Exercising is so damned so-so

My mother’s brother had a thick southern accent. In the early 1980s he had a major operation due to his World War 2 injury 40 years before. (He was run over by a cab while out celebrating the fact he was classified unfit for service due to bad kneecaps- true story.) Even though she hadn’t spoken to him in a while she called him as good Southerners do so they don’t have to say “I should have called him after that surgery” at the funeral.*

“How ya doin’ Carl?”

I’m so-so.

“So-so, huh? Well, it could be a lot worse.”

*I’m just so-so. Cain’t get comfortable. Pills don’t help. Cain’t sleep. Cain’t set up. Cain’t pee. Cain’t stay awake. *.

“Well if that’s what you call so-so I’d hate to hear what you call downright bad. it doesn’t sound like you’re so-so at all."

That’s what I said- I can’t do nothin’ cuz I’m so so… The operation left me so’ all over.
I’m so-so today. I returned to the wonderful world of workouts this weekend and today I am moving around like Joseph Merrick with a bad sunburn.

The “38 1/2 Year or Two Boyfriends- Whichever Comes First- Warranty” on my body just expired (coincidentally I’m 38 1/2) and my doctor, a beautiful she-Russian, basically told me “geet to the gym and geet in shape or you die… do not pass Go… jeest die”. I’m 50 pounds overweight, high cholesterol, high everythign that should be low and low everything that should be high and blood sugar that’s currently sorta kinda okay but obviously waiting for Order 66 and I’m the son of a man who died of a heart-attack at 54 who was the son of a man who died of a heart attack at 54 who was the son of a man who died of a heart attack at 54 who was the son of a man who was subdivided by a cannonball at 32. (Had the last one moved faster he’d have gone back to Alabama and 22 years later while telling for the 7 millionth time how “Yessir, that Yankee cannonball come so close I like to have shit in mah hat…” he’d have fallen dead into his fried-corn with squirrel gravy. (I also have the genes of numerous centenarians in there but I’m sure they’re being held hostage.)

So, I’ve been sentenced to the Student Recreational Gulag in an attempt to take off some weight, make some muscle happen, lower some things and raise some things. It’s a huge rec center that’s part of the university, numerous levels and graced by some primo 18-22 year old boy buttage but completely devoid of a smoking section. (The hostess or whatever you call her wasn’t even nice when I asked.) The first part of the obstacle course is getting naked and dressed surrounded by said 18-22 year olds doing the same while quoting Browning over and over in my mind and thinking of toothless hunchbacked nuns and dead puppies (you wouldn’t believe how easy it is for toothless hunchbacked puppy nuns to morph into beautiful 20 year old muscular booty- it’s really astounding and more lifelike than anything George Lucas ever thought of doing). Then I go upstairs and get on the treadmill for a few minutes-
First ten seconds: 1 mph incline of 1.5
Next thirty seconds: 3 mph incline of 2.0
Next minute: 3.5 mph incline back down to 1.5
Next minute 4.0 mph incline back down to 1
Next seven seconds 4.5 mph incline now heading down a slope
Next three seconds 0 mph- while untangling safety cord from headphones
Next two seconds back up to 4.5
Next twenty eight minutes back down to 3.0 mph while hoping that’s just sweat coming from my eyeballs and wondering how my third grade teacher and my long dead Daddy are dancing on the ceiling in front of me and thinking "goddamn but these defribillators hurt but the medic is cute in a Michael J. Fox sort of way

But I do manage to get in a half hour on the treadmill, erupting like Old Faithful but occasionally buttivated by a toned sophomore in front of me on the stairmaster.

But the weight machines, Holy Jesus on a Quidditch Stick but these things were last used to make Jews to say Ave Marias by their most Catholic majesties Ferdinand and Isabella. I’m trying to figure out exactly what activities in nature they’re supposed to simulate, and while reducing the weight on each one from 390 lbs. to 18 mg without being too obvious I plowed ahead, me sticking out like John Goodman in a Boy Band amidst 130 year old college boys. (Mustn’t look at the kiddos in speedos no matter how much Arsenio Hall’s “I know they’s a God!” plays on a loop in my brain and no matter how enticing the continual thrusting of the phallic poll between the hole weights is with every grunt of the Orlando Bloom clone whose butt is in the air five feet from me.

But I survived. I think technically my weightage is supposed to go up rather than down with each rep but I figure at this step better something than nothing, though I’m convinced that for every pound I lose the odds of my being run over by a suicide bomber on a unicycle triples.

