Sunday, August 3, 2008

Road Trip

I've been out of town. My car gets 34 mpg highway, which is 5 miles better than the official number. Just another way that I command excellence. I'm wonderful.

I suppose I can reveal my agenda. I was part of a fitness seminar, just attending. I was among the least fit people there. It wasn't at all embarrassing, because I have no pride. If I had trained, conditioned, as they do, I would have had pride. But I'd done exactly three of their workouts, the previous weeks, and that's nothing. I've always known my conditioning was way below par. I've done low-grade distance running, and very specific strength training, but those are very narrow in focus. I'm really good at a few things.

But this was a real eye-opener. All these ripped young jocks competing for time, literally three times faster than me. I wasn't competing with them. Just feeling out what my baseline is. Pretty bad. Pretty bad. I'm not bothered in the least about it. It's good to know. And it will be interesting to see that I can do.

Y'see, there's that part of me that thinks, despite the fact that I'll be 50 next year, that I can get into the kind of shape that really will match guys 25 years younger than I am. Not world-elite, mind you, but local elite, certainly, and a big local at that. I like that about myself. I don't think it's unrealistic. I think I can do it.

I haven't done it because I haven't known what to do. Some years ago, at a time of great distress in my life, I set about dealing with emotional pain by venting it physically. I chose running, because it was time-consuming and unpleasant. I got pretty good. Mid-forties with a 5 minute mile. Pretty good. Same thing with strength training. I chose a few concrete goals, almost arbitrary. Three times my body weight for squats and deadlift, partials. Not full range, so it's not as impressive as it sounds, but still pretty good. A one-armed chin-up, twice my body weight for ten dips. As I say, ambitious, very specific, and arbitrary.

Now it's time for another goal, both more focused and less. Crossfit, this fitness movement, is about generalizing -- being good at everything, which generates a synergy, a sort of wave effect, of fitness that goes beyond its parts. I'm vague because you can google it if you want.

I've always been results-oriented. It's the heart of what being conservative is. Reality based. I can't stand the thought of waste. Wasted effort. All these poor people swinging dumbbells around in the gym, or slapping around the weight machines -- almost entirely useless. It's about intensity -- sending the signal to the brain that the body is being stressed, and the brain's response of sending out signals for growth hormone and testosterone. Well, cf is by definition intense.

My son has been a strength athlete for a number of years now, and he was pretty big, in a not-bulky way. Muscular and well put together. But nothing spectacular. Just another young, strong, hard guy. He's been doing cf regularly now for a few months maybe, and last week he had his shirt off. Bam. Ripped. Magazine-cover. It was pretty spectacular. And this from me, who not only has abs, but obliques, and visible intercostals. I can't find a good internet picture of it.

No, this isn't it. That's just abs. You can see it a little bit on the side there, but I'm much more spectacular than this.

No, that's just going backwards. Another crunchmaster. Son, it's not only about the front.

Well, this is certainly dramatic. Nice lighting and all, and a good flex. But I'm the real deal.

Oh my. How did that get in here. And all these hairless boys. Didn't men used to have chest hair? Is it Evolution?

Hm. Well, actually, you can see what I'm talking about here. Only I'm a bit more in accord with the ideal of classical masculine beauty. That's how I see it anyway. But why have you steered the discussion toward me again? It gets a little tiresome, this obsession you have with my body.

We were talking about the effects of truly strenuous training, and its manifest benefits. Not just in terms of appearance, although that has its significance. Health is, after all, beautiful.

Ah well, it's not late, but I'm tired. And you have your homework to do.


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