Someone asked me the other day1 if I thought going to gym was a waste of time since I “clearly wasn’t ripped” and I’m getting older. I originally thought the person was just trying to get in a jab out of some misplaced shortcomings. Then I got to wondering if other gay guys really think that way.
First, I don’t go to the gym to get ripped. I go to keep myself in shape. And while I tend to fall off the wagon from time to time, I don’t see that as a failure. I don’t live for the gym. It isn’t my sole focus. And my own shortcomings, be it laziness or my schedule, are part of the equation. I don’t have an expectation I always have to be at my fittest or that others have to constantly validate my attendance with compliments. If you’re going to the gym for any of those reasons, you’re doing it wrong! I gave that up in my mid 20’s.
To answer the main question, I do not feel going to the gym is ‘wasted’ because I’m not ripped. I don’t want to be ripped. That has never been my goal. I like to eat way too much to ever get to that level. I’m ok with that. I go to the gym, regardless of my current weight set, to stay in shape. I get lazy, complacent, or just willful at times and don’t go. I always seem to gravitate back though. I like how I feel after a hard workout. And as much as a bitch and moan about cardio, I’m getting used to it. I like feeling in shape and fit.
As for my age, I don’t see that as a deterrent. If anything, it motivates me more. Study after study after study has shown that working out prolongs your health and life into old age. Is it a silver bullet? Of course not. However, if it helps me stay active and healthy longer, I’m all for it.
On a totally narcissistic view, I hate droopy skin. Lawd baby jeebus help me stave it off as long as possible! I’m not kicking anyone as it eventually comes to us all, but I hope to avoid it as long as I can. Call it one of my few vanities.2 And don’t even get me started on the flabby booty. Oh, hell naw!
Joking aside, I hope no one reading this thinks they are too old to go to the gym or that it isn’t worth it because they can’t achieve perfection.
I need to get my eating under control. Ugh! I eat out way too much and it is showing on my waistline. I don’t eat fast food as much as just eating out.
While on vacation last week, I ate like a pig. I’ve been hitting the gym consistently but with my eating habits, it shouldn’t really surprise me I haven’t lost any weight. And while I’m not overweight in the traditional sense, I am too heavy for my own comfort. I feel like a fat-ass.
Part of my problem is I procrastinate on weekends about doing my meal prep. I have almost no free time during the work week so if it doesn’t get done on the weekend, it doesn’t happen. This last weekend I was pretty good since I didn’t have an excuse. I got all my meal prep ordered, delivered, and prepped. Of course, due to the holiday, it is also a short work week for me. haha1 Since Shawn works Friday’ when I’m off, I really have no excuse for not getting it done. Well, no excuse except laziness!
On a related tangent, I’ve been asked a few times if I’m “ok” or “how I’m doing” in the sense of being depressed. I do not get depressed over being unhappy with my body. One, I’m usually just not prone to depression. Two, I’m not that far outside my range to get too down on myself. I chastise and scold myself but I also keep it focused to my procrastination, not my self-worth. I so rarely get down on myself these days. Overall, my life is damn good and it would be selfish and a bit self-absorbed to let such little things overwhelm my sense of self.2 There are so many bigger more important things to focus on. And at the end of the day it isn’t anyone’s fault but my own. If I want to change it, it is up to me to get it done. So, as a clarification, when I rant here about my failures I am doing so based on the best perspective I can have in relation to my well-being.
Who knew getting your blood drawn could make you feel so much better!? As previously mentioned a while back, my blood has gotten too thick as of late. The thickness was leading to high blood pressure and was causing my heart to work harder.
I finally got around to scheduling the appointment and what a difference it made. I’d sort of settled into a routine of taking a low-dose BP med every morning to keep myself from getting throbbing headaches. However, by bedtime it would be back to a dull throb which often interfered with my ability to fall asleep at night. I guess I hadn’t realized how much it impacted me. I mean it did progress slowly so it sort of snuck up on me. The first couple nights afterwards were lovely, no throbbing, no discomfort, no weird sensations. Lovely.
I’ll probably have to start going on a regular basis. Depending on how quickly it builds back up, I could need a treatment every 3 to 6 months. I can just barely feel the tension/pressure now. The lady at the blood bank was raving at how great my blood looked. She kept ‘tsk tsking’ about how it was such a waste to throw it away. I’m not sure why but I was tickled by it.
Having brought it up in conversation a few times in the past couple months, I discovered the procedure is way more common than I realized. I had several friends who do or have done it. The blood bank has whole blocks of appointments they set aside just for this type of service. Who knew?
I forgot to come back and update everyone. Sorry to disappoint but the doc says I’m going to live. heehee
Turns out it was mostly what I thought but with one twist. Courtesy of being testosterone dependent since my teen years, I’ve developed relative polycythemia, a fancy way of saying I have too much red blood running thru my veins.
