven workouts. That's three workouts with weights and four of cardio. That's a lot of time at the gym.

But I suppose I won't reach my goal of having a super-mega-killer body by sitting on my butt watching cartoons, so I had better get moving.

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