Now America, I’m not one to preach (much), and I don’t even know if the Overlord John and Ol’ Kentucky will post this, but today I am going to start out with a little story about Uncle Jay, and how I changed my life in a positive way.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still poor, I still make questionable personal decisions, and really, let’s face it, I’m not that smart, but I did do this…(cue the wavy lines to go back in time)
About four years ago, I was around 230 pounds, my knees and elbows ached all the time, I had found out I was diabetic, and my doctor told me losing a few pounds, lifting a few weights, would help out a lot. I was prescribed a few meds, and off I went with his sparse advice. The logical thing to do was to get in some cardio, lose some pounds, and get off the meds.
So I went out, and did some research, and bought a bicycle. I used to say bike, but at my age, people assumed it was a motorcycle, and when they asked what kind, and I said “Mongoose”, they looked at me like I was an idiot. (that checks out)
It was a fat tire bike, realistically a torture machine, and I started out stretching, then one mile. Luckily I live in a town of 300, surrounded by corn, so I have all the miles I want. One mile turned to two, two to five, five to ten. I did this for 8 months, eventually mixing in some light weights, some other calisthenics, and I got down to 200 ish pounds. My blood sugar hadn’t changed, but honestly, once I got past the initial soreness, my knees felt better, my cousin the physical therapist fixed my elbows and shoulders, I was on my way.
So with winter hitting, I decided to get a few kettlebells for indoor workouts. I’m dedicated, but not riding in -10 degrees with a howling wind in IL dedicated. So off to the local Dunham’s I went, to buy a 35 pound kettlebell.
If you are not familiar with a kettle bell, it’s really a good piece of equiptment to get, and do exercises that make you very sore, but you do get great results. All kinds of videos and programs you can do in the safety of your house or patio, or wherever you work out.
As I was going through Dunhams, I felt my side tweak, and didn’t think nothing of it. When I got home, I noticed a lump in my side. Being a male, I eschewed going to the doctor, and complained about it for a week, then realized after reading online, I had probably dislocated a rib, shopping for a 35 pound kettlebell. It took 4 months of doing very little just to reinjure it, which took another 5 months to heal, because I was now paranoid.
Right around this time, My wife had left me, I had gotten let go from my job with insurance (shit canned), and had a lot of depression (for obvious reasons), and time on my hands.
I was walking through the mecca of commerce, and saw that a Planet Fitness was opening. I grabbed some literature, knew a friend who was going to work there, and was intrigued, especially with the prices.
For the record, this is not a PF commercial. It could have been any gym at this point, I had almost signed up at another, but PF was $20 cheaper a month, and offered most of the same stuff, yet more.
I hit the gym running, and I’ve never looked back. Believe me, I am NOT a muscle head. I’m 51, I don’t need to look like Arnold in his prime (or in his 60’s, though I would like to). I basically wanted to lose a little weight, but more importantly tone my body. I had turkey flap arms, a belly, and some aches and pains from inactivity.
Today, I’d like to say that I have dropped 15 pounds, look like Arnold in his 60’s, and have the stamina of an Ethiopian. That would be a lie.
Since I started, I have lost 6 pounds, and have decided not to use the scale as a measuring stick. I’d like to get to 185, but I do like carbs, and as a single guy, cooking for myself is a pain, and I often eat simple (translated into “crap”) I do NOT have his physique, though I do have some definition at rest now, not just in mid lift. I have switched to calisthenics for cardio, but honestly, if I was at the Spoiler Country Complex, and the zombie apocalypse hit, I like my chances to outrun everyone but Eli, though I don’t know what type of shape David is in.
I don’t want that though. I want us all to outrun citizens, so we can hang out, and figure out a cool way to kill all the zombies, and then remake civilization in our images, because OBVIOUSLY we are the smartest men on earth.
So kids, after two years, Uncle Jay has seen many a person burn out, disappear, never to be seen again, and I want to give you a good start, a chance to get in shape, so you can join us in the Utopia we call “The Not So Weird Utopia We Call Spoiler Country”, ruled by Blizzard the Wizard, because obviously she’s in the best shape, and probably is the smartest of all of us.
