By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
September 4, 2016
When you think about the intricacies of the universe like I do, you tend to forget about the supposedly important things in life. This upcoming weekend starts off the fall for a great many in this country, for the brutal frivolity known as football is finally kick starting again, which will ultimately lead millions to disappointment, millions to euphoria and millions into the pockets of various consumable food industries. And alcohol, cannot forget the alcohol as the pumpkin and Oktoberfest ales of various companies across the country are starting to waltz into a pretentious liquor store near you. Now, I’m not gonna get all nuts about the fact my alma mater lost their opening game of the year, merely because I have no idea what happened in the said game and probably won’t care anyway, but this time of year really reflects on the old life I used to partake in, the kind of unhealthy and gregarious sort of “living” I whole heartedly participated in. People are tying so much of their happiness and health and well being to the games while many of them are probably forgetting about the subtleties of life they are glassing over. If anything, I have lost interest in football because it really was the single worst thing that could have happened to my health. When I watched nothing but movies and such, I certainly had a budding waistline, but my desire for sports was a slow burn. Aside from my lack of ability and experience, I never truly loved the idea as much as I could have even though I worked in the sports media industry. It really wasn’t until I quit my newspaper job when things started going haywire. Blogs made it easier to become enthralled with the action, and I would trade barbs and angry anecdotes with various dregs of society on the Yahoo boards, named only as the “Napalm Junkie” with a photo of Mega Man as my avatar. Of course, this meant I was a dreg as well, arguing about various subject matters that were not the most healthy to speak up about, saying things under the cover of anonymity like “who cares if you graduate players and create good people, if you ain’t winning, it doesn’t matter!” I think my worst one ever was “losers are the ones not willing to cheat.” Yeah, it was a pretty dark time, and I was slowly but surely getting sucked into that world of anonymous anger and slandering…it was what the internet was kind of made for, right?
So I find strange that the whole opening weekend for me is just a fart in the wind. I’m more excited about the fact I am making a really good chili stew today, and this time I didn’t make the stupid mistake of downing four pounds of beans but only two so I can make some chili stew down the line and not be hateful about life for the upcoming week as I ate a stew heavy diet. I was also a little upset about not maintaining my diet very well, for I got a suspension from the plasma donation place for a week due to low protein in addition to gaining a few pounds. I didn’t stay on my usual protein loading habits and it will cost me a week. I feel so stupid about it. I need all forms of income until I start my job. And of course, the anxiety of a new job is looming. I’m still looking for work of course, but soon I will be thrown into the world of call center hell, a never ending vortex here in Tucson where the racist joke of the city is we are a lot like India…lots of call centers and low payed minions only cleaner. The good news at least will be the fact I will be able to buy some produce and some new running shoes, which should be good as I try to regain my health and personal feelings about myself. Right now, the self esteem is at an all-time low, gripping by a couple fingers. But I still have some good ideas and some light in my life. I am in the middle of a 22-day push-up challenge and I am already thinking of ways to challenge myself…so there is that. I have decided to write down some things I want to do by the time spring rolls around, so that is one thing I have opted to finally do. So I have some things to look forward to I guess, I just have to deal with the crushing agony of participating in activities I don’t like for a while.
I think that is why we all need to find something that will make us personally happy. I have been looking at a lot of videos and what not, often times forgetting to update my own darn YouTube page as I am doing this. I think the reason why I clung to football was because I had nothing else to look forward to. I wanted to experience something I had never experienced before, and I was sorely disappointed in the fact this rarely happened for the most part. If anything, it has gotten seriously boring to watch football these days, for all the college teams play some sort of spread offense and all the pro teams play a boring, bland style because of the limiting factor of salary caps. I find it odd to watch something like football for hours on end…just for the sake of eating and drinking. But of course, I am in the vast minority in regards to this subject, and the realization of this makes life even weirder for me. So what is a guy to do when something he loved becomes such a toxic inclusion into his life? Like I have said in other blogs, a great source of power and control for me has been the exclusion of various stimuli that enabled my bad eating and drinking habits. Hence, watching sports all day doesn’t suit me anymore, because those were the things that kind of made me wish for an early death. It’s all morbid really. In fact, these days I ponder even deeper how someone can park their car in a parking lot and eat and drink all day or sit at home and eat and drink all day. To this day, I have still yet to figure out why I did this to myself. I mean, clearly it was about the food and a certain disdain for life, but why in the world would I need sports as well?
