31 July 2008

Changing For The Better

I wanted to take a minute to talk a bit about what I've been doing to try to better myself physically and mentally. Those of you who read this pretty regularly know that Bluenoser and I have been sort of battling it out in a challenge based on the book The Lean Look. The premise of the book is to try to make people understand that they do not want to be thin, they want to be lean. The thing about being thin is this, it just means that you have little fat, usually. The problem with this is that while someone might look thin, they may have no real level of fitness, no lean muscle. That, my friends, in the most layman term of explanation I could possibly give for the book. What it does is it breaks up your training into three phases of twelve weeks. That's not to say you do it for twelve weeks and POOF! your done. The twelve weeks is the initial stages. It emphasizes not only exercise, broken up into cardio and strength training intervals, but also eating properly. That means eating right, not starvation or ridiculous diets. It pushes vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and so on. It's a bit of a lifestyle change, but in my mind it is well worth it.
On top of this, I have been getting a lot more exercise in general. I've been going above and beyond, really, and liking it. Instead of doing strength workouts and stopping I've been adding one hundred sit-ups on top of my workouts. When riding intervals for my cardio I've been adding about an hour long ride after my intervals, AND coming back in to do one hundred sit-ups. It hurts like hell sometimes, but I totally love the pain right now.
Doing this has also, sort of, forced me to eat better. I mean, if I'm going to break my butt everyday I'm going to do it for positive change, not just to break even in my fitness. I'm going to eat foods that will aid me in my leaning process and help me to have energy to do the work I need to build power and, in turn, build muscle. I've cut the crap out, and got crap for it. I wound up damn near in an argument with someone at work over why I wouldn't go for wings. I tried to explain even cutting from twelve to six is still bad. They're the fattiest part of the chicken, deep fried in fat, covered in a sauce based in fat served with carbs deep fried in fat. While part of it is cutting back, it's also cutting crap!
Finally, I was having back and leg pain. Being really into the idea of holistic solutions to health problems when able and when appropriate I have also started going to a Chiropractor regularly. If you are in the Lake County Ohio area, may I suggest Dr Brian Morris DC. He and his wife have a practice on the Painesville Township/Mentor border on Mentor Avenue. I've been going since just before the start of the challenge with Bluenoser, and I have to say I'm already noticing a difference. The leg pain I was getting pain in the Vaste Externe region of my legs (the muscle on the outer side of the leg right above the knee). I have not had the pain since I've been getting adjusted. Likewise, my breathing has improved to the point where I have not needed my inhaler. Mind you, I'm only trying to say that I have made a myriad of positive changes and, like anything else, positive change results in positive experiences.
So, without boring you further, the moral of the story, kids, is this: Nothing in life comes easy. Often, in fact, that which is worth anything is a fight to the finish to get. Finally, there was an amazing lecture given by an amazing man by the Name of Randy Pausch. Randy was an amazing man who recently went home to be his All Mighty Father after a bout with Pancreatic cancer. He is inspiring, I encourage you to look into his moving lecture. Randy was quoted as saying something that stuck me so profoundly, and it tied in so well to trying to better yourself as an athlete as well as a person. He said "The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people." Think about that the next time you "hit the wall" on a ride.


Bluenoser said...

Wow good for you phunster. It's always great to listen to people that have come through tough times and about the leg and back I have two words. 1/ stretch 2/ free.


Judi said...

Good job Phun. You are doing great. Keep up the good work. More good things will follow.

Sher said...

donnie -

keep it up! wish i were still in those parts so we could hit a trail together.

Cycling Phun said...

Bluenoser: Yeah, I know... stretch/free. The problem is my back was all sorts of wrecked. It feels a million times better.

Judi: Thanks! Hope things are looking up for you!

Sher: Right, go figure... You move THEN I figure out we could've done some trails together. Hope all is well on the west coast.