My BP and heart rate were actually lower than they had been in weeks the day I visited the doc, but they were both still elevated. Besides recommending I shed a few fat lbs, he also put me on some very low dose BP meds. I’m basically taking a pediatric dose right now. My bad cholesterol was also really high so I’m also on a low dose Lipitor (generic) regimen. Worse case scenario, I have to go in at some point to see a Phlebotomist to have excess blood removed.1 I’m not at that level yet.
The meds made an immediate impact. My heart rate is much lower. I wouldn’t say it’s normal for me, but well within a range I’m willing to tolerate while I work on the diet2 and some weight loss. Clearly, I’m not that heavy but loosing the weight helps rule it out if the problem continues. Plus, I don’t like being on meds more than necessary so the goal is to get to a point where I do not need them.
The irony is he thinks the time I spent away from the gym due to my surgeries and shoulder injury may have pushed it to a point where my body wasn’t coping. I also didn’t think to reduce my T dose while I was not working out. These together probably pushed up the thickness of my blood. He strongly encouraged me to keep hitting the gym regularly to keep things in check. And you have to obey your doc, right?!
I was doing some research and it’s surprisingly more common than I thought. [↩]
Lately, I’ve been having an increased heart rate and higher than normal blood pressure. Nothing life threatening but odd for me. My heart rate has hovered in the 90’s for the last few weeks. It goes over 100 sometimes and back down in the 80’s other times. My normal region is the low 70’s. I’ve always had a bit of high heart rate, but except for the bips over 100, it’s all in the ‘normal’ range. The blood pressure has been all over the place. A couple tims close to 200. This being a bigger concern. I guess I’ve finally reached the age where I have to pay attention to such things. hehehe
It started a few weeks back. I didn’t think much of it at first but then after a few nights of feeling my blood pressure pulsing thru my brain (you know how sometimes you feel flushed or sit in just the right position and you can feel your blood pressure pulsing with your heart beat without trying to take it? Yeah, that), I figured it was time to act. I see my regular doc this week and a cardiologist next week.
I had a Paramedic captain at work hook me up to a 3-lead machine a few weeks back when I first noticed and I had some odd P-waves (The bottom of the heartbeat wave). There was some odd double bouncing before it went back up. From my limited knowledge this could be caused by a variety of issues. In my case it is most likely just age and diet. I’m not a bad eater but I found out I am predisposed to diabetes Type II. And while I don’t eat a lot of fast food or drink sugary sodas, I do eat a lot of rich food. My diet is also high in carbs.1 I am assuming this is the cause anyway. We’ll see. I don’t drink much or do any recreational drugs (I know, rare), but even healthy people can develop cardiac problems.
It’s ruined my gym schedule for the last couple weeks. I also cut out caffeine and all my pre-workout supplements for about 2-weeks. Oddly, when I take vaso-dilating supplements like pre-workout mix, I notice my BP actually goes down a little. This is indicative of a clog or poor blood flow. You don’t even want to know how hard it was to go 2-weeks with no caffeine. I did it though. And I saw virtually no change. This again leads me to believe it could be a clog or related flow issue.
I’m not in a danger zone yet. No d-fib or weird T-waves. I am hoping it is something I can work on with meds to get my BP down until the better diet takes over. I hate eating salads so I’m already focusing on reducing carbs. I don’t crave carbs so much as I just enjoy a lot of carb style foods. I also added fiber pills to my small supplement regimen. I probably don’t get enough fiber in my diet.
Of course, I’m just guessing at this point. Being adopted, I have no family history to refer to so it’s always new territory. My triglycerides have been slowly creeping up over the last decade. My doc even mentioned last year, I might need a med or two to know it down.
In the utterly mundane and shallow, I hit a new personal best at the gym the other day! I’ve come close a few times in the past but now I’ve officially hit 200lbs using dumbbells on the flat bench. And for some that is probably no big deal, for me it is. When I started weight lifting I could barely bench a 45lb barbell by itself.1 To have come this far is very rewarding.
I was actually giddy picking up the 100lb dumbbells for the first time. Hahaha You always see those weights at the end of the rack but being able to actually lift them is completely different! I was grinning ear to ear I was so excited. I know it was silly but I couldn’t help myself. I’m sure I looked like a proud peacock at the time.
I’ve been focused this last year on totally revamping my workouts and focusing on pushing my muscles to exhaustion vs doing a set routine. I’m definitely doing much better than years past. I’ve actually noticed the growth in my arms visually, which is hard to do when you see yourself every day in the mirror. I’ve let go of the idea of how much weight I’m doing and focusing purely on consistency and timed reps. I’ve been working out 4-6 days a week and I’m proud to see some good results.
