Getting Fitter, Stronger. And Angrier

It’s week ten or eleven of Lockdown. Maybe event twelve. No stupid zombies. Shitty weather. One day a week I shop for supplies. With my sanitizer in my pocket and face mask on. It’s dreadful. And even stressful sometimes. Every day is the same. I wake up, eat breakfast, take a shower, then sit at my computer to work remotely. But what’s been great about it is that my daily caloric burn varies from 1800 and 1900. Except for the days I work out. So I live in the perfect control environment. I can experiment with my die and my fitness without any external influence. I can use the extra commute time to put towards recovery and sleep. So in the end it’s been amazing.

Since my teens I’ve been lifting weights. I’ve gotten less dumb since then. And more recently decided to train smarter and stop being so careless. I’ve decided to focus more on being in the present when performing my movements and not just lift heavy and worry about the consequences after. Then two years ago I started running. And shortly after started doing obstacle course races. All of it fun. The OCRs more than the running. But I was determined to get better. Then my thoughts went to functional fitness and I guess perhaps even CrossFit. I wasn’t too hot about doing HSPU (handstand push-ups) and HSW (handstand walks). But I did get addicted to the dóttir girls during the Crossfit games. Nothing’s more impressive than a girl powering through a set of heavy weights.

In the past I’ve also done a lot of cycling and inline skating. I wanted to get back into all that. The problem is that my body can’t handle it. I’m always in recovery mode. Always sore or exhausted. I wanted to get better. I wanted to get more fit. I wanted to do more.

Until recently, I had no idea how to get fitter. I wanted to be like those CrossFit athletes. They’re like machines. Nothing stops them, not even a broken foot in some instances. I’m not saying that I want to compete with a broken anything. But these athletes train so intensely that they can do almost anything. And still keep going. All I wanted was to be able to train more often. Be able to do any exercise when I wanted without having to worry about exhaustion.

So in February, I splurged on an 18 month subscription of a Whoop. It’s a tool that effectively helps you understand your body, helps you to recover and tells you when you can work harder. I hoped that the expense would motivate me to improve. And so far it has. But mostly my imposing on myself a strict lifestyle. Go to bed on time. Get your eight hours of sleep. Drink lots of water. And that’s just the start of it.

Getting fitter is a lot about trial and error. Try something, see how the body responds, adjust, repeat. But it requires a lot of self awareness. If something worked well, I needed to be able to repeat it. Once someone suggested eating a banana before bedtime to help with recovery. I tried it and it worked great; for three days. Then it didn’t work anymore. I still eat a banana in the morning because it’s a great fruit. And it helps it to get me started.

What does it mean to be fit?

To everyone being fit means something different. For one person, it might just be to walk up the stairs without running out of breath. To someone else it could be to get rid of extra fat. But to me, to be ultimately fit requires the improvement of a few key things: increased lung capacity, improved recovery, stronger heart, muscular endurance, muscular strength, mobility, and body composition.

My goal is to be a smarter athlete. Be able to do more sports. Train more often. And get better at everything. It seems like a bit of a lofty goal. So the way I plan to do it is to pick a number of exercises and workouts. Then set individual goals and measurable metrics.

The way I’m going to start is my picking a set of exercises that I’m weak at or want to improve. Do them once to set a baseline and then set goals. Seems super easy, right. So here we go.

  • Running – I suck at running. Don’t know why. Still need to figure that out.
  • Workout Trifecta – There’s a couple of lifters that I follow that perform a functional workout, then go running and top everything off with cycling. I need to find the right balance so that I can do all three. At least once or twice a week.
  • Mobility – There are some athletes that can pretzel themselves into a pancake. Right now I’d settle for better mobility in my hip joints and shoulders; getting the shoulders around the squat bar is painful. While doing my GoWod daily stretching exercises I discovered the V-Sit; every hockey goalie can perform this; it’s a man’s stretching exercise.
  • Pull-ups and chin-ups – Are these everyone’s weakness? I find it hard to believe we came from apes.
  • Front Squat and Clean – Effectively my front rack position is horrible due to bad shoulder and wrist mobility.

There are quite a few more areas I want to get better at, mostly strength. The diet is an ongoing effort. I’m constantly reading up on health and fitness material. So I’m hoping to throw some science into the mix.

Having said all of this. June is approaching super fast. So I’m planning on putting some sort of program together for the next three months. Stay tuned.

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