bent on trying to make some silly statement (I’m looking at you producers of The Interview!). Of course, I have a fast acting brain, one that is constantly stimulated that makes it difficult to sleep and concentrate in some instances. It used to be so easy when I had television and a bad diet, for the comatose feelings I would get were the perfect precursor to falling asleep anywhere and everywhere. But those days are gone, simply because I don’t have those barbiturates and distractions. I guess this is why I hate it when people call a dumb, mindless film with a lot of tits and ass and explosions as an escape. Well sir, you and I have a much different opinion about what constitutes entertainment and for that matter, escapism. In this instance, I consider film hacks like Michael Bay and Brett Ratner and Steven Spielberg as my sworn enemies. But then again, why should I expect differently? People eat to escape and become comatose, so why not do the same in regards to their movie watching habits? It kind of leads to the same answer. Bad food that helps you escape reality will ultimately kill you, and bad movies that only stimulate your senses rather than actually make your brain work will lead to decay. Yeah, I’m pretentious and a little surly, and I just totally said watching Captain America will make your brain shrink. Either way, I find it crazy that two of the best movies of the year—“Gone Girl” and “Inherent Vice”--weren’t even considered in the diluted hodge podge that has become the Best Picture list of the Academy Awards. Not even “Night Crawler” and “Interstellar” made the cut. What the hell idiot voters of the Academy Awards! I’m kind of surprised that my requisite mind escape of the year John Wick didn’t make it (which is the most violent mainstream anti-animal cruelty film of all time!) considering the field. Either way, my top choice of the year (Birdman! C’mon I have only given this movie 20 shout-outs!) still got a whole bunch of selections, which should be the second straight year a Mexican directed film dominates the Academy Awards. Unfortunately, the troglodytes will most likely choose The “Imitation Game” or “Whiplash” or “Boyhood”…typical Oscar offerings that tugs the emotional strings without really presenting any new ideas. We shall see.
Anyway, back to the fitness blog. Sorry, this time of year really gets to me, especially when it comes to film. To further touch on the idea of the day, we all need some form of escape in our lives, whether we find some kind of hobby or do some volunteer work that allows us to use the good will that is naturally within the heart of a good person. Back in the old days, my escape used to be in my writing, but that life really took a backseat to all of the nonsense that was occurring in the background. When you drink and eat yourself into a comatose state, your creative juices rarely work properly. Call it a lack of heart, but it was also a lack of energy and effort. It was so much easier to let go of the world in front of the idiot box, or in some cases, trying to lead Mega Man to the promised land in the various Mega Man games I own. Truthfully, I really needed it. For most of my life, I worked pretty hard jobs, the kind of jobs that would make your body hurt and leave you susceptible to really bad eating habits. With the exception of my time at the Tucson Citizen, I typically worked jobs that had long hours and a lot of back breaking work. The gluttonous procedures I went through each day--eating massive burritos and one pound bags of candy while washing it down with liters of soda and god knows what else--was the only way I could ever feel good about anything in life. So when I started working at my current job, my priorities are really becoming flipped. Since I sit down pretty much all day, my mind is being pushed in ways I was not expecting. I walked through life rather similarly to the character Enrique from the great film El Norte. I longed for a life where I would be known for my mind, not just be viewed upon as a “pair of arms.” Life used to be tough in regards to my working out. I would get home tired and worn out, even when I was in great shape, and blow off running or even walking. But now I have to make time, just to escape the mental rigors of my new job. I have been thrust into an environment I am not quite used to, being pulled in new directions each day and being tested in ways I never expected. So it is no surprise that I go home feeling defeated, out of my element and wondering if I should try and go back to searching for more physical jobs. It’s because of this change in my life that I now look at exercise in a different way.
Exercise used to be a chore for me, but now it has become an escape. You can question whether some of the stuff I do is really all that good for you, like lifting massive amounts of weight and running long distances, but my lifestyle seems to have taken on a new dimension toward my ultimate goal of aesthetic fitness. No longer is it a want or something I feel like I am obligated to do, it is a natural desire. Maybe I just want to be good at fitness to impress people or just to get better, all I really know is I need those moments of freedom. I need to feel satisfied by what I doing and the goal I am ultimately embarking on. It’s kind of funny how things change so quickly, merely because of a few changes in your life. It’s just weird, having my mind racing after a full day of work rather than being spent and tapped out. Mental fatigue is something I have never had to deal with up to this point in my life, and for the most part, it has been quite invigorating. It makes me feel more useful in my life, and it leaves plenty of life in my body as I seek to build and sculpt not just my body, but my mind.
I’ll take Friday a yet another example of this change. Jon set up a pretty good workout for me to partake in, and it wasn’t something that an ordinary person would want. But I was a little flustered from a long week of work, one where I was forced to do some sales work when I had not even been trained to do so. You can imagine me fumbling around, trying to come up with a price for a rather specific airplane part while some guy from Singapore is patiently waiting for a response, dozens of dollars ticking away with each second. I had to deal with this for nearly three days, and even though I got a little comfortable with the procedure, I still felt awkward. So in part, Friday’s gym session was something I really needed. Jon wanted start on the worst possible workout imagined; PVC push-ups. Now I hate push-ups to begin with, so doing 100 PVCs was kind of brutal. Fortunately I decided to be smart about this time and switch off with the Bosu squats, putting in 25 at a time. This proved to be a good idea, because it ultimately set me up for the next two exercises.
Jon wanted me to do some Bosu chest presses, which are tough as it is, but I decided to do them with the 50-pound dumbbells. Most people would never attempt as many chest presses at that weight, but then again, this is all part of the new plan I have been going through. I was also going to do some barbell overhead presses at 65 pounds, which doesn’t sound like much but try cutting that 100 times while doing the chest presses. If anything, this was rather large test for me. The most chest presses I had ever managed to do at that weight was 72, so if anything, I really wanted see how close I could get. Doing the overhead presses would be quite easy, so I didn’t even sweat that detail until the chest presses started hurting, which happened around the 50th rep. By then, the damage was already setting in. I could feel my body turning into jell-o and my arms were getting shaky. I tried resting as much as I could, but it ultimately became a battle to the finish rather than an exercise. By the time I got to the 89th rep-well past my previous best--I knew I had to quit. It was getting dangerous, for my left arm just couldn’t hoist the 50-pound dumbbell over my body. I felt like I was going drop it at one point, and thus decided to tap out, settling on the 89 rather than getting angry at not reaching 100. I wasn’t too upset at the moment. Sure, we all want to complete what we start, but more than anything, I was able to best my best effort in less than a month. Now I know exactly what I need to do in order to keep seeing my progress. At that point, I was feeling pretty darn tired, but I knew I had to finis the workout and do the 100 deadlifts at 155 pounds. Much like the overhead presses, it doesn’t sound like that rough of a weight (especially since I can nearly dead lift 400), but it is the rep count that really gets to you. I’ll admit, I nearly tapped out around 70, merely for the sake of not ending up like some of those schlubs that try to lift too much weight on the dead lift and then promptly wipe, cutting open their head or something. But I collected myself, finished the last 30 or so and just stood around for a moment. I didn’t have a care in the world, and I might have even felt a moment of bliss. There was certainly a moment where all of the cares of the week just melted away.
It wasn’t like my efforts were all based in the gym either, for I put together a nice little hike with some new friends and even put in some running, breaking in some new shoes in hopes they will be ready for Ragnar del Sol. And while I felt tired and worn down from all the working out and moving I did, I felt free for a few moments. I felt like my money problems and my dating problems and my car problems and my job problems were finally out of my system. This is how I want to escape from now on.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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