I’m very happy with where I am, especially since I’m working around an old shoulder injury and two metal plates in my collarbones. And speaking of injuries, my arm tendons have all but healed up. Sadly, one of my triceps’ ligaments is sore in its place. UGH! It is hell getting old. I had to cut my arm workout short yesterday. The ligament has been a little sore the last couple weeks. I’ve been stretching it to minimize the soreness; however, I could tell yesterday it was on the verge of a real injury so I stopped. Sadly, my abs are still covered in a layer of fat. I blame those damn girl scouts! They setup every corner in the gayto and they make a killing! Devils in skirts I tell ya!
In other news, we are headed to Hawaii next week to see my buddy Rick! I probably won’t see the inside of a gym the whole time I’m there. I haven’t been to Hawaii since I was like 18 so I barely remember it. We’re hitting the big island where Kona is. That is where my buddy lives. He was kind enough to offer us a free place to stay so we are saving a shit-ton of money on travel expenses. I can’t take Cooper but he’ll be in good hands with my neighbor Chuck.
Well, I never switched to my cardio routine. hehehe I’m still working on bulking. I just like the momentum I have right now and hate to waste it. I’m doing a routine of mixed regular and drop sets. It isn’t as intense as my last bulking routine but I’m liking it. I’m hititng the gym at least 5 days a week with a 3-4 rest period days every 2 weeks. The rest period lets my body recover. Without ‘assistance’, over-training can retard muscle growth.
I have tendonitis in my left forearm right now. Which is odd because I used to always get it in my right forearm. Go figure?! Being on this type of routine is definitely helping me recover. The forearm band helps alleviate stress. I ice/heat it as well.
I have been doing my legs too! I’m not neglecting them for once. hehehe I’ve been so guilty of neglecting my legs for years. While they aren’t boney, I can still see the difference in my pics now. I baked my legs so hard the other day I could barely walk home afterwards. Lawd baby jeebus, it was rough. I’m kinda getting into my leg workouts though. Large muscle groups often ‘feel’ easier to workout.
My schedule is still my damn enemy. Being on a 10-hour work schedule is a real pain. I have to be dedicated every day otherwise I miss my window of opportunity. The up-side is my schedule is such that I find it easier to stay on track. I get home with just enough time to get Cooper settled from his mid-day walk and then hit the gym right before the 5:00 rush. I’m usually 2/3s of the way thru my workout before the big crowd hits.
I find myself less tolerant of folks that selfishly spend tons of time on a bench while not using it. I always start out polite to get their attention and alert them someone is waiting. If that doesn’t work, I have no problem calling you out for your selfish behavior. In no routine should it take you 20 mins to get thru a single bench set. NONE! Do us all a favor and be courteous to your fellow gym-goers. You aren’t there alone and it isn’t yours. Share like yo momma taught you.
Funny tangent, people often act surprised when I offer to share or let them work in. Sure it might throw off my timer a little bit but that shouldn’t trump manners. There are some exceptions but you should be willing to share if you workout in a public gym. You might learn something or you might be able to impart knowledge to someone who needs it.
Anyhoo, I’m sure I’ll get to my cardio routine eventually. heehee I’m justliking the pump I’m getting these days!
Now that I’ve been back in the gym pretty consistently for months now, my dedication is slowly paying off. I’ve put on some more muscle. Nothing extraordinary as I’m doing it the natural route, but every little bit counts, right? I’m currently 215lbs, which is the heaviest I’ve ever been (I think. I’m having a total brain fart right now Lol) Unfortunately, at least 15lbs of that is fat I wanna get rid of, but I’d still be at 200 so I’m happy. I’ve mentioned before my ultimate goal is to hit 230 with around 210 being muscle.
I originally focused on trying to trim back down after my hiatus and shoulder/back injuries. I had the grand idea of developing some baby abs. Needless to say, I quickly discarded that notion for bulk. I can see little changes but since I see myself every day, it is harder to notice the difference. At least others are noticing, which is a good sign. Vain much? Lol And while my abs are still covered under a layer of fat, I’m happy with where I am. I’ve got a couple more months to this routine and then I’m hitting a trim-down plan.
Cutting back on the extra sugar in my diet always seems to help a lot. I found out a few months ago I’m one of those people genetically predisposed to diabetes.1 Not the best news, but since I work out and take care of myself it isn’t a problem yet. However, it does mean I don’t have the luxury of poor eating habits, especially as I age. It is quite frustrating as I don’t eat awful at all. And, I’m also approaching the age where such things become more important. My blood pressure is only slightly higher than normal for a person my age. Unfortunately, it means I have to work harder on my diet. My weakness isn’t eating fast food as much as just eating out. And my schedule is always the enemy. Hehe If I don’t get meal preps done during the weekend, I end up screwed for the whole week. There just isn’t enough time after a 10-hour work day and then the gym to do meal prep.