But today… oy ve, I’m so so. Like swimming in Mercury. Evidently I need to go with the pharmaceutical weights next time. How the hell did I get this out of shape? I’ll wager the Vatican and the Freemasons are involved.

Oh well, thoroughly pointless and mundane. If there’s a question or thesis I suppose “Any advice for a recycled exercise virgin who’s missed his last 23,000 workouts?”

*Actually she didn’t attend his funeral, which came 20 years later, because by then she hated him with a passion (and with some reason, though she went a tad overboard.) When she won a bottle of expensive Scotch at an employee Christmas Party and announced she was going to save it for a special occasion. “Like the birth of your first grandbaby?” someone asked. “I already have grandchildren… I’m thinking for something really joyous. I know, I’ll open it when I learn that my sunuvabitch brother up in Birmin’ham is dead.” She did (how she learned is a story in and of itself, but unrelated to my working out.

We’re not talking regular sibling rivalry. At one work retreat everybody was asked to tell “What would you do if you found out you only had 24 hours to live- assume you have money and your health”. Most people were answering “I’d call up or go see all my loved ones, I’d let everybody know that I loved them, I’d watch the sunset on the beach while holding my wife, I’d write letters to everybody I know, etc.” My mother’s answer: “I’d drive up to Birmingham, find my brother’s house, shoot him about six or nine times depending on the caliber- don’t want to kill him all at once, but enough so he’d die from it but suffer a while first- then I’d go have some shrimp scampi and a frozen margarita and if I had time to make it down to the beach I’d watch the sunset or sunrise, whichever was appropriate. Oh, and I’d tell my kids know that I love them.”
Pretty much stopped the conversation for a while.

Preview is my friend :smack: REPEAT

Preview is my friend :smack: REPEAT

Preview is my friend :smack: REPEAT


Every one of your OPs is a pleasure to read.

If I weren’t already bespoke (not that, under the circumstances of the relationship, that’s a deal-breaker on this end), and if you weren’t living 1000 miles away, and if you were into fat near-middle-aged guys who spend way too much time online and play geeky fantasy MMORPGs, I’d ask you to run away to Massachusetts with me and get married.

I am?

I have really got to stop breaking the Lithium in half.

Oh, my…the exercise has loosened your optical nerve.

“If I weren’t already bespoke”… :slight_smile:

Ah, sorry. All that inbreeding in the 19th century leaves me with occasional synapse misfirings as well as the vestigial tail.

I’m not bespoke (I just can’t use that word in a non-sartorial fashion, sorry) – I’m not spoken for.

What’s this about a vestigial tail?

How you doin’? :smiley:

Three weeks. Stick with it (rigidly) for three weeks. After that, you’ll enter a positive feedback loop and you’ll want to keep going. If you’re on the verge of quitting, or even just postponing a workout (i.e. quitting and in denial), think to yourself, “It’s just for three weeks. I promised three weeks. Then I can quit.” (Oh, and it helps to promise three weeks.) (Or something in English.)

Does it have to be three consecutive weeks?

Well, I’d tell you to be careful not to make the mistake that a lot of people do, but you’ve already done it.

Basically you need to start slower. I’d suggest just doing the treadmill for a couple of weeks. Then as your body gets used to doing something, you can add in light lifting. Also don’t try and work your whole body all at once, break it down into groups for different days. So one day you may do legs, and another day you’d do arms/chest. That sort of thing. Remember, if you try so hard that you’re in pain for two days afterwards, you’re not really doing that much good. It took you longer than 4 months to put the weight on, it’s going to take longer than that to take it off.

Good Luck!


I think I am going to have to break into two the upper/lower body, and just for now I’m going to limit it to one workout per week for each group. While that’s not exactly going to turn me from Jabba to Rambo by Independence Day, at this point it’s a matter of acclimation.

An irritating thing is that every book I consult has contradictory advice: Book 1 will say only workout in the morning, Book 2 to workout in the evenings, Book 3 to only use free weights, Book 4 that weight machines are far more ergonomic and reliable, Book 5 says do cardio before and Book 6 says do cardio after, etc… GET IT STRAIGHT PEOPLE! SHEEZ! Have a Council of Bloody Nautilus Nicea or whatever and agree on something.

We believe in God, the trainer almighty,
maker of Bowflex and PowerTec,
of weights that are free and unfree…

Sampiro, I’ve got to find more of your posts. Truly lovely. As for the work-out, two words for you: fo cus. Not on the delicious bodies, but on not dropping dead at 54 +/-. I’ve done lifting on and off (at home with free weights), but what’s really got me into shape is bike riding. No, no on a Hog, but a 25 year old Schwinn 10 speed. This week-end, I did a cross-country (sort of) ride of 34.5 miles, and I’m planning a ~45 mile ride out to another town later on in the summer. I have enjoyed riding more this year than the past two years because now I can do a decent 20 mile ride under 90 minutes at a decent pace I enjoy, and I don’t feel so so afterwards.