- Take copious notes. Track your food. I use MyFitnessPal by Under Armour (they make a good shoe too #sponsorme) It also allows you to track exercises. It will give you a running count of calories ingested when you enter them, and calories burned.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. You want a real challenge, compete against yourself. The first time I got on the stair machine, after 7 minutes I thought I was going to die/puke. The last time I was on it, I did an hour, then lifted for another 45 minutes. That was not overnight. But every time I got on it, I tried for a minute more, maybe two.
- Stretch. Get that blood flowing. I like to do my stretching/calisthenics in the beginning, some do it before and after. Another tip, when you shower after, go super hot water, then super cold, and do this a few times. It makes your blood circulate faster, breaks down your lactic acid build up from exercising, and you will have less soreness.
- Know the difference between soreness and pain. I’m 51, I wake up sore most days. I go to the gym (I’m an early bird), and by the time I’m halfway thru my beginning routine, I feel normal. Pain is whole different thing. If you have legitimate pain, don’t go. Your body is a machine. If one part is off, your whole system is off, and you will overcompensate for the pain, and just cause more issues. In two years, I’ve had to take a week off a few times, and once two weeks because I was feeling cocky when doing squats and pulling a back muscle. It’s okay, just go back.
- Use lower weights. If you want to tone, go light weights, high reps. For example, when I started, I was bench pressing 20pounds, but I would do 25 reps. Once I built up muscle stamina, I did less reps, heavier weights. I am not a heavy weight guy, I don’t need to move mountains. Also, change your routine every few months. I go from heavy to light, low reps to high reps, and I try not to keep doing the same exercises, or the same order, just to keep my muscles guessing.
- Take pictures. It’s not too much fun at first, but the best thing about a developed muscle, is that they like showing off. They tell their friends, and next thing you know, you have a body part filled with muscles hanging out, fluffing up, and looking great.
- Be consistent. Set a weight goal, and go for it. I wanted to be 185, but I started adding muscle, so I changed my goal to a more look aesthetic. I still want to get my weight down, but progress is being made. But I go at least 4 times a week usually, sometimes 6. When I first started, I’d go every day. But I go. Some days I accomplish more than others, but I go, get my heart rate going
- Use good form. There are videos everywhere. If you have to break form, you are using too high a weight. Fuck those other people. I have no shame doing whatever weight I’m using, because I’m not tearing up a shoulder, I can brush my teeth without pain, and my legs feel good except for two days after leg day. Good form and a lighter weight does more than bad form and a heavier one.
- Have fun. Life is too short. If you want to do cardio, find cardio you enjoy. Mix it up. I use 5 machines for cardio, each do it a different way, so if I’m sore one way, there’s always a machine that I can avoid that muscle group, or use the group a different way. Heck, if you go and shoot hoops for 20 minutes three times a week, you’ll hit your cardio as long as your kids aren’t shagging your misses.
- No excuses. I have a one legged guy that comes to my gym, and he is there pretty consistent. I have a few people who weight issues, and I see them there every time I go in their time slot. I’m a totally healthy guy (in theory), if they can make it consistently, then realistically, I have no excuses.
There are many things you can’t control in your life. Your health is definitely one of them. By all means, I am not perfect. I eat shit food, I take days off for no good reason. After a month or so, it becomes habit, and you look forward to it.
I work out in the mornings. If I have a crappy day at work, or Overlord John hands me a bunch of comics to review, then I go to the gym, burn a little aggression out, look at a new crop of afternoon butts, and I’m good as gold.
I’m not social there, I am there to work, but I see people chatting all the time. I’m sure if you want, you can even make more friends. I’m have a nodding relationship with about 8 people, and actually say “hi” to two of them (sometimes).
Plus I like to work out my brain, so I listen to podcasts (Spoiler Country, Bicker Bots, Hysteria 51, Blizzard the Wizard, Joe Rogan and Gilbert Gottfrieds) and learn a little as well. This week I learned not to listen to Bicker Bots while lifting, because I almost dropped a weight on me from laughing. The point is, for an hour a day (or 2 if you are single and bored), you are taking care of yourself, looking at butts, and learning things, and forgetting about stress.
As usual, find me @jaycanchu on Instagram and Twitter, maybe Snapchat. I post dumb stuff and things that amuse me. Any complaints about my stuff should be sent directly to Spoiler Country, c/o Ol’ Kentucky Regan.
The “fitness this donut in my mouth joke only is funny for so long”