Anyway, I’m slowly working myself into better eating habits. It is of course a never ending struggle but hope springs eternal…
Since I was adopted, I know very little of my medical history [↩]
In completely random events, I discovered a new recipe for cooking fried okra. With rare exceptions, I try to avoid fried foods on a regular basis. I go thru my phases where I crave fried chicken, but not on a regular basis. This leads me into my ingredient shortage and discovery.
I picked up some okra at the farmer’s market. I had originally planned on boiling it but I got the craving for fried okra. I grew up in the south and the only way to make fried okra is with cornmeal. Guess who didn’t have any cornmeal? You guessed it, me. It’s Sunday night and I’m at the end of my meal prep. It’s only 2 hours to bedtime and I know if I don’t cook this okra it will go to waste. I’m debating on whether to run down to Mollie Stone’s1 to pick up the cornmeal. It whining to myself about not going and hits me. What if I try the pretzel flavor shake & bake mix that’s been sitting in the cabinet? I bought it on a whim and had almost forgotten about it. The moment I think of it I’m sold on trying it. Worst case scenario, it’s awful and I throw it out.
It turned out to be an unholy concoction of deliciousness. OMG, it was so damn good. Just the right mix of salty flavor to go with the okra. I popped it out of the oven and I’d eaten almost half of it before it had time to cool off! I think I have a new way of making fried okra.2 I think next time I’ll throw in a few extra seasonings to give it more kick, but it was really good.
Ok, you’re just dying to know how I did it now, right? If you are familiar with okra, you know it gets slimy the moment you cut it. Cut it up and wash it off good. Don’t let it dry completely but definitely let it dry. The pretzel mix is thicker than the regular version and it will clump up if you get too much moisture into the bag. You also need to use both servings of the mix that come in the box. Trust me, you’ll need it. Mix the chopped okra into the bag with the mix and of course, shake it up. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and put it on an ungreased (or covered in foil) cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Slightly longer if you like it extra crispy. The only draw bike is the mixture will pop off and separate from the okra if you bounce it around too much. I might try a light egg batter next time, but I’m worried it might over do it. Either way, if you like okra you have to try it!
Oh and the okra never made it into my meal prep. I ate it all.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise I’m a
meat and potatoes sorta fella. I grew up on a farm and while we grew tons of vegetables, meat was always our primary meal item. I’ve tried to cut back on my meats and increase the veggies but I always seem to backslide. The struggle is real y’all.
I do a lot of meal preps for my work week. If I don’t, I end up eating out a lot. I still try to eat healthy when I do, but it still ends up being very rich. My fat ass is never gonna have abs if I keep that up. Aaaaaaaaanyway, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the local farmer’s market. The one close to me is on Wednesdays and I do meal prep on Sundays. You see the conflict. I dug the food vacuum sealer out of storage and it’s helping a lot. I just vacuum the veggies and throw’em in the fridge till Sunday rolls around. It’s been helping a lot.
The pic is one of my quick meals. I say quick because I didn’t make it all from scratch. The pasta is a spinach basil. The artichokes came in a jar.1 The spinach, tomatoes, and cabbage came from the Farmer’s market last week. What you don’t see is a small drizzle of olive oil over the entire dish along with the pesto sauce you do see. The chicken is a roasted chicken with all the skin peeled off. And here’s a little secret. If you don’t like your veggies overcooked, just throw them in raw and when you heat the dish for at least 2 minutes in a sealed container it steams the veggies for you. I love the natural taste of most foods and being a super taster2 this works exceedingly well for me. Veggies that need more cooking time like brussel sprouts are easy to cook in advance, just cook’em about half way instead. That way when you do heat up the dish, they don’t get over cooked. As for flavoring, I’m mostly just use salt & pepper. Depending on the dish, I also like the Flavor God line of spices that are specifically designed for adding to food after you cooked it. I’m not a big fan of super heavy sauces and add on mixtures that often add up to a lot of extra fat so it isn’t hard to avoid the heavier items.
This week’s menu is what you see above, the lovely chicken artichoke basil pasta with spinach and cabbage. I also made some turkey meatballs w/potatoes and more cabbage. Needless to say, I’ll be giving Cooper a run for his money this week. I also added some roast chicken and leftover bean chili I had in the freezer. Of course, it helped my ego just a smidge this morning when two of my coworkers commented my arms look bigger. Food is half the battle for weight gain so maybe it’s working!
I’m not perfect by any means but I find if I provide myself opportunity to eat healthy, I will. I’ll never be ripped as I just don’t have the discipline for it. But, if I keep eating better I won’t need to do so much damn cardio, which I loathe!
It’s hard to find them just grilled in oil vs pickled [↩]
That’s just a fancy way of saying I have more taste buds per sq inch on my tongue than the average person [↩]