30 Days of Fitness: Week 3

This past week has been a bit of a struggle thanks to my cold, which has threatened to shut off my nasal passages at the slightest hint of heavy activity and labored breathing. That’s resulted in a pleasant burning sensation in the lungs and back of the throat, especially toward the end of each workout. Other than that, it’s been pretty great.

I have made further strides in my workout routine, going up to Level II without straining myself. Leveling up in video games is always a satisfying feeling. Leveling up in real life, though? Nothing compares to it. I imagine I’ll be sitting here for a good long while before hitting the fabled Level III, but it’s just the right amount of work for now. 
It also occurred to me during yesterday’s workout that I’d gone from “How many more sets do I have left?” to “Maybe just one more set…”, which is pretty remarkable considering that awesome burning I’d mentioned earlier. I had intended to do the bare minimum number of sets yesterday, but my inner voice kept urging me on. That’s quite a change from the inner voice that’d just tell me to sit down and chomp on a cookie. Which is not to say that I’ve banished the humble cookie; it just isn’t one of the cornerstones of my diet anymore.
There was, however, a small speed bump on my fitness highway (you’re welcome, aspiring self-help book author). And that bump came in the form of:
Why would the sight of this little exercise terrify me, you ask? To be fair, it’s my own fault. I’d first encountered the climber while slowly delving into the world of Neila Rey. It was a part of quite a few workouts, and it was easily the worst and most draining exercise on the list. Why? Simply put, it’s because I was doing it wrong. 
The climber is a fairly straightforward exercise: start off from a plank-like position, bend one leg and bring the knee to your chest, and then straighten it out again. Alternate legs. I, inexplicably believing that I knew what to do without some sort of instructional guide, thought that one leg was supposed to bend at the same time that the other straightened. This created a sort of skipping motion that was hellish for my knees and lower back. And thus the climber became a bit of a horror show. I finally wised up and decided to consult a how-to video, convinced that an exercise couldn’t have been purposefully constructed to pulverize my knees.
Unfortunately, though I’ve fixed my form and can get through a round of climbers without collapsing to the ground, knees throbbing and burning with hate, there is still a bit of a mental block when approaching them. So a workout composed exclusively of climbers is a daunting sight indeed. But I did complete that routine and live to tell the tale, so maybe a day will come when an image like the one above will fill me with joy rather than dread. Alas, a combination of the cold and the mental block reduced me to only completing Level I of that particular routine. 
That’s alright, though. Slowly but steadily, I will climb my way to success (you’re welcome again). And with that horrendously corny play on words, I head off to Week 4 for the conclusion of the challenge.

30 Days of Fitness: Week 2

I’m at the midpoint of the 30 Days of HIIT Challenge and it has been a fantastic ride so far. To recap, my first week was pretty hard on the ol’ gravy-clogged muscles and left me in need of some solid rest. I persevered however, and pushed through the next week, which flowed a lot more smoothly.

Most exercise routines on Neila Rey’s site are split into three levels. Level I’s a good place to start off if you’re like me, while Level III is for the more hardcore fitness buffs. During the first week of the challenge, Level I looked like a fairly steep cliff, and attempting to scale it took a lot out of me. But this past week, I was able to push myself a bit more, turning that steep cliff into nothing more than a dirt mound and reaching ever closer to Level II. Looks like some of that gravy’s been burned off, at least.

The end of the week became slightly tougher because of a sudden and inexplicable cold, but that did nothing to dampen my resolve. A challenge was laid down and a challenge must be met, even if I’m currently coughing up both lungs.

On to Week 3! 

30 Days of Fitness: Week 1

After a rather lengthy gap (one of several in the past 4 years), I’ve decided to get back into a regular workout routine. It’s something that had been on my mind for a few months, but I couldn’t quite work up the motivation to go for it. Until I came across this gem:

Batman workout
That’s just one of many workout routines that can be found on a site run by fitness enthusiast (‘guru’ just sounds too buzzword-y) Neila Rey. She has extensive experience (over 15 years now) in bodyweight training, running and martial arts. As the poster above illustrates, she’s also got a bit of a nerdy side, and that’s just awesome.
Trying to motivate myself to work out by thinking of how much healthier I’ll feel? Yeah, maybe…I dunno. Trying to motivate myself to work out and become the goddamn Batman? Sign me up.
Neila Rey has various superhero, video game and pop culture themed workouts on her site, in addition to more ‘mundane’ ones, such as the One & One Workout. Overall, it’s a pretty fun way to get into a fitness routine, and the curiosity to try out different workouts (the Sherlock Workout? Go on…) keeps me going.
And the start of this week found me on a new quest: the 30-day challenge. In addition to standalone workouts, there are also a series of programs and challenges on her site, designed to keep you fit by pushing the boundaries of your fitness. Going from no exercise to exercising 4 days a week to a 30-day workout is quite a leap, and this first week of the challenge has been exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure.
I’m definitely feeling lighter, and some clothes that haven’t been my size for a while are starting to fit me again. However, this first week has been mostly about dealing with the lingering soreness that comes with starting a dedicated workout regimen after being mostly stationary for so long. Once the ol’ muscles get used to working again, the rest of this month should be a blast!

Notes from a Mundane Morning

No internet today, and no real work. Boredom has taken hold and rattles around inside my skull, trying to lull me into listlessness. But I will not go so gently into that ennui-filled night…

And just like that, work appears.

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Okay, so work has been hindered by the lack of internet. Dammit, boredom’s found me again. Well, pull up a chair, friend. Guess you and I will be spending some quality time together after all.
It’s amazing how there’s so little to do sometimes. I mean, there’s always a long list of things that need to be done, chores that need to be completed, work that need to be finished…and yet, none of that will show up when you really need it to. An entire world lies unexplored, its mysteries waiting to be discovered. Yet here I sit, cooped up in a dinky little office, counting the minutes until something interesting happens. And when the work day is done and I go home, I will lament the lack of time to do anything.
Hitting refresh on the browser doesn’t jumpstart the internet, but I do it again, hoping against hope. It kills a few seconds, at least. Sigh. Perhaps some breakfast can break the monotony. Bagel ho!
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Well, that was delightful. I was a tad stingy with the cream cheese, I think, but that was still a tasty bagel. And now, hunger temporarily sated, I wait. And wait. The stomach is full, but the mind is sadly empty, crying out for stimulation. People mill around the office, basking in the mundane. I make a little small talk, but even that fades into numbing silence. 
Oh to be able to just walk out of the office and not look back! I could hop on a bus or a train, or just go on foot. Destination unknown, with a license to wander. Alas, the only wandering is done by my mind, trying to latch on to a stray thought that might lead to some activity.
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A new development – the internet should be back shortly. Finally, productivity! Or at least the pretense of it while I tool around on my usual websites. I wonder how long it is till lunch…

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After a flurry of activity when the internet returned and work resumed, things have gone quiet again. Lunch provided a brief reprieve from the drudgery of the office, as it always does. But with that also done, everything has lapsed into stillness.

Afternoons are a dangerously quiet time on the best of days. Post-lunch drowsiness syndrome tends to affect everyone for an hour or so, grinding all business to a halt. On a day like this, the silence can be deafening. I glance at the clock on my computer screen and my jaw drops as I realize there’s still two and a half hours to go until the end of the work day. Two and a half excruciating hours of staring at a computer that seems to no longer entertain or inform. There are no more blog articles to read and the news sites don’t report anything new.

So I’ll just hang around here and watch the clock tick away, I guess.

And when the work day is done and I finally go home, there really won’t be time to do anything…