Thursday, November 26, 2009

And Thus It Begins

OK, it's been a long time since I read the Odyssey in high school. And I admit that I get Odysseus mixed up with Jason and the Argonauts, who were looking for the Golden Fleece or the Holy Grail or something. There's probably a little bit of Oedipus mixed in there, too. Senior English kind of all mashes together in my mind.

But I know an odyssey when I see one, and boy howdy am I starting one now.

I went to see J yesterday on the advice of my surgeon. My surgeon has seen an MRI of my back, and can see the writing on the wall, so he sent me to talk to J.

J is a personal trainer.

Yes, I know, ME and a personal trainer. It boggles the mind, staggers the imagination, makes our heads hurt, the phrase "personal trainer" when the "person" in question is me. But nonetheless the fact is: J is setting up a personalized program of exercise and food choice that will transform my life and hopefully my body.

(I will pause here to explain to those who don't know me why this concept is so difficult to grasp, and it can best be done by stealing shamelessly from one of my heroes, Daniel Pinkwater. He once described how to draw of a picture of him and my version of it would go something like this: "Draw a big round circle. Then draw a little circle sitting on top of the big circle. Put some glasses on the little circle. Put a little mustache under the glasses." Hopefully you get the picture. If not, and you happen to know the Homestar Runner crew, think Strong Sad.)

Anyway, I had my evaluation yesterday. For part of it, J put me in front of a mirror with my shirt off and explained what we were going to work on, and how things would change. He was pretty cool about it. I could tell he was trying hard to think of some nice, encouraging things to say. "Now, you have to sort of see through the fat, here, but see this muscle group?" or "Well, your bicep has good connection (good connection?!?) but it's a little underdeveloped." or "Well, you've got great calves. If you lost a little of the fat, you could see that." And of course, looking at my midsection, "Well, this is pretty self-explanatory." These comments were occasionally interrupted by comments like, "Wow, I'm really surprised you haven't had more trouble in your lower back." "What's amazing is that you haven't pulled a hamstring, as tight as they are." "Are you sure you're still alive?"

And then he moved my flab around a little to show me how it would look when there were muscles there instead. I must admit I was impressed. He really seemed to know what he was doing, and he claimed he had never had a failure yet. A couple of hard cases (and here, I probably just imagined the sideways glance at my biceps) but never an impossible case. So I left encouraged. Fired up, even.

So -- today, November 26 2009, I'm at 34.1% body fat, that's about 90 lbs worth. J says if I drop 50 lbs, get down to about 212, I'll feel like a "million bucks." I believe him. I'm looking forward to my first session with the weights next Tuesday

I just can't believe I'm doing it.

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