Yeah, I have been ragging on football quite a bit during my transformation, but that is all part of the healing process for me. In a lot of ways, it is extremely hard to let go of the things that define us for such a long time. I also understand that desperate need of escape, that feeling of you wanting to be a part of something bigger. We all clamor for that little thing, much like I clamor for some other forms of community even though I have no real clue on how to open up and make myself available in ways other the than fitness. And since fitness is such a solitary pursuit for most people, I’m kind of back where I started in a lot of ways. Perhaps this has been my biggest setback in trying to break the plateau of my health goals…what will happen if I finally meet them? Will I be viewed as that weird strange narcissist? I mean, this is a legitimate gripe that a lot of people have about fitness nuts these days, that posting your gym work or your running time is some sort of self aggrandizement or an approval seeking measure to make yourself feel better. It definitely does make me feel better, whether you really care or not (and in regards my social media posts, a lot of people don’t care much either). It is a tricky road to travel I guess. I haven’t really decided what I want to do with this life that I have put myself in, whether I should seek bigger things within it or just make it a personal pursuit. I haven’t really decided yet due to the static couple of years I have endured. If anything, finding a suitable answer to those desires is going to take some thinking on my part. Perhaps I will be better suited for such decisions when I start making a little money again and can start setting up a work and working out routine.
So here is the thing for me, I have to make some changes. Yes, even after four years, I have to make some changes. My body is still not changing in ways I want it to change, and my gains are still kind of static. So I will make some simple goals for the time being. The first one will be easy, especially since I am right in the middle of this challenge…reach 50 push-ups on a burn-out. Not, when doing my “tired” push-ups, this is an easy endeavor to go through, but these are the deeper push-ups I have been doing since I started with this 22-day challenge. My first chance out of the gate, I barely reached 30. So yes, I have some work to do. But this is what is needed to help me along the way. I am basically begging anyone to retag me if you ever get caught in this 22-day challenge. I say this because I want to start doing push-ups even more. I need to do them, for I think they could be a key in my development. Doing this will certainly help my self esteem because in the old days, doing a single push-up was a chore.
Right now, I have no money at the moment, but I definitely want do another half marathon by the end of the year. While I will be missing the Ragnar McDowell Mountain (which means I will be missing out on a sick double medal), I at least want to do some race, preferably something close to home. Even though I don’t have the shoes or the distance to make that happen, I need to make this happen. I did it a couple years ago for the Lake Powell Half Marathon, then perhaps I need to adopt this mindset once again. There is a half marathon in Oracle, Arizona (which is a few miles out of town) that I can do and should be ready for by December 10. Hopefully I can get the cash needed for that race. Participating in that race would make it a much better idea than doing the Arizona Distance Classic I did a couple years ago….this race runs all down hill. So I might be trading sore calves for sore quads. I would much rather prefer that trade-off!
And now comes the final thing I really need to start thinking about….my 40th birthday. I’m already feeling the anxiety of the moment, wondering how in the world did I waste so many years and reach this point, butI guess I need to start thinking a little more positive. A friend of mine attempted a 30 for 30 idea when she turned 30 a couple years back, but her program was derailed by injury. So I have to really think about doing it, because that is a bunch of money and a lot of worn out shoes. But on the other hand, not like I am doing anything else during my 40th year so far? And you are probably wondering how I can do this? Well, let’s just say the wonderful world of virtual races will make it easier for meet supplement the idea. So there you have it, just a few ideas I want to partake in the upcoming future. I do have a nutty idea of being a raw food vegan for the month of October, but we shall see how that goes. I don’t know if my body would be ready for such a drastic change, but it might be fun due to the fact I could lose some weight in the process.
So there you have it, some actual goals so to speak. Other than the idea of winning Jon’s fantasy football league and conquering the world and getting a new car, well, life has to be simple for the time being. I have to remember that I am on borrowed time so to speak, for my health problems probably would have killed me by now. But that is all conjecture right now. I just need to continue with the living.
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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.