Just be patient, stay with it, and keep thinking of clogged, crunchy veins, open-casket funerals and flat-line EKGs. That will keep you motivated and keep the li’l soldier at ease.


Fuck weights.

Get on a bike and ride. Get on the treadmill and run.

Hey, can I make a post indicating how motivated and bonerjuiced I am by the 18-21 year old college girls at the gym and not get flamed?

Be my guest. (If you were surrounded in the dressing room by 18-21 year old college girls and you’re either straight or lesbian [but somehow with a boner to juice] and didn’t take notice I’d be most surprised.)

I have an embarassing Sally Jess Raphael quality personal confession: I am damned near 40 and I have never learned to ride a bike. (I grew up riding horses and have driven a Model T several times [an exercise in and of itself] but bikes never entered the equation.)

If you got the straight-up truth, you wouldn’t know how to make heads or tails of it. There’s almost no question regarding exercise whose answer doesn’t start with “It depends.”

That said, of what you’ve listed, I’d choose book 3 over book 4, book 6 over book 5, and completely disregard books 1 and 2 and work out at the best time for me.

What Atrael said. In fact, I would highly recommend his advice when it comes to working out, dieting, getting healthier in general; he’s helped me out enormously. I’m the same age you are (39 in July), and I’ve lost 33 lbs since January. Basically by slowly increasing my workouts and coming up with a diet that works for me, as opposed to some cookie cutter thing touted by the masses.
Eating sensibly with the rare treat for myself as incentive.
It also helps to remember that it took a long time to put this weight on. More than likely several years if you’re anything like me. It isn’t going to come off overnight, so don’t kick yourself or feel let down if you don’t see immediate results.
I would also recommend joining a gym with the option of personal training sessions. When I started, I thought I pretty much knew how to use the machines. The trainer who worked with me showed me how to use them in a way that burned more fat and allowed me to put together a workout that was tailored to me personally.
It still sucks. I still roll over and groan when the alarm goes off at 5:45. But damn, did putting on a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in a couple years ever feel good.

Very true that. When I started lifting after a year long break I made sure that I didn’t overexert myself and didn’t put my willpower through too much abuse - no exercises that take longer then a day to recover from and no forcing myself to go more then 3 times a week.

This has worked wonders, since unlike my previous attempts to take up lifting I didn’t say “screw it” and stop after 3-4 weeks since now a visit to the gym doesn’t mean agonizingly trying to convince myself to do it. It also helps that the result from going isn’t physical discomfort for who knows how long (I once overworked my abs so much I couldn’t laugh for 4 days unless I wanted to cry at the same time too) but rather a deeper, pleasanter sleep then I would normally get without booze and extra motivation and willingness to deal what life brings my way the next day. And it does become sort of an addiction(or as Ran calls it a positive feedback loop), whenever I have to skip working out I don’t just feel bad about letting the slacker in me win yet another battle, I also feel sort of groggy and discontent with life the next day which provides a good bit of extra motivation to not miss workouts.

So Sampiro find a workout that is enough to be good for you, but does not tax you so much you that giving up would be enough of a short term guilty pleasure that you might actually do so. Keep in mind that while Enlightenment overcomes obstacle after obstacle Ignorance knows no bounds at all(Unknown Russian scientist). We need each doper we have fully operational and in good health if we are to have a fighting chance.

Oh yeah, I turned 42 on Saturday, and I feel like I’m in better shape now than I was 5 years ago when I was 5 pounds heavier and a lot more %age body fat. I also started fasting for Lent and Ramadan, and that has helped me accept a lower calorie diet, and make me more aware of what I need to eat vs. what I want to eat.


Stick with the weightlifting. Don’t go for Ahnoldian proportions, or try to target areas, just lift what’s comfortable for you. Eventually you’ll acclimate and want to lift more - and you’ll build muscle mass. Each pound of muscle mass you put on burns 50 extra calories a day. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but let’s say you put on 10 pounds of muscle mass - very easy for a formerly-sedentary guy like you. That’s 500 extra burnt calories a day. That’s 52 extra pounds in the next year. Just for sitting around doing nothing. If I went on TV and advertised a pill that let you lose 52 pounds in a year, even while you sleep, I’d be rich enough to buy… uh… some… really expensive thing. And yet there it is, for three 20-minute workouts a week.